The collapse of the eastern bloc, imperialism and the 1992 Balkan War

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Mike Harman
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Jan 10 2008 01:33
revol68 wrote:
Alf wrote:
I think I remember baboon saying he applied to be a member of the ICC but was rejected.

You remembered wrong

so he has never applied to be a member of the ICC?

I seem to remember someone saying he's an ex-member.

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Alf
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Jan 10 2008 09:34

He was a member for quite a few years and has remained a close sympathiser.

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Alf
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Jan 10 2008 09:36

You should take him on board so he can stop pushing an analysis of imperialism stolen straight out of South Park.

Still waiting to hear whether anyone thinks there's any reality to the long history of inter-imperialist rivalries between the US and Britain, or did we make it up after watching South Park?

Is Britain just the 51st state or does it have its own imperialist agenda which doesn't always coincide with that of the US, and may even come into direct conflict with it?

baboon
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Jan 11 2008 13:31

A group of ruthless Irish nationalist gangsters, manipulated and bossed by an even more ruthless gang of American nationalist gangsters, against a rival gang of British nationalist gangsters, seems to me a perfectly adequate explanation of events in Ireland during the last 3 decades of the 20th c. It's not the whole story of course but the IRA being a proxy army or used by American imperialism is an important part of the story. You don't have to be a supporter of the IRA to support Irish nationalism - just this or that aspect here or there, critically of course, is one of the functions of leftism (the supporting of nationalism is the most important function of leftism for the bourgeoisie).

The situation now is that the USA is getting deeper into a mess on the imperialist arena making it more volatile. From, and along with this, US military action, along with the deepening economic crisis, has accentuated problems elsewhere. Pakistan is unstable and Turkey threatens war as soon as the snows melt. Direct consequences from both for India, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia, Greece, Syria, Iraq and others. There are myriad nationalist factions involved in all these theatres and the major powers are involved in most, if not all of them.
Plenty of dangers for the working class in being led to support this or that nationalism.

As I said on another thread some time ago (one of the organisation questions) I was in the ICC for nearly two decades and very positive it was too. The post was to defend that group's approach to discussion and debate.

baboon
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Jan 12 2008 15:20

Then denounce them guy, denounce them as nationalists.
The main point I want to make is that in the coming year of inter-imperialist rivalries, there are going to be many nationalism to supportc "critically" of course, and with "an understanding of where they come from..." . There will be many and so too for "oppressed peoples", that other great noble cause of leftism.

trenchone
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Jan 12 2008 16:17

Baboon and the ICC seemed to have touched a raw nerve with the analysis of where the IRA sits in the imperialist scheme of things. There's not really anything controversial in it, as even the most basic examination of history shows. The forces of Irish nationalism early on worked out that they couldn't actually function as 'ourselves alone' (to adopt the traditional mistranslation).

The planning for the Easter Rising, for example didn't really start until August 1914 when a delegation from Clan na Gael met the German ambassador in New York to tell him they were organising an armed revolt and wanted military assistance. What they had in mind was something like 50,000 German troops. That would have made an uprising feasible. As it happened, in the end the only support they got was a boatful of weapons that was intercepted by the British Navy and then abandonned and sunk by its German captain. In the only symbolic Rising the proclamation at the Post Office saluted the Irish in America (for the money) and "gallant allies in Europe" (the Germans for the arms). At this stage support by a major imperialism was felt mainly in its limitations.

When Kennedy became US president many were hoping that an Irish Catholic in the White House would give a boost for the cause of Irish nationalism. This didn't happen because American imperialism at this stage wasn't going to upset its relationship with Britain, a major ally against the Russian bloc. This didn't affect overall Republican strategy.

In the early 1970s, with the emergence of the Provisionals, and their growth after Bloody Sunday, a number of journalists, academics, clergy and do-gooders asked the new IRA and SF leadership what their plans were. Did they, for example, expect to defeat the British army? The answer was an emphatic NO. What they hoped was that they could provoke the British into such a massive show of force that the 26 Counties state would have to intervene in the North. Not that they expected the unaided Republic to take be able to take on British imperialism, but they assumed that the Irish state would be backed by the might of the US. This is no conspiracy theory. It was the Provisionals' actual stated policy.

