‘Just War’ or just war?

As Irish republicans prepare to remember those that have died in pursuit of a free unified Ireland, rededicate themselves to that cause and in some cases commit themselves to supporting current armed action to advance that aim I noted a comment by ‘Scaramoosh’ on this thread:

“Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted.”
– Ernesto Che Guevara

This quote has always jumped out to me as a revolutionary socialist rewriting age old ‘Just War’ theory best articulated by Thomas Aquinas:

The war must be started and controlled by the authority of state or ruler.
There must be a just cause.
The war must be for good, or against evil. Law and order must always be restored.

Later added:

The war must be a last resort.
The war must be fought proportionally

As Easter inevitably merges religion and political remembrance in Ireland I wonder if many are reflecting the legitimacy of previous ‘wars’ and if they believe that to be the case how they feel about current armed struggle some will present as ‘just’.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I prefer guevara’s quote. Though in Northern Ireland, there were problems with the creation of the state. When a state is created simply to impose a stable majority, the popular vote will be guranteed. His quote, you could argue, does not apply in this situation. I won’t however because we see there is a majority support for the GFA from those more likely to seek reunification. On top of this, I certainly would not argue that all peaceful solutions have been tried and exhausted.

  • picador

    Guevara probably read a bit of Aquinas when he was up in the hills. And he’d taken his own advice – rather than going off on the ill-conceived Bolivian escapade – he might even be alive today, nice middle-class boy that he was.

    Perhaps someone might use that quote at tomorrow’s commemorations. But I doubt it.

  • groundhog day

    when we get even an appearance of constitutional legality, then we can start to question whether the current war is justified, and after that we can even look at previous wars!!

    when a popular vote is allowed on whether there should be a united ireland, then we might just be getting to where che was talking about.

    If there was a free and open 32 county referendum on the national question tomorrow, it would be very hard for republicans to deny its legitimacy. No doubt the 1998 referendum will be raised by those who suggest that this was a form of democracy, but that referendum didn’t give any choice, either you took what was on offer or it was back to war!

    even in batista’s cuba there were elections. OK, Batista just overturned the results with a coup when he didn’t win – which is why there will never be a referendum in the terms suggested above. If it didn’t give the right result, it would have to be ignored and would give even greater justification to armed struggle.

    Or I suppose they could just tweak it and hold another referendum a few months later. I wonder what Che would have made of Lisbon?

    As someone said on an earlier thread, if voting changed anything they would abolish it.

  • picador

    No doubt the 1998 referendum will be raised by those who suggest that this was a form of democracy, but that referendum didn’t give any choice

    The choice was to vote YES or NO.

  • groundhog day

    and where was the space for voting for an alternative?

    it was the same choice that was on offer in 1921

  • picador

    it was the same choice that was on offer in 1921

    To which referendum are you referring.

  • Mark McGregor

    Picador,

    If you are using the Belfast Agreement as the basis of ending the legitmacy of armed republican struggle maybe you should reflect on how the largest governing party in the north has declared they reject that document/vote and are operating solely on the basis of the ‘St Andrew’s Agreement’ – can’t recall a vote on that.

  • Groundhog day

    peter fyfe

    I won’t however because we see there is a majority support for the GFA from those more likely to seek reunification.

    as opposed to what? i agree that the majority of those who seek reunification support peaceful rather than armed action, the point is that the majority of the people support reunification, and that democratic wish is being denied by the use of the arms of the state.

    I certainly would not argue that all peaceful solutions have been tried and exhausted

    what peaceful means haven’t yet been tried? the provisional movement has abandonned the gun, and have they been able to deliver the wish for reunification? Other than suggesting the strategy of waiting until the demographics change.

    I disagree with che if he was saying that you have to exhaust all other avenues before taking up arms to right injustice. Or if you have to resort to breeding your way to liberation (although that does sound like fun).

    There is a right to resist armed occupation by arms. That’s not to say that its always the most sensible thing to do. And that’s also not to say that all other peaceful methods should not be used as well.

    We had the ballot box and the bullet before, why not now?

  • alan56

    Does anyone think that there will ever be peace in Ireland?

  • picador

    That is just something that the DUP tell their voters. In reality they are implementing the GFA –
    as the British government insists they do.

  • groundhog day

    picking up on mark’s point – did the GFA referendum not endorse the devolution of policing and justice on the same basis as all other ministries?

    we have democracy when it suits, and the rest is imposed on us.

    the whole concept of the GFA institutions means that there is no issue that cannot be vetoed when it doesn’t suit. it embeds the status quo. How can you challenge something electorally in a system that gives your opponents the final say?

    is that not the system batista had? can we be blamed for stepping out of the electoral system to try and challenge it? Of course there is more to politics than elections.

