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CPIR Statement: The GFA Excludes Politics from Ireland

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The GFA Excludes Politics from Ireland

 

It is popular to think of the Good Friday Agreement as a device for securing an absence of war in the six north-eastern counties of Ireland, by including former “rebels” into the administration of the occupation, and, beyond that, the bourgeois régime in general.

 

The sectarian nature of this arrangment has often been commented on, with, in effect, two sectarian places, or chairs, being established - one for the Protestants and one for the Catholics. Who the placeholders are at any given time is not structurally important. At the moment, the Democratic Unionist Party happens to sit in the Protestant chair, and Provisional Sinn Féin happens to sit in the Catholic chair.

 

What is not so popularly recognized is that the GFA equally endorses and legitimates the bourgeois régime in the other 26 counties of Ireland. Here, we have the permanent rule of a single class, i.e. the comprador class. This is the class of landowners, bankers, and state and private managers, who enrich themselves by corralling the labour, land and natural resources of Ireland into the service of foreign capital – traditionally, Anglo-Saxon capital.

 

In a certain sense, Gerry Adams is correct when he says that the GFA works towards the unification of Ireland. The working of the GFA has, in fact, tended to create a single comprador class in all of Ireland, regardless of religion or ethnic identification. Those ruled by this unified comprador class, north or south, will notice no difference in the régime they face. Gerry Adams has described PSF as “a party of business.” McGuinness, Robinson and other state managers trot the globe, enticing foreign capital to come and enjoy the willing docility of Irish labour – and grease the palms of the “All Island,” comprador class.

 

And so, in Ireland, the absence of war seems assured. "Competence" is the new title, which confers the right to rule. Therefore, the right to rule of the comprador class is beyond question - those Irishmen of account, those families who have shown their competence to rule by their very capture of wealth and power. The ruled, those who have shown their incompetence by failing to accumulate wealth, must bend their backs to their labour, and to their consumption – or else take the emigrant ship.

 

Politics, however, is quite different. As Plato tells us, politics only begins when the automatic right of certain men to rule is brought into question, i.e. when chance is introduced. Plato goes further. He claims that good government can only exist when those who desire power are denied it. The incompetent is far less a danger to the common good than the cunning man, who knows how to capture power. There is no politics without the element of chance. Chance is the very foundation of politics and democracy. The chance that somebody – scandalously, anybody - might think of a new way of doing things, and that others might like it. The chance that an economic system that provides for everybody might actually work better than a system of artificial lack, that keeps a small elite in power. Above all, the chance that something might happen that we had no expectation of – that the genuinely new might happen, and the dead hand of the old might loosen its grasp.

 

The GFA excludes this separation of power from those who desire it, and are cunning enough, and rich enough, to capture it. The GFA makes it an article of faith that the Irish comprador class are the only people who can competently rule in Ireland - under the direction of transnational capital. The GFA makes it an article of faith that competence, in its right to rule, should and must exclude all elements of chance. In effect, the GFA excludes politics from Ireland. Anyone who dares to question this exclusion, who dares to call for politics in Ireland, will be hounded, assaulted and interned as “dissidents” or “terrorists” or “criminals” - if they have the will to take action - or be dismissed as “hippies” and “Looney Lefties” if they don’t.

 

Communist Party of the Irish Republic

22nd November 2012

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