How the term ‘Pogrom’ misshaped nationalist memories of the early Troubles…

Malachi O’Doherty’s excellent analysis of Catholic memories of the early days of the Troubles was the first of the Belfast Telegraph’s 1969; 40 years on. Tracking down a dead tree copy is going to be tough two days later (Ithought until Malachi kindly put the copy on his own blog): it is worth reading in full. Typically, O’Doherty pulls no punches. The two big lessons, he says, that many Northern Irish Catholics took from these early days were:

“…that the Northern Ireland state was hostile to them and that the IRA, which had failed to defend them would have to be beefed up so that it could do a better job the next time the Prods went doo-lally and descended on them.”

The seminal exposition of such truths being the routing of Catholic families the subsequent destruction of their homes in Bombay Street. An act of vandalism so focused that at least one of the families returned to discover their toilets had been filled with cement to prevent them from even considering an early return. But according to O’Doherty, the focus first appeared on the nationalist side, with a strategic attempt to tied dow a tiny police force already stretched to near breaking in Derry (where according to some who served there, none escaped injury)…

Of course, violence had been building since October 68 when a Civil Rights march in Derry was broken up by the police wielding clubs and a succession of marches had turned into major riots since, particularly in Newry, Armagh and Derry. The rioting in August was part of a plan to overstretch the police who had been drawn into a huge riot in Derry after the Apprentice Boys parade on August 12th. No shots had been fired in Derry.

I watched the Falls Road part of the operation on the second night of rioting, August 14th. The plan there was, apparently, to burn down a redbrick police station at Hastings Street, situated just where the Westlink now comes off Divis Street. The rioters would chuck stones and petrol bombs. The police fought with a combination of baton charges and ‘whippets’, Shoreland light armoured cars with mounted Browning machine guns, designed for use against an open field cross border attack.

As the rioters inched closer, the whippets would prance out of side streets to scatter them and then the baton charge would go forward and try to grab a couple of them. The other part of the rioters’ plan was a squad at the top of Divis Flats with petrol bombs. I saw them drop a milk crate of unlit bombs onto the road and when the police ran after the rioters, someone dashed a proper petrol bomb on to this to set the whole lot alight.

This was entirely a Catholic attack on the police. It was clever and it was dangerous.

  • michael

    The pope?

    You should come over to Belfast Brit.
    Looks like you would fit right in 🙂

  • DoppiaVu

    I think that Malachi’s article is great. Not because it is necessarily correct (I don’t know either way), but because it challenges received wisdom and stimulates debate.

    As a 40 something who was a babe in arms whilst all of these things were happening that would shape the environment that I grew up in, I think it’s invaluable that that people that were eye-witnesses to key events of that time give their accounts of what they saw. We’ve had a few of those recently on Slugger and they have been very enlightening.

    And, in amongst the usual crappy side-debates and personal attacks, we’ve had some interesting and revealing discussion. Well done Slugger.

  • Nevin,

    I’m not disputing that was the intention. What I am saying is that it didn’t matter who was asking for civil rights, the cause was demonstrably fair already. And the majority of the people asking for their rights did not support the long-term aims of those most responsible for organising it. The women’s movement in the south was started by a small group of left-wing women, including several prominent members of Official Sinn Féin. Does that mean in your view women shouldn’t have equal pay or access to condoms down there?

    There was plenty of sectarianism from nationalist politicians too I agree.

    Driftwood,

    I don’t know why you are focusing on McGuinness. He was uninvolved at the time. As for Chicester Clark. Of course I can blame him and the rest of the Stormont government for not providing equal rights for those they ruled. It’s an unjust thing to do.

  • JIm

    Moderator,

    What exactly is the criteria you have to fill to get barred from this site. Sinless appears only to bring rabid hatred of prods to this site using words like vermin and scum all the time.

    Brit,

    Unless someone has stolen your name you have let yourself down. Using the C18 war cry offends all Catholics and most Protestants on this site.

  • JIm

    Moderator,

    What exactly is the criteria you have to fill to get barred from this site. Sinless appears only to bring rabid hatred of prods to this site using words like vermin and scum all the time.

    Brit,

    Unless someone has stolen your name you have let yourself down. Using the C18 war cry offends all Catholics and most Protestants on this site.

