Attempt for unity among dissidents

Disparate dissident republican elements are to hold a public meeting in Toome on Tuesday night. It is being presented as an attempt to forge a joint strategy among the RIRA, INLA, CIRA and disillusioned Provos.

  • AodhRuadh

    A public meeting of members of illegal organisations.

    Not off to a very bright start, are they?

  • Occasional Commentator

    There’s nothing illegal about being a dissident republican. Shinners meet legally all the time to discuss the Provos and the entire security situation. So why shouldn’t the IRSP and RSF and 32CSM et al meet to discuss the INLA and CIRA and RIRA?

    Of course, their probably will be illegal decisions made by some people from some illegal organisations, but in principle this meeting isn’t illegal.

    Just the other day I was thinking that these guys don’t have much in common and that lumping them all together as ‘dissidents’ is probably unfair as they may well have widely differing reasons to disagree with the Provos. What common ground would these folks have and what major stumbling blocks might there be ideologically to cooperation?

  • ciaran damery

    The scheduled PUBLIC meeting is designed to organize so called Republican “dissidents” id est those who disagree with the current Irish Peace Process. They are entitled to meet and organize opposition to Sinn Féin’s policy of appeasment to Unionist fascism. There’s nothing wrong with that. Irish Republicanism is not some sort of monolithic entity where SF and the Movement cannot be challenged. Given the Mainstream IRA’s disavowal of armed struggle and Sinn Féin’s successful electoral pursuits there remains a void within Irish politics and society. Occupied Ireland needs an efficient, impenetratable and motivated republican force to protect the Icish community. Remember the Brits are still on our streets, Paisleyite goons are incapable of engaging in any democratic exercise, SS/RUC and a plethora of their Unionist terrorist spawn remain intact. Whilst SF may continue to increase it’s mandate (esp in the south), it is only fitting and proper that other republicans who are impatient with the antics of Unionists and the ongoing tomfoolery of perfidious albion should take the bull by the horns. We need an alternative to SF’s policy and the GFA. But it must be a coherent strategy with defined goals and specific, definitive tactics. Most of all, an alternate Republican group must never, never physically attack SF or supporters of mainstream republicanism. Finally, may I suggest that Ruari O’Braidigh would be my choice to lead a second new Republican Force in the occupied zone.

  • Yo’ momma!

    (Sorry, I thought I should make my next post intellectually equal to Mr Damery’s here).

  • Garibaldy

    From Breen’s article:

    “Murray said ways of moving forward “politically and militarily” would be debated. “This is a republican meeting and, when you invite republicans, you get people from military and political backgrounds. There is likely to be Real IRA and INLA members and plenty of others too.”

    I was a bit baffled by the reason for making this statement myself. The statement about members of illegal organisations can be seen as a statement of fact, but saying that military options will be under discussion seems silly. Although there’s a good chance it might end up like the famous (and possibly apocryphal) meeting of American Trotskyists where out of 900 people about 700 were working for the government.

  • Garibaldy

    “Occupied Ireland needs an efficient, impenetratable and motivated republican force to protect the Icish community.”

    Glad to see an inclusive vision of what constitutes the Irish people.

  • jerryp

    I can see some key policy issues being decided here :
    United Ireland.

    Free the prisoners.

    Pensions for former and current spies.

  • Occasional Commentator

    alternate Republican group must never, never physically attack SF or supporters of mainstream republicanism.
    – ciaran damery

    Yes, but the same goes for mainstream unionism – they are Irish too. The only enemies of the Irish people are those who made themselves combatants, for example by joining the British Army or loyalist paramilitary groups. (Discussing an exhaustive list of combatants is well beyond the scope of this thread)

    Glad to see an inclusive vision of what constitutes the Irish people.
    – Garibaldy (sarcastically responding to ciaran damery)

    Garibaldy, there’s nothing ‘uninclusive’ about wanting a republican force to protect the Irish people – just like most British people want a force to uphold the monarchist status quo (not that there is any major violent threat to it but you know what I mean). The important thing is that they for to defend all civilians regardless of whether they are republican or monarchist or whatever – and the IRA (the Old one at least) did take this seriously.

    It seems from recent activity that the RIRA think rich and/or unionist civilians are legitimate targets if they are powerful enough. I don’t get the impression that the CIRA go in for any of that evil nonsense. It’d be interesting to see how this pans out.

  • Garibaldy

    OC,

    Have a look at the RSF/CIRA attitude to unionists walking down O’Connell Street.

