Irish Republicanism

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Bobby
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Apr 14 2009 11:14
Choccy wrote:
Ed wrote:
Again, that has nothing to do with whether republicanism is more or less progressive than unionism and still has nothing to do with the question of what does 'they started it' have to offer the Irish working class.

Exactly, in the north, the only large political group openly pro-choice is the PUP.
It's noteworthy, but says nothing of the respective 'progressiveness' of either nationalism. Georgestapleton, Jackwhite et al just really reeeallly can't help it. It's pretty much in their blood to bend over backwards to find something progressive about republicans ;)

Firstly, WSM is the only anarchist group in Ireland that has sought to tackle these issues in a real meaningful sense, given the volumes of articles and historical analysis produced. We have also put alot of work into looking at labour history and class struggle in Ireland.
http://www.wsm.ie/public_newswire?search_text=Partition

Apart from responding to our position paper on the North in the past(which also changed) on a point to point basis, I would love to see Organise! produce their own detailed pamphlet on partition, nationalism etc. I have yet to see anything of substance.

On paper, Irish republicanism is progressive than unionism, but in reality is reactive and offers nothing in terms of the libertarian communist society we are struggling for.

Taken from our position paper
"However in opposing imperialism we see no form of nationalism as offering a definitive solution to either the working class in Ireland or the working class across the globe. In the final analysis nationalism argues for a common interest between workers and bosses of one 'nation' against the workers and bosses of another. As anarchists we stand for international working class solidarity against all bosses."

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Choccy
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Apr 14 2009 11:51
georgestapleton wrote:
That said even she'd freely admit that Sinn Fein is not and will probably never be pro-choice.

Which makes any point about the more progressive nature of republican parties over unionists moot. SF especially in the north, knows where a lot of their votes come from, moralistic reactionary fenians.

Bobby wrote:
Choccy wrote:
Exactly, in the north, the only large political group openly pro-choice is the PUP.
It's noteworthy, but says nothing of the respective 'progressiveness' of either nationalism. Georgestapleton, Jackwhite et al just really reeeallly can't help it. It's pretty much in their blood to bend over backwards to find something progressive about republicans ;)

Firstly, WSM is the only anarchist group in Ireland that has sought to tackle these issues in a real meaningful sense, given the volumes of articles and historical analysis produced. We have also put alot of work into looking at labour history and class struggle in Ireland.
http://www.wsm.ie/public_newswire?search_text=Partition

What 'issues'? Labour history in Ireland is one thing, attempting to find anything useful for class-struggle anarchists in any sort of nationalism is another.

bobby wrote:
Apart from responding to our position paper on the North in the past(which also changed) on a point to point basis, I would love to see Organise! produce their own detailed pamphlet on partition, nationalism etc. I have yet to see anything of substance.

Well, we're anarchists, and our position on nationalism of any sort is pretty clear. There's nothing special about irish nationalism. I share the same critique of it that I do of any nationalism.

bobby wrote:
On paper, Irish republicanism is progressive than unionism, but in reality is reactive and offers nothing in terms of the libertarian communist society we are struggling for.

Taken from our position paper
"However in opposing imperialism we see no form of nationalism as offering a definitive solution to either the working class in Ireland or the working class across the globe. In the final analysis nationalism argues for a common interest between workers and bosses of one 'nation' against the workers and bosses of another. As anarchists we stand for international working class solidarity against all bosses."

Yes this would all be very well if it wasn't for that 'definitive solution' caveat and the fact that the opening paragraphs still whinge about 'british imperialism' as if this is even remotely still salient to class-struggle in Ireland, the implication of course being that removing the 'british imperialism' is still a step in the right direction. As if somehow this would follow 'the perceived needs of the 'irish people'' and then brilliantly '.... or local ruling class', as if the lesser of two evils is in any way a step forward.

Liam_Derry wrote:
As a party they are no more on the side of socialism than their collegues in the DUP.

Some of our friends here can't just accept this and move on, they feel a compulsion to paint unionists as 'more reactionary' than republicans as a matter of course, and that this matter is of any interest to class-struggle.

