RAAD-solution or scapegoats?

RAAD- scapegoats or solution?

The recent BBC spotlight program which investigated the activities of Republican action against drugs failed utterly to address the underlying issues which surround the emergence of the group. With the usual smattering of condemnations from Provisional Sinn Fein and their proxy professionally outraged “community organisations” this was the usual hatchet job. Aside from a few brief interviews with local residents and Republicans the program simply set out to dismiss the group as mindless vigilantes, wedded to thuggery for its own sake.

RAAD cannot be analysed or condemned without understanding the context of its creation. Following the acceptance of British policing by Sinn Fein working class communities across the six counties were left to fend for themselves. Having been encouraged and obliged by the Provisionals to accept their form of community policing for 30 years they were suddenly cast adrift. The PSNI made it clear by their actions from the outset that they had little interest in tackling the problems such as drugs and anti-social behaviour which plague these communities. They were too busy hunting down all those who remained opposed to the new status quo.

RAAD’s ranks are filled with those who were taught that it was their duty to defend their community and that British police were an occupational force. Then those who had taught them had a change of heart. Their former pupils have simply continued to practice what has been preached to Republicans for decades. Yet the BBC program chose not to highlight this irony, rather RAAD were presented as some sort of barbaric anomaly, a blight on cosmopolitan Derry! They did not choose to delve into the fear wrought upon communities already suffering from economic disadvantage by the drugs gangs. Predatory individuals were given plenty of mention in the program, yet at no point did they seek to show the intimidation and trauma inflicted by drug dealers on the families and drug abusers.

RAAD have out grown their original mission statement, that much is evident. They have moved from simply tackling drugs to wider anti-social behaviour. They have also defended their communities from the PSNI by attacking them as they ransacked homes in Creggan. RAAD must develop its own political path in the near future, one which is tenable and logical. However RAAD are by no means the long term solution to the issue of drugs. The abuse of drugs is not an issue which is confined to the working class, but the negative effects related to it disproportionately affect working class communities.

The long term aim of Republican Socialists must be the education of our youth to work towards the eradication of drug addiction. This is not an objective which can be achieved by a militant group, nor do I think that RAAD believe that they can solve the problem entirely.

However anyone who stands to condemn RAAD would do well to look to the streets of Dublin. The ravaging of communities by drug gangs who were given a free hand for a very brief period in the late 70s to early 80s has had an effect which remains to this day. When the communities did mobilize they could do so only with the quiet support of the Provisional IRA. This anti-drugs campaign continued throughout the 80s until the mid 90s. Then the Provos chose to step back and to run down their involvement in the campaign. This gave the drugs gangs almost complete control of the city. They operated with impunity and entire communities were destroyed. In recent years the RIRA have made significant headway in taking back the city from the dealers. They have done this by the same means employed by the Provisionals and indeed RAAD. Until the power of the dealers is physically smashed then it is almost impossible to convince communities to mobilize themselves politically on the issue. Here is the catch 22. Without RAAD then the drugs gangs will grow and so will the related problems. With RAAD there is the potential for a more sophisticated community response to emerge, one which knows it does not need to fear the dealers.

The BBC can afford to condemn RAAD, they do not have to live in communities blighted by the parasitic drug dealers whose victims receive no warning, no mediation with a community centre. RAAD must develop a political or a social framework for its actions as they extend their campaign. To not do so will leave them open to the criticism that they are acting without sufficient leadership and discipline. However RAAD must remain and continue its work. Once a city is abandoned to the drugs gangs it can never be fully recovered. The BBC, Sinn Fein and those shrilly shouting for RAAD to disband should perhaps concentrate less on the city of culture but on the city in 20 years time. RAAD may not be the long term solution but their considerably more welcome than no solution at all.



3 Responses to “RAAD-solution or scapegoats?”

  1. Ardboe Realist Says:

    Sheer criminality, no more and no less. Benefit sponging “Republicans” upset that a few drug dealers are making a few more British pounds than they are, it will all disappear when they pay their cut to these “Republicans” It happens all the time, money talks for the RAAD, money talks.

  2. RAAD are criminals Says:

    RAAD are also heirs to the British government’s decision to dismiss the DAAD murders of the 1990’s as ‘internal housekeeping’ by the IRA. This sent a signal to those too scared to engage the armed might of the state that the state would not trouble them if they murdered and mutilated kids within their own community

  3. Yvonne Says:

    I read this post completely about the difference of hottest and previous technologies, it’s amazing article.

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