    As for the point I made about Ciaran’s post, by “the Irish community” he clearly means nationalists, excluding unionists by definition from the people of Ireland. This is pseduo-racialist nonsense, more at home in the 1890s or 1930s than the 21st century

  • jerryp

    Occassional commentator : Time for a bout of occassional reality. Look at the figures in book jointly written by David McKitterick : these ” defenders ” killed more Catholics that any other organisation involved,Army,police,loyalists,etc.Some defenders !

  • ciaran damery

    Garibaldy – It’s not I, but Unionists themselves who claim to be subjects of the British state and not Irish citizens. That’s their right. In fact I welcome the prospect of Unionists acknowledging their Irishness and forsaking their loyalty to a foreign country. But I cannot bestow citizenship on anybody, not can I deny Unionists the right to remain British anymore than I can insist that recent immigrants must become Irish citizens. Finally, anybody who ever read an Irish history book would be foolish to think that there will not be periods of armed rebellion, again and again and again until the British government disengages from the last bastion of its empire.

  • lies, damned lies

    But the Provos have left true republicans in a more difficult position than at any time in our history.
    Republican voters hoodwinked into backing an agreement which copperfastens the union by giving a veto to unionists in a paritionist border poll. The Brits dedicated to keeping a peacetime garrison here. The entrenchment of the Brit security apparatus with the building of a huge MI5 HQ in North Down. This last point I can’t believe SF haven’t made more of…still, as so many of their number will be getting pay cheques issued from there, perhaps that explains it.
    And Adams begging Paisley to be First Minister! And what exactly of substance have the unionists lost? NOTHING. And all of our weapons surrendered! For what?
    No wonder this sort of re-alignment is coming. But I fear that the wholesale collaboration of the Provos leaves it starting from a very low ebb.

  • Garibaldy

    Ciaran,

    The republican position since day one has been that everyone who lives on the island of Ireland is part of the Irish people, and that the goal of genuine republicans should be to treat them as such. So to distinguish between the “Irish community” and other people who live on the island is not in line with this view of the Irish people.

    As for periods of armed rebellion, the more typical Irish response has been to work the system. Besides, several of the prominent istances of armed rebellion aren’t worthy of the name, including current efforts revolving around firebombing shops.

  • ciaran damery

    LDL – Nobody was hoodwinked into backing the GFA. It is merely a change in strategy. Nobody can seriously question the integrity and republican credentials of the current leadership, of Ferris, McGuinness, Adams, Kelly, Bic McFarlane et al? However, it is reasonable to question the progress to date and reflect on how best to move forward with the project. As for “Adams begging Paisley…”? Adams was genuinly trying to get the assembly up and running. He obviously knew that Paisley can only say “NO”. But it is incumbent on Sinn Féin to try to encourage Paisleyites to participate in a democratic system. If they fail, they fail. Then we can ditch the idea of an assembly and move on. Oh, and don’t worry about the weapons.

    Garibaldy – if one insists on remaining British, it’s their perogative as long as the Brits accept their credentials. The problem arises only when the British people in Ireland reject the right of Irish people to self determine our future without foreign interference, and I couldn’t give a tinker’s curse about this baloney about “consent” being enshrined in the GFA blah blah. Them’s the facts.

  • Occasional Commentator

    lies damned lies,
    Unionists have not been given a veto. It’s the people of Northern Ireland who have been given the veto. They may still vote for a UI.

  • Garibaldy

    Ciaran,

    Actually I question the republican credentials of both the Provisionals, their dissident offshoots, and the INLA as the primary aim of republicans is to pursue an independent secular state where the people of Ireland control all aspects of their own destiny by uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter. All of these groups have pursued a strategy based on one section of the Irish people, and have carried out sectarian attacks that go against everything republicanism stands for.

    They are nationalists, not republicans like Tone and Connolly.

  • patsy o’hara

    As Liam Clarke wrote this, it cannot have much credence. Nor can the RIRA source he used. The Unionist apologists want a veto. Republicans have ot be inclusive and respect their views which means negating the Republican position. Unionists are like Islamic jocks: neither belongs in a modern society. Dissident republicans have been so demonised, infiltrated and marginalised that there is little they can do. If they feel like bombing a few Orange premises for the crack, why not? But it will lead nowhere. And relying on Dominic McG 11 as LIam Clarke says seems desperate, whether Clarke is engaging in misinformaiton or not.

  • lies, damned lies

    “Oh, and don’t worry about the weapons.”

    Do elaborate.

    Yes, the ‘people of Northern Ireland’ may vote for a United Ireland. Pigs may also spontaneously not only fly but time travel.

