No time for talking

No time for talking

In the past 12 months or so there has been an emerging clamour amongst some sections of the media and political commentators calling for a dialogue process with Republicans. I use the term Republicans, they have used the term dissident Republicans. This differentiation is not just a case of semantics or bitterness at the label. It is in fact part of the key problem for those putting forward their argument that Republicans should engage in some form of dialogue with Sinn Fein. Put bluntly there is as little reason for engaging in dialogue with Sinn Fein as there would be for talking to Fianna Fail or the SDLP.

The usage of the label Republican does not mean that those who use the label subscribe to Republican principles. Sinn Fein has endorsed constitutional politics and an internal settlement which recognizes the right of the British government to declare the six counties part of their jurisdiction. This position is anathema to Republicanism and runs contrary to our basic principles. As such they have joined a long line of movements which have splintered from Republican ideology for compromise. This is not a Sinn Fein bashing exercise it is merely pointing out that the time for recrimination over the nature of their move away and the personalities involved is over. What debate there was ultimately ended with the provisional movement choosing to abandon Republicanism and to embrace the ideas put forward by constitutional nationalism.

Those who have called for engagements with Republicans have not laid out any coherent political rationale for such talks. To put it bluntly there is no reason to engage in talks other than to pave the way for a ceasefire for an armed group or to enter an internal settlement. At no point have those calling for talks even hinted that the constitutional status of the six counties would be on the table. Nor do Republicans really expect it to be at this stage. It is accepted that relative to the Provisionals in the 90s Republicans are in a weaker state militarily. There is also the reality that there are numerous Republican organisations, there would be little point in one engaging whilst the rest chose to stay away from talks. What could be on offer and what is in reality the objective of the British government would be a drawn out process of bringing armed groups “in from the cold”.

There are many ways that exist to draw a political organisation into the status quo. The most effective and subtle of which is the use of community groups, funding and semi state intermediaries. However most of these are introduced at a later stage. The most pressing objective is to engage the opposition at any level and to then build on that relationship. For those who scoff at such notions it should be blatantly obvious that this was in fact exactly what happened to the Provisional movement. The idea of talks with Sinn Fein is a perfect example because the British government are aware that it is more palatable to talk to former comrades than to a representative of MI5. Yet there is in fact little difference as in both cases the objective remains the same. To end Republican resistance.

The argument will be put forward that of course Republicans are entitled to refuse to recognize the Stormont assembly. Just put down the guns while we talk about it! It is astounding the extent to which Republicans historically have been susceptible to government flattery, it is almost as if we become content merely to be listened to and treated as equals. To allow a repeat of this scenario would not merely be an embarrassment for whatever group chose to pursue it but it would also herald their implosion. Our political position must be coherent and we must also be capable of justifying our stance consistently. Republicans do not recognize the legitimacy of the occupation. Therefore the question of armed resistance will remain inextricably linked to the ending of the occupation.

We do not need to be drawn into a discussion about the intricacies of the conflict when the opposition continue to refuse to acknowledge their role as a protagonist. Likewise those engaged in armed resistance must make it their mission to ensure their actions make political sense. This has never been more important. The inherent contradiction of pursuing criminalization whilst having their proxies attempt to engage Republicans will cause the British a headache also. This point should be stressed, if in fact we are “Neanderthals, criminals, thugs” etc. Then on what basis are they seeking dialogue? Surely if republicans are mere micro groups and havens for sociopaths and undesirables then to suggest a political process is a contradiction.

Republicans do not have an easy few years ahead of us. There is little point glossing over the fact that we remain divided and under pressure. However the strength of the Republican message is that it has a framework to challenge the legitimacy of the institutions imposed upon the people of Ireland. At a moment in time when these state institutions are imposing misery via austerity the Republican message has never been more relevant. Republicans most definitely do need to engage and to initiate a dialogue, but it is neither with the establishment nor their lackeys it is with the working class and our own communities.

Onwards to a Socialist Republic!






One Response to “No time for talking”

  1. free psychic readings online chat Says:

    Great choice of subject mona vie. Your piece of writing No time for talking Frank Ryan Society has inspired me sufficiently to want to compose more myself.

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