“sheer cold-hearted logic..”

It would be interesting to see comparable figures for previous years but, despite the unlikely allies they face and apparently lacking the required mandate, threats from dissenting republican paramilitary groups forced 11 serving and former police officers to leave their homes in the last year. According to the BBC report, based on a Parliamentary written answer to DUP Upper Bann MP David Simpson [Hansard link here], “Another police officer moved after being targeted by loyalists. Two prison officers were also affected.” At the Guardian’s Politics Blog Henry McDonald notes the “sheer cold-hearted logic” that the deputy First Minister’s rhetoric failed to address.

Yet the singular shield the dissidents have on their side, even if their campaign is entirely nihilistic, is sheer cold-hearted logic. They can counter, with a certain justification, that what they are doing is only carrying out the “unfinished business” of what the Provisionals left incomplete. They can argue that the union has not been broken; Stormont has been shored up instead of smashed, and British troops are still garrisoned, if somewhat far less visibly, inside what the Provisionals always insisted was an illegitimate state.

Henry McDonald continues

It is worth remembering too, as the dissidents will no doubt point out, that when the Provos launched their war in 1969, they did so not principally out of popular feeling but rather as part of a semi-religious project. As the 1916 Proclamation clearly states in its opening line: “Irishmen and women, in the name of God and all the dead generations … ”

From the blood sacrifice of the Easter rising (initiated at least at the time without popular backing – that came later) to the 1969 uprising in the north, republicans were following an historic imperative rather than an electoral one.

Back in the 1960s, when the flame of violent republicanism appeared to be flickering out, it was kept alive in places such as Belfast through a network of families that regarded themselves as a vanguard or brotherhood tasked with a sacred, historic mission. Circumstances shifted in their favour in 1969 in the sectarian conflagration that was to hand over to this cadre thousands of new, young, angry recruits hell bent on revenge against unionists and the state.

Circumstances today of course do not favour the current generation of republican diehards. Yet given the endurance of their ideology, no matter how out of tune it may be to the 21st century, it would tempting fate to predict confidently that the new dissidents will be comprehensively defeated or that they will heed Martin McGuinness’ advice to liquidate themselves.

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  • Dave

    “It is worth remembering too, as the dissidents will no doubt point out, that when the Provos launched their war in 1969, they did so not principally out of popular feeling but rather as part of a semi-religious project. As the 1916 Proclamation clearly states in its opening line: “Irishmen and women, in the name of God and all the dead generations …” – Henry McDonald

    That’s an interesting spin on what created the Provos. It had nothing to do with institutionalised sectarianism or an oppressive state that discriminated against 40% of its population, determined by religion and national identity, but, rather, the troubles were created in an atmosphere of social harmony by a bizarre religious cult that practiced “blood sacrifice” – preferably using protestant blood – as a part of its rituals. I see. However, he is right that his explanation is “worth remembering” – as all good humour is.

    He shouldn’t read too much into the two lines in the Proclamation of Independence that cite g-d as the ultimate authority, since such is the nature of solemn declarations. The American Declaration of Independence also cites g-d as its authority:

    [i]”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”[/i]

    Now this accepts the right of the people to resist an oppressive regime, and to overthrow it. It goes on to explain why the declaration is made (and it has nothing to do with blood sacrifice, either):

    [i]”The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”[/i]

    So it is with the Irish Proclamation of Independence, and in the sentence that McDonald truncates in order to misrepresent: “In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.”

    It clearly states that the aim is nationhood, and goes on to state:

    [i]”We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the last three hundred years they have asserted it to arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.”[/i]

    It then declares equality for all religions and declares equality of citizenship: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

    Nope, absolutely nothing to do with strange rituals requiring “blood sacrifice”, and everything to do with ideals of freedom, democracy, and the inalienable right to self-determination that will never be “out of tune… to the 21st century” or any other century.

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    Self-determination is a collective, not an individual right. That means that it is exercised by a people rather than a person or a self-appointed group. If the right to self-determination is to be asserted by force – as in revolution – then there can be no formal means of establishing whether or not ‘sufficient consensus’ exists because, rather obviously, oppressive regimes do not allow plebiscites that are designed to destroy their regimes, nor would an oppressive regime, by definition, need the will of the people were it formally expressed. So the right to self-determination is a meaningless right if it subject to a principle of non-violence. That, as Bob Dylan observed, is “preaching peace to the conquered” – that oppressive regimes a right to exist in perpetuity.

    The point that many don’t grasp here is that there is only one valid claim to self-determination per nation. The nation (Irish people) secured its claim to self-determination when it secured The Free State. Since that time, the consensus of the nation has been that violence should not be used to force Unionists into a 32-county Republic because this would inevitably lead to a civil war which would be avoidable by other means of securing unity. Ergo, the claim by self-appointed groups (such as the Provos) to be furthering the claim of the Irish people to self-determination by using violence is wholly bogus: it directly conflicts with the legitimate demand of the Irish people that violence must not be used.