  • Keith M

    Aodh “Not off to a very bright start, are they?”

    I think the fact that they are dissent republicans has already clarified that. I mean these people are slower that PSF/PIRA who were slower than SF-WP/OIRA etc etc.

  • Glen Taisie

    Councillor Billy Leonard rumoured to be attending

    .

  • Be mus ed

    Christ alive! These s cum should be arrested on sight and sent to Tora Bora.

  • Garibaldy

    Glen Taise,

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Garibaldy,
    Why is it so funny? I’m not asking about Leonard himself, but are you saying in general that the idea of a Protestant or ex-RUC member being a dissident republican is laughable? Am I missing something? We shouldn’t assume all dissidents have the same ideology.

  • Is this not a bit like the loyalist ‘show of strength’ a while back which was busted by the fuzz. Surely it’s not trés intelligent to publicise a meeting which presumably will be attended by active members of organised illegal groups who have been recently involved in violent activity. Will the PSNI, complete with DNA testing kits, be ready to pick up the most wanted?

  • Brenda

    Ah gary baldy!! A voice of sense amid all the madness!!!

    However, these meetings in backrooms have gone on by republicans since the struggle began, PSF with it’s policy of embracing a sectarian statelet will not do away with them. There will always be those out there who have a different slant on ‘republicanism’and ‘socialism’. It doesn’t mean that all who go to these meetings are about violence to achieve their aim. Does the article not say something about building a ‘republican left’? Would you disagree with a republican left garry baldy? Why is it so wrong or ‘illegal’ of them to try to find a common ground to pose an alternative to the PSF strategy?

    Surely those of a ‘socialist’ mindset are hardly in agreement with a party like PSF? They can hardly claim to be socialist or true republicaans can they?

  • Garibaldy

    OC,

    It’s funny because it’s a comment on Billy Leonard’s shifting political allegiances. As for the possibility of an ex-RUC Protestant dissident nationalist paramilitary, I’d be very surprised, but all things are possible.

    Brenda,

    I’ve no objection to people holding political meetings whatsoever, be it to form a united front to promote alternative policies to PSF or not. Just that if you’re planning to discuss violent action, it seems a bit silly to announce that to the press. On top of that, I would have thought it would have discouraged those who don’t see violence as an option, and limited the potential audience.

    PSF are neither republicans nor socialists, I agree. But nor are those descended from them, or the IRSP/INLA. Despite the words all these groups may spout at certain times, their actions prove differently. I think that an alternative nationalist alliance can emerge from such meetings, but it will not stand in the genuine republican or socialist tradition.

  • bob

    well done to the tribune who reported this split a long time ago. The english press still don’t know the problems here in time.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    I think the various groups have alot in common…more so than their differences. They want a united Ireland one free of the british monarch and all it holds. The surprise to sinn fein is going to be how at the right moment …someone can rise in political power and statue to offer a political alternative to gerry adams and company. Some in sinn fein especially in the last few years following in the tradition of adams have groveled to the whims of ian paisly and haven’t stood up to unionism in any meaningful way. There are many who aren’t happy with the leadership of sinn fein and even the current leadership of the ira…maybe it’s time for a change in both…and these other groups might provide the pressure to demo sinn fein has to change and get back on track. Sinn fein says it wants politics to work…then this is the reality of politics…not everyone agrees with the approach…and politically you can be toppled in a moments notice.

  • Dualta

    Maybe they could dig up Shergar and flog it for a bit…….

    Surely there are those involved in this who will be arguing that armed struggle has failed to produce unity and that it can’t produce unity.

    The IRSP have taken a line in the recent past that armed struggle needs, at least, to be reassessed. Anthony McIntyre, a well respected thinker amongst traditional Republicans, has argued that armed struggle has nothing to offer us at this juncture.

    There are many who are disillusioned with the PRM leadership, not because of the broad policies they have implimented, ie, ending armed struggle and accepting the consent principle, but because of how the leadership went about implimenting them. The Republican rank and file were not told the truth about where their leaders planned to take them and how.

    Too many dedicated and respected Republicans have been sidelined and alienated for their critique of the leadership. McIntyre being a prime example.

    It’s my hope that such people will be at this meeting arguing for an alternative to armed struggle.

    If it was within my gift to be there I’d be arguing, as a republican, that armed struggle cannot deliver unity because it divides the people, and that a nation is the sum of its people and needs their allegience in order to become stable and to flourish.

    A return to wholesale armed struggle would see Protestants on the front-line and we have all seen the result of that.

