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(en) Ireland: I. (1/2)* Crossing the Border: Organise!, Anarchism and the "partition of Ireland", response to WSM position paper on partition

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 25 Nov 2004 08:05:23 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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This pamphlet has been written in response to the updating of the
WSM's position paper "The Partition of Ireland" which was
amended at a WSM national meeting in July 2004. It is just that, a
response, reflecting the broad range of concerns of members of
Organise! with the WSM position paper, it is not a full account of
our thoughts or position in relation to the situation in the north of
Ireland. Organise! welcome the fact that, over some period of time
now, the WSM have been reviewing their position paper in
relation to the northern state and partition. Sharing the WSM's
commitment to striving for class unity, in the struggle for
anarchism and social revolution, we believe that this response
represents an essential contribution to the debate on these

Some of the discussion that has and continues to take place is a
direct result of developments in the north around what is
commonly referred to as the 'peace process'. We also feel that
while Organise! have prompted and been involved in debates and
discussions which have fed into, to some extent, the
re-examination of this position paper - which we are glad to note
is 'ongoing' - we are not responsible for the document as amended
at the last WSM national meeting, nor did the presence of
members of Organise! at that meeting imply endorsement of the
document produced as a result.

We would like to apologise for the delay in compiling a response
to this position paper, but it was felt that an in depth response,
which attempted to deal with the issues raised needed time and

Throughout this pamphlet we deal with the WSM document point
by point, on some occasions grouping points together, detailing
our concerns with each section or group of points and stating our
agreement where appropriate, we conclude with some more
general comments on the document. Each section of the WSM
position paper is reproduced in full.

If at times this document seems repetitive this is largely due to its
nature as a response to the WSM position paper which often
repeatedly makes points which we believe need to be challenged
by anarchists and those committed to class unity and social
revolution particularly in Ireland.


WSM: 1. "As anarchists, we oppose imperialism and believe it
cannot play a progressive role. In Ireland we have always opposed
British imperialism. In opposing it we see no form of nationalism
as offering a definitive solution to either the working class in
Ireland or the working class across the globe. In the final analysis
nationalism argues for a common interest between workers and
bosses of one 'nation' against the workers and bosses of another.
As anarchists we stand for international working class solidarity
against all bosses.'"
Organise!: We agree that nationalism of any description cannot
offer a solution to the exploitation and oppression faced by
working class people in Ireland and across the globe. As
anarchists we are all opposed to nationalist ideologies which tie
workers to their ruling class and put the concept of 'country', in
reality the nation state (whether it actually exists or where
nationalists are struggling to bring it into existence), above the
primary division in capitalist society - that based on class. The
working class exists globally and is exploited worldwide by
capitalism; as such global working class solidarity against all
bosses is essential in any struggle against the capitalist system.
However the standard, quite simplistic, definition of imperialism
and by extension anti-imperialism is problematic when applied to
the north.

We must remember that 'anti-imperialism' is a concept informed
to a large degree by Leninist and other authoritarian 'socialisms'
that have no problem with one state replacing another and who
see the role of a nation state/government as non-problematic as
long as the 'correct' leadership is in charge - this means that their
anti-imperialism, like the rest of their political outlook, is based on
radically different assumptions to those of anarchists.

The anti-imperialist position cannot, we believe, take adequate
account of the fact that the most significant 'British' presence in
Northern Ireland consists of a majority of the areas population - it
is not the case that the British presence can simply be represented
in terms of British troops or direct rule ministers. Many of the
people who identify themselves primarily, or to some extent, as
British (and there is no straightforward definition of what
'Britishness' means even to those adopting the label) are working
class. We must also point out that the armed struggle conducted
by the IRA over the past few decades led to a reduction in the
amounts of people who felt they could accommodate an Irish
identity, or element of this within, or as opposed to, the
expression of Britishness.

Of course as anarchists we argue and struggle against
nationalism, against the notion of a common interest between
workers and bosses of one 'nation' against the workers and bosses
of another, whether that nationalism is expressed as British or
Irish. Nationalism is divisive and reactionary, whether it
represents the dominant and institutionalised form in society or
the 'underdog' nationalism that is struggling to assert its

WSM: 2. "However as anarchists living on the island of Ireland we
have to deal with rather than ignore the divisions in the working
class that exist based on communal identity in the north and the
issues of state repression that continue around them. When we
talk about "communal identity" we acknowledge that not all
Catholic are nationalists, not all Protestants are unionists, and not
all nationalists and unionists are religious believers. There are,
however, two main communal identities, which can be
summarised as Catholic/nationalist on one hand and
Protestant/unionist on the other. In this paper the terms
'communal identity" and 'religion' are used interchangeably.
3. We reject the idea that there are any differences between
workers from different religions on the island that make partition
either desirable or inevitable. Rather we see partition as the main
reason why conflicts based on religious divisions continue to exist.