  • picador

    We had the ballot box and the bullet before, why not now?

    Because it turned out to be a contradiction and then SF went reformist.

    Since the dawn of time people believed that the sun travelled around the Earth. The Galilleo – or was it Copernicus – said that the reverse was true. He was called a heretic for it but now more or less everyone accepts that he was correct.

    Give up your AR-15 comfort blanket.

  • alan56

    How can you challenge something electorally in a system that gives your opponents the final say?

    That is precisely the nature of politics. The assumption is that the force of argument cannot change people’s views. This assumes that unionists or nationalists will never change their views or construct some sort of compromise. I believe that the GFA was exactly that sort of reluctant and imperfect compromise. However I do not see many credible alternative compromise ideas.

  • Groundhog Day

    picador

    And if we give up the only weapon that can really hurt them, how are we supposed to fight them? And are they about to give up their comfort blanket of a well equipped standing army and armed militia.

    You are arguing for a surrender, not a strategy of politics over violence.

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    i have nothing against a system that requires politics and persuasion.

    But the GFA discourages persuasion and politics because it guarantees the veto. For true democratic politics to work, all guarantees have to be removed.

    By perpetuating an undemocratic veto, you are alienating those who would seek to use politics and encouraging people to step outside politics when it fails them so unjustly, the same way Che was encouraged when Batista denied the democratic wish of the people of Cuba.

  • Dave

    [i]’Just War’ or just war?[/i]

    Your premise is flawed. Only sovereign states have the authority to declare war. The Shinners, contrary to their self-appointed status, were not a government of a sovereign state, so they had no authority to declare a war or to engage in one. The international laws governing war and the moral arguments (such as whether or not a war between sovereign states that is not lawfully declared is considered to be a just war) do not apply. Therefore, there can be no valid discussion about a war or the doctrine of a just war in the applicable context.

    Revolution by individuals acting on behalf of a nation, however, is legitimate if it seeks is to overthrow an oppressive regime in the absence of alternative means or if it seeks to assert a right to national self-determination that is denied by an external colonial power.

    The problem here is twofold: (a) self-determination is a collective right over the applicable international law (Article 1 of the UN’s OHCHR), and (b) the nation had already secured its right to national self-determination.

    Since it is a collective right it is not – rather obviously – an individual right. That means a group of individuals cannot declare that their right to self-determination is denied by a particular political arrangement if the collective have attained that right and have exercised it to support that political arrangement. If the majority, for example, vote to fully integrate Ireland into the EU, thereby forfeiting their own right to national self-determination, then the minority have no right to use force to resist. The right to national self-determination includes the right to renounce the right to national self-determination.

    The Shinners never understood how the principle of national self-determination works. The logical conclusion for shinnerism (which propagandists try to protray as republicanism) is exactly as it has concluded.

  • alan56

    Groundhog Day

    I understand your annoyance with the veto.
    Where I disagree is that it is a one way veto. Both sides have a veto. Thats the imperfect nature of GFA. However I cannot see that ‘armed struggle’ is going to deliver anything. There is no evidence and surely the death of more Irish or British people,, usually young men, is too high a price.

  • alan56

    The right to national self-determination includes the right to renounce the right to national self-determination.

    So anyone who disagrees has the right to take up arms?

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    The fact that nationalists have a veto does not remedy the problem.

    It is set up to maintain the status quo. The status quo favours unionists.

    Dave

    the irish nation has never attained its right to self determination. 26 counties of the nation attained freedom from occupation. you are right to say that self determination is a collective right but in ireland it has not been determined on a collective basis since 1919. If it were, then the people would vote overwhelmingly for a reunited ireland.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that this collective right can be given away by a majority vote. I’m not aware of any country ever giving up its right to self determination.

    Your analogy with the EU is not correct, as any member state can chose to leave the EU at any time, and EU constitutional changes requires a referendum, even in irish free state law. And in the same way, should the irish people as a whole chose to reclaim anything that may have been lost in the past ten years, they are free to do so, if given the opportunity.

    The right of self determination is unalienable as long as there is an irish nation.

  • alan56

    Groundhog Day

    The status quo favours unionists.

