Now you want to hear from them?

GFA Enforcers: The Law of the Baseball Bat The calls for dialogue with dissidents currently being made in support of Sinn Fein’s desire to meet with representatives of dissident groups are audacious in their chutzpah, their breathtaking guile. Brian Rowan and the Andersonstown News, both now supportive of this new initiative of Sinn Fein’s, write as if the recent past, and their participation in it, never happened. The slavish devotion to Sinn Fein and the needs of the peace process, no matter how one day night is day and the next day is night, is breathtaking.

While these overtures for engagement are being played up, it must be remembered that the peace process and its media cheerleaders demanded that any and all dissent be quashed for the peace process to succeed. Censorship abounded; those who questioned SF – on purely intellectual grounds, not in any armed capacity – were to be silenced, their ideas to be kept hidden, denied existence. It was more important to maintain the momentum of the peace process train than it was to ensure all parts were in working order by giving room to dissent and its ability to ask awkward questions and force things to be fixed before their negligence drove the whole thing off the rails. Gerry Adams in the IRA? Move along. The IRA actively kidnapping, torturing, and in some cases killing dissidents? SF covering up the murderous activity of its IRA members? No; no one wanted to talk about things like this, and what it would mean, and where the fall out of that could take us.

The media for the most part colluded in this papering over, willfully going along with the blacklisting of people who were prepared to offer a differing view. Those few journalists who did work to highlight the dark side of the peace process were vilified, in some cases harassed by government forces, yet it is their work today that stands the test of time and informs us truthfully of what the whole of the peace process meant. “Journalists Against the Peace Process” as one of the Peace Processers labelled them, knew that talking to dissidents was key to ensuring that the peace process stuck – real grievances don’t go away, they fester.

Make no mistake, dissidents today are against the British presence in Ireland. But for them, it’s currently embodied, not by the solider on the street, or the Prime Minister, or even the Queen, but by their former comrades, the most immediate administrators and implementers of British rule. The strongest venom is directed at these former comrades in part because for all these years they would not listen. Underneath the swanning of the peace process, these comrades ensured that anyone who raised an objection or questioned the direction was swiftly put down, in whatever manner necessary. For some this was ostracisation, whisper campaigns, social isolation; others lost jobs or were threatened with losing work, or unable to attain work; some were threatened physically and others had threats followed through: kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot dead. Some people were not dissidents but became a dissenter of sorts through the attacks and murders of their loved ones, and the subsequent, sickening cover ups. The same media today that is telling us how needed dialogue with dissidents is were the same media who then either told us nothing of this, or told us outright lies about what really happened in order to protect Sinn Fein.

Is it truly a surprise then, this offer of “talks” is ridiculed, viewed with disdain, seen as a stunt? SF could have talked with any of the so-called “dissidents” at any point over of the last dozen years. Instead, they chose to censor, to bury, to disappear their very existence. They refused to share platforms at public meetings, point blank told media outlets that they would not go on radio or TV if a known “dissident” would also be on the program. They actively discouraged media outlets from engaging with or publishing the alternative viewpoints of “dissidents” and told journalists that they would no longer work with them if they were found to be speaking with named people. To their shame, the media complied.

All of this has left the very real concerns, the gaping hole between what was promised and what was delivered, to fester in republican communities. They haven’t gone away, and the more they were left unanswered, or inadequately answered in the form of smears instead of substance, the more they grew. The disparity between those supporting the lie and those questioning it also grew, leading more to question, especially as more money poured into republican areas for “community work” yet less and less of the community benefited and the areas became steadily worse. Is it any wonder then, that younger people, and disillusioned older people, are finding dissident organisations attractive? They, at least, are listening, truly listening, to their grievances and attempting to do something about them, however misguided and completely futile. Dissident groups aren’t telling these people they are monsters, or bitter, or eejits; they are validating their concerns, showing them that they aren’t alone in thinking there is something rotten in the north.

And there is something rotten in the north, no amount of peace process fudge can hide its stench. The lies of the process are coming home to roost. Truth commission? That’s where the dialogue should start – with some home truths about betrayals, lies, and failures. The media should come clean as well, and expose the pressures that went on, even if it exposes their own craven complicity in doing so. At least if we are given the chance to accept the truth of things for what they are, and have confirmed the loaded deck we were dealt from, we can then move on to making the most out of what we’ve got. Until then, as along as we are force-fed a diet of fudge, dissidents will keep vomiting it up at the most inopportune times.