  • Brian MacAodh

    I think in the late 60s many nationalists were ready to accept that they were citizens of Great Britain and were no longer trying to ignore/undermine the state they lived in. All they demanded was the same rights afforded to everyone else in Great Britain. That is what motivated most civil rights supporters, not any idea to tear down the state or to force a UI.

  • Brian:

    s/Great Britain/UK/

    Careful now. 😉

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘One more thing. Fuck the Pope and the IRA ‘

    Thats it Brit, let it all out.

  • Driftwood

    Garibaldy
    O Neill, Chichester-Clarke, Faulkner were all trying to reform the state. No blame can be placed upon them, or Heath.
    The blame lies completely with Paisley and PIRA.
    And McGuinness has started his sectarian murder campaign, including his shooting of Joanne Mathers several years later.
    The UK government moved slowly. As a conservative , I wish Roy Mason (Labour) had taken charge rather than Whitelaw. The SAS could have sorted out the whole situation -including the ‘loyalists’- very swiftly, and our troubles here sorted out very quickly.
    Alas, Paisley was allowed to spread his poison.

  • juno jones

    DopplaVu

    2 points:

    1. Holocaust revisionism “challenges received wisdom.” That doesn’t make it “great.” It’s a poor criteria for judging the merit of a piece.

    2. Malachi does send his piece out there as if it is a “challenge to accepted myths,” etc., and Mick recommends it on that basis, but in terms of published work, Malachi’s piece is an unremarkable addition to a large body of apologetics, and therefore the opposite of an audacious challenge: see Bew, Patterson, Elliott, Hennessey etc etc ad infinitum.

    Enjoy it if you want to, but don’t fool yourself into backing the lonely maverick journalist on his crusade to correct historical one-sidedness. It’s a sham.

  • I want to know who you are Pasty, because you can hide behind a pseudonym and make a public claim that I am paid to advance political ideas for Unionism, that I speak dishonestly for the sake of big money.

    I am clear about who I am. People know me and can contact me and test whether I am consistent and sincere. I haven’t a clue who you are or whether you think you can stand up for the lies you spout about me.

    Put your real name under your posts if you want to play big boys games like flinging slanders around.

  • “the cause was demonstrably fair already”

    Garibaldy, I didn’t hear too many commentators point out out that discrimination was practised by unionist and nationalist councillors or that in some places they had ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ to indulge their powers of patronage. IMO the case for the cause would have been better put if the whole story had been told; the selective approach was not just dishonest, it provided ammunition for the opposition.

    “it didn’t matter who was asking for civil rights”

    I think it does matter who’s doing the asking. If those doing the asking have fairly recently been killing people or burning out businesses then their hypocrisy will do severe damage to the cause; everyone will get tarred with the same brush.

    “women shouldn’t have equal pay ..”

    I’d put your example the other way round. If you band with the wrong supporters you lessen the chances of positive change. I looked at policing statistics recently and inter alia I noted that the chances of encountering a female Catholic PSNI officer were one in sixteen whereas it should be about one in four. I also noted that there were about 500 constables short of the prescribed number. Yet no-one is making a fuss about either. It’s a funny old world.

    BTW do you think it would have helped if the ‘Nationalist family’ had agreed to disband their form of self-imposed apartheid and had put forward proposals for shared schooling?

  • Brit

    Apologies if it offended anyone, some of my best friends etc, etc.

    It was tongue in cheek to wind up that fascist sinless whose disguting excitement at body bags doesnt seem to attrack much condemnation here (perhaps because he is best ignored). I reacted emotionally because members of my extended family served in Afghanisatn and Iraq.

    I would usually refrain from uttering a slogan associated with loyalist bigots and the Far Right, neither of whom share my politics and is the language of sectarianism – which I oppose.

    That said any progressive left-liberal could make a strong case for antagonism to the Pope – both the current Pope and the institution of the Catholic Church. The progressive case against the IRA is self-evident.

    I was somewhat tired and emotional after Spurs unlikley victory but I sincerely apologise.

  • DoppiaVu

    Juno Jones

    “1. Holocaust revisionism “challenges received wisdom.” That doesn’t make it “great.” It’s a poor criteria for judging the merit of a piece.”

    Holocaust revisionism is easily refuted by reference to the many accounts of those who lived through it – i.e the evidence. What i like about this article was that it is evidence-based. Now, I don’t know if the evidence is selective, biased, or otherwise. So since you clearly disagree with the piece, let’s see your evidence to the contrary.

