The Irish 'Peace Process'

.. an anarchist perspective

RUC women frombehind

Articles and statements about the Irish 'Peace Process' and the IRA cease-fires published by the anarchist group Workers Solidarity Movement. Articles are placed below in the order they were published. Pre peace process articles can be found at Imperialism and northern Ireland

The IRA cease-fire and republican politics
The 'Irish peace process' is now well into its second year. It has brought respectability for Sinn Féin but little of consequence for the Irish working class - North or South. Gregor Kerr a member of the National Committee of the Irish Anti Extradition Committee in the late 1980s, looks at events leading up to the cease-fire and Sinn Féin's pan-nationalist strategy.

Sectarianism in the north and the fight against it
This talk is about sectarianism in the North. Sectarianism is something that has existed to a greater or lesser extent in Ireland since the plantations and must be overcome if socialism can be introduced 

From 1992

The IRA and its armed struggle : A Bloody Long War
Gerry Adams is no longer an MP. The politicians and media pundits are over the moon with joy. In the immediate aftermath we were subjected to a barrage of questions and comments. Will there be an escalation of the armed struggle? Will there be a ceasefire?

From 1993

Articles 2 & 3: What would you do with them?
In an upcoming referendum anarchists will oppose the deletion of Article 2. We do so, not because we support the 26 county state over the 6 county one, but because we are opposed to the partition of Ireland.

After Warrington: A new Peace Movement?
Peace 1993 has started with the analysis we are offered again and again by our rulers and the media. Paramilitaries, especially republican ones, are portrayed as gangsters and psychopaths used and manipulated by cynical "godfather's of crime".

From 1994 before the Ceasefire

The Downing street declaration and the republicans
The peace negotiations represented the culmination of two trends. Firstly there is increasing war weariness and disillusionment among nationalists. On the British side a second factor has come into play. The massive bill for the devastation of several parts of the business heart of London prompted the British government to begin talking

Ireland, Sinn Fein and the peace talks
The peace talks represent the ditching of Sinn Féin's left gloss and a return to good old nationalist politics, pure and simple.

It was always time to go..Troops out now!
25 years ago, on Thursday, August the 15th, 1969, 400 soldiers from the Prince of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment took up positions around Derry city.

Nationalism...No Thanks
Anarchists are for the defeat of British imperialism. But we want more, we stand for the creation of a new society in the interests of the working class and against the bosses, both orange and green.

Republicanism and anarchism - a talk delivered just before the cease fire was declared
While the prospect of an end to political violence would doubtless be welcomed by the vast majority of people living on this island and especially by the population of the 6-Counties, it is important for all of us to realise where the so-called "peace process" is leading

Our reaction to the cease-fire


Whats happening in the six counties?
Last Autumn the speed at which events in Northern Ireland were moving wrong-footed pundits across the political spectrum. British soldiers shouldered arms and swaped hard hats for natty berets, loyalists attacked police stations, Gerry Adams was "Mandelifeid" (to coin a phrase) into a serious statesman with a cute North Belfast brogue.

A new loyalist party?
David Ervine of the UVF linked Progressive Unionist Party, Gusty Spence and Gary McMichael of the UDA's Ulster Democratic Party are all talking about is a new working class loyalist political party. There is much talk of how the ordinary working class Protestant has gained nothing from the old loyalism, of poor housing and the lack of respect shown to them by the "fur coat brigade".

..Time to stop beating the Orange drum
Orange sectarianism is not without a material base, and it is not some sort of frightened reaction to militant republicanism. Unless we understand the basis for sectarianism we will not be able to uproot it. When Protestant workers accept loyalist values they are joining an alliance with their bosses.

One year on: Evaluating the Ceasefire
The IRA ceasefire is approaching its first anniversary. That year has been striking for two things, on the one hand the success of the 'peace process' in turning Sinn Féin from demonised pariahs to lauded peace makers. On the other hand, the failure of the process to produce any substantial gains for the nationalist community.

Troops out : Prisoners out
We welcome the cease-fire. The "peace process", however, has little to recommend it. It represents little more than arguments over who exactly will administer capitalism in Ireland.

Dump the politicians off your backs
The problem for the unionist politicians is that, unlike the period of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, when over a hundred thousand could be mobilised in demonstrations, now they are unable to organise any significant opposition.

Neither Orange nor Green
Sinn Féin's politics offer little more to Northern workers, as a class, than the politics of the fringe loyalist groups. Both aspire to getting a better deal for the poor and oppressed in their communities but neither are capable of delivering, as they are limited to rhetorical appeals to the workers of the other side to "see sense"


It's still an Orange state
Again this year loyalist parades were forced through nationalist areas destroying any illusions that the British state is neutral in the 6 counties.

Reacting to the City of London bomb & the end of the 1st cease-fire

Bombs are no solution
After the end of the IRA cease-fire what sort of politics are needed to bring permanent peace


For starters in No 50.
News of the activities of the WSM in the Winter of 1997; in the unions opposing Partnership 2000 and marching in the Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Derry.

Irish nationalism is not for us
Anarchists are for the defeat of British imperialism. But we want more, we stand for the creation of a new society in the interests of the working class. This is very different from the politics of nationalism, of Sinn Fein

The real difference is not between Catholic & Protestant but between rich and poor
Some republicans seem to be genuinely surprised that the 'peace process' collapsed. How can anything be expected from the British state which was responsible for Bloody Sunday, for smashing the miners strike, for running down the NHS

Gerry Adams..A man you can do business with
The latest meeting between the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Sinn Féin leadership took place on March 25th. Whatever the Sinn Féin leadership and the CBI are constructing together it's not part of a path which leads to a united socialist Ireland.

