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View Full Version : 1981 Cabinet Papers reveal Thatcher negotiated over hunger strike and considered abandoning Liverpool after Toxteth



PaddyJoe
30-12-2011, 12:08 AM
Interesting stuff in the Guardian tonight as some Cabinet Papers are released under the 30 year rule:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/nationalarchives

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 09:52 AM
Interesting stuff in the Guardian tonight as some Cabinet Papers are released under the 30 year rule:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/nationalarchives

Just reading this via Cedar Lounge Revolution.

Given the papers cover the year of the Hunger Strikes it is an important year.

The first thing that struck me was that at that time Thatcher did not believe that the British people supported continued British presence in Ireland.

http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/state-papers-here-and-there/

The Irish Times - Robinson wanted the border to be sealed.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1230/1224309632262.html

Negotiations on the ending of the Hunger Strike have been hotly debated between Republicans as there were suspicions that the IRA leadership might have postponed agreement in the interests of gaining more political support.

Papers say that Bobby Sands offered to suspend his hunger strike a week before he died, in a message via the Vatican.
Jim Gibney took issue with the claim on Pat Kenny's show this morning says this was absurd and says at no stage did he make this offer via Bishop McGee and that the claim is bogus.

Sam Lord
30-12-2011, 10:01 AM
She was also apparently considering arming the police during the riots of the early '80s.

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 10:09 AM
The Irish Times reports that then Deputy Leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson, told a "Stormont official" that the border should be closed and that if he, other politicians, were killed by the IRA "there would be war before Christmas."

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1230/1224309632262.html

It seems contradictory that Thatcher on the one hand said that the overwhelming majority of the British population wanted withdrawal from Ireland, but at the same time predicted civil unrest over withdrawal, particularly "in western Scotland."

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 10:13 AM
I have looked, and so far see no signs of Thatcher having wobbled. Callaghan, yes, was apparently moving towards proposing an "independent Northern Ireland."

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 10:22 AM
She was also apparently considering arming the police during the riots of the early '80s.

Well, there was a radical tooling up of the police in response to the riots in Britain across that year. The Tories in the end decided on the "controlled" run-down of Liverpool rather than clearing inner city areas.

In the same year, the wedding of Charles and Diana was used as the occasion to build up riot police forces that were used against the miners in 1984 - another "controlled run down" of Britain's industrial past.


The government responded by immediately providing 1,500 Nato riot helmets from army stocks, asked the army to provide more baton rounds and six water cannon to the police and opened three army camps to be used as prison overflows.

This was for the wedding...

fluffybiscuits
30-12-2011, 11:34 AM
http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/1230/sandsb.html

Apparently Bobby Sands offered to end hunger strike

Donal Og
30-12-2011, 11:47 AM
Thatcher's greatest legacy is this - in 79 the Scottish people rejected devolution.There then followed 18 years of Thatcherism.Shortly thereafter the Scots seized devolution with both hands and are likely headed for independence.

Baron von Biffo
30-12-2011, 01:24 PM
"Emergency home telephone numbers for civil servants to be alerted out of hours are included in the file, ranging from senior Ministry of Defence staff to the officials at Her Majesty's Stationary Office."

It's very important to keep in touch with the Stationary Office lest it start moving about.

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 01:39 PM
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/december2011-files.htm

Difficult enough to find one's way around these documents.

They are not all on line and I can't even find a list in the UK National Archives of what has been released.

Has anyone had a go at the Irish releases yet ?

I'm going to start a sticky for links on both.

Saoirse go Deo
30-12-2011, 02:24 PM
Bobby Sands didn't offer to suspend his hungerstrike, he knew from the very beginning that the British hoped the strike would collapse due to an unwillingness to pay the ultimate price. It's apparent from reading the mans writings that he knew from the very beginning he would have to die.

Perhaps the vatican lied in order to try and get the Brits to open negotiations.

rebellin
30-12-2011, 03:00 PM
Bobby Sands didn't offer to suspend his hungerstrike, he knew from the very beginning that the British hoped the strike would collapse due to an unwillingness to pay the ultimate price. It's apparent from reading the mans writings that he knew from the very beginning he would have to die.

Perhaps the vatican lied in order to try and get the Brits to open negotiations.

Most likely, the British, being an Empire you know, with a very long memory and very long and corrosive reach, lied in the papers they issued at the time, precisely to create cynicism and distension when those papers would be opened in years to come.

Remember that they were always spinning and lying at the time, trying to manipulate dying and disoriented prisoners to break the hunger strike for example, and then unto this day blaming the deaths on their families who reminded them where they were and why they were suffering.

Bobbie Sands is the hunger striker best known then and now ; so, of course, the keepers of the future reputation of the empire would try to spike HIS reputation and HIS legacy, in favor of their own rotten one.

