Is that everyone?..

I have no wish to tempt fate.. but, despite the devices in Dublin and in Belfast today, the currently reported threats to various groups need some scepticism. While there have been repeated reports of threats to SF representatives, and now to Orange Order members, from non-mainstream republicans [and not members of Ógra Shinn Féin – No hatred, then? – Ed], the only people attacked to date have been serving police officers – and there is recent analysis to suggest there are reasons to doubt the veracity of those threats. As for the threat to the SDLP.. apart from the continuing threat from non-mainstream republicans, since joining the DDPs, the newly reported threat from non-mainstream UDA sources doesn’t make sense. After all.. Cui bono?.. Additionally, as Eamonn McCann suggested, whose problem is paramilitary politics the continued use of the threat of political violence?..From Eamonn McCann’s article

How can the Edentubber Martyrs be recalled with sadness and pride if, simultaneously, the dissidents of today are rejected with scorn? The question is raised, regularly, explicitly, aptly, understandably, by the dissidents themselves. Ask them directly to justify taking pot-shots at off-duty policemen, and they’ll tell you that they are out to keep faith with the republican past and to ensure the future of their struggle.

Tell them that they are on the wrong road and they’ll tell you that it’s a road already well-travelled by republicans now held everywhere in high esteem.

Tell them that, nevertheless, it’s the road to God-knows-where and they will tell you that the Republic was proclaimed in the name of God, too, and that they, like Gerry Adams in the past, and again, fleetingly, last Sunday, see it still as the only shining path to freedom.

Within the parameters of republican thinking, they have a point. And there’s the problem. Republicanism.

The problem is republicanism.

, , , , , , , , ,

  • kensei

    19 back links! For the love of God stop this madness, Pete. Are you trying to make some kind of insane point. When I was at uni, I got the need to produce code that was clear, concise and elegant. And that was only for sealing with computers. Please stop.

    As for McCann’s point, it is as worthless and as meaningless as saying “It’s all religion’s fault”.

  • Pete Baker

    Another commenter who needs to redo their mathematics course.

    On a more serious note.

    Criticism is always welcome. By all means criticise in circumstances where the links used are not relevant to the topic.

    But, as in this case and others, I will continue to link to posts in the Slugger archive as and when I think they are relevant.

    If you disagree about the relevance of the linked posts.. then argue it.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    kensei

    Is it? McCann’s article in a nutshell:

    What’s the difference between the Edentubber martyrs and dissidents today?

    Five decades.

    Hardly a point without value.

    Pete

    It’s not the volume of links, it’s the way you have to click so many to ‘get’ what is being argued that makes the entry impenetrable.

    This is not an argument for dumbing down, but writing in a way that people understand easily – if the point is lost in a myriad of sub clauses, parentheses, links and strikethroughs, then there is no point.

    And I would sack this guy Ed who keeps interrupting the flow of your frequently-perceptive observations with annoyingly smug ‘witticisms’.

    But then everyone thinks their own writing style is marvellous. I know mine is(!)

  • Shawn

    ooohh pete your slip is showing

  • harry

    What’s the difference between the Edentubber martyrs and dissidents today?

    Five decades.

    and this is why i laugh when i hear gerrys k and A and martin mc g pontificating about lack of support for the CandR IRA.

    fuck off lads, what support had you in 1969??

  • kensei

    Pete

    “Another commenter who needs to redo their mathematics course.”

    “devices in Dublin”….1
    “in Belfast today”….2
    “threats to various groups need some scepticism”….3
    “threats to SF representatives”….4
    “to Orange Order members”….5
    “non-mainstream republicans”….6
    “of Ógra Shinn Féin”….7
    “hatred, then?”….8
    “attacked to date “….9
    “serving police officers”….10
    “recent analysis”….11
    “doubt the veracity of those threats”….12
    “the continuing threat”….13
    “the newly reported”….14
    “non-mainstream UDA sources”….15
    “Cui bono?”….16
    “paramilitary politics”….17
    “use of the threat of political violence”….18
    “Eamonn McCann’s article”….19

    Now unless there are even more hiding in there, that’s 19. I don’t particularly care if some go to the same spot or not, because it is totally invisible to the browser unless I rollover it.

    The relevance or otherwise of the posts is not the issue. First up, that amount links results in a black-red-black-red post that isn’t simply unaesthetic, it actually makes the post harder to read unless you are a html parser. Second, by supplying all information possible, you in effect supply none – you obfuscate the key point by throwing in too many, and the possibility of having to read 20 previous entries, all of which will also have a ludicrous number of back links which will have only recursive madness behind them, is off putting to a reader coming to a topic with limited knowledge.

    I would like posts that are clear, concise and make their point as elegantly as possible. To wit Mark Twain: “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter”

    Gonzo

    “Within the parameters of republican thinking, they have a point. And there’s the problem. Republicanism.

    The problem is republicanism.”

    Replace “republicanism” with “religion” and it could be Richard Dawkins talking. Any philosophy can be used and abused, and by the far the majority of people on this island are republicans of one sort or another. McCann is going for soundbite and sensationalism.

    Second 50 years isn’t simply time; it’s a massive change of context. I think, however misguided, it was still possible to believe that an armed campaign might be successful under the right conditions. People who had fought and been successful were still around. Second, partition was also still within living memory, the Republic was a backwater and divisions were that much keener. Third, we were still under Unionist rules with little prospect of that changing in sight.
    So how people see the world in 1957 should be different than how they see it in 2007 even if the same fundamental principles apply.

    Third, the same fundamental principles don’t apply, in the strictest sense. Political parties and political philosophies are less a number of prescriptive rules and more a pot of ideas that people can draw from. Compare Cameroon with Thatcher – he’s pulling ideas that all have Tory heritage, but perhaps ones that Thatcher choose not to emphasize. So it is with Republicanism. There are more ideas in the pot, and it is also bound up with Constitutional Nationalism.

    So to conclude all that in short: As for McCann’s point, it is as worthless and as meaningless as saying “It’s all religion’s fault”.