    “Enjoy it if you want to, but don’t fool yourself into backing the lonely maverick journalist on his crusade to correct historical one-sidedness. It’s a sham.”

    Ok so it’s a one-sided sham. Tell me why. Preferably with reference to actual evidence/eye-witness accounts. Then we might start getting somewhere useful with this.

  • Driftwood,

    They had plenty of chances to reform the state before any conflict started. And they not only ignored those chances but opposed them. That’s why they are culpable.

    As for your SAS comment. How did it work out every time the British Army killed a member of a paramilitary group? It created more support. Never mind the several times they killed groups of civilians.

    Nevin,

    All corruption needed to be rooted out on both sides of the border. The reforms advocated by NICRA would have removed all chances of doing it.

    I disagree that it matters who does the asking. It’s the issue itself that is at stake. The point I was making about the feminist movement is that no-one else was organising for this democratic demands.

    If it were up to me I’d ban every religious school everywhere in the world.

  • “I disagree that it matters who does the asking.”

    You don’t have a problem with hypocrisy, Garibaldy? Why do you think New Militant Republicanism scorns Adams and McGuinness?

    “The reforms advocated by NICRA”

    These didn’t deal with the south or with the self-imposed apartheid I referred to earlier and the examples of discrimination provided were partisan. It was a project with the roots of its own destruction already built in.

    If you support the 32-county socialist project promoted by the likes of Desmond Greaves and the Connolly Association then reform of the NI state is irrelevant. Hence my reference to smokescreen.

  • I don’t think there is an inherent contradiction in seeking reform as well as revolutionary change.

    NICRA was limited to NI, but the programme advocated by socialists wasn’t. If you look at the United Irishman of the time you will see condemnation of religious education, and condemnation of nationalist politicians too. But the overwhelming problem was the voting system, and its consequences for jobs and housing.

  • “I don’t think there is an inherent contradiction in seeking reform as well as revolutionary change.”

    Perhaps that might apply in a situation where there weren’t opposing state aspirations, Garibaldy, but it’s my understanding that the projected revolution was designed to overthrow the conservative establishments in Belfast and Dublin by violent means – as the final piece in the jig-saw.

    Why establish NICRA in the first place if the desired outcome was revolutionary change on the whole island?

  • The creation of a socialist republic was certainly the ultimate aim.

    Why establish NICRA in the first place? To get things that people were entitled to, and to improve the material conditions of people’s lives. So getting the ban on the Republican Clubs and the sale of the United Irishman reversed. The right to vote. And the possibility of getting a house or a job without discrimination. The whole point of the rethink of the 1960s was to engage with the real life problems of the people instead of fantasy politics about the second Dáil and unity through force. Hence the Dublin Housing Action Committee, and the campaign against ground rent etc.

  • “And the possibility of getting a house or a job without discrimination.”

    So why not tell the whole story about discrimination/patronage, Garibaldy? Why not give examples of discrimination by all of the guilty parties?

    “Why establish NICRA in the first place? To get things that people were entitled to”

    So why not establish an all island body rather than focus exclusively on the transgressions of unionists?

    “The creation of a socialist republic was certainly the ultimate aim.”

    So why not show the true colours – and the stage three violent aspect? If it was known to the political establishments in Belfast and Dublin why hide it from Joe and Josey Public, whether they had a local government vote or not?

  • Nevin,

    The United Irishman was banned in the north, making it difficult to get information into people’s hands. Whose fault was that? And the goal was revolutionary change. From what I can remember there was an expectation that ultimately that might have to involve violence, but not necessarily, and certainly not for the foreseeable future. The reorganisation that was taking place and the building up of political struggle reflects this new goal.

    I can only imagine that the theory was that in removing the conditions that provided for discrimination – in particular the voting system and local government control of the allocation of housing – then it would solve all forms of it no matter who it came from. The difference I suppose was that the unionists were those who had built the system, and they were the only ones defending it.

    There was all-Ireland agitation. But some of those involved in NICRA would not have joined an all-Ireland body, as not everyone involved in it wanted a united Ireland. Part of the idea of focusing in the north was so that the unionists could not use an all-Ireland body as an excuse for ignoring just demands for equal rights. Let’s not forget that they had only recently agreed to accept the northern committee of the ICTU.

