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.