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 03:48 PM
As yet, I haven't seen the document. The idea that Thatcher was "wobbling" seems to be not to be warranted by anything I've read so far.

I would like to see the document about/by Sands, before rushing to any conclusions.

But if Sands tried to negotiate a satisfactory end to the hunger strikes, with the minimum deaths, I would see that as entirely right and honorable. Equally, if he did not.

It is not something I would feel any right to judge on.

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 04:33 PM
More from the Irish Times on the UK State Papers release on the Hunger Strikes.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/1230/breaking4.html?via=rel

Saoirse go Deo
30-12-2011, 04:37 PM
http://leargas.blogspot.com/2011/12/following-paper-trail-thatchers-irish.html

Gerry Adams' take.

C. Flower
30-12-2011, 05:21 PM
http://leargas.blogspot.com/2011/12/following-paper-trail-thatchers-irish.html

Gerry Adams' take.

Constantly the same stuff in the UK documents -


The Government had no intention of conceding political status To concede that would be wrong and would also provoke a violent reaction within the Province which would threaten innocent lives.

- the claim that a particular course of action was being followed "to save lives."

Of course, if there was pressure on the Tory Government to follow any course of action not in their political interest then the Tory line would be "we will not submit to blackmail."

The most interesting thing I've seen in these docs. today was confirmation that Thatcher and Co. were in no doubt that the majority of the British population wanted to "give Ireland back to the Irish."

And yet at the same time she was able to raise the bogeyman that there would be a violent reaction in British cities, if the British withdrew.

Poppycock.

Spectabilis
30-12-2011, 05:31 PM
Geoffrey Howe Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1981 on funding regeneration in Liverpool after the January riots wrote:

“I cannot help feeling that the option of managed decline is one which we should not forget altogether... We must not expend all our limited resources in trying to make water flow uphill” (My emphasis)

What a chilling phrase. I can’t help but wonder if the idea, if not the language is part of current political administration in Ireland

PaddyJoe
30-12-2011, 11:44 PM
As yet, I haven't seen the document. The idea that Thatcher was "wobbling" seems to be not to be warranted by anything I've read so far.

I would like to see the document about/by Sands, before rushing to any conclusions.

But if Sands tried to negotiate a satisfactory end to the hunger strikes, with the minimum deaths, I would see that as entirely right and honorable. Equally, if he did not.

It is not something I would feel any right to judge on.

You're right there. There's nothing there to indicate any sign of a 'wobble'.
I was lazy enough to nick the word from some some Guardian sub editor who obviously hadn't dug too deep into the story either.
I've edited the thread title and made a new year resolution not to jump to conclusions without reading everything below the headline in future:o

C. Flower
31-12-2011, 12:13 AM
You're right there. There's nothing there to indicate any sign of a 'wobble'.
I was lazy enough to nick the word from some some Guardian sub editor who obviously hadn't dug too deep into the story either.
I've edited the thread title and made a new year resolution not to jump to conclusions without reading everything below the headline in future:o

I knew it wasn't your own choice of words. I mentioned it because it has come up several times in the press - I think last year, as well as this year.

A kind of Thatcher rehab of some kind going on, to be presented in blue-coated sugar by Meryl Streep before the end of 2012.

For some reason, the establishment wants to smooth over and forget the thoroughly bloodthirsty nature of Thatcherism.

PaddyJoe
31-12-2011, 12:41 AM
I knew it wasn't your own choice of words. I mentioned it because it has come up several times in the press - I think last year, as well as this year.

A kind of Thatcher rehab of some kind going on, to be presented in blue-coated sugar by Meryl Streep before the end of 2012.

For some reason, the establishment wants to smooth over and forget the thoroughly bloodthirsty nature of Thatcherism.

Thirty years isn't very long either and a lot of people who made the decisions are still around. I suppose the sensitive stuff is covered by the 70 year rule and perhaps the really important things are never committed to paper.

Jolly Red Giant
31-12-2011, 09:58 AM
The most interesting thing I've seen in these docs. today was confirmation that Thatcher and Co. were in no doubt that the majority of the British population wanted to "give Ireland back to the Irish."

And yet at the same time she was able to raise the bogeyman that there would be a violent reaction in British cities, if the British withdrew.

Poppycock.

The most consistent problem by a large section of the left in this country and elsewhere is the belief that the Brits really don't want to give the North back to Ireland and raise the bogeyman of sectarianism as an excuse.

British imperialism traditionally has used sectarianism to divide the working classes in order to maintain imperialist control over their colonial empire - in Ireland, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria etc etc. In every single case, having created the monster of sectarianism they have been unable to control it - to switch it on and off as they needed it. They can partially subdue sectarianism - reach a situation where there is an acceptable level of violence - but they cannot control it. The Brits have no material interest in remaining in the North, imperialism's interests lie in the most efficient exploitation of resources and the North costs them an absolute fortune.

