What is it with certain circles and characters on the left supporting the IRA?

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Anti_Fascist_02
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Apr 17 2017 01:46
What is it with certain circles and characters on the left supporting the IRA?

Hi,

I've become more aware of this becoming present more frequently as I become more involved politically of certain circles of activists supporting the IRA.

I'm not here to argue why I don't like them though have noticed it creates very uncomfortable and even unworkable political projects to be able to work with others who identify with supporting the IRA.

Not just individual differences though the shit politics and naivety people develop tarnishes political groups and work all together with this.

How can Anarchists supposedly support or defend such a group which is Irish Nationalism and who shot working-class people.

Links:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsmill_massacre

Has this always been around? Why can't those who do support the IRA not keep it to themselves or continually try to justify it to others who want fuck all to do with it.

Discuss.

bastarx
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Apr 17 2017 07:15

I think it's been around for a while. Defunct UK anarchist group Class War were fairly vocal about their support for the IRA.

I recently got booted from the "Cats Against Capitalism" facebook page for criticising some fool who took a photo of his poor cat with IRA badges.

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jondwhite
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Apr 17 2017 08:13

I don't think the serious anarchist groups afed and solfed support the IRA and I'd have thought it was a position becoming less popular among anarchists but groups like Red Action were well known for this in the past.

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Serge Forward
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Apr 17 2017 08:44

It's basically shit politics. People who call themselves anarchists are not immune to the general lefty wanking off to national liberation nonsense, especially when it involves a frisson of balaclava chic. As said earlier, Class War were probably the worst culprits while AF and Solfed have always taken an anti-nationalist position.

freemind
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Apr 17 2017 10:13

I think we as Anarchists often fail to clarify our position on National Liberation movements like the IRA which leads to a muddled and inconsistent line.Anarchism does not support Nationalism in any circumstances and the fact Class War professed support for the IRA says everything about that organisation.Supporting a struggle on an anti imperialist basis is correct and does not entail or
mean you have to wave a tricolour as there is a difference because we are class based and reject the bourgeois reactionary line of Adams/McGuiness for example.
Some movements for national liberation contain elements that profess a class line or speak progressively at times but in trying to fuse a Class/Nationalist line there is only one dominant line in the end as Nationalists will suppress any Class focus ruthlessly in the end.
When I was in the DAM a document was produced by the Irish Commission which was very accurate in putting a cogent line for Anarcists/AnarchoSyndicalists to follow.
Any ideology that is a block on class consciousness and the liberation of our class from Capitalism and the State must be opposed on principle and cannot be parlied with.

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Choccy
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Apr 17 2017 12:16

Groups like Organise!, mainly based in Belfast, of which I was a member til I left Ireland were strongly opposed to all forms of nationalism. So much so, that we were mockingly called Orangise by those who were a bit soft on Irish nationalism.

bastarx
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Apr 17 2017 13:28
freemind wrote:
Supporting a struggle on an anti imperialist basis is correct and does not entail or
mean you have to wave a tricolour as there is a difference because we are class based and reject the bourgeois reactionary line of Adams/McGuiness for example.
Some movements for national liberation contain elements that profess a class line or speak progressively at times but in trying to fuse a Class/Nationalist line there is only one dominant line in the end as Nationalists will suppress any Class focus ruthlessly in the end.

This seems too soft on nationalism. If we're speaking of Northern Ireland my understanding is that by 1972 or so there was no struggle left except that of the IRA.

freemind
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Apr 17 2017 14:08

I think there is always some class initiative even when Nationalism seems all pervasive.The IRA were in the ascendancy by 1972 but as Tommy McKearney's book The Provisional IRA states from 1969 to 72 it was the Citizen Defence Committees that defended the anti Unionist areas from Loyalist attack not the IRA in general.
I don't think I was being too soft on Nationalism but merely stating that a lot of community activity was done outside of Sinn Fein's reach but also much of it was consumed by the momentum of the conflict and threats.

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Entdinglichung
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Apr 17 2017 14:58

think that it was either McKearney or Brendan Hughes who said in an oral history interview that in 69-72, many working class lads simply flocked to the Provos (and to a lesser extent to the Stickies) because they seemed to be the only ones capable to defend the catholic working class areas against loyalist attacks and that they would have even joined the Legion of Mary if they had given them guns

freemind
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Apr 17 2017 16:33

People like McKearney and Bernadette McAliskey are always talking from a class perspective and are often critical of the IRA.McKearney said that not encouraging the Citizens Defence Committees was a mistake and showed an innate distrust in the working class and class politics.

Maclane Horton
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Apr 27 2017 18:23

Ireland is one country. Part of the country is occupied by the forces of another nation. If the foreign army were withdrawn Ireland would be reunited. Those  who help the British to administer the occupied territories are collaborators.

If you helped the special branch in hunting down one of the few remaining IRA activists, would that make you a collaborator? Would paying taxes in Britain or Ireland count as collaboration?