  • McGrath

    If you disagree about the relevance of the linked posts.. then argue it.

    Posted by Pete Baker on Nov 17, 2007 @ 01:15 AM

    Pete:

    Its like you are trying to build the biggest snowball. You keep rolling one more layer on top of another, big snowballs are hard to throw!

    I can see your train of thought, can I suggest it isn’t as important to let everyone know how well you have kept your train of thought as is the importance of your new thoughts?

  • Harry Flashman

    I never thought I’d see myself write this but McCan makes a fair point.

    As regards Sean Sabhat mentioned in his article, I always thought him a great song but a piss-poor guerrilla leader.

    All together now,

    “It was on a dreary New Year’s Day, as shades of night came down…”

    (You know you’ll be humming that for the rest of the day).

  • Right, sorry for middle of the night intervention, but saw this line of criticism and couldn’t help but intervene before going back to bed.

    Pete’s work comes into its own long after the rest of our work effectively becomes ‘yesterday’s chip paper’. I don’t quite mean that about our work of course, but the number of times I have followed Pete’s back links when researching a piece for the Guardian rather than my own comes down the ‘clear, concise and elegant’ way he has of linking backwards to what’s relevant and thereby giving important context to current events.

    It’s about depth, rather than width or length. If you don’t get the reference without having to click the links, then I would suggest some of us have not been paying attention. 😉 I include myself in that number in case anyone takes that as ill-tempered criticism btw.

    In a nutshell, it is all about asynchronous communication. Come back to this post in 6 months time, and you’ll see the value if/when something else blows up in this line.

    Think of it as an enervating antidote to really bad sports journalism (you know, love the coach last week, sack him this). That’s not to say however that he gets it right every time. Indeed it would be good to hear people challenge him on content rather than style sometimes. It might just put him on his mettle for once!! 😉

  • McGrath

    Mick:

    Pete must do nothing but read to stay on the ball the way he does (I would hate to be his employer!) His contribution to Slugger is insurmountable, we are lucky beyond doubt to have him, his contributions make slugger a lot of what it is. But, FFS, KISS or at least little more KISS!

  • The Penguin

    Pete

    Please do not stop the links, I find them invaluable. If people don’t like them they don’t have to use them, they can just read on through.

  • This time I’ve ignored the links and read the post as a stand-alone…it makes perfect sense.

  • Aquifer

    ‘the problem is republicanism’

    No its not. We have a virtual republic, local control by local people, brits as bystanders. Lizzie Windsor plays no significant role here.
    ‘Unionists’ should note that we no longer appear in many UK statistics, even before the security barriers are moved from armagh to aldergrove.

    The problem is nationalism. John Hume rescued the ‘RA from decline and suppression because nationalism itself was endangered by its associations with squalid internecine violence. He saw that politics and economic life was upscaling, going european and global, and ready to extinguish or quarantine ethnic insurrectionism, as it presented a real threat to a technological and complex value added economy. And all before 9/11.

    Irish separatism is a fraudulent proposition. To murder for it is mere sectarian bloodsport, nothing to do with the real people of ireland who have clearly chosen integration with a global capitalist economy, on their own terms.

    Orange Unionism is another oxymoron. To imagine that there could be two classes of british citizen was an ethnic insult that has been returned by the brits as ‘the irish are as good as you are, get on with them and don’t bother us’

    Real IRA? Good UDA? Get real, get a job.

  • picador

    ‘The problem is republicanism.’

    I am surprised at McCann making this point. Is he now advocating monarchism?

    Perhaps he meant to say that the problem is ‘physical force’ republicanism – in which case I would agree with him to a certain extent.

    It’s also worth pointing out that Sinn Fein polled something like 150,000 votes in an NI election during the 1950s and that IRA prisoners were elected to both Stormont an Westminister.

  • picador

    1955 Westminister Election

    Sinn Fein won 152,310 votes or 23.6% of the vote, Philip Clarke and Tom Mitchell (both imprisoned after a botched arms raid on Omagh barracks) were elected for F & ST and Mid-Ulster respectively.

    There was evidently public support for the IRA during this period – so any comparison between the Edentubber ‘martyrs’ and todays ‘dissidents’ is specious.

  • picador

    1955 Westminister Election

    I hope the link works now.

    BTW I am not sure about prisoners being elected to Stormont – although the two mentioned above were elected to Westminister (and subsequently disqualified)

  • Rory

    “It’s about depth, rather than width or length.”

    Never mind the quality, feel the depth, eh?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    kensei

    I suppose it depends on your PoV as to what the context is. You’ve pointed out the differences between then and now, most of McCann’s article points out the similarites between the Edentubber lot and today’s dissidents. And unless I missed something, there still ain’t a united Ireland, nor is one on the horizon. You may disagree, but SF – having bought into devolution – don’t seem capable of changing that situation, and so it’s no surprise to see a fundamentalist group attempt to don the historic mantle of republicanism.

    I think that’s what McCann is driving at in his conclusion.

  • The Dubliner

    Gonzo, only if “republicanism” is defined as “a random sectarian murder campaign that is conducted without a viable military strategy or an endgame, and with no regard to the principle of self-determination, human rights, Geneva/Hague conventions or the concept of a just war.”

    That, however, is not how republicanism is defined. That is the definition of Provisionalism. The ‘dissidents’ are PSF/PIRA. The vast majority of Irish people are republicans and the vast majority are not supporters of Provisionalism (or their spawn such as CIRA, RIRA, etc). FF is the republican party of Ireland. PSF are provisional fascists – vulgar and murderous dissidents who set Irish unity back by several generations.

  • Dewi

    Pete – don’t know if it’s possible but putting links to previous Slugger Posts in a different colour than red might be handy…..

  • kensei

    “I suppose it depends on your PoV as to what the context is. You’ve pointed out the differences between then and now, most of McCann’s article points out the similarites between the Edentubber lot and today’s dissidents. And unless I missed something, there still ain’t a united Ireland, nor is one on the horizon. You may disagree, but SF – having bought into devolution – don’t seem capable of changing that situation, and so it’s no surprise to see a fundamentalist group attempt to don the historic mantle of republicanism.