The reality is that there is no solution to the 'national question' on the basis of capitalism. This applies not just in the North, but in the entire neo-colonial world. Any attempt to impose reunification on a capitalist basis would be resisted by large sections of the Protestant working class on this island. It is nonsense to suggest that the only reason why a united Ireland doesn't exist is because the Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw. The Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw because they are acutely aware of dangers posed by sectarianism not just in the North but in the South and on the British mainland. Sectarians on both sides would whip up sectarianism which would lead to widespread sectarian conflict that would spread to the South and to cities in Britain like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Stockport etc that have a tradition of and ongoing problems with sectarianism between Catholics and Protestants. The consequences for the working class would be disastrous and in all likelihood result in the installation of right-wing bonapartist regimes on these islands and the Balkanisation of the situation.

The only way forward for the working class on this island is through the unification of the working class Catholic and Protestant, North and South, on the basis of class struggle and internationalism. Sectarianism, as with capitalism, can only be defeated through united class action and the objective of socialists should be to attempt to build the necessary working class unity on the basis of class politics, not 'unity' on the basis of nationalism. Any attempt by imperialism or nationalism to impose a united Ireland on the basis of capitalism (and that is what British withdrawal would mean) will lead to disaster for the working class and it is poppycock to believe that it wouldn't happen.

Apjp
31-12-2011, 11:16 AM
The most consistent problem by a large section of the left in this country and elsewhere is the belief that the Brits really don't want to give the North back to Ireland and raise the bogeyman of sectarianism as an excuse.

British imperialism traditionally has used sectarianism to divide the working classes in order to maintain imperialist control over their colonial empire - in Ireland, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria etc etc. In every single case, having created the monster of sectarianism they have been unable to control it - to switch it on and off as they needed it. They can partially subdue sectarianism - reach a situation where there is an acceptable level of violence - but they cannot control it. The Brits have no material interest in remaining in the North, imperialism's interests lie in the most efficient exploitation of resources and the North costs them an absolute fortune.

The reality is that there is no solution to the 'national question' on the basis of capitalism. This applies not just in the North, but in the entire neo-colonial world. Any attempt to impose reunification on a capitalist basis would be resisted by large sections of the Protestant working class on this island. It is nonsense to suggest that the only reason why a united Ireland doesn't exist is because the Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw. The Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw because they are acutely aware of dangers posed by sectarianism not just in the North but in the South and on the British mainland. Sectarians on both sides would whip up sectarianism which would lead to widespread sectarian conflict that would spread to the South and to cities in Britain like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Stockport etc that have a tradition of and ongoing problems with sectarianism between Catholics and Protestants. The consequences for the working class would be disastrous and in all likelihood result in the installation of right-wing bonapartist regimes on these islands and the Balkanisation of the situation.

The only way forward for the working class on this island is through the unification of the working class Catholic and Protestant, North and South, on the basis of class struggle and internationalism. Sectarianism, as with capitalism, can only be defeated through united class action and the objective of socialists should be to attempt to build the necessary working class unity on the basis of class politics, not 'unity' on the basis of nationalism. Any attempt by imperialism or nationalism to impose a united Ireland on the basis of capitalism (and that is what British withdrawal would mean) will lead to disaster for the working class and it is poppycock to believe that it wouldn't happen.


Lol. I agree somewhat but you lads overuse the word sectarian.
Sent from my GT-I5500 using Tapatalk

C. Flower
31-12-2011, 12:20 PM
[QUOTE=Jolly Red Giant;215418]The most consistent problem by a large section of the left in this country and elsewhere is the belief that the Brits really don't want to give the North back to Ireland and raise the bogeyman of sectarianism as an excuse.


It is the British who have constantly raised the bogeyman of sectarianism - in Ireland and in the UK. I'm referring to the specific classified documents under discussion - not to positions on the left.


British imperialism traditionally has used sectarianism to divide the working classes in order to maintain imperialist control over their colonial empire - in Ireland, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria etc etc.

-And many others. It is worth asking why it is only Ireland that they are holding on to, territorially. Why do you think that is? I think the reasons are extremely obvious.


In every single case, having created the monster of sectarianism they have been unable to control it - to switch it on and off as they needed it. They can partially subdue sectarianism - reach a situation where there is an acceptable level of violence - but they cannot control it.

The British have no wish to "switch sectarianism off." It is in their interests and they fostered it for centuries.


The Brits have no material interest in remaining in the North, imperialism's interests lie in the most efficient exploitation of resources and the North costs them an absolute fortune.

If the British wanted to leave, they would. They walked away from other territories leaving sectarian mayhem behind them. They will not go, because

1. Militarily, Ireland is of the utmost strategic importance to Britain. They would not tolerate the possibility of it being militarily controlled by any other big power. The US presence in Shannon is the limit.

