The Concept Is Right And So Is The Time

From the 1916 Societies Paddy Browne a lifelong republican activist and member of Ex-Pop from Derry City, argues that republicans must work from community-level up if they hope to successfully rebuild. He writes here in an independent capacity.

Paddy Browne (fourth from right),
It was a campaign that sent shivers through the British establishment and rocked it to its foundation. The commitment and ingenuity of the Óglaigh in the IRA and INLA – and the price paid by both organisations and the community in general – will never be forgotten. And while they may not have achieved the ultimate goal they most certainly advanced it.

People have been trying to mimic the campaign from 1997 without major success. They need to realise it is not enough to profess to fight a war when it is far from a reality – when your greatest contribution is to send our young men and women to gaol.

I believe the success of republicanism will come from the trust of the community in which we previously relied – heavily – in the past. It is through them that we must present our argument, for approval, and it is them that we need to support in their time of need.

Before we have unity in Ireland, with substance, we need a social revolution that will empower the people. The most important component of that, and towards establishing the Republic, is the right of the people to self-determination. Capitalism and corporations need also to become a thing of the past. They suck the life out of progress and have no place in the Republic.

If it is to survive, the mindset of republicanism needs to adapt to suit the changing environment that is modern society. In order to do that, we must examine our alternatives and options accordingly, developing our options – and with it the republican alternative – through critical engagement with our communities.

Unfortunately the tide of conformism is not over and there still are those willing to pursue that journey, who will become more and more financially dependent on those they once held up as the enemy. For our efforts to achieve success, people must understand that this direction is dirty and will crush republicanism – as opposed to advancing it.

Let’s be under no illusions. The Brits are still at war with the Irish people and fully opposed to what remains our fundamental birthright: the establishment of the Irish Republic. But what republicans need realise is that the battlefield has changed – and so has theirs. They will fight you military or political, depending on what the circumstance demands.

People need to realise that fighting the system from within has never worked. In every case, those with the best intentions have eventually been absorbed into the system they once proclaimed it their intent to destroy. In every case, it is the system that instead destroys them, churning them out as system-serving, law-abiding robots, to paraphrase the great Bobby Sands.

What the struggle requires are issues – not institutions – to mobilise around. I for one believe the time has never been more right, with water charges in one part of our divided country and welfare cuts in the other. These two issues, with others, could mobilise people around the national question and the formation of the All-Ireland Republic, wherein lies the true solution to the ills we face in our everyday lives as a community.


  1. I'm certain I read this somewhere before recently. There is no doubt the campaign put SF in Stormont in a power sharing executive. The behaviour of the DUP under Arlene Foster and their contempt of all things Irish merely proves that without the pressure of the 30 year conflict unionists would still be running a wee one party state. Ironically SF became croppySF instead of taking it to unionism full on. The further irony is that it seems many unionists seem to see Arlene and the DUP as cutting off their collective nose to spite their own face. McGuinness and SF were exactly where the unionists wanted them. They were docile, subservient, unquestioning and yet Arlene and her trash buddies behaved like it was 1921. The 6 counties were safe forever, the Queen was met and adored. Now all these scandals have 'outed' SF and they had no option but to pull the plug.

    Time for an unashamed and unafraid nationalist approach. The time is indeed right.

  2. But the establishment does not need nationalists or SF to normalise British rule, it's doing that well enough on it's own. As far as I see, the only true way to create the circumstances for Irish unity is to "detribalize" the concept of what that means, which includes SF not having the monopoly on the issue. Personally as someone who supports PBP, I feel that we do need to accommodate working class Protestants into that vision (which will NOT be easy I know) and make the process as inclusive as possible by focusing on organic, grass-roots campaigning in working class areas that have long since been abandoned by the elite. SF are a manifestation of a divided society, not the answer to it. They are simply using language like "republicanism" and "Irish unity" to pay lip service to the electorate and know full well that the sectarian head count of elections is what keeps them in power. They are difficulties as you say with the SDLP and PBP's position on the constitutional question, including the deeply supremacist element that exists within our society and the unionist veto enshrined into the Belfast Agreement, but the pursuit towards a constitutional path and the kick start to ideologically accepting partition was a process that began with the GFA. SF's duplicity and use of selling partition as a "stepping stone" (St. Andrew's agreement, signing up to police and justice powers, etc) to hold on to power has left republicanism in a very confused state indeed. Giving that the GFA was signed into EU law (which we are being taken out of) I wonder if this calls into question any legality issues with the document? Either way, we just have to find a way of making do with what we've got, even when what we have got is very little.

  3. "SF are a manifestation of a divided society, not the answer to it."

    A useful economy of words to convey a deeply important concept.

  4. go on paddy...get the people who dont read the books to fill up them jails again

  5. Very interesting. The elections could spell a very powerful upturn in SFs fortunes...a hell of a lot of Nationalists are happy for what McGuinness did...his actions could very well have swung the doubters and dejected back to their court....we shall see

  6. P Si,

    Well said. I hope one day PBP could reach out to the only working class Unionist party left in the North, The PUP, and work together for the betterment of all concerned.

    There is far more that unites us than divides us.

