Aug 30, 2005

An exchange on the relevancy on the Three Way Fight perspective

I got an email message the other day regarding the website. I thought it would be useful to post the exchange I have had thus far, and open it up for some of the other contributors to see and hopefully comment on.

Since the Three Way Fight site is new, and I consider the perspective it represents as a minority one, questions and discussion that may view the project critically are definitely welcome. The comrade takes issue with the notion that “fascism” can be considered an alternative to capitalism. The comrade, who for now shall be referenced by W., considers fascism as a variant of capitalist rule, not an alternative form of social order that breaks with capitalism. The concept of the Three Way Fight may therefore be nothing more than a straw man argument in that “fascism” is being conceived by me as something more radical and likely an outcome of social crisis than it could be.

From W.:

So far it looks good. How often do you plan to change it? Is this what you writing about when you asked if you could use my letter on fascism?

However, I do not get the Three Way stuff. That is, I do not believe that there are three alternatives. Bourgeois democracy, fascism, and state socialism (state capitalism) are all variants of capitalism, or so I have believed for some time. This does not deny that they are not different—that is, different varieties of capitalism.


Red X responds:

Nowhere do I deny that they are all forms of capitalism. Though do we not agree class society and capitalism can manifest itself differently? I strongly disagree that fascism is not an alternative. It is not one which WE (you, I) want. But I think that in times of crisis a range of "alternative" movements can come to the fore. I think many times anarchists and the Left dismiss fascism as a mere tool of the boss class.

Past fascist movements have collaborated with industrialists and elements of the ruling class. Though, to say there was blanket support of fascist parties by the bosses would be untrue. I think that a defining characteristic of fascism is its opposition to the morality and policies of modern bourgeois democracy and the materialist capitalism it is attached to. This carries into the desire of the Fascists to build an independent movement capable of exerting control over the elements of society, this includes industry and capital.

Fascism is varied and has had both its outright capitalist variants(Hitler for instance), but it has also contained more radical elements that seek to transform completely the relations of capitalism and class society (the Strassers’ on the other end). Though the more radical elements were purged, they showed differing visions within the fascist camps.

As historical losers ourselves who battle on for the realization of a libertarian and socialist future, why should we not consider any thevariants of fascism to be the same – historical losers who could once again gain prominence , popularity and power. A future fascism will be different then the past (but our vision too is different than anarchism and a revolutionary Left of the past. it may be part of a continuum, but it would evolve under current conditions and realities).

The argument I make is why should we not think that a mass of people could both become disenfranchised with bourgeois democracy, electoralism, modern capitalist values and also turn towards the “Right”, away from any Leftism.

My aim as an anti-fascist is to help keep our eye’s on Right, ultra-Nationalism, and fascist tendencies and say that OUR struggles are up against several fronts – now and possibly in the future.

Current examples. With the continuation of the war, do we think that a mass anti-war position in this country (if one truly develops) would turn Left? I consider that a popular anti-war position would be more likely to come from the Right. It would be isolationist, anti-internationalist, and racist against Muslims and non-US Americans. I also think it would have a strong anti-Israeli element to it because part of the discourse on the war is that it has been waged to help secure American-Israeli interests. Reading magazines like the American Conservative (Pat Buchanan’s publication) these positions are quite prominent, if not core tenets. While The American Conservative is neither fascist or popular, I think that it represents a potential politic on the Right. If, down the road, a substantial Right tendency emerges that see’s Buchanan types leading it, the Fascists will have a larger pond to swim in, one that is “legitimate” and beyond nazi-skinhead/Klan/David Duke circles.

