The Irish Left Archive: United Irishman 2000 – Official Republican Movement December 7, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Official Republican Movement (1990s/2000s), Uncategorized.
This is a useful document which I think it is fair to say originates from the general direction of the Official Republican Movement, a 1990s split from the Workers’ Party, with a selection of guest contributors. That it takes the form of a reworked United Irishman (monthly newspaper of Official Sinn Féin) is telling. The linkages to 1798 are explicit as are the critiques of both the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and the concern about contemporary social ills such as drugs. The former – the GFA/BA -is assessed in a more favourable way than one might have imagined.
Colm Breathnach provides a piece on “The Left and the Rise of Sinn Féin”. It makes some interesting points, such as ‘The alarm bells of history should also warn us not to repeat the fundamental mistake of the WP of the 1980s – principled opposition to the Provos must never degenerate into irrational obsession’ but simultaneously is rooted in an analysis which is profoundly sceptical about the ability of SF to pursue a radical – let alone socialist – agenda.
Sociopolitical issues are dealt with in some detail, for example women’s poverty which an article by Orla Brennan notes that the very experience of poverty by men and women can be markedly different, as can the risks of falling into it. And this concentration on the sociopolitical is followed by a piece on Restorative Justice which has a whole page devoted to it. And clearly in light of that one can discern a distinct Northern tilt, as with a piece on the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the execution of Henry Joy McCracken.
Eamonn McCann has a piece in it on John Hume and David Trimble, both Nobel Peace Prize winners, who both supported a factory which built components used in missile guidance systems being sited in Derry.
Note the short column that publicises An Eochair/The Key, ‘established to identify structures and systems designed to meet the needs of Official Republican Prisoners and their families’.This argues that ‘our ex-prisoners had no support while in prison and none on release. Families were left to cope on their own, any support given was limited. We decided to start a process where all our ex-prisoners can regain the respect and fair play they rightly deserve and have been denied for too long’.
No doubt there are many who would agree or dissent from that analysis.
The editorial is also of interest in terms of the relationship it posits with socialism.
All in all a document that attempts to link explicitly into a pre-existing political narrative and also rework it for the context of this decade.