Andersonstown News: Dissident dialogue is to be welcomed by all
Brian Rowan: Time for dissidents to engage in war of words

Ref:
Reporters ‘covered up truth’ about IRA to help peace
Spectre of Martin O’Hagan’s unsolved murder refuses to fade as press freedom takes a back seat on the road to peace in Northern Ireland
The Agreed Truth & The Real Truth: The New Northern Ireland (scroll to “Journalists Against Journalism”)
BBC journalists have responsibility to the public
A watch list of provo “Stormont Trooper” assaults and abductions

  • Alias

    “I would also add, if it ever looked like the people of the north were going to vote for reunification, the UK State would quickly changed the rules of the game to make it impossible.” – Mick Hall

    Very true, and there are plenty of ways this can be done: (1) mobilise more state-sponsored sectarian murder gangs; (2) encourage more immigrants to locate in the region (who will have chosen to live and work in the UK and not Ireland will vote to continue to do so); (3) continue its policy of making citizens state-dependent, thereby ensuring that they will not vote to dismantle the state that they depend on for their living, etc.

    The British state makes the claim that self-determination applies to its occupied territories and then claims that it cannot exit those territories because it is committed to the principle of self-determination but that it has no selfish interest in those territories. This argument, of course, is completely bogus but nonetheless consistently fools the muppets. If the state was committed to self-determination then it would not have occupy those territories and deny that right to the occupied nation.

    More pertinently, self-determination in that context would logically mean that the British nation should determine whether or not it continues to occupy, say, Ireland or the Falklands, and not that the people in those occupied territories should have a veto over that right. Ergo, there is a fundamental contradiction in the stated position of the British state that exposes its claim as bogus. In claiming that the people of, say, Her Majesty’s territory of Northern Ireland have a right to stay within the UK they claiming that the people of the UK have no right to self-determination in the matter of whether or not they wish that region to remain within the UK.

    It’s a totally bogus claim, but as I said, it consistently fools the muppets. In reality,

  • The British state makes the claim that self-determination applies to its occupied territories and then claims that it cannot exit those territories because it is committed to the principle of self-determination but that it has no selfish interest in those territories.

    So you deny the right of the people in an “occupied territory” to vote for continued “occupation”? Self determination only works in one direction then.

  • Alias

    You’re missing the point (no surprise). The British state is denying the British nation the right to self-determination in the matter of whether or not it is their collective will that their state should retain dominion over those occupied territories. Ergo, the claim that the British state remains in those occupied territories because it is bound by the principle of self-determination it is falsified. If it was bound by the principle of national self-determination then it would be for the British nation to determine and that right would not be denied to them because of a veto held by those who reside in the occupied territories.

    The same scam is seen in the Falklands wherein the British state transplants its nation and then claims that it has a separate right to self-determination which means that the British state cannot exit that territory. It means nothing of the sort. One right to self-determination does not veto another.

  • Alias

    In case that isn’t entirely clear: it is for the British nation to decide if it wants to retain dominion over the Falklands, and not for the people of the Falklands to hold any veto over the right of the British nation to make that particular act of self-determination. Likewise, Northern Ireland, with its separate right to self-determination, would not have any right under the principle of self-determination to veto the right of self-determination of the British nation (and self-determination is the collective, majority will – never the will of a minority). Therefore, the British nation via its state is not subject to the veto of any other act of self-determination in any occupied territory. The British state and its nation could exercise their right to self-determination to determine that they do not want dominion over said occupied territory and are not under any moral or legal obligation that it should ever be otherwise. In all acts of parliament, the parliament retains the right of repeal.

  • Alan Maskey

    Dear Semantics players

    The six counties is an artificial creation, just like South Vietnam and North/South Korea were. The Unionist/fascist rump took as much of Ulster as they could. They excluded Donegal only becuase they figured it would make their Orange statelet even more obviously anti democratic that it patently was/is. Large sections of the six counties continguous to the 26 have nationalist majorities and are therefore held in the sic counties against their will. There is nothing democratic about the Six Counties. They should be ceded over and this was in the original Treaty which, predictably was reneged on by Perfidious Albion.

    The Code Napoleon is a more progressive form of legislation than the malleable mish mash that makes up British law. Fact.

