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If you’re against sectarianism, you’re against the Loyalists sectarian campaign

2nd August 2002

It’s not possible to be against sectarianism and ignore the sectarian reality in front of your face.  Once sectarianism or racialism becomes established anywhere there are automatically two ‘sides’ and there are random sectarian killings by thugs claiming to represent one ‘side’ or the other.  The murder of William Morgan is an example of such random brutality.

The job of socialists and trade unionists is not to float about in the middle, holding up our hands in horror.  It’s to identify the engine that drives such horror and fight against it.

If we want to fight sectarianism then we should not remain blind to the fact that named organisations – the UDA and UVF and their very public leadership – have been conducting an open campaign of sectarian intimidation.

If you blather about opposing ALL sectarianism and ignore the naked reality of organised sectarian groups in front of your face then in reality you are not opposing sectarianism – you are capitulating to it.

That’s exactly what the leadership of  ICTU are doing.  They went from the funeral of Gerard Lawlor to meet the leaders of the organisation identified as murdering him.  When challenged by the UDA they refused to confront the sectarians, falling back on the old chestnut of ALL sectarianism – not the sectarianism in front of them.

It’s not that the trade union leadership don’t know any better – they did exactly the same thing after the murder of Danny McColgan and the siege of Holy Cross.

What was the outcome?  A trade union militant who protested most openly at the last demonstration was burnt out of his home by Loyalists thugs – no action.  Fascists smashed the gravestone of Danny McColgan and other Catholics – no action.  Loyalists raid another educational institute – BIFHE – applying crude sectarian test to find the Catholics – no action.  The UDA stage a full-scale military offensive against Catholic homes in Ligoniel and ambush the trade union members of the ambulance service who try to treat the injured – no official action – the workers act themselves.

Workers need to face up to the Loyalist sectarian offensive.  They need to acknowledge the policy of the British administration of conciliating Loyalist demands and funding Loyalist groups.  They need to acknowledge the RUC/PSNI conviction record of 0% for crimes that often happen in front of their noses.

If we wait for ICTU to mount a genuine fightback against the sectarian onslaught we will wait forever.  It’s time that ordinary workers took the initiative. Take the first step by signing our declaration against sectarianism at our website



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