4 August 2012     

Class action, not bombs, needed

By Lynda Walker

The announcement of the re-forming of a (new) Irish Republican Army has attracted the attention of politicians and the media. We are told that the organisation is “a few hundred strong” and that it will benefit from the “sharing of resources.” In addition, according to the media, “those behind the merger believe that they may have gained an advantage in the intelligence war.” In the past the paramilitaries were riddled with British Intelligence; there is no reason to believe that the situation will be any different.
     Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly, MLA for North Belfast, said there is a political strategy in place that the vast majority of Irish republicans and nationalists, along with the overwhelming majority of the people on this island, have endorsed. “What is very clear from this move is . . . that they have no strategy and their aims are as clear as mud. RAAD, for example, has claimed to be an anti-drugs group who have now joined a larger dissident group with different aims.
     “That is not to say that they cannot be dangerous. They have in the past killed people, the majority of whom have been from the nationalist community . . . They are happy to risk the lives and liberty of young, impressionable people to achieve nothing.” This might be a bit much coming from a past supporter of the military campaign—but the wake-up call has to start somewhere.
     Three of the five military republican groups in Northern Ireland are claiming the title and credibility of the Irish Republican Army. They are the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs, which has been running a violent vigilante campaign in Derry, and a coalition of independent armed republican groups. The Continuity IRA and the mainly Belfast-based Óglaigh na hÉireann remain outside the merger.
     The Communist Party of Ireland is quite explicit when we say: “Given the current conditions in the North, we once again state that we reject paramilitary violence from whatever quarter it comes. There is a clear need to remove the threat of the gun and bombs from the political scene and to develop class action and political dialogue. The peace process is an ongoing process that demands critical support and active participation to make the most of the opportunities it provides to oppose sectarianism and create unity of the working class.”
     There is a renewed interest in republican politics and the search for the way forward against anti-people policies, in the tactics, strategy and the winning of all sections of the Irish working class for a united movement and a united Ireland. However, it is quite difficult to have serious debates with people who are wearing balaclavas and wielding arms. If the new IRA succeeds in getting rid of the “Brits” and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the North, how do they intend to win the rest of the people of Ireland, North and South, “for a free and independent Ireland” and for an anti-imperialist agenda?
     “Any continuing violence by republican paramilitary organisations does not advance the political goals that these various strands of republicanism claim to champion any more than did the Provisional IRA before them. Their actions give the British Government continuing cover for the maintenance and use of repressive and undemocratic measures, it fans the flames of sectarianism and narrows the concept of republicanism, rejecting the class basis of the national question. The Communist Party of Ireland calls upon those involved to reconsider their action.”

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