Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Red Plough Vol 6-2

The Red Plough

Vol. 6-2

December  2016




At the beginning of the 21st century Irish Republicanism was, depending on one’s viewpoint, either in crisis, or advancing steadily towards its goals. 

This latter view was held by the leadership of Provisional Sin Fein, (or at least propagated by the Kitchen Cabinet around President G. Adams) and accordingly believed by rank and file republicans who trusted in the 'charismatic'  leadership of Adams. 

With the ending of the armed conflict Sinn Fein’s electoral prospects improved and with a slightly “radical  programme” they have occupied some space on the left within the 26 counties putting them in a strong position to barter for coalition government after the next elections in the South of Ireland. 

So there remains for them the tantalising prospect of sharing some power both North and South of the border. (That is assuming the non aggression pact holds between Sinn Fein and the DUP holds in light of the current RHI scandal)

Presumably the Kitchen Cabinet would argue that the acceptance of partition, the handing over of weapons at the behest of  British and unionist rejectionists, the surrendering of political status, the abandonment of Articles 2 and 3, the acceptance of sectarian divisions, the support for the PSNI, a recognised British police force, and the restoration of an administration at Stormont, based on a sectarian headcount, the strengthening of MI5 presence in the north and the abandonment of most republican principles was worth that tantalising prospect of power. It can also be assumed that they still hold that view.

The limits of Power

But  historical experience tells us that power has its limitations. Eamon deValera, a hero of the 1916 rising, brought the majority of the civil war republicans with him into Fianna Fail and then into power in the 26 counties. During their subsequent long periods in power Fianna Fail failed. 

They failed to end partition, one of their fundamental aims.  They failed to spread the Irish Language, another of their fundamental aims. Despite their nationalist based protectionist economic policy, they failed to build a viable economy.(See "Sins of Our Fathers" by Anton McCabe.)

 Millions emigrated, native  resources were sold cheaply to foreign investors, opportunities to establish  a local industrial base ignored and  a gradual acceptance of the partition of the country with the subsequent betrayal of Northern nationalists. 

No doubt many within Fianna Fail wanted to do better for the country but external forces such as the depression during the 1930’s- the 2nd World War - restricted how far any radical programme could go. Subsequently in the late fifties Fianna Fail wholeheartedly  changed tack, embraced  economic Imperialism and gladly accepted their role as front men for multi-national corporations. One has only to see that the appeal against Europe's fine of  14 billion Euros on Apple by the Irish government to understand how  far that Government is in hock in to the multinationals. 

Self- determination and sovereignty how are ye!!

The North

 Sinn Fein will face the same dilemmas that previous administrations faced. The limited power that Stormont has, means that without the agreement of the DUP, Sinn Fein cannot pursue even a limited reformist programme. The abolition of the 11+ by Martin McGuinness only lead to its privatisation with one set of exams for Catholics and one set for Protestants. (Once the DUP retained the education portfolio they reversed McGuiness's decision)

 They have not stopped the creeping privatisation of the state sector and some of their ministers embraced it. Their opposition to  Tory welfare reform was well known. But while they could  pause it they could not  stop it.  In a sordid political deal to retain the limited power in the Northern Ad ministration they handed power over welfare back to the British Government and now welfare cut are beginning to bite in the north. Now their ministers are implementing a series of cuts in their departments. In some cases 10% cuts in their budgets. 

In fact so poor has the performance of the Stormont administration been that considerable sections of the population have either switched off politics or believe the Stormont administration, should be abolished.  

Eventually even the  former First Minister, Peter Robinson  had to accept that two years ago  the  administration was not fit for purpose. Is it now any more fit for purpose in the light of the latest scandals due to cost an estimated £400 million for the tax payers while the friends of the DUP profit.

Sinn Fein put a lot of effort into the political process and  made many concessions. But Ulster Unionism with the support of the British Government had made few concessions and indeed treat Sinn Fein and the bulk of the nationalist population with contempt. Insults to the Irish language refusal to treat nationalists as equals, massive increases in sectarian marches and the flouting of the British Union Jack in mixed areas  are just some of the ways in which mainstream unionism has strayed very little away from its settler mentality.

