25 January 2007 Edition
Republicans and policing
It is clear that Sinn Féin can no longer call itself a revolutionary movement. The acceptance of law and order of an imperialist aggressor is proof that the party is happy to accept partition and becoming just another political party on this island who might want a United Ireland a little more than the others.
When all the bullshit formalities are out of the way on Sunday and the inevitable outcome announced and everyone is up clapping trying to convince themselves that this is great and another step in right direction, all that's been achieved is the ‘possibility’ of devolved government for Six Counties and further enhancement of the Union. The Provisional movement was undefeated during 30 years of military conflict. The political conflict has already ended in defeat. Defeated into becoming just another party on this island instead of one which once stood for something.
Nationalist communities have sustained themselves very well without having to sign up for any Brit policing while support for the Republican Movement increased enormously over the years, and it’s no coincidence that this support has decreased for first time over last the two years after more unnecessary concessions, which have only unsettled and destabilised the Republican Movement. It seems that the leadership that has built up the Provisional movement is now destroying it.
Cabra, Dublin 7
Some opponents of the motion before Sinn Féin’s extraordinary Ard Fheis this weekend have said that critical engagement with the PSNI, despite the recent far-reaching changes secured through political negotiations, means ‘accepting the legitimacy of British rule’ in a part of Ireland. Others have gone further and claimed it would mean ‘enforcing British rule’ in the North. While I accept the republican credentials of such comrades, I reject such accusations. I also question their relationship to political realities as they exist in 2007 and think attention should be drawn to the lack of any credible alternative way forward on the policing issue for republicans.
How do such comrades think that the strategy pursued by the Movement for many years now could move forward without the initiative advocated by the Sinn Féin leadership? Some have said we should not be involved in policing until there is a United Ireland. With all due respect comrades, that is a cop-out.
In the current political dispensation, post the ending of the IRA’s armed campaign and following the various changes that have taken place in the North – changes negotiated by Sinn Féin – it is entirely legitimate and quite logical for the republican party to tackle ‘bread and butter’ issues and the various symptoms of 80 years of the Orange state and an armed conflict while at the same time pursuing a 32-County socialist republic and expanding and consolidating support among the wider population for that objective.
What is needed in Ireland in 2007 – and what is being built – is a republican party which, in the North, fearlessly confronts discrimination, sectarianism, political policing and relentlessly pursues an end to partition and the removal of the British state from the North East of our country. Such a party needs to do this while at the same time critically engaging with the structures of society that affect the lives of the mass of the people, especially the nationalist and republican people.
What is needed is a party organised throughout the 32 Counties, which puts the issue of Partition and the interests of Northern nationalists and the objective of a United Ireland on the Southern political agenda. The revolutionary aim is state power North and South to achieve the Republic.
After squeezing as much as was available from the Brits, through tough negotiations on the policing issue, the only way to finally bury the sectarian legacy and unionist, securocrat culture of the police in the North and more rapidly expose the full story of collusion is through critical engagement with policing structures.
Those republicans who oppose this have a duty to produce a credible alternative way forward for the struggle or a policing policy which better serves the needs of the nationalist people.
Name-calling, sloganising or giving ‘Ra-ra’ speeches as contributions to the current republican debate on policing is bullshit. Bullshit won’t get us one inch closer to the Republic.
Republicans do not engage with institutions such as local government, Leinster House or Stormont for any other reason than to promote the republican agenda and make political advances, all the time with our objectives in mind. The same logic now applies to the issue of policing as it currently exists in the Six Counties.
The Sinn Féin negotiators deserve the praise and admiration of Irish republicans everywhere for what they have achieved so far – especially on the policing issue.
Organised republicanism is stronger now throughout Ireland than it has been for seven decades. The Sinn Féin leadership and membership are revolutionary republicans worthy of the name – tough, intelligent, sophisticated, flexible, determined and above all committed.
Sinn Féin does not accept the legitimacy of British rule Ireland – it is determined to end it. Sinn Féin does not enforce British rule – it is working to dismantle it. The Ard Chomhairle motion should be supported to move our struggle on to the next stage.
Baile Átha Cliath.