    I think that’s what McCann is driving at in his conclusion.”

    At what point, exactly, in the past 30 years was a United Ireland actually any more likely? The line in the other thread was even if the British Government wanted out the Republic couldn’t handle the mess. Sinn Fein cannot on their own deliver a United Ireland. That requires 50%+1 in a referendum on the issue and they are far too divisive and weighed with history to pull in a significant amount of Protestant support. They can help create conditions that will lead to it though – and to that end they’ve already had an effect not just in shaping the settlement, but in forcing the SDLP more “green” and drawing in FF to organise up here. While most of the media are happy to present this as a final settlement, Republicans have never seen it like that and the precise future arrangements are still unclear. But it is a long to medium term goal and always has been — when they started mentioning 2016, 2016 was fairly far away.

    Republicanism has always held that violence is acceptable under the right circumstances – I think you won’t find The Dubliner quibbling over the 1916 Rising, which only had popular support after the fact, or the War of Independence. I hold that position. I’d guess most of the people on this island hold some from of that position. I’d guess a lot of people in America hold a similar one. Does that make the problem Republicanism when some people take the wrong lessons or use it to justify violence? I don’t think so. Because the alternative is saying that being prepared to fight for freedom and independence is never justified.

    You ask what the difference between 1957 and 2007 is. The difference is context. I don’t believe that 1957 was equivalent to 1916; any violent campaign was doomed to failure, there wasn’t the same widespread popular support and attacking the people you are saying you want to unite with is bloody stupid aside from anything else. But, as I pointed out above, I can see how an alternative argument might have had more success. After the Provisional campaign – military stalemate, political sidelining and complete hardening of positions? Nope, only a few wingnuts would buy that one. Which is exactly what we have, apparently.

    Mick

    I don’t think that the remit of a post should be to create a research tool. The question is not whether the reader should be asked to jump back, but if what is being asked is excessive and obfuscates the point, particuarly when half are seemingly presented as a knowing aside. There is more than one way to reference further information anyway.

    Presentation matters as much as content. I am simply suggesting bloggers give some thought to it.

  • joeCanuck

    What amazes me is the extent of Pete’s database.
    As oneil belatedly has discovered, the posts make perfect sense without clicking on the links.
    You already know, Pete, that I appreciate the links.

  • McKelvey

    That, however, is not how republicanism is defined. That is the definition of Provisionalism. The ‘dissidents’ are PSF/PIRA. The vast majority of Irish people are republicans and the vast majority are not supporters of Provisionalism (or their spawn such as CIRA, RIRA, etc). FF is the republican party of Ireland. PSF are provisional fascists – vulgar and murderous dissidents who set Irish unity back by several generations.

    The vast majority of Irish people don’t support Fianna Fail republicanism either. In fact, no political party manages to secure the support of a vast majority or even a slight one. As as the provos being fascists – I can’t imagine a fascist movement of any stripe taking the position they do in regard to immigrants and asylum seekers.
    It is unionists who retard Irish unity, a fact, which would be true, whether or not the provos had ever existed.

  • Turgon

    The republican movement is clearly very, very fond of its history. This is because of the need for the current republican leadership to co-opt everything possible into the narrative (for that is what it is) which states that those who proclaimed that “Ireland unfree will never be at peace” and that there would be no cessation in the IRA campaign until the British agreed to leave; have taken positions at Stormount and now oppose republicans killing police men.

    That narrative also states that the grubby sectarian killers of Darkley, Kingsmills, Enniskillen and Teebane are in step with the previous generation of republicans who are percieved as possibly less grubby and sectarian (though one would wonder about that last bit http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/saving-ireland-from-the-revisionists-or-firefighting-the-truth/). In this context it is important that dissident republicans do not spoilt the narrative.

    In this lofty aim they are of course helped by a number of republican cheerleaders on this site and elsewhere who continually proclaim the seamless progess of republicanism to its final victory.

    With Adams himself this interest in uniting the past into one seamless republican narrative seems to come close to an obsession. I suppose it fits well with his own self image of the writer, statesmen and all round renassiance man.

    It also fits well with the man who now proclaims how sorry he was that violence had to happen http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/while-i-was-of-the-view-that-no-military-solution-was-possible/ but who “knows” that it was everyone else’s fault. Furthermore to him the violence of the IRA which of course; he personally was not involved in was not grubby sectarian or thuggish, no none of it (not even say Jean McConville’s murder which of course Adams was particulary not involved in).

    Furthermore of course in this self image he looks up to other similar renessaince statesmen such as the leader of the shinning path Gutzmann. His world view has certain similarities with Nietzsche’s world view in which when one casts off conventional moral scruples one is liberated to achieve so much more. In this of course he has similarities with another writer statesman but to remind people of him would invoke Godwin’s law.

  • The Dubliner

    Kensei, provisionalism and its apologists use propaganda that seeks to portray it as a continuation of the old IRA in the Irish War of Independence, which had the purpose of securing self-determination and independence, in order to disguise the true nature of its sectarian murder campaign, which, on one level, is a militant protest movement that used violence to achieve political power within the United Kingdom, and on another level, is a highly sophisticated organised crime mafia that used the guise of republicanism to amass vast wealth for its godfathers, amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds in accumulated assets and generating income amounting of tens of millions annually, using its political wing to give de facto immunity to its organised crime wing.

