The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Blanket, Eamon McCann and the use of language


Gerry Ruddy • 13 March 2004

On the 7th of March the Blanket carried an article entitled Ardoyne Suicides by the journalist Eamon McCann. At no stage since the whole issue of suicides in Ardoyne blew up did Eamon McCann approach the Republican Socialist Movement to hear its side of the story in relation to what was happening in the area. That does not surprise us. Regularly the Sunday World prints a whole series of lies about our movement and rarely tries to get our side of the story. The journalist Eamon McCann used to work for the Sunday World so maybe he learnt bad journalist habits there.

In his article in the Blanket McCann refers to the "Irish National Liberation Army" and he uses speech marks around the name. However when we checked his writings about other armed groups we found that he referred to both the Provisional IRA and the Real IRA without speech marks (Socialist Worker Issue 208). Of course the purpose of the speech marks was to question the validity of the INLA and later on in his article he refers to "INLA gangs" and to "guttersnipes with guns."

He also peddles the lie that one of the young suicide victims was subjected to "prolonged vicious beating by an INLA gang". He also finds it hard to believe that the local community had pressurised the INLA to take against those engaged in anti-social behaviour. For the record the INLA is approached in a lot of areas including Derry to take action against "hoods". I wonder what Eamon would do with the Hoods in Derry who tried to set a young fellow on fire recently. Give them a copy of Tony Cliff's book, "State Capitalism"?

Eamon talks about "self worth". Fine. Does he think that his negative references to the INLA will persuade anyone in that organisation to listen to his voice? Denigrating and belittling people and organisations on the basis of false media reporting, half truths and a concerted campaign by pro agreement people to discredit the INLA will not cut any ice with those living in working class areas suffering from a reign of terror from hoods.

We know that the volunteers in the INLA acted from the best of motives in doing what they did. But the IRSP has said both publicly and privately to them that a number of their actions were wrong. We have exerted our influence to change their way of dealing with problems. In fact we have been working on this from long before Eamon McCann and his media cronies discovered Ardoyne and suicide. (Those who wish to know the details can contact

McCann is also being simplistic about the issue of funding. A large slice of peace funding has been going into Ardoyne creating jobs for pro-agreement elements. There is also a Community Restorative Justice scheme in the area perceived to be too closely associated with one pro-agreement party. Some people believe that the end result of such funding is only to cement the electoral machine of some politicians and tie them in more firmly to the whole process of pacification. Perhaps some enterprising journalist will actually conduct proper investigative journalism into this whole area.

We have been trying to encourage people to take responsibility for their own community and we see that as part of the process of empowering the working class to begin to take control of the state and begin the task of building a socialist society. Members of our movement have made mistakes and our organisation has made mistakes in the past. No doubt we will make mistakes in the future.

But we will not equivocate about Imperialism. Recently at the so called "Left Convention" in Derry I was accused of personally attacking Eamon McCann after I said that the programme he was standing on amounted to gas and water socialism. Below is his answer in Socialist Worker to the following question

But is this not all "gas and water socialism"? What about imperialism?

We are unashamedly anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist. We are actively against the occupation of Iraq and the corporate agenda, which enforces cutbacks and privatisation across the globe. The threat to water service jobs here and introduction of water charges is an example. Those who see themselves as anti-imperialists should see that this is the front to fight on for the future. The fight against imperialism in 2003 is a fight against US-led imperialism across the globe, or it is nothing. Those who welcome Bush as "a friend of Ireland" position Ireland on the side of imperialism. We reject the idea that the issues which are convulsing the world have nothing to do with politics here. We make common cause with all across the world struggling for the same aims. We wouldn¹t have taken George Bush's hand at Hillsborough except to twist it up his back and run him out the door.

All very fine and noble sentiments but notice what is missing? There is no mention of British Imperialism nor is there a clear call for the defeat of USA/British troops in Iraq. Perhaps that might alienate some of the more pacifist members of the SEA. Well we believe that there is an Imperialist presence in Ireland and as republican our comrades fought and died opposing that Imperialism. They did not die for a nationalist Ireland. They died for the liberation of all the working class from reactionary ideologies and for the establishment of a Workers Republic here.

Words are important and Eamon McCann has a fine way with them. He is also a fine writer and writes exactly what he means. His words in the Blanket effectively put him on the other side of the barricades to ourselves. He is on the side of the guttersnipes with word-processors.




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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.
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Index: Current Articles

19 March 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Terrorism Defined and Exemplified
Don Mullan and James Mullin


Can Catholics Now Trust the Police?
Sean Mc Manus


Sinn Fein & The Hate: Interview with Martin Cunningham

Anthony McIntyre


Splits and Distortions?
George Young


Cellar Dwellers
Brian Mór


The Blanket, Eamonn McCann and the use of language
Gerry Ruddy


From Paras to the FRU
Kathleen O Halloran


"Expose the Awful Truth"
Carrie Twomey


The Maze
Belfast Exposed


Dublin Public Meeting on Referendum
Residents Against Racism


12 March 2004


Try Not to Forget It
Brian Mór


Time to End the Silence on Stakeknife
Martin Ingram


Confident No More
Mick Hall


Sinn Fein & Democracy Be Damned: Interview with Martin Cunningham

Anthony McIntyre


Bobby Tohill: Pub Brawls and Death Threats
Liam O Ruairc


Ardoyne Suicides
Eamonn McCann

Independence Day
David Vance


The Half Loaf of Good Friday Will Never Satisfy
Liam O Comain


Special Exclusive on Special Relationship
Matthew Kavanah


The Proposed UK-US Extradition Treaty: Concerns
Francis Boyle


The Decolonization of Northern Ireland
Francis Boyle




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