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Irish unification (26+6=1) - what's wrong with it?

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Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
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Dec 31 2010 07:03
Irish unification (26+6=1) - what's wrong with it?

Hello all,

A decidedly non-Irish individual posted up the famous 26+6=1 poster:

and compared unification with the ending of the occupation in Israel/Palestine. I am pretty sure that class-analytical opposition or criticism of this has come up in the forums before, but I can't find a specific article, and the Organize! website is inoperative. I would like to point them to a proper source, rather than just brush it off as nationalism, seeing as I don't have enough background on the subject myself, and something more well-researched and thought out is more likely to convince them. Alternately, if anyone can raise a short argument or two that I can digest despite my ignorance, that would also be more than welcome.

Thanks in advance!

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prec@riat
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Dec 31 2010 07:20

Nationalists are bad at math.

195 - 195 = 0

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
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Dec 31 2010 07:37

It's just that they forgot to convert units from counties to states.

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back2front
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Dec 31 2010 09:35

It goes without saying that the anarchist perspective is one that seeks an end to all borders and divisions but that the anarchist position certainly does not advocate a 32 county sovereign republic run by capitalists.

The attempts by the wider Irish left to foster the 4 green fields makes little to no inroads into working class areas in the North that are deemed Protestant, because despite the apparently socialist rhetoric, it still reeks of Irish nationalism.

The Worker's Party, the radical Peoples' Democracy movement in the late 60's and the exhausted alphabet of splinter groups who present themselves as socialists have all advocated a united 32 county working class as per Connolly's vision but have lacked a clear idea of what lies beyond the fateful day. (And further many of these groups are roughly sympathetic to Marxism, or at least parliamentarian, which creates its own problems).

To much of the Protestant working class, at least historically, the 32 county republic is an extension of the Catholic monoculture advocated by deValera, in which popery will dominate social mores and ergo stunt communities. By and large this attitude is largely correct as this is what Catholicism does however the protesting religions do the very same in their own way and dominate their communities with outmoded mythologies dressed as progress, which in fact merely add oil to the holy flames.

To answer the question this topic poses directly - there is nothing wrong with unification per se but until the lies and treachery of ALL religions are dismantled for all to see, the mythology will continue. The 1932 Outdoor Relief Strike brought workers from all shades together under a common cause, providing the obvious reality that the class can act together for common good when it oversteps the enforced boudaries established by corrupt leadership and suspect clerics who have merely fostered the situation as a foothold for their own social ladders.

Despite their rhetoric the community continues to find common ground. The attempt to force water payments in the North in the last few years created a community-wide reaction and that project was shelved by the State. Given the recent water shortages in the North following the big freeze however, this will no doubt be touted as an excuse to try again to enforce this rip-off on the working class but again it will see a redoubled widespread and cross-community reaction. It is fostering these notions of common ground that might ultimately overturn the differences and create a foundation for a more libertarian focus.

The comparison of the North with Palestine is erroneous, though not entirely. In both situations a territory is under occupation (or sees itself as such) however the expression of that occupation is vastly different in each territory. Palestine is basically an open prison and brutality is common. There are times in the past when this was the case in certain parts of the North, such as South Armagh, however today the occupation is largely economic and somewhat cosmetic.

The association with opaque oppression in Palestine and the presentation of nationalism as a means to overcome is used as a stick to arrouse sympathy for the futile nationalism that desperate romantics continue to convey in the North. There appears to be no clear idea of what lies beyond kicking the oppressor out, and so that vision is short-sighted per se.

The revolutions which swept Europe from 1848 onwards were a reaction against Imperialism, and nationalism became the nom de guerre against the ravages of Empire. But with the subsequent collapse of European empire what was left was a moribund tradition which expressed its reality through 2 World Wars, and continues to wreak havoc.

The dismantling of tradition - nationalism as an emancipatory currency, religion as the cornerstone of moralism - must be exposed so that the idea of a borderless society might not appear to dress itself up in a tricolour.

nastyned
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Dec 31 2010 11:11

There was this from Subversion:

http://www.af-north.org/Subversion/ireland.htm

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Devrim
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Dec 31 2010 12:38
Tojiah wrote:
A decidedly non-Irish individual posted up the famous 26+6=1 poster:

I presume that this 'decidedly non-Irish individual' isn't aware that the Republic of Ireland today has 29 counties (as well as five city councils which are similar bodies), so they are a little out of date. Northern Ireland abolished the counties in 1972, and now has twenty six 'unitary authorities'.