    Ireland did not have independence, self-determination, or a sovereign parliament prior to the War of Independence, nor did it have an alternative peaceful means of securing either of those inalienable rights. The war by the old IRA was fought to secure independence, self-determination, and a sovereign parliament, whereas the sectarian murder campaign of the Provisionals was not fought to secure those things, being already secured, but was fought with their stated aim of overthrowing the Irish sovereign state by violence and establishing their own little fascist regime. See a subtle difference there? One had a political alternative to violence, and the other did not. One sought to gain a sovereign parliament of the Irish and the other sought to overthrow it. That’s the difference between freedom-fighters and sociopathic fascist thugs. If the Provisionals wish to claim they were an army instead of an organised criminal gang (as they were treated in law), then I’m more than happy for the Irish government to accept that claim. IN fact, I wish they would accept that claim. That way we could send Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, et al, to Nuremburg to be tried (and duly hanged) for a litany of war crimes that are in direct violation of the Geneva/Hague conventions. Of course, the gutless snipes know well they’ll be tried for war crimes if they were ever to be accepted as an army so they don’t insist that the governments regard them as one – just the fools who vote for them.

    As was made clear to the Provisionals at the last election in the south: the Irish support Republicanism, not Provisionalism. Provisionalism has the support of only a tiny misguided minority in the south – making them vulgar dissidents.

  • lib2016

    The Dubliner,

    Sinn Fein has the support of many Northern Nationalists and is beginning to make inroads in the South. The fact is that these guys just wouldn’t get the support they do if they were fascists.

    Unionists used to make fools of themselves by going overboard by telling tales about the Provvies being only in it for the money, being drugdealers etc.

    The only result was that unionists permanently damaged their own credibility, just as you have done. This is a Northern Ireland blog and many of us grew up with these families, went to school with them and worked with them.

    They may be zealots at times indeed they are frequently far too rightwing for my taste but they are never fascists.

  • kensei

    Dubliner

    You done?

    To conclude, then: violence is ok under certain circumstances. One line would have done.

    I might be wrong, but I think you may also have difficulty locating any Provisionals in 1957.

  • The Dubliner

    lib2016, take the right-wing economics out of facsism and what are you left with? PSF. Crypto-fascism is a more accurate term, if you prefer. PSF are Mussolini’s Blackshirts sans the right-wing agenda.

    Robert Paxton wrote in the Anatomy of Fascism:

    [i]What is Fascism?
    Fascism may be defined as a form of political behaviour marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

    Characteristics of a fascist group:

    a. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
    b. the primacy of the groups, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;
    c. the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;
    d. dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
    e. the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
    f. the need for authority by natural chiefs (always mail), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny;
    g. the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason;
    h. the beauty of violence and efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success;
    i. the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraints from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of j. the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.

    I would define a fascist simply as a person who uses violence to advance a political agenda. Now, if you feel that folks who will murder people at random, having no regard for human rights, law, or other factors are actually wonderful human beings who are simply victims of society then you have very little understanding about the nature of amoral pathological personalities.[/i]

    Kensei, you won’t find any IRA men after the War of Independence, either. You will find fascist thugs who call themselves IRA men but who have no understanding of what it actually means. The old IRA fought to establish an Irish sovereign state in accordance with the wish of the Irish to determine their own destiny (AKA self-determination). The Fascist thugs thereafter murdered for the demented purpose of trying to overthrow that sovereign state is direct defiance of the wish of the Irish and in direct violation of the principle of self-determination that the actual IRA men died for. The only regret is that De Valera didn’t shoot more of the traitors.

  • The Dubliner

    The last paragragph in the italics is mine, not Paxton’s.

  • lib2016

    The Dubliner,

    Frankly you are way OTT. It is evident that you have a huge interest in fascism and hopefully you will get over it.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>I would define a fascist simply as a person who uses violence to advance a political agenda.< < That's just about everyone then! >>The only regret is that De Valera didn’t shoot more of the traitors.<< One more of those classy comments to add to the list eh Dub!

  • Turgon

    lib 2016,
    “Frankly you are way OTT. It is evident that you have a huge interest in fascism and hopefully you will get over it.”

    Well maybe The Dubliner has an interest in fascism. You lib have a spectacular interest in cheerleading for a bunch of murderous thugs whether they be fascist or otherwise. I doubt you will get over it.

  • lib2016

    Turgon,

    Your obsession with me is harmless as far as I’m concerned but for your own good you really should learn to move on.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    “I don’t think that the remit of a post should be to create a research tool.”

    It may surprise you to hear that is precisely why I set up Slugger in the first place. There’s a very brief outline of it on the Channel 4 website. Pete’s Baconian approach is a usually countermeasure to temporal spin. Here’s a gem from the great man himself:

    “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”

    What we can say about Pete is that his working out is always visible. Rory?

    Turgon,

    Ball please. Speculation on what motivates others is usually besides the point, and indeed (as in this case) often leads to dropping the argument.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016,
    Kind of difficult to move on when the murder of family friends is celebrated.

    Mick,
    lib’s comments to The Dubliner seem to be the same as mine to his. In addition my previous post on this thread, I would submit is germane to the argument. However, it is your web site I will accept your suggestion.

  • Mckelvey

    IN fact, I wish they would accept that claim. That way we could send Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, et al, to Nuremburg to be tried (and duly hanged) for a litany of war crimes that are in direct violation of the Geneva/Hague conventions.
    I would define a fascist simply as a person who uses violence to advance a political agenda.
    The only regret is that De Valera didn’t shoot more of the traitors.

    By your own definition, you have made yourself and DeValera out to be fascists, or at least potentially so in your case. Incidentially, is Nelson Mandela a fascist in your view? Because by your definition, he most certainly is one.

  • kensei

    “Kensei, you won’t find any IRA men after the War of Independence, either. You will find fascist thugs who call themselves IRA men but who have no understanding of what it actually means. The old IRA fought to establish an Irish sovereign state in accordance with the wish of the Irish to determine their own destiny (AKA self-determination). The Fascist thugs thereafter murdered for the demented purpose of trying to overthrow that sovereign state is direct defiance of the wish of the Irish and in direct violation of the principle of self-determination that the actual IRA men died for. The only regret is that De Valera didn’t shoot more of the traitors.”

    Dubliner.

    In 1916 there was no widespread popular support for the Easter Rising. That only came about after the fact. Additionally, the Old IRA killed people; and if you follow some of the threads on here it wasn’t always strictly in pursuit of a new Republic. Just as an aside – what were the anti-treaty forces? Were they “fascists” too? because that implicates Dev and a number of others too.

