Why Does the American Left Ignore the Struggle for Freedom in Northern Ireland?

by on May 22, 2015 · 13 comments

in Civil Rights, History, World News

IRA imageBy Jeff Stone

The Irish Republican Movement has been struggling for a socialist free Ireland since the first uprising against the British in 1916 led by Michael Collins.

Most Americans have a very naive idea at best and ignorant, uninformed at worst, attitude about the IRA or any of the nationalist parties that favor expelling the British and restoring Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

For example, the IRA, which a lot of Americans still don’t realize, its antecedents are basically a very Marxist, socialist approach to government, democracy, and human rights.

While many members are Catholics, the IRA is a secular organization.

Thousands of Irish Republicans have been murdered, tortured, and imprisoned without trial during this occupation, which still goes on today, and has led to a death toll of more than 3,600, not to mention the maiming of tens of thousands, yet the left remains silent.

The British never defeated the IRA or the larger force of Irish nationalism. The IRA is the only army to never have been defeated. It has served as a model for groups around the world fighting for their independence, and has trained many.

Could it be racism? Is the left only concerned with the struggles of people of color?

Is it because only the Imperialist powers of the United States, and Great Britain have classified them as “Terrorists”?

Is it because the IRA has aligned itself with the Palestinian people’s struggle against Israel?

Is it because the American left has bought into the propaganda pushed about the Irish for hundreds of years?

“The Irish are a down trodden race” – Lord Montbatten.

The Irish are the one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever” – Sigmund Freud.

“The Irish are the niggers of Europe, lads.“- Roddy Doyle

If you know anything about the history of Ireland, you know the analogy’s valid. The last large group of “white”people to be sold before European slavers confined their trade to Africa were the Irish. As many as 130,000 were sold as slaves in the 1600s- 1700s.

So why has the American Left has not found the imperialist occupation of Northern Ireland by the British important enough to discuss?

The one exception to this was an article written by Tom Hayden in 2011.

So what gives lefties?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Goatskull May 22, 2015 at 11:30 am

I agree that most Americans don’t have a full understanding the conflict and simply don’t care. There are those who do understand and still don’t care. One thing that is true is that both sides have done despicable and horrible acts and at this point it really doesn’t matter who the perpetrator or victim is.


jettyboy May 23, 2015 at 11:32 am

Please enlighten me how to equate the acts of an occupying force with one of the largest armies in the world that imprisons, tortures, spies on, kills unarmed civilians, and unlawfully seizes private property, with one fighting to obtain independence and freedom from them is equal?


Goatskull May 24, 2015 at 10:15 am

Didn’t say equal, just tha both sided did/do bad things.


Goatskull May 22, 2015 at 11:34 am

“For example, the IRA, which a lot of Americans still don’t realize, its antecedents are basically a very Marxist, socialist approach to government, democracy, and human rights.”

Personally, most Americans I know ARE aware of that. Not saying most Americans are but in my lifetime most people I come across seem to be aware of that.

One thing to consider about the American left. Just because they are left leaning does not mean they support Marxism.


Desde la Logan May 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

This American lefty supports Marxism. Specifically the Latin American variety.


Goatskull May 24, 2015 at 10:18 am

Good for you. My point was that being a lefty does not automatically mean Marxist. Most American liberals are not Marxist. I didn’t say none of them are.


jettyboy May 24, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I don’t think you can put leftists and liberals in the same box.


Goatskull May 26, 2015 at 8:56 am

Perhaps but that I think that depends on one’s definition of a lefty. Is a lefty anyone who’s political and social views are at any degree left of center or does one have to be so far left to the point that they are Marxist or at least support Marxism?


rick callejon May 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

This lefty appreciates Marxism, especially the Groucho strain.


Goatskull May 24, 2015 at 11:47 am

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”


South Park May 25, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Goatskull, You are right on point. An excellent read on past history and current realities in Northern Ireland can be had at the New Yorker:

Your quote, “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, …” should have been the caption below the recent post-election photo of Gerry Adams and Price Charles shaking hands.

The most irreconcilable issues, however, center on religion, not on left-right or dominion. The Catholics will have no social interaction with the Protestants, and vice versa. From the article:

“Residents [in Belfast] still live in neighborhoods circumscribed by religion, and ninety-three per cent of children in Northern Ireland attend segregated elementary schools. Bus stops in some parts of the city are informally designated Catholic or Protestant, and people walk an extra block or two to wait at a stop where they won’t fear being hassled.”

This horrible reality (93% segregation in elementary schools…fear of public harassment and no official recourse) requires continued, institutionalized hatred and enmity on both sides.


Goatskull May 26, 2015 at 8:49 am

Thanks South Park. I skimmed through the article but will fully read it a bit later. From what I DID read it pretty much makes my point.

One think I sort of disagree with you (but I could be wrong) is the religion part. I am fully aware of how the neighborhoods, schools and even buses are segregated as you describe but I’m pretty sure that if I were to ever visit NI, the Catholics there would not likely have a problem with me not being catholic as a complete outsider just visiting unless I were to express support for the Protestant side. Likewise I doubt the protestants their have issues with people outside of the area being Catholic.

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” That’s a quote from Groucho Marx.


South Park May 26, 2015 at 11:28 am

Agree that you, as a visitor, wouldn’t likely encounter discrimination on the basis of your affiliations. The religious divide between NI citizens is a divide cultivated (most egregiously by “religious” leaders) for political empowerment and cause (which is what Marx, dear Desde la Logan, held against the “opiate”), and doesn’t exist just on the basis of differing theological tenets.


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