‘I keep my eyes wide open all the time’ – walking the line

In days gone by one of the most popular forms of protest in West Belfast was the ‘white line picket’ – SF seem to have given up on it as a ‘tactic’ but I was surprised to see the length of one recent picket on the Falls in support of political status for republican prisoners.

Just as I was surprised at the numbers turning out for éirígí’s first proper Easter commemoration in Belfast.

Tis the patriot game.

  • lamhdearg

    Three side drums 5 on flute and 2 base drums, I bet they sound great.

  • Mark McGregor

    ld,

    I’m stunned éirigí have went from nothing to having any sort of band and that crowd in Belfast in less than 2 years.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Reminds me of “Re-Enactors”, apparently the most popular hobby in USA. Hundreds of thousands of them re-enact a Civil War battle or simply have a camp every weekend.
    Standing on a white line on the Falls Road is probably the same thing.
    As both the American Civil War and our own little problem are over…..its actually quite educational to see this kinda thing. And its a great pity that the school (St Kevins) was closed for Easter as having a re-enacting protest on the door step is a good educational thing.
    As in USA accuracy in uniform is essential and good to see so many of the re-enactors made a valiant effort to look like the real deal from the 1980s.

  • Cynic2

    All those people waiting in vain for the rapture.

    How many were wearing their PJ’s this year?

  • lamhdearg

    Mark
    Let us know when they get the balls to stand against gerry, Then we can count the numbers.

  • Mark McGregor

    Cynic,

    You got to count. How many jammies did you see? I got zero.

  • Mark McGregor

    ld,

    Why would they? They’ve been pretty honest on where they are at:

    http://eirigi.org/latest/latest090410.html

  • Drumlins Rock

    bit breezy,

  • Keithbelfast

    That’s some random marching from the eirigi colour party.

  • Ulick

    At first sight the éirígí commeration seems impressive until you consider that this was effectively a national commeration given the amount of people there from down the country. A fair amount of those aren’t even members but the personal following of a certain jailed republican and seem to be under the delusion there is an armed wing hidden in the undergrowth. Also dissapointing to see the increasing number of spidy hanger-ons presumably suffering from the aforementioned delusion.

  • lamhdearg

    Mark
    “republican participation in this election would, in éirígí’s opinion, be unwise.”. Reason, they dont have the numbers, You ask cynic “to count”, Count the people i would say 300, There where more people at may grannie’s funeral last week.

  • brendan

    The Patriot Game. Sweet Jesus.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Yes some of the cemetry boys looked a bit uncomfortable at being in a big scary city like Belfast.
    Are the “Republicans” in Maghaberry any nearer to getting political status as a result?
    Er……no.

  • Even if it were just about numbers/minorities or majorities?

    Most of those U witnessed in the videoes are those who put PSF on the electoral map and spent years of their lives inside and prosecuting a Guerrilla Campaign against British Oppression!

    Not as easy to dismiss now are they…

    Please explain to me, why PSF boycotted today’s Unified Rally @ Maghaberry chara?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Actually Ardoyne Republican ……they are very easy to dismiss…..

  • lamhdearg

    “Most of those U witnessed in the videoes are those who put PSF on the electoral map and spent years of their lives inside and prosecuting a Guerrilla Campaign against British Oppression!”.
    Was that in a past life A.R. quite a few of them look a bit young to have fought the brits back in the day, I will find them easy to dismiss as long as they refuse to stand up and be counted.

  • If U believe that Republicans taking to the streets once again, especially in the middle of an election Campaign, then U must be blind to our history chara.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Actually there are two kids at 1.25 on a white line who are probably no more than 7 years old. And nice to see cross community support from Red Hand Luke at 2.13.

  • welcome to our planet bourgeois

  • Ulick

    Your oul hole AR, there’s a few ex-prisoners there who did fcuk all after getting released in the early 90s only to reappear as the voice of authentic republicanism after ’98. Others I see were nothing but usless drink talkers. Granted there are some good people involved there but they are few and far between, mostly centred around the Dublin based éirígí activists.

  • Lamh Dearg, I stated ‘most’ above not ‘All’….

