“Unfortunately for me it’s still present politics..”

A tie-in with Brian’s previous post noting the 40th anniversary of the events at Duke St on 5th Oct 1968. There’s a bit of a false start due to technical problems at the BBC but, after a brief extract from tomorrow night’s documentary The Day The Troubles Began, Oxford academic Simon Prince makes some reasonable points on his thesis [subs req] – or, as Brian called it, a “glorious piece of revisionism”. As Simon Prince says at the end, on the current battle over the legacy of the civil rights movement, “Unfortunately for me it’s still present politics, rather than past history.” And, after all, “history is like a knife..”

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  • Ulsters my homeland

    “THE DAY THE TROUBLES BEGAN”

    Are we to expect more of these type of revisionist programs? What can be done about it?

  • Pete

    UMH,

    Why do you fear revisionist history? Would you rather wallow in your present minded (romantic or not) folk memory of the past?

    Pete

  • turnip_bob

    Why dont you write to Willy Frazier and complain.

  • For once, I find myself with UMH on this one.

  • Driftwood

    Monday nights 9PM BBCNI, why don’t they just announce “and now a party political broadcast from Sinn Fein”. Maybe they regard Bruce Parry’s Amazon on BBC2 as ‘balance’.

  • Patricia Mallon

    I think that it is crucial that perspectives and accounts of civil rights/the troubles from all sides are forthcoming otherwise we will indeed be left with a SF doctored version versus a unionist denial version. I do not support a “conflict resolution centre” at the Maze because it too would develop unnuanced polarised accounts.

    My version is that a nonviolent movement based on a legitimate grievance was appropriated by a minority seeking a united Ireland, by force if necessary.And no lessons learnt.Grannie Trixie

  • Driftwood,

    I’ve spoken to someone who saw the documentary at its showing in Derry, and I don’t think it will at all be what you are expecting. In fact, there are those who think it is much too soft on the unionist regime.

  • Rory

    Well we can at least look forward to a good old ding-dong tomorrow after we have watched the programme. I’m looking forward to that (the ding-dong, that is, as well as the programme).

  • Driftwood

    I’ll be watching Bruce Parry, Rory. I prefer factual programmes.

  • Rory,

    You mean we’re going to wait til we see the programme? Unusual restraint.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Gairbaldy

    “[i]I don’t think it will at all be what you are expecting. In fact, there are those who think it is much too soft on the unionist regime.”[/i]

    The title says it all, it’s revisionism. Simon Prince is correct when he says it was a trigger to the troubles, but not the cause of the troubles.

    The cause was the numerous campaigns from the IRA to drive us British to the sea after we refused to be ruled by a fascist Republican 32 county Socialist government. When we set-up our own country the IRA continued to force us from the island and used staggered campaigns of murder and violence around the border to drive us from our homes. These staggered campaigns would span over many decades, with periods of settled peace in between, periods in which history tells us the IRA were simply reorganising for another attempt to ethnically cleanse us.

    and yet we have before us a program which tries to suggest in it’s title that the troubles began in 1968 after a civil rights march.

    LIES, NOTHING BUT LIES.

  • Rabelais

    UMH
    …a fascist Republican 32 county Socialist government…

    Could you elaborate on what sort of a national/political formation could be fascist, republican and socialist? Or do you think that if you throw enough shit some might stick?

    …When we set-up our own country…

    Unionists didn’t ‘set up’ Northern Ireland’. The ‘setting up’ was surely largely in the gift of the British government. Unionists bully and threatened their way to partition.

    …and yet we have before us a program which tries to suggest in it’s title that the troubles began in 1968 after a civil rights march…

    And the operative words here are ‘we have before us’. Would the wise thing be to wait and see what the programme is like rather than be guided by its title alone?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[/i]Could you elaborate on what sort of a national/political formation could be fascist, republican and socialist? Or do you think that if you throw enough shit some might stick?”[/i]

    One which is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood 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.” – Robert O. Paxton.

    “[i]Unionists didn’t ‘set up’ Northern Ireland’. The ‘setting up’ was surely largely in the gift of the British government. Unionists bully and threatened their way to partition.”[/i]

    Those who signed the Ulster Covenant were the fore-fathers of N.Ireland and the defenders of civil and religious freedom on this island. Without these courageous people, who stood up against Irish Fascism, civil and religious freedom for all wouldn’t have survived on this island.