This leads to another issue, Immigration. Projects like the Minute Man are becoming national points of debate. They represent the activist side of the anti-internationalist and independent US sector. While they are receiving support from some politicians, they are a by and large autonomous project. Also, not fascist, but the fascists are entering into the debate and projects like the Minute Man provide an on the ground training vehicle where they (the Fash) can meet up, network, and inject their voice into the mix. The smarter fascists would be wise to distance themselves from outright trappings of Nazism, and instead seek to generate ideas in the discourse. Immigration is gonna continue to be a lightning rod in North America and the US. If we witness a deepening of the crisis the Minute Man types may gain widen support and could move beyond just Immigration issues. They already targeted a Southwest anarchist gathering.

Anyway, the nature of fascism and authoritarian politics are for debate. Our types need to be aware that the class struggle is complex and we are confronted with many ideas, ideologies, currents, and struggles. I hope this websit/blog can add to our development and analysis.

From W.:

We may or may not have a difference about fascism. If what you mean is that a mass fascist movement may develop on its own, not called up by any sector of the big bourgeoisie, then I have no difference with you.

Nor will the rank and file of the movement think of themselves as strengthening the power of the big bosses. Quite the contrary. The Nazi ranks really, sincerely, thought that they were creating some sort of socialism.

Current right-wing militia-posse comitatus types really think they are fighting for American freedom. You bet. (The actual mass psychology of Nazism was explored by Wilhelm Reich and Erich Fromm.) The tops of these movements combine a belief in the ideology (Hitler really thought that the Jews were a threat) plus a more realistic sense of what was possible (Hitler knew he had to made deals with the big capitalists and generals; had the left Nazis prevailed within the Nazi ranks, then the German army would have crushed them).

Because the ranks are deluded. The Jews were not really the cause of the German middle sectors suffering. Nor are black helicopter-UN Jewish World Bankers-Black people the cause of oppression of middle layers in the US. These are crazed fantasies (although, as you say, based on what they currently think they know and experience). In practice, such groupings either stay marginalized or are hired by sections of the big capitalists when these decide they need the muscle. Which is my point that it can only be another variant of capitalism. (Both *another variant* and *of capitalism.*)

Unless you accept the theory, held by some (e.g. Dwight Macdonald) in the 30s, that the Soviet Union was a non-capitalist exploitative society (bureaucratic collectivism) AND so was Nazi Germany. For us today, this implies that (1) fascism could really overthrow the bourgeoisie (that the left Nazis were not just full of hot air but had the possibility to carry out their program) and (2) that the new system could be a bureaucratic collectivism, rather than state capitalism. I doubt # 1 but I REALLY doubt # 2.


Aug 10, 2005

Whether it’s soul, indie, garage, punk rock, house, hip-hop or bhangra, music brings us together and offers a vibrant celebration of our multicultural and multiracial society.

More than twenty years ago, a group of musicians and political activists came together to form Rock Against Racism in the UK. It was a movement formed in reaction to rising xenophobia and racism fuelled by Nazi organisations like the National Front.

Rock Against Racism stood for "Rebel music, street music. Music that breaks down people's fear of one another. Crisis music. Now music. Music that knows who the real enemy is. Rock Against Racism. Love Music Hate Racism."

Rock Against Racism rallies have numbered upwards of 100,000 people. Musicians such as The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Steel Pulse and Tom Robinson have donated their time and performances to the cause.

Rock Against Racism is not specific to the UK and the idea and message behind Rock Against Racism concerts have spread throughout Europe and North America, popping up wherever and whenever racist organizations rear their heads.

Aug 9, 2005

We Must Become The Global Resistance To The Occupation

from the NorthStar Anarchist Collective, Minneapolis, MN

"Over the last few months the people of Iraq have stepped up the resistance to the U.S. occupation of their land. Is this a surprise? What would you do if a foreign army rolled tanks down your streets, imposed curfews, raped and tortured prisoners, shot missiles into neighborhoods, turned the resources and infrastructure of the country over to multinational corporations?The Iraqi people have suffered a great deal under the Baathist dictatorship, through a war with Iran and two wars with the United States,and now this brutal military occupation. It is a sign of hope and determination that our brothers and sisters in Iraq can effectively resist such a powerful enemy. We support their efforts."