If one of the lads on the run came your door and asked for food and shelter, would you send him away? I expect you would. Of course you would.

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jef costello
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Apr 27 2017 19:51
Quote:
If you helped the special branch in hunting down one of the few remaining IRA activists, would that make you a collaborator?

Yes that would, surprisingly no-one has come close to proposing that.

Quote:
Would paying taxes in Britain or Ireland count as collaboration?

No. Do you consider all tax-paying Americans collaborators in the occupied territories of every inch of American soil?

Quote:
If one of the lads on the run came your door and asked for food and shelter, would you send him away? I expect you would. Of course you would.

No chance I would. I'm not a fan of nationalist who murdered working class people on a regular basis and at best were stunningly misguided.

As has been said a million times. A communist must be an anti-imperialist, but an anti-imperialist is not necessarily a communist. When the motivation behind fighting imperialism is nationalism then it cannot be supported at all by an anarchist or a communist.

Just before you start, I am in no way defending the loyalists or the British government, I'd like to see the back of them too.

I will give the example that I think shows solidarity and the attitude of the IRA, and all other nationalist gangs to it. A group,of armed men stop a bus and demand which of the men is a catholic. In the context it is likely that these are loyalists about to execute the catholic. His workmates try to stop him identifying himself to protect him. Seeing this example of solidarity the IRA men murder those workers because of their religion. When it boils down to it nationalist ideologies, no matter how big the nation or group behind them will always be anti-working class.

Tom Henry
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Apr 28 2017 00:52

Isn’t anti-imperialism always effectively support for nationalism?

Isn’t decolonization always effectively support for nationalism?

We live in a capitalist world where if a territory extricates itself from colonial rule it’s only option is to take over the capitalist structure already there.

This is what has happened in all anti-colonial struggles without exception.

Just because nationalist struggles are often deeply affecting, heroic and such, and often led by socialists, does not mean that they are not saviours of capitalism in their country. It is easy to get caught up in emotive fighting words: all hail ‘one of the last consequent Leninists’, as the Situationists called him, Che Guevara!

If one lives in the country that is trying to decolonize itself then one’s words and actions may be quite different from those who make grand pronouncements from afar. If all those who criticise others in distant lands, or try to tell them they are doing the wrong thing, just quit their verbiage then we would be saved a lot of dim-witted confusion. (As one might write from one’s desk in Milton Keynes: “What the Zapatistas need to do is abolish money and the market, why haven’t they done it yet?”) This is different from recognising what we can of ‘foreign’ struggles, and refusing to offer advice or trying to get those around us to follow a party line on these distant events. Those who do feel the need to ‘get involved’ tend to have this kind of conversation:

“Comrades, we must show solidarity with the oppressed people of Somewhereorother, but we must be cautious in support of the prospective new President.”

“But, mighty comrade, when we went on the march the other day supporting the oppressed people of Somewhereorother, it just looked like we were supporting the People’s Democratic Front, who have nationalist and capitalist aspirations.”

“Ah, little, dear, sweet, comrade, we must be seen to be doing something, we must join the spectacle, for the oppressed need our moral encouragement from afar!”

(Things are different in local struggles one is directly involved in, of course. Just as they are in these decolonization struggles if one is directly involved in what is happening around you. Often, after the new President is elected, it comes to light that they have been killing their more anti-capitalist inclined opponents for some significant time or begin it when in power (eg South Africa and the ANC). “But how were we to know?” moan the comrades in Milton Keynes, “Somewhereorother is a long way away.”)

Then there are the anti-imperialist/nationalist/decolonization struggles of recent and present times, those that have had (since Nasser) the socialism erased out of them, leaving Islamic fundamentalism to take its place.

Spikymike
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Apr 28 2017 09:37

Support for the IRA has never been popular on this site though. See here for starters;
http://libcom.org/library/ireland-nationalism-imperialism-myths-subversi... and
http://libcom.org/history/northern-ireland-ira-class-war

Though I see that 'Brexit' in relation to Ireland and the European Union referencing the German East-West automatic membership of the Union has raised the profile of the politics of a united Ireland again alongside Scottish, Welsh , English and British nationalism as a substantial force dividing the working class.

potrokin
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Apr 28 2017 11:29

As a former IRA/Irish Republican sympathizer myself, I'd say the appeal is that they are seen as kind of allies. There are sections of the IRA that are 'left-wing' and 'socialist' (in an authoritarian way ie. Trotskyist/Leninist/ Stalinist) and come across as pro-working-class, aswell as anti-imperialist. The left of the republican movement also, ofcourse, consider themselves to be very much anti-fascist, not only because of their version of 'socialism' but also because of the links between the Loyalist movement and the british far-right etc.which ofcourse are very real and I personally would say that they are pretty good at highlighting Loyalist bigotry. They also, these days speak out against anti-british bigotry (or anti-british sentiment that goes too far) and targetting civilians. That said I think that their politics is not what is needed, for the same reasons I don't appreciate the authoritarian left, they are the authoritarian left.

potrokin
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Apr 28 2017 12:01
Serge Forward wrote:
It's basically shit politics. People who call themselves anarchists are not immune to the general lefty wanking off to national liberation nonsense, especially when it involves a frisson of balaclava chic. As said earlier, Class War were probably the worst culprits while AF and Solfed have always taken an anti-nationalist position.