    To compare Parnell, with Davitt, among the very greatest of irish progressives, with a reactionary fascist like Carson is indicative of your mind set. Parnell and Davitt are linked; perhaps Parnell had a small peternalistic streak, what of it. But Carson was simply an imperialist loud mouth and demagogue, who directly inspired anti Catholic pogroms and who helped forge the Six Counties into the quasi corporatist Orange backwater that it was.

    There is nothing sacrosanct about the GFA. It is a means to allow the British and the bit players to continue to gain an angle. Where, for example, was decomissioning in the GFA? The Irish people voted for peace and for nothing else. It may come as a surprise to you but people do not like bombs going off in their neighbourhoods and nor do they like people kidnapping and killing people. If given a chance, they will vote against it. When you wax on about the popular vote, please bear in mind the Irish people also vite for Michael Lowry, Ivor Callelly and Martin Ferris.
    Dud those who voted for the Green party vote for FF led cuts? Grow up. But good luck in your A levels.

    As regards the Iranians, Chinese and Venezuelans, why not? Britain is a member of the anti democratic Nato bloc and has allowed a war mongering imperialist nation station nuclear missiles on her soil. Why play second fiddle to Britain? The Irish inferiority complex coming to the fore again?

    Alias makes good points about why and how Britain is staying. His arguments may sound convoluted but much of that is due to the onion layers Perfidious Albuion puts over the Irish and other questions.

    Some good points have been raised. Damian O’Loan keeps trying to take a shot at James Connolly, who has been well analysed by historian JJ Lee. Connolly, for an unskilled labourer, was an insightful guy. Maybe 1916 was wrong and htere was a better way to go about things. Maybe the Solodohead Ambush which kicked off the Balck and Tan war was wrong. Constructive talking is always better than fighting. But Britian has a trrack record in the latter and is sadly lacking in form in the former.

    Some people, like the late David Irvine probably offer rays of hope. He too was an uneducated working class guy (who used to use tongue twisting words in the wrong place). But talking beats killing. It is good if PSF talk to the dissidents unless, like the British masters, they speak with forked tongue.

  • Damian O’Loan

    I don’t see a single thing in your latest posts not covered by three categories above.

    Alias, you need to realise that unionists exist independently of the British state, were that not obvious enough. Then you need to think about what the British state’s interests are. Again, I’ve told you, and Ireland does not threaten them in any way. You need to update, because you’re lost in a confusion between your conception of nations and the reality of states and individuals. Alan Maskey, see 2. It is interesting that you’ve both moved on to a straw man argument though, even one which has also been adequately rebutted.

    Can you point to the inconsistencies or contradictions in my last post?

  • In case that isn’t entirely clear: it is for the British nation to decide if it wants to retain dominion over the Falklands, and not for the people of the Falklands to hold any veto over the right of the British nation to make that particular act of self-determination.

    That’s a pretty twisted interpretation of self-determination. If so, that would mean that any state has the right to abandon inhabited territory by a vote of only the remaining part. This would effectively leave the inhabitants of the abandoned territory stateless, which is against international law. Spain tried that option in Western Sahara, and it’s caused nothing but trouble since.

    Northern Ireland, with its separate right to self-determination, would not have any right under the principle of self-determination to veto the right of self-determination of the British nation (and self-determination is the collective, majority will – never the will of a minority).

    You appear to be suggesting that GB declare UDI from the UK? That could be done, but surely then NI would inherit the machinery of state of the UK and GB would have to start from scratch, considering that there currently exist no GB-only institutions.

    You’re very keen on extending legal principle into uncharted waters without any consideration of unintended consequences, and then presenting your predictions as if they were legal gospel. They’re not.

  • They should be ceded over and this was in the original Treaty which, predictably was reneged on by Perfidious Albion.

    Er, which treaty was this?

    The Code Napoleon is a more progressive form of legislation than the malleable mish mash that makes up British law. Fact.

    Unsupported opinion.

    To compare Parnell, with Davitt, among the very greatest of irish progressives, with a reactionary fascist like Carson is indicative of your mind set

    My point was that your selective quotation from Parnell was highly context-dependent. You seem to have conceded that one.

    When you wax on about the popular vote, please bear in mind the Irish people also vite for Michael Lowry, Ivor Callelly and Martin Ferris.

    Yes, democracy is imperfect. What’s your alternative?

    As regards the Iranians, Chinese and Venezuelans, why not? Britain is a member of the anti democratic Nato bloc and has allowed a war mongering imperialist nation station nuclear missiles on her soil. Why play second fiddle to Britain?

    That is a false choice. There are plenty of other, more mature, options.