Fletcher
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Apr 14 2009 12:23
Choccy wrote:
SF especially in the north, knows where a lot of their votes come from, moralistic reactionary fenians.

That kind of comment doesn't really help does it. If someone referred to unionists voters as orange right wing bigots I am sure you would be first to condemn that. I wonder why you think it is OK to do the same about nationalist voters? This is why I was suggesting earlier that Organise "appear" to be one sided. It may not be correct but you do little to change the impression when you use phrases like that.

Whichever way people vote in the north at present they are voting for sectarian parties and until people are presented with a clear alternative to those parties and are won round to new ideas by engaging and arguing with them, then they will most likely continue to vote in a tribal way.

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Choccy
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Apr 14 2009 12:46
Liam_Derry wrote:
Choccy wrote:
SF especially in the north, knows where a lot of their votes come from, moralistic reactionary fenians.

That kind of comment doesn't really help does it. If someone referred to unionists voters as orange right wing bigots I am sure you would be first to condemn that. I wonder why you think it is OK to do the same about nationalist voters? This is why I was suggesting earlier that Organise "appear" to be one sided. It may not be correct but you do little to change the impression when you use phrases like that.

Whichever way people vote in the north at present they are voting for sectarian parties and until people are presented with a clear alternative to those parties and are won round to new ideas by engaging and arguing with them, then they will most likely continue to vote in a tribal way.

It's 'ok' for me to say it cos that's the background I come from, moralistic fenians wink
But I accept that objectively it isn't helpful, you're right there!
But DUP DO get a lot of their votes from orange bigots, so it does cut both ways. It's precisely the reason that while simultaneously 'power sharing' with SF, they have to occassionally come out with PR that courts the mental christian fundamentalist element they get much of their votes from - Paisley Jnr and Iris Robinson being homophobic as fuck, Storey, Givan, Simpson, Dawson and their bonkers creationism etc

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Devrim
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Apr 14 2009 12:48
Liam_Derry wrote:
If someone referred to unionists voters as orange right wing bigots I am sure you would be first to condemn that. I wonder why you think it is OK to do the same about nationalist voters?

Don't you think that there are some unionist voters who are 'orange right wing bigots'? I do.

Liam_Derry wrote:
Whichever way people vote in the north at present they are voting for sectarian parties and until people are presented with a clear alternative to those parties and are won round to new ideas by engaging and arguing with them, then they will most likely continue to vote in a tribal way.

I think that this is the wrong way to look at the dynamics of struggle, and is almost Leninist/Kautskyist in the idea that new ideas are presented to the working class. I think that the solution must emerge from within the class itself.

Devrim

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Choccy
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Apr 14 2009 12:50
Devrim wrote:
Liam_Derry wrote:
If someone referred to unionists voters as orange right wing bigots I am sure you would be first to condemn that. I wonder why you think it is OK to do the same about nationalist voters?

Don't you think that there are some unionist voters who are 'orange right wing bigots'? I do.

I agree, and it's prefectly ok to state so, it's equally fine to say it about republicans.
I'm not selective in my hatred of , unlike some wink

Deezer
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Apr 14 2009 12:55
LiamDerry wrote:
Quote:
Choccy wrote:

SF especially in the north, knows where a lot of their votes come from, moralistic reactionary fenians.

That kind of comment doesn't really help does it. If someone referred to unionists voters as orange right wing bigots I am sure you would be first to condemn that. I wonder why you think it is OK to do the same about nationalist voters? This is why I was suggesting earlier that Organise "appear" to be one sided. It may not be correct but you do little to change the impression when you use phrases like that.

Whichever way people vote in the north at present they are voting for sectarian parties and until people are presented with a clear alternative to those parties and are won round to new ideas by engaging and arguing with them, then they will most likely continue to vote in a tribal way.

We'd probably just have said 'Orange bastards' (not that we're the borg or anything) wink

No, it probably doesn't help, Choccy would probably have been safer saying the voters they are concerned not to upset are "moralistic reactionary catholics" in reference to the Sinn Fein Position on abortion. In fairness Choccy is a 'guilty taig' (thats a joke as well Liam).