    Moreover, if you accept that violence is sometimes necessary, which you must if you support the Easter Rising and the War of Independence, then you must also accept that is possible that “fascism” is not the only motive for violence and that people may believe, rightly or wrongly, they are fighting for a just cause. Otherwise your position is “Well, all violence is bad except the one I like”.

    You may say, okay, that’s a possibility but all those fuckers were crypto-fascist. Personally, I think labeling anyone who ever joined the IRA post 1922 a facist is a somewhat simplistic analysis, especially given the history of the North. That doesn’t make them right, just more than nameless animals.

  • kensei

    Also – interesting take on this on the Green Ribbon

    http://www.tomgriffin.org/the_green_ribbon/2007/11/the-border-camp.html

  • Pete Baker

    While Tom always provides an interesting analysis, that particular piece misses the point.

    Which is the comparison of Gerry Adams’ attitude to those who died at Edentubber with his party’s attitude to the modern day ‘dissidents’ – and his stated attitude to the use of violence in pursuit of political objectives.

    Eamonn McCann picked up on it in his article.

    And, at the risk of back-linking again, I highlighted the relevant quote here

    “They kept faith with the republican past and they ensured the future of our struggle.”

    Ah, but did they have popular support and a “strategy to achieve a united Ireland”? And, btw, weren’t you always “of the view that no military solution was possible”? Just checking.. Or rather, checking..

  • kensei

    “Which is the comparison of Gerry Adams’ attitude to those who died at Edentubber with his party’s attitude to the modern day ‘dissidents’ – and his stated attitude to the use of violence in pursuit of political objectives.”

    Again, Pete, if you are going to hammer this repeatedly – Adams prefaces his comments about no military solution being possible with a time frame – mid to late seventies. Which isn’t 1957. Or even 1969. I’m pretty certain Adams has reaffirmed his view that violence is acceptable in some situations relevatively recently, but it’s too late to be digging quotes.

    And again the question you are really asking is “What is the difference between dissidents in 1957 and 2007?” or if you really must bring Adams into it – “Why is Adams attitude to the 1957 IRA campaign different to that of those in 2007?”. I have already suggested reasons why that might be the case, though obviously I don’t speak for Adams. Tom outlines further reasons why someone might approach 1957 and 2007 differently. You might not agree with those reasons, but it seems to me it is an entirely valid line of argument. But then the point has been so tortured by backlinks you might forgive people for missing it.

    On those backlinks, here is another way to do it:

    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/11/united-states-t.html

    That author uses embedded links to, but you might want to consider it to cut down on some of the red madness within posts.

  • Pete Baker

    “I’m pretty certain Adams has reaffirmed his view that violence is acceptable in some situations relevatively recently, but it’s too late to be digging quotes.”

    I’m pretty certain he does too. It’s a ‘whatever you’re having yourself’ approach to agreeing with violence in the pursuit of political objectives – until those comparisons become political liabilities.

    Btw, I know you don’t get my approach to blogging.. But you’ll either have to get used to it, get your own blog, or exit the room – I’m not going anywhere soon.

  • kensei

    “I’m pretty certain he does too. It’s a ‘whatever you’re having yourself’ approach to agreeing with violence in the pursuit of political objectives – until those comparisons become political liabilities.”

    Nope, Pete, this is still a variation on ~ “What’s the difference between 1957 and 2007?”. It’s been answered, and unless someone can put a direct question to Adams, I don’t think this is going anywhere.

    And moreover, I have no doubt if the political baggage of the 1957 commemoration reached a point where it outweighed keeping elements of the base happy, then Adams would stop attending. Just like I am equally sure that any other political leader across the islands would dump any commitments they felt had become damaging. The only question is how tactfully they would manage it.

    Is this really startling news?

    “Btw, I know you don’t get my approach to blogging.. But you’ll either have to get used to it, get your own blog, or exit the room – I’m not going anywhere soon.”

    I “get” your approach to blogging Pete. I simply think it is appalling that you have absolutely no consideration for the reader. Style matters as much as substance if you are trying to communicate. So, yes, I do just simply ignore a good half to three quarters of your threads as unreadable. It causes me no pain whatsoever to do so. Occasionally, however, you come up with one like this that has so many back links it actually moves beyond parody. I think a “wtf?” is a fair comment at that point.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    In an attempt to be constructive, I’d say that the necessity of having to click on multiple links in order to understand a post is highly laborious.

    If the argument is contained in the links rather than (largely) self-contained in the article, it means waiting for a page to pop up, reading a bit, closing the page, returning to the entry, applying that link’s information to the blog entry… and at the end, you have to piece the whole entry’s argument together while – of necessity – remembering quite a bit of what’s behind each link.

    And since some links are named in a way that doesn’t stand out (see the ‘Just checking.. Or rather, checking..’ above for a perfect example of links that are virtually meaningless), the whole argument loses rather than gains meaning.

    It may be very postmodern and ‘clever’, but it’s too clever by half for those who have neither the time, inclination or bandwidth speed to commit to such a blog entry. I don’t have a problem with the number of links, it’s the fact that the way they are used – the argument being buried in links that are not explained in the text. This renders the entry much less readable and much more dificult to comprehend.

    I appreciate Mick’s ‘research’ argument, but the day Slugger becomes homework will be a sad day.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s a question of history Gonzo, not an argument. As I said above, if you have to follow the links to understand the argument, then you’ve likely not been paying attention.

    A few years ago I did some blogging in Nigeria for the British Council. Part of my remit was to tutor a national journalist in the ways of blogging.

    Half way through I did a conference call for another group of young journalists they’d assembled in Geneva for the World Summit on Information and Society.

    Part of my advice was to be prepared to hone out a different segment of the same audience as their colleagues. From anecdote, I would guess that Pete’s segment is high level, and specialist.

    The rest of us are perfectly free to dumb down as we see fit. But Pete mustn’t.

