Patriotic outrage

The IRA Manchester bomb has served the purpose of exposing the soft ‘underbelly’ of a good chunk of the revolutionary left in Britain - namely, good old patriotism and a knee-jerk hostility to revolutionary violence. Overthrowing the bourgeois state apparatus sounds terribly exciting and romantic - in theory. But when it comes to the real thing ...

Bristling with outrage, Militant thunders: “There can be no justification whatsoever for the Manchester bombing. Its immediate effect is to bolster anti-Irish sentiment throughout Britain and give succour to the Tories” (Editorial, June 21). Logically, the only way to counter “anti-Irish sentiment” is by the IRA, and the revolutionary nationalist movement in general, disarming and throwing itself into the waiting arms of Senator George Mitchell and the ‘peace’ process. With the sectarian Six Counties statelet firmly under imperialist control, and stability restored, Militant Labour - or should I say the Labour Coalition? - will then proceed to unite catholic and protestant workers, while patiently demonstrating to British workers the folly of anti-Irish chauvinism.

This is no exaggeration. Sounding like an Ulster Unionist politician, Militant expresses concern that the “intermittent IRA campaign in Britain ... threatens to destabilise the whole of Northern Ireland”. Worse still, the ‘peace’ talks are now looking “fragile and may unravel at any time, posing the danger of a return to the sectarian violence of the past”.

Nice to know that Militant Labour is concerned about the stability of the Six Counties, something it shares with the ruling class.

Socialist Worker is also offended by the IRA’s action, which does not obey the SWPs ‘revolutionary’ rulebook: “The IRA bomb which devastated the Arndale shopping centre in the heart of Manchester last weekend was indefensible” (June 22). Unlike the imperialist brokered ‘peace’ process, which is perfectly OK (more or less) by the looks of it. Hence, Socialist Worker piously lectures: “If Major was serious about pursuing peace in Northern Ireland he would immediately let Sinn Féin into negotiations, without any preconditions.” If only British imperialism would talk more ...

Socialist Worker hankers for a ‘progressive’ imperialism which will refuse to make “concession after concession to Ian Paisley”. The so-called ‘Unionist veto’ is the source of the Six Counties’ problems, not British imperialism and partition, as SW reminds us: “Even if Sinn Féin was admitted to talks, there would be no progress while Paisley and Trimble had a veto.”

Whatever happened to ‘Revolution, not reform’?

Workers Press, on the other hand, sinks into pure national chauvinism. Choking with fury, it declared: “Millions of workers reacted with horror and disgust at the bombing of central Manchester by members of the IRA” (June 22), revealing that Workers Press is fully in tune with the views of The Sun and the Daily Mirror. No surprise there, judging by its coverage of Bosnia.

Sinking further into the mire of liberalism, it regurgitates the ‘progressive’ views of The Observer (at best). Fuming, it writes: “That this should occur in a town where many are of Irish origin and one in which there has been a long, honourable tradition of sympathy with the Irish cause made this mindless act even more reactionary.” Blaming the oppressed for its oppression, Workers Press laments about “elements in the ruling class ... [seizing] on this latest event” in order to step up repression. Now, if the catholic/nationalist community peacefully resisted British imperialism, formed ‘normal’ trade unions, got involved in ‘normal’ politics and went on demos once a year, that would be a different matter altogether ... as long as they channelled all their energy into refounding/reforging the Fourth International, that is.

SWP, WRP and ML are acting as the patriotic ‘left’ critics of the IRA, delivering ‘Marxist’ sermons from Mount UK-state. In reality, they are abandoning the oppressed in the Six Counties, who do not meet the ‘correct’ criteria. Communists reject the pacifist wailings of these organisations and unconditionally back the revolutionary nationalist movement in their life-and-death fight against British imperialism.

Eddie Ford