    This is why the Provos and their ilk are fascists. They do not respect the principle of self-determination, and they do not respect the will of the majority. The old IRA fought to secure the right of the Irish nation to self-determination, whereas the Provos show only contempt for what the IRA fought for. The clear difference between the old IRA and the Provos (a militant nationalist movement, at best) is that the old IRA operated at a time when the Irish nation had not secured self-determination but were bound by it once it was secured via their campaign, and the Provos operate at a time when self-determination was secured and exercised counter to their campaign but they refuse to be bound by it.

    Of course, they invented some claptrap to claim that they are the legitimate government of Ireland and that the Republic of Ireland never existed, etc, to explain why their abject contempt for the principle of self-determination (the will of the Irish people) doesn’t mean that they are simply a bunch of criminals. They could, of course, also point out that they don’t have the right to self-determination in Northern Ireland, but that is irrelevant since their claim to self-determination is based on being part of the Irish nation and that nation has the legitimate claim which it has exercised counter to their campaign. It’s probably all academic anyway, since the nationalists in Northern Ireland renounced their claim to self-determination when they signed the GFA, converting it into a mere cultural aspiration from an inalienable right.

  • TAFKABO

    Excellent posts Dave.

  • Steve

    Dave
    They do not respect the principle of self-determination, and they do not respect the will of the majority

    What a load of hooey

    the will of the Irish people was wholey independant nation not a divided island with 2 states oncluding an aparteid based murderous state

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘secured its claim to self-determination when it secured The Free State.’

    Frankly, utter shite Dave. Going by your line of thinking every minority has a right to set up their own little statelet in every land in the world, just as the unionists did in Ireland. Complete and utter shite, better luck next time.

  • ulsterfan

    RS
    PIRA in the guise of SF/IRA have failed miserably for two reasons
    1 They never had any legitimacy
    2 They took the noble aims of Republicanism and dragged it into the gutter when they in cold blood and with pre determination killed Irish men women and children—especially children.
    The election of 1918 was a sham and did not give them any right to be the true inheritors of a Republic.
    The recent election in Zimbabwe was much more fair than what is passed as an election in Ireland.
    It was not by any means free or fair.
    People have long dismissed the results except SF who cling to this disgraceful charade as justification for their murderous campaign and latterly the protection of a criminal empire.
    They never knew the real meaning of Republicanism as understood by millions throughout the world and who are proud of that tradition.

  • Steve

    Ulsterfan

    What did the loyalist alphabet killers that started the troubles do to unionism then?

  • Garibaldy

    “The election of 1918 was a sham”

    Except in the 6 counties where it justifies partition, right?

  • ulsterfan

    Sreve
    nearly destroyed it.
    UVF/LVF/UDA etc were motivated by sectarianism ,bigotry and sheer hatred.
    They did not understand nor did they make much of an effort to consider the views of nationalists at the start of the troubles.
    If only unionists had supported O’Neill and his attempts to push through reforms.
    This was a terrible tragedy.
    In the same way PIRA whose constituent parts were SF and IRA failed to allow the Civil Rights movement to get rights for all regardless of class or creed but instead they chose armed conflict which brought misery to hundreds as did the Loyalists.
    This has been debated ad nausea over the years .
    We can not turn the clock back but we should not re write history.

  • Steve

    I think the 14 unarmed civilians shot on the streets were a fair indication of the chances of getting their civil rights. over their dead bodies and nothing less. What Pira did was make sure both sides suffered instead of just nationalists

  • Garibaldy

    Steve, you do know that the 5 major demands of NICRA had been met by 70/71, right? And gained by mass peaceful action, not violence.

  • ulsterfan

    Steve

    If that is the reason PIRA got involved it is another failure on their part.
    Would they at that stage know the eventual outcome or settlement and how this fell so short of the establishment of 32 county socialist Republic

  • steve

    Garibaldy on paper meybe, practically? maybe 1990/1991 and arguably not fully yet. and only at the gun point of PIRA. I am not trying to down play NICRA or the excelent work they did but the administration as it was had no more intention of following through than they had in the previous 50 years. By the way What i seem to be giving credit to PIRA for I think they accomplished under the law of unintended consequences

    Ulsterfan I do not believe that is why they became involved, I believe their aims were exactly as stated by them. They just accomplished a lot of good under the law of unintended consequences.

    No I don’t they were a force for good but they were only as bad as the government forced them to be

  • Garibaldy

    Steve,

    The Housing Executive, one man, one vote, disbandment of the B Specials, removal of gerrymandering was all done. Most could not be reversed but the violence (which many were responsible for, and not just the Provos) led to the restoration of special powers, and the UDR being introduced. Anti-discrimination legislation was also in the pipeline before 1969, largely due to pressure from London. The reality is that the violence achieved nothing that peaceful protest had not already or was not about to achieve. Without the further splintering of our community.