    Try telling that to certain sections of DUP or TUV. They believe this is a betrayal of all they believed in.
    You could argue that the GFA undermines everything unionists stood for…
    North South Ministerial Council. FM and dFM jointly in office. The official acceptance of the Irish Language. 50/50 recruitment to PSNI.
    Yes I know it is not a promise of Irish Unity overnight, but neither is it a further move
    towards being’ As British as Finchley’!
    The logic of your argument suggests that a unionist minority would have the right to engage in armed struggle within a 32 county Ireland.

  • Scaramoosh

    Groundhog, perhaps we should introduce another “Che” into the debate.

    During the testimony of the American spy David Rupert in the opening days of the trial of alleged Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, the following information was revealed;

    “McGrane, referred to as “Shay” was introduced to Rupert as head of training for “Oglaigh na hEireann”. It didn’t click with Rupert that “Shay” was short for Seamus – “I thought they were referring to Che Guevara,” he told the court.”

    It was recently alleged in the Sunday Times and the Irish Independent that said “Che” is the current head of the group styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann.

    McGrane’s alleged speech at the 1997 Convention was quoted in Moloney’s “A Secret History of the IRA.”

    In it, he allegedly referred to “the heroic struggle of the last 27 years” and, of ensuring that “the great advances made will not be squandered.”

    In that McGrane was clearly not talking about electoral gains, could you perhaps enlighten the rest of us as to what specifically he was referring to?

    What was it, beyond electoral gains, that the 27 years of the armed struggle had done to advance the cause of a United Ireland?

    And also, could you perhaps explain why it was that the majority of the members of the IRA, decided not to hang around to capitalise upon said gains. Why was it that a majority of them either signed up to the Sinn Fein ticket, or decided to take retirement (for, example, “the Surgeon.”).

    Perhaps, after you have enlightended us as to what the military gains were that the IRA had achieved by 1997, we will be better placed to understand the logic of an argument that speaks of the legitimacy of the armed struggle.

  • ngg

    i dont give a fuck about some stupid sewer republicans. they can all go and burn in hell for all i care. people should stop reading into what they did and why they did it. the are pure scum simple as that

  • Scaramoosh

    ngg

    Thanks for your reasoned opinion 🙂

  • alan56

    ngg

    Why are you sooo pissed off with ‘sewer republicans’. Is this the vitriol that one sees when families fall out? I am not being judgemental in asking this…just trying to understand more.

  • picador

    The more I debate with so-called ‘true republicans’ the more I come to believe that their beliefs are quasi-religious: the articles of faith – armed struggle, abstentionism; the veneration of saints in the form of dead martyrs: and religious feast days such as Easter, and the 9th August. Little wonder that they are impervious to rational argument.

  • alan56

    The more I debate with so-called ‘true republicans’ the more I come to believe that their beliefs are quasi-religious:

    Picador, I think I know what you mean. If what you say is true we should be told. This does not mean their views can be disregarded. It would however mean we could engage with better understanding and knoeledge

  • Le Corbusier

    I don’t think Groundhog Day is a member of the Irish nation. He might not even be human but some kind of computer programme judging by the rather robotic responses.

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    unionists would only have a right to engage in armed struggle in a 32 county republic if they could point to some right of self determination or if they could point to some other form of injustice against them.

    i don’t deny their right to armed struggle if they are being oppressed and have no democratic avenue, and i would join them if that was the case, but on all objective standards the only thing that they would lose in a united ireland would be their veto and the privilege that goes with it.

    i don’t deny that the GFA has the potential to prevent the orange state getting any worse, but it does nothing to remove the undemocratic basis for the state itself. The state will not be able to progress on any issue that does not have the blessing of the unionist minority, it will stagnate and perpetuate the sectarian division of this country.

    it sounds as if you’re content enough with the status quo as a final settlement? would you advocate peaceful change to it? If so, how do you do that if the veto remains?

    Scaramoosh

    armed conflict made it impossible for the british to continue with their preferred option of letting the unionists rule the north as they saw fit. it also made it impossible for the british to run the place themselves by direct rule. It forced a negotiation much in the same way as the War of Independence did. These gains were squandered as McGrane and others predicted. The waste was that democracy did not fill the void when the violence stopped. And we should not be surprised when it started again.

    you talk about republicans joining the sinn fein ticket or retiring. that trend is being reversed. they are both leaving the psf ticket and coming out of retirement.

    Don’t confuse me for someone who believes armed struggle is the best or only way forward, there are many other political routes that all should be explored. But i do believe that armed struggle is justified when democracy is denied, and that those who advocate or defend a militarised state have no right to criticise others for resisting in the same vein as their oppressors.