    Sorry to disappoint but PSF are on their own in this election with no-one else to blame for their failure to secure Irish Unity.

    Maybe that’ll change for next year’s Council elections, who knows but the number of seasoned ‘dissenters’ are growing…

    Just imagine what another will bring eh?

  • Stephen Blacker

    Mark

    Does Eirigi support the RIRA?

  • lamhdearg

    imagine your ma had a d**k,then she could have been your da.Crude i know but then so is the thought that another “year” (i presume) will bring eriigi election success.

  • lamhdearg

    anyone in belfast just hear what sounded like a bomb going of?.

  • Ulick, no need for silly verbal insults okay!

    How would U know who did or didn’t do anything but become useless drink talkers??

    I guess, your’e another one of these reformed Republicans who believe whatever the PSF Leadership told them?

    If so, how come all these ould drink-talkers helped put PSF where they are today and were sound until they were cast aside by the same Leadership when the time came for a full revision of Irish Republican politics to suit the few!

  • Stephen Blacker

    lamhdearg,

    posts on Twitter say it might have gone off in East Belfast?

  • iluvni

    yes, what the hell was that?

  • Heard an exlosion myself but thought it was around the city centre??

    There’s a Copter now up….

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry folks this thread ain’t for ‘bomb’ talk.

  • Halfer

    Both events brought out substantial numbers Mark, which is no great shakes in the bigger scheme of things.

    Issues like this can provide common ground for Independent Republicans to get together and cross pollenate ideas and more importantly, challenge each others positions.

    I’m hearing talk of a United and Independent Hunger Striker Commemoration in Belfast in the next few weeks which will be no more than a reasonably sized march, but I find that the real benefits are found in the interaction between participants.

  • Seosamh913

    Halfer

    What real benefits might those be and who benefits exactly ?

  • Halfer

    Those various groups and individuals taking part seosamh. The discussions between them I find valuable as it allows me to give my opinions to them and for them to challenge my own.

    From these events, collective strategies may be gotten.

  • Seosamh913

    Halfer

    Collective strategies for what exactly – just the prisoner political status issue or what else, is it in all honesty not much more than a disaffected pan-nationalist talk-fest or is there anything genuinely new and interesting coming through to share ?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I do of course despise the dissidents. But beneath their blather and bluster there IS actually an issue that Sinn Féin can address.

    In the name of Creative Ambiguity and the “Process”, it has become fashionable to peddle the belief that Sinn Féin and the IRA are different organisations.
    It has since the 1970s (even when SF was banned) been a central tenet in SF-IRA circles. “we cant speak for the IRA” was never convincing.
    It was likewise at one time necessary for Unionists (UUP and DUP) to talk of “Sinn Féin-IRA” as a reason for not talking etc. Now as noted on a previous thread only Jim Allister and I use that term.
    It is now in the DUP and UUP interest to play down the IRA.
    And of course the governments.
    Creative Ambiguity is the worst feature of the Peace Process and Im afraid will eventually be its unravelling.
    Mr Fealty states in another thread…..and I have no reason to disbelieve him that the BBC recently cleared a story with the IRA.
    They did WHAT?
    Surely the IRA does not exist?
    Is it nota big story that it still does……in spite of all assurances to the contrary?
    Where is the so called Media?

    Supporting Creative Ambiguity of course. Yet after 12 years of the GFA it is surely time to give up the fiction that the IRA is at the heart of government. Apart from a few voters who will vote for Jim Allister, very few actually care now. If half of the Sinn Féin members in the Assembly started wearing black berets and dark glasses would it actually be anything more than “optics”?

    The dissidents…..in part formented by those like Ruairi O’Bradaigh who were born to be dissident have bought into this. It suits O’Bradaighs caveman mentality that the IRA has been squeezed out.

    There is too much ambiguity in Republican circles. Clearly some victims families are outside the “process”. Many are within it. Many have just stopped caring enough. Grandchildren are simply more important.
    Yet I think Sinn Féin CAN do more.
    The annual rolls of honour get a little longer as people die from “natural causes” and its safe to add them as a “volunteer”.
    There is a group/groups solemnly known as “ex-prisoners” and its a kinda code to show that they are “unrecognised” volunteers.
    And a third category of “lifelong Republican activist” code for someone with a high SF profile whose greater involvement cannot now be stated.