    Any way you cut it, whether you like the aims of those involved in civil rights or not, the system was deeply unjust and morally and politically indefensible. Those who resisted change are those who bear the most blame.

  • Brits Out

    “O Neill, Chichester-Clarke, Faulkner were all trying to reform the state. No blame can be placed upon them, or Heath.
    The blame lies completely with Paisley and PIRA.”

    So the people who ran the Orange faschist state and Faulkner who introduced internment have no blame.

    Brit: go to Iraq or Afghanistan yourself and stop whinging about your imperialist family

  • “not everyone involved in it wanted a united Ireland.”

    Garibaldy, would it not be fair to say that those armchair and militant socialists who initiated NICRA were very much in favour of an, er, 32-county Cuban-style Ireland? There will always be those who get conned into such a project if its ultimate goals are well enough disguised.

    “Those who resisted change are those who bear the most blame.”

    Now that’s a very long (unionist and nationalist) list in terms of the socialist project that I’ve outlined. Socialists may have been small in number but their actions soon propelled us into what became known as the Troubles.

  • I’m not really sure why you insist on calling them armchair socialists given their activism in NICRA. The goals of NICRA were well defined, and moderate. And just. For some that was enough. For others, it was the first step. Goulding issued a statement after the rioting in August 1969 pointing out that the republican movement had supported NICRA “in the genuine hope that reforms obtained by constitutional agitation would provide a framework within which a peaceful settlement might be arrived at to the outstanding problems of our people.”

    I would disagree that there was disguising of the ultimate aims. One only had to look at the United Irishman (if you could get it) or the interviews conducted by Republican Clubs members.

    It is indeed a very long list Nevin. But what turned peaceful protests into a crisis and then into the Troubles was the reaction of the state and the most reactionary elements of unionism. Had there been reforms in 1964 or 1966 when they had been asked for there would have been no Troubles. Or in the aftermath of 5th October 1968, when the unionist cabinet plotted to wriggle out of the reforms London began to seek; or at any point before August 1969 had London got its act together and insisted in British rights for British citizens.

    If peacefully marching for civil rights produced a vicious and oppressive response from the state, then the state was rotten to the core. And so were the politics of many of its supporters.

  • Garibaldy, it seems that Goulding was being economical with the truth in that August 1969 statement. There’s no mention there of the intended violent overthrow of the Belfast and Dublin governments of states ‘that were rotten to the core’.

    What you describe as acts of peaceful marching come across in Bardon’s History of Ulster as opportunities for provocation. Eamonn McCann, “Our conscious if unspoken strategy was to provoke the police into over-reaction and thus spark off a mass reaction against the authorities”. IIRC Hume’s DCAC was formed in the aftermath of the October 5 debacle, an event instigated AFAIK by Derry socialists and acquiesced to by NICRA.

    I’m not sure that there’s that much difference between the reactionary elements of unionism and their nationalist counterparts.

  • The statement refers to an independent democratic republic with UN supervision to ensure equality and civil rights for all as a step towards the socialist republic. The overthrow of capitalism is enviasged, but not necessarily violently.

    There was an element of provocation in some marches, but not all. You’re right that Hume formed a new group afterwards to try and head off the growth of socialism. Why was October 5th a debacle though? There would have been no need for the march at all had the Stormont regime responded to requests from the NLIP for civil rights earlier in the 1960s. The NILP did not want to replace either state on the island but could recognise the need for change. The tragedy is that the UUP absolutely refused to do so until forced to confront it. But even then there was plenty of time to avert violence.

  • sinless

    “The tragedy is that the UUP absolutely refused to do so until forced to confront it. But even then there was plenty of time to avert violence.”

    Not when you are dealing with Orange thuggery, like Scum Paisley. The first bombs were set off by Paisleyites pretending they were the IRA. The ruse backfired when one of the scum blew himself up. The scum just wanted the excuse to go in and massacre Catholics: 1920, 1641. SAame circus, different scum.

  • Garibaldy, I hadn’t included NILP in the grouping of socialists that sought a Cuban-style Ireland. I don’t think Belfast or Dublin saw it as a threat to either state. Also, I don’t recall NILP opposing nationalism’s self-imposed apartheid.

