The Blanket

Sandy Boyer's article
Charles P. Cummiskey • 25 December 2003

Mr. Boyer gives us a good recap of the current politics involving Northern Ireland and the opposing views of traditional republicanism.. On the one hand he states, "Once they concluded that the armed struggle wasn't going to drive the British out, the Provisional leadership set about coming to terms with the British and Irish governments." On the other hand he states, "The politics and strategies of the republican movement, especially its near-total reliance on armed struggle and absence of class politics, need to be fundamentally re-examined."

Hasn't this question already been answered by the formation of the Provisional leadership, as listed above, and for the reasons he gave in his article which led up to this change from traditional republicanism? If the war cannot be won by armed struggle, what alternative is left but the political process?

Mr. Boyer then concludes, "What is needed now is a period of discussion and debate, including with and among republicans. It will be equally important to participate and learn from whatever actual struggles there are on the ground - from the anti-war movement, to campaigns for political prisoners, to protests over new charges for rubbish collection in the south. Only that combination of debate and discussion with involvement in day-to day struggles holds out any hope for an escape from the present political quagmire."

How specifically does he and others propose that this dialog be conducted, and by whom?

It appears to this uninformed person that if most agree that armed conflict is not the way to a 32 county Ireland, then the only other logical way is through the political process. What then does that mean? If the biggest political party Sinn Fein in NI is not to carry out the proposed period of discussion and debate, who should? Is another Republican political party needed to carry the banner? Realizing the magnitude of what that entails, is such really feasible? It appears to me that the people of Northern Ireland vote for Sinn Fein and the GFA or something similar because it's the only real game in town. The people have spoken and to those who oppose Sinn Fein, who or what do they specifically propose as an alternative solution?




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