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(en) Ireland, The End of the War - Working Class Resistance #10

Date Sun, 11 Dec 2005 13:33:06 +0200

Welcome to the latest edition of Working Class
Resistance. This is the second edition in magazine
format, now with more pages, and we aim to produce WCR
on a quarterly basis – coming out in November, February,
May and August. We apologise for the increase in price
but once the distributors and retailers cut of the cover
price is taken out we found we really had little choice.
Since the last issue of WCR members of Organise! have
continued to be active in a variety of campaigns, from
recent anti-traveller racism protest (see p13),
Fascists Out Campaign activity, solidarity actions
with the Rossport 5 and Tesco Temp Defence Committee
(see p8), as well as ongoing work in opposition to
water charges in the north (see p16).

In Erris, County Mayo things are hotting up in the
campaign to stop the Shell pipeline with the arrests
of the Rossport 5. Organise! and Street Scene help a
picketed the Norwegian consulate in Belfast in
solidarity with the Rossport 5 on Friday 29th of July.

This issue of WCR takes a critical look at much of the
activity that has been engaged in in recent months by
people who assure us they are trying to change the
world and do battle with injustice. From marches that
are little more than walking petitions, to pleading
with world leaders to ‘Make Poverty History’, to Black
Block battling and Circus Army tickling cops in
Scotland, to rock concerts proclaiming that 8 men can
change the world, to the devastation of the bomb
attacks in London – we see little prospect of
increasing working class militancy and confidence in
any of these forms of ‘struggle’.

We also include, in order to correct some
misconceptions, an article on direct action,
explaining what it is and how it can be used.

While we do not have all the answers many of the
articles point to possible alternatives and methods of
organising that can be engaged in by working class
people. As ever we remain committed to confronting
capital and state, building working class solidarity
and to the struggle for world-wide libertarian

The End of the War

The statement issued by the leadership of the PIRA on
Thursday 28th of July, instructing an end to their
armed campaign is significant beyond its declaration
that the war is over. Ordering all volunteers to dump
arms the statement included the wording:
"All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the
development of purely political and democratic
programmes through exclusively peaceful means."

This is clearly aimed at satisfying the British and
Irish governments and unionism that the war is over
and it sets the stage for a return of Sinn Fein to the
Stormont Assembly and the possibility of coalition in
the south. The timing of a return for the Stormont
Assembly depends largely on there being some sort of
change in the attitude of the majority unionist party,
the DUP. The DUP line had been disbandment although a
significant act of decommissioning, of “deeds not
words”, may make such a hard line less tenable. And
its hard to imagine why the PIRA wouldn’t proceed to a
significant act of decommissioning, they can present
it as calling Paisley’s bluff while the truth is that
their war against the British state has been over for
at least 11 years.
So, should we welcome this as creating peace in our
time? Predictions like that have been made before
only to become disastrously unstuck. The basis of the
Good Friday Agreement and the Assembly set up in its
wake is such that, even if it was re-established, it
could collapse over policing, parades or any number of
contentious issues – particularly given the political
near domination that would be enjoyed by Sinn Fein and
the DUP.
It is also the case that none of this is likely to see
a reduction in sectarianism in our society. Back when
the GFA, or Belfast Agreement, was brokered one of the
predecessors of this organisation, Organise! - IWA

"...sectarianism is far from eradicated from our
society. The ‘Agreement’ isn’t really about that
however, in fact it institutionalises sectarianism
with members of the northern Assembly being required
to identify themselves as Unionist, Nationalist or

Other was then and is now a non-option as far as the
sectarian and communal political carve up is
concerned. Since then sectarianism on the ground has
actually worsened.
The statement views the armed struggle as having been
completely legitimate, and while the PIRA are not the
sole combatants in the conflict, as libertarian
communists we take issue with that assertion and we
are mindful of the fact that the overwhelming majority
of people who were bereaved, suffered injury,
incarceration and death throughout this conflict where
working class.

Paramilitarism and gangsterism continue to blight
working class communities. State military
institutions, troops and a paramilitary police force
all need to go. Demilitarisation is a short term
objective, removing nationalism from politics and
building on class unity and solidarity are essential
to achieving meaningful change for working class
people in the north. As the Belfast Libertarian
Group, who experienced the slide from civil rights
campaigning into sectarian conflict, said back in
"Nothing is new or radical in Irish politics…
Northern Irish politics are the politics of the dead.
No organisation offers real hope to the working class
in Ireland. No organisation can until nationalism is
taken right out of politics."1
We all lose out as a result of sectarianism and
nationalism (of the Irish, Ulster and British
varieties) while Sinn Fein are happy to get back to
the business of administering British rule – British
rule that’s bent on implementing a neo-liberal agenda.
Government from Westminster, Stormont nor Dublin
offers us anything – north, south, east or west.
Working class prods are not going to be won to a
battle to get rid of partition and create a united
Irish republic – and in all seriousness why should
they? No-one seriously believes that such an extended
Irish state will have anything socialist about it.
Beyond some young, naïve and deluded members of Ogra
Shinn Fein no-one believes Sinn Fein's (increasingly
rare) talk of socialism any more surely?

In reality there can be no satisfactory statist or
capitalist solutions, the situation demands that
working class people take matters into their own
hands. In the short term we must increase working
class resistance to attacks in our workplaces and
communities, we must work to overcome segregation and
to smash the grip of the churches on our education
system. In the long-term we must strive towards a
society based on working peoples direct control of our
workplaces and communities, federating with others to
ensure our needs are met. In this way we can abolish
all borders and create a federal commonwealth of
labour uniting the people of these islands and the
globe in the pursuit of a world based on need and
ability not greed and violence.
It may prove difficult after over 35 years of armed
conflict but working class people must take this
opportunity to bury the politics of the dead and
develop a politics of the living.

1 Belfast Libertarian Group, 1973, Ireland, Dead or
Alive, pp23-24.

>From the pages of Working Class Resistance, magazine
of Organise.

Organise Ireland <organiseireland@yahoo.ie>
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