    Only through the unity of all of the people on this island can we ever hope to build a just and stable nation. All must play a role in designing it, running it and celebrating it. A continuation of armed struggle would just shatter our chances of that ever happening.

  • Nationalist

    There is nothing wrong with anyone wanting to take a different political route, however we must not return to armed struggle.

    The facts are that the British have agreed that they WILL disengage once there is a 50% plus 1 majority in favour both in the 6 northern counties and the 26 in the South.

    In about 10 -20 years the numbers of Nationalists will make this happen and it is better to have a society that accepts the change decided by the political will of the people than having a fairly large pro-unionist society who see the taking up of arms against the will of the people as their option.

    Currently the the pro-Unionist people have a majority which is based largely in the elderly whilst the pro-Nationalist people have a large majority in the under 35’s age group. No-one can stop the march of time and the inevetible, and therefore the majority will swing in bigger percentage terms in the next few years.

    Nationalist and Republicans need to keep these facts in mind before enbarking upon a new armed crusade which will merely drive wedges between the two communities. The last thing we want is lay the foundations for a civil war for our children.

  • fair_deal

    “The facts are that the British have agreed that they WILL disengage once there is a 50% plus 1 majority in favour both in the 6 northern counties and the 26 in the South.”

    This was the law since 1973.

  • lib2016

    ‘This was the law since 1973.’

    As unionists found out when the 1920 Act was torn up British promises and Acts of Parliament are worth nothing. The point about the GFA is that the Americans are the guarantor, and the Irish have allies in Europe to provide additional pressure on Westminster in the unlikely event of it being required.

    Ask the Palestinians and the Jews what British promises did for them if you doubt me. The phrase ‘pervidious Albion’ became a cliche for good reason.

  • Dave

    Is this not a case of the SF/IRA regrouping under another banner to effect the bomb and ballot box tactics? Or is it truly a case of a split within the republican movement?

    Either way it looks to be definitely a case of Brits out (no Prods here) Irish terrorists are not for peace at any price and of course we must not forget the religious aspect to all of this.

    Occasional commentator stated (Discussing an exhaustive list of combatants is well beyond the scope of this thread) no it is not, how about this to cover all targets…if your not Irish and Catholic then you are a target?

    In the event of a so called UI and under the leadership of Irish terrorists. (please note I am not saying the Irish people are terrorists, just that it seems to me that all terrorists are Irish) does this mean that a citizen of the “new IRAland” dare not show any sign of being British/Protestant and that in THEIR new Ireland forced conversion could be deemed appropriate. Besides if it is a case that Irish terrorists aim to remove the British presence from “Ireland” by armed revolt then they shouldn’t be too surprised or shocked if people start shooting back, should they? The British and Protestant people of Northern Ireland have never sought for removal of Irish and Catholic people, in fact the Irish/Catholic population has increased under the British presence, in the republic of Ireland the British/Protestant and the Irish Protestant population is virtually non existence. So just who are the bad guys here?

    Maybe the people, Protestant and Catholic should look to the viable option of Independence and bring Irish terrorism to a halt, mind you if the Irish stopped supporting terrorism in all aspects ‘e.g.’ with holding of money and their political vote, then we could all move forward.

    If as the republicans keep on reminding us (Prods) you are Irish too, then republicans of whatever shade should be reminded that there will be no surrender of our rights, religion or way of life.

    The so called dissidents are intent on creating a situation to bring about civil war, this is their only option, this is the reason for their very existence.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Dave,
    You got me totally wrong. I was just leaving the status of the RUC out of it. I didn’t want us to get sidetracked into discussing whether the RUC was a normal police force. I certainly wasn’t implying that any civilians were legitimate targets (except for civilians who directed combatants)

  • Occasional Commentator

    If as the republicans keep on reminding us (Prods) you are Irish too, then republicans of whatever shade should be reminded that there will be no surrender of our rights, religion or way of life.
    – Dave

    If you actually listened to republicans, you’d realise that republicans (dissident or otherwise) agree 100% with that.

    Telling lies about dissidents suits everyone, the media because they don’t have to do any legwork, Adams because he gets to seem like the only reasonable one, and a small number of unionists who latch onto any excuse not to listen. The dissidents want peace too – just like many armies have used force in an attempt to create longer term peace and freedom. I myself do not believe violence is necessary or justified at the moment (and probably never again), but we shouldn’t tell lies about the motives of those who believe otherwise. And we shouldn’t assume that there are not dissidents at this meeting who also have a political and non-violent strategy.

