'Brexit' and the Irish border

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Spikymike
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Mar 28 2018 10:30
'Brexit' and the Irish border

So whilst we still have some of these Forums maybe the border question needs a bit more input from Irish comrades as well as this:
https://libcom.org/blog/working-class-doesn-t-need-borders-ireland-or-anywhere-else-27032018

Maclane Horton
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Apr 25 2018 10:31

The six counties of Northern Ireland do not bring any profit to London based capitalists. Far from it. In fact Northern Ireland runs at a loss, quite a lot of loss resulting in increased taxes on the English.

So why do they want it? Simple. Prestige.

They are afraid of losing face if they lose the six counties. And they are probably right. It would most likely result in Britain losing power and influence in both political and economic spheres.

So how can they square the circle - get rid of Ireland and keep their reputation?

Again simple. The Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not the same as the Empire. Lots of republican states belong to the Commonwealth. There should be no shame in Republic of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth. It is no more than a nominal fiction.

A nominal fiction is worth a united Ireland.

So London does a deal. They hand over the North to Dublin in return for a united Ireland's membership of the Commonwealth with the Queeen at its head.

Problem solved.

Spikymike
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Oct 16 2018 14:45

So it is no surprise that old arguments are resurfacing around republicanism and loyalism amidst the ongoing 'Brexit' muddle. See here,
www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2018-10-15/ireland-brexit-workers-against-bosses-politics

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jef costello
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Oct 16 2018 21:44
Maclane Horton wrote:
The six counties of Northern Ireland do not bring any profit to London based capitalists. Far from it. In fact Northern Ireland runs at a loss, quite a lot of loss resulting in increased taxes on the English.

So why do they want it? Simple. Prestige.

They are afraid of losing face if they lose the six counties. And they are probably right. It would most likely result in Britain losing power and influence in both political and economic spheres.

So how can they square the circle - get rid of Ireland and keep their reputation?

Again simple. The Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not the same as the Empire. Lots of republican states belong to the Commonwealth. There should be no shame in Republic of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth. It is no more than a nominal fiction.

A nominal fiction is worth a united Ireland.

So London does a deal. They hand over the North to Dublin in return for a united Ireland's membership of the Commonwealth with the Queeen at its head.

Problem solved.

No way Ireland will accept the Queen of England as head of anything. The main reason to join would be nostalgia for Empire and I don't see many in the south suffering from that.

It has been a pretty open secret that the South doesn't actually want the North back for a long time. I am not up to date on the situation but I don't think that the Celtic Tiger really wants to take that albatross off the British neck.

And what is a united Ireland 'worth' to anarchists anyway? What benefit is drawn from it? Anti-imperialism doesn't really stand up, and considering that the IRA has been funded from the US, who is the real bigger imperialist. I don't see an Irish state being able to solve the problems that the British state can't, although some will change.

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AndrewF
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Oct 17 2018 10:49

A recent poll found 61% in favour of unity. North of the border it was close to 50:50 in June, with Repeal and Brexit its possible that is now 50:50. So on an all island basis a unity poll would pass, it might even pass separately north & south as the GFA requires. But a 50:50 vote north would open up the door to a lot of reactionary politics and even a return to conflict - on the other hand Brexit may well do that anyway.

The IRA received significant funding from Irish-Americans, not from the US government. The conflict would have had a very different character if the US government was supplying military grade weapons! Migrant communities funding struggles back home, particularly anti-colonial struggles, is common enough across the world. Also the current US government is clearly pro-Brexit so wouldn't be backing Irish unity as a reaction against Brexit

The most interesting aspect is the re-alignment in politics that seems inevitable given the huge flip over that has seen the south become far more progressive than the north on marriage equality & abortion access. Rome rule has been well and truly trashed at this stage even though major aspects in terms of control of schools and hospitals are still to be completed.