But in reality while members of the WSM have said stuff along the lines of "one of my bessie mates is a republican" or "I know some republicans who are really dead liberal" it doesn't change the nature of nationalism of whatever stripe. Nationalism, British or Irish, like any other nationalism is divisive and reactionary and sets worker against worker.

btw some of my mates are republicans, some of them are loyalists, beyond trying to talk them round to a class position that information is pretty irrelevant.

Bobby
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Apr 14 2009 13:10
Liam_Derry wrote:
Choccy wrote:
SF especially in the north, knows where a lot of their votes come from, moralistic reactionary fenians.

That kind of comment doesn't really help does it. If someone referred to unionists voters as orange right wing bigots I am sure you would be first to condemn that. I wonder why you think it is OK to do the same about nationalist voters? This is why I was suggesting earlier that Organise "appear" to be one sided. It may not be correct but you do little to change the impression when you use phrases like that.

Whichever way people vote in the north at present they are voting for sectarian parties and until people are presented with a clear alternative to those parties and are won round to new ideas by engaging and arguing with them, then they will most likely continue to vote in a tribal way.

Exactly Liam,

There is a problem with class reductionism. Apart from involving yourself in the class struggle, pushing for anarchist ideas and methods of struggle. I also think its important to spend a bit of time in the medium of propaganda and literature challenging some of the nationalist mythologies on both sides.

Its no good just saying 'oh, dont be looking at the past' or 'portioning blame'. We shouldnt seek to shy away from this as most people in the North vote on sectarian or constitutional lines, based largely on historial circumstances- ie post 1967.

Fletcher
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Apr 14 2009 13:12
Devrim wrote:
Liam_Derry wrote:
Whichever way people vote in the north at present they are voting for sectarian parties and until people are presented with a clear alternative to those parties and are won round to new ideas by engaging and arguing with them, then they will most likely continue to vote in a tribal way.

I think that this is the wrong way to look at the dynamics of struggle, and is almost Leninist/Kautskyist in the idea that new ideas are presented to the working class. I think that the solution must emerge from within the class itself.
Devrim

I didn't suggest that ideas be presented to people from somewhere outside our class. I was suggesting that only by arguing for these ideas within the class can they spread out and become more accepted. Ideas will evolve and change as struggle does however those who hold anti capitalist views need to be active in pushing forward those views for discussion within our class.

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Choccy
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Apr 14 2009 13:54
Deezer wrote:
LiamDerry wrote:
Quote:
Choccy wrote:
SF especially in the north, knows where a lot of their votes come from, moralistic reactionary fenians.

That kind of comment doesn't really help does it.

No, it probably doesn't help, Choccy would probably have been safer saying the voters they are concerned not to upset are "moralistic reactionary catholics" in reference to the Sinn Fein Position on abortion. In fairness Choccy is a 'guilty taig' (thats a joke as well Liam).

Well yeah it's hopefully clear that's what i meant. And Liam was wrong in suggesting that we're one-sided, it's not unfair to characterisea significant proportion of DUP voters as bigots.

Deezer
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Apr 14 2009 13:58
Bobby wrote:
Exactly Liam,

There is a problem with class reductionism. Apart from involving yourself in the class struggle, pushing for anarchist ideas and methods of struggle. I also think its important to spend a bit of time in the medium of propaganda and literature challenging some of the nationalist mythologies on both sides.

Its no good just saying 'oh, dont be looking at the past' or 'portioning blame'. We shouldnt seek to shy away from this as most people in the North vote on sectarian or constitutional lines, based largely on historial circumstances- ie post 1967.

Bobby who the fuck did you get to write that for you?

Organise! have consistently challenged the nationalist mythologies on both sides, the WSM has largely pandered to one of them. this is nothing to do with not looking at the past or 'portioning blame'. And historically speaking people in the north-east of Ireland prior to partition and since 1921 in Northern Ireland have voted on sectarian or constitutional lines since 1885 not 1967! If you are going to look at the past get it right.