    There are gaps in the system. For example, a recently deceased lifelong Republican (if you get my drift) was buried without a “proper” funeral. His ex-…….er ex-comrades were unsure about how the family would feel. Seemingly the family were unsure about who to approach.
    Either way ex-prisoners, lifelong Republicans, dissidents were discomforted by the fact that the deceased “deserved better” (their views not mine).

    I understand people like the NGA have a role to play. But it involves the IRA ……oops lifelong Republicans and SF being a bit more “open” about things.
    Is Mr Fealty right? Is there still a structure? I believe there is. And a vaccuum is filled by their disengagement.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Mark McGregor,

    Just before you closed down this site last night, because people were trying to find out about a possible bomb going off in our Capital City in Northern Ireland,I asked you if Eirigi support the RIRA, the same people that sent us the proxy bomb.

    You seem to be a follower of Eirigi with previous comments you have made, I just want you to confirm what I think I already know!

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Ardoyne Rep: ‘prosecuting a Guerrilla Campaign against British Oppression!’

    AR can you briefly outline how you’re currently being oppressed by the British?

  • Brian MacAodh

    “Sorry to disappoint but PSF are on their own in this election with no-one else to blame for their failure to secure Irish Unity.”

    And how exactly were they to bring this Unity? Through continuing their futile, low intensity terror campaign?

    I’m seriously beginning to question the sanity of most dissident republicans. Unity will only happen when nationalists have the numbers. That was true 40 years ago, it’s true now.

  • Seosamh913

    Brian MacAodh

    Yes and even then it’s far from a formality. More importantly, we should be debating not how and when but why and, if you like, why not. But given the dismal state of affairs in the south there are vastly more important things to discuss right now which I dare say some of which at least addresses the materialist concerns of some of those turning to the likes of eirigi, preoccupying themselves with mere distractions rather than, with respect to perhaps some of them, educating themselves and engaging with the issues which impact them, and many of the rest of us, in the here and now. Real things, not imaginary things. I think they’ll find that it was not British imperialism which brought about the recession/depression in the 26 counties and nor will it be some elitist self-pitying death cult 1916 crusade that will correct it either.

  • Halfer

    Seosamh,

    I don’t know. Maybe new strategies will be confined to the prixoner issue or maybe there will be something greater and more worthwhile. That’s what I hope will come out of these joint actions.

  • Alias

    The new message is that it doesn’t matter if the Irish nation is sovereign or not because you can’t eat sovereignty but it does matter that the Irish nation should eat (and not just notoriously unreliable potatoes) so as long as the British nation – which is sovereign – allows the Irish nation to eat then it should worry its wee collective heads about such matters as the right to determine its own affairs. It’s not much of a message unless you’re hungry…

  • Alias

    *shouldn’t, rather

  • aquifer

    Thanks for opening the Republican Broadcasting Corporation comment zone Mark.

    “Sorry folks this thread ain’t for ‘bomb’ talk.”

    Or else what? How long can we keep the thickness of a piece of paper between irish separatism and violence? Non violent protest and murder made a poor mix last time out, we are sick of the hypocricy and futility of it. Doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result is an obsessive compulsive order, not a political programme.

    Lets talk about unlawful internment of a taxi driver whose “family were held hostage in their own home”

    Enough please.

  • Cynic2

    Mark

    Re PJs …. that’s great to see. The Shinenrs blazed the trail and now we can see this lot following what might be called the traditional route. Soon it will be Armani

  • Cynic2

    “against British Oppression”

    ….. MOPE!!!!!!!!

  • Alias

    The other side to that Devil’s bargain of injecting members of murder gangs into the political process as the price for an end to their activities only buys an end to [i]their[/i] activities.

  • old school

    That was actually quite inspiring to see the turnouts in West Belfast.
    Finally!!
    Are people in W.B now losing their fear of the Stalinists?
    From little acorns…

  • old school

    Disappointed with the music though. The title made me think it would be Johnny Cash, and not Christy Moore.
    Much prefer Johnny to be honest.