Another interesting aspect is anti-GFA republicans are completely disorientated by all this. You might expect they would be thinking "our day has come' but they are so tied into old school militarism and conservative nationalism that I haven't even seen a decent attempt at analysing all this. The rapid pace of social change in the south has forced Sinn Fein to go along but the northern part of their party still has a lot of conservative nationalists and although the party backed the Repeal referendum one of their TD was a major spokesperson for No.

Personally rather than fixating on the question of the border its far more interesting to look at the realignments that everything, including the changes on attitudes to the border, are opening up. And to realise that, as always, there is the opposite British nationalist push, one made all the stronger by the Tories need to keep the DUP on board. TBH I'd expect the realignment to stem from feminist influenced politics more than anything else, at least initially although Brexit could well derail all the above by pushing things rapidly into a conflict around the border that would allow the more reactionary militarist element to get back in the driving seat, something the DUP might well quietly welcome.

Mike Harman
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Oct 17 2018 13:13
AndrewF wrote:
A recent poll found 61% in favour of unity. North of the border it was close to 50:50 in June, with Repeal and Brexit its possible that is now 50:50. So on an all island basis a unity poll would pass, it might even pass separately north & south as the GFA requires. But a 50:50 vote north would open up the door to a lot of reactionary politics and even a return to conflict - on the other hand Brexit may well do that anyway.

This is in the context of Brexit though right?

There's also the possibility that negotiations completely collapse/May loses the chequers vote and there's a fresh general election - resulting in either a reversal of Article 50 or some kind of EEA thing. that kind of scenario ought to mean an intact GFA - not sure if it would be sufficiently intact with EEA, but seems like it would?

I think the question in that sort of scenario is what form all the things thrown up by the initial referendum take - i.e. would there still be higher polling for a unified Ireland? how much do the DUP really want Brexit? What's the reaction of Brexiters in the UK (like endless referendum re-runs)? I think there's been some overblown scaremongering about a massive spur to the far right due to a betrayal narrative due to a second referendum or whatever - for me there are plenty of post-Brexit betrayal narratives which will do the job for the far right just as much.

Andrew Flood wrote:
The IRA received significant funding from Irish-Americans, not from the US government.

This is true, and it looks like a conflation of support from a couple of congressmen with support from the government, for example this shows a lot of support from one politician, but in no way does it suggest the US state itself doing anything: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/us/politics/09king.html

Andrew Flood wrote:
Also the current US government is clearly pro-Brexit so wouldn't be backing Irish unity as a reaction against Brexit

I'm not sure pro-Brexit and pro-united Ireland are incompatible positions at all. It seems compatible with some of the third-positionist/lexity 'sovereignty' stuff. Or while it's fringe at the moment combined with Irexit: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/political-party-seeking-irish-eu-exit-to-be-launched-1.3615657

Whether the US government would adopt this is a different question.

Andrew Flood wrote:
although Brexit could well derail all the above by pushing things rapidly into a conflict around the border that would allow the more reactionary militarist element to get back in the driving seat, something the DUP might well quietly welcome.

This also seems quite likely at this point.

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AndrewF
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Oct 17 2018 13:29

EU support levels in the south were at 92% back in the spring, Farage has been trying to get some sort of Irexit party going but its only attracted oddballs including our alt-right types. Even people not keen on the EU aren't going to go for an Irexit in the context of Brexit as economics alone would mean the south returning to a semi-colony status. Pretty much everyone here is looking across the sea and going holy crap, what a train wreck.

Peter King is a wonderful example of the contractions that are very common in Irish American anti-colonialism and thats part of a very old pattern. Daniel O'Connell forced a split in the Irish-American catholic emancipation period going as far as to refuse funds from anyone supporting slavery.

Mike Harman
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Oct 17 2018 13:53

Yeah I'm not saying that Irexit would gain significant ground, just that 'A united Ireland, independent from both the UK and the EU' is an internally consistent 'sovereigntist' position which could be feasibly held by someone. I don't know if that's the position of the Irish alt-right, but if so it's something you could see someone like Bannon or the Mercers supporting.