  • John East Belfast

    Occasional Commentator

    “Yes, but the same goes for mainstream unionism – they are Irish too. The only enemies of the Irish people are those who made themselves combatants, for example by joining the British Army or loyalist paramilitary groups”

    you cant have it both ways – setting aside the paramilitaries – about 99% + of unionists openly supported the British Army and many thousands joined it.

    Where they no longer Irish or had they become enemies of themselves ?

    I suppose you would say that they were collaborators, misguided or traitors ?

    Such a view would go down well with what will be said in Toombe thus providing more justification, in their twisted minds, for murder.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    I agree with those who are stating that many republicans are dissatisfied with the current leadership of sinn fein. FOr too long they have been the only ‘allowed’ voice for republicans. Not everyone approves of the adams leadership approach as of late with his ‘softly softly’ handling of paisly, or his mantra republicans have to give more in the interest of peace, or what adams did when he himself stated and asked the IRA to give up criminality…which had a republican leader do what thatcher was unable to do…label the IRA as criminals…. People…republicans are sick and tired of his approach that hasn’t accomplished anything positive for republicans in acouple of years.

  • Occasional Commentator

    John East Belfast,
    I would say they (unionists joining the British Army) were misguided, but not
    collaborators or traitors. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same myself if I had been in their shoes. I would also say that any republicans wanting to restart violence now were mistaken or misguided, but I won’t call them traitors just as an excuse to not pay attention to the facts.

  • Brenda

    Aren’t we getting a little off topic? The fact is a challenge within republicanism can be mounted to what PSF have on offer, and it can be, despite what gary baldy says, have its basis in both true republicanism and socialism. The problem with that is that both concepts are much too broad. This meeting in Toombe, is quite obviously not to discuss armed tatics. It doesn’t take a whole lot of working out where abouts in Toombe since there is only one hotel, unless like manys another meeting with in republicanism before it, it is to be held in some ones back bedroom or garden shed.

    Those dissenting from main stream PSF policy have been trying to mount a challenge to it for some time now, but the problem is getting ppl to agree on common ground. There are serious splits within the left and serious splits within republicanism so it won’t be an easy task for the ppl who wish to apply themselves to it. But it is a beginning, a start, and they have to start somewhere. It could come out that they agree a basis for their ideology to oppose PSF should be militant marxism, but it is highly unlikely. Republicanism, which in the past has been run along the lines of secret squirrels and whispers and secret meetings and organisations would hardly come out into the open and say they are having a meeting to the press and where and when unless they are willing to discuss a different peaceful and hopefully political strategy as a challenge to what adams party has on offer.

  • Garibaldy

    Brenda,

    I had a longer piece, but it disappeared and I couldn’t be bothered retyping it. The short version is that I don’t think a genuinely left or republican agenda can come from this meeting, judging from those who seem to be organising it. The main criticism of the dissidents, as attested by posts here, and at places like Indymedia and politics.ie, is that PSF have given too much ground to unionism. Their opposition to PSF is not based on the secularist, egalitarian, internationalist ideology of republicanism as it has emerged since the American Revolution, never mind socialism, but instead comes from a narrow nationalist perspective.

  • Brenda

    I don’t think that is the case garry baldy. Infact I believe it to be a popular misconception. I believe it is not that too much ground has been given to unionism but the way the leadership of PSF went about it. There is a distinction there.

    Many disenchanted republicans are true in their belief of both republicanism and socialism, and despite some of the organisations quoted to be attending I believe that some good can come of any meeting that wants to mount a serious peaceful challenge to a revamped stormont.

    Unless of course you disagree to any challenge to PSF and stormont and see it as the end all of all our political difficulties? Is a revamped stormont in your POV the ultimate goal of a true socialist? Or a true republican? If not what is your objection specifically to this meeting or the idea behind it?

    And please garry specifically? I know you are good when you get on your soap box.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    SF sold out Republicanism by demographic miscalculation and are now stuck with the GFA, Stormont, consent and therefore the the UK for a very long time to come.

    Is it therefore surprising there are elements of the old IRA who want to return to the bomb and the bullet to achieve their ends?

    I would suggest that it was inevitable once the IRA said they had decomissioned. What we must wait to see is what stance SF will take when they accept the PSNI and they then pursue ‘the dissidents’.

    We certainly have interesting times ahead.

  • Samwise

    Does anyone know where this meeting is being held?

  • DK

    ciaran d

    This may not fit with your perceptions of Unionists, but understand that the desire to remain in a political union with England, Wales and Scotland, as British citizens, does not in anyway dilute ones Irishness.