    The aim of a legitimate armed struggle is simply to bring to an end a an unjust system. If the system is unjust, the struggle is legitimate. PIRA armed struggle didn’t end the injustice, but it did manage to replace the system.

  • Le Corbusier

    Groundhag Day: who decides the system is unjust?

  • Groundhog Day

    my republican beliefs are not rooted in religion in the slightest. i am an atheist. Perhaps that explains the roboting replies.

  • alan56

    Groundhog Day

    I would never contend that the status quo is the final settlement. In fact I have great trouble with the notion of a final settlement. Thats not the way society works. People change all the time. Opinions change. Prevailing world events change the context. Change is the nature of things.
    Surely anyone who justifies the right to armed struggle must tell us what is going to be achieved by such a loss of life. It is just not good enough to talk about the ‘right’ but you must also show what it will achieve.

  • ngg

    groundhog is a typical sewer mick. doesnt know his arse from his elbow.

    move on you ignorant fucker, your pig ignorant bunch if murderers were defeated fair and square

    ngg

  • Groundhog Day

    Le Corbusier

    that’s an impossible one to answer. what is unjust to me will be perfectly acceptable to other robots. what i believe is justified in response will be different accordingly.

    why do i think the system is unjust? simply, i don’t agree with the unionist veto, once its gone, i’d be happy enough, at least on the national question.

  • dunreavynomore

    “dont give a fuck about some stupid sewer republicans. they can all go and burn in hell for all i care. people should stop reading into what they did and why they did it. the are pure scum simple as that ”

    Posted by ngg on Apr 11, 2009 @ 08:59 PM”

    Sorry, old bean but there is no hell (apart from listening to McGuinness and Robinson) but I like your style, it gives me, one of the sewer rats, a great wee laugh!

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    you ask what will be achieved? the status quo will not be allowed to continue.

    can we replace it with something better is a question i can’t answer for sure. But i’ll certainly try.

  • Le Corbusier

    Groundhog:

    Have you ever heard of Animal Farm?

    Looks like I’ll have to dust down my old version from school. The hog in your name suddenly starts to seem appropriate.

  • alan56

    Groundhog Day

    There is no certainty the the status quo will be rerplaced as result of armed struggle.It might even create even more entrenched views. And is it not very risky to just hope it will be something better. Could we not just forget armed struggle and talk to each other…We all might be surprised on how much we could agree? (so long as we do not set absolutes as our bottom line).

  • Dave

    “The right to national self-determination includes the right to renounce the right to national self-determination.”

    “So anyone who disagrees has the right to take up arms?” – alan56

    Magic mushrooms? Did you not read the sentence preceding it?

    “If the majority, for example, vote to fully integrate Ireland into the EU, thereby forfeiting their own right to national self-determination, then the minority have no right to use force to resist. The right to national self-determination includes the right to renounce the right to national self-determination.”

    “the irish nation has never attained its right to self determination. 26 counties of the nation attained freedom from occupation. you are right to say that self determination is a collective right but in ireland it has not been determined on a collective basis since 1919. If it were, then the people would vote overwhelmingly for a reunited ireland.” – Groundhog Day

    On the contrary, the Irish nation exists and its state exists. The state is the sovereign territorial entity by which the nation exercises its right to national self-determination. A nation sans a state is a nation sans the right to national self-determination. All members of the nation are bound by the contract of self-determination. That means that you must obey the laws of the state.

    The right to national self-determination you sued for, before the people of NI renounced it in favour of the right to self-determination as members of the artificially engineered Northern Irish nation, was the right to an Irish nation-state. While you never attained the right to it, you were included as members of the Irish nation, so you entered into a contract to be bound by their collective will. That is what the collective right of self-determination means. You don’t need 100% of the nation to vote on an issue, you only need a majority with its nation-state to do so. Were it otherwise, it would be members of the Irish Diaspora who controlled the Irish nation and its state rather than its citizens.

    Even if an exception was to be made for the Irish nation who lives in Northern Ireland, you still wouldn’t have formed the majority on the issue. The collective self-determined that they would unify the island by exclusively peaceful means. You who act against them are a disgrace to your nation, and you don’t have the faintest idea about the principle of self-determination or have any trace of respect for that fundamental principle – the granite cornerstone of every nation-state and of every democracy.

