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  1. nico

    Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith

    Mná an IRA Thursday 12th January, TG4, 22:30 "Josephine Hayden: Born in County Waterford, Josephine Hayden became aware of a curious fact when she worked in a hotel for the summer as a young woman. She noticed that a large influx of people arrived around the time of the 12th July and she discovered that they came South to avoid the Orangemen’s marches. This piqued her interest and made her question what life was like for Catholics in the North. Over the years, what began as sympathy for the people she met then hardened into direct involvement in the armed movement towards a united Ireland. She served four-and-a-half years in Limerick prison for transporting arms and ammunition for the Continuity IRA"
  2. FIRST CONTRADICTION This concerns the role of the army within the movement as we have known it. Persons who are reared and weaned and very much the product of army circles usually dominate the army council. The army council is the governing body, entrusted as executive caretakers of the movement with supreme and unquestionable power. The result of this fact is that favour, emphasis and resources are ascribed to the army, and its needs and requirements are given priority at every stage over the party. It also means that there exists a leadership dominated by "military thinkers" who attempt to impose a military solution to what is essentially a political problem. To investigate and answer this point it is necessary to digress once again into the relatively recent past. Following the split in 1974-1975 the national leadership attempted to consolidate the ground that had been won from the Officials due to the split, and plot out a political course and produce a programme which was in line with a truly revolutionary ideology. It was here the first cracks were to appear. Then, the leadership (AC) were at odds as to the immediate priorities to pursue in line with any forthcoming revolutionary programme. Remembering that the split occurred because of the refusal by the Official Republican Movement to continue 'ARMED STRUGGLE' as a necessary tactic by which to confront imperialism and to secure a socialist republic, then it is hardly surprising that the same issue should raise its head again with all the intensity and bitterness of before. The political policies (on social, economic and international issues) of the Officials was never in dispute, it was their courting respectability on the road to reformism, to the exclusion of all else that forced the parting of the ways. What was envisaged was the creation of a movement in which no ambiguity existed in the pursuance of armed struggle and revolutionary republican socialist policies, a movement that would create a unique blend of politics and physical force as to form a truly ideologically sound revolutionary organisation. In the six counties the strongest area/base the movement has was Belfast and it was from here that most of the trouble was to originate. From the outset the army council was comprised of people with differing levels of political development, ability and perception. Within this body the argument raged as to which line of action must immediately be pursue as priority: (A) The building of a strong army or ( The creation of a revolutionary party. Seamus Costello - a domineering cult figure - pushed, cajoled, argued and articulated the immediate creation and building of a revolutionary party, meaning the majority of the movement's finance, resources and energy would be directed away from the army. Costello was a strong-willed, politically astute, highly intelligent and capable person, almost an autocrat, around whom the fledgling Movement revolved and bitter controversy raged. The army council was divided from the word go over the issue of 'WHAT MUST BE DONE FIRST?' The Belfast lobby favoured the building of the army while Costello argued the case for the party. The general consensus, stemming from the very nature of the supreme body (AC) was such that 'Armed Struggle' was paramount, almost sacrosanct, inscribed in many minds as a 'principle' rather than a 'facet' of political struggle. Seamus Costello's plans to build a revolutionary party were reversed and it was demanded that the army should receive immediate priority, i.e., finance, resources, etc. From the outset, this whole argument was seriously flawed, the flaw being a structural one. This political debate was conducted within the parameters of what was essentially an 'armed structure' (AC) and from people drawn almost entirely from army ranks. This structural defect was one which centred on 'INTERNAL DEMOCRACY' - internal democracy did not exist in this framework. How could it exist when movement policy was debated within the party grossly under-represented? Where was the democracy here? Within the context of this framework Costello's plans never really had any chance of success. Costello attempted to convince, through dialogue, military-minded people who possessed a limited political perspective and who singularly failed to realise the importance of the party and the role it must play in the success of social revolution; not when the army has 'won the war' but at every step of the way, at every stage of development. The army council argued a strong military line to the detriment of the party for several reasons. (1) To establish the movement's credentials, the quickest way to do this was to operate and by so doing, clearly distinguish the movement from the reformism 'sticks'. (2) To confront British imperialism in a war of national liberation. (3) To defend the movement from any further attack. (In the wake of the 1974-1975 feud). This lobby was running contrary to Seamus Costello's wishes and so the inevitable consequences were disunity of thought and action within the ruling body of the movement. In other words there was a serious relation of 'collective leadership' resulting in 'no' consensus in agreement and the failure of defining and agreeing policy direction for 'all' to follow. This in turn led directly to a lack of 'clarity', no definite strategy, revolutionary or otherwise, which could be implemented, 'camps' or 'power blocks' forming, which degenerated into 'factions' and ultimately 'stagnation'. Two more concepts of structure are evident here - 'COHERENCY' was non-existent resulting in no consistency in thought or action nor clarity of purpose. This in turn led to a breakdown of 'CENTRAL AUTHORITY' by the forming of individual 'power blocks' and factions. By this stage each camp were pursuing their own course of action, Costello mainly the party, the AC armed struggle. SECOND CONTRADICTION Our second point concerns itself with the role of the party and its development (or lack of it). The party is reduced to a secondary role with its functions and importance being 'minimised' rather that 'maximised'. It is forced to succumb to the dictates of the supreme body - The Army Council. Seamus Costello had been the architect of what he perceived would be the creation and building of a revolutionary ideologically sound movement. He had personally travelled the country meeting highly-respected and capable people of the 'left', around whom the nucleus of a revolutionary working class party would be built. But, in order to convince this potential nucleus as to the movement's seriousness and revolutionary credentials, Costello has to either (1) have complete control of the ruling body (the AC) or (2) be part of the 'ruling body' which appreciated the 'primary' importance of building a party. Unfortunately neither was the case! Costello knew, as any revolutionary knows, that without the proper class-conscious vehicle of the people no revolution would be