    The previous troubles were still rampant in the early 60s and IIRC local government reform was being debated in Stormont in 1966. Hence my reference to Phelim O’Neill. IIRC he proposed getting rid of all the urban and district councils and just having a council for Belfast and each of the six counties – something like that any way.

    BTW I’m trying to get the Stormont Papers back online again. AHDS seems to have a glitch in the system.

  • Sure Nevin, I wasn’t suggesting they be included either. But what I am saying is that there were representations made for reform by groups who couldn’t raise the objections that you are raising, and that nothing happened then either. The Stormont regime is at fault for that.

    The key question is the voting system, which I don’t think O’Neill was seeking to change, though I may be wrong. The fact his plans went nowhere says a lot.

  • Reader

    Garibaldy: The key question is the voting system, which I don’t think O’Neill was seeking to change, though I may be wrong.
    The voting system was reformed in every respect but PR by the end of 1968. PR may have been a step too far – but your remarks on the previous page suggest that you don’t acknowledge the 1968 reforms at all.

  • Garibaldy, I’ve dealt with the need for comprehensive reform, north and south; you’re restricting yourself mainly to the transgressions by unionists in the north. Why do you remain silent on the transgressions by nationalists in the north? Is your nationalism more important than your socialism?

    What happened to social protest in the south? Was there some sort of deal done to limit the campaign to the north?

  • Reader,

    I mentioned earlier that the voting system was key partly because of the power it gave to discriminate in housing as well. That had yet to be fixed. I have acknowledged the 1968 reforms, but the Stormont regime did its level best to limit them, and they did not resolve important issues. That is why I continue to say that there was a vital chance missed between the last months of 1968 and August 1969.

    Nevin,

    I’ve agreed with you entirely about the need for comprehensive reform north and south. I’ve also condemned the misuse of power by nationalists. But what I have said is that unlike the UUP they were not committed to the defence of the system that permitted them to do that. I am a socialist, and in no way a nationalist, and I have no time for the sectarian politics of either unionism or nationalism. As for my concentration on the north here, this is a thread about how the Troubles came to pass.

    Social protest in the south continued at a high level, with the same people who were involved in NICRA heavily involved in tenants’ agitations (the Dublin Housing Action Committee for example grew in strength into the early 1970s), trade union disputes, language rights, student protest etc. The paranoia within the Dublin establishment that you mentioned earlier persisted, and there was a document released under the 30 year rule a few years ago demonstrating this. Those social protests were linked to a politicisation process that began to bear fruit in organisational transformation and electoral results by the end of the 1970s and the early 1980s.

    A deal may have been done with the Provisionals, but they were much much much less interested in social protest in the first place. In fact many who joined the Provisionals did so precisely as a rejection of it.

  • “this is a thread about how the Troubles came to pass.”

    I appreciate that, Garibaldy, but the socialist project that we’ve discussed was in a sense both nationalist and socialist. It can’t be dealt with IMO by looking at the north in isolation.

    “I’ve also condemned the misuse of power by nationalists.”

    Did you have anything to say about the selective use of information (on multi-party discrimination) by the essentially socialist driven CRM? I referred to the ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ earlier. I can see why nationalists would have remained silent but what did socialists have to hide?

    BTW, I found the unionist-nationalist-socialist nuancing much more illuminating than the conventional unionist-nationalist approach. Perhaps that well known socialist, Gerry Fitt, indulged in a little bit of patronage himself 😉

  • Sean

    Mick is on here all the time deriding the “futuring” as he calls it

    But Nevin and Reader are always on here futuring the past, what would have happened if the taigs had just accepted what was offered? Too bad they didnt!

    And the changes were in the books does any one really believe they would have been anything but a paper tiger?

    Its fine to change the law but not if you have no intention of backing the paper changes with real action

  • Sean, I’m having a discussion with Garibaldy inter alia about the socialist dimension, a dimension that seems to get swamped in the unionist v nationalist debate.

    Garibaldy, the Stormont Papers** are accessible again. Here’s a Sean Garland quote (June 23, 1968) from the United Irishman that was read out in Stormont. I understand Sean was a militant socialist and sometime member of the IRA Army Council.

    There are no longer two different types of republicans; physical force men and politicians. We in the Republican Movement must be politically aware of our objectives and must also be prepared to take the appropriate educational, economic, political and finally military action to achieve them.”

