The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

History Will Decide

Mick Hall • 18 May, 2008

This being the last edition of the Irish Republican e-magazine The Blanket, I thought I might mull over my own thoughts about this publication and my connection with it. For me it is impossible to separate The Blanket from its co-founders and editors Anthony and Carrie McIntyre. On a personal level, these two have enriched my life; on a political level, they are comrades of the highest calibre, honest, straight and sound. As an editor Carrie was every writer's dream: supportive when necessary, but not one to alter or interfere with your copy; all she demanded was that the writing be literate (in my case at times my dyslexic copy must have taxed her somewhat!).

Whilst her husband is well known for his courage and steadfastness, Carrie is his equal. It is often overlooked that at times she also came under the most unwarranted smears, about her nationality, political sincerity and such nonsense. In a short space of time there were two attempts to silence them, first a picket organized by members of the Provisional Republican Movement, when the McIntyres refused to be silenced after the Provos shot dead the Belfast commander of the RIRA, for doing something that the Provos had spent the best part of four decades doing, i e engaging in armed struggle. This was later followed by the McIntyre's home being raided by the RUC, who confiscated the computer the Blanket was produced on.

The former attempt to censor the McIntyres by picketing their West Belfast home made some of the Provos staunchest supporters shuffle their feet with shame, not least because Carrie was six months pregnant at the time and Anthony had served 18 years in jail for his work as a Provo volunteer, four years of which he spent on the Blanket and no-wash protest. When a section of the Provo leadership endorsed that picket, it signaled to many that they had begun to lose touch with their core support base and the street. For Anthony McIntyre, a man who had spent four years on the Blanket was hardly going to bend to a mob of howling banshees.

As to the magazine itself, it was without doubt the most openly democratic magazine in Irish republican history. That Sinn Féin refused to make use of The Blanket to reply to our critiques of the Adams leadership strategy, preferring instead to set the smear and slander brigade on to the McIntyres, was yet another misjudgment and mistake on their part. I have absolutely no doubt, despite the personal attacks made upon them by certain Provos, the McIntyres would have opened The Blanket to them; indeed a fair amount of what was published was an attempt to provoke the Adams leadership to open up a real debate about where they were taking the Provisional Republican Movement.

Whilst some may be sighing with relief at the thought of seeing the back of The Blanket, it is the right time to put it to bed. Irish republicanism needs to go through a process of rebirth; to continue to fight what are in reality old battles, which are centered on where the Provisional leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have taken the movement, would be counterproductive in the extreme. We have had that argument and debate, indeed it was The Blanket's raison d'être. It will now be for history to decide whether we at The Blanket were correct in our analysis or Mr Adams and his leadership clique.

Those Republicans who stand outside of the Sinn Féin political ferment need to look extremely carefully at the last 38 years of struggle and sacrifice, and when doing so try not to concentrate solely on individuals, and questions of leadership, but consider how the Republican Movement can move beyond what can only be described as a conspiratorial style of organization and practice. Such organizational methodology is perfectly logical if the movement is to continue down the road of being a military conspiracy. Although if the Provisionals were unable to complete the national revolution after 38 years of armed struggle, it is difficult to see how any present or future incarnation of armed republicanism could do so. For say what you might about some of the questionable decisions made by the Adams leadership in recent years, the generations that made up the ranks of the Óglaigh Na hÉireann were amongst the most determined, steadfast and self sacrificing group of people ever to call themselves Irish Republicans.

However instead of simply recruiting into its ranks the vanguard of the Irish people, perhaps Irish republicanism should consider turning outwards democratically to the Irish people as a whole, and to the democratic progressive political forces within Irish society, whether they be the trade unions, leftist political organizations, NGO's, community groups, etc. If so, Republicanism must lead by example and have democratic structures that are open, accountable and beyond question. Then we might finally witness the emergence of a United Democratic Socialist Republic of Ireland. Tiocfaidh ár lá.



Read more of Mick Hall at his blog, Organized Rage.




























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles


18 May 2008

Other Articles From This Issue:

This Rock of Republicanism
Anthony McIntyre

A History of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein:
1970-1976; 1976-1986; 1987-2007
Liam O Ruairc

Gerry, Come Clean, You'll Feel Better
Dolours Price

Strategic Failures Leading to Unease
Tommy McKearney

The Victory of Ideology
Jerry Pepin

The Blanket, One Last Time
Anthony McIntyre

In Praise of A Journal of Dissent
Mick Fealty

A Genuine Platform of Free Expression
David Adams

Folding Up The Blanket
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Death and Burial of The Blanket
Michael Gillespie

History Will Decide
Mick Hall

Thank You
Robert W. White

Tales of the Vam-PIRA
Brian Mór

The Blanket: A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Carrie Twomey


24 February 2008

Fear Dorcha
Anthony McIntyre

An Dorcha
Richard O'Rawe

Brendan Hughes, Comrade and Friend
Dolours Price

Meeting Brendan Hughes, "The Dark", 1948-2008
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Still Unfree
John Kennedy

An Unrepentant Fenian
Martin Galvin

RIP Brendan Hughes: "The Dark"
Mark Hayes

For Darkie
Brian Mór

The Funeral of Brendan Hughes: Setting the Record Straight
Anthony McIntyre

Irish News Report of the Funeral of Brendan Hughes
Dolours Price

The Resolve of the Dogs
Tommy Gorman

Adams in the Dark
Brian Mór

Weep, But Do Not Sleep
Anthony McIntyre

Hard Times for Gerry Adams
Brian Mór

Tribute to Brendan Hughes
Bill Ashe

An Irony of Irish Politics
Dr John Coulter

Brendan Hughes, 1949-2008: Irish Republican, Soldier, Socialist
Mick Hall

Ride On
Anthony McIntyre

Brendan Hughes
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