“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

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[Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the Irish News

The first theory suggests that the process has been largely fuelled by Britain’s determination to give political cover to the PIRA’s defeat in a futile and unnecessary war.  In a standard neo-colonial tactic, London agreed that friendly natives should govern the place on their behalf.

So, the theory goes, the politics and pomp of recent years have been a public relations exercise to rewrite history (defeat dressed as peace) re-define Irish culture (Protestants have their own language) and replace the opportunity for normal politics with formalised sectarianism (Britain was the good guy all along).  All three were packaged as improved Anglo-Irish relations.

Britain then selectively applied its own legal system for political effect.  This week, for example, a man was charged in connection with the Omagh bombing (undertaken by dissident IRA) but there will be no new inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombs (undertaken by mainstream IRA).

A second theory suggests that the collapse of the Catholic Church means that nationalism is no longer a holy day of obligation.  Since penal times, nationalism has been associated with Irish Catholicism, as exemplified by this newspaper’s 1891 Pro fide et patria motto (for faith and fatherland).

With the fide fading, the patria could do what it wished.

With the Church’s decline, Sinn Féin not only became the guardians of nationalist morality, it now uses its new authority to exercise a similar form of social influence.

These days, only Sinn Féin can define and forgive nationalist sin, a point appreciated in Britain.

A third strand of thought argues that nationalism’s usually sectarian and apolitical nature rendered it too superficial to survive.  It was a form of territorial Catholicism, with little social or economic awareness.

Thus, when the concept of Irishness was re-defined for political purposes, our largest cultural organisation, for example, had no social or economic landmarks.  So, the theory goes, the GAA abandoned the sometimes dubious morality of a declining Church for the more lucrative immorality of capitalism – and Sinn Féin’s £60 million for Casement Park helped to smooth the transition.

As Patrick Murphy goes on to say [Here's the history part - Ed]

But perhaps this was inevitable, because maybe Irish nationalism is nothing more than a manipulative middle class fashion for sourcing money and power.  A book has already been written on this theory: The Clanking Chains (1919) by Brinsley McNamara.  These days you can read his novel for free online.  Read it.  Literature often explains events better than political theory.

You can accept these explanations or develop your own.  Either way, we can only appreciate where we are by understanding how we got here.  These theories suggest we are back to 1603 when, after nine years of war, self-interested Irish chiefs surrendered to Elizabeth I.

Through the foggy dew of Ireland’s feeling of inferiority, Britain has once again emerged victorious.

In that case, this is not progress.  It is not even change.  It is just the same old story, with some new explanations.

Indeed.

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  • OB

    The three theories are false. Each is based on a false premise.

    The first one suggests that the present political situation in the North, with SF in government etc, is the result of British political/imperial strategy. This is a theory popular with dissident republicans. But it is wrong. The peace process which began with the Hume/Adams talks, and which led to the present arrangements, was a product of Irish social democracy. This was fiercly resisted by the then British government of John Major, and indeed every reactionary in Ireland.

    The second theory argues that nationalism and Catholicism are intertwined in an ideological way, (and thus the decline of the church is leading to a decline in nationalism). No arguments are made to justify this assumption.

    It also shows an ignorance of the history of the national movement. Modern day repbulicans trace their ancestry to the United Irishmen, which had a substantial Presbyterian involvement, and whose leaders were mostly of the Established Church. Their annual pilgrimage is to the grave of an Irish Protestant.

    There has been never anything in the national tradition resembling the close religious/political connection that you get within Unionism. Repuplicans/nationalists do not go on about “Catholic culture”. They use the non-sectarian term “nationalist culture.” Unionists can hardly open their mouths without referring to “Protestantism”, because Unionism is based upon a sectarian mindset. It’s for Protestants only, whereas nationalism is inclusive to all. You don’t even have to be Irish to be an Irish nationalist. It has an international appeal because it is based upon universal concepts of democracy. That’s why the ANC invited Gerry Adams to Mandela’s funeral.