forthcoming. More than that, the 'legitimacy' of the movement's existence must be called into question, as no revolutionary movement can exist if fundamentals such as 'collective leadership, internal democracy and a political leadership' are missing. National independence with social and economic freedom condemns the working class to the drudgery of everlasting slavery, chained to the coat tails of the native exploiters. With the formation of the party (IRSP) an Ard Cohmraile was elected and entrusted with the task of building a revolutionary class-conscious party with a revolutionary programme for development. However, in order for this to be achieved, finance, resources, time, and above all a revolutionary mature leadership (the AC), which understood the importance of such, a party was required. Unfortunately not only did the Army Council lack this crucial factor but also they effectively deprived the Ard Chomhairle the right of autonomy by making it subject to the dictates of the army council. In effect, political development was strangled in the womb simply because 'internal democracy' was ignored. As expected, this move resulted in clashes between the Ard Chomhairle who argued that the role of the party was as important if not more so than the army, and the army council. It was passionately argued that without the proper political vehicle, no revolution could be won; that working class interests could not be represented, nor would they possess a vehicle for expression, and that the party could not subordinate itself to the dictates of the army as this smacks of the tail wagging the dog! They tried to convince their opponents that essentially the struggle, which must be fought, is one of 'class' as distinct from 'national liberation' though both were by no means mutually exclusive; they were compatible in many respects - the 'Armed Struggle' was but one strand of a complex web on the road to defeating British imperialism in Ireland and securing a socialist republic. They pointed out that the 'War' also entails fighting alongside your class in the spheres of employment, education, social Welfare etc. At every stage of this complex struggle, while at the same time heightening the class consciousness of the working class by exposing and laying bare the contradictions in the capitalist society, and by so doing, convince them of the need of a 'new society' in which the working class will have control of the land and the means of production. However, in order to achieve such a development, pursue such policies and publish such a programme a revolutionary programme was essential. In the prevailing climate no such party could possibly exist. The result of this realisation was that 'Bernadette' and people like her felt they were wasting their time and withdrew from the party, all because the army council demanded control over aspects of the struggle that they neither understood nor saw the necessity for! THIRD CONTRADICTION The logical detachment of the above two points is that the army is elevated above the party, and is seen by the movement's members as the place to be. As members drifted into the army they become incorporated into a particular way of thinking and viewing things whereby army membership in general and operations in particular is seen as the single most important issue. This was the prevalent attitude in the years 1974-1975! The 'War' was the overriding issue to the detriment of all else, and that is literally speaking from DISCIPLINE, ACCOUNTABILITY, EFFICIENCY, etc. In the six counties the war was pursued with a sense of vigour in relation to the finances, materials and resources that were available. The army was the place to be. In the army the prospects of power was a tangible force, where the romantic notion of the 'Freedom Fighter' was seen through impressionable eyes and the ranks swelled with new politically ignorant, anti-party recruits. Brigade areas took a greater degree of autonomy within which 'powerblocks' developed and a "law unto us" mentality was rife. In such a set-up 'DISCIPLINE' broke down, or became non-existent in areas. ACCOUNTABILITY suffered as no one was amenable for their actions, or lack of them, whichever the case may have been, naturally 'EFFICIENY' and 'EFFECTIVENESS' were further causalities in the overall structure; after all, no 'CENTRAL AUTHORITY' could exist in a sea of powerblocks simply because there was no 'COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP' within the army council capable of giving agreed direction higher up the structural ladder. Belfast, being centrally important to the war, became the single most important exponent of 'the law unto ourselves mentality' concept and its accompanying structural defects. Belfast strengthened its position and accelerated the 'structural decay' by grafting onto its swollen sphere of influence other areas, people and support. The gulf between Belfast and Dublin widened further with Belfast refusing to acknowledge the importance of the party, but instead increased their demands and pressure for 'war materials'. Dublin on the other hand consolidated its own position by maintaining a head office, producing a party organ (THE STARRY PLOUGH) and promoting the importance of the party. To be a 'macho' man you had to be in the army and have a healthy distaste for the political party. Not only that, you had to see victory coming about exclusively from the arms effort; anything else was 'weakness' 'sissy' and 'not committed'! The party in the six counties was deliberately allowed to wither away, simply because the mixture of 'politically naive apolitical' members in the six counties did not have any idea of essentially what the struggle was about. The membership was young, reckless, impressionable and eager militants, the army council was unable to provide a proper leadership to give revolutionary direction and by virtue of its make-up as outlined in point (1) - it was a 'militaristic body' unable to give any other direction, other than 'Military Victory'! IN CONCLUSION: Firstly we must recognise and accept that the presence or absence of a revolutionary political party will have a profound affect on the overall development of any revolutionary movement and ultimately the outcome of the national liberation struggle. Throughout this draft many reasons and causes are evident to explain the direction the movement followed and the internal upheavals which took place in the years 1974-1977. It was seen that the problems were basically a structural one from which many defeats arose and in-turn give rise to other defeats. This put into motion a chain of events, each eroding further the movement's structural stability. Ten concepts, which are evident in this erosion of structural stability, were exposed, each essential in the working of any organisation, let alone a revolutionary movement. Each concept led onto a higher level or degree of instability, creating a domino effect and culminating in the sad truth that we did not have a leadership that was entirely, thoroughly revolutionary because concept (1) was missing, the leadership was not politically aware! Around the structural failure lies all other failures in a revolutionary movement. Below, the main themes of this draft are briefly outlined. Within these four themes can be seen the defects stated earlier - a brief examination should confirm this. A) INDIVIDUAL LEADERS OR POWER BLOCKS. B LIMITED PERCEPTION OF THE STRUGGLE. C) RULING BODY (A/C) WAS DIVIDED. D) LACK OF POLITICAL DIRECTION. In (A) you had Seamus Costello, the strong minded visionary but very much an "Individual" while you had the Belfast and Dublin camps at loggerheads. In (B)the struggle was viewed by many (in the six counties) as a 'military' one, this had an over-ridding bearing on the rest