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Choccy
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Apr 14 2009 13:59
Bobby wrote:
Its no good just saying 'oh, dont be looking at the past' or 'portioning blame'. We shouldnt seek to shy away from this as most people in the North vote on sectarian or constitutional lines, based largely on historial circumstances- ie post 1967.

Your second point does not reinforce the first.
One can totally acknowledge the fact that people vote along tribal lines in the north while still arguing that we need to move beyond this and present them with an alternative.
Acknowledging the tribal nature of politics in the north is precisely the reason we need not re-hash historically redundant questions of no salience to class-struggle in the here and now.

jack white
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Apr 14 2009 14:36
Choccy wrote:
Georgestapleton, Jackwhite et al just really reeeallly can't help it. It's pretty much in their blood to bend over backwards to find something progressive about republicans ;)

Not really. I've been involved in pro-choice stuff in Dublin and worked with Shinners involed in it. Notch8 said that you wouldn't find them involved in similiar stuff in Belfast. I was surprised. I don't know what your definition of bending over backwards is but I'd be surprised if it goes that far.

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back2front
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Apr 14 2009 14:42

At the risk of repitition.... nationalism of any hue is a tool used by gods and masters to create division among workers in order to perpetuate self-appointed elites. To suggest that one can kind of nationalism is somehow better, or to use a classic Belfast phrase, 'less bigoted' or has a better stance on abortion and therefore is 'progressive', is a form of nationalism in itself and I feel that's the point some people are raising here.

Again the position of apportioning of blame by isolating a certain area of history belies the history that went before and betrays a fundamental lack of historical understanding which again is just nationalism in another guise. There is nothing to shy away from here - the 3 strands of nationalism that permeate Irish history offer sweet fuck all to workers, and each can have 'blame' depending on your chosen period of history. When will so-called anarchists get over this position of weighing one strand over another??? Stupid British Orange Fenian lovers!

In order to present an alternative the first thing to do is to stop using the same tactics that were used to divide workers in the first place, and to use clear and cogent language to repudiate all forms of nationalism.

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Choccy
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Apr 14 2009 18:41

Agreed, seriously, at a time when local anarchists are actually involved in community struggles (like opposing water charges) and in supporting workers in struggle or under attack (Visteon/Ford occupation, or the ongoing Subway case) I'd like to know why the WSM members on here and LiamDerry think these other 'really hard questions' are at all relevant to class struggle in the here and now.
I mean literally, what do they have to offer us?

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Apr 14 2009 19:38
Bobby wrote:
Firstly, WSM is the only anarchist group in Ireland that has sought to tackle these issues in a real meaningful sense, given the volumes of articles and historical analysis produced. We have also put alot of work into looking at labour history and class struggle in Ireland.
http://www.wsm.ie/public_newswire?search_text=Partition

Apart from responding to our position paper on the North in the past(which also changed) on a point to point basis, I would love to see Organise! produce their own detailed pamphlet on partition, nationalism etc. I have yet to see anything of substance.

Organise! does not feel compelled to cut down an area of trees the size of Wales to produce volumes of printed matter pandering to left Republicans. Our responses to the WSM position paper (albeit now amended) should also tell you what our positions are, or cant you extrapolate?

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Apr 14 2009 19:44

Also the fact that our position on nationalism is in our A+Ps, and irish nationalism doesn't deserve special treatment, nor does 'partition' make the irish N/S border a special one warranting particular attention.

Bobby
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Apr 14 2009 20:56
Choccy wrote:
Agreed, seriously, at a time when local anarchists are actually involved in community struggles (like opposing water charges) and in supporting workers in struggle or under attack (Visteon/Ford occupation, or the ongoing Subway case) I'd like to know why the WSM members on here and LiamDerry think these other 'really hard questions' are at all relevant to class struggle in the here and now.
I mean literally, what do they have to offer us?

Choccy you are attempting creating a false division which simly doesnt exist. Given the wsm's heavy involvement nationally is supporting workers in struggle and as workers also such as the above, we dont pay particularly attention to partition either.