I would suggest they revise their equation somewhat. How about this:

(29+5CC)+26UC=1

Not only is it more up to date, but also it adds letters and brackets making it look more mathematically sophisticated.

Devrim

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Tojiah
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Dec 31 2010 18:48

Thank you very much everyone! From the Subversion article it seems that there are, as back2front said, many parallels, at least of the way things were during the Troubles, with how things are in the West Bank today. A big difference is that there doesn't seem to be an extant colonial process (as in, the insertion of new external population and further expropriation of land) in Northern Ireland.

Shennanygoat
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Jan 7 2011 10:42

A 'united Ireland' under a capitalist statist system would not only be oppressive and counter to the interests of the entire Irish working class (as all states are), but would almost certainly be a state which specifically oppressed and discriminated against the Protestant working class. Definitely, if the current Republican movements got their way. The romantic notion that Republicans are some sort of 'freedom fighters' against the evil British imperialist state is nonsense, although it has to be recognised that some active Republicans still believe this.

Although historically there is a debate surrounding the role of the IRA (and the loyalist paramilitaries) in defending communities from sectarian attacks from the army/police/eachother (delete as appropriate), what exists now in the broad Republican movement is basically Catholic nationalism, which is every bit as non-progressive as they would make out the loyalist movement to be.

_LIAM_
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Jan 7 2011 12:41
Devrim wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
A decidedly non-Irish individual posted up the famous 26+6=1 poster:

I presume that this 'decidedly non-Irish individual' isn't aware that the Republic of Ireland today has 29 counties (as well as five city councils which are similar bodies), so they are a little out of date. Northern Ireland abolished the counties in 1972, and now has twenty six 'unitary authorities'.

I would suggest they revise their equation somewhat. How about this:

(29+5CC)+26UC=1

Not only is it more up to date, but also it adds letters and brackets making it look more mathematically sophisticated.

Devrim

Devrim the south has 26 counties and the north 6. You are wrong I am afraid. And admin - flaming removed

_LIAM_
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Jan 7 2011 13:44
Shennanygoat wrote:
what exists now in the broad Republican movement is basically Catholic nationalism, which is every bit as non-progressive as they would make out the loyalist movement to be.

To say that the majority of republicans are as reationary as loyalists is stretching the facts a bit too far I would say.

Yes Irish republicanism is a nationalist movement but it has always had within its ranks many who would be far left leaning. This is not to suggest that republicanism is in itself progressive. I am just pointing out that there is more opportunity to engage in arguments about the nature of capitalist society with some republicans whereas loyalists tend to be much more reactionary and tied to the notion of the nation state.

Don't get me wrong as I consider the replublican movements (both the parliamentary and the dissident ones) to be a major obstacle to the development of real class based politics.

gypsy
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Jan 7 2011 17:59
back2front wrote:
It goes without saying that the anarchist perspective is one that seeks an end to all borders and divisions but that the anarchist position certainly does not advocate a 32 county sovereign republic run by capitalists.

The attempts by the wider Irish left to foster the 4 green fields makes little to no inroads into working class areas in the North that are deemed Protestant, because despite the apparently socialist rhetoric, it still reeks of Irish nationalism.

The Worker's Party, the radical Peoples' Democracy movement in the late 60's and the exhausted alphabet of splinter groups who present themselves as socialists have all advocated a united 32 county working class as per Connolly's vision but have lacked a clear idea of what lies beyond the fateful day. (And further many of these groups are roughly sympathetic to Marxism, or at least parliamentarian, which creates its own problems).

To much of the Protestant working class, at least historically, the 32 county republic is an extension of the Catholic monoculture advocated by deValera, in which popery will dominate social mores and ergo stunt communities. By and large this attitude is largely correct as this is what Catholicism does however the protesting religions do the very same in their own way and dominate their communities with outmoded mythologies dressed as progress, which in fact merely add oil to the holy flames.

To answer the question this topic poses directly - there is nothing wrong with unification per se but until the lies and treachery of ALL religions are dismantled for all to see, the mythology will continue. The 1932 Outdoor Relief Strike brought workers from all shades together under a common cause, providing the obvious reality that the class can act together for common good when it oversteps the enforced boudaries established by corrupt leadership and suspect clerics who have merely fostered the situation as a foothold for their own social ladders.

