We’re all anti-capitalists now. Honest. September 15, 2010Posted by Garibaldy in The North.
Interesting collection of stories in the Observer centred on a written list of answers to questions from the Guardian provided to Henry McDonald by the Real IRA. The Real IRA and its associated grouping have never shown much interest in politics, asserting that national sovereignty is the sole question to which they address themselves. This interview from February 2008 makes it clear that the position is pretty much Brits Out. Since then, they have stepped up their campaign, resulting in several deaths and a large number of “punishment” attacks on those supposedly involved in the drugs trade and other anti-social activities. At the same time, agitation on the issue of conditions within the prisons has intensified. Despite the assertion in Febrary 2008 that they were not simple militarists, there has been little sign of any interest in politics. So far, so traditional nationalism.
Which makes the following from the statement issued to the Guardian all the more interesting.
“We have a track record of attacking high-profile economic targets and financial institutions such as the City of London. The role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain’s colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed.
“Let’s not forget that the bankers are the next-door neighbours of the politicians. Most people can see the picture: the bankers grease the politicians’ palms, the politicians bail out the bankers with public funds, the bankers pay themselves fat bonuses and loan the money back to the public with interest. It’s essentially a crime spree that benefits a social elite at the expense of many millions of victims.”
The colonial stuff is obviously nothing new, especially in relation to the police force. However the stuff about the capitalist system is a different matter. McDonald thinks this is an attempt to cash in on the unpopularity of bankers and the banking system north and south, and points out that ultra-leftist terrorism targetting the banking sector has proven to be a miserable failure in other places it has been tried.
The adoption of this type of rhetoric is baffling. Not only because it goes against the whole approach of putting the sole focus on the right of the Irish nation to independence – and an anti-colonial/imperial rhetoric can gel with this type of nationalism as we’ve seen in the past – but also because it seems to risk needlessly alienating people they have attracted through their traditional nationalism. They have grown and re-organised on the basis of a traditional militarist nationalist programme cloaked in the rhetorical of national sovereignty and occasionally anti-colonialism, plus action against anti-social elements. Despite the involvement of people associated with the 32 CSM in some left protests, it’s hard to see that this statement is signalling a move to the left. More likely it is pure opportunism, possibly combined with the concerns of a small element within them, mirroring at some level what happened with the provisionals before them. It’s worth noting that there is nothing quoted about the southern banking crisis, although there may have been something in the original statement. I doubt though that a reference to the British colonial and capitalist system is intended to suggest that the directors of Anglo-Irish Bank have been added to pizza delivery men as legitimate targets.
So a strange interview, not least for how it was handled. Maybe an interesting sign of an attempt within this organisation to develop a more political approach. But I’d be surprised it there is a change in the way they operate on the ground.