What's another (Irish) life?
British army officers let the cat out of the bag.

Unionist MP supports anti-Catholic threats

From 1998

Look Who's Talking Now [Spring 1998]
The result of the talks will almost certainly be to make sectarianism official and institutionalise it. We will see Unionist and Nationalist politicians going into competition for investment from the multinationals and the E.U. for "their" areas

Statement on the May 22nd Irish referenda ('Peace agreement') (May 1998)

Hobson's choice : The "Good Friday Agreement" & the Irish Left (October 1988)
The "Good Friday Agreement" was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters North and South. The agreement presented something of a Hobson's Choice for the Irish working-class - which route to an entrenchment of sectarianism do you want to take? Here Gregor Kerr looks at the reactions to the agreement of the Irish left.

Peace deal offers sectarian war or sectarian peace [Summer 1998]
The huge vote, North and South, in favour of the 'Good Friday Agreement' shows that the vast majority do not want a return to pre-ceasefire violence. Can this agreement get to the root of the sectarian problem and deal with the hatreds, fears and suspicions that have bedevilled our country?

No More Omaghs (Autumn 1988)
For almost three decades we have seen too many "tragic mistakes" like Bloody Friday, Birmingham, the La Mon Hotel, Enniskillen, the Abercorn restaurant, Claudy, the Shankill Road, etc. etc. Planting bombs in town centres means treating the risk of casualties as "acceptable"


Marching to nowhere :Stirring Up Sectarian Hatred (Summer)
It is a great tragedy that once again this July the working class population of Belfast's Lower Ormeau will be mobilising to try and stop the Orange Order from marching down their road. A tragedy because the Order should never get that far.

The Orange Order: An enemy of all workers (Summer)
The reality of the Orange Order is that it is a counter-revolutionary institution set up and maintained to target not just Catholics but also 'disloyal' Protestants.

The more things change, the more they stay the same (Autumn)
George Mitchell has flown in to Belfast and begun a round of meetings with political parties in the North in a supposed "review" of the Good Friday Agreement.


The Executive is still no way forward
There will be a lot of huffing and puffing, but it is hard to see Sinn Féin walking away from the 'peace process'. Decommissioning, in some form or other, will probably happen &endash; but not in a hurry

Statement on intimidation of members of the Republican Writers Group (Nov 2000)
The Workers Solidarity Movement is totally opposed to the intimidation of members of the Republican Writers Group in Belfast.


RWG : Defend Freedom of Speech
On the morning of Wednesday 7th February, Anthony McIntyre - a member of the Irish Republican Writers Group (IRWG) - was physically attacked and injured by one of the leading participants in the recent Sinn Fein led pickets on his home in West Belfast.

'Good Friday' - 3 years on has anything changed?
3 years on from the 'Good Friday' Agreement, and with the 6 Counties facing into a general election, it's a good time to ask whether anything has really changed on the Northern political landscape

Sectarian intimidation & North Belfast
The horrifying ongoing scenes of sectarian intimidation outside Holy Cross Primary School in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast have shocked everyone.


Sectarianism in North Belfast
As an Anarcho-Syndicalist, living in North Belfast I was interested to see Gregor Kerr's recent article, 'Sectarianism and North Belfast' in Workers Solidarity.

Crime and community policing
The term 'community policing' has been much abused in recent times, most particularly in the North of Ireland where it has become shorthand for vicious punishment beatings and shootings. In this article Gregor Kerr takes a look at the issue of community policing - what it is and more importantly what it isn't. The question of what levels of real community policing would actually be possible or allowed under capitalism is looked at, and the debate about crime, anti-social behaviour and reactions to it in an anarchist society is touched on.]

Morons in Power
If only these clowns got as offended by hospital waiting lists, sectarian thuggery, pensioners living in poverty, and all the other suffering that the Sinn Fein-Unionist-SDLP-DUP coalition presides over each and every day in the Executive

Religious sectarianism in Northern Ireland and how to deal with it
It goes without saying that any political theory is only any good if it passes the test of real everyday practice, - I want to put forward these few ideas on tackling religious sectarianism

Sectarianism deepens in North
The results of the 2001 Life and Times survey in the north of Ireland confirm that sectarian attitudes are spreading and deepening.


Colombia 3 - wrong people in the dock
The trial of the Colombia 3 has produced a frenzy of speculation in the Irish media about whether they are guilty or not, and how this might effect the 'peace process'.


Republicanism in Crisis &endash; Is There An anarchist alternative?
Since the beginning of December and the collapse of the latest attempt at the creation of a power-sharing devolved government in the North, and more particularly since the Northern Bank robbery, the political establishment has been striving to outdo each other in the stridency of their condemnation of the Republican Movement. Text of talk given to Cork WSM public meeting

Red and Black Ireland

News of Anarchism in Ireland

The Ainriail mailing list carries the latest news from the WSM and the struggles anarchists are involved in. There are never more then 8 posts a week (and normally only 2-4). We post printed articles to it shortly after they are published.

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See also

Print out and distribute this PDF booklet by clicking on the image below

The Orange Order pamphlet

PDF booklet: The Orange Order & sectarianism in Ireland

Articles include

  • The Orange Order - an enemy of ALL workers
  • The Protestant working class
  • Time to stop beating the Orange Drum
  • Marching to nowhere
  • Stirring Up Sectarian Hatred
  • King Billy Revisited
  • The 1798 Rebellion and the Orange Order
  • When the Falls and the Shankill fought together
  • Peace deal offers sectarian war or sectarian peace
  • Neither Orange nor Green


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