Organise!: We accept that in relation to what is sometimes
referred to as a 'two traditions' model that the explanation of 'two
main communal identities' is fair enough. This model does
however exclude and marginalize those who do not fit exactly
with these traditions - and we are not simply referring to the
'protestants' and 'catholics' who are atheists or the 'protestants'
and 'catholics' who are not Unionist or Nationalist. This model
excludes a wider diversity in society north of the border, an
exclusion made all the more pertinent given the recent rise in
visible racism here.

"We reject the idea that there are any differences between workers
from different religions... that make partition either desirable or
inevitable." The differences can really only be understood when it
is admitted that they are essentially political as opposed to
religious in nature, while materially as workers we have common
interests which should, and Organise! believe must, override
nationalistic sentiment and constitutional affiliation, it is a historic
fact that the 18th and 19th centuries saw the development of
modern Irish nationalism and modern Irish unionism. These are
the two dominant and mutually exclusive political outlooks in the
'island of Ireland' particularly the northeast. Pondering whether
partition was 'inevitable' is quite strange reasoning and seems to
be inextricably tied up with a nationalist historiography which sees
the 'island of Ireland' as a natural and unquestionable political
entity (as the title of the WSM position paper more than implies)
which has been thwarted by perfidious Albion. British, perhaps
more accurately the imperialism of a predominantly, though not
exclusively, English ruling class has played a major role in Ireland
but we have to acknowledge that there are other reasons why
attempts at national, bourgeois, revolution have failed in Ireland.
A major factor, tied into an increasing identification of Irishness
with Catholicism in the 18th and 19th centuries, was the failure to
win protestants to the struggle for Home Rule and for the cause of
the 'nation'.

Following the Act of Union of 1801 increasing numbers of
protestants - even many with previous involvement in the United
Irishmen - became unionists, the bulk of these were concentrated
in, but not exclusive to, the northeast. It is important to remember
that the sense of economic grievance which developed in much of
Ireland against the Act of Union was not universal - the Act had
actually coincided with the industrial growth of Belfast and the
surrounding area and therefore came to be seen as 'beneficial' by

The northeast of Ulster became an integral part of British
industrial output centred on the industrial triangle of Belfast,
Merseyside and Glasgow. Free trade throughout the empire and
access to the overseas markets it provided were essential to the
economy of Belfast and its periphery. It is worth pointing out that
a sense of economic injustice seems to be historically linked to the
development of anti-imperialist movements across the globe and
the lack of such a sense of injustice has been used, in large part,
to explain the lack of opposition to the Union in Scotland and
Wales and the lack of development of nationalist movements in
those two countries until very recent times. Such a sense of
economic injustice in relation to the Act of Union was not a factor
for the majority of inhabitants of the northeast of Ireland, while in
the south and west of Ireland this was crucial to the development
of nationalism.

As regards point 3 partition took place, as a historical fact, so we
would suggest it must have been a 'historical inevitability'
otherwise events would not have combined to produce partition.
We can muse on the 'what ifs' of history as individuals but why
elevate this to the level of the 'correct' political line? Should
anarchists be concerned that the project to create a unitary Irish
nation state failed? The position on partition and use of 'island of
Ireland' to describe a polity suggests we should. Organise! would
suggest otherwise. The Irish nationalist project failed because it
could not secure the necessary unity of purpose or agreement to
make unity either desirable or achievable. Can we address the
divisions in Irish society in terms of British occupation? This only
appears possible given the discounting of a highly concentrated
population of people in the northeast, of all classes, who opposed
and continue to oppose the 'national sovereignty' project. And
discounting this population only seems to make sense in terms of
the 'false majority' argument of republicans and nationalists. The
will of the majority of the Irish population was scandalously
overturned by a minority with the help of the British empire sums
up that argument. Sometimes it's simply presented as a malign act
carried out by the British/English (read
government/establishment) off their own bat.