So, following the end of the western bloc and the so-called 'special relationship' between Britain and the US, it was not surprising to see increasing American intervention toward Northern Ireland - a lot more than just giving Gerry Adams a visa. And what sort of relationship existed between the IRA and the US? If the IRA can be likened to a thug on a street corner, then the US is the top gangster in the world. It is not a relationship of equals. It's quite clear who calls the shots.

After the Good Friday Agreement, in speeches by Adams, McGuiness and McLaughlin, the SF leaders not only thanked the American government for all their efforts, but explained how throughout the negotiations preceding the final agreement they were in round-the-clock contact with leading figures in the Clinton government. And what's it called when a major power talks to a very minor player? When you're talking to someone in the White House in the middle of the night you're not going to be asking about the weather in Washington, or musing over general matters of philosophy. The 'consultation' on every detail basically meant following the orientation of the US, or 'taking orders' as you could put it.

The only alternative points of view to that of the ICC is a) that the IRA is entirely autonomous (and there's no evidence for that) or b) that it has become part of the British establishment through SF having taken positions in the British administration in NI. This is the position of those leftists who say that the IRA have sold out. It's based on the idea that there was a viable Irish national liberation movement in the 20th century. Does anyone else think that?

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Jan 12 2008 16:44

so the choice is between seeing the IRA as entirely autonomous or seeing them as a US proxy?
What a delightfully nuanced world view.

The fundamental point is not whether the IRA (or other Irish nationalist factions) is always directly working for US interests. The point is that it cannot be 'autonomous' from imperialism and is driven again and again to throw in its lot with bigger imperialist gangsters. Nationalist factions have often 'changed sides' but they have rarely escaped the control of a more established state power. You could argue that al Qaida type groups are an expression of today's more chaotic conditions and have a tendency in this direction, but even they are compelled to find state backers (for example, parts of the secret service apparatus in Pakistan and Saudi are very close to al Qaida). In the case of Irish nationalism, it showed from as early as 1916 that it had little hope of success if it couldn't find imperialist backers.

What are your 'nuances' here Revol? We've had a lot of perjoratives (utter shite, fuckwit, retard, etc) but we are entirely ignorant of what your actual analysis might be.

Lurch
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Jan 12 2008 21:42

Revol wrote:

Yes it is obvious that the IRA will have to work with various competing interests, how that equals making them a proxy army of the US is beyond me....

So, in Revol’s view – and IMO he’s right - the IRA could, theoretically, hypothetically, have sought backing, at some stage, from anyone prepared to back it in its fight against British imperialism ... Russia, Germany, Libya - the US?

Now we’re getting somewhere.

If it’s ‘obvious’ that the IRA, like all movements of ‘national liberation’ will seek succour where it can, then the real point under consideration is this:

Why would the US want to have a ‘weapon’ against its ‘old ally’ Britain? Why would ‘Uncle Sam’ even consider using the IRA in this regard?

If you adopt the common ‘leftist’ viewpoint that the UK is merely the US’s ‘poodle’, then such a consideration is ‘mad’.

If, however, we know our elementary history of imperialism – if we understand that the US became in the last century ‘top dog’, ‘number one cop’ by consciously and practically seeking to usurp declining Britain’s role, then it’s ‘alliance’ – at certain moments and to certain degrees – with the IRA does not appear quite so ‘crazy’.

Even more so when you consider that Irish descendants make up by far the major part of the US’s ethnic mix – some 40 million, I’m told (and yes, not all of them are ‘nationalists’, to be sure). Even more so when you consider the ‘common’ struggle of the ‘US nation’ and the ‘Irish nation’ to free themselves – for different reasons and with different powers to hand – from the shackles of UK imperialism.