  • Drumlins Rock

    wow I actually agree with Old School for once!

  • old school

    In time, you all will.
    Just let go…

  • Michaelhenry

    seen a picture in todays irish news which showed dissidents holding a banner saying, 10 men died for what, these idiots should know that the 10 who died did so for 5 demands which there comrades got, even today the dissidents and other prisoners get to wear there own clothes and no prison uniform because provo and i.n.l.a members died on hunger strike.

  • Peter Fyfe

    MichaelHenry

    Is that all it was for? Clothes? Seems a bit pointless in my opinion

  • Michaelhenry

    the would never wear a british criminal uniform peter fyfe, own clothes and to run there own wings at long kesh meant that escapes could be better planed, the provos achieved this in 1983 when a lot of leadership volunteers escaped.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Were they protesting againt the proper use of the english language? Or is that just you? Are you telling me these ten men died so people could escape prison?

  • Michaelhenry

    they died for the 5 demands which they got peter fyfe, the escape was a bonus.

  • Peter Fyfe

    They didn’t get them, they died. Other people got them and as you suggest their plan was to use them to escape. I thought it was about a principled stand against being labelled as criminals. Those five demands were saw as giving these prisoners a special status among the prison poulation. I wonder if Peggy O’Hara saw the escape as a worthy bonus for her son’s life.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Haha yes bobby sands starved himself to increase the chances of an escape…lol

  • andypandy

    The last man on the white line picket is Gerard McCorry. he was out on parole last week form prison where he is serving time for kidnpping Bobby Tohill

  • Michaelhenry

    bobby sands and his 9 comrades died for the 5 demands which they got, the new way that this prison was run after the hunker strike made it possible along with guts for the escape to work, the rest is history.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Pity they didn’t get a spell checker for SF while they were at it. This prison? Are you in the Maze?

    BMcA

    I just had to challenge the point. I laughed more at his post than I ever have reading slugger. That includes the Mrs. Robinson song.

  • Michaelhenry

    the maze, long kesh is gone, like a lot of change some get scared. only the bit that is needed for the museum is to survive, the story and victory of the hunger strike is to be told to all who will visit, along with all the other prison stories during the conflict.

  • wee buns

    It’s not much of a message unless you’re hungry…
    Posted by Alias on Apr 12, 2010 @ 05:05 PM

    Hungry for what, is the question.

  • old school

    The Hunger Strikers died because British Ministers tried to criminalise their struggle.
    British Ministers today in the guise of Martin Mc Guinness, Peter Robinson etc, continue to attempt to criminalise the Republican struggle and those jailed as a result.
    So yes, they did die in vain.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I have to agree with old school here to be honest. I think the way forward is with democratic politics however. What was the point of the hungerstrikes when mcGuinness would later label republicans traitors? I didn’t agree with the killings but I don’t think it is very wise to label them as traitors for a sound bite. It will have surely cut to the bone with some blanketmen to hear these words.

  • Michaelhenry

    mcguinness said that the cop loving real were traitors, but a traitors statement comes from old school who said that the hunger strikers died in vain, you can never take a statement like that back, makes me think that old school was never realy a republican, just needs to be seen has hardline.

  • old school

    I’ll certainly not be taking it back, _Michael.
    As someone with a family member recently released from Maghaberry. I’ll state again, the Hunger Strikers died in vain.

    You’ll just have to add me to your “traitors” list.

  • wee buns

    OS
    I would tend to agree yet also, learning is still happening at the grass roots.
    Their struggle is relevent still, especially because we are NOT in an emergency situation as defined by Article 15 of the ECHR.
    Why the heavy-handedness with substitute diplock?? One or two car bombs do not justify it.
    The pundit is quick to criticize the ‘victim mentality’ on the part of a handful of so called dissidents, yet incredulously slow to criticize the omnipotence of the state, which at whim can exercise ’emergency legislation’ and imprison whoever.
    If this is a non issue then Authority Lovers Rule.
    Where is collective responsibility.
    While it might (now) be mildly acceptable to wreck the lives of so-called dissidents, it is a case of: ‘Then they came for me–
    and there was no one left to speak out for me’

    These are our civil liberties FFS and should not, MUST not, be tossed aside.