of the movement because without a solid six county base the movement would be of a negligible importance in the context of a national liberation struggle. The 'militaristic' view stemmed from the fundamental lack of political awareness. In © the army council was divided on the issue 'Army Vs Party' (hawks and doves scenario) and naturally where such divisions exists at such a crucial level in the movement's structure; stagnation is the only outcome, followed gradually or rapidly by retardation. In (D) no coherent revolutionary programme existed which could be agreed upon by the leadership. Because of this, discipline suffered, and with discipline all the other interrelated concepts broke down. Morale slumped among the most advanced party members resulting in a lack of agreed political direction. Taken collectively (A) to (D) reads 'disaster' and although this fact was not readily discernible 12 years ago as it is today, at least now we can see more clearly the factors which prevented development and brought about gradual retardation, and by identifying these factors we should now be in a strong position to take the necessary steps to ensure they are never repeated. This is best achieved by resolving the 'basic' contradictions inherent in the movement, i.e., THE PARTY BEING SUBORDINATE TO THE ARMY! In order to resolve this contradiction, the importance of the party must be recognised and armed struggle placed in the perspective in the context of the overall struggle. One of the basic fundamentals which must be agreed upon, and which this draft has exposed, in order to resolve the overall basic contradiction, and by doing so, develop a revolutionary consciousness within a revolutionary movement, is 'THE ARMY MUST BE SUBORDINATE TO THE PARTY'! This does not - nor do I wish to give the impression that this does - spell an end to armed struggle; on the contrary, it is designed to produce a better soldier. It is the recognition that every military operation must have a political motive. It places the armed struggle in perspective and it guarantees that our volunteers will have the opportunity of developing revolutionary potential, by creating soldiers who are politically militarily aware; who in turn will demand that their leadership will be no less aware than the volunteers, and that no ambiguity exists (throughout the movement) in the pursuance of national liberation and the development of a political social and economic programme for a socialist Ireland. EVERY SOLDIER A POLITICIAN, EVERY POLITICIAN A SOLDIER! This next stage of our movement's history and analysis concerns itself with the period from late 1977 to the end of 1981. Many of the issues and themes covered and referred to here have already be mentioned and expanded upon in the previous draft; therefore they should now sound familiar. This repetition of events only serves to emphasise the 'cyclic' nature of our problems, which essentially have been inherent in our movement's history due to the 'basic' contradiction - (see previous draft) - from which all other structural defects i.e., effectiveness, efficiency, internal democracy, politics in control. It should be remembered that the central theme of this entire historical analysis is one of 'STRUCTURE'; however, we intend on concentrating this second stage of the movement's history, (1977-1981) on one specific structural defect, 'THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP'! As pointed out above and in the previous draft, this defect, like all the others, sprang from the basic contradiction of the movements history, 'THE ORGANISATIONAL PRINCIPLE OF THE AC (Army Council) SUPREMACY'; because of the interrelated nature of the structural defects it is extremely difficult to place any specific defect on a level of importance above any other. However, as this draft unfolds, we believe that it will become obvious to those who have taken the time to read and analyse this draft that the above-mentioned specific defect 'THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP' must be elevated to a plane of equal magnitude and importance to that of the basic contradiction itself - 'ORGANISATIONAL PRINCIPLE OF THE AC SUPREMACY'. Only by resolving these two fundamentals can a 'revolutionary' movement function as it was intended, i.e., in a coherent, principled, orientated revolutionary manner. Basically, the principle of collective leadership means that the movement's policy and direction are decided by a 'collective' group of people, and not by a single individual. It is obvious that initiative and ideas have to originate from some 'individual', that is natural, the point here is that policy, direction, strategy etc, should be in the hands of a collective group, 'representative' of the 'entire' movement where 'consensus' and 'agreement' ultimately decides in effect, the principle of collective leadership ensures that all decisions on policy and strategy will have been carefully analysed and thoroughly discussed before any final decisions are arrived at. No snap decisions; 'Off the cuff' remarks can be made! Such collective debate and consensus guarantees that the chances of formulating incorrect policy or seriously flawed strategy will be minimised. It means that, 'EFFECTIVENESS, EFFICIENCY, COHERENCY, DISCIPLINE, ACCOUNTABILITY, CENTRAL AUTHORITY, LEGITIMACY, INTERNAL DEMOCRACY AND POLITICS IN CONTROL' is guarantied, the frameworks of a revolutionary movement. It is unfortunate, but nevertheless true, that throughout the history of our movement this basic was not at work. WHY? The reason being that the power, control and influence that the rank 'CHIEF OF STAFF' bestowed on the individual who fills the position, has been such that the chief of staff has had 'EXCESSIVE' power to the detriment of a collective leadership. The reasons why this has been so differs depending on the era and the particular 'individual' holding down the position. Some of these reasons would suggest that it was 'personalities' at work, from which seemed larger than life characters; forceful and overbearing characters; 'dominating' characters or even intellectual superiority! Regardless of whatever reason above, that which did not differ was the consequences: Our movement was run like a 'MILITARY DICTATORSHIP'. 'INTERNAL DEMOCRACY' did not exist; one person was in 'complete' control, amenable to none for his actions. Making decisions on matters, which he knew little about and cared even less. The political party as a result, a crucially important part of our movement, did not develop, the movement's political role was neglected, hence, no revolutionary movement to date has developed which is capable of seriously challenging British imperialism in Ireland and placing the working class in control of the land and the means of production. All of the above reasons are flawed, i.e., personalities, overbearing, dominating characters etc, sprang from a faulty analysis. The mere fact that this unfortunate 'TRADITION' has been continuous and consistent endorses and substantiates the fact that it is A STRUCTURAL FAULT and not the consequences of PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS, such as forceful, overbearing, dominating characters. There is no doubt that some of the persons who have held down the rank have had personalities and characteristics as described above; but if the 'STRUCTURAL PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP' was enshrined and adhered to in the movement's constitution, then regardless of the personal characteristics of the Chief of Staff, decisions on policy, strategy, political advancement, would have been 'beyond' the individual 'dictate' hence the responsibility of a collective leadership. Failure to abide by and exercise that responsibility, as demanded by principle, would