The IRA was not, IMO, the US’s major tool in its aim to supplant Britain as the dominant world power. That was exerted by other means (ie conditions imposed after WW1; Lend-Lease and post WW2 ‘loans’ with interest – finally paid off in 2006; smashing the ’independent’ UK/France stance in Egypt 56; withholding hydrogen bomb technology from the UK for a decade after WW2, etc, etc.)

That does not mean the US didn’t use the IRA to further its influence, to exert its power, at this or that moment. The US had the power to substantially influence both the material (how many millions of Noraid dollars per annum?) and political (who could and who couldn’t come to the US to propagandize, ‘network’ and ‘fundraise’ against GB) influence of the IRA and the ‘official’ Irish government forces. Because it did.

The whole aim of Baboon’s synthetic posts – both this one and a previous thread on the first Gulf War of 1990/91 – was to show the changing conditions under which imperialist tensions are playing themselves out and the consequences for ‘us’. The aim of his post on this subject was precisely to show the tension between the US and UK (among others) in the Balkans wars, one of the first expressions of imperialist tensions being played out in a new (post blocs) epoch.

Like the master and the idiot, he points to the moon, and most everyone else has looked at his finger.

PS: the following link, from Britain’s Sunday Mirror newspaper, ‘proves’ nothing and suggests a lot.

[url=Enter URL here]http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20060514/ai_n16369216[/url]

Leo
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Jan 12 2008 22:28

I have found an interesting article on the disarmament of the IRA:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/nireland/story/0,11008,582352,00.html

Quote:
The [peace] process had actually started in July (...) but at that stage Sinn Fein was in no hurry. (...) The Farc debacle and 11 September completely changed the landscape. Adams' principal concern remained the maintenance of warm relations with the American administration and the preservation of millions of dollars from rich, conservative Irish-Americans.

The Sinn Fein leader was in little doubt about the mood change in America. Bill Flynn, a close confidant of Irish nationalists, is one of the pivotal figures in Irish-American politics and, as chairman of the Mutual Bank of America [and also the chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy], is a conservative that no government in Washington can ignore. Flynn made it clear to Adams and Sinn Fein after Colombia that the only way to rescue the party's reputation in the US capital was for the IRA to disarm. 'They listen to me because they know I am a strong supporter of what they are doing to unite Ireland,' he told The Observer .

Leo
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Jan 13 2008 10:43

The interesting part is that he says they "listen to him" you cretin, not that some guy is a supporter of their cause.

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Devrim
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Jan 13 2008 11:33
Leo Uilleann wrote:
The interesting part is that he says they "listen to him" you cretin, not that some guy is a supporter of their cause.

You do understand that you point here goes exactly against what the ICC are arguing, don't you? The ICC are saying that in the period that you are referring to the US was using the IRA as a weapon against the UK, whereas your post shows that at least some elements in the US were trying to get the IRA to disarm.

In fact even regardless of a lack of any direct evidence for what in being said on this thread, all the circumstantial evidence points against it. The period that the ICC is claiming that imperialist tensions between the US, and the UK were increasing in, also marks a decrease in IRA activity, and its eventually disbandment. On the other hand the high points of IRA activity occurred at a point during the Cold War when the US, and the UK were much closer.

Devrim

Leo
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Jan 13 2008 12:09
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You do understand that you point here goes exactly against what the ICC are arguing, don't you? The ICC are saying that in the period that you are referring to the US was using the IRA as a weapon against the UK, whereas your post shows that at least some elements in the US were trying to get the IRA to disarm.

We talked about this yesterday, as M said the two things don't go against each other necessarily and the fact that this disarmament effectively started after 9/11 shows control.

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Jan 13 2008 12:16
Leo Uilleann wrote:
We talked about this yesterday, as M said the two things don't go against each other necessarily and the fact that this disarmament effectively started after 9/11 shows control.

You can't have it both ways, they are two completely opposed tenedencies. If they are both true then your statements are meaningless.

Wiki wrote:
In August 1994, the Provisional IRA declared an indefinite ceasefire. Although this ceasefire temporarily broke down in 1995-97, it essentially marked the end of the full scale IRA campaign.