  • ulsterfan

    Steve
    If republicans had followed a non violent path and used exclusively peaceful means a la Gandhi what are the chances we would have had a UI by now or very close to one.
    I am a Unionist and will always support the Union but if Republicans had taken a different route I think they would have prevailed but their actions make a UI impossible and to that extent they have shot themselves in both feet.
    It would however be too much to ask or expect them to think differently.
    Violence just did not work.

  • RepublicanStones

    Ulsterfan, a united Ireland is not impossible. It will come about, but it will be done with the blessing of the international community, not at the behest of a miniscule party in a foreign parliament, who happened to be needed by he govt of the time to stay in power. Unionism continually likes to pretend the partition of Ireland was legitimate and morally right, yet it is only unionists who agree with that synopsis. I remember Gregory Campbell one time on Talkback or some show demanding the republican movement apologise for the conflict in the north. Im all for that…once we have an apology from the british and unionists for what happened well before the current conflict, which as we all know was also started by unionism/loyalism. When unionism is mature enough to recognise the mark of cain upon it in respect of its activities in ireland toward the irish, then maybe you can talk about the republican movement and their rights or wrongs. Until that time its just hot air from a bunch of colonial bigots

  • ulsterfan

    RS
    The International community are bystanders and have little or no influence in NI .
    I recall when Clinton came to Belfast to knock a few heads together one local politician offered the opinion that he may have been the most powerful man in the world but thank God he did not have a seat on the UU council.
    This puts his power into perspective.
    It is the people of NI alone who will decide the constitutional position..
    When you are seeking an apology please be more specific and say how far back you want us to go .
    Do you share the view of one elected representative who suggested there should be a distribution of land as it was prior to 1600 and he even thought the adoption of Brehon laws would enhance our judicial system.
    If you got the apology what type of remorse are Republicans likely to express.
    After all these things are choreographed.
    It will be difficult to get agreement so lets set the past aside as much as possible and get on with life showing respect to all.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘When you are seeking an apology please be more specific and say how far back you want us to go’

    Ulsterfan, no matter how far back we go, the first apology should not be emanating from the irish/nationalist/republican community. I hope your mature and well eductaed enough to recognise this. You speak now of wishing to ‘set the past aside as much as possible’ yet any chance you get to condemn the Shinners (yet im not their biggest fan) or the republican movement you gleefully bring up said past. Is it only now that you realise that by studying the past, all of the gory history of britains involvement in Ireland that you shy away from it, because you don’t like who history has judged to be ‘the badguys’?

  • Garibaldy

    RS,

    See the Presbyterian United Irish republicans – where do they fit in in your “irish/nationalist/republican community” no matter how far back we go model?

  • RepublicanStones

    Gari, i’d read my post again and the read your question again. its self-evident.

    But obvioulsy we can go back further.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    We often hear it said that dissidents have no strategy when they actually do, but whether or not you think it amounts to much of a strategy is entirely up to you.

    A very senior dissent once said to me, when I asked him about their strategy for the short to medium term, “We only need to exist to prove that Northern Ireland is a failed state. And, every so often, make some noise so everyone knows we still exist.”

    Their long term strategy is virtually non-existent. They intend to hang in there until some opportunity arises in the future when they can try to move centre stage again, just like in the late 60s/early 70s. They seem to have no strategy for bringing about such an opportunity.

    There is, however, a belief that if they could mount and sustain a significant campaign in Britain that they may actually push the British establishment to a withdrawl, but the possiblity of such a campaign is very slim, and I think they know it.

    The least able of their detractors are the spokespeople from the Provisional Republican movement who, as it has been noted above, have abandoned the same set of ideas that allowed them to continue armed struggle despite the obvious opinion of the vast majority of Irish people. Their chances of persuading dissidents to abandon their campaign are nil.

    As the same senior dissident often replied when I challenged him on their lack of mandate, “Pearse said that the Irish people had no right to vote for treachery.” He never did develop past that response. It was obvious to me that he never felt to need to.

    It has also become clear to me, that until the Irish people demonstrate their opposition to armed struggle in such a way as to persuade militant republicans to end it, that it will trundle on for a very long time to come. However, there is no will to do that it seems.

    Neither the British nor the Provisional movement can persuade or force an end to militant republicanism in Ireland. Hypocrisy or physical force won’t work.

  • Dave

    [i]”What a load of hooey

    the will of the Irish people was wholey independant nation not a divided island with 2 states oncluding an aparteid based murderous state” – Steve

    “Frankly, utter shite Dave. Going by your line of thinking every minority has a right to set up their own little statelet in every land in the world, just as the unionists did in Ireland. Complete and utter shite, better luck next time.” – RepublicanStones[/i]

    RS and Steve, sit down beside me, kids, while I arrange the alphabet blocks into monosyllable words and draw pretty diagrams on these napkins to aid your comprehension.

