Loyalism
(IRSP Pamphlet Reprint)

The author and original date of publication of this historical IRSP document is unknown, but it was part of a series of pamphlets produced by the IRSP to give the working class of Ireland a clear vision of the IRSP's policies.

RELIGIOUS WAR!

The ruling class go to great lengths to portray the struggle in the six counties as a religious war. British troops are portrayed as peacekeepers who have no reason for being in Ireland other than to keep the warring religious tribes apart.

British imperialism is a past master of the tactic of divide and rule and has practiced such a policy in every colony it has occupied. Since the plantation policy of the 16th century, Britain has fostered division in order to make its rule easier. This policy is maintained to the present day and results in a divided working class in the six counties.

LABOUR ARISTOCRACY

Today, sectarianism is still fostered by the imperialists. Protestant workers are still bribed by higher and better paid jobs, more employment and better housing and other privileges. Although this is gradually being eroded away through the privatisation of Shorts and Harland and Wolff (two of the largest employers of an almost exclusively protestant workforce), which will result in numerous redundancies.

The British has successfully created an aristocracy of labour within the protestant workforce of the six counties with the effect that their economic interests are seen to be tied to imperialism.

DISCRIMINATION

In the last twenty years of British occupation of the six counties little or nothing has been done to redress religious discrimination in the work place. The Brltlsh government's fanatical opposition to the moderate McBride principals including financing trips for local politicians and trade unionists to America in order to testify on their behalf, proves once again imperialism's determination to maintain the sectarian division of the working class on which their continuing rule is guaranteed.

Unemployment is extremely high in nationalist areas, as much as 80% in some areas of West Belfast. Catholic workers are mainly concentrated in unskilled jobs in the service industries, the health service and in minor positions in the Civil Service.

LOYALISM-REACTIONARY IDEOLOGY

From the privileged economic position of Protestant workers, the reactionary ideology of Loyalism has grown. This ideology which depicts Catholics as lazy, dirty in their habits and generally inferior human beings is totally reactionary and fascistic.

The most extreme form of Loyalism is embodied in the murder squads of the UVF and the UDA. These murder gangs are used and controlled by the British government as another form of terror which they can turn off and on at will. And it is a convenient way to get rid of people who are politically active against the state without the British government being directly involved.

Take the murder of Finucane, a prominent solicitor who was active in defending the families of the shoot-to-klll policy. Shortly before his murder by the UDA a statement was made in the British parliament by a Tory government minister, insinuating that certain solicitors had links with the IRA.

There is now a great deal of evidence linking British undercover operations with loyalist murder squads. Many members of the U.D.R. have been convicted of involvement in the murder of nationalists and passing on information to loyalist death squads about political activists.

As Marxists, and therefore materialists, the I.R.S.P. is opposed to all religious prejudices which spring from idealism.

As Marxists, the I.R.S.P. is also committed to fighting divisions within the working class. However, these divisions will not be combatted by appeasing loyalism or attempting to find a socialist consciousness within the loyalist organisations that most definitely is not there. For example, the Morning Star interviews with Gusty Spence, a prominent leader of the UVF, in which he describes himself as a Socialist Unionist.

The Workers Party mainly, and to a lesser extent the C.P.I., and others follow a course of appeasement of loyalism which has the effect of giving credibility to loyalism that it does not deserve. They also as a result condemn republican and revolutionary socialists as being sectarian because of their uncompromising hostility to loyalism in all its forms.

There can be no doubt that a socialist revolution can not succeed without winning at least a section of the protestant working class to a revolutionary perspective. This can only be achieved by confronting Loyallsm with principled socialist politics.