    Your definition of Irishness appears to be based on a political alligence rather than the logic of place of birth.

    By inference, are Scottish Unionists not in fact Scottish?

  • Garibaldy

    Brenda,

    I’m not, nor have I been, a supporter of PSF. I do think that local democratic structures, including but not limited to Stormont, are a good thing. They will be very far from the end of our problems, but when the shallowness and hypocrisy of our sectarian political parties – and I mean nearly all of them by that – is revealed more plainly, hopefully a space for progressive politics can open up. That will put us further along the road to an independent, secular republic where all citizens are truly equal. For me that is the goal for a genuine republican.

    As for this meeting. RSF, the IRSP, and the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (and their allied organisations) are, in my opinion, fundamentally Catholic nationalists. They base their politics on one section of the Irish people, and have been guilty of some horrendous sectarian actions. This is not in line with Tone or republicanism. The first duty of any socialist is to seek the unity of working class people. It seems to me that these organisations violate this in their attitude towards working class people who are unionists. Whatever their sometimes leftist rhetoric, in reality their attitude is that of Devalera’s – labour must wait. So I don’t accept they are socialist either.

    Some of those who oppose PSF may criticise the way these concessions have been made rather than the fact of the concessions. That is certainly not the case with RSF, and the fact that the Real IRA recently firebombed Newry and bombed Edward Haughey’s house suggests that they still consider violence to be the answer to our problems, rather than political structures. So it seems to me that in reality they do not seek a political answer to our problems, and that therefore the chances of a primarily political movement coming out of any realignment of dissidents is slim.

    If I’m wrong and the dissidents do realign themselves away from violence to politics I would, like everybody else, be very pleased to see it. Although I think that compromise very similar to the arrangements we have in place in the GFA is the only realistic political option for the foreseeable future, and I think that at least some of the people behind this meeting just don’t accept that compromise of this nature is necessary. There are serious problems with the GFA and with our politics. I don’t think that the solutions put forward by the dissidents are the correct ones. So far, they have offered very little other than pointless violence and bitter sectarianism – as witnessed in O’Connell Street and attacks on Orange parades in the north.

    I object to any politics that is based upon one section of our people only, whether that is the DUP, UUP, SDLP, PSF, PUP, or dissidents. Therefore I oppose the politics of this meeting. My opposition to the politics of the dissidents is simply part of my opposition to sectarian politics, as is the case with my opposition to unionism and nationalism more generally.

    I hope I’m not on my soapbox. I don’t mean to be.

  • Dave

    Occasional Commentator

    Re your post: on Aug 28, 2006 @ 01:03 PM point taken, however when it comes to the issue of who is a target as far as SF/IRA are concerned meant that anyone who helped the crown in anyway was a target, is this not correct.?

    As for comments by others made to justify the dissident meeting and those (ex SF/IRA) who will be attending…is this to start their very own political party and challenge SF/IRA at the ballot box? Which of course would be great as this would split the vote and that could only be good for the various unionists parties (I don’t believe this is the case, do you)?

    Should these dissidents come out fighting so to speak, then SF/IRA are not in a position to oppose them as SF/IRA have decommissioned their weapons? Will they call on the PSNI for protection?

    Dissidents will restart the so called armed struggle, I wonder who their target will be.

    When SF/IRA run out of ideas, money and support they will also return to the tactics of murdering anyone who is foolish enough to get in their way. It’s in their nature. Republican/Nationalist terrorists will never force the people of Northern Ireland into the republic and the dissidents will reinforce this. Just what part of No Surrender do these people not understand.

    The people of Northern Ireland do not wish to be part of theocratic failed statelet called the Republic of Ireland. Come to think of neither do a lot of Irish people this is probably the reason why they have moved to greener fields, America, Australia, Canada, etc.

    Dissidents are not prepared to accommodate or wait therefore they will kill to get their way.

  • Hidde Gem

    Occasional Commentator

    “The only enemies of the Irish people are those who made themselves combatants, for example by joining the British Army or loyalist paramilitary groups. “

    “…enemies of the Irish people…” now there’s a curious term… Does that include the self-appointed, non mandated individuals who set themselves up as the judge, juror and executioner of their fellow countrymen? Haven’t we tried that already? And didn’t we have to give it up because innocent people were being killed? Just what positive contribution can these plastic Republicans make to Irish society? I can think of only one….