    Sean’s context was the island of Ireland whereas the Provisionals military action was to be limited to the UK.

    On the following page for July 24, 1968, are words from the previous day’s Irish Times attributed to Gerry Fitt.

    “Nothing could be gained from speeches at Stormont and Westminster.”

    “The time for action had arrived. By changing the situation in Derry change would follow not only in the North but the rest of Ireland as well.”

    “Mr. Fitt declared that if it was not possible to get reform by constitutional methods people in Derry and all over Northern Ireland who are victims of this system will have to end these wrongs by any means at their disposal.

    It’s not surprising in the aftermath of the build-up to the socialist ‘revolution’ that the Irish state moved against the then socialist leadership of the IRA and the Catholic hierarchy via John Hume moved against NICRA.

    **It may be necessary to refresh the URL link several times to get past the ‘Done’ message.

  • sinless

    Speaking of the William Walker/NILP soft end of Unionism is like speaking of the soft side of the Waffen SS.
    The Orange fascist ideology never let room for anything else to take root. The Maurice Hayes types are merely the house slaves who feed off the field hands.

    Fact is: Stormont was Britian’s equivalent of South Africa (also put in place by the Brits). All who benefited have blood on their hands.

  • Nevin,

    I think that there was a reference to the abuse of power by nationalists in some of the documents produced by either the CSJ or NICRA but I can’t say 100% for certain. Certainly they should have raised this issue if they didn’t. What is clear is that the system was built upon discrimination by unionists in their own interest. And so it was legitimate to point this out, and challenge it. What NICRA was trying to do was achieve maximum unity in favour of change. Which nationalist politicians were, even if they abused the situation where they could.

    I’ve read the Garland quote. You’ll also note the bit in response where Austin Currie points out that the rest of the population couldn’t read that because the paper was banned.

    The military action as perceived there would certainly be at the very end of the process of building for revolution.

    The Fitt speech is certainly most interesting. Although he does say IF it was not possible to get reform through constitutional means. They were being tried first and foremost.

    And I agree it’s no surprise that the forces of reaction moved against the socialist challenge, and did so by promoting sectarian politics.

  • Mick Fealty

    sinless,

    We once had a policy of automatically banning three words: bigot, scum and vermin. All three were a good indication that the conversation had lost its civility, and people were bashing stereotypes around.

    I stopped that because when people got fed up with the banality of it all, and people began to ante up more serious arguments. I’ve no intention of re-introducing the ban, you could show us the courtesy of antiing up with something more substantial than a venting spleen..

  • “What NICRA was trying to do was achieve maximum unity in favour of change.”

    Garibaldy, but the tactic of street confrontation – a fashion of the 60s, in the context of our history, ran counter to any prospect of socialist unity for the island. Did they have no historians who could have pointed this out to them? A T Q Stewart’s “Narrow Ground” covers our patterns of conflict.

    Fitt’s call for extra-parliamentary action in July 1968 could easily have been interpreted by friend and foe alike as a call for military action sooner rather than later.

    Liam O Comain has this to say about the republican role in the CRM:

    The clandestine nature of the original Derry meetings as well as others taking place throughout the north was based upon the need for republicans to keep a low profile. This was done precisely so that the Civil Rights movement would attract diverse political tendencies. Not all republicans of the time agreed with the ‘new venture’ for sadly the movement split in due course. Which raises the question of whether those who supported the venture were seeking the mere democratisation of the northern state. There were those who apparently inclined in that direction but to state categorically that was not the objective of republican participation in the civil rights movement.

  • sinless

    Nevin: All of the points you try to make are covered in the Sticky/Provo split papers. Joe Tout Cahill and other Provos were also bit players in NICRA. Your line is Paisley’s line: it was all a big IRA conspiracy.

    The fact is the Orange state was a fascist apartheid state with the most shocking forms of discrimination against the local people. NICRA was modeled on the street marches of US Negroes (a term MLK Jr used). When the fascism of the B Specials, RUC and other Protestant militias was exposed: beating the locals to pulp, gassing the Bogside etc, the entire island rocked.
    Some groups: FF, the Sticks, MI5, Joe Cahll’s group etc , manipulated things their way, as did NICRA after the 2nd Paras massacred unarmed protesters in Derry.

