Jun 13 2020

ONE MAN’S TERRORIST

Connor Beaton reviews One Man’s Terrorist by Dan Finn. This first appeared in Red Pepper.

 

 

ONE MAN’S TERRORIST – A POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE IRA

When the Irish government announced plans earlier this year to host a special commemorative event for members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) who were killed in the War of Independence, the backlash was immediate and spectacular. Having seized the initiative on the centenary of the Easter Rising just a few short years earlier, marking it with an extensive programme of high-profile, state-backed events and initiatives, ministers now scored a remarkable own goal and found themselves charged with apologism for British colonial violence in Ireland. Hurried clarifications and part-denials from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan failed to stop ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’ from rocketing to the top of the Irish charts off the back of a spirited online campaign, and new cracks began to appear in an already fragile governing coalition between Fine Gael and the eclectic bunch of independent politicians in cabinet with them. Continue reading “ONE MAN’S TERRORIST”

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Mar 02 2016

THE UK STATE AND BRITISHNESS

 

This article, written by Allan Armstrong (RCN) in 2015, has now been updated to include a new section 3 on Scotland. It has been moved from its earlier site.

Section A –  The UK State and Britishness

Section B –  From the Irish-British and ‘Ulster’-British ‘Insider’ to the Irish ‘Racialised’ and ‘Ethno-Religious Outsider’ to the new ‘National Outsider’

Section C – Britishness, the UK State, Unionism, Scotland and the ‘National Outsider’ 

 

A. THE UK STATE AND BRITISHNESS

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Introduction

The purpose of this article is to examine the concept of the national outsider in relation to Britishness, for the people of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This has been done through the further development of the concept of the outsider used in Satnam Virdee’s significant book Racism, Class and the Racialised Outsider [1]. Here he outlines the creation of the racialised outsider [2]. Mary Davis’ earlier, but also significant, Comrade or Brother? A History of the British Labour Movement (3),  wrote, in effect, about the gendered outsider, without using the term.

The first part of this article will look at the historically changing position of racialised and gendered outsiders in the UK before the second and third parts address the changing position of the national outsider. Here it will be shown how the post-war British Labour government provided widely accepted ‘insider’ Britishness status for those who held hybrid Scottish and Welsh and ‘Ulster’ British identities. This though excluded the Catholic Irish living in Northern Ireland, giving a continued basis for an Irish nationalist politics based on the Irish national outsider. For a brief period in the 1960s the development of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement raised the possibility of widening the sectarian nationality-based ‘Ulster’-Britishness to create a new more inclusive Northern Ireland-Britishness, However,  an alliance of the Ulster Unionism, Loyalism and the UK state  thwarted this, leading to the re-emergence of a reinvigorated Irish republicanism, which drew support from those still treated as national outsiders by the UK state.

Furthermore, in the context of a  continued imperial decline of the UK, the 1960s saw the existing Scottish-British and Welsh-British identities becoming more effectively challenged. This led to a prolonged attempt by the liberal wing of the British ruling class to try to democratise these identities within a political framework of Devolution. The failure of the Sunningdale Agreement in the face of reactionary unionism, and the 1979 Scottish and Welsh Devolution Bills through conservative unionist opposition, followed later by the lukewarm liberal unionist nature of the 1997 ‘Devolution-all-round’ settlement, have contributed to the emergence of significant numbers of Scottish and Welsh national outsiders in relation to the UK state, whilst still not fully integrating the previous Irish national outsiders. Today, the apparent inability of the UK state, with its strong conservative unionist, and growing reactionary unionist forces, to sustain a more widely supported political settlement has led considerably greater numbers to reject any notion of ‘Britishness’, particularly in Scotland.

 

1) The notion of ‘outsider’ and ‘toleration’ in relation to the role of the UK state in creating and maintaining Britishness

In some ways the position of black people in the UK from the late eighteenth century, addressed in Virdee’s book, represents an updated version of the toleration that appeared in the early days of capitalist development. This toleration was extended both to religious and ethnic minorities who performed a significant economic role within certain states. Such toleration was found in some city-states, e.g. Venice [4]and then in some mercantile capitalist states, e.g. the Netherlands, England, then the UK. These states produced regulations and developed practices that altered the status of those they tolerated, either for better or worse.
Continue reading “THE UK STATE AND BRITISHNESS”

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May 01 2014

‘Emancipation & Liberation’ RIC Special Bulletin, May 2014

The RCN produced its second  RIC Special Bulletin in May. It includes the articles the following articles:

1. What happens after September 18th

2. Support the struggle for real self-determination in a Scottish democratic, secular and social republic

3. Winning internationalist allies in Ireland

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Edinburgh RIC branch proposals to RIC National Forum in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote on September 18th are appended after the RCN bulletin.

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1. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SEPTEMBER 18th?

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The Radical Independence Campaign has been growing from strength to strength. Beyond the official national SNP front ‘Yes’ organisation there are many independent campaigns. People are developing a real thirst for political engagement. This will not be sated by putting an ‘X’ on a referendum ballot on September 18th. People are looking for a new Scotland in a better world.

Continue reading “‘Emancipation & Liberation’ RIC Special Bulletin, May 2014”

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