"This does not mean we are unconcerned with who presently leads the resistance movement in Iraq and in some other countries as well. The same Islamic fundamentalists who fight the U.S. have also attacked secular and socialist Iraqi workers organizations and put death threats on prominent woman organizers. In areas where the fundamentalists have gained control there are reports of a twisted version of Sharia (Islamic Law) beingimposed on the population. Women must cover themselves and are banned from public life like work and school. Strict rules against drinking, dancing, etc. are enforced. Non-muslims are intimidated. This is no more“Liberation” than Rumsfeld’s tanks."

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Aug 4, 2005

Cursory thoughts on armies, insurrection, and The Sixth

In my last post I briefly addressed the IRA’s recent statement on ending its armed struggle and the urging of all of it’s members to throw their weight into “peaceful” political work that we can only assume is Sinn Fein electoralism. Sinn Fein has steered a course away from revolutionary action and any variant of socialism in an attempt to bring stability to Ireland through a (questionable) democratic pragmatism.

There is no doubt that the IRA had reached a point where a political approach beyond the armed struggle was necessary. But it’s direction seems far from the tenets of Republican Socialism or the radical tradition of James Connelly and the ICA. The success of the Irish Republican “cause” was/is wholly dependent on an animated rank and file, programs for social reorganization based on popular community and workplace committees, with an intransient rejection of top-down social relations and command structures. Add to this the need to develop working class relations across the sectarian divide, a feat not all that easy and given the history of Loyalist/Protestant aggression, one that many Catholics/Republicans view with understood skepticism.

At it’s most radical stage the Irish Republican struggle saw the development of several of these elements. However, the current Provisional Republican leadership have opted to integrate themselves fully into transnational capitalism hopefully to make it safer for the “Celtic Tiger” to prowl – though on the leash of it’s Brit/US Roy and Siegfried handlers. There is no doubt that the majority of Irish people, namely those of the Northern counties, are sick of war and would like there to be more than the bombs, riots, punishment beatings, mass imprisonment, as well as the damaging psychological wear of continuous war. However, the agenda of the Provisionals is one of securing business interests rather than sustaining an insurgent and revolutionary temper amongst the base.

I stated in the last post on the IRA that a radical and socialist success depends on the formulation of a long term strategy. This long term strategy must be coupled with current social initiatives that are about more than supporting the war effort. If anything, the social revolution of Ireland was subordinate to the armed struggle, rather than seeing, and maintaining, that the war and revolution were inseparable. This success also demands popular participation in defining the objectives of the movement, rather than through a bureaucracy or a top-down military command structure. The goal is to eradicate the order giver/order receiver relationship.

This last point seems to be the defining of the EZLN. In the 12 years since their armed entrance into global consciousness, they have prioritized the development of social projects that both support the Indigenous communities that the EZLN has been the army for, as well as an attempt to expand the capabilities, collective knowledge, and self-governance of those communities.

When the EZLN first staged it’s insurrection it did not believe that it would find itself in what essentially amounts to a sustained dual power situation – where the Zapatista communities exist along with, but in opposition to, those under federal government rule.

It was actually assumed by the EZLN that they would be wiped out after the insurrection of January 1, 1994. This did not happen. They were able to retreat to the villages and towns that made up their base. A combination of popular support amongst the citizens of their communities, the ability to defend themselves (armed if necessary) against attack from the Federal government and local right-wing paramilitaries, and international solidarity campaigns all contributed to the survival of the Zapatistas. The global awareness of the struggle in Chiapas also made it more difficult on the part of the Mexican government to carry out a direct attack to destroy the EZLN and the Indigenous communities in Chiapas. This hasn’t prevented the Mexican State from waging a low intensity war against the Zapatistas, but enough international support exists that it would create a volatile situation if a massacre were undertaken.