Class War, they always came across to me as being opposed to nationalism of all types. I believe their allies Red Action were Irish Republican sympathizers though.

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Serge Forward
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Apr 28 2017 14:20

Class War... nope... been a fair bit of pro-republican stuff from them down the years. As for "the RA"... coincidence or what!

freemind
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Apr 30 2017 05:50

I think calling Class War and Red Action allies is a bit extreme lol.Red Action were uncompromising and fervent supporters of the IRA and especially the INLA

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Reddebrek
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May 1 2017 12:06

Red Action members carried out bombings on behalf of the Provo's http://libcom.org/library/red-action-ira-london-bombs-independent

Think its save to say they were supportive of the boys in balaclavas.

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Khawaga
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May 1 2017 17:34
Quote:
Class War... nope... been a fair bit of pro-republican stuff from them down the years. As for "the RA"... coincidence or what!

Not to mention racism! Like that horribly anti-semitic effigy they burnt a few years back.

freemind
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May 1 2017 17:49

I don't recall the "effigy" but consider it dark humour that RED ACTION ceased to exist at the same time as the Provos called a ceasefire lol

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Khawaga
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May 1 2017 18:22

Here's the libcom thread about it. And it wasn't an anti-semitic effigy, but an anti-Mohammed one replete with racist caricatures.

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Steven.
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May 1 2017 19:48

In terms of "the left" supporting the IRA it is basically a result of left-wing ideology. Lenin said that imperialism was the highest stage of capitalism, so opposing imperialism is the priority. So Leninist/Trotskyist/Maoist/Stalinist groups have to support all national liberation movements (and the groups which represent them like IRA, MPLA, Hamas etc) in principle. Even though technically anarchism rejects all nationalism, many anarchists are actually very inconsistent on this point, and often unfortunately you get some anarchists choosing to support one bunch of nationalists over another in real-world situations.

freemind
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May 2 2017 09:15

I think Anarchists who support Nationalist movements betray a lack of knowledge in respect to a concise uniform line on National Liberation and Class and choose the easy option of an orthodox leftist line.

potrokin
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May 3 2017 08:43
Khawaga wrote:
Here's the libcom thread about it. And it wasn't an anti-semitic effigy, but an anti-Mohammed one replete with racist caricatures.

I'd say you are reading too much into that. I'm sure it was just an anti-religious bit of fun. I can't believe theres an eight page thread about someone burning an effigy- you guys need to chill the fuck out.

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Serge Forward
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May 3 2017 09:56
potrokin wrote:
you guys need to chill the fuck out.

Pots and kettles, eh?

Anti-religious bit of fun it may well have been, but do you not think anarchists, communists, etc need to be a bit savvy about how we present our ideas so they are not misread, misunderstood and don't make us appear to be a bunch of bigoted, racist twats to those who are not already "in the know"?

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Khawaga
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May 3 2017 16:00

What Serge said. The problem wasn't the purported attack on religion but the highly racist effigy. Take a look at the photo of the OP potrokin and tell me that that is not a racist charicature of an Arab. And also the context is pretty important.

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Steven.
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May 3 2017 17:05

Sorry, but can people please take discussion of the CW effigy elsewhere as it is off topic. There is a thread about that already which people can resurrect if they feel it is necessary (which I hope they do not…)

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Reddebrek
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May 3 2017 17:21
freemind wrote:
I don't recall the "effigy" but consider it dark humour that RED ACTION ceased to exist at the same time as the Provos called a ceasefire lol

Did they? I thought they reformed themselves into a new organization in London.

potrokin
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May 4 2017 09:04

Returning to the subject of nationalism and Class War. I seem to remember their statement on the conflict in Isreal/Palestine in which they said basically that both sides were shite and anti-working-class and they saw it as a proxy war- hardly sympathetic to nationalism/national liberation movements in any way. Sympathizers or supporters of the IRA tend to back the nat lib palestinian forces when it comes to that issue.

Spikymike
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May 4 2017 10:01

potrokin, Best to give up on the 'I seem to remember' theme and search out references to some of the old Class War material available on this site and elsewhere and associated criticism from others around at the time.. Some of their stuff was pretty good, especially as time went on and they tried to develop a more consistent and grounded politics to what was frankly a mixed bag of different and contradictory sets of ideas. They never really managed to resolve all their differences (and confusion remained over the question of nationalism) before they ran out of steam, although some moved on to other projects far removed from their origins.