Nor withstanding  armed struggle for over thirty years, various agreements on the shape of future society and the giving up of the 26 county 's claim to all 32 counties, Unionism still holds a veto over the emergence of a united Ireland and a British Minister will decide, if ever, whether there can be referendum on unity. The reality is that 
Britain still exercises political economic and social control over the six counties. Both the armed struggles and the political compromises have failed. Nationalism is weakened,   Unionism strengthened and Britain firmly in control.

Coalitions in the South
In the South the lessons of all minority parties in coalition have been basically disastrous. The first coalition in the 26 counties saw the republican inclined, Clann na Poblachta, take seats alongside the former blue shirts of Fine Gael. Formed in 1946 by former members of  the IRA and as a reaction to the way the Fianna Fail government treated republican prisoners  Clann failed to build support and eventually lost most of the original 10 Dail deputies and dissolved in 1965.   Their leadership had bowed to pressure from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, disillusioning their supporters and causing its demise.

In recent years parties such as the Greens and the Progressive Democrats have collapsed following their disastrous joining of  coalitions. Only the Irish Labour Party  continues to exist despite losing the massive support it build up in years in opposition.  When entering coalition, with either of the two big parties, Labour failed to implement the polices they went to the electorate with. Just like the British Labour Party, the Irish Labour Party in pursuit of power has moved to the centre ground. However unlike the British Labour Party the  Irish Labour Party does not have the same support among working class people nor does it have a strong base among the working-class. The massive anti-water charges protests over the past few years showed how the Parliamentary Irish Labour Party misjudged their working class electorate.The electorate verdict this year saw them reduced to a mere 7 seats while the  AAA/PBP gained 6 seats. Indeed the left outside the labour party have more seats than that Party.  

Sinn Fein is aiming to soak up the support of disillusioned Labour and Fianna Fail voters and work towards a a ‘leftist progressive” Government   with the support of  progressive independent T.D’s and Labour. However there is one major problem they have to overcome. - Austerity. It has been defined as 

“A state of reduced spending and increased frugality in the financial sector. Austerity measures generally refer to the measures taken by governments to reduce expenditures in an attempt to shrink their growing budget deficits.” 

However austerity is not simply a reaction to the consequences of the collapse of financial institutions in 2008.

It is part and parcel of the process of globalisation following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. This is based on the model of the USA economy and endorsed by both the World Bank and the  IMF. Among its prominent features are fiscal discipline (i.e. cut Government spending , tax reform (i.e. take from poor give to rich) privatisation of state enterprises (i.e. taking from the many and giving to the few), opening of trade, (to facilitate the large corporations) openness to foreign investment and deregulation. The European Union fully endorses this approach. This means  that if in the immediate future Sinn Fein entered government they would have to implement these policies.   Of course they would want to modify some of these but their options and those of any incoming Government are strictly limited as they are indeed in the Northern Administration.The policies of globalisation will dominate. Any sovereign governments course of actions are strictly limited.

The Passive Working Class
Some on the left wondered why there had been no major revolt by the Irish people over the past eight years of austerity. One reason was emigration. Over a five year period nearly a quarter of a million young people under the age of 35 left the state for the far off fields of Australia, New Zealand , Canada etc. The generation that would have provided the angry voices against austerity  has been broken by a combination of austerity, unemployment, low wages, housing out of reach, and a stultifying smug society controlled by a combination of political and clerical elites. Against that background both the Labour Party and Fine Gael in coalition thought that they could impose massive water charges an a docile population on top of all the other austerity measures they had already imposed.
They miscalculated. The sight of hundreds of thousands  ordinary people out on the streets  shook the establishment .Just like in Britain the media and the ruling elites began a campaign to divide the growing mass motorists.  References to Trotskyites and anarchists and dissident republicans filled the media. But two elections showed that the masses could think for themselves. The massive support for Corby in the British Labour Party and the demise of the Labour party in the 2016 Irish election  showed the anger of the masses. A mass media campaign against  the masses has also been made. 