Despite their rhetoric the community continues to find common ground. The attempt to force water payments in the North in the last few years created a community-wide reaction and that project was shelved by the State. Given the recent water shortages in the North following the big freeze however, this will no doubt be touted as an excuse to try again to enforce this rip-off on the working class but again it will see a redoubled widespread and cross-community reaction. It is fostering these notions of common ground that might ultimately overturn the differences and create a foundation for a more libertarian focus.

The comparison of the North with Palestine is erroneous, though not entirely. In both situations a territory is under occupation (or sees itself as such) however the expression of that occupation is vastly different in each territory. Palestine is basically an open prison and brutality is common. There are times in the past when this was the case in certain parts of the North, such as South Armagh, however today the occupation is largely economic and somewhat cosmetic.

The association with opaque oppression in Palestine and the presentation of nationalism as a means to overcome is used as a stick to arrouse sympathy for the futile nationalism that desperate romantics continue to convey in the North. There appears to be no clear idea of what lies beyond kicking the oppressor out, and so that vision is short-sighted per se.

The revolutions which swept Europe from 1848 onwards were a reaction against Imperialism, and nationalism became the nom de guerre against the ravages of Empire. But with the subsequent collapse of European empire what was left was a moribund tradition which expressed its reality through 2 World Wars, and continues to wreak havoc.

The dismantling of tradition - nationalism as an emancipatory currency, religion as the cornerstone of moralism - must be exposed so that the idea of a borderless society might not appear to dress itself up in a tricolour.

Nice post.

slothjabber
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Jan 8 2011 01:16
_LIAM_ wrote:

Devrim the south has 26 counties and the north 6. You are wrong I am afraid. And admin - flaming removed

Quote:
(from wiki 'Local Government in Northern Ireland')

"The current pattern of local government in Northern Ireland, with 26 councils, was established in 1973 by the Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 to replace the previous system established by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. The system is based on the recommendations of the Macrory Report, of June 1970, which presupposed the continued existence of the Government of Northern Ireland to act as a regional-level authority."

Quote:
(from wiki 'Local Government in the Republic of Ireland')

"In the Republic of Ireland, local government is structured into two tiers:

* Tier 1 - county councils (29) and their legal equivalent city councils (5)."

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PartyBucket
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Jan 8 2011 12:00
slothjabber wrote:
_LIAM_ wrote:

Devrim the south has 26 counties and the north 6. You are wrong I am afraid. And admin - flaming removed

Quote:
(from wiki 'Local Government in Northern Ireland')

"The current pattern of local government in Northern Ireland, with 26 councils, was established in 1973 by the Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 to replace the previous system established by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. The system is based on the recommendations of the Macrory Report, of June 1970, which presupposed the continued existence of the Government of Northern Ireland to act as a regional-level authority."

Quote:
(from wiki 'Local Government in the Republic of Ireland')

"In the Republic of Ireland, local government is structured into two tiers:

* Tier 1 - county councils (29) and their legal equivalent city councils (5)."

'Councils' and 'Counties' are not the same thing. confused
'Northern Ireland' is made up of 6 of the 9 Counties of the Province of Ulster. The Republic of Ireland is made up of the Provinces of Munster, Leinster and Connaught, along with the three Counties of Ulster that do not form part of Northern Ireland. Which adds up to a total of 26 Counties
This is why it is not entirely correct to use 'Northern Ireland' and 'Ulster' interchangeably, dependent upon the context.

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Jan 10 2011 11:59
Shennanygoat wrote:
A 'united Ireland' under a capitalist statist system would not only be oppressive and counter to the interests of the entire Irish working class (as all states are), but would almost certainly be a state which specifically oppressed and discriminated against the Protestant working class.

You mean like the way the current 26 county republic specifically oppresses and discriminates against working class protestants?

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projection_%28psychology%29

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ocelot
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Jan 10 2011 12:22

But on the 29 "county" thing... If anyone wants to put a bet on Fingal or Dun Laoghaire winning the All-Ireland (football or hurling) in the next ten years, then I'll willingly take your money. Any odds you like. grin

_LIAM_
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Jan 10 2011 13:47
Shennanygoat wrote:
A 'united Ireland' under a capitalist statist system would not only be oppressive and counter to the interests of the entire Irish working class (as all states are), but would almost certainly be a state which specifically oppressed and discriminated against the Protestant working class.

It would be interesting to see where exactly you are getting the evidence to support these assertions. Why would a capitalist 32 county state be more "counter to the interests of the entire working class" than a 26 country state (or 6 county state), and why would it discriminate against protestants?

