Internment – then and now


As the British political system continues to wrangle over the implications of the 42-day detention legislation, the socialist-republican party éirígí has organised a number of demonstrations to protest against its potential use against Irish republicans and vulnerable communities in Britain.

éirígí is drawing strong parallels between the controversial detention legislation and the introduction of internment in the North 37-years ago.

Indeed, they have billed their August 9 gatherings as both a commemoration of the injustice of internment and a protest against the injustice of 42-day detention.

In addition to the Antrim town, Belfast, Dublin and Lurgan éirígí gatherings, RSF will be holding a protest in Belfast while 32CSM will be doing the same in Dublin.

ADDS: As noted in the comments a 5th éirigí protest will also be held at Enniskillen RUC/PSNI Barrack at 3pm.

  • cynic

    It will be interesting to see how many show up. Have they booked the phone box at each site?

  • Mark, can you ask your mates to paint over the graffiti they have covered West Belfast with?
    I believe the public will be a lot more appreciative of that.

  • Paint Brush

    paul,

    can you ask your Sinn Fein mates to stop murdering doormen

    robbing banks

    selling drugs

    and touting on everyone doing the double

    can you ask your mates to stop water charges

    a lot more important that a bit of graffiti for fucks sake

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Mark, can you ask your mates to paint over the graffiti they have covered West Belfast with? I believe the public will be a lot more appreciative of that.” Eh? You what?

    They should be praying for the re-introduction of internment or another Bloody Sunday otherwise they will slowly whither on the vine. I expect the usual 80-100,000 people although black propaganda will probably number about 100. Remove MI5 and their agents and it’s the proverbial two men and a dog. The men will be bitter ex IRA and the dog will be the only one not likely to speak in Castlereagh.

  • Driftwood

    Interesting choice of venues. Wonder why Thiepval wasn’t included? Or indeed Ballykinler, which was the site of the original 1920’s internment camp.
    Anyway, the term RUC/PSNI barracks means they can all pretend eh? If it doesn’t rain they might manage double figures.

  • Napoleons nose.

    Nice to know eirigi agrees with the house of lords??? Privilege and wealth hand in hand with socialism…ahhhh ain’t that nice.

  • jerryp

    Is it one of these was on TV the other night talking about ” celebrating internment ” ?

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Nice to know eirigi agrees with the house of lords??? Privilege and wealth hand in hand with socialism…ahhhh ain’t that nice.”

    Are you in favour of 42 day detention?

  • pfhl

    Mark,

    This is more positive than the situation in Dunclug. People will care about internment 42 day and have the right to protest about it. Many of those who were interned will also be the most vocal opponents of current legislation so it is not suprising to hear them protest about it.

    I do have another question however, are erigi organised anywhere in Ballymena? I have seen erigi flags at the bottom of dunclug. I have heard reports these flags were linked to the same people who are organising the bonfire during the week. Whats the erigi position on internment bonfires?

  • Paint Brush – don’t be such a touchy idiot. Sinn Fein are just as bad.

  • Mark McGregor

    Paul,

    Mark, can you ask your mates to paint over the graffiti they have covered West Belfast with?
    I believe the public will be a lot more appreciative of that.

    Politically inspired art and graffiti has a long and proud history of conveying social messages throughout the world.

    The fact that the richest 20% own 80% of the wealth and there are more British soldiers in Ireland than in Iraq are issues I’m happy to see addressed by whatever medium available. The ‘establishment’ sure as hell aren’t making an issue or impact on either.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28328703@N08/

  • Whenever Mark blogs on éirígí he get a barrage of post in return about phone boxes and the like, often coming from people who in their hearts agree with what he has blogged about or at the very least used to.

    It seems éirígí is not going away you guys no matter how much you huff and puff, so why not either engage with it or try challenging the things you disagree with Mark on.

    To accuse republicans of ‘meeting in phone boxes, etc’ is not a worthy put down, historically, due to the circumstances, at times republicans have often met in small groups, steadfast in there beliefs and awaiting better days. Confident that their core beliefs will eventually see them and their country through to a thirty two county socialist republic.

  • cynic

    Sorry MIck. I wasn’t aware that putting down a splinter group of a splinter group of revolutionary socialists who advocate a communist utopia in Ireland (whether we want one or not) and rely heavily on flat earth marxist claptrap was such a big issue.

    Let me say that they have the right to state their views and campaign peacefully and lawfully for them. I respect that.

    On the other hand the Phone Box dig was obviously aimed at the numbers that support them. They may be “Confident that their core beliefs will eventually see them and their country through” but the vast majority of the rest of us neither agree nor believe it.