Rather than partition per se it is more the ongoing adherence of
much of the population of the north east to two mutually
exclusive ideologies, the ongoing lack of resolution (without one
side winning outright) and stability which contribute to the
ongoing conflicts which in our opinion are not, as you state,
'based on' but rather drawn along religious divisions. If partition,
as you believe, is the 'main reason why conflicts based on
religious division continue' then it would follow that once partition
is ended religious division and conflicts drawn along these lines
will disappear. We can see no evidence to support such a belief.
Sectarian conflict clearly predates partition and the establishment
of the Northern Ireland state. Examples of such conflict stretch
from the Battle of the Diamond in 1794 to the Home Rule riots of
the 1880s. Thus we have no reason to regard the removal of
partition as being a step conducive to the ending of sectarian
conflict. If anything, if we can take Sinn Fein's word for it that the
100,000 plus legally held firearms (mostly shotguns) in the north,
plus the R.I.R and P.S.N.I., are sites of Unionist power, we must
maintain that an ending of partition would lead to further conflict
rather than less. In terms also of Unionist and Loyalist reactions to
the ending of partition in terms of an extension of the southern
states jurisdiction northwards this seems the most likely outcome.

4. WSM: "All sections of the working class have lost out as a
result of these religious divisions. In the north the divisions in the
working class make it more difficult but not impossible to unite
against the bosses. In the north the divisions have historically
meant that workers from a catholic background suffered state
discrimination and were often the targets of loyalist and Orange
attacks. [In the south, the birth of mass socialist politics in the
working class has been delayed for decades, Southern workers
were subject to a theocratic state regime which not only denied
abortion rights but also subjected the vulnerable, in particular
children, to brutal regimes of 'discipline' based on physical and all
to often sexual abuse.]"

Organise!: If by 'all sections of the working class have lost out as a
result of these religious divisions' you mean all sections of the
working class have suffered because of sectarianism practised and
encouraged by the unionist state established in 1921, then yes our
class as a whole suffered under unionist misrule from then until
the introduction of direct rule. Despite the Craig policy of 'giving
out bones' to loyal subjects there really wasn't that much to give
out. As Craig himself put it - 'bones'.

Discrimination in employment was endemic prior to direct rule
and remains a problem now, although the difference between the
likelihood of unemployment between catholic and protestant
males has narrowed in recent years. This narrowing of the gap is
of course a result of higher unemployment among protestants
(which has historically been high anyway) with the demise of
'traditional' textile, tobacco and shipbuilding industries. Further
reductions in the numbers of police, security forces and their
support staff will also impact positively on this differential.

It must also be pointed out that initial discriminatory practises in
allocating jobs favoured Presbyterians in the early development of
Belfast as an industrial town and city. It would appear that
Presbyterian businessmen largely favoured their co-religionists
when it came to employment. Catholics certainly made up the
bulk of the poorest sections of the developing city's working class
population but it should be noted that, as well as a well-to-do
Anglican gentry, there was a small but significant section of poor,
discriminated against 'Anglicans' who eked out an existence near
the very bottom of society. Also, while there were in percentage
terms approximately twice as many poor catholics in Belfast, in
absolute, person-to-person, figures there was about one poor
protestant to every poor catholic.

As well as ongoing discrimination the development of the
apprenticeship system and trades unionism also acted to
compound sectarian job allocation - with the effective passing of
the family trade from a father to his sons and the fact that
apprenticeships were got by way of relatives already with a
company "putting in a good word".

We have always pointed out that in terms of death, injury,
bereavement and imprisonment that suffering throughout the
conflict in the north has been an almost exclusively working class
experience. Working class people have on an ongoing basis also
been victims of capitalism in often no less a horrific manner
through injury and death at work, redundancies and the
decimation, by developers or due to job losses, of entire
communities. This 'war' has went largely unreported or under

As to stating the working class suffers due to 'religious divisions'
the terminology here isn't great - do we suffer because some of us
attend different churches or is it because assumptions about your
political outlook are often made on the basis of your confessional
habits? It must also be pointed out that these days protestants also
suffer from sectarian discrimination and attack in almost the same
circumstances as working class catholics. As an example ongoing
attacks have been carried out by nationalists on the Fountain area
of Derry, the protestant Torrens estate now lies deserted following
ongoing sectarian pressure and attack. Other sectarian attacks
have been carried out against protestants and assumptions are
made about political outlook on the basis of perceived religion.
What has been described as 'chill factor', whereby people won't
take a job in a particular area effects protestants and catholics
alike, while smaller 'catholic' employers and entrepreneurs are
just as likely to discriminate against protestants as is the case for
protestant employers.

