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(en) Workers Solidarity #84 - Devolution Ain't No Revolution

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:17:05 +0100 (CET)


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For almost a month in late November/early December we were treated
to nightly reports from RTE journalists and others - delivered in bated
breath - on the possibility of a return to "devolved government" and
"power-sharing" in the North. This was coupled with acres of
newsprint about "historic breakthroughs" etc.
Then 'the deal' collapsed apparently because while the IRA were
willing to dispose of their weapons, they wouldn't allow photographs to
be taken. The blame game began. Whose fault was this lack of
agreement? Provo intransigence? DUP insistence on humiliation?

After a couple of weeks of this nonsense, came the Northern Bank
robbery and suddenly all was changed.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) pointed the finger of
blame at the IRA and politicians and 'political commentators' North
and South of the border rushed to put as much distance as possible
between themselves and the whiff of sulphur which they could
suddenly smell from Martin and Gerry. Perhaps the funniest image of
all was Gerry Adams issuing a statement complaining that Bertie
Ahern was not returning his phone calls. One could almost imagine
Gerry sitting weeping by the phone waiting for Bertie to call him and
invite him to tango once again!!
Who gives a flying ****?

But in all reality, who gives a damn?? The 'holy grail' that everyone is
supposed to be waiting for with bated breath is the prospect of a
devolved government in the North which will include the Democratic
Unionist Party and Sinn Fein. Ian Paisley or Peter Robinson as 'First
Minister', Martin McGuinness as his deputy. What about the exciting
prospect of Gerry Kelly as Minister for Policing or Arlene Foster in
charge of health? The prospect is enough to make the skin crawl.

Since the onset of the so-called peace process, what passes for politics
in the North has gone from the absurd to the ridiculous. Of course the
ceasefires and the relative peace brought by them are welcomed by
everyone, but the 'peace process' and all the endless hours of 'jaw-jaw'
that have accompanied it has. at the end of the day, been about the
institutionalisation of sectarianism, effectively an acceptance that there
are and will always be two sides - orange and green.

The pre-Christmas talks were basically all about a flexing of muscles.
Both the Paisley/Robinson and Adams/McGuinness tag teams are
trying to portray themselves as the hard men defending the rights of
'their' community. With one eye on the forthcoming Westminster
elections, neither could be seen to be conceding a millimetre.
Deal likely

It is more than likely that following the Westminster election SF and
DUP will cut a deal, although nothing can be predicted with any
degree of certainty when Northern politics are being considered. But
the one certainty that we'd all be safe wagering our next decade's
wages on is that the re-establishment of a 'devolved government' will
do absolutely nothing for the Northern working class.

Sinn Fein's pretence at being a 'Socialist' party is shown up for the
nonsense that it has always been when they are willing to even
consider facilitating the elevation of the arch-bigot Paisley as 'First
Minister'. Taken in conjunction with their salivating at the prospect of
entering coalition with Fianna Fail in the South, those members of
Sinn Fein who still swallow the 'socialist' rhetoric must be either
extremely naïve or stupid.

At any rate the 'devolved government' which the people of Northern
Ireland can look forward to will simply offer more of the same. What
difference does it make to communities fighting for better education or
health services, for decent facilities etc. whether the decision to deny
them those services is being made in London or in Stormont?
Democracy and unity

Real democracy is about more than simply transferring the 'centre of
government' across the water. Real democracy will demand a complete
transformation of society in the North, south of the border and in
Britain and elsewhere. In the North what is needed is a united struggle
to win people away from sectarian politics and to socialism.

This won't be easy, we have to build real workers' unity and this
means winning protestant workers away from loyalism and unionism
and breaking the nationalist/republican hold over catholic workers. We
need to convince workers from both sides of the sectarian divide that
they have more in common than what divides them.

Anarchists favour direct, not representative, democracy. This means
that mass meetings are held in workplaces, schools and communities
and negotiators are elected on the basis of the mandate of these
meetings. If they don't obey these mandates they are booted out.
Genuine community delegates should be doing the talking.

What's going on in the North at the moment is a far cry from real
democracy. Battles around real issues such as the current fight against
the imposition of water charges provide the common ground on which
the sectarian barriers can begin to be dismantled. It is to such
campaigns that we should look in the hope of building real workers'
unity which can boot out all the parasitical politicians.

=========================================
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
for you to print out and distribute locally
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/pdf.html
This edition is No84 published in Jan 2005
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/ws/2005/index.html


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