Shields
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Jan 11 2011 03:40

Well, I guess the Anarchist position is self-determination. Obviously we don't want to support Nationalism or Capitalist oppression, but if trends continue and the North's population decides to become a part of the Republic, then it makes sense to support them.

I don't really care about what flag flies over Belfast, but it would be absurd to detach issues in the North from the Troubles, which means that you inevitably have to take some sort of side. I come down on the Nationalist side more often than not because of the composition of classes in the North, but that doesn't mean I'm a Nationalist or Republican.

It's the nature of an Anarchist to have to support the best situation, not the perfect situation. And the choice presented in Northern Ireland is not very good.

Alexander Roxwell
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Jan 11 2011 04:59

The relevant entity here is not the ideaology of the victim but the oppression of the Empire.

The British Empire has stunted and deformed the development and self-determination of the people on the island of Eire. The people on that island have the "right" to unify all of their people to be free of British Imperial control. We must support their right to do that - without (almost) any conditions.

Ireland is not only capitalist but is dominated by a backward Catholic culture that blows smoke in peoples eyes and prevents them from being able to see straight. Women are oppressed as are children. That, however, is irrelevant. The defects of the victim should not be taken into account unless they get so bad that they are like Pol Pot in Cambodia where they are exterminating their own.

There was a rvery good eason that the majority of socialists and communists support the right of self-determination.

Not only is it right. It is also one of the roadblocks to class consciousness that needs to be cleared out of the way.

_LIAM_
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Jan 11 2011 09:23
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Ireland is not only capitalist but is dominated by a backward Catholic culture that blows smoke in peoples eyes and prevents them from being able to see straight. Women are oppressed as are children. That, however, is irrelevant. The defects of the victim should not be taken into account unless they get so bad that they are like Pol Pot in Cambodia where they are exterminating their own.

There was a very good eason that the majority of socialists and communists support the right of self-determination.

Not only is it right. It is also one of the roadblocks to class consciousness that needs to be cleared out of the way.

What a load of patronising bollocks. When was the last time you read about Ireland or actually spoke to an Irish person? It is very obvious that you have never been there.

Catholic culture blowing smoke in peoples eyes! Preventing us from being able to see straight!

You haven't got a fucking clue what you are talking about.

Yorkie Bar
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Jan 11 2011 09:59
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Ireland is not only capitalist but is dominated by a backward Catholic culture that blows smoke in peoples eyes and prevents them from being able to see straight. Women are oppressed as are children.

Unlike in the UK, where patriarchy was smashed by William of Orange in 1688.

Quote:
That, however, is irrelevant. The defects of the victim should not be taken into account unless they get so bad that they are like Pol Pot in Cambodia where they are exterminating their own.

Are you serious?

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PartyBucket
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Jan 11 2011 12:36
Shields wrote:
Well, I guess the Anarchist position is self-determination.

'Self-determination' for nations is a leftist nonsense that has nothing to do with anarchism.

Shields wrote:
Obviously we don't want to support Nationalism

Why did you do that in your first paragraph then?

Shields wrote:
if trends continue and the North's population decides to become a part of the Republic, then it makes sense to support them.

Why? What does the re-drawing of an artificial boundary have to do with class politics or internationalism? Why should anarchists even get involved with such crude nationalist terms of reference? What you are advocating is just crude populism based on census results. At the moment the majority of people in Northern Ireland favour continued partition of Ireland and maintenance of the Union with Britain. Does that mean it 'makes sense' for anarchists to contingently support the DUP/UUP/TUV.......??

Shields wrote:
I come down on the Nationalist side more often than not because of the composition of classes in the North

What do you mean? That there are no poor 'protestants'? That they all live in luxury while the poor taigs keep coal in their baths? Again, with this analysis of the situation, why do you call yourself an anarchist?

Shields wrote:
It's the nature of an Anarchist to have to support the best situation, not the perfect situation. And the choice presented in Northern Ireland is not very good.

No its for anarchists (in NI) to argue for something outside the dead-end binary of two competing reactionary nationalisms, ie class politics.
If 'the choice presented in Northern Ireland is not very good', why are you indulging in it?

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PartyBucket
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Jan 11 2011 13:04
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
There was a rvery good eason that the majority of socialists and communists support the right of self-determination.

Yes, it is that they are leftist, small-nation nationalist idiots.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
It is also one of the roadblocks to class consciousness that needs to be cleared out of the way.

Yes, once TeH BritS are gone (whatever that even means) everything will be fine for the working class.

