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This document from People’s Democracy is perhaps indicative of the shift in the thinking in that organisation that took place in the early to mid 1970s, and particularly in the wake of the Ulster Workers’ Council strike. This shift was indicated by a developing belief in the prospects of a Unionist and Loyalist takeover of Northern Ireland and a sense that this would mean a ‘sectarian civil war launched by loyalists’.
This pessimism informs the document. For example it makes the argument that the Six Counties is tilting towards fascism and that…
…In times of crisis when capitalism is under serious attack the bosses have to turn to the petit-bourgeoisie for help as well. That’s where Fascism comes in.
And it makes a link with the UK.
But as a crisis approaches they have to let Fascist parties organise, drill and beat up their opponents and the Army and police have to collaborate with them and give tacit support - exactly what is happening in Britain at the moment, as the authorities tolerate and protect the National Front.
Which it then brings closer to home:
The parallels between continental fascism and the situation in the 6 counties are obvious. British Imperialism is in a serious crisis in the North. They have tolerated, even encouraged the growth of Loyalist paramilitary organisations… and are now conceding their every demand. The UDA, UVF, Red Hand, UFF etc with their violent sectarianism, thuggery and occasional outbursts against the old Unionist ‘fur coat brigade’ are almost a carbon copy of the Brownshirts in Germany or the Blackshirts in Italy.
And the intrinsic sense of further decline and collapse is made clear by the following:
At the moment the imperialists hope to hand over power to the Parliamentary right-wingers like Paisley and West and are only using the Loyalist paramilitary groups as shock-troops to beat the Catholics into submission. If that doesn’t work however they will hand over to a fully-fledged Fascist regime if necessary.
It argues that if that occurs:
… the Loyalist murder-gangs will be institutionalised into a 50-60,000 strong B-Special force and will launch a reign of terror against all opposition elements.
And in relation to any potential opposition to such events taking place it continues:
Meanwhile because of their weak and muddled politics Provisional and Official Republicans and almost all socialist groups have been thrown in to utter confusion by the rise of the UDA, UVF etc. They have been fooled by the Loyalists’ ‘working-class’ image and phoney radicalism, into seeing their deadliest enemies as friends. The Officials called for joint patrols with the UDA and Daithi O’Connaill praised the ‘discipline’ of the UWC Lockout in May.
The document continues with a chapters devoted to ‘The Rise of Fascism in Europe’ and ‘Fascism in NI’ and these are similarly informed by the over arching anxiety as to the future. One curiosity is that no solution is proposed and although in the last chapter it accepts that ‘Ulster’s Fascists may never come to power’ this seems to cut against the analysis of the preceding pages.
More broadly in relation to the political trajectory of Peoples Democracy this provides a clear understanding of the direction it was taking.