    Murphy’s third theory rests on his proposition that nationalism has a “usually sectarian and apolitical nature”. Again this is an incredibly sweeping statement made without any argument. The points I made above deal with the supposed sectarianism of nationalism. But the other point, that nationalism is “apolitical” with “little or no social awareness” is also astonishing in its ignorance of Irish history.

    The struggle against social injustices of each age, feudalism, landlordism, sectarianism, all found expression through, and were part of, the national movement. Murphy should read James Connolly.

  • Niall Noigiallach

    Mick, Unionism is definitely not consolidating. The unionist vote is fractured, declining and much older. Eamon Mallie’s interview with Paisley showed us just how fractured the DUP was, maybe still is. Basil and John’s departure told us how divided the UUP was and even recently Geraldine Rice took to the tv cameras to rebuff Anna Lo’s thoughts on her constitutional position. Throw the TUV and PUP into the mix and it’s hard to see where the consolidation is.

    Peter Robinson spoke only a few days ago about the dangers of some demographic trends to the union. However while many in the room and further afield perhaps agreed with him, it’s highly unlikely the majority will pay heed. The links with the OO will remain and with it, unionism’s main stumbling block in attempting to strengthen the union. The real sign of the union consolidating will be the main unionist parties putting forward a significant number of catholic candidates for election. Until that day comes, I honestly don’t think it ever will mind, unionism will forever be in the waiting room of the fracture clinic.

  • Mick Fealty

    Niall, that’s an ideological hope rather than a proof. I’ve been reading that same stuff for years here and in the press and nothing but nothing has come of it.

    In fifteen years all we have seen is first the mopping up of the fragments of the fringe parties and latterly the evisceration of the UUP:

    Democratic Unionist Party 30.0% 38 seats 1998: 17.63% 18 seats
    Ulster Unionist Party 13.2% 16 seats 1998: 21.25% 28 seats
    Traditional Unionist Voice 2.5% 1 seat
    UKUP 0 1998: 6.50% 6 seats
    PUP 0 1998: 2.55% 2 seats

    Of course the UUP is fragmenting, but only slowly, which gives the DUP a fighting chance of mopping up their votes and some perhaps going TUV and UKIP.

    That’s consolidation lads. It isn’t pretty, but that’s what it is. Robinson has the same aversion to cross community risk that bought SF its domination on the Nationalist side, and guess what, all the air has gone out of the system.

    What I see here is a failing attempt at long slow asphyxiation, it just seems not to be working this time any more than it did in the war…

  • Morpheus

    Let’s assume the Unionist vote ‘consolidates.’ Let’s assume the broad church of unionism agrees to do away with choice – and the UUP/PUP/TUV/NI21 parties – and consolidate behind the rock solid Christian principles of the DUP. Then what?

  • Mc Slaggart

    @Mick

    “Irish nationalism asserts that the Irish people are a nation.”

    wikipedia

    We cannot live in a “Post-nationalist Ireland” as now Irish nationalism is an agreed legal proposition.1

    “As Mr Kearns has both the British and Irish nationality, the Single
    Judge concluded that he did not need to comply with the requirements of Article
    16 of the 2009 Application Regulations”
    http://www.tas-cas.org/d2wfiles/document/4385/5048/0/Award202071.pdf

  • Mc Slaggart

    @Mick

    “Irish nationalists assert that rule from London has been to the detriment of Ireland.”

    Wiki

    This proposition also has many supporters in London

    “Mr Hain told the New York-based Irish Echo it would become “increasingly difficult to look at the economy of north and south except as a sort of island of Ireland economy”.
    Mr Hain said: “We are deepening north-south co-operation in a number of areas. The Northern Ireland economy, though it is doing better than ever in its history, is not sustainable in the long-term.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1503378/Hain-in-hot-water-over-all-Ireland-economy.html

  • Mick Fealty

    Morph,

    Let’s assume the Unionist vote ‘consolidates.’

