|Date:||18th January 1975|
|Issue:||Volume 2, Number 32|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
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Here’s a curiosity. An edition of Workers Weekly written soon after the announcement by the Provisional IRA that they were ending their then recent 25 day long ceasefire in 1974/75. WW is convinced that:
…for a few weeks the Catholic community in West Belfast have enjoyed a taste of normal life, largely free from the attentions of the British Army (and entirely free from the attentions of the Protestant assassination squads). All that is likely to change now and the Provos are not going to get any thanks for it.
The elision of Nationalist/Republican and Catholic is intriguing.
Then the reader is treated to a ‘Glimpse of Provo “Politics”….
The Irish Times of Jan 15th provided an interesting glimpse of Provo ‘Politics’ when it reproduced an interview given… ([in the] organ of the British Trotskyist International Marxist Group)… INTERVIEWER: What kind of withdrawal are you talking about? LOUGHRAN: Withdrawal of the British way of life from this island. This is Ireland. The British way of life has no place on this island. All things British we are talking about - not just the withdrawal of the British Army which is a necessary first step. That, for what it’s worth is the political programme of the Provo’s (and you thought the flat-earthers were mad?). What would be left if we lost the British way of life? The black taxis and french letters would have to go for a start, and presumably we would not be able to communicate in English anymore. The Provos would be a joke if they weren’t prepared to fight. With politics like these, had the Provos any alternative but to call off the ceasefire.
Even in the context of the paucity of political analysis offered by PIRA at this point in time - it’s hard to know whether taking one statement in one interview as being representative of PIRA or PSF thinking on this matter is entirely credible, and whether what the writer imagines is synonymous with the ‘British way of life’ is indeed what the spokesman had in mind.
Likewise with a piece that argues that Catholic Ireland is but 200 years old. The point is correct, but is such a dynamic markedly different from other societies during the same period where supposedly ancient and immutable structures validating societal outlooks were put in place.
There’s a short piece which lauds Romania along the lines of ‘the fastest growing economy in Eastern Europe’.
And the Officials also get a lash. According to the WA…
Surely they [the Officials] couldn’t mean the struggle against the British Army. They blame the Provos for the rise of sectarianism, and reprisal killings etc, conveniently forgetting that it was their so-called Civil Rights campaign which cause the violence initially. The OIRA, as they admitted themselves were the driving force and guiding light of the Civil Rights Association. They provoked the violence and the Protestant backlash in 1969 and capitalised on it afterards. They underestimated the determination of the old guard of die-hards who would never have let an opportunity like August 1969 slip by. Both Provos and Officials became quite strong military organisations but seeing the Provos were basicallymore honest adn didn’t have to keep on kidding themselves they were non sectarian they proved more durable, now they too are nearing their end.
To blame the Officials (or indeed the IRA, as was at the time) for the spasm of violence in 1969 was an unusual perspective even in 1975. Nor is it clear what they mean by the ‘so-called CR campaign’.
I’ll leave the last word, literally to the WA. At the foot of the final page we read…
It looks as if the milk is not the only think turning soar [sic] this weather.