    To imagine that these struggles are unique to our little island is folly & absurd.
    The most ‘sophisticated’ of democracies employs legal subjugation of anyone whose opinion they do not like, and brave individuals stand against that.
    Just so happens ours is a bigger sledge hammer for a smaller fly.

  • old school

    By the way, Mc Guinness called “the cop loving Reals” traitors whilst standing beside the Chief Constable ffs.
    Square that circle.
    (don’t know why I’m responding to this guff)

  • wee buns

    Let them eat (helicopter) cake.

  • Michaelhenry

    there are still those who need to be seen has hardline old school, ask yonr family member did he get to wear his own clothes or prison issue ones,check all the 5 demands out before you would insult those 10 who died in prison for there comrads, ask your self why there are some who want to be involved during peace in a post conflict spat.

  • Peter Fyfe

    OS
    ‘(don’t know why I’m responding to this guff)’

    A few of us are thinking the same. It’s clear this boy doesn’t grasp what you are saying.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    20 hours on and Ardoyne Resident still hasn’t revealed how the British are oppressing him, but we’ll just assume he’s been indisposed and give him a bit longer.

    As regards the hunger strikers, they died for SF’s electoral mandate, plain and simple.

  • Michaelhenry

    what about the 5 demands gerry lvs castro, which the prisoners got, the prisoners got there demands means it was the british who lost the hunger strike, who ever lost in 1981 was always going to lose.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Yeah Michael what about the 5 demands?

    The right not to wear a prison uniform;
    The right not to do prison work;
    The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits;
    The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
    Full restoration of remission lost through the protest

    None of the above are worth missing your dinner for, never mind killing yourself.

    The only tangible results of the hunger strikes were (debateably) the 1983 breakout and SF’s effective arrival on the electoral stage. That electoral mandate culminated in the ending of the provo ‘armed struggle’ and SF signing up to indefinite partition, decommisioning of IRA weapons and taking their seats in a UK assembly. As of today they are not one step closer to a UI than they were in 1981. The Brits could hardly have orchestrated it better.

    If Sands et al really were happy to die so that others could pretend they weren’t criminals in prison, then yes I’m sure it was worth it. Beyond that, it was a pointless sacrifice, exploited cynically and to the full by SF, an organisation highly skilled at decieving and exploiting it’s own community.

    As always of course, Adams acted with the welfare of the hunger strikers at heart throughout this period and anyone claiming otherwise is likely ‘very ill’ or opposed to the peace process. I wonder what Sands would say if he were still around?

  • Michaelhenry

    republicans would never accept the criminal tag or the criminal uniform, so the brits gave in, the british could hardly have orchestrated it better gerry lvs castro, is this why thatcher went against her own policy and the prisoners got the 5 demands, it was either thatcher or the prisoners, thatcher just could not win.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    It’s merely symbolism Michaelhenry — Sands was jailed for attempting to bomb a furniture shop — that was a crime in anyone’s book — not only against the local community, but against common sense.

    The Brits ‘gave in’ because the whole thing was way more hassle than it was worth — give the kiddies a few concessions and let them keep on deluding themselves that their ‘struggle’ was somehow achieving something. Perhaps you can tell us exactly what it did achieve MH because I’m buggered if I know.

    In 1981, NI was part of the UK and was to remain so until a majority of it’s citizens voted otherwise. In 2010, the only difference is that SF & therefore the IRA have signed up to it.

    The Brits ran circles round the RM for decades — SF, along with the rest of the Irish voters have accepted the status quo albeit after a lot of entirely unnecessary deaths — do the dissidents really want to rerun all the RM mistakes of the past for precisely no result?

  • Michaelhenry

    the brits ran circles round the republican movement for decades so says gerry lus castro, if that was so why then did the provos kill more british soldiers for decades than the british army did to the provos, thats some symbolism is it not. there was an all ireland vote in 1998, keep your big eyes open.