However, after 11 years and finding themselves in a situation that they did not imagine unfolding at the beginning, the EZLN and Zapatistas as a whole have to reconsider their strategies for the future. They recently released a document, The Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, discussing their situation and plans to create (in their flowery yet sometimes cryptic language) a new national and “Intergalactic” movement where the Zapatista communities will work at developing greater links with more urban movements. The Zapatistas, in an attempt to expand their ability to both survive and project their ideas on social transformation, see this only possible by forging “ …new relationships of mutual respect and support with persons and organizations who are resisting and struggling against neoliberalism and for humanity”.

This document, The Sixth, also opens up the Zapatistas to dialogue and discussion. They have asked for the widest range of feedback and critical perspectives. Unlike much of the authoritarian Left, the Zapatistas appear to be concerned with the developing of a genuinely “democratic” and participatory approach to analysis and strategizing. While they are not necessarily bound by outsider’s claims or criticisms, they take an unprecedented step in opening their ideas on advancement up for discussion. They also go to lengths to make it plain that the previous success of the Zapatistas has had much to do with “many people throughout the world” who mobilized to defend the Zapatistas, therefore they appreciate the input of those who have popularized, stood by and defend them until now. This breaks down the category of Zapatista and outsider, laying further the grounds for future collaboration.

The prioritizing of discussion and reflection is absent from much of what passes for the Left. Referring back to the IRA and Republican movement, at it’s height the Republican movement emphasized study and debate within the community and amongst it’s members in prison. Documents dealing with analysis and strategy were released and circulated for discussion amongst the rank and file, and when mistakes were committed the Republican movement would attempt to address these failings. Online Irish Republican journals like Fourthwrite and The Blanket have attempted to develop an understanding of how their movement retreated from this and instead has become overly centralized and void of discussion. In fact, these journals who are comprised of former Republican soldiers and organizers claim that essential discussion has been replaced by the tactics of thuggery and intimidation against those who do not carry the Sinn Fein party line and actively speak out against the degeneration of their movement.

When looking at The Sixth, another point of comparison between the EZLN document and the IRA statement is concerning their armies. Both armies see that an armed campaign is not desirable and that a political process is needed. Where the IRA has instructed it’s Units to disarm and work within an electoral process aimed at normalization of Irish politics, the Zapatista statement comes form a different perspective.

The EZLN raises the discussion about their relationship to their communities and how best they (the EZLN) can serve the interests of the Zapatista rebellion,

“…we also saw that the EZLN, with its political-military component, was involving itself in decisions which belonged to the democratic authorities, "civilians" as they say. And here the problem is that the political-military component of the EZLN is not democratic, because it is an army. And we saw that the military being above, and the democratic below, was not good, because what is democratic should not be decided militarily, it should be the reverse: the democratic-political governing above, and the military obeying below. Or, perhaps, it would be better with nothing below, just completely level, without any military… what we then did about this problem was to begin separating the political-military from the autonomous and democratic aspects of organization in the zapatista communities. And so, actions and decisions which had previously been made and taken by the EZLN were being passed, little by little, to the democratically elected authorities in the villages. It is easy to say, of course, but it was very difficult in practice, because many years have passed - first in the preparation for the war and then the war itself - and the political-military aspects have become customary. But, regardless, we did so because it is our way to do what we say, because, if not, why should we go around saying things if we do not then do them.”

The discussion addresses the difficulties of maintaining an armed military structure and relating it to the popular governing structures of the communities. A protracted struggle against the authorities requires the ability to act both defensively and offensively, and this requires a structure that is tighter with varying degrees of centralization that may not be necessary in more social affairs. For the military, the level of autonomy within its society may be greater than other structures, but this is due to demands that are of an extra-ordinary nature in which details of operations may not be up for a complete unveiling. The task is having the military conform to the general decisions of the civil society: military objectives are determined by the political direction agreed upon by the popular committees.