2. Economic interconnectedness. Even in banking terms, Ireland could according to Roubini, flatten the City of London if it defaulted. Import/export, food production, labour forces, are all deeply connected.

3. Example and effect on British politics. Ireland could only put the British out on the basis of a very strong progressive social movement here and also support from much of the British population. It would move things along politically in Britain as well as Ireland.


The reality is that there is no solution to the 'national question' on the basis of capitalism. This applies not just in the North, but in the entire neo-colonial world.

So that means that you don't support any liberation movement, anywhere int the world and that everyone should lie down and take it *** from the Big Powers?


Any attempt to impose reunification on a capitalist basis would be resisted by large sections of the Protestant working class on this island.
"Impose" unification??? Please clarify what you mean.
Essentially, you are agreeing almost word for word with what Thatcher said.


It is nonsense to suggest that the only reason why a united Ireland doesn't exist is because the Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw. The Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw because they are acutely aware of dangers posed by sectarianism not just in the North but in the South and on the British mainland.

Holy moloney. You really do agree with Thatcher.


Sectarians on both sides would whip up sectarianism which would lead to widespread sectarian conflict that would spread to the South and to cities in Britain like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Stockport etc that have a tradition of and ongoing problems with sectarianism between Catholics and Protestants.

Word for word, you agree with Thatcher and her cabinet.


The consequences for the working class would be disastrous and in all likelihood result in the installation of right-wing bonapartist regimes on these islands and the Balkanisation of the situation.
You think that a united Ireland would mean a right wing bonapartist regime (we are well on our way towards such regimes in Europe due to the crisis of the economic system, not to do with a few thousand Protestant hard nuts backed by the British military).
Even Thatcher and her cabinet did not come up with that one.

What exactly are you saying would happen? Manchester would secede from the UK? I think this is an astounding misunderstanding of the UK working class and middle classes, who mainly think Ireland should be let get on with its life.


The only way forward for the working class on this island is through the unification of the working class Catholic and Protestant, North and South, on the basis of class struggle and internationalism.

Unification in one state ? Pretty hard to unify, whilst partition remains.


Sectarianism, as with capitalism, can only be defeated through united class action and the objective of socialists should be to attempt to build the necessary working class unity on the basis of class politics, not 'unity' on the basis of nationalism.

Red herring, much. The British presence in Ireland is colonialist. Unity of the population in Ireland can and will come about when people are involved together in political campaigns to protect their living standards and also their political rights. Political rights must include the right to reunify their country.


Any attempt by imperialism or nationalism to impose a united Ireland on the basis of capitalism (and that is what British withdrawal would mean) will lead to disaster for the working class and it is poppycock to believe that it wouldn't happen.

Please explain how a united Ireland independent from Britain would be a disaster for the working class?

Do you think we should rejoin the Commonwealth and re-adopt the Pound?

Jolly Red Giant
31-12-2011, 07:32 PM
It is the British who have constantly raised the bogeyman of sectarianism - in Ireland and in the UK. I'm referring to the specific classified documents under discussion - not to positions on the left.
The Brits understand that they cannot control sectarianism - it is elements of the left who dismiss it as a 'bogeyman'



-And many others. It is worth asking why it is only Ireland that they are holding on to, territorially. Why do you think that is? I think the reasons are extremely obvious.
You don't state your 'extremely obvious' answer - I will state mine - the sectarian conflict in the former British colonies did not and were not going to, spill over onto the streets of Britain. A full-scale sectarian conflict in the North would lead to an unavoidable sectarian conflict in many parts of Britain.



The British have no wish to "switch sectarianism off." It is in their interests and they fostered it for centuries.
What is in the interests of British Imperialism is to be able to exploit this island without the massive political, military and economic costs that it currently faces. The Brits simply cannot extricate themselves from this island because of the serious implications of sectarian conflict on this island and in Britain. Remember the purpose of sectarianism is not to prevent a united or independent Ireland - but to divide the masses and prevent the overthrow of the existing social order. At some stage in the future it may be in the interests of British imperialism to whip up sectarianism in the UK to attempt to create divisions in a working class movement that threatens its power - but they know from history that doing so would be akin to opening a pandora's box that they would have no control over - they may do it - but it would be a last throw of the dice for them.



If the British wanted to leave, they would. They walked away from other territories leaving sectarian mayhem behind them.
Answered above


They will not go, because

1. Militarily, Ireland is of the utmost strategic importance to Britain. They would not tolerate the possibility of it being militarily controlled by any other big power. The US presence in Shannon is the limit.
crap - British Imperialism is a second rate world power that can do nothing except hang on the coat tails of US imperialism in the hope of picking up a few crumbs off the table. Ireland has zero strategic importance in military terms for Britain and hasn't had since the end of WW2


2. Economic interconnectedness. Even in banking terms, Ireland could according to Roubini, flatten the City of London if it defaulted. Import/export, food production, labour forces, are all deeply connected.
How does their control of the North have any impact on the above issues. The southern Irish economy has been and can be controlled and dominated by British Imperialism without any military control.