  • kensei

    “It’s a question of history Gonzo, not an argument. As I said above, if you have to follow the links to understand the argument, then you’ve likely not been paying attention.”

    Useful, then, for the two people that have been paying attention from the very beginning. Hopeless if you are new, or have been away for a week or have an attention span somewhere short of superhuman.

    “The rest of us are perfectly free to dumb down as we see fit. But Pete mustn’t.”

    It is perfectly possible to present the same volume of information in a better way. For example, by removing some of the knowing post modern bullshit asides into a “See Also” section so your reader doesn’t get blinded by a sea of red and black madness.

    However, I still maintain that if you have reached 19 back links on an 8 line blog, then you need to seriously consider that you have obfuscated the original point you were trying to make. One of the differences between the MSM and bloggers is that journalists have editors. Even academic papers tend to be subject to review before publication. Sometimes you notice, like.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Pete

    I’ve got to agree with Gonzo and Kensei. There’s nothing wrong with a wee bit of constructive criticism, and I’d hope you’ll be willing to take on board the thoughts of a few of us who have been around this parish (and been “paying attention”) almost as long as yourself and the imcomparable Mr Fealty.

  • willowfield

    Republicanism has always held that violence is acceptable under the right circumstances – I think you won’t find The Dubliner quibbling over the 1916 Rising, which only had popular support after the fact, or the War of Independence. I hold that position.

    Why do you hold that violence without popular support, against the wishes of the people for whom one is purporting to act, is right?

    Because the alternative is saying that being prepared to fight for freedom and independence is never justified.

    Er, no it’s not. Completely false logic. Arguing that it is wrong to use violence without popular support does not mean that you must therefore argue that it is always wrong to use violence.

    You ask what the difference between 1957 and 2007 is. The difference is context. I don’t believe that 1957 was equivalent to 1916; any violent campaign was doomed to failure, there wasn’t the same widespread popular support …

    There wasn’t widespread popular support for 1916. Indeed, there was more support for 1957.

  • kensei

    “Why do you hold that violence without popular support, against the wishes of the people for whom one is purporting to act, is right?”

    Morality and popularity do not always coincide, and we are taking about hypothetical absolutes here.

    “Er, no it’s not. Completely false logic. Arguing that it is wrong to use violence without popular support does not mean that you must therefore argue that it is always wrong to use violence.”

    First up, define “popular support”. Apartheid was popular among whites in South Africa. In the US, Jim crow laws and the rest were very popular in the South. Unionism was a great minority in Ireland when it formed the UVF.

    Second, the Nazi Party didn’t win a majority, but they got a lot of votes, and you’d guess if an election had been run in 1936 they’d have won.

    To say that violence without popular support is never justified is an incoherent position.

    “There wasn’t widespread popular support for 1916. Indeed, there was more support for 1957.”

    But the moral case was much stronger, and the support merely latent. Else The War of Independence would not have happened, much less been successful.

  • willowfield

    Kensei

    Morality and popularity do not always coincide, and we are taking about hypothetical absolutes here.

    But they do coincide when purporting to act on behalf of the people. As a democrat, one cannot act on a people’s behalf if the people do not want you to act on their behalf, and if the people do not want you to do the act.

    And your answer does not answer the question: “Why do you hold that violence without popular support, against the wishes of the people for whom one is purporting to act, is right?”

    First up, define “popular support”.

    Er, the support of the people.

    Apartheid was popular among whites in South Africa.

    But not among blacks, who were the majority.

    In the US, Jim crow laws and the rest were very popular in the South.

    You are getting logically confused: it does not follow that because some things with popular support are unjust, therefore it must be just to use violence without popular support. There are several conditions that must exist before the use of violence becomes just.

    Second, the Nazi Party didn’t win a majority, but they got a lot of votes, and you’d guess if an election had been run in 1936 they’d have won.

    The Nazis’ use of violence was not just either.

    To say that violence without popular support is never justified is an incoherent position.

    It’s not incoherent: quite the opposite – it couldn’t be more coherent. But your comment is irrelevant because I never said that, and I don’t believe it!

    But the moral case was much stronger, and the support merely latent.

    Ah, the support was “latent”. So that rules out the obligation actually to obtain support – the mere belief that it is “latent”. Dangerous nonsense.

  • kensei

    “But they do coincide when purporting to act on behalf of the people. As a democrat, one cannot act on a people’s behalf if the people do not want you to act on their behalf, and if the people do not want you to do the act.”

    If I agitate to bring down a clearly evil but popular government, I am acting the best interests of the people. I would prefer to have the backing of people in an election, but we discussing in purely hypothetical terms – are there any situations it is justified without it? Yes.

    “And your answer does not answer the question: “Why do you hold that violence without popular support, against the wishes of the people for whom one is purporting to act, is right?””

    Because it may be morally right.

    “Er, the support of the people.”

    Define “the people”.

    “But not among blacks, who were the majority.”

    So if they had have been in the majority, apartheid would have been ok?

    “You are getting logically confused: it does not follow that because some things with popular support are unjust, therefore it must be just to use violence without popular support. There are several conditions that must exist before the use of violence becomes just.”

    No, I have perfect clarity. We are discussing popular support as arbiter of use of violence,. In the case of the US, there were other avenues successfully pursued. Suppose they hadn’t. Because oppression is popular, is it justified?

    “The Nazis’ use of violence was not just either.”

    So it was ok for Germans to resist the Nazis, even though they commanded the support a majority of Germans? Which is it willow?

    “It’s not incoherent: quite the opposite – it couldn’t be more coherent. But your comment is irrelevant because I never said that, and I don’t believe it!”

    Nope, incoherent. It is terribly easy to pick apart the contradictions. See above. If you don’t believe it, why are you having this discussion?

    “Ah, the support was “latent”. So that rules out the obligation actually to obtain support – the mere belief that it is “latent”. Dangerous nonsense.”

    I don’t as a general rule, advocate acting on the basis of latent support, because it’s too easy to see things that aren’t there. Simply an observation that in retrospect, I can see that it was clearly there because of subsequent events.