    NO, no, no, no. Let’s not presume anything (or at least too much). Unionism has consolidated in the teeth of some desperate predictions to the contrary from nationalist commentators.

    All this means is that nationalist voters are being fed a constant diet of wishful BS. It’s not a prediction of the future or what will happen to Unionism. It might fall apart tomorrow week. God knows the Shinners have been trying hard enough, they ought to get something for all that hard slog.

    As that aging comic/digital sage Stephen Fry has said ‘history is the enemy of abstraction’… No more abstractions please…?

  • Morpheus

    OK, the unionist vote consolidates behind the DUP – no more UUP/TUV/PUP. Then what? What changes?

  • Mick Fealty

    Nil fhios agam… But what about Princess NornIron goes to sleep for 100 years until a handsome prince (after many try and die in fruitless attempts) beats his way through the thorns?

  • Morpheus

    I prefer the one about the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick
    Mick
    “Unionism has consolidated”

    As you pointed out Unionists are not ready for ” post sectarian politics”1. The debate about consolidation is the rather unimportant title of first minister.

    “God knows the Shinners”

    Tut tut language.

    1
    http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/04/09/unionist-unity-candidate-declared-in-fermanagh-south-tyrone/

  • Reader

    OB: Murphy should read James Connolly.
    Connolly has been dead for almost a century now. He missed WW2, the Cold War and the troubles and would probably have picked the wrong side in all of them. Maybe it would be more relevant to check the more recent studies by Connolly’s successors in the Irish Labour Party?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It’s well worth putting the entire Stephen Fry quote in. Mick:

    “History is not the story of strangers, aliens from another realm; it is the story of us had we been born a little earlier. History is memory; we have to remember what it is like to be a Roman, or a Jacobite or a Chartist or even – if we dare, and we should dare – a Nazi. History is not abstraction, it is the enemy of abstraction.”

    I’m on another thread here some time back arguing that history is deep personal memory. The problem of attempting to impose an impossible demand for a total amnesia (“post nationalist”) is that the forgettings in our history has made us individually who are today (“nationalist” or “unionist”). One of my big discoveries on researching the seventeent century is just how many Irish protestants (“Loyalists?”) supported James II and his policies of general toleration, and when Jacobite transformed into Jacobin (see “Ireland and the Jacobite Cause”). Ironically, I first discovered Ó Buachalla,Ó Ciardha’s inspiration, through Richard Kearney’s book “Post Nationalist Ireland” where Ó B was given a plug for describing a rich counterfactual for the rigid simplifications most of our population substitute for real historical knowledge.

    All the big parties in Norn Iron greedily feed on highly selected historical narratives that ignores our common historical culture….

    Fry also gave a great quote from William Gerhardi:

    “History must at last convince of the uselessness of insensate mass movements riding roughshod, now as ever, over anonymous suffering and claiming priority in the name of some newly clothed abstraction. If it does not teach that, it does not teach anything.”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear! another hanging sentence:

    One of my big discoveries on researching the seventeent century is just how many Irish protestants (“Loyalists?”) supported James II and his policies of general toleration, and when Jacobite transformed into Jacobin (see “Ireland and the Jacobite Cause”) [please add] some of their descendants affirmed the brotherhood of mankind as United Irishmen.

  • Mc Slaggart

    @Mick

    You have a view that sf has only a political revolutionism approach to the six counties. The truth is they put much more effort into incrementalism.

    Nationalist take a pragmatic and practical approach to their politics these days. Cnut the Great made a point that unionism should look at “”Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty and worthless and there is no King worthy of the name save Him by whose will heaven and earth and sea obey eternal laws,” (Historia Anglorum, ed D E Greenway).

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Until we do care, or are made to care sufficiently in order to effect a functional change, nothing will change. Or as old Lir would have it “nothing will come of nothing: speak again”.”