3. Example and effect on British politics. Ireland could only put the British out on the basis of a very strong progressive social movement here and also support from much of the British population. It would move things along politically in Britain as well as Ireland.
Here you are actually agreeing with me (even if you don't realise it). The only basis on which British imperialism can be defeated in the North is through a united working class movement based on class struggle and internationalism.

However, your understanding is flawed - because a united Ireland could (slim chance but the possibility could not be ruled out) emerge not through a very strong progressive social movement here but through the establishment (after a prolonged sectarian civil war) of a right-wing bonapartist regime that would be extremely reactionary



So that means that you don't support any liberation movement, anywhere int the world and that everyone should lie down and take it *** from the Big Powers?
Not one single 'liberation movement' in the neo-colonial world has resolved the national question and for the most part the resultant regimes have been reactionary in nature. I fully support the right of all peoples to self-determination and I would argue that this can only be achieved as a result of a mass movement of the working class and the building of a revolutionary party. I would also argue that self-determination of any character has never been achieved by any 'liberation movement' (with the possible exception of Vietnam where particular circumstances existed) and have resulted from the mass movement of the working class and the poor (and this was also a feature of Vietnam)



"Impose" unification??? Please clarify what you mean.
Essentially, you are agreeing almost word for word with what Thatcher said.
Unification on the basis of capitalism can only be 'imposed' by Imperialism. In the same way that British Imperialism 'imposed' a solution in 1921, any unification between North and South on the basis of capitalism would be similarly 'imposed' (and on the basis of bonapartism).



Holy moloney. You really do agree with Thatcher.
Two points here -
1. My assessment is based on the realities facing the working class and drawn from a working class perspective
2. It is incorrect to assume that just because you disagree with Thatcher - you are right and she was wrong. Imperialism is just as capable of drawing a correct understanding of developments as socialists (even if from the perspective of imperialism) - and in many cases can draw far more accurate conclusions.



Word for word, you agree with Thatcher and her cabinet.
Have you been oblivious to the undercurrent of sectarianism that is currently manifest in Glasgow and Edinburgh? Unionist organisations exist not just in the North and the far right in the UK are adept at manipulating sectarianism to sow working class division. A large scale sectarian conflict in the North would inevitably see a spread of that sectarian conflict to many parts of the British mainland. That is the reality whether you are willing to acknowledge it or not.



You think that a united Ireland would mean a right wing bonapartist regime
The only possible result of a united Ireland on the basis of capitalism would be on the basis of a bonapartist regime established as the result of a full-scale sectarian civil war. This is a very unlikely perspective - the most likely perspective of any unification attempt on the basis of capitalism is some redrawing of the boundaries and the relocation of the population based on religion (similar to what has happened in the former Yugoslavia).



What exactly are you saying would happen? Manchester would secede from the UK?
Okay - now I have to ask what kind of wacky weed you are smoking


I think this is an astounding misunderstanding of the UK working class and middle classes, who mainly think Ireland should be let get on with its life.
I don't know if you were around in the 1970's and 1980's during the IRA bombing campaigns in Britain, but if you were you should be acutely aware of the significant upswell of anti-Irish sentiment among the British working class and middle layers.

After the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 there was support for the reintroduction of hanging for 'terrorists'. There was a spate of firebombings, bomb threats and attacks on Irish people and Irish owned businesses in the UK. The Irish Centre in Birmingham was petrol-bombed. Attacks took place on Irish workers on building sites and in factories - a cousin of mine was beaten up on a building site in London and told to '*****-off back to where you came from' - and this happened only weeks after he had been on holidays with the same people.

To suggest that in the midst of a full scale sectarian conflict in the North that similar and more extensive attacks in Britain would not take place is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.



Unification in one state ? Pretty hard to unify, whilst partition remains.
Unification as a class - and it is the only way that partition will be removed.



Red herring, much. The British presence in Ireland is colonialist. Unity of the population in Ireland can and will come about when people are involved together in political campaigns to protect their living standards and also their political rights.
Nationalism is the driving force of bourgeois society - the creation of the nation state is the objective of the bourgeois revolution and the product of that revolution. The Irish capitalist class was/is too weak and too willing to compromise with Imperialism to ever to be able to fulfill the objectives of the bourgeois revolution. The period for nationalism acting as a progressive force is long since passed, it now only plays a reactionary role, and the completion of the tasks of the bourgeois revolution can only come about as a result of socialist revolution. Socialist revolution can only result from a mass movement of the united working class based on internationalism.


Political rights must include the right to reunify their country.
If you go back into the depths of Irish history you will discover that Ireland was never a unified country - it was continuously riddled with conflict between individual kingdoms and fiefdoms manifest in wars and atrocities, in part the result of the intervention of various invading armies and in part the result of inter-clan/tribal conflict among the native people.