    “I’m not sure where you get the idea that this collective right can be given away by a majority vote. I’m not aware of any country ever giving up its right to self determination.” – Groundhog Day

    Really? That’s what Shinnerism did in Northern Ireland when it signed up to the GFA. You now have a right to self-determination as members of the NI nation, and your former right (something that is not legitimately subject to the discretion of others) is downgraded to the status of an aspiration. Did you not notice that you can’t now can’t live in an Irish nation-state unless another nation agrees to allow you to? When you legitimatised the veto, you renounced your legitimate birthright. The Hawaiians, for example, are now classified as a stateless nation despite once being an independent republic since they renounced their right to national self-determination.

    “Your analogy with the EU is not correct, as any member state can chose to leave the EU at any time, and EU constitutional changes requires a referendum, even in irish free state law.” Groundhog Day

    This is a myth. None of the treaties have an exist clause. Since the EU has extracted 150 billion in fishing stock from Irish territorial waters, they will rightly demand that we offer them substantial compensation before we are permitted to exit that particular treaty – if they decided to grant us the permission to exist it, that is. Only the Lisbon Treaty would have contained such a clause. However, integration only goes one way – just like Hawaii wouldn’t vote itself out of the US even if it had that option. It isn’t that they wouldn’t want to leave but, rather, that they would have become too interlinked for it ever to be economically feasible to leave. And for those who contribute tens of billions to the EU such as the UK, they can’t leave because in leaving they will create their own biggest competitor on the continent. They will always stay inside the tent, no matter how unhappy they are.

    “The right of self determination is unalienable as long as there is an irish nation.” – Groundhog Day

    Yup, but so is fascism as long as a small group of violent thugs think they have the right to violate the principle of self-determination and impose their will against the will of the majority of the Irish nation. If it was down to me, I’d hang the lot of you for treason in Mountjoy. 😉

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    we can forget about armed struggle when there is an end to armed occupation. doesn’t stop us talking to each other though!!

    the status quo has not worked, and must be changed. Talking is not going to change it, the past 11 years has demonstrated that clearly. It is the veto and the division of ireland that creates sectarian divisions and the entrenched views that you fear. remove the cause, and you will have peace in ireland.

    fight for change in whatever way you feel comfortable. I don’t criticise you for not chosing armed struggle. Its not for everyone.

  • alan56

    Groundhog Day

    I am saddened by the fact that I am unable to convince you the armed struggle is futile, and indeed a grotesquely disproportionate response to your grievances. Killing fellow countrymen whether they consider themselves Irish or British is such a dead end approach. I respect your absolute right to disagree but just wish we could work out the disagreements without the danger to us all of armed force. Its why I perhaps simplistically asked in an earlier post ‘Do you think Ireland will ever be at peace’. Perhaps the simple answer is no.

  • Groundhog Day

    dave

    nowhere do you point to when the irish nation, as a whole, collectively exercised their right to self determination or gave it away.

    there has never been a state (other than the short lived revolutionary first and second daileanna) that was capable of having the right of self determination vested in it. I don’t subscribe to the view that legitimacy is still vested in those bodies, but i do know that there hasn’t been an all ireland election since and there certainly hasn’t been the opportunity for the irish people to have an unfettered vote on their status.

    the 1998 referendum has no bearing on self determination, it was a creature of partition as much as government of ireland act (which also involved similtaneous elections north and south).

    and even if you give the 1998 referendum credence, where is it written that the right to self determination cannot be regained if indeed it had been given away? self determination stems solely from the concept of a nation (which may or may not be a fascist concept), but if you accept that there is a right to national self determination, you must accept that while there is a nation, the right cannot be extinguished.

    on the eu law point, the constitutional courts of every member state would disagree with you. i don’t dissent from the view that any secession could result in the EU flexing its muscle, but that doesn’t diminish the principle of right to self determination, only the physical ability to exercise it!

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    sorry, (both for the content and for the reliance on an old cliche) but ireland unfree will never be at peace.

    To turn Che’s quote on itself,

    “Where a government has not come into power through some form of popular vote, and does not maintain at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak must be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle do not exist.”

  • alan56

    No apology needed, Groundhog Day.
    But I don’t agree with your Che premise. The government of both NI and the Republic did come about as part of a popular vote. Not a perfect constitutional arrangement, I agree,but a much more popular vote than that given to those who still espouse armed struggle

  • Reader

    Groundhog Day: nowhere do you point to when the irish nation, as a whole, collectively exercised their right to self determination or gave it away.
    Given the option, what text would you put to the Irish people as a whole for a vote on the armed struggle? And what outcome would you expect to get?