It is an indisputable fact that catholics suffered disproportionately
under the unionist administration and for many years after it was
dissolved. Was this the result of partition or the system of
government pursued by the Unionist Party? They were of course
inextricably linked - however the WSM admit that they got things
wrong in the past as regards the 'irreformably sectarian Stormont
state', and if it can be, and perhaps is being, reformed why does it
represent any more a failed, or illegitimate, state than any other?

While the last years of the unionist government actually saw some
reforms implemented (in keeping with all such efforts throughout
Irish history a case of much too little too late) direct rule saw
many of the original civil rights movements demands met. By
then of course things had moved on.

That partition is responsible for the non-appearance of mass
socialist politics in the working class in Ireland is surely a flight of
fancy and mimics the worst of the 'labour must wait' school of
thought - must wait because in this case they have to, not simply
because someone tells them to. In many other countries there is a
stunted socialist movement, which is often quite removed from
meaningful working class support let alone participation. In
relation to the theocratic nature of the southern state it must be
added that the power of the churches, both Catholic and
Protestant, were increased greatly with the establishment of the
northern state also. It was the combined force of the Catholic
church and many of the Protestant churches that scuppered early
plans for integrated secular education in the north. From the
closing comments in this point we must ask if we are to take it
that you blame sexual abuse on partition as well?

5. WSM: "It is important to realise that partition is not a historic
accident but rather the result of centuries of imperialism and
struggles against imperialism. From the reformation onwards the
British State encouraged religious conflict in Ireland in order to
divide and rule.
6. The 1798 rebellion offered the greatest opportunity to
simultaneously remove the British rule and to unite all the Irish
people regardless of creed. Its defeat and the process though
which it was defeated resulted in centuries of sectarian conflict.
Most importantly was the encouragement of the Orange Order as
an instrument of counter-revolution aimed at physically
suppressing Catholics and radical protestants alike.
7. The partition of Ireland in 1922 was carried out in the interests
both of British imperialism, which maintained military bases as a
result, and of the northern bosses as it provided a weapon to divide
the working class. At the time the economic interests of northern
and southern bosses were opposed. The north was well developed
with export orientated industry (linen and shipbuilding) and
needed access to English markets. The south was underdeveloped
and for industry to develop southern capitalism would have to be
protected from cheaper English imports, partition therefore
favoured both sets of bosses."

Organise!: Can anything be referred to as a historical accident?
Again the 'centuries of imperialism and struggles against
imperialism' is based on a nationalist historiography that claims,
as unionism claims, a primordial justification which is not based
on any close reading of historical fact. Nations, we are sorry to
have to point out, are created by would be ruling classes and the
nation state aimed at by Irish nationalism was, like the movement
which sought it, the result of the development of modern
nationalism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Unionism in Ireland
shares the same modern origins and while both claim a much
longer tradition these claims are based on the cherry picking of
history - an approach anarchists should reject, but the WSM do
not seem to have developed any criticism or realisation of this in
this paper. Nor was partition the aim of the British government or
of unionists such as Carson. The British policy was for Home
Rule for Ireland, it was a policy that met with considerable
resistance from unionists and the Conservative opposition.

That 'the British State encouraged religious conflict in Ireland in
order to divide and rule' is another statement which should be
looked at more closely, we are not denying that they engaged in
religious conflict - historically this was usually in the context of
religious conflict taking place across Britain itself. Was the
deliberate policy of 'divide and rule' at the heart of this? That
'divide and rule' occurred is more likely to be related to the very
natural, from the point of view of any system of government,
suppression of the states enemies and rewarding of its allies. This
is a phenomena not confined to Ireland post or pre-partition.

Point 6 places a great deal of political importance to what was a
failed bourgeois national revolution, leading us to question why
people who recognise that the working class and the bosses can
never have any common interests hark back to the loss of this the
'greatest opportunity' to unite all the Irish people? Yes, while it
was formed in the context of local sectarian violence in County
Armagh, which Protestants did not have a monopoly of, the
Orange Order at different times was encouraged when the ruling
class found it useful. At other times it was itself suppressed.

