Will the Adams Alternative maintain its dominance..?

BLOGGING on the shooting of the two soldiers in Antrim, Gerry Adams writes:

In my view the vast majority of people are opposed to what happened. In the days when there was no peaceful or democratic way forward for those who wanted basic rights – civil rights – or for those who wanted national rights as well – Sinn Féin spokespersons, including myself, defended the IRA’s armed struggle. We didn’t accept everything that was done and in most instances the case we made was in defense of the legitimacy of IRA actions in the context of British Army occupation. There is no such legitimacy today. Our political position was based also on the absence of any alternative way to bring about positive change. Today there is an alternative.

It’s a message that many outside republicanism find abhorrent – as many outside that circle believe the IRA was not legitimate – but the message is not addressed to that external audience. The big question is whether Adams’ logic can convince republicans that his political strategy is the best way to achieve Irish unity. What kind of damage can a ‘micro-group’ really do to the SF behemoth? After tonight’s latest strike, republican blogger Balrog issued his own rallying call to resist the violence:

I’m starting to feel slightly angry at the moment and I never thought I would ever feel that reaction in relation to the death of a peeler. I am convinced that we can gain a United Ireland through political means; I only wish I was as sure of heaven as I am of this. I am also convinced that all these actions by the dissidents do is to undermine that political change. Their actions will lead to only two consequences, more Irish sons and daughters in the grave and in jail. These people have to be faced down, the Irish people need to decry in one clear and determined voice. Not in my name!!!

Unionists and others may detest republican aims and ideology, but today’s politics of Adams and Balrog is infinitely preferable to the rising bodycount on the streets from the gunmen of yesteryear.Adams continues:

The political institutions, the peace process and Sinn Féin are as much a target of the perpetrators of Saturday nights attack as those they killed or injured.

That is why they have to be resisted. Politically. Democratically. Peacefully. They want to destroy the hard won progress of recent times. They cannot be allowed to succeed.

The gains made for and by the people of this island cannot be surrendered.

So why don’t those who have set themselves as political spokespersons for the so called dissidents come forward to explain this attack? Why don’t they outline a rationale? Why don’t they defend the legitimacy of this action? In the absence of any other explanation I can only presume it is because there is no rationale other than that they could do what they did.

And let there be no ambiguity about this. That is not good enough.

There is also an onus on the British government and the PSNI to resist any temptation or any demands for a return to the bad practices of the past. This would be equally wrong. It would also sideline the peace process and political leaders.

That would be foolhardy and play into the hands of those who were responsible for the Antrim attack.

In particular, this means that the transparent and accountability arrangements around the PSNI must be adhered to and defended.

That’s what I told British Prime Minister Gordon Brown when we met on Monday morning.

For our part genuine republicans and democrats will work with the PSNI to ensure that those involved in this attack are apprehended and subjected to due process.

The popular will in Ireland is for peaceful and democratic change. I’m sure that’s shared by our neighbours in Britain and further afield.

So everyone has a responsibility to defend the peace. There can be no going back. The only way to go is forward.

  • McGrath

    “For our part genuine republicans and democrats will work with the PSNI to ensure that those involved in this attack are apprehended and subjected to due process.”

    It will be interesting to see what this translates into, especially now with the death of a police officer in Craigavon.

  • Dave

    Wee Gerry attempts revisionism which portrays “the IRA’s armed struggle” as a campaign for “civil rights.” He then asserts that these rights have been secured, so there is no need for “armed struggle.” So he was really a kind of misunderstood Martin Luther King figure who believed that civil rights were best secured by systematic and widespread violation of civil, political, national, and of course, human rights (as the family of Jean McConville). But, at any rate, these civil rights (whatever they actually were) have now been secured so all in well with British rule once again. This might raise a few eyebrows from those believed that the aim was to terminate British rule in Ireland rather than to consolidate and improve it.

    He then attempts more revisionism by claiming that his support for “the IRA’s armed struggle” was because of the “absence of any alternative way to bring about positive change.” The Principle of Consent has been part of the constitutional framework of the NI since partition, so that cannot be proffered as a change. NI’s politicians and voters also have the same rights as they had before, so that cannot be proffered as a change. Does he mean then that mandatory coalition is the vital difference? If so, then it follows that violence would be once again justified if mandatory coalition is ever replaced with voluntary coalition.