  • Groundhog Day

    alan56

    of course there is a semblance of a popular vote behind the governments north and south, but there has not been, and there cannot be with the veto in place, a popular vote on the question of national unity and self determination.

    the national question can therefore not at this stage be determined by democratic means. it is for this reason that an increasing number of republicans seek to justify the armed struggle.

    despite your understandable objection to the use of violence, i would ask you to consider also calling for a public vote on the question of irish unity, which i believe would enable ireland to finally be at peace. the two ideas are certainly not mutually exclusive.

    been at this computer much too long this evening, going to give it a break

  • Groundhog Day

    reader

    good question, that i’ll come back on before i leave for the night. needs some thought, but along the lines of “Do you support the right of the Irish nation as a whole to self determination?” although if they were asking the question, that would perhaps answer the question.

    more simply, you could ask “Do you desire a united 32 county Irish Republic”

    or many variations on the theme. also would need to consider whether a YES/NO referendum gives enough scope for a response that truly reflects public desires on the issue. From a unionist perspective, a referendum that gave the option of underpinning the veto would be fair enough, as long as there was an option that allowed the concept of reunification without retention of the veto.

    However, given my recent posts, i’d have to say that if the people voted to retain the veto, they would have the right to change their mind later on!!

    oiche mhaith

  • alan56

    Sleep well Groundhog Day

    I too have been too long here. A public vote on Irish Unity? Argueably we have had one. North and South they said that unity could only be endorsed if the people both sides of the border agreed.(GFA)
    Good night!

  • Groundhog Day

    re-reading your question, perhaps i’ve misunderstood you.

    i wouldn’t advocate a referendum on the question of “armed struggle”, not until the question of national self determination had been resolved. Any vote before recognsiing to self determination defeats the right to self determination and is therefore invalid.

    Once national self determination is unfettered, then i would vote NO in any vote on whether to continue armed struggle.

  • Turgon

    Groundhog Day,
    “i wouldn’t advocate a referendum on the question of “armed struggle””

    Presumably because at any time over the last 50 years there would have been an overwhelming majority against “armed struggle.”

    Best not to let people vote on whether or not they support murder: unfortunately for “true republicans” the overwhelming majority of Irish nationalists (north and south) have always opposed the terrorists’ murder campaigns.

    Indeed best to stick to the 1919 vote: One man, one vote, once.

  • picador

    Dave,

    Was that another cut and paste job?

    Hog,

    You still didn’t get back on that 1921 referendum. Perhaps that’s because there was none. Many of the Sinn Féiners returned in the elections to the Northern and Southern parliaments that year were return unopposed in large part due to the conditions of war that prevailed at the time. So the people had much less of a choice back then than they did in 1998!

    The Brits would be gone like a shot if they could be sure of leaving this country at peace. Bombs and bullets will not persuade a single unionist of the merits of reunification (though they might eliminate a few). About time you faced these facts

    I do note that you said that unionists have a right to armed struggle – their only crime is loyalty (ha!) – but you seem unwilling to draw the appropriate conclusions.

  • picador

    my republican beliefs are not rooted in religion in the slightest. i am an atheist.

    Have you ever met a doctrinaire socialist and observed the similarity with religious zealots? Yes, ‘true republicans’ are the same!!

  • Brian MacAodh

    I agree with Groundhog day on everything he said except for one basic point

    armed struggle, IMO, has done a better job reinforcing sectarianism in Ireland far more than partition over the past 30 years. the IRA should have supported early attempts at a reformed stormont instead of seeking a UI. if their armed struggle had ended in 1974 or so they would not have dishonored the title of being the IRA

    armed struggle became, and to some still is, not the means to an end but an end in itself

  • Dave

    [i]”nowhere do you point to when the irish nation, as a whole, collectively exercised their right to self determination or gave it away.”[/i]

    The Irish nation exercises its right to national self-determination every time it votes, and it does so exercising a collective right (Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). That’s how democracy works, kid. The Diaspora, such as those in Northern Ireland, America, Japan, et al, has no relevance to that process. You misunderstand: the Irish nation has not renounced its right to national self-determination, since the nation-state of Ireland exists. It is a small part of it that have renounced that right via the GFA process, i.e. those who are born in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom.

    I suggest you pay close attention to Article 2 of the Irish constitution, and here it is: “It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation.” The “island of Ireland” contains two separate sovereign jurisdictions. The “birthright” here (work of Martin Mansergh) is not declaring that you are born as a member of the Irish nation, for that is clearly impossible when you are born as a British citizen (your actual birthright). As one state cannot confer its nationality on the citizens of a foreign state under international law, it cleverly declares instead that you have a right to apply for Irish citizenship.