    The 1916 Rising gets my support primarily for other reasons: the failure of the political track even to gain limited home rule; the fact that the Proclamation had shown exactly how limited that goal actually was; that it is the key moment in the development of the Irish Republic that exists today; that I genuinely believe that the men involved would have set up a democratic state if they had have won.

    Is there an alternative case to be made on the 1916 Rising? Sure, and the fact that it was carried out without large democratic support beforehand is the elephant in the room. Unionists would have a hard time arguing it, however, seeing as how they’d formed an army to threaten, in their terms, treason.

  • willowfield

    Kensei

    If I agitate to bring down a clearly evil but popular government, I am acting the best interests of the people. I would prefer to have the backing of people in an election, but we discussing in purely hypothetical terms – are there any situations it is justified without it? Yes.

    But not in Ireland in 1916, which is – actually – what we are discussing.

    Because it may be morally right.

    Because something may be morally right does not mean that it is morally right. This is a nonsensical statement.

    Define “the people”.

    Those on behalf of whom the person purports to act.

    So if they had have been in the majority, apartheid would have been ok?

    Certainly not in my view. You reveal your logical confusion again: it does not follow that because something has popular support that therefore it must be just.

    “You are getting logically confused: it does not follow that because some things with popular support are unjust, therefore it must be just to use violence without popular support. There are several conditions that must exist before the use of violence becomes just.”
    No, I have perfect clarity.

    You don’t. You are trying to argue that because the Jim Crow laws were popular yet unjust, therefore it must be just to use violence in other circumstances (e.g. 1916) without popular support. That’s illogical.

    We are discussing popular support as arbiter of use of violence, In the case of the US, there were other avenues successfully pursued. Suppose they hadn’t. Because oppression is popular, is it justified?

    The only circumstances that come to mind immediately in which oppression is justified, is the oppression of, e.g. crime. So, the answer to your question, clearly, is “no”, oppression is not justified merely because it is popular. I have never claimed such, nor alluded to such. I have merely queried why you think violence was justified in 1916 when those inflicting it acted contrary to the wishes of those whom they claimed to represent. What right had they to do so?

    So it was ok for Germans to resist the Nazis, even though they commanded the support a majority of Germans? Which is it willow?

    Nazi Germany was not a democracy. There is no democratic avenue open for people to oppose the Nazis. It’s not a case of “if it was wrong to use violence in Ireland in 1916 it was therefore wrong to oppose the Nazis violently in Germany”!

    Nope, incoherent.

    To state that violence is always wrong without popular support is entirely coherent. It couldn’t be clearer. It leaves no room for nuance; no exceptions. But this is completely irrelevant, as no-one has made such a claim.

    If you don’t believe it, why are you having this discussion?

    I’m not having a discussion about a claim that violence without popular support is always wrong. I’m having a discussion about why you believe that violence in Ireland in 1916 without popular support was right.

    I don’t as a general rule, advocate acting on the basis of latent support, because it’s too easy to see things that aren’t there.

    Ah, but conveniently your “general rule” lapses when it comes to Ireland! Laughable.

    The 1916 Rising gets my support primarily for other reasons: the failure of the political track even to gain limited home rule

    Don’t you know that the Home Rule Bill was passed into law in 1914?!

    ; the fact that the Proclamation had shown exactly how limited that goal actually was;

    It is up to the people at the time to decide how “limited” their goals are: not people living 90 years later.

    Unionists would have a hard time arguing it, however, seeing as how they’d formed an army to threaten, in their terms, treason.

    Er, the unionist arming, like Redmond’s arming, was – in stark contrast to Pearse’s clique – done with popular support!

  • kensei

    “But not in Ireland in 1916, which is – actually – what we are discussing.”

    No, you asked a general question.

    “Because something may be morally right does not mean that it is morally right. This is a nonsensical statement.”

    Do you understand hypotheticals? You are discussing 1916. It’s tangetial to the discussion I’m having which you barged in on.

    And for the record, I think the men of 1916 had just cause behind them.

    “Those on behalf of whom the person purports to act.”

    So if they only purport to act with a small section, then it is ok?

    “Certainly not in my view. You reveal your logical confusion again: it does not follow that because something has popular support that therefore it must be just. ”

    No, I am puting that up to refute your point. Christ willow, this is shit even by your standards.

    “You don’t. You are trying to argue that because the Jim Crow laws were popular yet unjust, therefore it must be just to use violence in other circumstances (e.g. 1916) without popular support. That’s illogical.”

    Did I use a Universal qualifier? No, I fucking well didn’t. I am talking about the Existential qualifier.

    “The only circumstances that come to mind immediately in which oppression is justified, is the oppression of, e.g. crime. So, the answer to your question, clearly, is “no”, oppression is not justified merely because it is popular. I have never claimed such, nor alluded to such. I have merely queried why you think violence was justified in 1916 when those inflicting it acted contrary to the wishes of those whom they claimed to represent. What right had they to do so? ”

    So – violence can be justified in some circumstances, even short of popular support? So saying “Republicanism is the problem” is as stupid as “Religion is the problem”. Why thank you, willow, that’s all I wanted.

    And by the by, who asked anyone in 1916 if they wanted a Republic? Cos it seemed to catch on after that.

    “Nazi Germany was not a democracy. There is no democratic avenue open for people to oppose the Nazis. It’s not a case of “if it was wrong to use violence in Ireland in 1916 it was therefore wrong to oppose the Nazis violently in Germany”!”

    This is your argument. I am simply establishing that there are circumstances were violence is justified, even if you don’t have “the support of the people”, in your terms. I am glad we agree.

    “I’m not having a discussion about a claim that violence without popular support is always wrong. I’m having a discussion about why you believe that violence in Ireland in 1916 without popular support was right.”

    Well, why are you coming into a debate where this is only tangetial do it? Why are you not more clear?

    “Ah, but conveniently your “general rule” lapses when it comes to Ireland! Laughable.”