    By the way, isn’t a legitimate government entitled to declare war on a foreign state and to defend its territory from invasion? Why does wee Gerry think that he is entitled to declare the Shinners to be a legitimate government but others are not? Odd.

    The reality, however, is that accepting the legitimacy of British rule – agreeing that it is legitimate for another nation and its supporting sovereign state to hold a veto over the Irish nation – does not increase the likelihood of terminating that veto, but, rather, it ensures that the veto will be permanent. Just as improving the status quo of British rule does not provide an incentive for people to change it, it does the opposite. At what point to you declare that it is not legitimate for one nation to be ruled by another?

    You can’t, of course, because you have declared that it is legitimate when you signed-up to the GFA. And it won’t matter, because by the time the Shinners and their handlers are finished with them, they’ll be joining the army and waving flags at the Queen like the other British folks. So, you’re all British now, and in order to have a slim hope of getting the Ulster Unionists to agree to unity, you have to try to extend that legitimisation of British rule into the Republic, trying to persuade the citizens of the Republic to also renounce their right to national self-determination and to replace their nation-state with a replica of Northern Ireland.

    The slight flaw there is that the Republic has agreed with them that they don’t have a right to an Irish nation-state but they have not agreed that they don’t have that right either. This puts the neo-British nationalists (the Shinners and the SDLP) on a collision course with the citizens of the Republic, as they’ll be trying to impose as much Britishness on Ireland and encourage as much self-censorship as they can get away under the direction of their handlers and to increase their chances of selling unity to the other unionists (somewhere around zero), so good luck with that. 😉

  • frustrated democrat

    Dave

    I wonder if you would explain what actual differences, positive and negative, an all Ireland Nation state would actually make to the everyday life of the people in Northern Ireland.

  • Scaramoosh

    One would not like to think that those that dislike Adams and McGuinness, would somehow fall into the trap of seeking political capital from these deaths, in order to berate them.

    Seeking political capital from other peoples’ deaths, is one of the great N.Irish traits…and every party of every persuasion has been guilty of it at one time or another.

    It really is time we all f****** grew up. We have had history lessons shoved up our arses for the past one hundred years; except that every cause, movement, and psychotic bedroom warrior has his own view of what that history is.

    It is time that we all learnt to live in the moment and to face upto our collective responsibilities. We all know well enough, that there is nothing to be gained from anybody’s death.

  • iluvni

    Words are all very well, but if, to protect the people, the Chief Constable (who Sinn Fein say they support) needs Army back-up, will their support disappear.
    I believe it will.
    Same with the sdlp.

  • circles

    Any real use in that post Dave or did your spleen just need a proper venting? Given the context within which you post it is neither useful or remotely interesting.

    I think Adams has hit a nail on the head with his sentiments and I’m glad to see it. There is a need to completely strip away any kind of mystique or claim to legitimacy these “dissidents” may lay claim to by calling their bluff and asking them to explain their actions. Its unlikely that they will, because I think they can’t – but the they have to be clearly shown as a bunch of no-brain, yesterday’s men with a love of firepower and a need to play the big man.

  • skullion

    Iluvni

    And one assumes the troops will be patrolling nationalist areas and suddenly rira and cira are defenders.Does history teach you anything?

  • dunreavynomore

    so according to gerry the ira were fighting for civil rights and the ‘occupation’ was by the british army. funny, i seem to remember many speeches, pamphlets and statements which made it very clear that the ira were after a british withdrawal, military and political even in some ways, cultural. gerry, i am still in a british controlled 6 county state.meanwhile over on balróg, gaskin claims that if loyalists retaliate (he says when) the responsibility will lie with the rira which is fine but must mean that the ira were responsible for all previous loyalist sectarian killings. revisionism is dodgy stuff, gerry and chris. paul quinn, by the way, is still dead gerry, no civil rights for that family.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    Your post above is articulate rubbish. Your anti SF credentials are not only showing but have lost any

    ‘The Principle of Consent has been part of the constitutional framework of the NI since partition, so that cannot be proffered as a change.’