But we do believe it is very important to comment on issues such as the recent armed attacks, policing and publishment of the Eames/Bradley report which is very relevant to the lives of working people caught up in the conflict here.

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Apr 14 2009 21:10

They are of course important historically in understanding particular events, but they are not of any relevance to moving forward as a class, and have nothing to do with organizing our communities and workplaces.
Te recent armed attacks etc are precisely the reason that we need to see why dwelling on these 'really hard questions' leads us down the blind alley of nationalism, ultimately offering us nothing.
Seriously, with issues like the ones I outlined in my previous post, again, what relevance do these 'really hard questions' of who started it have to offer us?

I'd also like to lol my bollocks off at your use of the phrase 'class reductionism' - if anyone has ever been guilty of a mechanistic reductionist view of class its your good self wink

Redee
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Apr 14 2009 21:36

Isn't it great to see how the left can work together and support each other to spread the word of socialism to the growing group of people in NI who don't really give a monkies for sectarian politics. You guys are all obviously well read in the theories of politics and have a great hunger to lift the class divide, so why not direct your efforts into making true politics accessible to those of us here in the North who really do want an alternative. Yes I know about Subway and about Visteon, but what about other workers unfairly dismissed on a daily basis who dont know about their employment rights or the fact that there are avenues available to them for help.
I work in a medium sized call centre and I find it difficult to recruit even permanent staff into the union because they fail to see the relevance of them (unless they happen to be facing a disciplinary hearing!) or the relevance of collective bargaining. To these people the very mention of the word politics is enough to send cold shivers down their spine - so what do we do about this?????? How do we make the ordinary person see that politics is more than the sectarian divide and is the only way to make a real difference to their lives? You also seem to forget that there are a large number of people who dont care who started what or when but do care about making lives better for themselves and their families.

Redee
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Apr 14 2009 21:41

If I appear to be over simplifying things and a little naïve forgive me – I’m just a regular person enjoying the rants and digs of those of you better read in political theory than me, call me the voice of the regular woman on the street with a passing interest in politics!!!

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Apr 14 2009 21:59

no, I don't think you're over-simplifying things at all, I think there's a sizeable amount of working people who don't give a real fuck about these 'really hard questions' and do just want to know how to make their lives better, or even in the meantime, get a better wage, not get harassed by their boss, not have to pay more for water etc etc

but on the larger question of why aren't anarchists in Belfast busy getting 'ordinary workers' into 'true politics' we have to be honest - anarchism is still a small current within class struggle in the north, and indeed elsewhere. The people in belfast that do identify as anarchists, like us in Organise and the WSM, do what we can, getting involved in issues where they arise, and supporting workers attempting to take control over making their own lives and working conditions better.

Most of us think that given the current economic climate, the very visible attacks on our living & working conditions, and the attempts to silence dissent/protest that are plain to see, there is a real potential for more people to get involved in class politics.

Bobby
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Apr 14 2009 22:24

I would also agree with Redee and last comment made by backtofront and Choccy.

Choccy, I dont know where you get 'hard questions' from as I didnt mention it nor does the wsm dwell on the question of partition either. One would only need to have a quick glance at our website to know this.

The only energy spent on answering these questions is in answer to armchair generals on libcom. Just kiddin..

In fact this must be the 100th thread on libcom about Irish politics and its generally the same issues being talked about and us with few exceptions everyone going round in circles, whenever we agree on 90%. The next time someone starts another thread, someone please flag up a previous thread.

I am also beginning to spend too much time on libcom and this particular thread for my own good especially whenever I have much more important stuff to be sorting out.

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Apr 14 2009 23:01

The 'hard questions' were those LiamDerry alluded to a few times, and the same issues you mentioned as being 'taken seriously' only by the WSM as if they are de-facto useful to class struggle in the here and now.

