An analysis by the new republican political party, Saoradh, of the latest crisis within the northern Executive.
Since the creation of the sectarian Six County statelet, and the undemocratic imposition of partition upon the Irish people, the Republican analysis has consistently been that it is a failed political project that serves solely British interests. British occupation resulting in Partition, and by extension the Six County statelet, is detrimental for all the Irish people and ensures a perpetual denial of Irish sovereignty and national self-determination.
As Britain sought to protect her interests while occupying Ireland, the form of governance changed as necessary. A “protestant parliament for a protestant people” was allowed to reduce Irish citizens to the status of sub-human for decades. This parliament was dissolved only through radical action on the streets, coupled with direct revolutionary activity by Republicans. A system of Direct Rule was then imposed, removing whatever semblance of “devolution” that Unionist governance had, and overtly demonstrated that Britain was in charge.
As a result of the Good Friday Agreement, Direct Rule ended and a coalition of liberal unionism, reactionary unionists and constitutional nationalists, including some masquerading as Republicans, subsequently administered British Rule on Westminster’s behalf. This arrangement continues today, though the British ministers are now solely from two austerity parties - DUP and Sinn Fein.
Since 2007 these parties, along with the SDLP, UUP - and Alliance until the last election - have taken the lead in a pro-austerity coalition that has resulted in a “capitalist parliament for capitalist parties.” Their list of failures and poverty process policies are damning, with their only defence being that it is “better than the bad old days”.
But is it really? There are currently more people unemployed than at the time of the second IRA ceasefire in 1997. Unemployment figures are also masked by people being forced to attend degrading work for benefit programmes that offer no hope of a job, but give the appearance of reduced benefit claimants. Benefits recipients find themselves having their money reduced, as many decide whether to heat their homes or feed their children.
These children, in areas right across the Six Counties, live in the most deprived and marginalised communities in Europe. DUP and SF strongholds in Belfast, Derry and other areas have been abandoned economically and politically.
The Scottish politician Mhairi Black recently highlighted the fact that food banks are not part of the welfare system, they are a demonstration of the failures of the welfare system. If you’d have asked someone in Belfast ten years ago what a food bank was, you would have been greeted with a blank stare, now they are in most communities and increasing all the time. This increase is matched by the rise of homelessness, with 14,000 documented people forced to either avail of hostel accommodation, on the streets or elsewhere - rather than live in a place they can call home.
One of the saddest manifestations of the poverty process is the continuing rise in incidences of people taking their own lives. It is not a coincidence that the high rated areas of social and economic deprivation are also the hardest hit by suicide. More people have taken their own lives since the GFA than in the conflict referred to as The Troubles.
At the same time as all the above, SF and DUP have overseen their own private wealth accumulation process. A cursory glance at the declared interest register at Stormont or Westminster will see mass property portfolios, consultancy roles, business interests. Until recently many had two salaries from politics, while some continue to double job via “community” roles. While many of our children remain hungry all day until the school bell heralds their free lunch entitlement, Martin McGuinness flies business class to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Red Sky provided members of the unionist political classes and their associates with further wealth and privilege. NAMA has resulted in further accumulation of wealth for all the political classes, in both failed partitionist states. The incorrectly named Social Investment Fund has instead invested in DUP and SF endorsed projects that will tighten their grip on communities, rather than help the working class communities they purport to represent. All of the above were subject to Stormont Committee investigations, or shortly will be. When the paper accountability exercises were concluded, those who were supposed to fear them laughed at the findings and continued on their merry way to the bank.
We now have a new scandal. A renewable heating scheme that enabled Ferraris and empty sheds to be heated, while metres away from here there will be people sleeping in doorways tonight. A scheme that the political classes and their associates again used, and continue to use, in order to generate personal wealth at our expense. Less than a mile away, working class communities are tearing themselves apart due to poverty.
Crime, unemployment,suicide, starvation, poverty, cold, death. The threat can no longer be a return to the bad old days, because we are already in the bad days. Arlene must go. Martin must go. But so too should their beloved institutions that also house PBP, the Greens, Alliance, the SDLP and UUP. They all must go. Because saying Stormont isnt working anymore isnt the answer. Stormont Must Go should be our slogan.
No longer should British Rule be imposed on us here in the Six Counties. And no longer should it be implemented under the pretence that it is somehow better for us if carried out through a corrupt system that exists to benefit those who belong to, or support, the political establishment parties. It is corrupt on a par with Haughey, and the failed gombeens of the other failed political entity in our country.
Saoradh, as a revolutionary republican organisation, reiterate our belief in a 32 county socialist republic. We call on other Republicans and Progressives, including those who purport to be the Irish Left and others claiming to represent the interests of the working class, to join with us as we build a grassroots movement that will help campaign to this end and make freedom a reality.