Previously some on the left, argued there was a low level of consciousness among the workers. It certainly had stung many here to hear Greek workers  chanting “We are not Irish We are Greek” as they protested. The implication being that the Irish just accepted all that austerity could throw at them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the North sectarianism seems to have a strong hold on the consciousness of many. Every election the vast majority vote in a tribal fashion. Indeed aping the attempts of Unionist to put unity candidates up to win nationalist Westminster seats, Martin McGuiness proposed an electoral pact with the SDLP which  immediately rejected it.  

 In the South, many of the working class vote for those like Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, who exploit them. This however is not a reflection of the low level of consciousness of the workers but a reflection of the poor leadership from within the trade union movements but also from the left whose political sectarian stances alienate the masses from socialism. 

Left Strategies

The left has over time tried different strategies. In the 1970’s the Workers Party tried to influence the media by taking over key union positions in the media. This strategy did not advance socialism. All it did was help in the demonising of northern republicans. The Communist Party has spent years trying to influence the leaderships of the various trade unions whilst not rocking too many boats. Similar approaches have been taken by the SWP and SP.  All of those organisations at one time or another saw themselves, and themselves alone, as the natural leaders of the proletarian revolution. Hence their constant competition  against each other.  A lot of their work is excellent and they  have done great work in the Water tax protests. But  elitism alienates rather than attracts. Others have opted for the academic field pushing the ideas of Marxism and socialism to   pro-market  neo-liberal academics  and students happy to be bought of by big corporations. They wait for the big day when the revolutionary masses awake. 

What all these approaches have in common is they are focused on elites. As if somehow access to say the trade union leadership will give a quick route to the masses. It is an approach that reflects elitism on the left. Some on the left forget the Marxist approach spelt out by Marx himself in the Communist Manifesto  that Communists are not apart from the working class.

”They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.” 

Many of these approaches have ended up in the  dead end of reformism and adapting to the prevailing winds of capitalism. This is simply another side of the “Foco” or Guevarast strategy which failed miserably in the 1960’s and 1970’s leading many key activists to their deaths. 

Sadly there are those within republicanism who ape that failed strategy. Both approaches are essentially elitist, having lost confidence in the power of the working class and look for short cuts to socialism. 

But the masses are not stupid. They tend  by nature to be conservative. Being determines consciousness and currently the European working class are in defensive positions trying to halt the erosion of their living standards. They are not going to jump on any passing fad  that could lead them to disaster. 

Currently they may have lost illusions in social democracy, in the trade  union bureaucracy or the rump of communist parties still tied to the old soviet ideology. But they are not going to sign up to any passing ship. 

Revolutionary tides come unexpectedly sometimes when lest expected. Irish people are notoriously conservative, particularly as for centuries the Roman Catholic Church itself was demonised and hunted, banned and persecuted. It therefore held the respect and devotion of the peasants. However like present days politicians it was quite prepared to join with  the British establishment against revolting peasants when offered the crumbs from the imperialist table, ie Maynooth. Likewise Ulster Protestants, the descendants of protestant planters who drove out the native catholic Irish were tied to the British establishment by historical, cultural and economic reasons. Rare would be their revolt. But revolt they have done. Both the old certainties of the past have weakened considerably for both catholics and protestant in Ireland.

Child sex scandals have weakened the Catholic churches reputation almost fatally. It can no longer claim the allegiance either religiously, socially or politically of the vast majority of the Irish people. Similarly among the PWC the old certainties have disappeared.  Their industrial heartland has gone, depriving them of the certainty of employment.  Protestant rule is gone. The Orange Order can no longer lord it over nationalist or catholic districts. Even their beloved Union Jack is restricted on public buildings. Hence the turmoil of the "flags protest"s in recent years. They have lost their certainties but have yet to find their place in the new dispensation. 

Some Sinn Fein republicans like  “Irish News” columnist,Jim Gibney, look to see the emergence of a genuine working class party from within the PWC. It is a vain hope for it would only reinforce the already sectarian state structures. It would be also a backward step for it is only when workers come together in pursuit of their class interests that progress can be made.  It is often said that the future belongs to the young. Certainly it is only by winning the youth that serious opposition to capitalism can  be mounted 

 The "dissident" critics
The harshest critics of Sinn Fein have been the so-called "dissident"republicans. Much of their critiques on the Sinn Fein strategy have been negative.