From December 1995 until July 1997, the Provisional IRA called off its 1994 ceasefire because of its dissatisfaction with the state of negotiations. They re-instated the ceasefire in July 1997, it has been in operation since then.[42]

The Provisional IRA decommissioned all of its arms between July and September 2005.

The decommissioning is a complete red herring. The IRA was looked into the process that led to its disbandment, long before the 9/11 bombings.

Devrim

Leo
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Jan 13 2008 12:41
Quote:
The decommissioning is a complete red herring. The IRA was looked into the process that led to its disbandment, long before the 9/11 bombings.

To quote the same article:

Quote:
The [peace] process had actually started in July (...) but at that stage Sinn Fein was in no hurry. (...) Brian Keenan, a leading member of the IRA's ruling council, had said it was the British state that should be decommissioning its military presence, not them (...) The Farc debacle and 11 September completely changed the landscape. Adams' principal concern remained the maintenance of warm relations with the American administration and the preservation of millions of dollars from rich, conservative Irish-Americans.

To quote another article:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/oct2001/ire-o31_prn.shtml

Quote:
Flynn told Adams, “They (in Washington) are not going to put up with any more nonsense... After Columbia and then September 11, the time had come for real politics, and we had got to decommission.”
Quote:
It was made clear that America had two big sticks to wield—visas for Sinn Fein leaders and the right to fundraise in the US. These would be withdrawn unless there was decommissioning.
Leo
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Jan 13 2008 13:02

Another interesting article:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/oct2001/ire-o25.shtml

Quote:
...Any informed follower of Irish political affairs knows full well that the major impetus for IRA decommissioning came from the US. Indeed, the past few years have stripped Sinn Fein of any pretence of being an independent political force. Ever since efforts to arrive at a new political settlement in Northern Ireland began, Sinn Fein has sought to recast itself in the role of a favoured political representative of American imperialism.

Washington’s political interests in Northern Ireland have grown as it has superseded Britain as the dominant economic power throughout the entire island. In addition to the dominance of North American companies in the Irish Republic, they also made up 52 of the 152 overseas companies operating in Northern Ireland in 1997. This compares with 47 from the United Kingdom, 14 from the rest of Europe, 13 from the Irish Republic and 10 each from Asia/Pacific and Germany. It is in order to safeguard these interests and establish new ones that the Clinton administration became intimately involved in the setting up of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Throughout the whole “peace process”, the American ruling class has sought to bolster Sinn Fein as its own counterweight to Britain’s proxy, the Unionists.

(...)

Most significantly, the September 11 bombings of the World Trade Center in New York, and the subsequent war against Afghanistan unleashed by the US has changed the whole context of Northern Irish politics. From that point, the Bush administration made clear that they would no longer sanction Sinn Fein/IRA’s radical nationalist posturing, which had become an embarrassment at a time when an “international war against terrorism” had been proclaimed. Washington will have told the IRA in no uncertain terms to carry out decommissioning as anticipated in the Good Friday Agreement, and that Sinn Fein should start behaving like the grown-up bourgeois party it purports to be...

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Jan 13 2008 13:44

But, Leo, you are completely missing the point. Decommissioning was an inevitable end to a process that had already begun earlier. The 'Good Friday Agreement' which included a commitment to decommissioning was signed in 1998. The IRA had already agreed to it, and they were just trying to get the most for it that they could.

Apart from all that, everything that you are posting is destroying the idea that the US used the IRA as a 'proxy army', as in none of these things that you are quoting are they doing that at all. In fact they are trying to decommission it as an army.

Devrim

Leo
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Jan 13 2008 14:26
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seriously the Provies were locked into the peace process well fucking before 9-11

Sure, obviously, but it seems to me as if they didn't take the disarmament seriously at all before 9-11, no?

That's what I've been reading points to.

Quote:
the politics of Northern Ireland are by and large internally driven and extremely isolated from wider world politic, a shitty little historic anomalie of a province trapped in a fucking time warp.

