United Irishman
Organisation: Official Republican Movement
Contributors: Info
Colm Breathnach, Seán Curry, Eamonn McCann, Paul Moloney, John O'Neill, Debbie Waters
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

7th December 2009

This is a useful document which I think it is fair to say originates from the general direction of the Official Republican Movement, a 1990s split from the Workers’ Party, with a selection of guest contributors. That it takes the form of a reworked United Irishman (monthly newspaper of Official Sinn Féin) is telling. The linkages to 1798 are explicit as are the critiques of both the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and the concern about contemporary social ills such as drugs. The former - the GFA/BA -is assessed in a more favourable way than one might have imagined.

Colm Breathnach provides a piece on “The Left and the Rise of Sinn Féin”. It makes some interesting points, such as ‘The alarm bells of history should also warn us not to repeat the fundamental mistake of the WP of the 1980s - principled opposition to the Provos must never degenerate into irrational obsession’ but simultaneously is rooted in an analysis which is profoundly sceptical about the ability of SF to pursue a radical - let alone socialist - agenda.

Sociopolitical issues are dealt with in some detail, for example women’s poverty which an article by Orla Brennan notes that the very experience of poverty by men and women can be markedly different, as can the risks of falling into it. And this concentration on the sociopolitical is followed by a piece on Restorative Justice which has a whole page devoted to it. And clearly in light of that one can discern a distinct Northern tilt, as with a piece on the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the execution of Henry Joy McCracken.

Eamonn McCann has a piece in it on John Hume and David Trimble, both Nobel Peace Prize winners, who both supported a factory which built components used in missile guidance systems being sited in Derry.

Note the short column that publicises An Eochair/The Key, ‘established to identify structures and systems designed to meet the needs of Official Republican Prisoners and their families’.This argues that ‘our ex-prisoners had no support while in prison and none on release. Families were left to cope on their own, any support given was limited. We decided to start a process where all our ex-prisoners can regain the respect and fair play they rightly deserve and have been denied for too long’.

No doubt there are many who would agree or dissent from that analysis.

The editorial is also of interest in terms of the relationship it posits with socialism.

All in all a document that attempts to link explicitly into a pre-existing political narrative and also rework it for the context of this decade.

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  • By: Ramzi Nohra Mon, 07 Dec 2009 13:24:08

    Hi WBS
    this is a good find. Is it definitely ORM? or are you saying it was put together by people who were then in WP but moved off to ORM?

    A number of interesting viewpoints and articles. Critical but not OTT article of the shinners which I thought was intelligently put together.

    Also noteworthy that they give the Garvaghy Road spokesperson space as I thought he was SF aligned, if not a member.

    Couldnt really make sense of the drugs article.

    Reply on the CLR

  • By: Rudolph Rocker Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:54:18

    It was definitly ORM. An Eochair is their ex-prisoners group.

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  • By: Ramzi Nohra Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:07:23

    OK thanks. That column was interesting too – bit of a dig at the previous regime.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 07 Dec 2009 17:35:32

    I was leery about putting it up simply as ORM, but what else is the provenance given the An Eochair column? There were clearly more than one or two issues. If anyone has copies I’d love to get hold of them.

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  • By: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung Fri, 11 Dec 2009 10:05:39

    […] Official Republican Movement: United Irishman, Januar 2000 * Brendan Ryan, Left Independent […]

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  • By: Miceal Tue, 15 Jan 2013 18:46:50

    Anyone know if this paper still being printed? (Or ORM’s other paper “An Solas”?)

    This one had a well-balanced perspective and broad range of interests you don’t see in many republican papers.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 15 Jan 2013 19:40:26

    In reply to Miceal.

    This was a one-off as far as I know Miceal.

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  • By: Miceal Sun, 20 Jan 2013 23:13:21

    Cheers WBS- one more question, are there any ORM-ers here?
    I find the group and their method intruiging, tho I’ve heard two versions about them: one that they’re an independent thinking group of activists with membership including even vets from the border campaign, and another (probably bullshite that always comes from a split) that they’re “a bunch of crims and hoods” (as one fella succinctly put it lol).

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