They know what their against. But as yet no clear positive strategy as a way forward has emerged. Some are in favour of the renewal of armed struggle whilst others are very much against armed struggle arguing that the political road of opposition is the only road worth travelling. However even there, there is confusion and division. In recent elections  some republicans refused to fight under their own banner for not very clear reasons. Others stood in areas where other so called "dissidents" were also standing. Yet nowhere was it clear what they were standing for other than perhaps on the basis of personality and a record of work within communities. 

However there is then a problem with this approach as “working within communities “ is a code for working exclusively with a “nationalist" or “loyalist" community. That has been one of the huge successes of  the British Strategy in Ireland. Activists who should know better come out with phrases like “my community” when they are referring to exclusively nationalist areas. Some republicans now see community activity as the only legitimate area of work-and they call themselves socialist !!

They forget or ignore that say within the broad nationalist community of West Belfast there are all sorts of people from landlords to drug dealers to unemployed to middle classes to professionals and to unskilled workers as well as single unmarried mothers etc. Community based politics in Ireland is an all class based approach. Sinn Fein in the North of Ireland now articulate the demands and aspiration s of the nationalist middle class far better than the more  middle class S.D.LP . That is a partial  consequence of their “community “based approach. 

 While all of the broad republican groups, whether in favour of armed struggle or not, have a clear commitment to “socialism” this commitment appears to be  only rhetoric. Few of them  adopt in practise a class based approach.

Within the "dissidents" there is no clear critique of the “community based” approach.  There seems no connect between their theoretical positions and their actual political practise. The few attempts at a class based approach have been sporadic  and few. Instead there is a tendency to jump on any issue that might harm Sinn Fein  or seems to have popular support. That is not political leadership. That is tailism- and is the road to nowhere.

 It simply reinforces that tendency to seek short cuts to success  such as adventurous or ultra left swings of activity.  Furthermore given the profusion of republican groups  it is inevitable that they will compete with each other. That completion however will not be on the basis of their politics but on the basis of what they are doing to ‘defeat’ the Brits. That is a recipe for defeat and  disillusionment apart from alienating militant pro- Republican workers.There is a heavy responsibility on these groups to clear spell out their political  positions and how and why they differ from each other


Splintering within the broad republican base is not new. During the 19th century there were splits within the Irish Republican  Brotherhood.In the 20th century there was the formation of the Republican Congress in the 1930's and in the 1950's there was Saor Uladh and Saor Eire
When the then Republican Movement split in 1969 there were only two sections, Official and Provisional.  Since that time the Officials  have shred members on a number of occasions leading the creation of the IRSP, then the Democratic Left,(which then joined the Irish Labour Party) the Official Republican Movement (ORM) then the Irish Socialist Network.   The IRSP itself had a number of splits including the IPLO (later disbanded by the Provost) The armed groups associated with these tendencies are nominally on ceasefire but no doubt still exist as armed groupings.

The Provisionals have themselves have a number of splits. First there was the walk out in the eighties by what became Republican Sinn Fein with  associated Continuity IRA which itself has a number of splits. Then there was the Real IRA and a political formation called the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. Later still came various formations including Eirigi, the 1916 Societies and the Republican Network for Unity. The latest new kid on the block is Saoradh,(the revolutionary Irish republican party

Now there are also  Óglaigh na hÉireann and “The  New IRA,” not to be confused with the Provisionals.  Currently there are four organisations committed to armed struggle from within these various formations. People alleged to be in leadership positions with in these grouping have been arrested and are on remand or on  various charges.  Within the prisons there are now four separate factions of republican prisoners. 

Some are in prison because of sophisticated technology used by MI5 to track republicans . Drones have been used on a number of occasions to help capture republicans and listening devices are now common place in areas where republicans gather. Even if the tactic of armed struggle was worthwhile at this period of history(which this writer does not believe) the profusion of armed groups makes nonsense of it. Inevitably there will be conflict between some of these groups- if previous history is a guide-and the only winners will be the British Establishment. 