    So, your birthright is not Irish nationality but the right to apply for Irish nationality (and be granted it). This automatic grant is only of symbolic value since you, like every other citizen of EU, could enjoy all the benefits of living in an Irish nation-state under the Maastricht Treaty. Apart from complying with the relevant international law, it would be deeply offensive to the citizens of a foreign state to declare that those who are British were born as members of the Irish nation. Article 2 of the Irish constitution makes no such declaration. It basically says, “Yeah, you’re British, but you can also be Irish if you want to be.”

    That’s the irrefutable reality of it. And as it is in the Irish constitutional, it is national self-determination at work. You asked the Irish nation to agree to downgrade your former right to national self-determination as a member of that nation to the status of an aspiration that is now formally and legitimately subject to the veto of another nation, and they obliged. I’d agree, if you proffered it, that you thought you were doing the opposite, but will the rest of them agree that they were royally hoodwinked, too? No, that’s not how reality works. See, you supported the Shinners and the GFA, didn’t you? It’s only now that you realise whose puppets they were that you’ve changed your mind. Right? Your ilk is all accounted for, and as Dylan said, “It’s all over now, baby blue.”

    [i]”there has never been a state (other than the short lived revolutionary first and second daileanna) that was capable of having the right of self determination vested in it. I don’t subscribe to the view that legitimacy is still vested in those bodies, but i do know that there hasn’t been an all ireland election since and there certainly hasn’t been the opportunity for the irish people to have an unfettered vote on their status.”[/i]

    Like most shinners and neo-shinners, you exhibit an endless capacity for self-deception and for inventing an alternative wonderland to tiptoe through the tulips in.

    [i]”the 1998 referendum has no bearing on self determination, it was a creature of partition as much as government of ireland act (which also involved similtaneous elections north and south).”[/i]

    You’re going nowhere with this. If you want to pretend that Ireland doesn’t exist and that its people have no right to determine their own destiny or elect their own government, then that is between you and a good psychiatrist. But do you seriously think that I am going to accept an argument that is predicated on that level of insanity?

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    Here comes some more reality: please look away from your monitor if it is painful for you. Okay, assuming you’re still reading, self-determination is a collective right, and all collective rights are exercised by polls (yes, this does get a bit tricky in the case of colonial occupiers who tend not to allow polls to overthrow their rule, but just accept that isn’t a relevant context here and stick with me on this). Since a poll is determined by the majority vote, a collective right is a majority right. See? Now, do you know the difference between majority and minority or will I explain that too? Now what would happen if self-determination was an individual right? Well, you’d have a few million different and equally valid policy positions instead of one, wouldn’t you? That would be a tad impracticable and contradictory, wouldn’t it? So, you see, the collective decide on a policy and the minority agree to be bound to non-violence in their opposition to it. If the minority break the contract and use violence for political ends, they violate the principle of self-determination and become common criminals. It doesn’t work any other way.

    By the way, there were two seperate polls on two seperate issues held in two seperate juristictions, which the two cute hoors, Bertie Ahern and Martin Mansergh, decided to hold on the same day in order to give the false impression that there was one act of national self-determination. Contrary to the propaganda, no one in Ireland voted for the GFA. We voted on the 19th amendment (to remove the state’s claim to Her Majesty’s territory). What do you think would have happened if both juristictions voted on the same issue, with a majority in Ireland voting Yes and a majority in Northern Ireland voting No? You’d have two different results in two different juristictions, wouldn’t you? So, the minority would overrule the majority. In other words, the Unionist Veto would prevail.

    [i]”where is it written that the right to self determination cannot be regained if indeed it had been given away?”[i]

    Well, it has only been given away by those who consider themselves as members of the Irish nation in Northern Ireland. In return, they accepted that the right to self-determination that applies to them is Northern Irish. Once you accept the legitimacy of another nation holding a veto over you, on what grounds do you then declare it to be illegitimate? You can’t claim that something is illegitimate when you have declared to be legitimate, can you? All you can do is normalise British rule and try to obfuscate Irish unity as the end in itself rather than the means to an Irish nation-state for the Irish nation in Northern Ireland. So, your only strategy then is to seek to extend the political arrangements that exist in NI into Ireland, and unite the island under British rule or some variant of it or some device that, at the very least, removes the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination, encouraging them to dismantle their nation-state and replace it with an entity wherein they are de facto stateless. Good luck with that. In the real world, you won’t be getting back what you gave away.