    Not everyone will stand up to SS/ B Special/RUC/UDR thugs. That is where those who later volunteered into the PIRA came in.
    Even in voter impersonation, Provos will take bigger chances as they have less to lose. Those with little to lose got involved and made up the cannon fodder of PIRA.

    The first major PIRA gunbattle was to stop the Short Strand and St Mathew’s Church getting gutted by the Protestant hordes and hteir RUC trigger men.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom This wil ldo for the moment. The pogrom was orginally a gig whereby the Cossacks would tacck and slaughter Jews for the crack, so they would know their place.

    Catholics too had to know their place or get slaughtered. Thus, the term slaughter is entirely appropriate.

    bigot, scum and vermin: These words do have a use and forceful language does too. How, for example, should one describe the Waffen SS? Or Belfast sectarian killers who rape a woman in front of her mentally retarded child, then kill her and stuff her stomach with bricks? How does one decribe Co Antrim people who gather outside of a catholic church and intimidate old ladies going into it? Or those who torch an entire family to death? Rhetorical questions maybe but I am off to read about how the Waffen SS’ peace keeping missions have been misintepreted by the Catholic Poles for their own nationalistic and irredentist reasons. Of course, to get a good handle on that would take more substantial and credible sources than Wikipedia and therein lies the problem with forums such as this.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    Now that Godwin’s Law has been invoked, you wouldn’t awfully mind fucking off sinless? You’re bigotry and hatred are stinking up every post on this site.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    I meant ‘your’ not ‘you’re’.

  • “Your line is Paisley’s line: it was all a big IRA conspiracy.”

    Sinless, that’s not, er, my line. Perhaps you haven’t taken the time to read what I’ve posted – or you’ve not understood it.

  • Mick Fealty

    They also mostly indicate the person using them has lost the plot…

  • Nevin,

    NICRA was mostly against street marches that might be seen as provocative for precisely the reasons you suggest. Again I don’t disagree that the democratisation of the state was not seen by some as the first step in a broader programme. But that does not mean that the cause of democratisation was unjust. Or that it shouldn’t have taken place.

  • sinless

    bigot, scum and vermin: These words do have a use and forceful language does too. How, for example, should one describe the Waffen SS?

    The Waffen SS finished the war as Europe’s most politically and culturally diverse group. Whereas the US forces still had segregation, the SS would take all comers as cannon fodder. The French SS were Berlin’s last defenders.

    The point? Poeple would still describe this culturally diverse group as bigors, scum and vermin. They are the appropriate words and no indication of a plot lost of otherwise.

    To even hint that the word pogrom is over playing what Protestants did to Catholics in the early days of the Troubles (Bombay St etc)is a much more extreme abuse of the English language than calling the B Specials and their ilk bigots, scum or vermin.

    What irks about using those words is the Protestant Orange state built itself on pre suppositions of superiority: throwing pennies to the paupers off Derry’s walls etc.

  • “NICRA was mostly against street marches that might be seen as provocative”

    Garibaldy, I understood that those who opposed the Dungannon and Derry events were in a minority otherwise they would not have taken place under the NICRA banner.

    I’m all for democratisation, especially holding power to account [see NALIL blog], but I’m opposed to rights being used as a smokescreen for an entirely different project ie a Cuban-style Ireland. Also, those who’ve taken life and destroyed livelihoods are not the best role models to promote a culture of rights and responsibilities.

  • Nevin,

    The Dungannon march was entirely peaceful, although it was attacked. I blame those doing the attacks, not the marchers. The Derry march – at least according to the Derry wans – succeeded in securing NICRA support because the NICRA Executive didn’t realise the geography of the city. Having said that, the reason it was provocative was because it was the first non-unionist march to head for the city centre. What does that say?

    I take your point about lives, although people were moving past that. Plus there is the point that few others, and especially those not in the most powerful position to do so, were promoting such a culture.

  • Garibaldy, the only violence referred to by Bardon at Dungannon was that used by police who batoned some Young Socialists who attempted to break through the police barricade. Was there other violence not mentioned by Bardon used against the essentially anti-Union and anti-Unionist marchers?

    Bardon claims that NICRA representatives agreed to a march along a traditional Protestant route in Derry, later tried to prevent the banned march but subsequently rolled over in the face of DHAC determination to proceed [my summary].