So to sum up the problems facing the "dissidents

1 Technology-
         Modern technology has changed the world over the past 20/30 years. Phones computers are relatively easy for intelligence services to penetrate. Drones are also useful to track and destroy enemy operatives. It is true that guerrilla armies will always adapt and use the tools at hand but without the resources of  a state they are at a very clear disadvantage.
2 Image. 
         Currently the whole of the political establishments and the media in Ireland use every weapon at their disposal to create an image of "dissidents" as madmen, bombers terrorists and thugs.  In terms of the propaganda war Imperialism and its allies are well a-head. A quick survey of the pro-republican web sites exposes sloganisng, immature rants against perceived enemies and mindless militarism. Of course there are mature thoughtful analysis by some but unfortunately are few and far between.
3 Lack of support in Ireland. 
         There is little or no support for armed struggle in Ireland. The Northern nationalists,  having endured over thirty years of armed conflict, are licking their wounds and trying to make the best of a bad economic political and social situation. The previous armed struggle achieved little or nothing so they can legitimately say "what is the point?" In the South of Ireland the masses are struggling against austerity.They want little or nothing to do with northern issues, which for them are a distraction and which in their day to day struggles seems remote and distant.
4 Poor leadership.  
          Leadership tends to be personality based and not politically based.While many of their leaderships pay homage to republicans of the past like Ta Power /Seamus Costello /Liam Mellows they totally ignore the lessons learnt by these republicans. They do little to see "politics in command" they have no strategic vision nor any practical economic or social polices that can appeal to the wider masses. Instead they focus on building up their own small cliques while damming those outside their little groupings. 
5 Past Orientated.
        They focus on the past with regular activity being in the main, republican commemorations. While some of them do try to politicise their membership and occasionally engage in some class politics it is far to little.
6 Machismo.
        There is little or no effort to appeal to women on a political basis ; instead a macho culture is allowed  to flourish in their organisations
7 Action orientated.
         Many are obsessed with action to the neglect both of theory and policies.
8 Nationalist.
         The continued toleration of nationalism with these republican groups will only re-create the path that the Provo's took in embracing Irish nationalism whilst soft pedalling their republicanism.
9 Reactive.
        Due to the path taken by the Adams leadership many republicans feel a deep sense of betrayal. Thus they tend to see the world through anti- Provo glasses thereby distorting their own political views and actions. 

Of course in making these points this writer does not deny the sincerity, and political commitment of many fine republicans and socialist republicans. But if they are not to become an irrelevancy then they need to adapt to the realities of the 21st century.The current international issues that can impact on the isle of Ireland include amongst others, Brexit, the rise of the far right in Europe and the USA, the proxy wars in the middle east,  the rapidly increasing threat to the earth from global warming , and the continuing use of austerity to roll back the gains that the working classes have won over the past two centuries of struggle. Only a class based approach can make sense of what is going on in the world and Marxism provides a guide to that.

Those who truly are revolutionary and internationalist and within republican "dissident" groups need to re-analyse just where their group is going and what it is doing. Does it policies and action contribute in any way to the liberation of the working class in Ireland. Does it have policies that can reach beyond the sectarianism within the Northern statelet?
Are its structures such that its democratic  internal structures prevent the emergence of elitist cliques either of the militarist or political sect mentality?Do its internal educational classes allow for a better understanding of the position of the protestant working classes and the continued "free state mentality" in the South of Ireland?Has it developed detailed economic and social policies that can inspire the support of the working classes?Does it have  serious critique of capitalism and how it works in Ireland? Is its leadership prepared  to  embrace different methods of struggle including taking part in elections  and taking seats, working within  trade unions and mass organisations of the working classes and becoming a voice for the dispossessed, disenfranchised and leading manifestation of discontent within society? Are those leaderships prepared to reach out and engage with other similar organisations in order to seriously build a credible alternative to capitalism in Ireland

These are just some of the questions that need to be asked not only of the "dissident"groups but also of the many left wing groups currently existing.