mean automatic dismissal for anyone - CHIEF OF STAFF INCLUDED - who attempted (in good faith/intentions, or not) to flout such a principle. It should perhaps be emphasised here that the power of the chief of staff has never been 'absolute'; however, it became so in our movement! The chief of staff, like all other volunteers in 'theory' was and is answerable to a higher authority - THE ARMY COUNCIL - but this was not the case! The army council appointed the chief of staff, gave him his brief and allowed him to organise the 'army' side of the movement subject to A/C direction, discipline etc while other facets of the struggle were organised and pursued, i.e., the development of a political party. So again the question - Why did this not happen? - must be posed. The previous draft adequately answers this question as does the theme of this one: The A/C was a militaristic body, who gives priority to the army. In such an environment it is hardly surprising that a person in the 'KEY' position, as perceived by the military leadership (the AC), of chief of staff should automatically control and with such an autocratic structure, no principle of collective leadership, could/would exist. It is as a direct consequence of this that our ten structural defects were able to arise, nurture and develop. Within this structural wilderness the chief of staff became the 'centre of gravity' where his ideas, opinions and initiatives flourished and were generally accepted by the staff 'without' proper recourse to a decision of collective leadership, which by its nature 'demands' the necessary debates, questions, criticisms at this level. In the era being covered by this draft 1977-1981 we will mainly concentrate on two tragic developments, one at the beginning of the draft (late 1977) and the other at the end (late 1981). Both developments and their consequences directly relate to the theme of this draft, the structural defects, which invalidated, 'THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP'. We will begin with a specific date, 5th of October 1977; this was the day that counter revolutionary forces assassinated Seamus Costello. With the benefit of hindsight we must (albeit reluctantly) accept that the cynical calculation of those who assassinated Costello proved precise and accurate in what effect Costello's removal would have on the movement. This one, single individual, Seamus Costello, was priceless and irreplaceable. He was by far the movement's most capable person; he possessed an unparalleled revolutionary zeal, along with an unshakeable revolutionary ideology. He was also unique, in that he was the movement-leading link with the past, a republican movement's pre 1969-70 spilt. In short, at this early period of the movement's history, Costello was irreplaceable, but more important to the argument here is the fact that Seamus Costello did not adhere to the PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP, he was 'THE' central figure, an autocrat who held tightly to the reigns of power and around whom the movement revolved. This meant that once he was removed, without his undoubted ability and leadership a massive vacuum was created and a struggle commenced to fill it. Costello was the cohesive force, the cement between the cracks, the single guiding light. He left in his wake an inherited legacy that power should not be shared. We failed as a movement in the early months following his assassination to learn anything from his going and as result we were condemned to a road of militaristic autocratic leadership, which spawned structural defects without even realising it. THE CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP CAN BE SEEN FROM A RECENT TRAGIC INCIDENT, FOLLOWING THE SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE DEATH OF MOZAMBIQUE PRESIDENT SMAORA MACHEL IN A PLANE CRASH. MOZAMBIQUE IS A MARXIST COUNTRY, WHICH WON ITS INDEPENDENCE OVER A DECADE AGO FROM PORTUGUESE. SINCE THEN THE RULING PARTY 'FRELIMO' HAS HAD A STRONG COMMITMENT TO BOTH 'UNITY' AND 'COLLECTIVE ACTION', THIS WAS BORN OF THEIR EXPERIENCES IN THE WAR AGAINST PORTUGUESE COLONIALISM. SINCE INDEPENDENCE THERE HAVE BEEN 'NO' SPLITS WITHIN FRELIMO SINCE 'ALL' DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BY CONSENUS. THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PARTY IN THE POLITICAL BUREAU IS VERY MUCH A COLLECTIVE BODY WITH THE PRESIDENT BEING THE SPOKESPERSON. THESE FACTORS HAVE GIVEN FRELIMO A STABILITY WHICH HAS ENABLED IT TO SURVIVE UNDER SEVERE PRESSURES AND WHICH WILL SEE IT THROUGH THIS LATEST TRAGEDY. This speaks for itself! Let us return to our own problem. With no disrespect to those around at the time of Seamus Costello's assassination, there wasn't simply any individual person there to match his intellectual and political maturity, nor his ability as chief of staff! It is true that Costello had a number of 'understudies' who were extremely capable and who shared the same political philosophy as himself, but these were merely 'understudies' and not an integral part of a 'collective leadership', and in this void created by his absence, the two trends 'physical force' verses 'political development of the party' clashed. Without Costello the buffer zone the balance tilted in favour of the 'physical force' men into whose hands fell the leadership and control of the movement. All emphasis and priority was now geared towards catering for the army and its needs to the detriment of the political party! The position of chief of staff was, however, unchanged in that his power and influence was still seriously excessive. In the four years, which followed, as many different persons held that rank, this fact alone point to the folly of such developments. In the form of collective leadership; when he failed to produce the desired results, he was removed from office and replaced. This continued for four years, each chief of staff failing and the net result being four years of stagnation and in some areas of policy, retardation. The reality is, there is no substitute for 'THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP'; no matter who the individual, or what his capabilities are, no one person can substitute the basic fundamental principle. So between the years 1977-1981 we can identify the main problem in the movement as lying in the seat of power, at the highest level, and concerning the decision making process - that is what collective leadership essentially is. The second tragic event concerned a 'coup' by brigade staff officers on Belfast against the brigade staff which culminated in the shooting - though not fatally - of the chief of staff. As outlined earlier this most serious development (as will be seen) had its origins in the fact that collective leadership did not exist and from which sprang all the other structural defects, such as a break down in DISCIPLINE, ACCOUNTABILITY, COHERENCY, CENTRAL AUTHORITY, LEGITIMACY, INTERNAL DEMOCRACY AND POLITICS IN CONTROL. Taking stock of the developments and stable collective leadership, the absence of a clearly defined political and military strategy, little coherency or internal democracy, insufficient political development and activity, scarcity of war materials to Northern units, it was inevitable that from somewhere, some quarter some level within the movement that growing disagreement would be transformed into dissent, impatience and ultimately internal rebellion and direct action if things at the top did not change quickly. The proposition implies that the origin of this rebellion would find its impetus from the bottom level of this movement up. It could come from either of two sources, the army or the party, for both were deeply disgruntled. Unfortunately the latter never realistically had the power, the will, nor the morale