Lots of provinces trapped in time warps which have internal dynamics with regards to politics and which seem extremely isolated from wider world politics have international connections. In Turkey, for example, the clash between the AKP (Erdogan's party) and the CHP (secular nationalist party) seem to be the clash of very complicated internal dynamics, isolated from the outside world, at the first glance however it is not in reality - there are connections with different imperialist powers because every internal dynamic have connections with, and are even parts of international dynamics. I have not seen a single example of a local bourgeois fraction being truly independent - it is impossible to stand without being a part of the inter-imperialist arena. Besides, I think whatever the "raison d'etat" of the specific bourgeois fraction is, the only way of pursuing it is being a part of the inter-imperialist area. Don't you agree?

Quote:
And of course some dickhead irish american politician is going to have the ear of the Shinners, he's got his ear close to ground where their money comes from, but just because the shinners listen to him doesn't mean they took their lead during the troubles from him or any other yanks.

Well, we weren't talking about the troubles anyway, so...

Quote:
also Leo that article is fucking retarded

Well, after all it was trots who wrote it tongue

Quote:
the Unionists are not simply British proxies

I'm not sure if I really understand what this term "proxy" really means to be honest.

Devrim said that the village guards could be regarded as a proxy army of the Turkish state. The village guards work closely with the state and fight against the PKK, on behalf of the interests of the Turkish interests, but also on behalf of their own interests as well as they are the descendants of the feudal families who got bitter with the PKK when the PKK trying to put feudal families against each other. If a proxy is something which has no interests, not even tiny interests of it's own but is only fighting for the sake of the interests of others, than surely no bourgeois fraction is a proxy of another as every bourgeois fraction has it's own tiny interests (and also as they instinctively pursue "realpolitik", because they are "Machiavellian"). However if proxy means a power with interests of its own, fighting on behalf of the interests of another power either because doing so is in it's own interests or because it's own interests are similar with the interests of the larger power, then I'd say this "proxy" thing is quite common, as something which does not negate tiny interests and internal dynamics, but something which incite them.

Quote:
rather than understanding it as a historical hangover.

So how do we understand the historical hangover of Ireland?

Leo
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Jan 13 2008 14:46
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Apart from all that, everything that you are posting is destroying the idea that the US used the IRA as a 'proxy army', as in none of these things that you are quoting are they doing that at all. In fact they are trying to decommission it as an army.

Well, It could be argued that (and I don't argue it because I don't know enough about the situation) the IRA was a aligned with the US as an army after the 90s but the US wanted a serious proxy party instead of a proxy army, especially because of the terrorism thing so it told the IRA to decommission. US making IRA start taking decommissioning seriously after 9/11 is something that strengthens the argument about IRA being aligned to the American imperialism. Besides obviously no one is arguing that US is using the IRA as a proxy army now as the provo IRA doesn't exist as an army anymore as far as I know.

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Jan 13 2008 15:10
Lurch wrote:
the following link, from Britain’s Sunday Mirror newspaper, ‘proves’ nothing and suggests a lot.

[url=Enter URL here]http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20060514/ai_n16369216[/url]

Lurch - what exactly does that article suggest to you? Unless you wrongly take the title literally - "CIA turns to Michael Collins for help." - and believe Collins and the CIA were ever in contact (which is never suggested in the article), the article doesn't back up any "proxy army" or other claims made in this or other threads. We can assume that the CIA incorporated useful techniques from friends and enemies alike into their training manuals. So what? Another example of crudely trying to make reality fit the preferred belief?

trenchone
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Jan 13 2008 19:40

The idea that "the politics of Northern Ireland are by and large internally driven and extremely isolated from wider world politic, a shitty little historic anomalie of a province trapped in a fucking time warp" is intriguing. While it doesn't seem defensible empirically, theoretically or in any other way, at least it's some sort of position. The basic question to put would then be: how are the various political, military, social formations to be understood? To do this without situating agriculture, the linen, shipbuilding, aerospace and other heavy industries in the context of British and world capitalism would be a staggering achievement. Yes, there are some anomalies (the 50 years of a Stormont parliament for a population less than Birmingham and environs, for example) but these are not internally driven but the result of the action of outside forces. Globalisation properly understood is a process going back more than 150 years and the north of Ireland is no exception

