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1968 Commemorations March 30, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to the person who sent this link… from the NewsLetter…

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1. EWI - March 30, 2018

This is not a ‘unionist’ analysis […] The last thing this year of commemorating 1968 needs is a nationalist versus unionist row

(Opinions may differ on how ‘unionist’ Mr Patterson is, given his output even recently)

Two questions. When did Patterson join the Workers’ Party? And just who were the Civil Rights campaigners marching against, on behalf of the Catholic nationalist population of the North? Aliens from Mars?

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John Goodwillie - March 30, 2018

I think many, probably most, of the civil rights campaigners did not regard themselves as marching on behalf of the Catholic nationalist population, or against unionism as such. In fact there were often demands for British rights for British citizens. Now, many Unionists thought they were marching on behalf of Catholic nationalists, but that is another matter.

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WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2018

I’m not sure what the relevance of when Patterson joined the WP is, not least given the WP has continued to commemorate the civil rights period and presumably Patterson when he was a member did too. Interestingly when in Derry late last year I visited the museum in the Bogside and one of the most striking aspects was that all the posters on display where they named politicians named OSF politicians, MacGiolla, etc. in the Bloody Sunday period. There’s also a broader question which John rightly notes which is that civil rights was not first and foremost about pushing over the union as such, indeed much of its time in the 60s was explicitly about calling for the same rights that citizens in Britain had. Obviously that shifted somewhat but I think it fair to suggest that that was what NICRA was calling for into the early 70s too – albeit two different dynamics were impinging as well in terms of a shift to PD orientated politics approaches and so on and also the heightening of the conflict as the Provisionals entered the fray.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - March 30, 2018

It is quite true that civil rights was not about overthrowing the northern provincial state. In particular, John Hume insisted consistently that the aim was one of British rights for British citizens: the achievement of rights practically taken for granted in Britain, but suppressed in NI by the Orange regime. The problem was that this policy, and the five demands of NICRA tended to threaten many of the privileges accepted as rights by the Protestant majority, particularly those members of it who had little anyway. (Even ‘one person one vote’ threatened patronage rights of the Orange ascendancy). Hence the reluctance of many Protestants, including the leadership of the NILP to give their support to it. The only people to address the problem was the PD, with its demands for ‘one family, one house’ and ‘one person one job’, but they came on the scene post-October 5 in Derry, by which time polarisation was already beginning.
As to SF/OSF, it did indeed play a major role in organising NICRA even if it did not face up to the contradictions in its strategy. When it did so it seems to have been after Bloody Sunday and the subsequent Newry march, perhaps as late as the suspension of Storming when wither not wishing to subject marchers to a repeat of the Sunday massacre, orin order to raise the stakes in the hunt for Prod working class support it abandoned the mass strategy and left NI’s Catholic minority to vote SDLP or support the armed struggle.

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