to consider, let alone effect any such enterprise to force change; and therefore the expression of this disgruntlement originated in Belfast, within the army. It began around 1980 and ended in open rebellion in 1981 against the central power in Dublin. The transition disgruntlement to rebellion was over a period of almost two years and evolved in stages. It was not a clear, clean, overnight transformation - the first stage was in the confines of Belfast itself. A strong lobby of ground support led by several brigade officers demanded that a number of senior brigade officers, including the OC be removed from power because they were, among other things, incompetent and leading the brigade nowhere. MISSING HERE WAS (1) THE ACCOUNTABILITY FACTOR, HAD IT EXISTED SUCH A SITUATION WOULD NEVER HAVE ARISEN AND (2) DISCIPLINE, REGARDLESS OF THE REASONS, THERE EXISTS PROPER CHANNELS THROUGH WHICH TO EXPOSE AND SEEK CHANGE. The central power in Dublin were reluctant to agree to this suggestion, and so a 'coup' took place in Belfast, the said persons were removed, and in so doing, the new Belfast leadership put themselves in confrontation with the central authority in Dublin. This sparked of a furious argument between Belfast and Dublin, with the former claiming that there was no other method open to them to initiate change as Dublin insisted on its position being accepted, while the latter claimed that Belfast was subordinate to GHQ staff (central authority) and was out of step and unauthorised to initiate the coup. These claims and counterclaims are really unimportant to the argument here, what is important and is so blatantly obvious is that there was a 'gap' between Belfast and Dublin, with Belfast feeling that it was underrepresented at CENTRAL AUTHORITY level had to succumb to the dictates of Dublin and primarily the chief of staff. This development effectively broke the chain of command within the movement. Dublin (GHQ i.e. chief of staff) immediately halted all resources and materials to the Belfast brigade and made it clear that unless Belfast accepted their decision, nothing more would be forthcoming. With this Belfast resigned itself to open rebellion and a number of seniors figures in the movement, including the chief of staff, were shot. This rebellion was an attack on the central authority of the movement and was a sorry day in its history. Again we can clearly see the structural defeats which where present here, namely NO DISCIPLINE, ACCOUNTABILITY, COHERENCY, CENTRAL LEADERSHIP, LEGITIMACY, INTERNAL DEMOCRACY, POLITICS IN CONTROL AND COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP. Albeit with the benefit of hindsight, all those instrumental in pursuing this attack on the central authority now fully accept they were wrong. This admission relays the rights and the wrongs of this era and the argument contained within, but that's another story. Here what we need to understand is "WHY?" this development occurred in the first place. The answer has already been hinted at and is really quite obvious. All power within the movement lay at the central authority, which the chief of staff dominated. Belfast personnel felt underrepresented at this level and unable to initiate real change. The central authority was run in an autocratic fashion and they could see no other avenue open to them to rectify their grievances other than the rebellion. So while their action was wrong and should always be seen as such, it is also understandable when viewed in this context. So once again, we see that this specific development sprang from the structural defects of the movement. If a COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP had been in place representative of the movement as a whole - which includes the party - then minor grievances like those above would be quickly and fairly resolved and would not fester and evolve into such negative and wholly unnecessary developments, which only result in set backs and damage to the movement and ultimately the struggle. From the two developments mentioned here we can see the absence of a fully empowered and fully functioning COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP, lead only to uncertainty, instability and the rapid emergence of structural defects, NO DISCIPLINE, ACCOUNTABILITY, LEGITIMACY, INTERNAL DEMOCRACY, etc. If those sorts of problems are prevalent within the structures of any movement or organisation, then it will be completely INEFFECTIVE in whatever its objective is! For any ruling body to function properly and rule, then there are certain prerequisites, which must be secured, the most fundamental being that it has LEGITIMACY and the consent of that it claims to rule. The lower echelons of the movement must acquiesce to the leadership's right to control and run the movement, and this should only be achieved via DEMOCRATIC type mechanism. The leadership should then function in accordance with the PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP, and not in an autocratic or semi-autocratic style, with one person having excessive power and influence over others. If this is so and one man is as arbiter, the ruler, the decider, then he will also be seen as the undemocratic autocrat, leading ultimately to conflict between him and the lower echelons of the organisation. If it is the case where two or three persons are seen to be acting in the same way, the only difference is that the autocratic 'clique' replaces the autocratic 'individual'! The consequences are the same - inevitable conflict. We know of a practical example - one of many exists in socialist countries - where the principle of collective leadership has been tried, tested, and works. Mozambique! So we are not speaking of the impossible or some unattainable fantasy -- 'collective leadership' is a proven structure, which works, and not only works but also produces successful revolutions. COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP is not restricted or confined to central leadership level; it is a process which should percolate from the top down at all, levels within the movement. It is a means for analysis; it promotes consensus, coherency, debate, clarity and progress. It is a principle which must be encouraged at all levels from 'cell' to leadership - in discussing the best, most effective and safest method of operation up to planning and developing of future policy and strategy - political activities at cumman level up to the formulating and publishing of revolutionary programme at leadership level. The process of COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP must be employed! By creating a broad-based COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP, and the principles of collective leadership throughout the movement, we will bring not only an efficient policy, decision and planning process into being, but it will restore and uphold the movements central authority and legitimacy of such a body and ensure the structural defects which has plagued the movement will not materialised, and ultimately help produce a truly revolutionary movement. PART THREE This is the third and final stage of our draft. It spans the era from late 1981-1986 and as before rather than trying to investigate events/developments on a day to day basis we shall concentrate on two developments in 1982, while generally to the five years as a whole. Our main theme here will be INSTABILITY, which, at the conclusion of this draft, we will relate back to the general theme of STRUCTURE. The legacy of the preceding period (1972-1981), which was covered in the two previous drafts, was inherited in full by this era, but two specific developments of 1982 were to directly intensify and compound the already chronic problems of the previous eras. This resulted in the beginning