  • Brenda

    ‘secular republic where all citizens are treated equal’

    Gary how long has this been around? You believe along side this that ‘local democratic structures including stormont are a good thing’. In my mind both these things are mutually exclusive. How is stormont a step along the road to a secular republic where all citizens are treated equal? Based as it was pre 1969 on one party sectarian dominance, and now in the structures of the GFA institutionalises sectarianism ? And where will it all be if joint authority comes in.

    Democracy entitles these people to meet and organise, and if they are organising peacefully I welcome it.

    For years a criticism thrown at the dissidents was that they had nothing to offer. Dissent was beaten down by PSF. Wasn’t there one potential electoral candidate told if he stood for election they’d make sure he would never stand again?

    Now we have those who do not support PSF coming together to ‘talk’. You don’t see this as a good thing based upon their politics. But isn’t talking better than armed struggle to achieve your aim?

    Your politics, and your definitions of both republicanism and socialism are in line with Marx’s Utopia, practically we are all living in the real world. I assume the politics of the meeting will be as diverse as those who attend. it has been organised according to what i have read by political people and not the militant organisations. Anything that brings better stability than what we have now is to be welcomed. Your attitude is reminiscent of ppl when Adams and Hume set out on their talks.

  • Garibaldy

    Brenda,

    The secular republic is the long-term goal, local democracy an immediate improvement that gives more power to people here over their own future. I agree the GFA has serious flaws, especially the bloc voting. But as a whole it was a good deal, so I supported it. As I say, hopefully the reality of the inadequate nature of our politics will hit home when Stormont is up and running, and this was cause people to question their beliefs, and seek a better alternative, preferably socialism.

    In one sense, the unhappiness that a lot of people are expressing with PSF is evidence that this might be the case – a lot of left criticism has emerged from their supporters, although it often remains trapped within a communalist mentality.

    Just to be clear, I agree entirely that people have a right to meet and organise, and support that right. I don’t object to the dissidents meeting anymore than I do to the SDLP or whoever holding a conference. I agree entirely that a turn towards politics by dissidents would be a good thing. I just don’t see many signs of it – in fact the opposite over the last few weeks. And from the statements of one of the organisers here, I’m not sure that the aim of this meeting is a turn to peaceful means, but we’ll see. I hope so.

    I don’t think saying my attitude is the same as those who opposed Hume-Adams is correct. I don’t oppose dissidents holding meetings with each other or with anybody else. I just don’t think that automatically it will lead to a progressive alternative to PSF – rather it will lead to an ultra-nationalist one. But that is totally their right to form such a political organisation.

    I think we agree on quite a lot here – we are both opposed to any violent campaign, and would prefer to see any opposition to PSF policies being expressed politically. And we can both see the flaws in the GFA, though we disagree perhaps on its virtues.

    I am in the Marxist tradition. But my definition of republicanism is entirely consistent with republicanism as a political philosophy as it was elaborated in the American and French Revolutions, and by the United Irishmen. It treats all the citizens of a state equally, and is resolutely opposed to treating people any worse or better due to their birth, race, or religion. Unfortunately the term has in Ireland been hijacked.

  • Brenda

    Gary the meeting has been openly publicised. It is tomorrow night at seven pm in O’Neills hotel in Toombe and it is billed as an open meeting for left wing republicans to discuss the current state of republicanism and discuss a way forwards. The openness of the meeting is I take it a way of saying to ppl lets ‘discuss’. Hopefully it is to discuss a peaceful way forward, I wouldn’t mind someone coming along afterwards and telling us what was talked about.

  • Garibaldy

    I’d like to see a report too, but we’ll probably be reliant on the press.

  • Kieran

    Great to see a debate taking place, regardless of viewpoints. Its a breath of fresh air compared to the very controlled and non existant debate emmanating from the Sinn Fein controllers. By the way can anyone tell me what is the difference between current SF and the stickies. Their stale socialist, anti-nationalist and secular rhetoric brings to mind old sticky anthems. Is there something I am missing?

  • Garibaldy

    The WP meant it?

  • lib2016

    …whereas Sinn Fein mean to win.

    It sometimes seems as if the posters here have to flail away at Sinn Fein to cover their own lack of a political program. That couldn’t possibly be true, could it?

  • aquifer

    I would feel constrained in debating with people so attached to their pistols.

    Didn’t all the Irish people vote to get rid of such stuff?

    Please don’t tell me that John Hume’s mission to rescue militant nationalism from bloody disgrace has been in vain.

