For a Free and United Ireland: Ongoing Anti-Colonial Struggles

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For a Free and United Ireland: Ongoing Anti-Colonial Struggles

Here's some background on the Irish struggle from a 2014 rabble podcast.

On this issue if [email protected] Radio, KW Radio Basics host Julian Ichim chats with Francis Mackey about present situation in Ireland with a focus on the impact of the occupation and resistance. Topics covered include the attempts of British forces to rewrite history through attacking the collective memory of the Irish people, British policing in The Six Counties and the need for unity in the face attempts by the crown to criminalize political dissent.

Francis Mackey is the Chair of The 32CSM, whose aims and goals are to struggle for a unified 32 County Ireland free from political economic and cultural domination by Britain. As such The 32CSM as a poltical organization has faced severe political repression ranging from its members being interned in jail to constant harrasment. Despite this they have continued there political work and are attempting to break the silence on the realities of the occupation.


The election of Joe Biden, who is of Irish ancestry, has important implications for the situation in Ireland, as he promised in September that there would be no free trade deal by the US with England (I do not use Britain because Scotland is facing its own independence struggle) if it did not respect the 1998 Northern Ireland peace agreement. The agreement includes a provision for an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. England has continued used the threat of a hardened border between the two as a tool in the Brexit negotiations to such an extent that it is considered the #1 block to reaching an agreement. 

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has warned the United Kingdom it must honour Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement as it withdraws from the European Union or there would be no separate United States trade deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is proposing new legislation that would break the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit divorce treaty that seeks to avoid a physical customs border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland. ...

“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

Johnson insists he is defending not threatening the Good Friday pact, which ended 30 years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists.

He accuses the EU of trying to divide the UK and of putting a revolver on the table in talks to set rules for an estimated $1 trillion in annual trade after the UK’s post-Brexit transition period expires at year-end.

“The PM has been clear throughout that we are taking these steps precisely to make sure that the Belfast Agreement is upheld in all circumstances and any harmful defaults do not inadvertently come into play,” Johnson’s spokesman said.

The prime minister says the UK must have the ability to break parts of its Withdrawal Agreement with the EU if London is to uphold commitments under the 1998 peace deal.

The EU says any breach of the Brexit treaty could sink trade talks, propel the UK towards a messy exit when it fully departs on December 31, and thus complicate the Northern Irish border, the country’s only land frontier with the EU. ...

Johnson told The Sun newspaper the EU must not be allowed to abuse the UK and risk 40 years of partnership.

He said the UK must “ring-fence” the Brexit deal “to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions”. He used the example of a potential EU demand for tariffs on food going to Northern Ireland from the UK.

Societe Generale analysts said on Thursday they now see an 80 percent chance the UK and the EU will fail to strike a trade deal before the end of the year. ...

The intervention by Biden, who nationwide polls show leading the race for the November 3 US elections, prompted a sharp rebuke from an ex-leader of Johnson’s Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith, who advised him to focus on “riots” rather than Brexit.

“We don’t need lectures on the Northern Ireland peace deal from Mr Biden,” Duncan Smith told The Times. “If I were him I would worry more about the need for a peace deal in the USA to stop the killing and rioting before lecturing other sovereign nations.”

Biden, who has talked about the importance of his Irish heritage, retweeted a letter from Eliot Engel, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, to Johnson exhorting him to honour the Good Friday deal.

Engel urged Johnson to “abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement” so as to preserve peace in the province and good US-UK relations.


He is only the President elect and he is already interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. God it is so good he got elected because he is fit to rule the whole planet.


kropotkin1951 wrote:

He is only the President elect and he is already interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. God it is so good he got elected because he is fit to rule the whole planet.

And England has been interfering in Irish internal affairs since 1169, including occupying the country until losing the War of Independence in 1921. It then split off the six  counties of Northern Ireland, using the militant fundamentalism of religion to maintain control in the North, while militant unionist parties in Northern Ireland provided support to minority Conservative governments in England to help them stay in power and introduce radical right austerity programs. The English Parliament helped maintain religious segregation in jobs, housing etc. by assisting religious rabid haters for more than two centuries after it forced the unification of the English and Irish parliaments in 1801 under the Act of Union following the 1798 Rebellion by Catholics and Protestants in order to split the two sides. One of the most recent of a long line of such rabid haters was Ian Paisley  who said:

"They breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin" - talking about Catholics at a loyalist rally in 1969.

"Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners" - at a loyalist rally in 1968 following attacks on Catholic homes. ...

"I denounce you, Antichrist! I refuse you as Christ's enemy and Antichrist with all your false doctrine" - addressing Pope John Paul II on a visit to the European Parliament October 1988. (

Now the Conservative Johnson government wants to violate the 1998 peace agreement by putting a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, an agreement "that Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, and would remain so until a majority of the people both of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise", ( thereby allowing for unification in the future, which is likely as demographics are likely to make Catholics the majority relatively soon. In other words, England wants to rewrite the rules of the ballgame whenever it pleases its interests. As a member of the EU, Ireland has the support of the EU in opposing the violation of the Good Friday Agreement. 


Yes Britain and its bastard offspring America have been interfering in other peoples affairs for centuries. I would prefer it stopped. The US needs to go home and shut its mouth and stop being a fucking bully and the same goes for the vainglorious Brits who still think the UK is an empire.


The US was involved in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement that largely ended violence in Northern Ireland. I recognize that US has overthrown most governments and often occupied many countries in Latin America and elsewhere and failed to recognize Palestinian rights and statehood, but in the case of Northern Irleand it did help bring about peace. It is the UK government that is violating international law in this case, not the US. 

The announcement of the appointment of former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell as Special Envoy initially "infuriated" the British Government.[7] Mitchell was recognised as being more than a token envoy but someone representing a President with a deep interest in events.[7] However, around the time of Mitchell's appointment, it was agreed with both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Major and Taoiseach John Bruton that Mitchell would chair an international commission on disarmament of paramilitary groups.[8] Mitchell went on to successfully chair the talks that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement. ...

The United States has continued to support the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and has demonstrated its readiness to assist the process in any way.

The United States’ involvement was substantial with regard to the beginning and development of the peace process because President Clinton took a more active role than the careful comments of Jimmy Carter and the behind-the-scenes encouragement of Ronald Regan. First, he appointed George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Northern Ireland to specifically support and aid the Northern Ireland Peace Process. Additionally, the Clinton administration became interested in drawing Sinn Fein, the republican political wing, into the democratic political process. In 1994, President Clinton granted a 48-hour visa to Gerry Adams, the President of the Sinn Fein party, which was a pivotal point for the peace process. This move supported Adams internationally but also was a significant influence on the republican move from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to constitutional legitimacy, signaling a change in US policy....

President Clinton had a clear belief that peace, stability, and prosperity were all linked. His beliefs made economics a main component of the US involvement in Ireland because he created an Inter-departmental Committee to consider economic initiatives and the economic potential of a stable Northern Ireland. ...

The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is one of the Clinton administration’s foreign policy successes. This agreement established a new system that devolved power to Northern Ireland from London through a power sharing method between both nationalists and unionists. This Peace-Keeping treaty offered the opportunity of dual citizenship to the population, allowing them to be British citizens, Irish citizens, or both. The US supported a greater voice for the Catholic minority in Northern Irish affairs through the signing of this historic agreement. With President Clinton and George Mitchell’s work, Irish republicanism declared two ceasefires which presented potential for political normality. The signing of the Anglo-Irish agreement meant that the US could easily ratify a set of objectives that both governments had already committed to. While keeping Northern Ireland part of the UK, the principles of the GFA stabilized Northern Ireland and improved living standards for the population with the promise of peaceful alternatives. ...

President Clinton’s use of multilateral diplomacy was effective in encouraging peace in Northern Ireland. Specifically, the US involvement helped both parties recognize areas where compromise was possible and narrowed the gap between their political objectives.


Just as "the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law, ... [ and BDS] pressures governments  pressure governments to fulfil their legal obligations to end Israeli apartheid, and not aid or assist its maintenance", which I support, international pressure can be applied to Britain for its violation of international law with regard to Ireland. 

Boris Johnson introduced legislation that would override the Brexit withdrawal agreement on Northern Ireland, a move that threatens the collapse of crunch talks with the EU over this issue as well as the breaking of international law. "By reneging on the terms of a treaty negotiated with those institutions, Johnson’s internal market bill inaugurates a new chapter in UK-EU relations. It dissolves the pragmatic foreign policy tradition in an acid bath of Europhobic paranoia. ... Under the withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland ends up with a different customs and regulatory regime to the rest of Britain, unless the differences are eliminated by a free-trade deal." (

In fact even some Conservatives have rebelled against Boris Johnson over his violation of international law with regard to Northern Ireland. Lord Keen, "one of the government’s senior law advisers, ... who was also the Ministry of Justice spokesman in the Lords, was alone in advising the government it would breach the ministerial code if ministers defied international law and overrode the withdrawal agreement." and resigned as a consequence.  Later, Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, admitted "that the internal market bill [allowing a possible hard border in Ireland] breached international law triggered the latest Brexit crisis." (

Downing Street has clarified that it would ask parliament to support using powers to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement only if the EU undermines the “fundamental purpose” of the Northern Ireland protocol. ...

The former Tory leader Lord Howard, who backed Brexit but has been an outspoken critic of the government’s bill, said the compromise “isn’t enough” for him to back it in the Lords.

“The government is still asking Parliament to break international law,” he told the BBC on Thursday. Even with the changes, he described the chances of the bill being approved by the Lords as “not great”.  He added: “I don’t know what my colleagues will do, but as far as I’m concerned this is a matter of principle.” ...

The EU is examining two main options: taking the UK to the European court of Justice or continuing the negotiations and then presenting the British government with the choice of dropping the relevant clauses of the internal market bill in order to secure a trade deal or leaving without an agreement. “It is up to the UK now,” said an official.


Johnson's proposed reneging on the Brexit deal in order to create a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland has drawn criticism in both parts of Ireland. 

As Ireland, north and south, grappled with Boris Johnson’s reported threat to renege on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, there was consternation, anxiety, dread – and the hope that it is a bluff. ...

In Dublin, the Irish government attempted to project a sense of concern rather than panic while in Belfast political parties sounded the alarm over the revived prospect of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. ...

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said media reports that London was planning legislation to override parts of the withdrawal agreement would, if confirmed, damage 11th-hour trade talks with the EU. “It would fundamentally undermine trust between the two parties,” he told RTE. Coveney said Dublin did not know if the threat, first reported by the FT, was a false report, political gamesmanship or a real prospect. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

There is grave concern in Dublin that a hard border on the island of Ireland and severe economic disruption from a no-deal Brexit – its nightmare scenario – will materialise. ...

In Northern Ireland, nationalist parties warned that rowing back on legally binding commitments would undermine the 1998 Good Friday agreement and destabilise the region.

“The impact will be negative, and the only safeguards we have to mitigate the damage is the protocol,” said Michelle O’Neill, the deputy first minister and Sinn Féin’s deputy leader. “This would be a betrayal of what has already been agreed and would inflict irreversible harm on our economy and the Good Friday agreement.” O’Neill said Sinn Féin would seek to rally support in Northern Ireland’s Stormont assembly as well as Dublin, Brussels and Washington to defend the “foundation stones” of the peace process.

Colum Eastwood, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour party, said it was astonishing and reckless that the British government would shred its own credibility and undermine the Good Friday agreement. “They’d be risking a hard border in our country and they’d be threatening the peace and security that we’ve built up over decades,” he told the BBC. “If they try to do this at the same time as trying to convince people in Scotland and Northern Ireland about the future of their union, well they may as well forget about that as well.”

The Alliance party also voiced concern at potential damage to the Good Friday agreement.

The Democratic Unionist party (DUP), which opposed special arrangements for Northern Ireland, made no immediate official response. On Friday its leader, Arlene Foster, said she recognised the protocol was law and that the challenge was to mitigate its impact, only to have the rug pulled from under her by Downing Street’s announcement.

Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesperson, said the party would not accept the withdrawal agreement – a flat contradiction of his leader that was not issued through the party’s press office.