LongJohnSilver
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Jan 13 2008 21:53

Thankyou trenchone for reminding us of the Casement episode - Sir Roger Casement was captured by the British in 1916 just before the Rising, as he was put ashore from a German submarine (he was supposed to have accompanied a shipment of German weapons but the ship in which they had been sent was sunk). This is a necessary reminder of one fundamental point in all this: whatever the internal politics may be, it is impossible for a small power (or would-be power) to defend its own interests without seeking to ally itself, or put itself under the protection of, a greater power. Actually IMO this is fundamental to understanding imperialism in general since the beginning of the 20th century and it is true not just for the IRA but for all countries, even important ones. If we take the example of Britain, it is very clear that in the 1930s the British ruling class was beginning to realise that it could no longer stand aloof as the world's greatest empire but was going to have to make a choice between alliance with Germany or with the United States, and worse still that neither of these would be an equal alliance. There were definitely fractions within the British who thought that Nazism looked like a good bet (including the erstwhile King Edward VIII).
To get back to the IRA, it's worth quoting in this context the 1916 Declaration of the Provisional Government:

Quote:
Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom (...) having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

Once hopes of help from Germany disappeared, the IRA basically relied on financial and material help from the United States, and the strong ties between the IRA and elements of the Irish-American community in the US. The most recent expression of this is of course NORAID which has funneled substantial sums of money from the US to the IRA. Nobody in this debate denies this as far as I can see: one question that anyone should therefore ask is therefore a) could the US government have stopped NORAID, and b) if it could have done so, why did it not?
Well of course I'm not privy to all the secrets of the US government, but on the face of it, it seems to me probable that had it wished to do so, the US government could easily have cut NORAID funds going to Ireland. So the question then is, why did it not?
The idea that the US would not do so because Britain is such a loyal ally and there is a "special relationship" between the two is simply naïve (does anybody actually think this??) in my view - but that would be another discussion in itself. It seems to me perfectly reasonable to suppose that the US government turned a more or less blind eye to money and even arms smuggling on the grounds that it never does any harm to hold a stick over your allies (of course, another element in this is the relationship between the US, the Eire government, and the IRA - which has changed over the years especially since Eire started getting rich thanks to EU funding, but that also is another question).
There was apparently (according to Tim Pat Coogan's voluminous work The IRA) a change in line during the 1980s when the Thatcher/Reagan "special relationship" (ie the British government throwing itself wholeheartedly behind the US big brother in the Cold War) led to a number of FBI stings being run against IRA gun-runners. However, according to Coogan again (writing in 1995), this changed when Clinton came to power (ie more or less at the same time that the British started to distance themselves from the US in an attempt to assert their own imperialist interests:

Quote:
Good contact has been established between the Irish-Americans and the Clinton administration. To my knowledge Clinton has assured leaders of the Irish-American community that there would be 'no more Joe Doherty cases', and there is tangible evidence of the FBI being reined in.

A final point: the ICC sentence on the "proxy army" should be treated more as a polemical shorthand than a literal "truth for all time", and of course history is more complicated than that (isn't it always?). But the essential points which the ICC is making remain true: that the IRA was always ready to be a tool of other imperialist powers (it there has never been anything remotely "anti-imperialist" about it), and that the US is the most powerful of those powers to which the IRA could turn, and finally that the USA has always had an interest in "running" the IRA - the article that Leo quotes seems to me to demonstrate perfectly clearly that the situation changed after 9/11 when the US needed British help: canning the IRA militarily was something that the US could "bring to the table" to buy unequivocal British backing for the wars to come.
And lastly - it's very nice to see that revol68 is so concerned for a "nuanced" view (though he's not very "nuanced" about Northern Ireland: "a shitty little historic anomalie of a province trapped in a fucking time warp"!) then why does he not let us all profit from his doubtless profound knowledge and insights into Irish history?