    [i]”self determination stems solely from the concept of a nation (which may or may not be a fascist concept), but if you accept that there is a right to national self determination, you must accept that while there is a nation, the right cannot be extinguished.” [/i]

    Self-determination is the foundation of democracy – it is democracy in practice. There is nothing fascist about it. Sovereignty is key to that, since there is no point having a democracy if there is no sovereign power to exercise, is there? That’s relevant because we are in the process of giving away the sovereign powers of the state to foreign powers. Is the EU project is a direct violation of international law, specifically Article 1 of the covenant above? “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.” It is a violation if you hold that people have no right to renounce their right to self-determination. But as that right holds that self-determination can be exercised to renounce itself, it isn’t.

    The Irish Supreme Court upheld the right of the Irish people to give away their sovereignty to the EU. It did not hold that they were merely “loaning” it or “pooling” it because they were doing neither of those things when they voted for the applicable EU treaties: they were giving away their sovereignty to foreign powers with no right to reclaim them. There are no exist clauses in the EU treaties, and permission to regain those sovereign powers is solely at the discretion of those foreign powers. So, the right to national self-determination is being self-extinguished. In fact, 84% of all new laws are not devised by the Irish nation or its state at all.

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    The Americans, on the other hand, hold that self-determination cannot be given away, but they too are in the process of giving (some) of it away under Obama, so whereas they would have seen the likes of the EU project as something they would take up arms against if such foreign powers exercised their sovereignty, that may be about to change (very slowly) too.

    In Ireland, the Irish nation has a very weak grip on its nation-state. Only a fool would place a bet on the long-term survival of it. In NI, you have an emerging threat from a newly engineered nation who seek to subvert the Irish state and you always have an EU policy that allows any other member of the EU to live here. Now, do the math on this: 20% of Ireland are EU nationals, and about 30% on “the island of Ireland” are this engineered NI nation, so that put the Irish nation dangerously close to being a minority on “the island of Ireland.” Let’s ignore the NI threat and focus on the EU threat: 20% of Ireland are EU nationals, so they can be expected to support the political system that allowed them to live and work in Ireland. Add to this the growing number who feel an affinity with the artifically engineered nationalism of European, and you get a dangerously high level of people who will vote to fully integrate with the EU, i.e. to give away the remaining sovereign powers of the state to foreign powers. The Irish nation doesn’t know how close it is to becoming a stateless nation.

    [i]”on the eu law point, the constitutional courts of every member state would disagree with you. i don’t dissent from the view that any secession could result in the EU flexing its muscle, but that doesn’t diminish the principle of right to self determination, only the physical ability to exercise it!”[/i]

    Now, now… who has bought the propaganda line about sovereignty merely being “pooled” rather than given away? (As if it is legitimate for a democracy to chose not to function as such but to allow others to determine its affairs without any consideration of what its affairs actually are under one-size-fits-all laws, policies and regulation). I cited the Supreme Court case on Slugger before, and if you try Googling either “Dave” or “The Dubliner” you should find it. If the powers were not being given away, kid, there would be no need for a referendum under the Irish constitution.

  • Dave

    Closing [i]italics[/i] (Hopefully)

  • Groundhog Day

    dave

    no need to resort to allegations of insanity. i’ve put forward a view on the right to self determination, and you have put forward a view, yours is no more irrefutable than any other view i’ve seen here. You appear to believe that even if the boundaries are gerrymandered, that the result is still valid.

    not much content hidden in your rant

    picador,

    yeah, there was no 1921 referendum, i never said there was. the decision on whether to accept the treaty was debated in the second dail, but probably more importantly debated hard and long by the entire country. probably better participation than any referendum that we’ve had, although it was ultimately tested by arms. I’m no historical expert, but i suspect a referendum would not have carried the treaty. But yes, you’re right, the people were never asked directly in a referendum. Had things improved by 1998 by having a rigged referendum?

  • Peter Fyfe

    Groundhog Day

    In recent elections republicans who do not support the GFA put them selves forward as candidates. How well did they perform, they certainly did not have the endorsement of the Irish people in a fair election. If people objected to the GFA, they would not vote for parties who support it. That is not hard to understand. You ask for more peaceful alternatives. Here is a simple one, win the arguement and get the irish people to support you. If they don’t and you think it is okay to take up arms to oppose THEIR views, then you have no understanding of the word republican. What is the point of a republic if the democratic wishes of the Irish people are ignored? It took me along time to get to grips with the fact a unionist vote does not equal an armed british occupation no matter how many times you say it. Maybe you should think about that.

  • picador