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Restarting a conflict… redux… March 14, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

In a way the part of the interview with Brian Kenna of Saoradh in the Guardian over the last week where he argues that Brexit while ‘not the reason people would resits British rule… [but it] gives it focus, gives it a physical picture’ is not the most interesting aspect (Saoradh, by the by, is also pro an Irexit).

Instead it is his thoughts on an armed campaign.

“The republican movement is very adaptable. Necessity is the mother of invention.”
The campaign would be smaller than that waged by the Provisional IRA during the Troubles but could still be “impactful” and “very difficult to stop”, he claimed.
In the absence of a militarised border or troops on the streets, republican socialist ideology was incentivising recruits, said Kenna. “Young people are now getting involved in an armed campaign without a personal experience of oppression.”


The return of customs posts or any border infrastructure would underline the reason for resistance, he said. “That border denies our national sovereignty and partitions our island. Brexit has brought that into focus.”

We know that a low level campaign is possible, but the gulf between that and a part-mass insurgency, which is perhaps one way to define the conflict in the 1960s through to the early 1990s, is enormous. For most of us – I imagine, that would seem to make such efforts entirely pointless. After all, a very specific set of circumstances led to the conflict and prolonged it. Replicating them is improbable and that being the case the sort of passive support that allowed for a fairly widespread

The problem being that a low-level campaign, even if the goal it seeks is impossible to reach, can cause significant impacts. And in some respects that can offer the sort of impetus that allows for organisational continuity across years and decades.

Small wonder those who would follow that path are so eager to exploit Brexit or indeed anything that comes to hand.


1. GW - March 14, 2019

Don’t you think mass civil disobedience from both sides of the border could result from the imposition of a hard border?

And in that context…?


Alibaba - March 14, 2019

Don’t know but great question.

Liked by 1 person

2. CL - March 14, 2019

With militant republicanism now having a recruiting sergeant named Karen Bradley post-Brexit there could be some slithering back to the future.

Liked by 1 person

3. nollaigoj - March 14, 2019

Have I got this right?

Brian Kenna, ignoring the atavistic aspects of the Brexit campaign (“Make Britain great again”) and its delusional aspects (“We’ll get our country back”), cheers Brexit on.
It will lead to reintroduction of custom posts on the Border and troops guarding them!
The advantage of this?
It will give the volunteers concrete(geddit?!) military targets.

Daft? Demented?…

Liked by 1 person

4. An Sionnach Fionn - March 14, 2019

It’s the perfect storm analogy. Put all the right conditions in place and you end up facing a hurricane and not a gentle breeze. The Dissidents and others see the absence of Stormont, nationalist-unionist tensions, changing demographics, Brexit, low-level armed activity, and so on and so forth, as the smashing weather fronts which have the capacity to blow the Brits away. As it were. I’m not sure that they are entirely wrong.


WorldbyStorm - March 14, 2019

Definitely they could offer a low level of activity and prolong it. And from their perspective why wouldn’t they? It makes perfect sense. And as you say all these factors feeding in to one another or even working separately could cause serious, perhaps existential problems for the union. Indeed they almost certainly will.


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