The objective of nationalism was an attempt to unite the disparate forces (i.e. classes) in one objective - the creation of the nation state. The last possibility of a unitary nation state on the basis of capitalism disappeared with the defeat of the 1798 Rising.

Your statement is a bourgeois demand based on cross-class nationalism that would result in a compromise with imperialism (as demonstrated by 1921 and the current situation in the North). 'Their country' includes all the elements in society that are not working class - but only the working class can play a progressive role.


Please explain how a united Ireland independent from Britain would be a disaster for the working class?
You again completely miss the point - a united Ireland independent from Britain is not possible on the basis of capitalism. It can only result as a consequence of the victory of socialist revolution. Any attempt to impose a united Ireland would result in widespread sectarian conflict - that would be a disaster not just for the Irish working class but also for the working class on the British mainland and would throw back the prospect of united working class action on this island for decades.


Do you think we should rejoin the Commonwealth and re-adopt the Pound?
Now you are being facetious.

C. Flower
31-12-2011, 08:15 PM
The Brits understand that they cannot control sectarianism - it is elements of the left who dismiss it as a 'bogeyman'


You don't state your 'extremely obvious' answer - I will state mine - the sectarian conflict in the former British colonies did not and were not going to, spill over onto the streets of Britain. A full-scale sectarian conflict in the North would lead to an unavoidable sectarian conflict in many parts of Britain.


What is in the interests of British Imperialism is to be able to exploit this island without the massive political, military and economic costs that it currently faces. The Brits simply cannot extricate themselves from this island because of the serious implications of sectarian conflict on this island and in Britain. Remember the purpose of sectarianism is not to prevent a united or independent Ireland - but to divide the masses and prevent the overthrow of the existing social order. At some stage in the future it may be in the interests of British imperialism to whip up sectarianism in the UK to attempt to create divisions in a working class movement that threatens its power - but they know from history that doing so would be akin to opening a pandora's box that they would have no control over - they may do it - but it would be a last throw of the dice for them.


Answered above


crap - British Imperialism is a second rate world power that can do nothing except hang on the coat tails of US imperialism in the hope of picking up a few crumbs off the table. Ireland has zero strategic importance in military terms for Britain and hasn't had since the end of WW2


How does their control of the North have any impact on the above issues. The southern Irish economy has been and can be controlled and dominated by British Imperialism without any military control.


Here you are actually agreeing with me (even if you don't realise it). The only basis on which British imperialism can be defeated in the North is through a united working class movement based on class struggle and internationalism.

However, your understanding is flawed - because a united Ireland could (slim chance but the possibility could not be ruled out) emerge not through a very strong progressive social movement here but through the establishment (after a prolonged sectarian civil war) of a right-wing bonapartist regime that would be extremely reactionary


Not one single 'liberation movement' in the neo-colonial world has resolved the national question and for the most part the resultant regimes have been reactionary in nature. I fully support the right of all peoples to self-determination and I would argue that this can only be achieved as a result of a mass movement of the working class and the building of a revolutionary party. I would also argue that self-determination of any character has never been achieved by any 'liberation movement' (with the possible exception of Vietnam where particular circumstances existed) and have resulted from the mass movement of the working class and the poor (and this was also a feature of Vietnam)


Unification on the basis of capitalism can only be 'imposed' by Imperialism. In the same way that British Imperialism 'imposed' a solution in 1921, any unification between North and South on the basis of capitalism would be similarly 'imposed' (and on the basis of bonapartism).


Two points here -
1. My assessment is based on the realities facing the working class and drawn from a working class perspective
2. It is incorrect to assume that just because you disagree with Thatcher - you are right and she was wrong. Imperialism is just as capable of drawing a correct understanding of developments as socialists (even if from the perspective of imperialism) - and in many cases can draw far more accurate conclusions.


Have you been oblivious to the undercurrent of sectarianism that is currently manifest in Glasgow and Edinburgh? Unionist organisations exist not just in the North and the far right in the UK are adept at manipulating sectarianism to sow working class division. A large scale sectarian conflict in the North would inevitably see a spread of that sectarian conflict to many parts of the British mainland. That is the reality whether you are willing to acknowledge it or not.


The only possible result of a united Ireland on the basis of capitalism would be on the basis of a bonapartist regime established as the result of a full-scale sectarian civil war. This is a very unlikely perspective - the most likely perspective of any unification attempt on the basis of capitalism is some redrawing of the boundaries and the relocation of the population based on religion (similar to what has happened in the former Yugoslavia).


Okay - now I have to ask what kind of wacky weed you are smoking


I don't know if you were around in the 1970's and 1980's during the IRA bombing campaigns in Britain, but if you were you should be acutely aware of the significant upswell of anti-Irish sentiment among the British working class and middle layers.