    “[i]And the operative words here are ‘we have before us’. Would the wise thing be to wait and see what the programme is like rather than be guided by its title alone?”[/i]

    No. The title dictates the conclusion. It’s simply propaganda and can’t be considered as an honest or serious piece of investigative work.

  • Jimmy

    ‘My version is that a nonviolent movement based on a legitimate grievance was appropriated by a minority seeking a united Ireland, by force if necessary’ Quoting patricia Mallon.

    My revisionist theory Patricia and one I feel that usually gets overlooked is the Cold War influence, namely Communist infilitration of the civil rights movement, many of the students were definately pro Marxist-Communist leaning, I know personally several PD members (Students at the time) who were also card carrying communist party members, they were thinking internationally-revolutionary,beorgoise vs Proletariat while the march would be inevitably be seen as insular and sectarian (that old chestnut), the old two protagonist so to speak. I dont think the influence of Marxist Internationalism should be overlooked,Remember Paris 68 etc it was student culture at the time. The ex Stormont Minister (pre 1972) John Taylor had always claimed that the official IRA were heavily involved in CRA in Derry at its very inception, a theory I tend to go with, therefore a revisonist perspective could have seen it as a western government,faced with a Communist leaning movement using ‘real’ social issues as a front, in other words the CRA was heavily infiltrated by Communist agents hence any governments reaction to it in a cold war was to deny its legitamacy, only Norn Iron was unique in having a insular Sectarian view of everything, hence orthodox historians will always see it n black and white.

  • Rory

    “I know personally several PD members (Students at the time) who were also card carrying communist party members”

    Now, now, Jimmy, that is certainly a rather large porky. You most certainly did not know any members of Peoples’ Democracy (PD) who were card-carrying members of the Communist Party (CP) for the simple reason that there were none. Indeed if you had the first idea of the ideological make-up of those attracted to Peoples’ Democracy you would realise just how ridiculous your statement is. On the programme just finished for example you would have heard the leader of Peoples’ Democracy, Michael Farrell, explaining how they joined the Dungannon-Coalisland march after an earlier protest they had attended in support of the Czech anti-Soviet uprisng. Any “card-carrying member” of the Party would have had his card torn up if he had shown support for the Czechs in this fashion.

    There certainly were members of the Communist Party who were members or supporters of NICRA, most notably Edwina Stewart but they would have viewed Peoples’ Democracy with some horror as ultra-leftist and damaging to the movement while the PD’s regarded the CP as staid, slow but above all reformist in nature while the PD’s, rather grandiosely, believed that they were revolutionaries. In fact one element of PD even got hold of a few guns and declared themselves the revolutionary armed wing of Peoples’ Democracy. They gave themselves a name, which I can’t recall, nor do I suppose does it much matter as neither did their little “army”.

  • Rory

    P.S.

    As to tthe programme itself – I thought it little more than a puff-piece, a televisual blurb if you like, for Simon Prince’s book. Still it was nice to see some old faces and I was especially pleased to see Finbar O’Doherty looking so well. A good soul is old Finbar.

  • Battler

    The Programme did the Derry stuff pretty well, but then the BBC have already done Derry in 68/69 proud in a couple of good recent docs, but the whole premise of linking Derry into an international campaign was just too flimsy to base a whole programme on. Of course the Civil Rights campaign took some inspiration from elsewhere, but it just wasn’t a serious factor in all this – at least not on the evidence presented here… Totally agree about the PR for Prince’s book, why was there no real analysis of his (rather obvious) thesis? Why not ask a few of the marchers there how internationally inspired they were?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    I thought it was quite ironic the bit where the protest leader grabs the megaphone and shouts to the crowd that they are marching for the right to free speech, LOL, the crowd cheers and noone catches on how damn stupid that claim was in the circumstances.

    Blind lead by the Blind.

  • Driftwood

    The soundtrack was pretty good, as you’d expect for 1968. Otherwise facile and dull. The ‘Nam scenes at the start were pretty good. Always aesetic to see a helicopter gunship in action.
    Maybe soon the BBC could actually do a documentary on ‘The Troubles’ rather than a sixties revolution nostalgia fest. All together now…”We shall overcome”.. and pass the organic mushroom canapes.