Sep 01 2015


In the struggle over the future of the UK, the main battle is being conducted between the SNP pushing for a liberal unionist ‘Devo-Max’ agenda (looking for support from a possibly Corbyn-led Labour Party, Plaid Cymru and the Greens) and the conservative unionist alliance led by David Cameron, with the tacit acceptance of  ‘One Nation’ Labour and the Lib-Dems. However, there is a third unionist force, the reactionary unionists consisting of UKIP, the Tory Right and Ulster unionists, backed by the loyalists.

The following two articles from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) cover recent events which show the impact of reactionary unionism in the ‘Six Counties’. Here, reactionary unionism continues to make political advances, seeking to further undermine the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). These articles show how Sinn Fein’s acceptance of a liberal-unionist road to Irish unity through the devolved institutions of the UK state (i.e. Stormont) is looking increasingly like a dead-end. The UK state is using the threat posed by reactionary unionism to dictate the political direction of events, even threatening to evict Sinn Fein from the post-GFA political set-up, if it does not fully cooperate. As the first article shows, the killing of Kevin McGuigan is the latest stick being used to attack Sinn Fein.

Reactionary unionism can not be ignored over here, because UKIP, in particular, seeks to use Northern Ireland as a model of how to undermine the current liberal unionist ‘Devolution-all-round’ political settlement, the better to clamp down on any more radical alternatives. And when the chips are down, conservative and even liberal unionists will also turn to reactionary unionism for support. Glasgow Labour Council’s current flirtations with the Orange Order and other loyalists are just one indiction of this.  

The forthcoming European referendum will largely be fought on conservative unionist (Cameron and his Labour and Lib-Dem allies from the old ‘Better Together’ alliance) versus reactionary unionist (UKIP and the Tory Right) terms. The prospect of the ‘Six Counties’ breaking their current links with the 26 Counties within the EU is a particularly enticing prospect for reactionary unionists and loyalists. They want to turn the clock back and reintroduce old-style Partition.  

As republican socialists we need to mount our own ‘internationalism from below’ alliance covering not only Scotland, England, Wales and the whole of Ireland, to counter the threat of  reactionary and conservative unionism and the limitations of liberal unionism. This needs to be extended to bring together the European Left to defend migrant workers and asylum seekers, targeted both by the reactionary and conservative unionists, with minimal opposition from liberal unionists.



The Stormont road to a united Ireland?

The Stormont road to a united Ireland?

In October 2013 Kevin Kearney was shot dead in North Belfast by an anti-agreement republican group. Immediately after the killing Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein identified the group responsible and provided detailed information about the background.

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Sep 03 2012


Led by the families of the massacred, over 1000 relatives, neighbours and supporters defiantly snaked their way through the streets of the Greater Ballymurphy area in west Belfast on the Ballymurphy Massacre March for Truth on Sunday past, August 12.

Joined by a strong contingent of éirígí activists, the march took time to pass, and thus bear witness to, the numerous locations where 11 unarmed civilians were brutally murdered by the infamous Parachute Regiment of the British Army as internment was introduced in the Six Counties in August 1971. Among those massacred was a mother of eight, a father of thirteen, a teenage father of one and a catholic priest.

In the aftermath of the massacre, those torn from their families, which included 57 children, were smeared by the forces of the British state and an ever compliant media. Branded an assortment of gunmen, gunwomen and rioters, the victims, having already been robbed of their lives were robbed of their innocence as well.


The families of the dead, after years of torment, harassment, struggle and sacrifice, built a campaign befitting the memory of their loved ones. Some forty years after the event, the campaign goes from strength to strength.

In the week preceding the march, the campaign held a week long photo exhibition and nine showings of their play, ‘Ballymurphy: The Aftermath’. The march, however, was the community response to the British government’s recent disgraceful denial of the families’ demand for a public enquiry into the murders.

Addressing the large crowd that had gathered at the conclusion of the march, Eileen McKeown, daughter of Joseph Corr, one of those murdered, encapsulated the mood of the community, and indeed country, when she warned the British government that, “The Irish have long memories.”

Urging the British Prime Minister David Cameron to “address the legacy of the British forces in Ireland”, Eileen cautioned against prevarication, stating that if she was “not there the day that you and those you represent run out of room, my children, my children’s children, and aye if need be, my children’s children’s children will be there to see you and those you represent with nowhere left to run!”

Speaking from the march, John McCusker, éirígí’s Lower Falls representative commended the Ballymurphy Massacre families of their fight for the truth.

“The Ballymurphy Massacre case pits the worst of the occupier against the best of the occupied. Whilst the British government covers for its murderers, frustrates its victims and obstructs the pursuit of truth, the families bare their souls and offer support and solidarity for all victims in their quest for justice.

“This week I have attended the exhibition, I watched the play and attended the march all of which has been heart wrenching. Having become more familiar with some of the families in recent times, I have found myself in awe at their courage, honesty and dignity. The campaign necessitates a constant reliving of the most intimate and harrowing events of the families’ lives. They are forced, exhibition after exhibition, play after play and speech after speech, to relive the murders of their loved ones and the legacy they were left with.”

John continued, “This, however, can be brought to an end and for this the families demand:

An independent international enquiry into all the circumstances surrounding all of the murders.

A British government public admission of the innocence of those murdered.

A British government public apology for the deaths and all that followed.

“In the aftermath of Ballymurphy, éirígí pledges its full support to the families of the Ballymurphy Massacred and to their campaign for truth. We offer our services and resources to the campaign and encourage everyone to follow suit, no matter how much or how little it might be.

“We join Eileen McKeown in her cry – Free the truth!”

For more information on the campaign and how may assist it please visit the Ballymurphy Massacre site at:-


 This article was originally posted on the eirigi website at:


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