Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Former Republican Prisoner says Dissident Campaign is Futile


"Q: What do you say to those people who are unhappy but are pulled the other way by feelings of loyalty?

A: Examine their consciences. Take a good look at what is going on. If they agree - ok. If not then speak out." - Fourthwrite interview with Brendan Hughes

TPQ reproduces Gemma Murray's latest feature from the News Letter on physical force republicanism. In this piece she has interviewed former republican prisoner Paul Little. It initially featured  on 10 January 2014.


Former republican socialist, Paul Little, last night advised dissident republicans to 'carry out an analysis of what they are doing and where they are going.'

The 55-year-old, a former member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA, spent four years in prison for republican-related activities, from 1980 to 1984 .

He said that '[dissident] republicans need to understand that the [former republican] campaign failed. When you take republican criteria and objectives, none of them have been met,' he said.

Mr Little said he did not believe the loss of life during the Troubles was worth it 'to families or dead volunteers.'

'In hindsight, as a republican and republican socialist, we had objectives and I don’t think we achieved any of those,' he said.

You need to look at that campaign and see that it failed. As Bernadette McAliskey said years ago, "the war is over and the good guys lost." There needs to be public debate within the wider republican community, but unfortunately Sinn Fein will not engage.

He added that, in his point of view, the current dissident campaign is:

futile at the minute because they don’t have clear aims and objectives other than losing the British presence in Ireland which I don’t have a problem with per se. But when you are waging any sort of campaign you have to have some sort of possibility of success and I don’t see these campaigns as having any success.

The former Antrim man added that his “fear” is that the ongoing dissident republican campaign will see “sectarianism increase”.

'That is not good,' he added. 'We need to spend more time looking at what is going on, on the ground in working class communities rather than at Stormont.'

He added that he never had any hope for the Haass talks as:

if they can’t reach agreement when they are sitting together every day [in Stormont], the notion that Haass was going to get them to focus was ridiculous. For any meaningful dialogue and discussion people have to come at it honestly and I think there is very little honesty in Stormont and the executive ... The politicians are entrenched but they also pursue isolationist policies. Those who advocate isolationism are not helping their communities, they are driving them into the ground. They are not allowing the working class communities to engage and move on.

7 comments:

An excellent appraisal of our present situation.I think Paul's assessment is spot on!

Just seen this....

A Brief Response to the Belfast Newsletter

Ardoyne Republican

As a seasoned political observer and an Ex-Political Prisoner, I have read with interest a series of articles on the internet and in newspapers penned by a number of former Blanketmen. The articles concerned recent armed activity by Óglaigh Na hÉireann (ONH) and the (New) IRA.

It is without doubt that those who authored the articles are Veteran Republicans who still carry some degree of respect for the sacrifices they and their families made in pursuit of Irish freedom. Given their long years of political imprisonment, they also continue to have many friends from various strands of Irish republicanism.

Some arguments against the use of armed activity published are based on the premise that 'it is shameful to prosecute an armed campaign that has no chance of success and will only fill the jails or worse'. 'Not one life was worth losing' alongside terms like 'disastrous, insane & madness' were included in the articles.

In my brief analysis of the articles, I am somewhat bemused that they were given to the Newsletter. A publication which has always been Anti-Republican. The fact that the authors are seasoned Republicans, why they didn't form a delegation and asked to meet the Leaderships of the New IRA & ONH to put their arguments to them in person. Rather than through the mediums of the net and a Unionist paper. A face to face meeting would have been much more effective and no doubt, the request would have been granted. Unfortunately, I suspect such a request would now be rejected as the publication of views has never been met with open arms by armed republicans.

Another problem I have is that the armed campaign by the Provisional IRA had strong community support between 1969 and 1974, when there was every chance of success of freeing Ireland from imperialism. The IRA never really gained the same level of support after 1974, apart from the 1981 Hunger-Strike. In fact, support for the armed struggles of the INLA and Provisionals were indeed declining throughout the Eighties and Nineties. The effects of Ulsterisation, Criminalisation and Normalisation worked quite well from an imperialist perspective. The facts speak for themselves.

Previous armed campaigns with the exception of the recent Conflict had minimal support whether in the Forties, Fifties or Sixties. Though the articles fail to address these particular campaigns. Likewise, one Ex-Political Prisoner stated that Republican Groups need to formulate 'non-violent alternatives'. With respect to his view, Republican Parties such as the IRSP, RSF and RNU have drafted various critiques of the Belfast Agreement. As well as, presented and published their political alternatives. They may not be to people's liking but they are readily available upon request.

It is easier to sit on the sideline and criticise different strategies as has been done in the Newsletter. It is much more harder to chart a political path based on core Socialist-Republican principles. Those who did have faced harsh criticism from not only advocates of imperialism but also former comrades. Despite this, feasible alternatives to the Status Quo remain on the table but are repeatedly censored by the British, Stormont and Dublin Establishments.

Why don't the Ex-POWs' get together, analise the situation facing the Irish Working-Class, how best Irish Republicans' Socialists and Democrats address the ongoing occupation and the protracted denial of our National Sovereignty. Then they could pen their own alternative. Maybe then we all could debate the document in a comradely fashion and agree or disagree on it's merits. Whenever a final agreement is reached, it could then be submitted to the groups engaging in armed actions and hopefully help them plan the way forward without armed activity?

Posted by Ardoyne Republican at 16:31

Dixie, it would have run better as an article. Will ask AR

Ardoyne republican makes a lot of valid points, the likes of rnu, irsp, are at least offering an alternative, it is much easier to criticize maybe its time for some sort of unification.

Ardoyne Republican, is there any publication that isnt anti-republican? idea of delegation is good, all in its own time please God. Also some effort should be made to get together all relevant information about the dirty side to the war especially surveillance technology double agents etc that there is on the net now to let people who want to get involved with various armed groups know what they are lettin themselves in for. not tryin to be funny but the only way to fight now would be if you could communicate telepathically and have the shape shifting abilities our ancestors wrote about. How many would want to be involved in a proxy bomb operation. Martin ingram (if he's to be believed) has some interesting things to say about the origins of that diabolical tactic.

Ardoyne Republican refers to the decline in support for the provisional IRA armed campaign after 1974 as well as other previous campaigns which had minimal support.

I take it he is comparing the lack of support for the present groups to that of PIRA and the INLA back then?. If so then he must surely also realise that the ability of these groups to hit the British and hit them hard like the above armed groups isn't even going to get off the ground no matter how long they try.

The main difference is the fact that the present armed groups can't even gain support from the majority of disaffected Republicans never mind the ordinary people themselves.

Therefore could AR explain how they hope to eventually gain enough support to have any impact whatsoever on the Brits and world opinion?

It just isn't going to happen and meanwhile the shinners will gain electorally....Again and again and again.

AR,

got your comment/message. Will run it this morn for you. Thanks.

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