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A new IRA? 

Anther signpost in the decay of the Irish settlement 

John McAnulty

11 August 2012

The announcement that a number of disparate republican organizations had regrouped under the banner of the Irish Republican Army drew a storm of condemnation from the great and the good in Ireland and Britain.

Much of the criticism is justified. Essentially the IRA want to take up armed action from where it left off. They do not accept that a militarist ideology was bound to fail and that it was the insufficiency of militarism and of the politics of revolutionary nationalism that led directly to the capitulation of the Provos and their participation in the local administration. 

One must also add that the participating groups draw upon the tactics of the Provisional IRA when they were already in decline - the real IRA are linked to the Omagh atrocity and RAAD try to gain popularity by a local police function that includes shootings and killings of those they identify as anti-social. 

This was always the fatal flaw of republicanism. The physical force at the centre of their methodology was always cutting away the possibility of mass and class action on which revolutionary change would have to be based.

There is another side to the coin.

As the republicans themselves point out, the Northern settlement is a phony one. The new Northern state resembles nothing more than the old sectarian state. The triumph of the Royal handshake, followed by the triumph of the Orange marchers, has created a burning resentment among former supporters of Sinn Fein. Only the most loyal of Sinn Fein apparatchiks now talk of progress to a united Ireland.

In a colonial, sectarian, partitioned statelet there is, of necessity, an IRA. In a period of austerity where the diplomatic sectarianism that pervades society could turn to conflict, it is not impossible that the IRA will grow.

It will not be enough to point to the failures of the past 40 years. It will not be enough to point to the lack of perspective today.

The only thing that will be enough is an alternative - a socialist movement able to represent the anger of the oppressed, able to present a root and branch rejection of the sectarian society imposed on us, a movement that, unlike the actually existing movement today, is not content to play the role of the loyal opposition or draw an equals sign between the Orange bigots and their victims.


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