  • Brian MacAodh

    michaelhenry

    is that how they measure who wins wars these days? I always thought it was which side achieved their objective and which side surrendered (unconditionally or conditionally)

    Provos realized they had no chance of forcing the brits out, let alone winning over the protestant majority. Even though most of their brigades were infiltrated and ineffectua, they were still causing enough damage (City of London, etc)for the Brits to have to offer them some concessions before they put away their guns.

    Provos were after a pipe dream. Stormont fell in 72…what exactly they think they could have achieved beyond that I dont know. Hubris or cult of the gun–either way pointless after getting the world to recognize Catholics plights. Of course sectarianism and injustice fuelled the movement but still…it could have ended a long time ago and the communities could have been establishing trust in the 80s instead of hatred.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    ‘why then did the provos kill more british soldiers for decades than the british army did to the provos’

    As Brian points out, conflicts are not settled in terms of body counts and I have no intention of yet again raking through ‘who killed who’ as this would merely reveal how many of their ‘own community’ the IRA murdered as opposed to their supposed enemies.

    Rather than prosecute an actual war, the Brits chose instead the long game of using informants, a heavy security presence and political initiatives. Adams, realising that the ‘armed struggle’ was futile and self-defeating, basically sued for peace in the early 90s, settling for partition. About 20 years late admittedly but he got there in the end.

    We all know the end result of the provo campaign — abject failure, but hey at least SF are adept at putting a good spin on it.

    I would be interested to read your thoughts on how dissident republicanism can succeed where the provos failed.

  • Seosamh913

    ….and also be an awful lot clearer than they were on what success would actually look like so we can decide whether we’re bothered about their objectives one way or the other either. I would argue that one of the main reasons the provoso failed was that they weren’t really that deeply republican to begin with and neither were the bulk of the communities they came from. The key demands which were non-negotiable were fairly straightforwardly western liberal democratic ones. Over and above those, it was about achieving communal self-esteem within the north, not about the establishment of some form of ill-defined 32 county socialist republic. Adams’ gift was reconciling what they ultimately settled for with the propganda they utlised to secure what they got without the wheels coming off. As has been said before, civil rights by wholly inappropriate means.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Good points Seosamh. I’m only an occasional visitor to the site but I have yet to see any coherent case put forward by a ‘dissident republican’ contributor.

    Supposed justifications seem to be consistently along the lines of ‘oppression by the British war machine’, an entirely hollow mantra in 2010, while offering no vision of how a UI can be achieved in the face of an overwhelming electoral endorsement of the status quo and abject failure of the provo campaign.

    Their mindset appears born of blind, indoctrinated hatred, devoid of any logic or achievable goals.

    A rational attempt at explanation would be welcome. Anyone?

  • Brian MacAodh

    Who was that who said “There are no republicans up north-just armed catholics.”

    I think it may have been Mick Collins…cannot remember now

  • Michaelhenry

    was that the mick collins that swore an oath of loyality to the crown brian macaodh, why would you take a quote from this man, some people do not like to hear the truth about the war.

  • old school

    “There are no political prisoners in the North.”
    Martin Ferris, in the States 2001
    Cut from the same cloth.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Actually he swore an oath to the “Free State, as by law established”. He didn’t forget about the North, unlike most of those anti-treaty republicans.

    If he hadn’t been killed he would have been much more aggressive during the work of the boundary commission, and in every other facet of Irish government.

    Whether or not he should have signed the treaty, for you to deny his greatness or his patriotism is pathetic. He loved his country and its people in a way that many in the Armani brigade know little about.

  • Michaelhenry

    he swore an oath to the crown brian macaodh, know your history, martin ferris did not need this oath unlike collins, it was crown law the 1920 goverment act.collins liked the new suits you know.

  • Seosamh913

    Michaelhenry

    Collins achieved more in a fortnight in London than the old spaniard – or his pals/erstwhile pals – managed in the 55 years he outlived Collins by. To say nothing of the zero return achieved on the objective of full Irish national indepdendence achieved by Ferris and the boys.

  • Michaelhenry

    the men and womem who fought did not agree seosah913, so collins was killed for breaking, and taking the oath.

  • Seosamh913

    Yes and those who did the killing….achieved what ? About as much as comrade Ferris and his boys have done.

  • Michaelhenry

    achieved what says seosamh913, achieved peace with out the crown.