    Wrong . Up to the 1998 GFA the ‘constitutional ‘ future of the NI state rested firly with HMG in London and the people (all the people of NI) did not have the right to vote themselves out of that jurisdiction into another one .

    ‘NI’s politicians and voters also have the same rights as they had before, so that cannot be proffered as a change.’

    Wrong again .

    NI politicians in terms of party politics have less power now than they had in Stormont days . Just look at the UUP then and now. Whatever power there is is shared between the DUP and SF . That’s a huge change in politics from the pre GFA periodit

    ‘it follows that violence would be once again justified if mandatory coalition is ever replaced with voluntary coalition.’

    It’s unlikely given the present circumstances in NI that ‘voluntary coalition’ could work . Not because it’s a ‘bad idea’ it isn’t – but it can only work in States which have a firm constitutional underpinning . Oddly enough these dissidents through their ‘idiocy’ may yet provide the underpinning of that constitutional legitimacy which could never be provided by Unionism alone.

    As for your Wee Gerry ? – I suggest Mr Adams is less wee than your good self;)

    .

    Scaramoosh

    ‘One would not like to think that those that dislike Adams and McGuinness, would somehow fall into the trap of seeking political capital from these deaths, in order to berate them.’

    True . Dave’s ‘sovereignty ‘ uber alles approach resembles more and more the Don Quixote world tilting at windmills . A world where sovereign Kosovo declares war on Serbia and the Irish Republic declares war on England . Bat shit mad of course just like these ‘dissidents’

  • circles

    Why does the sound of dry hands rubbing gleefully together make me sick today?
    There is something so strongly perverse in this 6 county version of extreme Schadenfreude thats making my head spin. Hardcore “republicans” and “loyalists” rolling out more or less the same arguments as to why this is probbly Adams’ fault.

    If loyalists retaliate it will be because there are the same empty headed gun-toting want-to-be heroes on the loyalist side who have nothing to offer for the betterment of the community other than shooting somebody in the head.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Adams’ defenders argue that he is merely talking to the physical force tradition in its own language. The argument however fails on its own terms. That tradition has always been vanguardist and anti-democratic. Popular support was never a prerequisite, in 1916, 1922 or 1972. A more coherent argument would be to admit that murdering 1800 people achieved nothing and that therefore a new campaign is equally doomed. I won’t hold my breath for that.

  • Henry94

    Jimmy

    Adams’ defenders argue that he is merely talking to the physical force tradition in its own language.

    Not quite. He is addressing those who are up for grabs. There is nothing he can say to the hardliners.

  • Dec

    Popular support was never a prerequisite, in 1916, 1922 or 1972

    Curiously, you omit 1919.

    A more coherent argument would be to admit that murdering 1800 people achieved nothing

    Whatever your opinion of the IRA campaign, to suggest it achieved ‘nothing’ is ludicrous.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It wasn’t a deliberate omission. There was no mandate for violence in 1919 either, quite the opposite. When I say the campaign achieved nothing, I do of course acknowledge that some did very nicely for themselves.

  • Today there is an alternative.

    I think you’ll find, Gerry Adams, that everyone is aware of the alternative, including the dissidents. It is simply a matter of confidence in your party to deliver it.

    As your party regularly put it during the Troubles, it is the views of the hard men which matter, and people like you and Maginnes don’t matter now that you’ve put the gun down.

    Prepare for a SDLP future of humiliation by people who really haven’t got a clue but who have sufficient hate to do damage to the process. As Dave suggests, their hate is for you.

  • Dec

    Whatever your opinion of the IRA campaign, to suggest it achieved ‘nothing’ is ludicrous.

    It achieved a lot less than nothing in terms of positive outcomes.

    It is probably preferable to suggest that it failed. And it unquestionably did fail in its goals, not in getting temporary support for Sinn Fein.

  • Greenflag

    jimmy sands ,

    ‘I do of course acknowledge that some did very nicely for themselves.’

    After every ‘revolution’ comes the slime of a new ‘bureaucracy ‘. Same every
    where .

    ‘There was no mandate for violence in 1919 either,’

    Somebody forget to tell the Black & Tans then . Whatever about then there’s certainly no mandate for violence now . Pity there’s no SF Justice Minister in which case a new ‘Michael Collins ‘ could be unleashed on these latter day irregulars ?