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Tojiah
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Jan 11 2011 16:04
PartyBucket wrote:
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
There was a rvery good eason that the majority of socialists and communists support the right of self-determination.

Yes, it is that they are leftist, small-nation nationalist idiots.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
It is also one of the roadblocks to class consciousness that needs to be cleared out of the way.

Yes, once TeH BritS are gone (whatever that even means) everything will be fine for the working class.

It worked in Algeria, now a working-class paradise.

Yorkie Bar
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Jan 11 2011 16:16
Quote:
It worked in Algeria, now a working-class paradise.

Is it as bad as Cambodia? No. Until it's exactly that bad or worse we are bound by the honor code of lefty cheerleading politics to back the Algerian state to the hilt.

Deezer
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Jan 12 2011 18:54

Because its all been said before on here

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Tojiah
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Jan 12 2011 19:29
Deezer wrote:
Because its all been said before on here

Terrific! Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks a bunch! smile

gypsy
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Jan 13 2011 08:26
_LIAM_ wrote:
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Ireland is not only capitalist but is dominated by a backward Catholic culture that blows smoke in peoples eyes and prevents them from being able to see straight. Women are oppressed as are children. That, however, is irrelevant. The defects of the victim should not be taken into account unless they get so bad that they are like Pol Pot in Cambodia where they are exterminating their own.

There was a very good eason that the majority of socialists and communists support the right of self-determination.

Not only is it right. It is also one of the roadblocks to class consciousness that needs to be cleared out of the way.

What a load of patronising bollocks. When was the last time you read about Ireland or actually spoke to an Irish person? It is very obvious that you have never been there.

Catholic culture blowing smoke in peoples eyes! Preventing us from being able to see straight!

You haven't got a fucking clue what you are talking about.

I agree with you on this LIAM, patronising stuff.

Shennanygoat
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Jan 16 2011 18:44
_LIAM_ wrote:
Shennanygoat wrote:
what exists now in the broad Republican movement is basically Catholic nationalism, which is every bit as non-progressive as they would make out the loyalist movement to be.

To say that the majority of republicans are as reationary as loyalists is stretching the facts a bit too far I would say.

Yes Irish republicanism is a nationalist movement but it has always had within its ranks many who would be far left leaning. This is not to suggest that republicanism is in itself progressive. I am just pointing out that there is more opportunity to engage in arguments about the nature of capitalist society with some republicans whereas loyalists tend to be much more reactionary and tied to the notion of the nation state.

Don't get me wrong as I consider the replublican movements (both the parliamentary and the dissident ones) to be a major obstacle to the development of real class based politics.

I agree to a degree, and in that statement I meant the Republican movement as a whole, not individual republicans - although in saying that despite a lot of republicans considering themselves leftie or left-leaning, there's also many who are right-wing, reactionary, bigoted and racist scumbags!

Deezer
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Jan 16 2011 20:19

And many who claim they are left-wing and are not sectarian because they believe that sectarianism is what prods do at some sort of innate level, that defence of a reationary and devisive Irish nationalism is progressive while defence of a reactionary and devisive British nationalism is reactionary. The left-leaning nationalist of the republican movement simply believes they aren't sectarian - the fact of the matter is they are. Both in their attitude to those who hold with the conflicting nationalism in Ireland and by their adoption of their own 'legitimate' nationalism. Nationalism in general is divisive and reactionary by the very nature of the false choices and allegiences it forces on working class people - that some of these working class people still give a shit about class issues is not surprising because, materially they still recognise their class interests to some extent.

And I don't agree that loyalists are more tied to the notion of the nation state than republicans - each lot of politics, no matter how lefty, is based ultimately on the sanctity of one nation state over the other. Why would this not be the case when so many lefties who are not republicans are still tied to the notion of the nation state?

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JoeMaguire
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Jan 16 2011 20:35

If its no longer 32 counties, please dont inform these guys they have the wrong end of the stick.
http://www.32 csm.info/index.html

Admin - Link broken. Please don't link to hostile sites.

Deezer
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Jan 16 2011 20:50
october_lost wrote:
If its no longer 32 counties, please dont inform these guys they have the wrong end of the stick.

Interesting article on there on republicanism and anti-fascism by the organisation who had Italian fash in their company during the Ardoyne riots. Also the article is a bit of a whitewash of nazi-repulican links from Russell to Frank Ryan himself (collaborated with the Nazis despite his fighting fascism in Spain) and of course it underplays (which is an understatement) the fact that more Irish republicans fought for Franco than against him while basically saying "fascism - thats the prods that is!".