The 'interests of British imperialism' are and were not as unified
as this statement would have us believe. It was the ruling liberal
party that, during different terms of office at Westminster,
proposed the three Home Rule for Ireland Bills. On all three
occasions it could be pointed out that the Irish Parliamentary
Party held the balance of power at the heart of the empires
administration. Other interests were of course opposed to any
'dissolution' of the Empire. The claim that Britain maintained
military bases as a result of 'partition' is inaccurate. The
maintenance of the treaty ports in the south, until 1938, cannot be
explained as being the result of partition. Partition or not military
bases in Ireland would have been maintained. It verges on
paranoia to suggest, or repeat an oft heard but ill informed
position usually spouted by the authoritarian left and left
republicans, that partition was carried out 'to divide the working
class'. This was not the reason for partition. In fact division in the
working class pre-dated partition by a long time. This is a position
usually linked with Connolly's warning of a 'carnival of reaction'
following the partition of Ireland - this 'carnival of reaction' and
division of the labour movement happened as many workers
divided along clear (and often openly sectarian) home rule and
anti-home rule lines before partition was even suggested as an
option. We agree that the uneven economic development of
capitalism in Ireland meant that partition favoured both sets of
bosses. It must be acknowledged that in the context of capitalism
and without a viable movement towards socialism or workers
control that it also favoured northern workers who 'enjoyed' better
wages than the rest of Ireland, wages that in some industries were
on a par with English wages. Workers who would have heard and
largely accepted the arguments that Home Rule would mean
protectionism that would damage export-based industry in the
northeast, and would therefore damage their standard of living,
had hard economic reasons to support the Union. By the same
token southern workers could be persuaded that Home Rule and a
protectionist economy would be beneficial to their interests.

8. WSM: "The north was created in such a way to ensure a
permanent unionist rule by tying Protestant workers to their
bosses in return for marginal privileges in a 6 county rather than a
9 county "Ulster". These privileges were maintained by northern
bosses (e.g. Brookborough's famous statement about employing
'good Protestant lads') and meant Protestant workers can be
mobilised against Catholic workers demanding a fair share under
Northern capitalism or unity with the republic. Examples of this in
action can be seen in the Loyalist and police attacks on the
nationalist ghettos in 1969 in response to a peaceful civil rights
movement demanding basic democratic rights, in the 1974
unionist strike against power sharing."

Organise!: The north was created in such a way as to ensure
permanent unionist rule by abandoning the unionists in three of
Ulster's nine counties (as Irish unionists in the south and west
had been earlier abandoned) to ensure a more secure majority.
Gerrymandering was used to reinforce this majority while the
abolition of proportional representation (an original constitutional
requirement of the new state was a PR voting system) was
primarily aimed at staving off threats to the unionist vote which
were not nationalist, notably the threat from labour candidates and
independent unionists who could undermine what was seen as the
given electorate of Official Unionism. Again sectarian
discrimination in employment was a deliberate policy that was
promoted to greater or lesser degrees dependent on
circumstances. For instance the Outdoor Relief Strike of 1932 was
followed by concerted efforts to ensure that unionist employers
employed good protestant 'lads and lasses' over catholics. There
were limits to this even then and massive levels of unemployment
continued on both sides of the 'religious divide' until well into the
second world war.

At odds with the assertion of mobilisation of privileged protestant
workers against unprivileged catholics is the fact that most
sectarian riots and attacks on catholics, and attacks on protestants
by catholics, took place in interface areas between the poorest
sections of Belfast's protestant and catholic populations. This is
the case to this day with the social conditions and often even the
location of the interfaces remaining relatively unchanged.

Why are demands from catholic workers for a fair share under
capitalism conflated with demands for unity with the Irish
republic? Of course unionist opposition can be easily mobilised
against the later. Why also is the extension of a southern capitalist
state northwards equated with positive social reform? While
republicans were able to effectively link the idea that Ireland's
problems would be solved once national unity was attained with
resistance to a discriminatory northern state is this either a
progressive goal or one that offers any opportunity for building
sustainable class unity? Mobilisations against power sharing and
the Anglo-Irish Agreement were motivated by a desire to keep the
southern government out of 'Northern Irish affairs' and were not
primarily motivated by communal anti-catholic sentiments.

9. WSM: "British troops were not sent into the North in 1969 in
order to keep the peace but rather to provide a breathing space for
the northern security forces and to stabilise in the interests of the
British ruling class what they thought could have became a
revolutionary situation. This remained their role, which is why we
call for "Troops out now". In addition they were used also to break
the back of any mass peaceful reform movement through actions
like Bloody Sunday in 1972."