A fundamental question is, as has been the case of many groups whose operations have a military component, what if a majority of a population disagrees with the actions of the military or that the military itself represents the more politically advance ideas? Should the military structure curtail it’s activity and wait for the popular struggle to advance? Waiting for the correct time may take an eternity and in the mean time direct and possibly effective military action is tabled for some undetermined period. There need’s to be a constant gageing of the political climate and a questioning of does the military exist in a vacuum or is it assisting the growth of a popular resistance movement. Difficult questions, but one’s the revolutionary movements need to grapple with.

By the fact that the EZLN is being so candid with their current situation and asking for feedback and critical responses, I would argue that The Sixth has much to offer contemporary liberation movements, perhaps not necessarily in strategy for our respective locals, but in it’s approach.

A personal response from EZLN Subcomadante Marcos acts as one follow up to The Sixth in which he thanks the various responses that were generated.

He outline’s concerns the EZLN have, as well as one’s raised since the release of The Sixth.

Marcos states that one concern raised was of it’s proposed relationship with “The Left”. Marcos writes that the EZLN likens it’s struggle to others of the oppressed

“…does it not seem natural that, in a movement which is primarily indigenous like the zapatista, sympathy and admiration would be evoked by what the indigenous in Ecuador and Bolivia are doing? That they would feel solidarity with those who have no land and are struggling in Brazil. That they would identify with the "piqueteros" of Argentina, and they would salute the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. That they would perceive similarities in experiences and organization with the Mapuche of Chile and with the indigenous of Colombia. That they would warn of the obvious in Venezuela, namely: that the US government is doing everything possible to violate the sovereignty of that country. That they would enthusiastically applaud the great mobilizations in Uruguay in opposition to the imposition of "macroeconomic stability.”

He also makes firm the EZLN’s opposition to the US blockade of Cuba.

However, he goes on to say

“The Sixth Declaration does not speak to the institutions of above, good or bad. The Sixth is looking below. And it is seeing a reality that is shared, at least since the conquests made by Spain and Portugal of the lands which now share the name of "Latin America."

This evidences the notion that the Zapatista identify with the base rather than the “Left” governments of the Southern hemisphere. There is no praise for Lula, Castro, or Chavez. “Looking below” is the key phrase here.

Connected to this is the elaboration on forming alliances with Left forces in Mexico and why they will reject electoral politics.

Marcos’ deals at length with the issue of support for Mexico City Mayor López Obrador who is attempting to build a Left base of support for a run for Mexico’s Presidential office.

Marcos make’s it clear that many criticisms would have instead been praise if the EZLN in there 6th Declaration had rallied behind Obrador, rather, than having rejected him on the grounds that Mexican electoral politics has time and again betrayed the interests of the indigenous and oppressed.

Marcos state’s the EZLN’s positions on Obrador’s campaign with

“We are suspicious, and we don't see anything more than plastic cosmetics (and which change according to the audience) and a list of forgettable promises.”

From there Marcos examines prominent national organizers for Obrador, Socorro Díaz Palacios and Ricardo Monreal Ávila. Outlining their previous anti-Zapatista rhetoric Marco’s makes it obvious that despite the Left appearance of Obrador’s campaign it contains elements that are in direct conflict with EZLN initiatives and indigenous resistance in Chiapas. Unless Obrador were to distance himself form his men’s positions or current political stances are taken by the men Marcos refers to, we could only assume that their past attitudes still apply today. This reinforces Marcos claim that the electoral arena contains deceit and treachery for the Zapatista’s.

Marcos says that the new alliances the Zapatistas hope to form, outside of the electoral process, will go ahead despite the risks and attacks of those who can not bring the Zapatistas under their domination. He says

“We are going to come out. We are going to come out, and they had better get used to the idea. We are going to come out, and I believe, there are only 4 ways of stopping us.

One is with a preventative attack… Another is taking us prisoners… Another is to kill us… Another is to disappear us. I am referring to a forced disappearance, as was applied to hundreds of political opponents in the PRI "stability" period.