    ‘Lir’ and the wains I associate with Moyle, Mick. I had a look at the Lear/Cordelia exchange that you refer to and spotted this:

    Cordelia: Hopefully when I get married, I’ll give my husband half my love and half my sense of duty. I’m sure I’ll never get married in the way my sisters say they’re married, loving their father only.

    King Lear: Then that’s the way it’ll be. The truth will be all the inheritance you get. I swear by the sacred sun, by the mysterious moon, and by all the planets that rule our lives, that I disown you now as my daughter. As of now, there are no family ties between us, and I consider you a stranger to me. Foreign savages who eat their own children for dinner will be as close to my heart as you, ex-daughter of mine.

    Old Lear sounds a bit like our exclusive and excluding unionists and nationalists whereas Cordelia sounds like my kind of woman :)

    Despite the peace chitter-chatter, journalists are still not free to reveal the truth because of the danger of knees being capped – or worse.

  • Charles_Gould

    Mick

    Demographics are the opium of the nationalists? (To borrow from Marx).

  • Charles_Gould

    Better still (?):

    “Demographic projections are the opium of the nationalists”

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    The unionist vote has not consolidated. Unionist voters have dispensed with a number of their fringe parties but I’m sure an analysis of voter participation will show that a lot, maybe 30% from 10 years ago have decided to play football, visit a local garden centre, read a good book or dedicate themselves to the study of a foreign language.

    While all these things may be grouped under the heading of non participation, the fact remains that on election day unionist voters are doing a lot more than just voting, many to the exclusion of voting.

    While this may be dismissed as facile that you can only count the opinion of those who express them, I would suggest that the choice of many not to choose any party is a sign of dispersal amongst the unionist vote.

    They may consolidate on a unification yes / no, but they are diverging as a whole. It leads to the loudest loonies having a disportionate influence on the elected representatives with a result that it turns these people off even more, leading to further divergence in the unionist vote.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Charles_Gould

    “Demographic projections are the opium of the nationalists”

    Its not demographics its economics.

    “The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.”
    KJB

  • OB

    Reader.
    I suggested Murphy read James Connolly so that he might realise the foolishness of his argument that nationalism is apolitical with little or no social awareness.

    Your observation that Connolly has been dead for a century is absolutely true. But it doesn’t mean anything. Unless you mean that we can’t learn from writers and thinkers who are dead. Or do you mean that we can’t learn from the likes of Connolly, dead or alive, because of his alleged propensity to “pick the wrong side”.

    Connolly’s famous dictum that “Labour is the cause of Ireland and Ireland is the cause of Labour” (I think that’s the wording) is still true today.

    You suggest we read stuff by Connolly’s successors in the Labour Party for enlightenment. Who do you mean?
    Conor Cruise O’Brien?

  • Reader

    OB: You suggest we read stuff by Connolly’s successors in the Labour Party for enlightenment. Who do you mean? Conor Cruise O’Brien?
    See, there’s the point. To this day Connolly has legions of admirers and fans. Even lineal political descendants. But does he have any actual followers? Nope.
    He’s the token lefty in a tradition that eventually gave us Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein – gombeen men, populists and petty nationalists – who pay lip service to a man whose politics they ignore and who would despise them all.
    As for the ‘relevant’ Connolly quote about Labour and Ireland – will any of the parties use that as a slogan in the next Dail elections? Once they had finished explaining what it meant they would have to spend the rest of the campaign trying to justify their use of it.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mick ,

    Thanks for the Ezra Klein link although rather than illuminating it’s just a reflection in these ‘polarised ‘ days of the state of USA politics . Northern Ireland’s ‘polarisation ‘ is based much less on economic and social policy and much more on sectarian division and it’s ethno/cultural ad ons .

    I could’nt help- reading your Klein link – thinking of Goebbels infamaous maxim that a ‘lie repeated often enough becomes the truth ‘ at least in a totalitarian polity . Klein appears to have discovered that the ‘truth ‘ repeated often enough by those already persuaded remains the ‘truth ‘ even if it’s convenient ‘lie ‘ for whichever ideology is promulgating it .