  • cynic

    “The fact that the richest 20% own 80% of the wealth and there are more British soldiers in Ireland than in Iraq are issues I’m happy to see addressed by whatever medium available. The ‘establishment’ sure as hell aren’t making an issue or impact on either.”

    Well, perhaps the establishment arent doing it for 3 reasons:-

    1 part of the agreement is that this is part of the UK, these are UK troops and are therefore based on their home terrirory (careful of your blood pressure now, but read the small print)

    2 very few people give a damn about it. The war is over and they are happy with the status quo on the garrison issue

    3 wasn’t it Churchill who said of democracy that it has many defects but the problem is that all the alternatives are worse. So I fear it is with wealth redistribution. Cuba is the stunning example – hey we are all equal…and dirt poor

  • “political art”…

    I was going to say something about how ridiculous (not to mention pretentious) that nomenclature was, but I don’t think I need to.

  • An Amateur Anthropologist

    > I was going to say something about how ridiculous (not to
    > mention pretentious) that nomenclature was, but I don’t think I
    > need to.

    But hey, do it anyway!

  • avoiding the issue

    the vast majority of people who have posted comments so far seem to be more concerned about attacking éirígí than dealing with the issue.
    maybe youse could clear something up:
    are youse all in favour of detaining people for 42-days without charge or trial?
    and were youse all in favour of interning hundreds of innocent people for weeks, months and years on end?
    if even some of youse are not, it begs a very simple question: what are you doing about it?
    it’s true that éirígí is a relatively small organisation, but never forget the margaret mead quote: “never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

  • ggn

    With regards to the number of people involved in Éirigí it seems to me that they are doing quite well acutally.

    Easy a match in numbers for RSF, at least in the North and far outstripping the 32CSM.

    Alas, it seems to me also that they might be taking in a number of individuals who would bring nothing to any movement.

    I do not believe that Éirigí represent any electoral challenge to SF whatsoever at the moment, but I suppose a determined fly can sometimes induce an elephant to move.

    The main problem with Éirigí, from what I can see is that it is populated mainly be idealogues (read principled people if that be your wish). Ideologues rarely development the pragmatism (read selling out if you want) required to build a political movement.

    Neither do Éirigí have a strong leadership figure, whatever your view on leadership, I believe that it is axiomatic to state that no political movement can function without a leader. We can spout out socialist principles, but we are primates, we require a leader.

    One more potential future problem for Éirigí is the marriage of Revolutionary Socialsim with Gaelic culturalism. No real problems in Belfast but perhaps Dublin working class socialists it will be found are quite determined to remain English speakers. We shall see. It is a easy marriage on paper, we shall see how they get on after the honeymoon.

    But the biggest danger for Éirigí is that they fall into the same trap that the IRSP, Sticks, Super Sticks, RSF etc. etc. have done, i.e. defining themselves, or at least allowing themselves to be defined by what they are not, i.e. NOT Sinn Féin, rather that what they are.

  • Driftwood

    That Margaret Mead quote is laughable in the context of this Citizen Smith bunch of jokers. The forecast for Saturday is rain, and the times scheduled are past opening time, so don’t expect much of a turnout.
    This has F all to do with 42 days or any sense of history. Any bandwagon will do for twats with too much time on their hands.

  • yeah right

    So 42 day detention by the British government and internment without trial arent even going to be touched upon on this thread is that right.

    I have to say, if politics was an olympic event and the gauge of éirígí’s success was the level of vitriolic pish fired at them on these forums from detached quasi intellectuals they would be gold medalists by now.

    the only grouping that i see mounting an effective show of defiance at a draconian piece of punitive legislation across this island are éirígí and they are registering their opposition in 5 different locales. Not bad for a two year old group of ideologues, dissidents, morons, neanderthals, political devoids, traitors etc etc.

    half the people on this forum would’nt even have the level of political contacts to mount any political display anywhere with more than their mother, sister and lap top in attendance. So credit where credit is due. they have an idea, they rally people to it and its paying off in increased numbers and support. indisputable!

    deal with the issues – either justify internment and its modern equivalents or expose and oppose them – but dont get angry when people have the courage of their convictions and actually stand for something they believe in, whilst all of you pontificate on internet forums.

    i’m sure éirígí will take solace in the old adage that – if your complimented by your enemy, you need to examine your conscience. éirígí abú!

  • libertarian

    It appears that its Ok to join protests about Iraq or Afganistan, and China, or to oppose the use of draconian measures by governments elsewhere. But when it comes to here, then it appears that hypocrisy and double standards apply.
    Par for the course, really

  • ggn

    “deal with the issues”

    Can the issue / event truely be divorced from the organisers as you seem to suggest?

