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(en) Organise #58 - Peace? What peace?

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 14 May 2003 09:12:57 +0200 (CEST)

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

The recent murder of Catholic postal worker, Daniel McColgan, in north
Belfast, led to one of those rare moments in the history of Northern Ireland ­
a public display of solidarity against the paramilitary intrusion, usually fatal,
into the lives of ordinary people here.
The large-scale protests which
brought tens of thousands out onto the
streets of Belfast, Derry and Newry are
a clear signal to the paramilitaries that
enough is enough, and that what the
vast majority of people desire now is
peace ­ a peace in which society here
can hope to attain the levels of
`normality' that appear to exist in
societies elsewhere.
Daniel McColgan was someone in a
uniform doing his job, but he was also
a Catholic doing his job in Rathcoole, a
Protestant stronghold, and for this
reason he was gunned down. That
most people come into contact with
postal workers every day (one of the
few strangers we don't mind opening
the door to in our atomised society)
perhaps helped in marking the
difference between his death and the
countless numbers of other sectarian
murders that have occurred
throughout the last 30 years. Perhaps
we all thought we knew him. Perhaps
his death, which was part of a series of
assaults on other members of the
working class whose job is to serve the
community (ambulance and public
transport workers have also come
under attack), was enough to push
people here beyond their already high
powers of endurance. But the fact that
thousands of Catholics and Protestants
were irate enough to come together
and voice their anger publicly is a
positive sign, and gives hope for the
future ­ but it is only the first step.
Everyone wants peace in Northern
Ireland, but what kind of peace does
everyone want? Politicians in
Stormont, on the odd day in the week
they bother to meet, want peace too.
Their idea of peace, however, is the
peace that renders possible the long-
term economic and political interests
of Britain, and its commander in chief,
the US. For them, peace represents the
opportunity to open up Northern
Ireland to multi-national investment,
and the accompanying third-world
style exploitation of our workforce.
Stormont itself will not lead to the end
of the kind of sectarianism that
culminated in the death of Daniel
McColgan. It has, and will, merely
institutionalise the sectarian divide
that continues to be the dominant
feature across the social landscape of
the north.
At the moment, North Belfast is
testament to the lingering hatred that
the so-called `peace process' was
meant to stamp out. The recent
upsurge in violence there is seen by
many as an anachronism, a blip in the
normalisation process. This view,
however, ignores the reality that north
Belfast has been one of the most
impoverished and neglected areas of
Ireland, north and south, for decades
and, as a result, a hotspot for the
recruiting agents of republicanism and
loyalism. With the UDA (Ulster
Defence Association) no longer on
ceasefire, and with their political wing,
the UDP (Ulster Democratic Party)
recently disbanded, the stakes have
been raised in this particular enclave
of Belfast (117 pipe bomb attacks on
Catholic homes in 2001) where
violence orchestrated by the UDA etc,
is being met by the less organised
forces of hardcore republican youth.

Sinn Fein and co have too much to
lose by taking the bait, and being
drawn out of the peace process which
has recently witnessed Gerry Adams,
erstwhile `socialist', being feted by the
WEF in New York, rather than attend a
Bloody Sunday commemoration rally
in Derry. Likewise, other mainstream
politicians like the DUP's Nigel Dodds,
are too fearful of losing potential votes
in a contentious Belfast seat that could
swing republican at the next election.
The UDA, who carried out McColgan's
murder, need drug turf and thus drug
money to finance future `military'
operations. They need to continue to
fuel the fear of Catholic penetration of
Protestant areas in order to maximise
more hatred, which they in turn can
channel for their own ends.
So what does the future have in
store for Northern Ireland? The hawks
in the UDA will continue their
campaign of intimidation and violence
in order to destabilise the `peace
process' which they feel has failed
them, and hope that the IRA slips up
over demilitarisation ­ a prospect
which is unlikely, given the financial
windfall that capitalists can expect
with prolonged peace. As small-time
entrepreneurs themselves, the UDA is
guilty of a marked naivety if they
think anything they can do will rock
the boat now. That said, perhaps they
will be content with the ghettoisation
of various interface and poor loyalist
areas in which they can conduct their
business, and like their counterparts in
the IRA, renounce, if they haven't
already, their version of the phoney
concept of `national liberation', which
is as implausible as the idea of
national economic independence given
the nature of the world today.
So, the demonstrations against the
murder of Daniel McColgan, positive
as they were, must be followed by the
growth of a culture of resistance
which sees the communities here
united again, but this time united in
the daily struggle of life under
capitalism, united in their realisation
that they should no longer be
manipulated as two rival sets of
exploited labour, divided by religion
and nationalism, and underpinned by
a bogus cultural identification of what
differentiates something or someone
British, from something or someone
Irish. It is up to anarchists to involve
themselves in this process, to build
the foundation for class struggle, and
destroy the capitalist stranglehold over
The Anarchist Federation Ireland
set up in Ireland in autumn 2001.
Since then AFI has been actively
involved in anti-war, pro-choice and
anti-Sellafield activism. We also
participate in the series of grassroots
gatherings, the aim of which are to
build up a broad-based libertarian
movement in Ireland. We already have
contacts with anarchists in Dundalk,
Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Sligo, Kildare
and Cork and have members both
north and south of the border.
To find out more about the
Anarchist Federation Ireland, email us
at ireaf@yahoo.ie ­ Or go to our
website at www.afireland@cjb.net

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