We have been preparing for many years to confront those possibilities. That is why the Red Alert has not been lifted for the insurgent troops, just for the towns. And that is why one of the communiqués pointed out that the EZLN could lose…”

Understanding that they have reached the limits of their previous strategy, the EZLN and the Zapatistas are making clear that they to go beyond survival they must take chances. The alliances they seek to form, and when, are still not clear. The process may take sometime and we may see new encuentro’s aimed at bringing different forces together to discuss and work out common perspectives and work.

One of the last sections of Marcos’ letter stresses what had previously been touched on in The Sixth, that the Zapatista struggle has become international, not because they now wish it, but because of the international solidarity that has grown over the last 12 years of the Insurrection. New ideas, customs, experiences have intermingled with the Indigenous communities of Chiapas creating itself a qualitatively different culture and consciousness – Indigenous but more. This speaks to the concept that in the process of struggle, new conclusions are reached and that success depends on the ability to be fluid and experimental with approaches.

Marcos touchs on several issues. Looking at society from the view point of a small Zapatista girl who has grown up during the Insurrection, he try’s to make the case of personal expansion and development and where this may lead her. Marcos writes

“What happens when she discovers that there are not just men and women in the world, but that there are many paths and ways of attraction and love.

What happens when someone tells her that in a place called Ciudad Juárez, young women like her are being kidnapped, raped and murdered, and the authorities are not seeing that justice is done?

What happens when, for example, a girl grows up and reaches youth in the Zapatista resistance over 12 years in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast... And there are men and women all over these lands who passed from childhood to youth to maturity in the zapatista resistance.

We told you in the Sixth Declaration that new generations have entered into the struggle. And they are not only new, they also have other experiences, other histories. We did not tell you in the Sixth, but I'm telling you now: they are better than us, the ones who started the EZLN and began the uprising. They see further, their step is more firm, they are more open, they are better prepared, they are more intelligent, more determined, more aware.”

The questions Marcos raises are at the core of revolutionary anti-authoritarian politics, that the development of the social forces of insurrection are intrinsically connected to the experiences and growth of the participants consciousness. The child example Marcos uses is not figurative, it is reality that he see’s. The continued development of the girl and her fellow Zapatista rebel children makes the expansion of the rebellion outside of Chiapas a necessity, and that this expansion may aid in the cause of “justice” elsewhere. Here again Marcos alludes to the notion that the future of one sector is tied up with the future of others and that struggle exists beyond local, regional or cultural confines.

Aug 1, 2005

meet the new boss, same as the old boss

"There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight"
- Wont Get Fooled Again

The following is from the site and concerns the latest Provisional IRA statement declaring an end to their military campaign and full endorsement of the Good Friday Agreement which demands putting the IRA's weapons "beyond use". Although the statement makes no claim that the IRA will disband, it is assumed that the army's Active Service Units (the fighting units) will be retired with soldiers asked to now join fully in the various Provisional Sinn Fein campaigns. We may find that a small "caretaker" core remains to periodically meet and acess the developing situation. This caretaker core would most likely be be comprised of members of the IRA's Ruling Army Council. Either way, the statement makes clear what many have long known - the Provo's war is over.

The Provisional IRA emerged in 1969-1971 and was the product of resistance to attacks and pogroms by Irish Protestant forces and the British Army directed against Irish Catholic working class communities.

The Provisionals essentially started as a political split from the the then IRA leadership who had ceased it's armed campaign and instead prioritized a pro-Soviet Marxist and electoral approach to the Irish struggle. When the anti-Catholic riots swept Northern Ireland the IRA had no structure to defend the communities against attack. Individual IRA members sometimes in their 60's (who had fought the Brit's in the 1930's) organized defense battalions with the few arms at their disposal. In essence, the genesis of the modern IRA was based on armed self defense - something the 1960's IRA leadership seemed incapable of doing. Despite this militant and armed action, the Provisionals had few strategies for the long term.