    Nope. As I said, I simply acknowledge that the support was clearly there, and in fact is still there after the fact. I simply don’t want to rule out there being some circumstances where it might be necessarily. Forever is a big place, willow.

    “Don’t you know that the Home Rule Bill was passed into law in 1914?!”

    It was never implemented and had no prospect of doing so. Allow me to do the next 40 posts:

    “Would have” “Wouldn’t have” “Would have” “Wouldn’t have”…..

    Perhaps we could just agree to disagree.

    “It is up to the people at the time to decide how “limited” their goals are: not people living 90 years later.”

    I think you’ll find that the people then decided rather quickly on that issue.

    “Er, the unionist arming, like Redmond’s arming, was – in stark contrast to Pearse’s clique – done with popular support!”

    And we’ve already established that popular things can be wrong. Only Redmond would have had hope of a maority as well, willow.

  • willowfield

    No, you asked a general question.

    I was clearly describing the situation that pertained in Ireland in 1916.

    And for the record, I think the men of 1916 had just cause behind them.

    I know – you already said that. I’m trying to find out why, given that they acted without the support or authority of those whom they purported to represent.

    So if they only purport to act with a small section, then it is ok?

    Not necessarily. It depends on what they are doing and why.

    So – violence can be justified in some circumstances, even short of popular support?

    Of course. Self-defence is the obvious example that springs to mind.

    So saying “Republicanism is the problem” is as stupid as “Religion is the problem”.

    Not when, as I infer, by “republicanism”, McCann means post-Treaty republicanism, i.e. those who split from mainstream republicanism and insisted that only they were “true” republicans; that they retained a “mandate” and that they possessed a right to use violence regardless of the wishes of the rest of the Irish people. At least in NI, “republicanism” has, in popular parlance, referred to Sinn Féin in its various guises.

    And by the by, who asked anyone in 1916 if they wanted a Republic?

    Nobody. That is the whole point. Pearse’s clique acted without authority.

    Nope. As I said, I simply acknowledge that the support was clearly there, and in fact is still there after the fact.

    It wasn’t clearly there. Quite the opposite: none of the people’s elected representatives supported it, and there was no indication “on the ground” that people supported it. A few hundred took part in Dublin and nothing happened anywhere else. Contemporary reports refer to the bemusement of passers-by.

    “After the fact” is just that: after the fact. An action is justified at the time, not after the fact. It is dangerous nonsense to suggest that an act of violence might be justified because “after the fact” people might support it.

    I simply don’t want to rule out there being some circumstances where it might be necessarily. Forever is a big place, willow.

    We’re talking about the circumstances of 1916.

    It was never implemented and had no prospect of doing so.

    It was never implemented because of the intervention of the war. The war was still happening in 1916. The position in 1916, therefore, was that the Act would be implemented once the war was over. There was nothing to suggest that there was “no prospect” of it being enacted. On the contrary, it was expected that it would be implemented.

    I think you’ll find that the people then decided rather quickly on that issue.

    In 1916 the people had decided that they wanted home rule.

    And we’ve already established that popular things can be wrong. Only Redmond would have had hope of a maority as well, willow.

    Both Redmond and Carson had majority support for their actions.

  • RepublicanStones

    mccann thinks republicanism is the problem !!!
    heres me thinking mccann would have been an anti-monarchist, anti-aristocratic, believer in a bi-cameral legislature with seperation of church and state and independent judiciary. obviously he is none of the above, never thought i could say that about mccann, he’ll probably accept a knighthood next !

  • kensei

    “I was clearly describing the situation that pertained in Ireland in 1916.”

    No, you asked a general question.

    “I know – you already said that. I’m trying to find out why, given that they acted without the support or authority of those whom they purported to represent.”

    I think I’ve already answered that. I know you like stuff repeated, but it really gets old quickly for the person explaining.

    “Not necessarily. It depends on what they are doing and why.”

    So considering you have no absolute basis for anything, why are you doing this other than to point you disagree with the Easter Rising?

    “Not when, as I infer, by “republicanism”, McCann means post-Treaty republicanism, i.e. those who split from mainstream republicanism and insisted that only they were “true” republicans; that they retained a “mandate” and that they possessed a right to use violence regardless of the wishes of the rest of the Irish people. At least in NI, “republicanism” has, in popular parlance, referred to Sinn Féin in its various guises.”

    It is a false distinction. As 1916 points out. Even if it wasn’t, the point still stands. And now you are making arbitrary distinctions to suit your argument. Whoopsie.

    “Nobody. That is the whole point. Pearse’s clique acted without authority.”

    By that standard, the Brits were without authority as well. Other than, of course, the gun.

    “It wasn’t clearly there. Quite the opposite: none of the people’s elected representatives supported it, and there was no indication “on the ground” that people supported it. A few hundred took part in Dublin and nothing happened anywhere else. Contemporary reports refer to the bemusement of passers-by.”

    Then it must have suddenly sprung up from nothing fairly quickly, considering the speed at which we had the War of Independence. And sympathy for the Rising spread even more quickly than that.

    “We’re talking about the circumstances of 1916.”

    No, you are. In the case of 1916, I have already said that no popular mandate was a weakness, but it remained a good act. I also have the advantage of hindsight, and I’m happy enough to use it.

    “It was never implemented because of the intervention of the war. The war was still happening in 1916. The position in 1916, therefore, was that the Act would be implemented once the war was over. There was nothing to suggest that there was “no prospect” of it being enacted. On the contrary, it was expected that it would be implemented.”

    No, you’re wrong, the war killed it and it was dubious it would happen in the first place. I am more than happy to trade the next forty posts, if you insist.

    “In 1916 the people had decided that they wanted home rule.”

    No one was offering a Republic. And by 1918 they’d most certainly decided on that.

    “Both Redmond and Carson had majority support for their actions.”

    Really, so we had majority support for both Home Rule and no Home Rule. You know, this explains the course of Irish history since. We are being slowly destroyed because we have been caught in a paradox. Eventually all Unionists will turn into anti-matter and we’ll explode.