    Self-determination, admittedly, hasn’t been fully defined in international law, mainly because it conflicted with the selfish interests of imperial powers. Woodrow Wilson was its early champion (even if he divided it into two forms so as not to frighten the imperial horses – an ‘internal’ form that granted a colonised people limited autonomy and an ‘external’ form that granted full independence from the colonising power), but he was defeated by the European imperial powers in his attempt to have a principle of self-determination included in the Covenant of the League of Nations. It became internationally recognised as a principle when it was included in the United Nations Charter in 1945, and was elevated to a right in the UN’s Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Peoples in 1960. So, there is debate about how the right operates and what exactly it involves. As it stands in international law, it doesn’t equate to the right of a colonised people to an independent state, merely to a form of self-government – much like your puppet administration in NI.

    It is defined in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) as “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

    So, it is defined in international law as a collective right, i.e. a right of a people, not an individual right. This means, as I said, that a bunch of self-appointed individuals such as the Provos do not have any right to usurp the legitimate claim of the Irish people to the right of self-determination. There is only one valid claim to self-determination and it is invested in the people in democratic republics and exercised by them through their democratically elected government – which, in case you failed to notice, proscribed the Provos, outlawing their campaign of violence. This is the will of the Irish nation, exercising self-determination. It is also why, child, only the Irish government may declare war on another sovereign territorial entity – not a bunch of demented tossers from north of the border.

    The right to self-determination is defined in the Irish Proclamation of Independence as “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” I prefer this version as it gives no quarter to imperial powers, declaring that the Nation has full control of the State, and full entitlement to be a Nation-State.

    Admittedly, the EU neo-imperial project presents a direct threat to the existence of the nation state of Ireland, so McDonald may not be entirely off the mark in terms of being out of tune with 21st century concepts – but only in regard to Europe which accounts for a small number of the world’s nation states and less than 8% of the world’s population.

    At any rate, the point you fail to grasp is that Irish people have already achieved the right to self-determination, so the Provos cannot claim to be furthering this goal, and that their claim to self-determination is based on being part of the Irish nation – which means that you are bound by what is determined via self-determination. There really is no point, children, in claiming that the will of the Irish nation must be respected if you pointedly refuse to respect it.

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    You see, if you look at the EU project, you’ll see that people can be persuaded to surrender the right to self-determination to a foreign power if they can be persuaded that they are merely ‘loaning’ that right in exchange for mutual benefits. In the same way, the nationalists in NI surrendered their right to self-determination without being aware that they were actually surrendering it. But once you give up a claim to a territory, you also give up the claim to self-determination that is associated with that territory. You legitimise the process that separates the nation from the state. So Ireland removed its claim to Northern Ireland from its constitution at the request of northern nationalists and those nationalists also accepted that they didn’t have any right to self-determination when they signed a document that stated it was not an inviolable right but rather a discretionary privilege of the social group who were successful in establishing their claim to the territory and with it their right to self-determination. They amended the Proclamation to de facto read “We declare the right of the people of Northern Ireland to the ownership of Northern Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Northern Irish destinies…” Republicans? No, the Provos were just a bunch of self-serving hoods, and you all paid the price for trusting them. 😉

  • willowfield

    STEVE

    the will of the Irish people was wholey [sic]independant [sic] nation not a divided island with 2 states oncluding [sic] an aparteid [sic] based murderous state

    That wasn’t the will of Irish people in NI!

    REPUBLICANSTONES

    Frankly, utter shite Dave. Going by your line of thinking every minority has a right to set up their own little statelet in every land in the world, just as the unionists did in Ireland. Complete and utter shite, better luck next time.

    So the Irish “minority” in the UK had a right to set up its own statelet, but the Ulster “minority” in Ireland didn’t?

    Right. That seems a bit hypocritical.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    The Irish are not a minority in the UK. The UK is not a country. The Irish are a majority in Ireland.The British are a majority in Britain and the French in France. That is how it works.And what is an “Ulster minority”? Do you mean the colonial rump?

  • willowfield

    PANCHO

    The Irish are not a minority in the UK.

    Good God. They were before 1922, you fool.

    The UK is not a country.

    Really? So what’s a country?

    The Irish are a majority in Ireland. The British are a majority in Britain and the French in France.

    Of course they are. Who said otherwise?

    And what is an “Ulster minority”? Do you mean the colonial rump?

    It’s the people living in Ulster – who are a minority in Ireland.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Willowfield, the Irish ARE not a minority in the UK, a country is a territory distinguished by it’s people,culture,language,geography etc. I live in Ulster and I am in the majority in Ireland. I apologise for confronting you again with more than one idea at once.I know how it confuses you.