The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Inevitable

Anthony McIntyre • 31 July 2005

Last week's Provisional IRA declaration that it was to call a halt to its military campaign took few by surprise. If any were gob smacked, it was that ever decreasing number within the IRA who still believed that the organisation stood poised to go back to war. That hardly hindered political leaders in London and Dublin - but significantly not in Washington - from digging deep into their dictionaries to find new ways of describing old hat. Dr Spin, a master of 'routinely resorting to deception', remains a significant political player in the North's political landscape. Large media blocs and swathes of the political class sang 'historic' in unison. The absence of cavalcades notwithstanding, people were even seen celebrating the length and breadth of the Falls Road by observers, of whom it is said, have not been on the Falls Road in years. Those, like Ed Moloney and John Kelly, who pitched a discordant tone were viewed as party poopers.

It was hard for me to get worked up about any of it. Much the same as it was to feel any great emotion on so many other occasions when what would certainly never happen most assuredly did. Just as there will be nothing - apart from contempt - when Sinn Fein give full backing to the PSNI and clamour behind the British police force to fill Maghaberry prison with those still naïve enough to think that there is any future in a military campaign. These things have been so clearly charted out for years that the average punter on the street knows what is going to happen. It begs the question why so many in the Provisional IRA or Sinn Fein failed to see it.

Then again, cult type bodies either see what is not there or do not see what is there depending on what their cult leaders tell them. There was once a term crafted for such behaviour - 'cultic idiocy.' Denis Tourish put it succinctly in a recent Irish Times article: 'What seems mad to an outsider becomes the conventional wisdom of the group.'

Listening to Seanna Walsh read the IRA statement, my one pang of emotion came when I thought back to the origins of my fall out with Sinn Fein. There was no swift break. The Good Friday Agreement was the end point in a long process of not sharing the stated leadership position of where the republican struggle would end up. There was no original thought on my part. So many others had seen the trend play itself out in the Official Republican Movement, or Sticks as they were known. There was general agreement that if certain steps were initiated, then our movement too would go Stick. When those steps were taken by our movement people suddenly began to find ways of denying to themselves what they knew to be true.

My misfortune, if I deem to term it such, was not to slip into the same self-denial but to argue my case. For stating that the movement would end up more or less where it arrived at Thursday last, I was told I was incredibly naïve; that to make such a suggestion was tantamount to accusing the leadership of selling out and treachery; that I had no foresight or understanding of political processes or dynamics. Censorship, not persuasion, became the chosen method of dealing with different ideas.

I was not part of any oppositional current, but merely pressing for clarity. Many of those at middle management level pushing the leadership position were clueless when asked what the next step would be. Their task was not to formulate policy, solely to explain it as best they could. It was a 'have faith' stance. With others more senior, I smelt dishonesty. Those responsible for lying then are generally the same people whom today show unremitting hostility to my unfettered expression of opinion. They don't want people to see that they have become everything they once condemned; that they are now the very Sticks they so hated.

I have never looked back on my decision to leave the Provisionals. It was better to go and by doing so authenticate the years spent in a campaign of resistance, rather than render them futile by staying on, endorsing everything I had opposed. Better to walk and salvage something than stay and reinforce invalidation.

Besides, the asking price of remaining was silence. I had no right to stand mute when so many comrades had died screaming truth at power, some of them so weak on prison hospital beds, that their defiant voices were barely audible as they breathed their last. Silence is a traitor that stands in admiration of itself while republican assets, bought through the currency of sacrifice and suffering, are sold off by a leadership in exchange for political careers as establishment politicians.

Recently, Jim Gibney acknowledged that IRA volunteers were the 'the people who made Sinn Féin the party they are today.' An acknowledgement at least that Sinn Fein are not where they are as a result of their electoral mandate. Unfortunately, the party never reciprocated that input, defrauding IRA volunteers of a just return on their not inconsiderable investment.














Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

1 August 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

An Open Letter to Gerry Adams
Dolours Price

The Inevitable
Anthony McIntyre

PIRA Statement 'Neither Surprising nor Historic'
32 County Sovereignty Movement

'Provisional IRA Should Disband Completely'
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

A Momentous, Historic, Courageous and Confident Statement
Jimmy Sands

When History Was Made
Brian Mór

Roundup on the IRA Statement
Liam O Ruairc

The Way of the Apache and Lakota
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Strange Bedfellows?
Eamonn McCann

Rewriting the Past to Suit the Present
Mick Hall

Shoot to Kill: Getting Away with State Murder
Eamonn McCann

Parents of the World Unite
Fred A Wilcox

31 May 2005

Justice is the Right of All Our Victims
Gemma McCartney

Quis Separabit? The Short Strand/Markets UDA
Anthony McIntyre

Civil Law as an Instrument of Resistance
Peter Mason

A Salute to Comrades
Dolours Price

Behaviour of Young Gets Worse
David Adams

Recognising Similarities, Delivering for the People
Mick Hall

One Republican Party
Dr John Coulter

Venezuela: A Common Brotherhood
Tomas Gorman

May Day versus Loyalty Day
Mary La Rosa

One Eyed Morality
Anthony McIntyre

Lying in Wait for the Dutch Tsunami…After the French Earthquake

Michael Youlton



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices