While we should oppose the Orange Orders parades where ever local people reject them (and our ideal would be for 'Protestant areas' to also oppose them), there are real problems with the way these campaigns are proceeding. The central problem however is that the residents' groups are fighting on the sectarian terrain chosen by the Orange Order. With its membership declining and its influence on the state under threat, the Order needs an 'anti-Protestant' opposition to justify its continued existence.
THERE IS LITTLE hope of a new IRA ceasefire, the loyalist death squads may restart a full campaign of assassinations and terror. We may be heading back to a situation of bloody murders every other day. After the British government's carry on during the 'peace process', after Drumcree, after the bombs, after Harryville there is a pessimistic mood throughout the six counties. So where do we go from here?
The peace talks represent the ditching of Sinn Féin's left gloss and a return to good old nationalist politics, pure and simple. They started with the Hume - Adams dialogue, a still secret document but one which clearly set out to demonstrate that the northern nationalists could be trusted (by both Dublin and London) to 'behave' in the event of British withdrawa.
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?
Anarchists are for the defeat of British imperialism. We would like to see an end to the killings in the 6 counties but we understand that the ultimate cause of the troubles lies at the feet of Britain and the northern sectarian statelet. 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.
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.
THE 12th OF JULY, always a high point of tension, was used this year by the 'respectable' unionist parties to try to provoke the IRA into breaking the ceasefire. Nothing made this clearer than the events surrounding the attempts of Orangemen in Portadown to march through the Garvaghy Road nationalist estate.
Today for the first time since 1918 the population of Ireland, north and south are going to the polls. The questions are somewhat different in the two jurisdictions but they amount to the same thing, acceptance or rejection of the Stormont 'peace' deal.
The results of the 2001 Life and Times survey in the north of Ireland confirm that sectarian attitudes are spreading and deepening. In 1998 we warned that
"the structures proposed in the [Good Friday] agreement actually institutionalise sectarian divisions. Politicians elected to the proposed Assembly must declare themselves either 'unionist' or 'nationalist' - those who refuse will not have their votes counted in measuring the cross community support necessary for passing legislation. We are supposed to line up behind Catholic/Green or Protestant/Orange banners and seek the best deal for 'our community'. The concept of working class interests is not even considered".