Stench of peace

ALMOST UNIVERSAL support has been given to the framework document for the Anglo-Irish peace negotiations. Only the Ulster Unionists are opposed to it but, according to the Independent on Sunday, 81% of Ulster Unionist Party supporters and 63% of Democratic Unionist Party supporters back the talks.

Many of the proposals are vague but three things seem settled. Firstly, British rule will continue indefinitely. Secondly, protestant domination over Catholics is guaranteed. Thirdly, Eire will drop its constitutional claim to the North. How the new constitution works when it comes will depend on the political situation rather than legal niceties. Sinn Fein is committed to the parliamentary route and Irish unification is relegated to a long term dream. The 25 year crisis for the British state is being resolved in Britain’s favour.

Yet most of those who consider themselves to be revolutionary are pleased with Britain’s victory. They are glad once again to be playing revolutionary politics safe from the threat of revolutionary action.

The Morning Star is only worried that unionists may upset the apple cart. It writes on February 27: “History will not forgive the British government if it fritters away the chances for a lasting peace by putting its parliamentary support from the unionists before this prize.”

In Militant on February 24 Manus Maguire comments: “All capitalist arrangements should be rejected. The working class needs to build on the magnificent movements of 1992 and 1993 to provide a socialist solution to the national conflict.” Those demonstrations, organised by trade union bureaucrats against the IRA, were both reformist and subservient to British interests. Militant is typical of the British left in wanting to build on peace movements rather than on revolutionary situations.

John Molyneux, writing in his column in Socialist Worker (February 18), says: “... a lasting peace in Northern Ireland can only be achieved by overriding the unionist bosses”. Peace under capitalism, whether the bosses be unionist or not, is a nonsense. It is amazing that the left still cannot identify the British state and its army as the main enemy in the Six Counties. Only through socialist revolution can we achieve a ‘lasting peace’ that will render the term defunct.

The resolution of the revolutionary situation in the Six Counties in imperialism’s favour is not something we should welcome. Our job is to re-organise our forces, preparing for the time when workers in Britain and Ireland, united on a socialist programme, can once more take up arms against the bosses’ state.

Arthur Lawrence