    The issue here is “éirígí has organised a number of demonstrations”.

    I see therefore both the demonstrations and Éirígí as a legimate point of discussion.

    Thats the nature of politics and is most certainely the nature of Slugger. You use the word vitriol, believe you me, this is a very friendly thread compared to most.

    Take the oppurtunity and use your opponents arguements to strengthen your own.

  • cynic

    My, aren’t some people here very precious about any criticism on this. This is a political lobby group, not Mother Theresa. If it cannot stand criticism and challenge and the odd bit of satire its already a dead parrot.

    Oh yes and trying to draw a parallel between 42 day detention and internment is just trying to put a fresh wrapper on something the whole community has moved on from. If however you have to quote Che Gavarra to justify your political philosophy its not surprising you end up clutching at straws.

  • Driftwood

    You got it cynic
    It’s a profile raising stunt, straight out of the old socialist worker stable. Any bandwagon will do. Whatever happened to those airport workers on strike?
    Guest appearance by Robert Lindsay anyone?

  • Driftwood

    Anyone care to make out a wiki entry for eirigi, here’s the template:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Smith

  • earnan

    42 days is a long time. 42 days of sensory deprivation and interrogation seems as though it is enough to break most men.

    Many who could hold out for 7 days probably couldn’t go 42!

  • Mark McGregor

    Citizen Smith and telephone booth jokes how very droll. Pity they ring so hollow when in a very short time éirígí has gone from a few members in Dublin to organising protests at five locations (yes, a fifth will be announced) on the same day around current and historical British criminal injustice.

    Thanks to all who decided to stick to the topic.

  • “Oh yes and trying to draw a parallel between 42 day detention and internment is just trying to put a fresh wrapper on something the whole community has moved on from”.

    cynic,

    As far as the British State is concerned the old ones are always the best, to be brought out and dusted down when ever Irish people get a little uppity. You may feel happy with the British government having 42 day detention in its armory but I do not, nor should any freedom loving person.

    Or do you really believe it is SF and the DUP who govern the northern statelet. If so lets see how much power the mockneys have if they attempt to pass legislation that the British disagree with.

    Still passing legislation is not something the Stormont administration does much of. It must be the least productive government in the history of human kind.

    By the way there are still Irishmen in British jails for political offenses and make no mistake the prisons in the north are British jails, as SF’s coalition partners know only to well.

  • cynic

    “in a very short time éirígí has gone from a few members in Dublin to organising protests at five locations (yes, a fifth will be announced)”

    Mark

    Forgive me but I am forced to note that a number of these 5 sites (wow) are within a quick drive of each other and the start times are staggered. Getting a quick crowd for the cameras (just enough to fill the frame) and them moving on to the next site is the oldest trick in the book. I am of course assuming that the membership aren’t so oppressed that they don’t have access to transport.

  • cynic

    Mick

    They are still trying to put a fresh wrapper on a dead fish

    As for the Jails being British Jails – of course they are. Part of the settlement is that this part of Ireland remains part of the UK. Ergo they are British. That is part of the deal that the vast majority of our fellow citizens signed up to.

    Actually they are probably far better than most other British Jails – more modern with better facilities and better regimes (except for women and young offenders of course)

  • Mark McGregor

    Well I’m sure photos will appear on the website and then you can have a wee look and check your theory.

  • cynic

    By the way Mark as such a progressive socialist party experiencing such a dramatic growth:-

    1 why do they only deal with republican issues / causes not those that might affect the majority of people in NI?

    2 given their dynamism their web site promises that ‘during 2007’ they will produce a number of important policy papers on issues relevant to the people of ireland. So far there is only one, a paper on ‘Imperialism’ that might have got a B- as an O Level , politics answer circa 1963. Where did all the others go? At the rallies what policies will they have to enthrall the gathered masses of the proletariat?

  • truth

    Just for your attention the eirigi web site has just added ENNISKILLEN to its list of areas which are holding protests for commemoration of the injustice of internment 37 years ago and a protest against the injustice of 42-day detention. eirigi are on the move.

  • Driftwood

    Will there be a protest outside Tooting Bec Tube station?

  • Dave

    “Neither do Éirigí have a strong leadership figure, whatever your view on leadership, I believe that it is axiomatic to state that no political movement can function without a leader. We can spout out socialist principles, but we are primates, we require a leader.”

    Well, if they want a right-wing nationalist Jewish Eurosceptic to lead them, I’m available. But they’re opposed to the cult of personality, don’t you know.

    Actually, I quite like this party and wish them well. It’s isn’t yet a crime to have principles.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘right-wing nationalist Jewish….’

    Is that a roundabout way of saying your a zionist Dave? Albeit not of the Labour variety obviously !

