Truth & Lies
32 County Sovereignty Movement
address by Francie Mackey
Whereas terms such as truth and lies can be relative, when they are applied to an occupation scenario they become relative to political expediency and ideological revisionism. British occupation is a truth maintained by lies. The politics of British occupation is primarily concerned with securing an Irish endorsement for its presence here and undermining by whatever means Irish efforts to remove it. And the lie that its Irish practitioners peddle is that British politics in Ireland has a democratic basis. Nothing could be further from the truth as eight hundred years of resistance testifies to. A true democracy would never give birth to such tenacious resistance. A true democracy would have no need to employ repression, sectarian division and state assassination. And a true democracy would have no need to foster political and social divisions amongst its own people in order to maintain itself. These are the history of the truth and lies of British occupation in our country.
In a conflict situation however the nobility of truth alone is not sufficient to overcome the deceitful apparatus of the occupation. Because within the melting pot of lies and counter lies the truth is invariably revised beyond any tangible recognition. Historical truth is poisoned. Contemporary truth is fabricated to convenience. Political truth is subordinated to populism and legal truth serves political expediency. And those who struggle most against this disease are those who are most maligned by fine tuned engines of lies.
For the republican struggle to properly utilise the concept of truth we must first translate it into political fact. For that political fact to be effective it must be made relevant to our people because there is no truth without people. This is the new language which present day republicans need to employ if our struggle against the deceit of the occupation is to succeed. We need to translate our history into contemporary relevance. We need to teach our people through the medium of a republican language that demonstrates the occupation is a denial of real rights and not some abstract concepts of such. And above all, as a compass for our struggle, we need to convince the people that all the many lies of British occupation are but aspects of one singular lie and that is that the Irish people are not a sovereign people and therefore not entitled to our own inalienable right to freedom.
If as a struggle we can base our politics on an immutable fact such as our right to sovereignty we can denude the British occupation to this immutable fact also. In such a case all the lies become one lie. If the case for Irish sovereignty is proven the case against all British lies denying it are proven also. And this is where the 32CSM speaks of translating the issue of national sovereignty into the language of relevance to the lives of our people.
Westminster is a lie in our country. Stormont is a lie for Westminster. The Assembly is a lie for Stormont and partition is a lie against Irish democracy. This circle of deceit goes back as far as the republican struggle can go. The manifestations of this deceit go equally as far back. MI5 is a lie in our country. The RUC is a lie for MI5. The PSNI is a lie for the RUC and the British judiciary is a lie against Irish justice. The British and Irish governments however have managed to translate these truths into the political lie that it is the behaviour alone of these entities which are the source of conflict and not their very presence in our country.
Everybody here can cite specific incidents against these agencies from Bloody Sunday to the Hunger Strikes to the recent debacle of the Sean Hoey case. Thousands of families have been affected by their activities but to confine our political resistance against them to their behaviour, as the politics of the Good Friday Agreement now does, is to fall headlong into the British trap of not directing our political resistance against their very existence. We cannot resolve political problems with the same political thinking which created them. British inquiries into British behaviour in Ireland are pointless. Home Rule politics will not remove partition. Sectarian headcounts will not democratise the statelet. Partitionist politics will not alter the mindset of the current body politic. Those who malign us by shouting loudest of their perceived achievements are only achieving what the British government allowed them to achieve. The political price for signing the GFA is best demonstrated by the price paid for cosmetic changes to the agencies of the state. The price for Provisional Sinn Fein is the calling for informers to be activated against republicans. It’s the calling for people to actively support the RUC in cases such as the Sean Hoey case. It’s the calling for people in the occupied area to look upon those who resist that occupation as criminals. For those doing this calling the circle of deceit alluded to earlier is now complete. For those who signed the GFA the constitutional question is suitably Ulsterised, suitably Normalised and suitably criminalized.
As we speak those who orchestrated the show trials and fabricated the evidence are constructing a modern, state of the art premises on Irish soil. They are beyond the reach of political scrutiny from any Irish quarter yet play a pivotal role in the political process here. Who could argue to any degree of credibility that the Policing Issue is resolved because they are now deemed accountable? What sort of accountability accepts that questions can be asked but that answers need not be given? Who here believes that toothless District Police Boards are anything more than a cosmetic sop to those who are now obliged to call us criminals? Political Policing has been ultimately achieved because politically PSF must support them. That politics now involves the insidious practice of felon setting, the practice of calling for informers and ultimately the justifying of the incarceration and or killing of Irish republicans. Cumman Na Gael stooped to this after they signed the 1922 Treaty. DeValera called in the English Hangman and allowed Irish republicans die on hunger strike in his prisons when he adopted the same politics. And Provisional Sinn Fein will follow suit. Already we can see a systematic campaign emanating from that party criminalizing those republicans who do not share their analysis. And we can also see patterns emerging within certain media publications propping up the Provisional line with wild and vexatious reports on republican activity.
If they criminalize one of us, they criminalize all of us that is why we must unite against this policy. There will be more Martin Brogan’s, more Seamus Doherty’s and more Sean Hoey’s because that is the nature of the beast.
The 32CSM offer our analysis in tandem with our strategic view as to how republicans can advance our position. We hold true to a number of political realities;
1. The Sovereignty of the Irish people is inalienable and indefeasible.
2. We can only realistically address the problems republicanism now faces if we realistically recognise that such problems exist.
3. We can ultimately achieve more for Irish republicanism if we act united under democratic principles.
The 32CSM has approached the struggle from a singular perspective which allows for the many aspects of the struggle to be politically expressed toward the root cause of the conflict, the British occupation and the denial of Irish National sovereignty. Our perspective is not dependent on historical events but is augmented by them. We argue against the status quo by challenging the status quo using a politics which is not born of the status quo. We believe in political engagement. We believe this struggle cannot be won by viewing our people as a tangent to that struggle. The struggle is not a contest between what our people chose in the past as opposed to what they choose now. That the vast majority of people on the island voted in favour of the GFA needs to be politically addressed by republicans and not just historically dismissed. This vote represents the strategic out workings of the British government securing an Irish endorsement for its illegal claim to sovereignty over part of our country. Not recognising that vote as an act of self determination by the Irish people is only the starting point for developing republican strategies against it. British Parliamentary activity in Ireland continues to strengthen its foothold whilst constitutional nationalism engages in All Ireland rhetoric to secure its partitionist electoral base. Republican truths require a contemporary political analysis if their broad ethos are to secure acceptance amongst the Irish people.
The 32CSM has sought to create such an analysis via an incremental and structured approach. We first chose to define the root cause of the conflict by challenging the British government to defend theirs in an international forum. We equally challenged all those who signed the GFA to defend their actions against our interpretation of them. That they refused to do so had less to do with the veracity of their argument and more to do with our lack of political strength to drive home ours. This was the reality we had to address. Republicanism is not politically strong enough to impact our argument on the current status quo.
To this end the 32CSM sought engagement with other republican and socialist groupings to find common ground around which that political strength could be attained. We knew that how we go about finding such common ground was as important as the actual grounds unity could be founded on. The Republican Unity Initiative was thus presented as an initiative which could only succeed on the basis of democratic parity and agreement. This remains the case and we in the 32CSM urge all republican and socialist groupings to engage with each other as themselves, for themselves and by themselves. We cannot move this struggle forward by truth alone, we face too many lies for that.