After the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 there was support for the reintroduction of hanging for 'terrorists'. There was a spate of firebombings, bomb threats and attacks on Irish people and Irish owned businesses in the UK. The Irish Centre in Birmingham was petrol-bombed. Attacks took place on Irish workers on building sites and in factories - a cousin of mine was beaten up on a building site in London and told to '*****-off back to where you came from' - and this happened only weeks after he had been on holidays with the same people.

To suggest that in the midst of a full scale sectarian conflict in the North that similar and more extensive attacks in Britain would not take place is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.


Unification as a class - and it is the only way that partition will be removed.


Nationalism is the driving force of bourgeois society - the creation of the nation state is the objective of the bourgeois revolution and the product of that revolution. The Irish capitalist class was/is too weak and too willing to compromise with Imperialism to ever to be able to fulfill the objectives of the bourgeois revolution. The period for nationalism acting as a progressive force is long since passed, it now only plays a reactionary role, and the completion of the tasks of the bourgeois revolution can only come about as a result of socialist revolution. Socialist revolution can only result from a mass movement of the united working class based on internationalism.


If you go back into the depths of Irish history you will discover that Ireland was never a unified country - it was continuously riddled with conflict between individual kingdoms and fiefdoms manifest in wars and atrocities, in part the result of the intervention of various invading armies and in part the result of inter-clan/tribal conflict among the native people.

The objective of nationalism was an attempt to unite the disparate forces (i.e. classes) in one objective - the creation of the nation state. The last possibility of a unitary nation state on the basis of capitalism disappeared with the defeat of the 1798 Rising.

Your statement is a bourgeois demand based on cross-class nationalism that would result in a compromise with imperialism (as demonstrated by 1921 and the current situation in the North). 'Their country' includes all the elements in society that are not working class - but only the working class can play a progressive role.


You again completely miss the point - a united Ireland independent from Britain is not possible on the basis of capitalism. It can only result as a consequence of the victory of socialist revolution. Any attempt to impose a united Ireland would result in widespread sectarian conflict - that would be a disaster not just for the Irish working class but also for the working class on the British mainland and would throw back the prospect of united working class action on this island for decades.


Now you are being facetious.

You don't draw from a working class perspective, you by your own statement share a perspective with Thatcher.

As for "no military reason for British presence in Ireland" - please refer to this classified document -

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=10693

Sam Lord
31-12-2011, 08:46 PM
Any attempt to impose reunification on a capitalist basis would be resisted by large sections of the Protestant working class on this island.


If Britain walked away what would these "large sections of the Protestant working class' have to fight for? An independent 6 counties? This makes no sense at all. You are just repeating British and Loyalist fear propaganda for which there is no logical basis.

And it seems that you do not even support the gerrymandered "will of the majority of the 6 counties" position if the majority was in favour of reunification. Your position is undemocratic to an extraordinary degree. You are even to the right of the bourgeoisie.



The Brits haven't declared an intent to withdraw because they are acutely aware of dangers posed by sectarianism not just in the North but in the South and on the British mainland. Sectarians on both sides would whip up sectarianism which would lead to widespread sectarian conflict that would spread to the South and to cities in Britain like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Stockport etc that have a tradition of and ongoing problems with sectarianism between Catholics and Protestants. The consequences for the working class would be disastrous and in all likelihood result in the installation of right-wing bonapartist regimes on these islands and the Balkanisation of the situation.


Have you considered a career writing science fiction? :)

Bty, I don't think anyone noticed any huge upsurge in sectarianism when the Brits withdrew from the 26 counties. Everyone just got on with things pretty much.

C. Flower
31-12-2011, 08:57 PM
If Britain walked away what would these "large sections of the Protestant working class' have to fight for? An independent 6 counties? This makes no sense at all. You are just repeating British and Loyalist fear propaganda for which there is no logical basis.

And it seems that you do not even support the gerrymandered "will of the majority of the 6 counties" position if the majority was in favour of reunification. Your position is undemocratic to an extraordinary degree. You are even to the right of the bourgeoisie.



Have you considered a career writing science fiction? :)

Bty, I don't think anyone noticed any huge upsurge in sectarianism when the Brits withdrew from the 26 counties. Everyone just got on with things pretty much.

The fear was surely the classic Tory fear of loss of a tranche of right wing unionist votes with which to secure a Westminster majority ?

Jolly Red Giant
31-12-2011, 10:53 PM
You don't draw from a working class perspective, you by your own statement share a perspective with Thatcher.
I am astonished that you appear incapable of understanding the difference between the fact that an analysis from a working class perspective and an analysis from a bourgeois perspecitive can draw similar conclusions on the likely outcome of a series of events. Just because bourgeois commentators can draw similar conclusions with left wing commentators does not mean that their analysis is the same or that the strategy that needs to be adopted is the same.


