Another ‘peace’ bomb

The Manchester bomb, far from finally burying the ‘peace process’, is aimed at carrying it forward

The IRA Manchester bomb at the weekend has triggered off an epidemic of outraged journalism, as the hacks compete amongst themselves to see who can write the most purple and ‘over-the-top’ prose possible. Here is a likely candidate for nomination: “The deformation of minds that initiate such acts is terrifying. It remains a shocking act with no justification. The IRA ... has collapsed into a mindless killing machine with a bankrupt ideology and political strategy.” On the other hand, how about the one about the IRA being a “movement which ultimately subsists upon the cult of blood sacrifice”.

‘So what?’ you could say. What else would you expect from the tabloid press, driven as it is by pure national chauvinism and anti-Irish xenophobia? It is all par for the course. Hang on though: the hysterical statements above come from The Observer (June 16) and The Guardian (Editorial, June 17) respectively. These views represent the ‘liberal’ end of the British political spectrum.

Such hysteria is understandable. Everybody from Socialist Worker and Militant to The Guardian - and world bourgeois opinion, in general - has been pinning their hopes on the US-sponsored ‘peace’ talks. The call for the IRA to declare a ceasefire - thus giving Sinn Fein an opportunity to take part in the ‘all-party’ talks - has been on almost everybody’s lips. Expectation was great. The enormous IRA bomb in the Manchester city centre seems to have scuppered any chance of peace in our time.

All seemingly common sense. But the Manchester bomb is not the result of “the deformation of minds”. It serves the same function as the Docklands bomb before it - an attempt by the increasingly isolated revolutionary nationalist movement to bomb its way back to the negotiating table and get the ‘peace’ process back on track.

It did not go unnoticed - especially in republican circles - that after the Docklands bomb went off in February Sinn Fein/IRA managed to squeeze far more out of the British government in terms of concessions in 10 days than during the entire 18 months of the ceasefire. As one republican source put it: “Perhaps this is just a reminder to the Brits that if they want the ceasefire back they’re going to have to let Sinn Fein into talks” (quoted in The Observer June 16).

After the Docklands bomb, we wrote in the Weekly Worker:

“It seems increasingly clear that this bomb and the IRA statement to end the ceasefire were part and parcel of the strategy of negotiations and commitment to the ‘peace’ process. This was not a breakaway aimed at restarting the war against British imperialism” (February 15).

Despite all the speculation about a ‘rogue’ splinter group being responsible for the Manchester bomb, there is no reason to doubt that this was a ‘peace’ bomb - a very loud knock at the negotiating door.

This understanding does not alter by one iota our unconditional support for the IRA/Sinn Fein in their struggle against British imperialism, which has been a heroic battle. The failure of the working class in Britain to stand by this struggle has left the republican movement isolated and facing a united bourgeois bloc. Hardly surprisingly, the IRA cannot see any end to the war in the Six Counties and has become a victim of the US-dominated new world order - ie, the negative resolution of revolutionary situations. The Six Counties is another ‘hot spot’ like Palestine and South Africa, and therefore imperialism is using the same tactics: imposing a ‘democratic’ and ‘peaceful’ settlement.

Communists give no support to the ‘peace’ process in the Six Counties - with or without Sinn Fein, with or without Senator Mitchell. Nor do we piously condemn the Manchester bomb. The revolutionary nationalist movement is entitled to use any tactic or means it deems necessary. But without the strength of the working class in Britain behind it, the bombs - and the diplomatic manoeuvres of the IRA - will prove ineffective.

Eddie Ford