  • Mark McGregor

    Its clear there are multiple protests against 42 day detention without trial which at the same time recall previous detention without trial in Ireland. Fine, if protest isn’t your thing you have the compliant parties at Stormont and Westminster to support. If not, you have the option of various protests.

    Its a decision – pub or activism.

  • Dave

    RS, you should be more concerned about the ground that is turning to quicksand beneath your own feet. Salvage your own claim to self-determination before you start worrying about other nationalities.

  • RepublicanStones

    Im on firm ground here Dave, oh and Jewish is not a nationality.

  • “the vast majority of people who have posted comments so far seem to be more concerned about attacking éirígí than dealing with the issue. “

    There are lots of threads already on 42-day detention. This one is blatant and shameless publicity for a blatant and shameless publicity stunt.

  • republican stones,

    I realize it may be a can of worms, but what do you mean by nationality. if Jews have no nationality as you claim do they belong to a race and if the State of Israel were to last for 100 to1,000 years would that mean Jews had a nationality?

    For example you would probably agree that italians and germans have a nationality, yet the states they claim allegiance to are less than 150 years old as unified bodies, and where does this leave the Irish?

    I am not having a go but why single jews out as nation free.

  • cynic

    “Fine, if protest isn’t your thing you have the compliant parties at Stormont and Westminster to support”

    So its a choice between the politicians that we elected (imperfect as they are) and a small cabal waiting for the second coming of a true revolutionary socialist republican movement. A group that doesn’t even have a coherent leadership because either

    1 they are so disorganized that they cant form one or

    2 to try to form one would promote a further split in their ranks on some vital issues like the relative importance of the teachings of Lenin and Trotsky to the development of the class struggle in modern Ireland (ie post 1920)

    Mmmmmm…. now what shall I choose to do on a wet Saturday afternoon?

    I am afraid that phone box looks less and less attractive!! Even Stormont (Bless ’em) is more entertaining

  • cynic

    Mick

    He didn’t say that Jews had no nationality. He said that being ‘Jewish’ wasn’t a nationality in itself. That’s radically different.

    A christian might be a black African from the Hutu tribe or a white American. Both might describe themselves as radically different races. It is a mixed up old world out there. We are all multi-dimensional and, in my view, that’s a very good thing.

    Our problem in NI is that we tend to think one dimensionally in terms of

    race = religion = politics

    and, if you’re not one of us, you must be one of them-uns

  • Dave

    “Im on firm ground here Dave, oh and Jewish is not a nationality.” – RS

    Clever little boy, aren’t you? What do you think Zionist means? It refers to the establishment of the state of Israel. What was your question?

    “Is that a roundabout way of saying your a zionist Dave?” – RS

    Hence:

    “Salvage your own claim to self-determination before you start worrying about other nationalities.” – Dave

    Do you even know what nationality means? It simply means one who belongs to a nation. No state is required.

    As Mick Hall pointed out, Jews existed as a Nation long before the modern State of Israel was established.

    So, I’ll put your ignorance down to your usual practice of talking out of your arse after wiping it with the latest An Phoblacht editorial on the Middle-East rather than portraying an even more vulgar disposition.

    Now, how firm is your ground? Israel has nuclear weapons to defend its claim to self-determination, whereas folks in NI signed a document that surrendered their claim and conceded that Ulster is British. 😉

  • Regards groups size i agree eirigi will if trends continue will be almost as big as RSF in the north, in the six counties eirigi and RSF are both far bigger than the 32csm whose main purpose seems to be to attend IRSP commemorations. RSF would be larger than both eirigi and 32csm combined in the 26 counties.at least for now. eirigi is rapidly growing and there is a visible resurgance in RSF. This can be observed by even the most casual of observer.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Jews existed as a Nation long before the modern State of Israel was established.’

    Yeah, in biblical times, after they had sacked Jebus which was inhabited before Jews. Are Ethiopian Jews and White western Jews all part of this one nation? Are all christians one nation?

    ‘Israel has nuclear weapons to defend its claim to self-determination’

    Israel was founded on terrorism of civilians and ethnic cleansing, not firm grounds for any claim to self-determination.
    So which is you nation Dave, Israel or the jewish nation?

  • DK

    Jeepers, what is it about the Jews that gets people so excited.

    As for eirigi – so far they seem to be concentrating on waving flags at interfaces – best way to get publicity is to stir up a bit of trouble. At least the other republican groups try to tone down the uber-gael stuff in a vague hope of at least looking like they might appeal to the prods.

  • earnan

    RSF and 32 SCM and Whatever else is out there should all join hands with eirigi. Maybe that way they can muster 2% of the vote