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Jan 14 2008 22:24

Still waiting for an answer, Lurch, on the Collins/CIA article; considering that Collins died in 1922 and the CIA was formed in the 1940s, there couldn't be any great collaboration, could there? I guess we'll have to assume Lurch's comment is just another piece of historical nonsense, attempted lazy misuse of facts in the service of speculative dogma. I suppose you googled, saw the headline, didn't bother to read the article but rushed to add it to the 'evidence'. Which, as already illustrated umpteen times, is typical of how the ICC camp deal with history.

One might account for the ICC's behaviour as a symptom of the extreme ideological conformity present in the grouplet, where critical self-reflection is long since replaced by long winded generalisations and sermonising presented with a Moses complex.

But my own research has uncovered the real explanation of this almost incredible behaviour. In fact, the ICC was formed and has been bankrolled by the North Korean and Albanian intelligence services as a weapon to totally discredit left communist ideas in the eyes of the international proletarian masses. As we can see, they have become extremely skilled and successful at this. Their nonsensical presentation of historical data is only one aspect of this mission. They function as an ideological proxy army.

By their own criteria, the fact that this revelation cannot be proved is no barrier to accepting it as truth; and neither does the fact that some evidence is inconsistent with this conclusion cast doubt on its truth. As their agent "Demagog" has already pointed out above in a clever counter-bluff, any evidence to the contrary is simply part of the typical state-manipulated 'deliberate inconsistency' used to mask the real conspiratorial aims of such shady organisations.

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Jan 15 2008 09:11

Jolly funny, Ret, but it does "suggest" that you analyse the ICC in very similar terms as you would the bourgeoisie. But that's hardly news

In any case, the point of referring to this article surely wasn't to either suggest or prove that the CIA backed Collins, which as you say would be a historical anachronism. Certainly there is an ambiguity: it just be an example of how could the CIA studies all kinds of 'subversives' simply in order to know their enemy. But we also know that the CIA is as practised in using 'subversives' as it is in opposing them. The two are often interchangeable, in either direction (al Qaida being a case in point).

And there is also the small matter of this long standing identification with the Irish 'freedom struggle' within the US bourgeoisie and its propagandists. Why did the CIA study Collins in particular? Could it be that they shared some of his (imperialist) aims as well as being interested in his methods?

The underlying point we have made in this thread - about the historical reality of imperialist conflict between the US and Britain - is somewhat relevant here and has yet to be taken up by any of the ICC's criitics.

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 10:11
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Jolly funny, Ret, but it does "suggest" that you analyse the ICC in very similar terms as you would the bourgeoisie. But that's hardly news

But Alf, surely you won't deny that the state has infiltrated proletarian organisations throughout the history of the workers movement? Launched cointelpro operations, black flag ops, inserted agents provocateurs into protests? The machiavellianism of the bourgeoisie knows no limits. You have admitted the widespread acceptance of the 'strategy of tension', yet for some reason seem unwilling to entertain any notion of the idea that left communist organisations might themselves be the proxies of minor imperialist actors on the world stage.

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Jan 15 2008 10:39

Certainly wouldn't deny that the state has infiltrated proletarian organisations, which isn't the same as turning them into proxies of the capitalist state.

if you are seriously suggesting that there are 'left communist organisations' which are working for the state, we can discuss that, but it's not really the purpose of this thread.

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Jan 15 2008 11:11

Except that the ICC and its sympathisers have presented evidence for their assertations. You can disagree with the conclusions drawn from the evidence, or say the evidence is weak, that's your perogative. But to suggest that the claim that the IRA has been a pawn in imperialist power games has no evidence whatsoever is simply disingenuous.