    BTW I agree largely with Politico 68′s response above at 4 April 2014 at 8:23 pm.and will be looking forward to your response to his points when you have time .

    As to leaning on ‘Unionism ‘ guilty as charged yer honour and I’ll make every effort to restrain my basic instincts in that regard .

    As to

    ‘I can only think that the answer to the question of what took physical force Republicanism from Mullaghmore to Windsor Castle is too tough to contemplate speaking out loud. ”

    The answer is quite simple . 45 years or thereabouts and the realisation that you can’t bomb and intimidate Northern Ireland unionists into a UI . And those who continue that idiotic strategy are watering into the wind .

    ‘Although where nationalism goes next is not just a question for the physical force brigade.’

    I’d go further and state that it’s not just but NOT AT ALL a question for the physical force brigade . Ireland -North and South has voted for a peaceful resolution of the ‘constitutional issue -despite the remaining few ultras on each side of the sectarian divide .

    ‘Waiting for unionism to fall apart, as I’ve argued before, is a failed war stratagem. ‘

    I agree but there’s nothing that the broad ‘nationalist /republican ‘ movement can do politically at this time that would a) assist ‘unionism ‘ in hanging together or b) assisting it in falling further apart or even c ) assist it to consolidate . Everybody bar a few ‘nutters ‘ at both extremes knows the ‘war’ is over anyway .

    ‘The answer to the question of how can nationalist win the long peace is likely to be something different. ‘

    I think Politico 68′s above analysis gets it as close to the ‘futured ‘ truth as it’s possible to get . Of course an unexpected ‘Black Swan ‘ event could arise which could derail or impede movement towards the preferred political objective of either side in Northern Ireland .

    As Politico68 puts it – “Irish nationalism is not in any great rush to politically unify Ireland ‘ It should be added also that Irish ‘nationalism ‘ is a much broader and larger entity than NI unionism in that it has a half a dozen or more established political parties on both sides of the border and currently a large ‘independent ‘ cohort . To the extent that they project their policies or coordinate their policies on Northern Ireland at all such projection is minimal and low key . Even FF the so called ‘staunchest ‘ one Ireland parties has taken a decision to wait until 2019 before contesting NI elections .
    Never mind what they say watch what they do again is the watchword .

    I don’t even believe that Irish ‘nationalism ‘ is that concerned about any ‘consolidation ‘ of unionism other than those political parties who contest elections in Northern Ireland and who may see a loss of representation in Stormont or at Westminster or on local Councils as a result .

    As you say it’s a long slow and to be fair stale -boring peace with real power remaining at Westminster and the locals being left to decide among themselves how best to apportion the subvention and administer local affairs .

  • Greenflag

    “The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.”
    KJB

    To them that hath shall be given and to them that hath not -even that which they have not shall be taken from them for such is the law of the 1% as spaken by the WSJ and the high pharisees of Goldman Sachs , BoA , Barclays , HSBC etc etc .

    Where there is law there is injustice .

    In the 1980′s the Savings & Loans scandal resulted in some 800 banksters gong to jail (Reagan was President )

    In the run up to the current financial crisis 2000 to 2008 some of the big names In Enron , Arthur Andersen , and many others were sent to jail .(Dubya Bush was President )

    Since 2008 none of the top financial institutional banksters have gone to jail . The top white collar criminals as HSBC who admitted laundering over 800 million of Mexican Cartel drug money -admit their guilt and get to pay a fine and wait for it lose their bonuses for 5 years . ( Obama Presidency )

    Meanwhile poor Americans who are frisked by police and found to have ‘marijuana ‘ in their pockets get 50 days in jail –

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-divide-american-injustice-in-the-age-of-the-wealth-gap-by-matt-taibbi/2014/04/11/66a1e7c8-b291-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html

  • Greenflag

    ‘Don’t care was made care ‘ was my father’s favourite retort to any of our disinclinations to do what had to or needed doing that we cared not to do ;) .