  • Occasional Commentator

    The people of Northern Ireland do not wish to be part of theocratic failed statelet called the Republic of Ireland.
    – Dave

    Dave, many republicans including myself would have entirely agreed with that sentiment. Remember that the groups like the CIRA refuse to accept the legitimacy of the 26 counties. They could argue that they weren’t trying to bomb NI into a theocracy, but to free each part of Ireland from their respective theocracies. It would be argued that it’s not too far fetched an idea either, but this is not the place to try to argue how different it could have been with the unionists having the balance of power within an Ireland still in the Empire.

    I’m simply pointing out that it’s easy, but wrong, to paint all ‘dissidents’ as crusading theocratic nuts – when some of them might take republicanism (of the US, French and United Irishman variety) more seriously than a lot of so called republicans. We can’t know if we don’t listen …

  • Garibaldy

    OC,

    The CIRA mightn’t recognise the free state, but RSF also stills says the rosary (as Gaeilge of course) at its commemorations. Take at look at the speech made at their Bodenstown commemoration on Indymedia if you can find it. It was made by the son of somebody famous, though I forget exactly who, and talked about the British smear on the character of the good Irishman that was Roger Casement. So homosexuality is apparently a smear. Hardly progressive politics.

    RSF, the IRSP and the 32 CSM have websites and publish newspapers, as well as the contributions they make to websites. I do read what they have to say. And it disturbs me.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Garibaldy,
    Every party, army, and any other political or pseudo political organisation worries me, which is why I’d probably spoil my ballot if there was an election tomorrow.

    Saying the rosary as Gaeilge is nothing to be ashamed of. Why should it be any worse than saying it in English? As an atheist and a secularist I wouldn’t have too much time for it myself, but don’t the British Army often have the CoE officiating at their commemorations? The U.S. is constantly mixing up the state and church. Maybe the French are the only ones that take it seriously? The backward view of homosexuality in Casement’s time doesn’t excuse the dirty tricks the British government got up to then. Saying prayers at a commemoration isn’t anything to be ashamed. I’m quite happy with people being religious at cemeteries and the like, and I don’t make the assumption they necessarily want to force it on anyone else.

    PS: There was no sign of any religious baggage at Casement Park recently.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Garibaldy,
    Can you point me at something worrying from the RSF website? (That’s not a rhetorical question, I’m genuinely curious). I’ve only recently found it while reading about Dáithí Ó Conaill. I don’t see anything that leads me to think they want a theocracy.

    All the parties in NI and beyond could easily have their name trashed by referring to what their supporters spout on many websites.

  • Realist

    The proposed meeting in Toomebridge has been cancelled.

  • Northsider

    I hope when the question of which strategy should be adopted, those assembled are reminded that – since the GFA was signed – the main contribution of dissident republicans was to slaughter 32 Irish and Spanish men women and children, and kill a member of the Protestant community.

    Hopefully, the CIRA representatives can clear up why guns and ammunition ghave been supplied to loyalists in return for financial gain.

    And maybe the intellectual denizens can propose a clear, political programme complete with policies which will be attractive to the large swathes of nationalists who still vote in large numbers for Sinn Fein. The fact is – they’ve had eight long years to do this – and have singularly failed to produce anything other than articles after article sniping at SF.

    Finally, it will be interesting to see how the Brits react to this once they receive comprehensive intelligence reports soon after the meeting from their myriad of agents within the dissidentry.

  • DK

    This sounds like a meeting of nostalgia. Ah for the good old days when the Brits and Prods terrorised us and we could shoot them with impunity. Please can’t we go back to them days?

    Scraping the barrel for grievances I’m sure they will find some reason to indulge in the old, much loved, ways. Just another reaction against the march of time. Like them old people waving red banners in Moscow, ignored by the shoppers and the beggars alike.

  • Dave

    Occasional Commentator

    I have listen to the dissidents and so far all I have heard is the sound of gunfire.

    If dissidents disagree with others on political issues then it is time for “dissidents to form a politcal party and put their views to the population of Northern Ireland. Of course they won’t do that as they have nothing to say or offer to the people of Northern Ireland.

    I believe that (brits out) is the battle cry of the dissidents. It is people like these which bring shame on the Irish.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    This quote from a sinn fein spokesman sums up their arrogance and not understanding what is really going on,

    “They can hold their meetings. It doesn’t affect us.”

    Isn’t that bloody well accomodating of them…to let other people hold meetings. And how naive or stupid (I can’t decide which one) to think it doesn’t affect them.

    If you want to read the article it is in Nuzhound from the Irish News by William Scholes “Disillusioned republicans may challenge SF at polls.”