As for "no military reason for British presence in Ireland" - please refer to this classified document -

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=10693

with all due respect - this is an analysis from the Irish secret service - and a daft one at that.

What's more - the conclusion that you draw


Surely this makes it clear enough that for military reasons, Britain views its presence in Ireland as essential?

is similarly daft.

The fact that the Irish state froces were trying to suck up to Imperialism is nothing new - and they are actively continuing to do it. This does not mean that Imperialism has any strategic use for Ireland in military terms.

C. Flower
31-12-2011, 11:05 PM
I am astonished that you appear incapable of understanding the difference between the fact that an analysis from a working class perspective and an analysis from a bourgeois perspecitive can draw similar conclusions on the likely outcome of a series of events. Just because bourgeois commentators can draw similar conclusions with left wing commentators does not mean that their analysis is the same or that the strategy that needs to be adopted is the same.



with all due respect - this is an analysis from the Irish secret service - and a daft one at that.

What's more - the conclusion that you draw

is similarly daft.

The fact that the Irish state froces were trying to suck up to Imperialism is nothing new - and they are actively continuing to do it. This does not mean that Imperialism has any strategic use for Ireland in military terms.

This is not the first, or last time that military strategists and historians have pointed out the strategic military importance of Ireland to Britain.

If you think that Irish intel drew that report up of their own initiative, I'd like to hear why you think they did it and why you think they are wrong.

If Ireland was an abandoned air craft carrier floating off the west coast of Britain, do you think the British would just leave it there ?? Because that, effectively what an unoccupied Ireland would be, from the British point of view.

Jolly Red Giant
31-12-2011, 11:08 PM
If Britain walked away what would these "large sections of the Protestant working class' have to fight for? An independent 6 counties? This makes no sense at all.
Who said it had to make sense to loyalist paramilitaries? You are mistakeningly assuming that sectarian loyalists would adopt a rational view of anything related to the South and republicanism


You are just repeating British and Loyalist fear propaganda for which there is no logical basis.
The history of the last 40 years demonstrate that it has a logical basis - and what's more important is that it has a dialectial basis.


And it seems that you do not even support the gerrymandered "will of the majority of the 6 counties" position if the majority was in favour of reunification.
This is the daft nonsense that republicans have come up with - that at some stage over the next few years Catholics would form the majority of the population, vote for a united Ireland and there would be some democratic mandate for unification. this is abject nonsense. In a capitalist society 'democracy' is a tool used by the bourgeoisie to control society. How many times have people voted against EU treaties for them to be simply ignored?

But even this is irrelevent - if there was a referendum called and there was any prospect of a vote in favour of getting rid of the border - loyalists would imposed a boycott of the referendum (just like nationalists did in the Border Poll in 1973). What's more - it is likely that once loyalism feels threatened by such a situation it would launch a widespread sectarian campaign in an effort to drive sections of the Catholic population out of the North.

No votes, no gerrymandering, no polls or referedum will bring do anything other than stoke sectarianism and, as I have stated earlier, there is no solution to the national question in Ireland on the basis of capitalism.



Bty, I don't think anyone noticed any huge upsurge in sectarianism when the Brits withdrew from the 26 counties. Everyone just got on with things pretty much.

With all due respect - there was widespread sectarian violence in the North during and after the war of independence - or are you simply happy to ignore the six Northern counties on the island?

Jolly Red Giant
31-12-2011, 11:14 PM
This is not the first, or last time that military strategists and historians have pointed out the strategic military importance of Ireland to Britain.
There are also plenty who draw the opposite conclusions


If you think that Irish intel drew that report up of their own initiative, I'd like to hear why you think they did it and why you think they are wrong.
Seeing as you are convinced by this line - maybe you can produce evidence that the Brits were involved.


If Ireland was an abandoned air craft carrier floating off the west coast of Britain, do you think the British would just leave it there ?? Because that, effectively what an unoccupied Ireland would be, from the British point of view.

You really need to get a grip about the state of modern warfare and the necessity of the military importance of a small island on the outskirts of Europe. There is none - with the possible exception of use for propaganda.

People Korps
01-01-2012, 01:41 AM
She was also apparently considering arming the police during the riots of the early '80s.

Off topic the cops were already armed to the teeth in the 6

People Korps
01-01-2012, 01:45 AM
Bobby Sands didn't offer to suspend his hungerstrike, he knew from the very beginning that the British hoped the strike would collapse due to an unwillingness to pay the ultimate price. It's apparent from reading the mans writings that he knew from the very beginning he would have to die.

Perhaps the vatican lied in order to try and get the Brits to open negotiations.

Or the Shinners have kept up a lie for 30 years .........it aids no one but Adams and Co to disbelieve this. Jollly Red trot aside it is highly likely that this is true, some of you might look into Bobby Sands' ghost writers if you are working on a PhD or the like.