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Apr 15 2009 09:19
Redee wrote:
Isn't it great to see how the left can work together and support each other to spread the word of socialism to the growing group of people in NI who don't really give a monkies for sectarian politics. You guys are all obviously well read in the theories of politics and have a great hunger to lift the class divide, so why not direct your efforts into making true politics accessible to those of us here in the North who really do want an alternative. Yes I know about Subway and about Visteon, but what about other workers unfairly dismissed on a daily basis who dont know about their employment rights or the fact that there are avenues available to them for help.
I work in a medium sized call centre and I find it difficult to recruit even permanent staff into the union because they fail to see the relevance of them (unless they happen to be facing a disciplinary hearing!) or the relevance of collective bargaining. To these people the very mention of the word politics is enough to send cold shivers down their spine - so what do we do about this?????? How do we make the ordinary person see that politics is more than the sectarian divide and is the only way to make a real difference to their lives? You also seem to forget that there are a large number of people who dont care who started what or when but do care about making lives better for themselves and their families.

You raise several points here one of which I'm wary of but I'll outline why that is later. As Choccy points out class struggle anarchism, although it has a history here, has been long marginalised by a general inability to see beyond sectarian politics. Therefore the movement is small but growing and I'm sure anyone from Organise! or WSM could offer advice on any maltreatment of workers or aspects of organisation within the workplace.

I have grown wary of unions and I realise this is a bit of a generalisation so I tend so suggest that unless your union has guts, organise without it. A health and safety rep for example can call a meeting in which bosses and union reps don't need to be present. There are many systems of organisation.

Which brings me to my initial response. There is a tendency for people to want others to do something for them. It's very typical in our spoonfed society as our masters train our dependence on them in all walks of life. Therefore what I'm saying is while others will offer advice and show solidarity it is important to develop a DiY attitude in organisation. If anarchism teachs anything then it's self-empowerment. I hope this doen't sound dismissive, it's really only an observation.

But yes a key area is making workers aware of their rights and there are so many who just don't know about them. Many often see union dues as another 'tax' they can live without. I would suggest printing a leaflet and cirulating it among workers outlining their rights.

You're right politics is such a loaded word that to the majority of people it means bastards in suits swarming their way out of the latest scam rather than the issues which affect people. Essentially anarchism is anti-political per se and, personally that includes the left as well as the right, but that's another tangent.

Republicanism is a petty beurgeosie and has nothing to offer workers

Bobby
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Apr 15 2009 11:10

On thing to add as sometimes internet forums such as this give a different impression.

Despite our differences over strategy and a few heated moments, Organise! and the WSM have a pretty good working relationship- personal as well as political.

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Choccy
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Apr 15 2009 15:34

Yes, we do actually get on very well generally smile

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back2front
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Apr 15 2009 16:31

Awww shucks, you two should get a room.

Redee
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Apr 15 2009 19:00

I'm glad I've managed to bring you closer together - LOL, my remarks were slightly tongue in cheek, I am aware of how you do work together - on occasion.
On the points raised by Back2Front, I agree with you on the issue of the strength/validity of Unions as I have been a member long enough to see what support they really can offer. My involvement (20 years) with the union came out of a desire to improve things for my fellow workers and not seeing any place for myself in sectarian politics. i have found myself more disheartened as the years have gone by with the unions and I'm only now looking around and exploring all sorts of alternatives and I stumbled on this web site by accident. I know there are a lot of other people like me who need and are looking for that alternative. So guys I was just giving you a little nudge to keep reaching out to the disaffected.
I have always held the view and stated it in my first post in this thread that sectarianism has long been used as a devisive tool and while it is pandered to in any form and while we continue to dwell on Republicanism/Unionism/Nationalism it will prevent any form of class struggle from taking place here.

Fletcher
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Apr 15 2009 20:47

Did anyone see the footage of the idiots from the Republican Network for Unity at the Easter Commeration in Derry. Less than 200 of the backward looking fools. I particularly laughed at the ones in the shellsuits, hoodies, masked up and with petrol bombs (in the cemetery!!!). Wasters!

Despite our differences on here about emphasis on how we look at our history and how we should address particular issues, there is no doubt that we stand as one in opposing both the space cadets of RSF and the 32CSC and indeed against Sinn Fein. Sectarianism, whether the armed version or the political version, offers fuck all.