Ret has made what must be the most impressive effort at distorting his opponent's argument on this thread so far when he implies that my previous point about "plausible denial" is an excuse for no evidence whatsoever. Not so. There must still be (a) some evidence of collusion and (b) motive. The problem then comes with inconsistencies across the state machine's approach in such situations which I explained as follows:

"The unity of the bourgeoisie is always a temporary, contingent phenonmena and this goes for the state too. The fact that other arms of the state appear to stand against particular operations can spring from any number of reasons:

1) The need for plausible denial.
2) They don't follow the "party line" because the originating agency or fraction has kept this secret, due to the importance of keeping the operation secret.
3) Genuine differences of orientation with one group seeking to stymie or expose the activities of the other."

So the form of my argument is that if Action A indicates a particular strategy of the state on a certain question, how can Action B (which appears to be contradictory) be explained in the light of this. Action A must still exist and there are many such Action As as far as the US and the IRA is concerned.

The Action A that I presented previously is the fact that NORAID were allowed to operate with impunity within the US even after the State Department forced them to acknowledge that their contributions were being given to the IRA in 1981 - even after the IRA launched their "Tet Offensive" in the 80s, there seems to have no effort made to curtail NORAID despite forcing this acknowledgement from where the money was going! Other contributors have pointed to other connections.

Ret on the other hand offers no evidence at all for his assertation that the ICC is a proxy of North Korea and Albania, making the two arguments completely incompatible. So we can add the use of false analogies to the 7 pages of nitpicking over the now infamous two words "proxy army" which - as LongJohnSilver so excellently put it - was nothing other than "polemical shorthand".

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Jan 15 2008 12:56
Demagog wrote:
Ret on the other hand offers no evidence at all for his assertation that the ICC is a proxy of North Korea and Albania

Ah, but you would say that, wouldn't you, Demagog? A typical 'plausible denial'. Which only adds to the evidence; that you feel obliged to deny the claim only adds to its credence.

And Alf called the 'proxy army army' claim first a 'hypothesis' then retracted and admitted it shouldn't have been presented as fact - which is quite different from 'polemical shorthand'.
You have presented evidence of a relationship between the US state and IRA, which few would've ever denied (though you imply otherwise) - interpretation of the actual relationship is another matter. Read more carefully - I never said there was no evidence at all - you continue to confuse evidence with proof. That is your distortion - again.

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Jan 15 2008 13:38

Who on Earth is talking about "proof"? We're not talking about abstract mathematics here. We're talking about what is a reasonable intepretation of the actions of different factions of the bourgeoisie, on the basis of the nature of those actions, their historic and strategic interests, what we know they've done before.

It has been your barrack-room lawyer attitude that has distorted this whole discussion. You and your supporters have fixated entirely on the phrase "proxy-army" which has been repeatedly acknowledged to be too strong and needed to be rephrased. I myself did this on the first page of this discussion!

If you were approaching this with anything approaching honesty, we could have moved past that and had an illuminating discussion but instead you continue hammering on this point long after the nail has been reduced to subatomic particles, motivated entirely by what? Obviously we can't possibly ask where this monomaniacal obsession with pursuing this point when it's been conceded 6 pages ago because that would be a typical ICC deflection. God forbid anyone should even suspect it may come from any kind of ulterior motive at all!

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Jan 15 2008 13:42

Calm down, Demagog, you're emoting all over the page.

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Jan 15 2008 13:42

I didn't retract the idea that it was a hypothesis. I recognised that Baboon had not presented his point as a hypothesis.

Is the hypothesis the argument that the IRA is nothing more than a secret wing of the US state? No. It has its own interests and they can also come into conflict with the needs of US imperialism.

Does the entire hypothesis stand or fall on an unconditional defence of the term 'proxy army'? No. If this term causes confusion, then we're happy to find another. It's just not the issue.

This is indeed nitpicking, Ret, and indeed it has an ulterior motive. You still have had nothing to say about the substantial issues under discussion here: the subordination of the IRA to the manoeuvres of imperialist states and the reality or not of imperialist conflicts between the US and the UK. Answer on those points, Ret and it's worth answering you; carry on nitpicking and I will do my best to ignore you.