of a period of intense INSTABILITY, which as the years 1981,82,83 etc unfolded, continued and grew worse. All the structural problems referred to in stage one (the ten concepts) continued unabated and even spiralled and took on greater dimensions. We shall direct our attentions to early 1982 and concentrate on two developments which were to greatly intensify the movement's problems, but remember while we are concentrating specifically on 1982, as we broaden out we are referring to and analysing the period 1981-1986 in general. To get a clear understanding, we will look at each of the 1982 developments separately, and then draw them together to view their direct consequences on the entire movement as a whole. A factor essential to both these developments is to firstly grasp the overall situation of the movement at this specific time just prior to it. That is, remember, that in December 1981 after a gradual build-up of activity the general authority in Dublin was attacked by the Belfast brigade, resulting in the wounding of a senior member! The direct consequence of this was, in general, a North and South polarisation. There was in effect a division in the movement. Before this division was satisfactorily healed the first two developments 'exploded' onto the scene. That explosion was the supergrass-informer era! When discussing supergrasses there are two points, which must be fully grasped and understood. Firstly, that this policy was a totally new phenomenon to hit republicans (scale-wise) and was therefore bound to shake republican organisations to the rafters; and secondly, in relation to a relatively small organisation like ours, one highly-placed informer could cause irreparable damage (as was to happen). Of course it's easy to be wise after the cat has bolted, and yes, knowing what we know now, it is possible to implement safeguards to limit and contain such damage from informers, but all new phenomenon cause initial difficulty and hardship simply because they are new and unknown. Without dwelling on the actual numbers and names of persons involved, what we can safely say without fear of contradiction, was what the supergrass-informers did was to almost decimate the movement in the North. A number of highly placed informers from Belfast, and others from Craigavan and Derry, systematically brought the movement to its knees, by imprisoning the majority of the Northern leadership and activists, either in jail or on the run, and the link with the central authority was not solid, those on the ground in the north were almost leaderless and had to begin from almost scratch. By mid 1982 INSTABILITY reined in the north. The second development of 1982 concerned the south, and what was the central authority (GHQ). With the attack on the GHQ by Belfast, a great deal of resentment and more accurately, disillusionment hit the ranks of the movement down South. This was only the minor factor, but combined with the major factor, it was to have dire consequences. The major factor was the imprisonment in the South of several leading figures in the movement. The combination of both these factors was to leave the South in conditions very similar to that of the North -- leaderless and demoralised. By 1982 instability reigned in the South. If we now study both the above developments together, we had a situation which reads like this: a division between North and South, resulting in demoralisation and isolation of some good movement people, both North and South seriously weakened by the imprisonment of key personnel and consequently both areas suffering from intense INSTABILITY! Combining both developments, it is no exaggeration to say that the movement, both North and South was 'almost' decimated with the leadership almost wiped out. The ultimate consequence of the developments of 1982 was to create a massive void (it can almost be said that save for a dozen or more a new movement was built from here). This void had to be filled and with no disrespect to those around at this period (1982 onwards), the filling of this void and the behaviour of the movement thereafter, set the movement on a deeper downward trend direction. [DIGRESSION: It is not the objective of these drafts to level blame or responsibility on individuals, nor groups nor specific era's but to emphasise STRUCTURAL DEFECTS, which create the conditions, which allow individuals, etc to fall foul and retard. In defence of those in control around this period 1982-86 many of their problems were inherited from previous eras, but their mistakes lie in their failure to re-appraise and analysis the situation anew, and take the necessary steps to rectify the problems of the movement, including the rejection of the inherited traits and aspects, and instead, start afresh! This was not done. END OF DIGRESSION] The filling of this void resulted in the following attitudes flourishing in the movement over this period under discussion: (1) Leadership positions had to be filled. (No attempt made to re-structure on more pragmatic basis) This "filling" of positions was carried out on the basis of filling unoccupied positions from the selection of people, friends, etc available, and not on the basis of 'merit and experience' having already been proven (there were, however, some exceptions) -- this resulted in less-than capable persons holding down senior rank which was clearly beyond their ability. (2) Eagerness to quickly establish 'their' credentials as leadership material. This resulted in the same old yardstick of progress - a body count - the more Brits/RUC killed the more progress made! No thought in building. (3) To facilitate the above, mass recruitment drive - open door policy! This resulted in some undesirable elements being brought into the movement, (no thought of the supergrass-informers) and also a dreadful and almost immoral regard for new recruits, displayed in lack of basic preparation: education, training, anti-interrogation, etc. (4) The philosophy of "short term thinking for immediate benefit" (expediency) was at the centre of the movement's thinking. There was absolutely no time perspective nor projection of thought to the future. This resulted in some of the most disgraceful and dreadful behaviour ever carried out by members of this movement. The above four points are not entirely exclusive to this era, but they took on new dimensions during this particular era in that they were central, widespread and continuously getting worse! Many of the ten structural concepts mentioned in part one of this draft can be seen in the above four points, for example in point (1) above INTERNAL DEMOCRACY, LEGITIMACY AND COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP were again neglected here. And, during this era, not once but twice i.e., two different C/S; in point (2) above POLITICS IN COMMAND is again neglected. During 1981 the party correctly intervened at elections and won a couple of seats in Belfast, but within months this ground was lost. We 'retarded' instead of progressing and failed to learn the lessons evident in the wake of the hunger strike. POLITICS WERE AGAIN NOT IN COMMAND, progress was measured in body count: In point (3) above COHERENCY, ACCOUNTTABILITY, DISCIPLINE, EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS, all these concepts totally neglected. The ironic thing about it is that so closely on the heels of the supergrass psychology/fear, internal security, vetting and recruitment got continuously worse instead of better. Members of this movement carried out a number of despicable sectarian attacks on defenceless, harmless and totally innocent people with our weapons. Granted, they attacked on their own batt, but the failure here lies in the complete absence of ACCOUNTABILITY and DISCIPLINE; point (4) ALL TEN CONCEPTS are typified