There are no short cuts.

Gerry Ruddy

(The following article written by a Dublin Comrade in October  16 was in response to the attitudes taken by some during the Brexit referendum.  Those of us who voted to stay in the European Union did so not out of any love for the EU-for we recognise it's essentially elitish rule for the monied classes, but because the main motivating factor in the No campaign was racism and a 'little englander attitude'. Indeed since that vote in all parts of the British Isles there has been an big increase in racist attacks.The right wing feel embolden and feel it safe to spout their racism. The abysmal failure of the left to give any sort of real leadership during that vote has weaken the socialist voice and allowed the right to gain support in previously strong labour areas in Britain. Comments are welcome!


This year, 2016,  is the centenary commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland. The working class played no small part in the rising represented through the ranks of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) fighting  alongside and as allies of the Irish Volunteers. The ICA was under the leadership of Commandant General James Connolly of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) acting General Secretary. Arguably the ICA were the major driving force behind the rising, planning unknown to their eventual allies, a unilateral rebellion of their own. This coincided with the arrangements secretly under discussion by the secret organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), who had infiltrated to a large extent the Irish Volunteers. They too were planning a rising and when they found out of the ICA plans they made contact with Connolly inviting him onto the military council of the IRB. This co-opting occurred around January 1916. James Connolly would be in overall command of the combined Irish forces in the field during the rising.

James Connolly had been warning for many years about the dangers to the working class and certainly class unity should the island of Ireland ever be partitioned. This as we know did eventually happen and Connolly’s prophesies about the dangers were, and are, well founded. For the working class and particularly the Irish Citizen Army what a great pity Connolly’s successor as Commandant, James O’Neil, did not share his predecessors vision, knowledge, Marxist outlook and overall analysis of any given situation. O’Neil was no Marxist and certainly no replacement for Connolly.

Let us now fast forward a hundred years to the present time, 2016, and the decision by the misleadingly called United Kingdom (UK) Government, which in all honesty should perhaps be named the “English Empire” because to all intents and purposes that is what it is, to leave the European Union following a referendum. London, the metropolis of the empire, misleadingly call this exit “Brexit” meaning Brit exit. Now let us all get one thing clear and that is Britain consists of only two countries, England and Scotland one of which, Scotland, voted to remain within the EU. 

The other component factors of the UK, “English Empire”, are Wales, a principality which has been legislated for by England since 1536 amended in 1542 resulting today in a Welsh Assembly consisting of sixty AMs. This assembly has about as much political clout as a parish council and is there to pacify any independence aspirations of Welsh nationalists, allowing just enough illusion of political decision making to separate the moderates from the militants.

The final component of this empire is the six counties of the nine county Irish province, Ulster. So we have within the empire, two countries, one brought in by, arguably bribery and trickery back in 1707, Scotland, and a principality, Wales, along with a sizable part of somebody else’s country, the six counties. The misleadingly termed ‘Brexit’ is amended to contain the four components of the UK, English Empire, whether the two vote remain constituencies like it or not. They are going to be forced to leave, take it or leave it. So much for democracy!

The referendum itself was decided, apart from the considerable racist numbers fuelled by the likes of Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson to name but some on the far right, on a pack of lies. The overall vote to leave the EU was due in no small part to the lies these elements of the leave campaign promoted. 

Voters were told repeatedly that leaving the EU would free up £325 million per week for use on the National Health Service (NHS). People who voted to leave, well intentioned, on this lie would, in all probability have voted remain if this rubbish had not been fed to them, a big lie. Farage virtually admitted on the morning the result of the referendum was announced that the NHS story was “a mistake”. 

A MISTAKE? He had a big red bus travelling around the country with four foot letters splashed along the side informing people of this “mistake” which, understandably was very convincing. The right wing journalist, Peter Hitchin, another leave campaigner, on the Andrew Marr Show some weeks ago when asked about the lies told by the leave campaign retorted “people do not always tell the truth during campaigns, get used to it”. This was, if nothing else a message informing people not to believe a word people like himself say, let’s hope they remember.