As the Provisional IRA grew there also emerged strong community organizing initiatives. The purpose of which was to mobilize for the war against the British Occupation. Neighborhoods became no-go areas for police and British armies. The IRA/Sinn Fein, working with communities, became the administrators of order. However, community autonomy and self-management seemed subordinate to the war efforts. According to the IRA, the first stage in freedom was expulsion of the British.

By the late 1970's the IRA had become a popular national liberation organization with strong socialist leanings. It saw itself as part of the International struggle against apartheid and oppression and made solidarity with the South African and Palestinian resistance movements. Not as radical in it's politics as smaller Nationalist/Republican groups (like the IRSP/INLA, or the even smaller inner-Provo tendency, the League of Communist Republicans), the IRA had much more substantial support among Irish working class, catholic, and Republican people. As a result, the Provisionals existed as the largest counter-power to British rule in Northern Ireland. Hundreds of people moved in and out of the IRA's military apparatus. Thousands more supported the IRA directly or indirectly through participation in various Irish Republican clubs, prisoner support organizations, or political solidarity groups. Still, broader political organizing at the community level was subordinate to the war.

By 1994 a Ceasefire was called by the IRA: with the exception of a few brief armed actions, the armed struggle had come to a standstill. While capable of bombing the British to the negotiating table, the IRA was incapable of forcing the British out of Ireland let alone initiating a 32 County Socialist Republic as it's Aims called for.

The decade since the '94 Ceasefire has seen, at the tugging of it's Sinn Fein leaders, the Provisonal movement - without a longterm program for reorganization of society along community based, participatory forms of social direction - embrace not just a British Government partnership, but rejection of the ideal of revolutionary socialist transformation. The IRA have taken the road of the ANC in South Africa, the PLO in Palestine, and much of the rest of the "Left" national liberation movements.

We cant underestimate the difficulties in war, struggle and altering the conditions of our communities and broader society. The IRA and Republican struggle for justice and freedom was a mass experiment. Many have fought, bled, and died for it with a conviction and determination most so called revolutionaries have not the faintest conception of. However, it's course has come to an end. Since the '94 Ceasefire there have been several splits and purges, with the exiles setting up new armed groups (Real IRA, Continuity IRA). Legitimate questions exist about the viability of armed action against the British State. It should be asked if those who would continue an armed campaign do so out of habit and lack of a broader strategy? A new strategy would be difficult in that it would demand a radical departure from any previous political course, but necessary if the revolutionary elements to the Irish struggle are to not be lost.

As stated on, the latest developments may provide anarchist revolutionaries the ability to interact and dialogue with rank and file Republicans on the future of struggle in Ireland.

The statement from the IRA is formulated to clearly comply with the various demands made by the British and Irish governments over the last year and to so try and expose the Unionist political parties as the ones opposing progress. As such it not only prepares the ground for Sinn Fein to re-enter government in the north but also for it to go into coalition in the south.
The years of the peace process have seen a real growth in electoral support for Sinn Fein in the south so that it would now be in the position to be a junior partner in a coalition government. By definition this would have to include one of Irelands right wing neo-liberal parties as the major partner. It is notable that the IRA statement lacks even a rhetorical reference to any sort of socialism - not even in the watered down form of the 'equality agenda' used in recent elections by Sinn Fein.

The other side of the peace process has been the ditching of much of the radical left rhetoric of the republican movement of the 1980's. Pragmatism became the new watchword whether that meant meeting with George Bush at the height of the invasion of Iraq, imposing education and health cuts as part of the government of northern Ireland or voting for the bin taxes in Sligo in order to get power in the council. There is still a radically inclined grassroots in Sinn Fein, in particular in the urban areas, but it is a well disciplined one - accustomed to following the pragmatic line coming from the top.

The 'whiff of cordite' was always part of the reason this was possible - this and the lack of any serious and sizeable alternative. Now as the IRA disarms and the libertarian movement grows the space may open for a dialogue with many rank and file republican activists.

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