    It’s an adage that comes more to mind as I get older .When I see some elderly folks suffering from dementia or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s etc being cared for by family members or carers I have come to an understanding that apart from the neccessary care to help such folk lead some kind of life theres not a whole lot one can do other than provide empathy and moral support in advance of the inevitable . . Whats really needed is a cure or a reversed aging process or some deus ex machina advance in neurological treatment . But these as yet don’t exist and may in any event not arrive in time to save a particular individual .

    I think a lot of Irish ”nationalists ‘ are in a mindset re ‘political unionism ‘ thats similar to the above i.e .theres not a lot they can do and I think they also understand that it would be far better if unionists themselves came to resolve their current neither here nor there cul de sac politics as unaided as is possible . But it’s not ‘not caring ‘ it’s more leave it to themselves to do the right thing eventually at a time when they are prepared to do so .

    In the meantime Irish ‘nationalism ‘ will continue it’s long snooze in and thats okay too .

  • Politico68

    Mick -

    “con·sol·i·date
    kənˈsäləˌdāt/Submit
    verb
    verb: consolidate; 3rd person present: consolidates; past tense: consolidated; past participle: consolidated; gerund or present participle: consolidating
    1.
    make (something) physically stronger or more solid.

    reinforce or strengthen (one’s position or power).

    synonyms: strengthen, secure, stabilize, reinforce, fortify; More
    2.
    combine (a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole.”

    Does the above honestly describe the current state of Unionism in your view?

  • Mick Fealty

    Three short points (busy again today, tomorrow for a proper reply).

    One, see the figures above.

    Two, whither the UUC?

    Three, Robinson has been highly consistent in this matter if not in others. Four or five years ago he called for a realignment of unionism and made it pretty clear that what he meant by that was unionist unity. This was about the same time Sinn Fein was quietly dropping its promise/PR line that unification would take place by 2016.

    There are few enough tangible outcomes we can point to in our politics but this is one of them.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    There is a tendency in Northern Ireland to do analysis in the absence of an ability to act.

    It is a strange phenomenon to stand on the sides and describe what you see – everyone sees their own personal play, depending on who they are and where they are standing. It’s like choosing BBC or RTE commentary on world cup matches or rugby – same game, different descriptions.

    So for the articulation of post nationalist Ireland. My take on it is that modern irishness is very post nationalist – if you see nationalism defined by its recent past. Nationalism has always evolved depending on the prevailing circumstances, and right now it finds itself in a benign set of circumstances. The people who see themselves as irish – long before they call themselves nationalist, are just playing to the principles that come naturally – not too much effort. There is no one institution preaching educational attainment, sporting prowess, cultural confidence, economic success, yet these underpin the aspirations of the modern Irish.

    There doesn’t have to be a fixed plan in place for what it looks like in detail or where it is taking people. The comfortable piece right now is to be heading to a place where the principles and values of a modern Ireland are able to sponsor creativity, unity around cultural icons, a welcome anywhere in the world, bravery to try new stuff and it has to be said a humble acceptance of its failings – of the crisis, the jobless, the corruption, the poor (globally), the state of the environment.

    The ability to live without a constraining narrative but to be guided by the values that have room for expression is a place I want to be. There is no doubt there are those who can pick holes in individual pieces of it and I think the corporate dominance of all is something that puts us in a global struggle, not a uniquely Irish one!