in this one point, from the first POLITICS IN COMMAND to the tenth EFFECTIVENESS. The philosophy of short term thinking for immediate benefit without prior consideration of the consequences for the future is totally, utterly and morally wrong! From 1982-1986 things got increasingly worse. A STRUCTURE in practice did not exist, statergy and policy were almost unexistent and the movement functioned in a hip-hop fashion, devoid of any worthwhile foresight. Again this is not entirely exclusive to this era, but it took on greater dimensions here and is typified in the expansion of the movement's sphere of influence and operations. Areas which were never within our sphere suddenly sprang into life and burst into action - Newry, Downpatrick and several rural border areas. Mass recruitment began and these areas were given weaponry and the autonomy to operate as they saw fit. There was little if any preparation, training education etc given to any of these areas. As a result no effective STRUCTURE existed, and therefore there was little CENTRAL AUTHORITY, COHERENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, DISCIPLINE, EFFICIENCY or EFFECTIVENESS. The fault does not lie with the men on the ground, it is the responsibility of the leadership to lead - this they failed to do! Between the years 1982 to 1986 the chief of staff changed hands six times! There has been at least two occasions where this transformation of power has developed in an undemocratic fashion, which some may refer to as a 'coups' without violence. There has been one serious development involving several incidents of violence in what can only be viewed as purge of some politically-minded persons by 'military minded' persons in an attempt to consolidate and reinforce military rule and dictate! These few facts alone conclusively substantiate the chains of intense INSTABILITY, which are being made here. Those were the developments in the movement on the outside. In the prisons INSTABILITY run riot, and transformed into STARK DIVISIONS with bitter and disgraceful scenes of aggression and violence amongst the divided groups. This development itself (the Crum) is both complex and difficult and is itself a topic in demand of intense analysis reasons as to why the dispute happened there would be considered incomplete. What is important is that there was a dispute and it further added to the INSTABILITY of the entire movement. A dispute, which highlighted the lack of discipline, etc. The net result of this INSTABILITY is that the movement has literally been pulled asunder and has broken down into 'camps' or power blocks. Its image, credibility and personnel have been seriously damaged and demoralised, but the most negative and sinister side effect of all this INSTABILITY has been a pervasive and persistent attitude of conspiracy and mistrust among us. The reality is this: The attack on the central authority in late 1981 effectively broke the back of the command structure within the movement. WHY? Because those responsible got away with it with complete impunity and simply set about building THEIR central authority. This move established the PRECEDENT where, if you don't like or agree with those at the top, or you can't get your own way with them, then the only way to rectify it is to remove them, either by intimidation, force or treat of force! Out of the intense INSTABILITY of 1982-1986 sprang several different "trends of thought" groups which ultimately may, or already have, transformed into power blocks, each competing for the reins of power which were 'available' because of the void created with the decimation of the leadership in the two developments of 1982. Each of these different trends/groups/power blocks where and are usually personified in an individual, and that while it is argued that ALL have the interests of the movement at heart, some of them over the years, have got movement personnel (ego - my, our, groups, movements) interests mixed up along the line, while others have quite evidently proved incompetent and reckless in the direction and leadership they gave. These trends of thought/power blocks have evolved over this past four or five years and are possibly continuing to evolve and change. So, it is relatively easy to understand where the conspiratorial attitude and mistrust springs from - between these or some of these trends of thought. The present reality is this: in the absence of a CENTRAL AUTHORIY empowered with the legitimacy and prepared to enforce, DISCIPLINE and ACCOUNTABILITY on all individuals and areas within the movement, then these varied trends, groups etc will continue to fester and flourish unabated, and in such conditions, there will be no unity of thought and action and INSTABILITY will continue to rein. The whole theme of INSTABILITY is equated with the absence of CENTRAL AUTHORITY and the continuing flourishing of different trends. This analysis has claimed that CENTRAL AUTHORITY and INSTABILITY and trends will continue - but the analysis has also claimed in the previous two sections of this draft, that CENTRAL AUTHORITY is dependent on COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP which is dependent on ABSOLUTE LEGITIMACY which is dependent on INTERNAL DEMOCRACY and all these secondary problems are all dependent on the basic contradiction/problem of this movement - POLITICS MUST BE IN COMPLETE COMMAND. The alarming things about the "trends" spoke of above, is that some insist on, or may insist on "their" analysis, their theories, their pre-conditions and their way, being dominated in the future of the movement. The old precedent of 1981 is still there, and some people believe they can run contrary to what GHQ staff says. There is no room in this movement for autocrats or monopolies of power, there is equally no room for one section to hold the entire movement to ransom with them having it all 'their' way or else! Fundamental principles and priorities need to be defined and agreed upon. This analysis has concentrated on the general theme of STRUCTURE and each of its three parts has concentrated on a specific theme. The writer believes these three themes are the three fundamentals around which the movement should be rebuilt: (1) POLITICS IN COMMAND: I.E, the army should be subordinate to the party. (2) THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP: The end of autocrats and one-man shows. (3) STABILITY: Re-establish central authority - end groups/trends/factions. As outlined in part one of this draft, from the above principles, a structure can be pieced together and will result in: (1) POLITICS IN COMMAND (2) INTERNAL DEMOCRACY (3) ABSOLUTE LEGITIMACY (4) COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP (5) CENTRAL AUTHORITY (6) COHERENCY (7) ACCOUNTABILITY (8) DISCIPLINE (9) EFFICIENCY (10) EFFECTIVENESS Twelve years is long enough to wander in the wilderness, it is now time for this movement to tackle the fundamentals, learn from the past and benefit from our mistakes. It will take a resolute leadership and the use of a firm but fair hand to drag this movement back onto the rails. Those who stand in the way of development and progress must be cast aside, no one or group will dictate solely the pace and path this movement will take to overcome its difficulties. Those who seek to impose shackles must be cast aside without hesitation. We either go forward or backward. Finally let us return to what we said in the first page of part one. There we said our objective in this draft, was an attempt to UNDERSTAND THE PAST so that we may ANALYSE THE PRESENT in order to INFLUENCE THE FUTURE. This is a bold claim to make, and an even bolder one to succeed with. If we have achieved even part of that success, then the effort has been worthwhile.
  3. nico

    Any ideas for the forum?