Another misleading piece of information pedalled by the leave campaign was the issue of Turkey becoming part of the EU imminently and the threat of millions of Turks flooding into England. This has, as expected, turned out to be a falsification manufactured by the likes of Farage to exploit people’s fears and concerns already present. 

Similar tactics were adopted by Hitler and the Nazis during their rise to power in the early 1930s. Just like Hitler’s anti-Semitic posters depicting Jews as vermin, the right wing, championed by Nigel Farage, advertised racial hatred in the form of a large poster depicting huge numbers of non-white people supposedly lining up to come to Britain. The caption read, “enough is enough”.   Despite all the evidence of bare faced lies being told the government of the empire refuse, ignoring a growing swell at grass roots level in support of, to grant another referendum this time based on facts. 

Those votes gathered on the strength of these lies would, in all probability, swing the result towards remain if there were to be another referendum. Only the loony right racist vote, excluding perhaps those who were convinced by the Turkish lie, would perhaps hold up on the leave side and that is questionable.

In contrast to England the other country in question, Scotland, voted overwhelmingly to remain within the EU. The London government are ignoring this detail so it must surely be time for the Scottish government to demand a second referendum of their own on whether to leave the UK. If Westminster refuses, which is a possibility, then perhaps it is time to consider holding a referendum without their consent. If such a scenario were to happen and the vote went to leave the United Kingdom then Scotland must declare independence and apply for the former UK's seat in the EU. this is of course something for the Scottish government to decide upon.

Now to the six counties who also voted 56% to 44% to remain within the EU. This vote transcended the traditional voting patterns in the North of Ireland with both republican and loyalist, nationalist and unionist voting to remain.

The question I ask is does any party on the island of Ireland wish in any meaningful way to end partition? For years the IRA and the INLA fought a justifiable war against the occupation by British forces and government of the six counties. In 1998 after the IRA ceasefire was completed Sinn Fein signed up to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). In 1998 the INLA announced its own ceasefire, as did the Combined Loyalist Military Command, so the ground was set for peace. 

The rights and wrongs of the GFA are not the subject of this article so we won’t get bogged down with it. Merely to say within the scope of the GFA there is room for a referendum on unification should the situation in the six counties change. The situation, courtesy of Brexit, has changed therefore why are political parties, including Sinn Fein, not being more forceful on the issue of ending partition? The political voice of the INLA, the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) appear to be equally cool on this subject. 

There now exists an opportunity to argue for a poll, even within the GFA, on this subject and no bullets need to be fired or bombs detonated. It must be pointed out that should the six counties leave the EU it will be the working class, as per usual under capitalism, which will bare the brunt of such a move. The consequences will be dire I predict based on the figures below. These figures are based on the European Structural Funds for 2005:

“The overall strategy for the EU Structural Funds in Northern Ireland is called the Community Support Framework”. For the year ending 2005 the financial allocation was £870,114,115.00 and the number of projects approved were 5,848 the amount claimed was £606,105,410.54, a sizable amount for an area slightly larger than Yorkshire. This money would be lost to the six counties when England finally pull the plug on the EU. The British government have stated that “when the UK leave the EU it will be as one, no part will be exempt”. This would include the six counties, therefore if they wish to retain this EU money they must be part of the union. 

Perhaps the major question is: would this money presently available to the six counties as part of the UK be there as part of a united Ireland? If the answer is yes then surely there is a powerful case for unification. As the only way the North could remain within the EU, it would appear, would be to be part of an EU country and that country must be, as it always should have been, the rest of Ireland. 

Surely Sinn Fein, who claim a united Ireland is pivotal to their agenda, should now be enquiring into this possibility. The twenty six county government should be doing likewise, though not too much faith should be placed on this happening, they are more concerned at not upsetting the apple cart. If this money is only available to the six counties as a component of the UK then the Southern government should make a case as to why, in the event of unification, it should be available to them. 

There are also provisions within the Good Friday Agreement for a poll on unification should “circumstances change”. With the result of the English Empire referendum the circumstances have changed, therefore it must follow there is a case for a referendum. It will, of course, be argued that the vote to remain within the EU is not the same as voting for a united Ireland. This may be the case, equally it may not once the figures and economics are put forward. 