  • OB

    Reader, I didn’t completely understand the point(s) you were making in your last post. Your argument contains inconsistancies and sweeping statements.
    You say Connolly has legions of “fans, admirers” and “political descentants”. But you also say he has no “actual followers”. The second statement is not only sweepingly inaccurate, but contradicts the first statement. People who, as you put it, are “fans, admirers” and “political descendents” are by nature “followers”.
    But if you mean that the present Labour Party doesn’t follow Connolly’s principles, that is true. But it isn’t a good thing. The chief characteristic of the modern Labour Party is its total lack of republicanism and national vision. And that’s why it is going nowhere today.
    You refer to Connolly as a “token lefty” in a “tradition that eventually gave us Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein” who you characterise as “petty nationalists” (I don’t know what this means, other than it is intended to be derisory) and “gombeen men”. Again another innacurate sweeping statement.
    The tradition you refer to is the republican tradition. Connolly was part of that tradition, along with other “lefties” like Liam Mellows. The natural tendency of republicanism is to lean to the left.
    Regardless of what Fianna Fail is today, originally it was not composed of “gombeen men”. Its base was amongst the urban and rural working class, as well as small producers and farmers. It wasn’t socialist, but its plebian/republican roots gave rise to progressive social/economic policies. It’s success was because it followed the republican tradition, which Connolly was part of, where as Laboura didn’t, and found itself a non-force.
    Sinn Fein is the modern continuation of the republican tradition. Its leaders and base are mostly working class, and leftist in orientation.
    However it is true that republicanism has been dominated by a petite-bourgeoise mentality. Sinn Fein (and the IRA before it) has not been able to rid itself of this way of thinking – petty/wrong solutions to big problems.
    But the republican movement today has this weakness precisely because of the absence of the organised working class in the leadership of the national struggle.

  • Morpheus

    The numbers between 1998 and 2011 show that the numbers of Unionist MLAs fell by 2, the unionist share of the overall vote fell by nearly 7% and the number of unionist votes fell by over 80,000. True, the DUP have made significant gains and there are fewer credible alternatives but if the ship is sinking does it matter if all the crew wear the same coats? There were 58 unionist seats in 1998 and 56 in 2011 – even if all 56 were DUP then they are still 56 unionist seats.

  • zep

    “The ship is sinking” – do explain?

  • Reader

    OB: You say Connolly has legions of “fans, admirers” and “political descentants”. But you also say he has no “actual followers”. The second statement is not only sweepingly inaccurate, but contradicts the first statement. People who, as you put it, are “fans, admirers” and “political descendents” are by nature “followers”.
    No they aren’t. How many people are working to implement the policies and principles he represents? What parties? What about his massive programme of nationalisation? Where’s the socialist republic?
    He gets lip service, not votes. Fans, not Followers.

  • Mick Fealty

    Michael,

    Spot on. We as individuals will naturally tend towards divers views, but it’s the lack of action by which we can judge their seriousness such ‘fantastic’ diversity.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I can see that Ireland is becoming “Post Nationalist” very much in Richard Kearney’s sense (see his 1997 book “Post Nationalist Ireland, Politics, Culture, Philosophy”, all the developments discussed above are very much to his model!!!).

    But in the sense that the term is used technically within disciplines such as Anthropology, this “Global” Ireland is actually becoming more and more “Nationalist”. Ernest Gellner (for one) defined Nationalism with the characteristics of political centralisation and an homogenisation and simplification of those very “cultural identity” characteristics most of us popularly think of as “Nationalism.” Modern societies require “impersonal, context-free communication and a high degree of cultural standardisation,” something even more true of our Post Nationalist society. So, rather than an escape from the benighted past of oppressive Nationalist standardisation of cultural cues, the post Nationalist condition is simply more and more of the same, but much brighter and shiney-er!

  • Greenflag

    @ Micheal .

    ‘ My take on it is that modern irishness is very post nationalist – if you see nationalism defined by its recent past.’

    Thats why I made the comment below earlier in the thread .

    Post ‘nationalist ‘ Ireland ( I disagree with the term ( Modern Ireland would be more accurate )but use it temporarily to respond to Murphy’s posits ) arrived in 1966 with the signing of the Anglo Irish Free Trade Agreement .

    Good post btw – as to

    ‘ I think the corporate dominance of all is something that puts us in a global struggle, not a uniquely Irish one!’

    Too true .

  • Greenflag

    Did anyone say Cerberus ?