Organise!: This type of reasoning or presentation runs into the
counter argument that a self identifying 'British' population in
Northern Ireland sees British troops, including those that are
locally recruited, as 'their' troops - not an army of occupation but
the army of the nation acting in the defence of the nations
citizens. They are also, like working class people the world over,
quite likely to have direct links of a family and friendship based
nature with such troops. We believe that opposition to the
presence of armed troops and police on the ground in the north
would be better expressed in anarchist terms and in relation to our
anti-militarism. Even though the phrase was used for a while by
Sinn Fein the demand for 'demilitarisation' is a much better one
than the call for 'Troops Out Now'. The demand for
demilitarisation can also extends from the demand that troops are
removed from the streets, that the state military apparatus is
dismantled to the call for the 'standing down' of militarist
paramilitary organisations of both loyalist and republican

10. WSM: "Loyalism is a reactionary ideology in all its forms
including those that try to appear socialist. It serves only to
maintain sectarianism and Protestant privilege and protect the
interests of the British and northern ruling classes.
11. Republicanism is a petty-bourgeoisie ideology and not a
socialist one. Even those brands which claim to be socialist preach
a theory in which workers must submerge their own interests and
fight alongside their Catholic bosses until a united Ireland is
achieved. Nevertheless it has considerable working class support
in the north, but because of its stages theory where labour must
wait it has little attraction for Protestant workers and has no
strategy for approaching Protestant workers.
However, republicanism unlike loyalism often developed
significant left strands within it because, at least in theory, it was
based on the 'equal rights of all' rather then the 'god given destiny
of the chosen people'. After the rise of Leninism however these
strands were deeply contaminated with authoritarian socialist
ideas. Still they sometimes, as with the Republican Congress
movement of the 1930's, could win support from the northern
protestant working class around the slogan of the workers
republic. Although we and other anarchists have used that slogan
as in the past, it is no longer useful shorthand for why we have
different politics to republicans, so we prefer to simply say that we
are for 'an anarchist Ireland'."

Organise!: We believe that ALL forms of nationalism are
reactionary and are disappointed to see the equation of Irish
nationalism with republicanism used as a cover to avoid
addressing this in relation to these two points. The use of
'republican' followed by 'Catholic bosses' gives away the
contradiction here. There is also a problem of terminology in point
10. We must ask exactly how Loyalism, which is usually
associated with working class protestants, serves to maintain
Protestant privilege? Surely it would need more economic muscle
to achieve this or is this simply a case of using Loyalism in this
context to cover all the variations on unionism?

The first paragraph of point 11 ends with a rather confusing fudge
on republicanism "it has considerable working class support in the
north, but because of its stages theory where labour must wait it
has little attraction for Protestant workers and has no strategy for
approaching Protestant workers". So which is it to be? Support it
because it has considerable working class support, which we
should not have to point out is based in one 'community' (and
which also applies in the case of Loyalism), or not because of its
'stages theory' and the 'little attraction' and 'no strategy' for
winning protestant workers?
The next paragraph compounds the confusion. The 'equal rights
for all' are not inclusive of the right not to be incorporated into a
unitary Irish state. The 'god given destiny of the chosen people' is
a caricature of unionism which does not recognise the diversity of
opinion within unionism and which would be meaningless, if not
insulting, to many unionists. It serves to reinforce the
demonisation of one section of Irish society while elating the
position of other protagonists in the conflict. The oft-cited
Republican Congress of the 1930's is not proof that republicanism
could "win support of the northern protestant working class
around the slogan of the workers republic". The branch of the
Congress on the Shankill Road that has become the stuff of left
republican legend does not amount to the "northern protestant
working class". In the context of what follows this appears as a
stretched attempt to justify past use of a left republican slogan by
the WSM. What other anarchists have used that slogan in the
past? We are unaware of any in Ireland, most anarchists being
aware that a republic is simply a state without a monarchy and
that, as in the Soviet Union, China, Yugoslavia, Cuba, etc., the
term workers republic, like workers state, is a contradiction. Even
if other anarchists in Ireland have used this slogan we would
argue that they were wrong in doing so. The real use of the term,
an attempt to appeal to the left of the Irish nationalist movement,
is apparent when viewed in relation to this position paper as a
whole. The aim of "an anarchist Ireland" when read in relation to
the document as a whole would seem to reinforce, or at least
perpetuate, mythical nationalist notions about the sanctity of
Ireland as a political unit.
* The original + Replies and discussions at:

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