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(en) Ireland, Statement on Sectarianism

From "AFI_ASF" <afi_asf@yahoo.com>
Date Fri, 18 Oct 2002 05:10:20 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

The Anarchist Federation and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation
oppose the communal and sectarian politics of Northern Ireland.
The communal politics of the north, which identifies the advance
of one community as being at the expense of the other, continues
to destroy working class communities.

Belfast Agreement 

The agreement was supposed to remove the gun from Northern Irish
politics. But has this happened? The murder this year of postal
worker, Danny McColgan, and the increasing threat paramilitaries
pose to the workforce in the north would seem to suggest
otherwise. While the days of the sectarian one party Unionist
state may well have ended with the imposition of the equally
oppressive period of direct rule, a new form of sectarian
?agreement? has been worked out by our supposed
?representatives? in Stormont. With direct rule now
re-established, nothing much will change here. It was always the
case that this agreement was about copper fastening sectarianism
-it could be about nothing else. Sectarianism, in fact, has not
been eroded. It?s enjoying a profile now that it hasn?t enjoyed
since the early 70?s, and to which the Holy Cross dispute is
only one of the more extreme examples. We are opposed to all
forms of sectarianism, institutional and otherwise.

Working class communities 

Those which are worst affected by sectarianism have more in
common across the sectarian divide than they have division. The
politicians and the Catholic and Protestant middle classes may
have benefited from some sort of ?peace dividend? but working
class communities, particularly those on interfaces, have not.
We only need to look at the ongoing violence in North and East
Belfast to understand how the working class is as polarised as
ever, preyed upon by paramilitary 
gangsters on both sides.


We need to engage in common struggle based on class interests
and solidarity. Nationalism, be it the British nationalism of
Loyalism and Unionism, Irish nationalism or the Ulster
nationalist current evident within Loyalism, divides workers and
is based on the myth that people in an arbitrarily drawn up
nation (be it based on an island, region, language, 'culture?,
or religion, or any combination of these and other elements),
have common interests which can be represented by the nation
state. Nationalism is a regressive and divisive force which
separates humanity on the basis of arbitrary national
boundaries. These boundaries are nothing more than the ?barbed
wire? which divides us, according to particular loyalties and
commitments which obscure the domination of all oppressed
classes by the ruling elites. The nation state is in effect the
government over the majority -the working class, by the wealthy
few. Let us not forget -the working class and those who hold
power, the bosses and their lackeys, have no common interests.
We are not, however, opposed to genuine cultural expression
which when given expression can add to the rich tapestry of
life. But we are opposed, to those manifestations of
sectarianism which masquerade as culture.


The facts speak for themselves. Government, no matter in whose
name, no matter what jurisdiction it acts within, whether United
Kingdom, the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland, offers no
alternative for our class. Our class exists economically as a
class. We have nothing in common with the wealthy and powerful
of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom
or for that matter the rest of the world. We must organise
economically as a class to pursue our interests as only we can.
The only unity we aspire towards is class unity in 
opposition to all bosses and states.

What we say

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation and the Anarchist Federation
are united in our commitment to the struggle against
sectarianism and for a better world. We believe that a united
working class can build a world, in opposition to global
capitalism, the state and our sectarian politicians, which is
based on need not profit, on workers control of their workplaces
and communities. A world where we have adequate housing, public
transport, health care, public services and food because workers
themselves will be responsible for the running of society.

To find out more about our position on the north, contact us at 


>From the joint bulletin -'Wildcat',  produced by the Anarchist
Federation and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation. 

AF- http://www.afireland.cjb.net

ASF- anarcho_syndicalist_federation@hotmail.com

Po Box 505 Belfast BT12 6BQ

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