It is not historically unheard of for former unionists to switch opinions. Erskine Childers and Robert Barton in the early 20th century come to mind. People, no matter what their national leanings are should at least be given the opportunity to vote on the truth and facts. 

It is very likely Scotland will have a second referendum on leaving the UK (English Empire) and this time the result may well be to leave (that is if it wasn’t in truth after the last referendum). If this happens the case for Ireland is stronger, but even if it does not a border referendum is still a matter of right. 
Those who advocate a united Ireland, or say they do, now have some so called legitimate ammunition to fight with. One hundred years after the Easter Rising, get on with it! A united Ireland will also bury once and for all the fears of a hard border being reintroduced. When the UK do invoke article 50 and the process of leaving begins it will be irreversible. It will be the working class who suffer, perhaps these people in the south who claim to champion the proletariat and are pushing for Ireland to follow Farage and his gang should bare this in mind. 

Ireland to leave the EU at this moment in time would anchor us to the heel of Britain indefinitely, as if 1916 and War of Independence never happened. This is what the far right in Britain want, Ireland back under their yolk, so to these people advocating for Ireland to leave, albeit well meaning, think again. The right wing in Britain are already claiming the Irish left who wish to leave the EU as allies! Do they really want the racist Farage as a bedfellow?  

Britain needs Ulster Unionism, OUP and DUP to be singing in concert on the issue of remaining within the United Kingdom. Strategically Britain and perhaps more importantly the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) need a military presence in Ireland. Arguably if the twenty six county government would become an integral part of NATO a united Ireland could be imminent. In the absence of this the British presence in the six counties is of major importance. To legitimise this occupation Ulster unionism must be legitimised at the ballot box which hitherto is almost guaranteed. 

BREXIT however has, for the first time, put a crack in the unionist wall when the electorate rejected the DUP advice to leave the EU and, that portion of the electorate, voted to remain. This crack may never appear again and should be exploited to the maximum.  Should the six counties cease to be a part of the UK thus remaining within the EU as part of a unified Ireland the response from the other NATO countries, particularly the USA whose Eastern Sea Board would, in their opinion, be exposed would be interesting to say the least.

Finally on the EU itself. The union is a multitude of European capitalists clubbing together to defend the economic madness of free market capitalist economics, the Neo-Liberal agenda often referred to. It is not a particularly good thing but, at this moment in time, leaving would be the worse of the two evils.

 Those who believe leaving will turn the clock back forty plus years are living in cloud cuckoo land. Back in 1973 when this farce began the economic landscape was far different. Keynesian economics, as opposed to modern monetarism, was the predominant force. Today the ideas of John Maynard Keynes are yesterday’s news and the capitalist juggernaut is now firmly in the camp of international capitalism. Leaving the EU would not change this one iota and it would certainly not bring about in any shape or form socialism. 

Neither would it accelerate the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and monetarism and bring about a command economy, workers control of the means of production, distribution and exchange. As there are no revolutionary socialist movements worthy of the name in Britain or Ireland at the moment perhaps the best we can expect is a Jeremy Corbyn led labour government in Britain, at least he advocates a united Ireland. 

Corbyn is committed to re-nationalising certain industries, especially the railways with or without the EU agreeing to such a move whether such things can be done without leaving remains to be seen, Corbyn doesn’t appear to care too much whether they do or not.  For the moment though remaining is marginally the best option, particularly on worker’s rights, limited as they are. The British conservative party say they will bring about their own “bill of rights” including workers rights. Since when did the British conservatives ever give a monkeys about the working class, despite their fancy language? Never! 
On the issue of race and ethnicity, according to the Irish Daily Mirror on 7th October 2016 page 13: ‘the Tories appear to have taken a leaf out of Mein Kampf, with the Home Secretary saying firms should supply lists of non-British staff working for them’. Similarities can be drawn between Amber Rudd's bizarre address and the situation in the early years of the Third Reich and look where that led!

Caoimhin O’Muraile


No comments:

Post a Comment