  7. Niall

    I honestly don't feel the nationalist electorate are that much more impressed with SF than a lot of the Unionist electorate are with the DUP. That heating scandal was known about for a year! Apart from that it is now quite clear SF were playing the three wise monkeys up at Stormont while the DUP ruthlessly robbed the public purse with scam after scam. Just what Big Bobby Storey was doing with an office up there on the hill is a mystery. Spy ring it was not. Maybe he was on the 'Pornhub'.

    Electioneering has blinded SF they see this as a chance for a DUP decline and a SF 1st Minister. They forget the RCs are disgusted at their spineless decade. Could be an SDLP / OU comeback kid movie on the way.

    BTW if anyone has £50,000 get it over to the DUP immediately, Iris just found another toy boy.

  8. Just what Big Bobby Storey was doing with an office up there on the hill is a mystery. Spy ring it was not. Maybe he was on the 'Pornhub'.

    Someone has been Larry....

  9. Larry,
    I'm not 100% convinced. I think the SF were under pressure from the grass roots over this and I have met quite a few non SF voters who are to say the least pleased with SFs stance on this....they seem to have won back a lot of support....I think the smaller parties will suffer badly as the electorate will see SF as the only viable option to hold the Unionists to account....the smaller parties only shouted for that was all the power they had...couldn't do anything other than that....people wont forget where the real power will be interesting days ahead but more than likely they will give in under some pretext or other

  10. Anybody else think McGuinness has cancer? He looked gaunt on the telly when he was spitting the dummy out.

  11. Niall

    I heard a few DUP/unionist voters giving out big time at the DUP on the radio. For all their protestations of wanting to fix the scandal there seems to be genuine anger and one unionist said not withstanding McGuinness' past he felt unionism had lost a friend in his departure. Another said with the heating scandal known for a year they are exposed as nothing but in it for themselves. He couldn't run his business like that. However, what happens at the ballot will be the reality. Who would be surprised by an increased DUP vote? If SF maintain their vote and that's a big 'if' they need to get real in Stormont. The piss process is OVER and it is time for them to stop living off the dead patriots and start WORKING like political reps'. The North is safe and secure, what the DUP have been doing is cutting off their own nose to spite everyone else' face. If unionism cannot elect better than Arlene and Givin and Campbell and Co. then wrap it up and forget it. At least they wont be paid a fortune for doing NOTHING but causing problems.


    YOU are just a very bold boy.

  12. That is something I am very worried about too Niall, I sincerely hope the smaller parties continue to make gains and build themselves at a grassroots level which takes time (and years) to do. This is nothing to do with SF integrity (which ceased to exist at least two decades ago) but everything to do with gaining power as First Minister and I feel it could backfire on them in a big way. Do SF really think they can win more seats against the DUP considering how successful the DUP were in the last election in May 2016? The worst case scenario here is that the smaller parties lose what little seats they have, SF marginally gain more seats and you have the DUP once again returned as the largest party. Thus setting back progress and ensuring the domination of tribal politics until the elections in 2020. Then again, you could also have unionist voters turning to the UUP and the DUP losing out in the elections in a massive way. It's likely the real reason why the DUP now want a public inquiry (despite insisting there would not be one) and the U-turn on the Irish language bursary, they really don't want this election to happen.

  13. Frankie

    BLOODY HELL I thought that was going to be some whacky website or picture. So they are all 'up' on the hill right enough. No wonder SF have noticed nothing. They do say too much self 'pleasuring' makes ya blind. There you go!!

  14. Steve R, its said to be amyloidosis, its genetic and deforms protiens which can affect the heart.

  15. Larry,

    Now you know the O6C is being run by a bunch of wankers...

    Personally I don't think an election will make any real difference to the status quo in the wee six. What will make a huge difference and in all likelihood unite Ireland is Brexit.

    Take Peter, Steve R, Wolftone etc who post here...Most if not all have at one time or another called themselves economic unionists...

    Does anyone actually believe that the Westminster Gov. will continue to fund farmers to the tune of 350-500 million a year?

    Why Brexit means Irish unity is now inevitable

    Shocking poll reveals majority in the North want a united Ireland

  16. Steve R

    McGuinness took an awful long time to spit the dummy out. The entire SF party have worn out the knees in their Armani trousers waiting on the DUP realising the 'one party state' is over. YOU are NOT the people nor even a majority anymore. Wind it up, direct rule.

  17. Frakie

    I don't give a monkeys about the Stormont election apart from the comedy factor. Well comedy until the eyes glaze over periodically. The DUP have zero concept of the 'other' community or parity of esteem. They 'roadblock' every nationalist aspiration in a one party state fashion. Fuck them. Direct rule until the 2021 census and a border poll. In the meantime let the Tory Party loose on their pathetic arses. Welfare cuts the NHS privatised and bedroom taxes and who knows what will be dreamed up by Hitlers political DNA descendants at Westminster. That lot mentioned was just for the taigs and the dregs of prod society that hang drunkenly onto the coat tails of Orange parades. For Big Arlene's DUP farming fraternity there will be no EU - CAP grants and you can rest assured the Tories wont be pumping in a billion a year to keep them all sweet. The DLA will be scrapped too I imagine. SF are to blame, they emboldened Arlene and Co. by wearing out the knees of their Armani trousers at the rate of 2 pairs a day. WANKERS indeed.

    Good times coming right for the wee fascist DUP one party state. Bring it on. And after a border poll if the wee loyalists flare up in violence then it will be Custer's last stand in Ballymena lol