    That sounds good a chara! We have a forum "Reports from the Field" where we could incorporate your idea. Also, I agree with keeping it an all inclusive forum and not a divided forum full of sub-groups. PS. Good to see Loach na nGael again since he was ostracised from the other place
  4. This evening at Bilbao, citizens filled and refilled Autonomia street (one of the largest streets of Bilbao) again. Jon Garai of Egin Dezagun Bidea (Let Us Make the Path),ad hoc platform that gathered at least 15,000 signatures to call for this demonstration, declared in his speech: We will not accept more excuses. There can be no more delays. Beginning tomorrow the Basque Society does not expect any other scenario than the disappearance of the cruel exception measures applied to Basque prisoners, closing that way a grey period, in order to open the door to a new time that brings us to a situation of freedom and rights for all, a situation of definite peace without prisoner nor exiles. At this time the end of the demonstration had not yet began walking, and half the city criedEuskal Presoak Etxera!: Basque Prisoners Back Home! Relatives of Basque prisoners opened the march The demonstration was opened by a bloc of relatives of the prisoners carrying five oil lamps (icon taken from Picasso's Guernica painting representing the hope of reunion), followed by many political and social leaders, not just Basque but also from Ireland and Catalonia, Galicia and many other corners of SW Europe, all the preceded by a banner which read: Eskubide guztiekin euskal presoak Euskal Herrira Repatriate all Basque Prisoners (The first sentence actually reads in Basque: Basque prisoners back to the Basque Country with full rights). The speech of Garai, who also demanded that the Basque majority who demands the return of prisoners and exiles is heard and fulfilled, was followed by another by Inés Osinaga, who repeated the demand and suggested that it is a necessary step to open the doors fully to the final resolution of the [basque-Spanish] conflict. Bilbao was boiling since noon with people arrived from all the Basque Country and beyond for this demonstration, with a number of lesser protests and marches happening under its shadow. Moment when the demo's head arrived to Zabalburu Plaza, meeting even more people who were waiting there to join half way to the end http://forwhatwearet...ues-demand.html
  5. Go raibh maith agat a chara! The flats where I live, after a 10 year wait, were due to be redeveloped but the plans have since been stalled for 3 years or more by the developer. It would great for the residents to have their own communal garden and would give people a well needed moral boost.
  6. nico

    Any ideas for the forum?

    Here's a wee pic I've been messing around with
  7. OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS Article 11, General Comment 4, The Right to Adequate Housing "The right to housing should not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having a roof over one's head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity. Rather it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity." Save Charlemont Street FaceBook: http://www.facebook....118996854837382 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMOvYcDBaeI&feature=plcp&context=C3a4c2f6UDOEgsToPDskLm0aRna2wQvyv6IV80PskF
  8. THE DEVELOPER Sean Reilly is the developer who Dublin City Council has "provided consent to the applicant for the lodgment of his application, seeking a ten year permission to redevelop Charlemont Street" so in other words we could be waiting another ten years for anything to happen. It is also rumored that Sean Reilly is also one of the Anglo Irish Ten who got loans of between €9.7 million and €56.5 million from Anglo Irish Bank that is now being footed by the tax-payer. 10 years ago Charlemont Street was supposed to be refurbished by Dublin City Council, but that plan was scrapped and we are still in desperate need for a full refurbishment. Charlemont Street was then supposed to be redeveloped as part of a previous Public Partnership Deal with developer McNamara but fell through due to the collapse in the property market, now the Council has giving the PPP deal to Sean Reilly, with no guarantees that this deal wont fall through like the previous one. Sean Reilly's architects put forward redevelopment plans to the residents and they were approved. The way they did this was by organising small collective meetings with the residents instead of having everyone there at once to have their say like they did before. Since then the flats have been left to rot with many residents having to forcibly move home to a more suitable accommodation, does this sound like a person who has the welfare of the community at heart ? Today in Dublin, many inner city communities are being destroyed by private property developers who are collaborating with Dublin City Council all in the name of profit. Ballymun, Dolphins Barn, Rialto, Saint Michael’s Estate, Charlemont Street have all become victims of this process, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, many more communities throughout Dublin remain in the same situation as do many more across the country. Above the black line/private property/Below the black line/social housing The above picture outlines the regeneration plans for the Flats Complex. As you can see the community is going to be directly cut in half to make way for private property while the remaining residents are to be crammed into a smaller tight space and pushed to the back. There is no reason as to why we should have to give up half of our own community just so we can all live in adequate housing, something that is a right. Dublin City Council (DCC) has let the flats run down into a state of degradation so that the residents would accept any proposals giving to them. This tactic has been used against other communities in the past and still continues to this today. The residents of Charlemont Street need to be brought back to the decision making table! We need to drag Dublin City Council, property developer Sean Reilly and the Redevelopment Group who represents us, back to the table and let them know what we want as residents of Charlemont Street. We need to give our own input into the regeneration plans and be kept informed of everything going on, trivial or small! As it stands, the current Redevelopment Group has failed to address the many problems we face today as a community. Instead they are more favourable of going through DCC’s regeneration process without fixing the problems that the residents are forced to live in now e.g. dampness, faulty wiring…etc. They are looking too far ahead and not thinking about the consequences at hand. Depopulating the flats and the promise of brand new homes is not progress. Pressure needs to be applied to both the Redevelopment Group and DCC to make our homes habitable before any thoughts of regeneration takes place. We cannot continue to live in squalor any longer we need to demand change now! Damp Riddled Bedroom Inadequate Housing Is Human Rights Abuse, End it NOW! We have now being informed that a recent article in the "Sun" of all papers, has stated that the redevelopment of Charlemont Street has now been put on hold for 3 years or more by the shady property developer Sean Reilly and the bastard landlords of Dublin City Council. Its not a great start to the new year for the residents of Charlemont Street and an utter disgrace that we were informed of the news from a British red rag tabloid newspaper instead of or representatives. Hopefully more light will be shed on the subject at next weeks community meeting!
  9. nico

    Any ideas for the forum?

    Go raibh maith agat a chara! I just tried the button there and it worked.
  10. This is something we want in the flats where I live. Not so long ago a few residents tried to make a communal garden with vegetables and flowers etc.. They never followed it through as they aren't keen gardeners and didn't know what to do. In the near future I'll be organising to do it properly and will be looking for some volunteers and someone who might have a bit of experience in this field.
  11. nico

    Any ideas for the forum?

    Just noticed the "View new Content" button isn't working at the moment, or maybe its just me?
  12. nico

    Any ideas for the forum?

    Tá fóram go hiontach! An-Maith a buachaillí! I think the sections are fine the way they are. The problem with other forums is that there are too many sections and threads strewn about the place, less is more as they say.