“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Open Thread on the “Armed Struggle”.

with 53 comments

I was down to blog about technology and web TV, but a discussion has come up at Dave Osler’s on the merits and otherwise of the “armed struggle”.

Should people support the indiscriminate bombing of civilians?

Should people support pub bombings?

Or the massacring of innocent civilians in shoe shops?

Not exactly difficult questions, but it does seem amongst the younger generation, or some of them, there is an admiration or a willingness to excuse such atrocities.

I can’t quite understand it myself, but I suspect it is part of the decline of mass politics and glorification of the individual, be that a teenager shooting children in a school, a rebellious student blowing up a tube train, or in the case of discussion at Dave Osler’s “the struggle against imperialism

So roll up you supporters of the “armed struggle”, gives your views

Written by modernityblog

09/11/2007 at 02:51

Posted in Uncategorized

53 Responses

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  1. so it is readable, posters should use firefox, then get the dictionary plugin for their lingo, see

    just follow the on screen instructions


    09/11/2007 at 03:19

  2. Should people support the indiscriminate bombing of civilians?

    Should people support pub bombings?

    Or the massacring of innocent civilians in shoe shops?

    Please give examples of the above and the context in which they happened.


    09/11/2007 at 03:36

  3. I already gave a shorten list at Dave’s here it is:

    28 August 1975 Peter Brown’s in Oxford Street.

    29 August 1975 Another booby-trapped bomb is planted at the K Shoe Shop in Kensington Church Street W8.

    30 August 1975 A bomb explodes at the National Westminster Bank in High Holborn WC1.

    5 September 1975 A bomb planted by O’Connell in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane W1 kills two more people and injures 63 others.

    12 October 1975 A bomb at Lockett’s Restaurant in Marsham Street, Westminster.

    30 October 1975 A 10 lb bomb at the Trattoria Fiore in Mount Street W1 injures 17.


    he could pick another year and find another range of civilians targets, this is about the general principle


    09/11/2007 at 03:44

  4. Just briefly read the accounts from the channel 4 website. The 1970s were a particulary bad decade for the Irish people at the hands of British imperialism, Is it a surprise that the response can sometimes be indiscriminate as well? The nature of resistance are determined by the brutality of the occupation whether Ireland, Iraq or Afganistan.
    Incidentally warnings were given, they were reported as not being long enough in advance, but who do you believe? The British state and compliant media? I sure don’t.
    Also on that link were quite legitimate targets such as pubs where squaddies were getting pissed, and no doubt gloating about how they had given the “paddies” a good hiding. As well as members of the ruling class and their hang outs. I don’t have a problem with any of that.
    What warning was given on Bloody Sunday?


    09/11/2007 at 03:53

  5. Anyway, lets stick to more contwmporary examples from the Middle East, as I thought this discussion would be about.
    Please give examples of the above in Israel and Palestine and put it into context of what was happening to the Palestinian people at the time.


    09/11/2007 at 03:56

  6. right let’s start again

    I said this was not about specifics, but a general principle

    which from your above reasoning seems to be:

    if someone feels oppressed (like the Irish) then it is legitimate for them to bomb civilian targets, is that a fair summary of your above comment?


    09/11/2007 at 04:00

  7. If bombing civilians is legitimate then I’m a bastard.


    09/11/2007 at 04:03

  8. sorry, there was a slight delay on your first comments.

    WordPress enforces moderation for the individual’s first remarks, you’re both now free to post as often as you like without any intervention from me


    09/11/2007 at 04:07

  9. It depends in what context. Thought I made that clear. I may not agree but I would not condemn either.
    Is a Pub full of pissed sqaddies gloating about giving “paddies” a good hiding, believe me that is excatly what they do after a military operation, descriptions becoming more lurid and more back slapping happens the more alcohol is consumed, and after the leave at closing time racially and sexually abusing members of the public who cross their paths, including the odd spot of “paki bashing” rape and “queer bashing” a legitimate target? I do believe it is and I would totally support it, unconditionally, uncritically.
    There is a difference between someone getting up in the morning and deciding to bomb a shoe shop for example just for kicks for example, and an organised resistance movement which has popular support and has come about as a response to oppression and peaceful means of resistance results in innocent people being massacred.
    The former is just plain silly “individual terrorism” and the latter is totally justified as legitimate resistance.


    09/11/2007 at 04:11

  10. Why do not want to discuss Israel and Palestine? Is it because your support for Israeli state terrorism may well weaken your case in condemning armed resistance?


    09/11/2007 at 04:14

  11. So let’s be clear about your views, Paddy:

    bombing is okay if it is done for ideologically “sound” reasons, and preferably on the right type of target, but if civilians die then it’s regrettable, but you wouldn’t condemn it or worry about it too much?

    is that a fair summary of your views? yes or no?


    09/11/2007 at 04:18

  12. You keep asking me questions that I keep answering both here and on oslers blog. But you on the other hand you refuse to answer my questions.
    I genuinely thought that you were willing to discuss these issues here, that’s why I accepted your invitation to join you here and you are still not willing to state your views on Israeli state terrorism, but instead choose to interrogate me about the same thing every time.
    Any civilian death is regrettable and abhorrent but unlike you I put the blame fairly and squarely on the ruling class who create the conditions in which these unfortunate things happen.
    As far as military, economic, financial, political targets are concerned these are entirely legitimate
    and I don’t have a problem with targeting those.
    A pub full of squaddies ceases to be a civilian target and becomes a military on in my opinion.


    09/11/2007 at 04:25

  13. Anyway why are my views in particular so important to you? Am not the only one on the left who hold them, but you don’t interrogate others the same way do you?


    09/11/2007 at 04:27

  14. You titled this “an open thread on the middle east” but you choose do discuss my views on Ireland in the 1970s but you wont discuss Israel and Palestine. Im truly baffled!


    09/11/2007 at 04:30

  15. Anyway why are my views in particular so important to you?

    I’m interested in other people’s views and I wondered if you were prepared to debate this in good faith, however, without establishing the broad parameters of your views, it would be difficult and unnecessarily tedious to debate slightly more complex issues

    so is that above a good summary of your views?

    I am quite happy to answer any direct political question, so again

    if some Irish feel very oppressed and decide to bomb some pubs in London, would you give them any “unconditional, but critical support” or what?


    09/11/2007 at 04:36

  16. If it was a pub full of squaddies, I would give them unconditional and uncritical support yes, no warning even the bastards deserve every nail that gets implanted in their brains.


    09/11/2007 at 04:38

  17. Of course I am prepared to debate in good faith always have if you look at my posts on osler and stroppy blog you will see that I may make my points rather forcefully but unlike some I dont give comrades personal abuse


    09/11/2007 at 04:41

  18. ok, we got that but if the pub was full of civilians? what then?


    09/11/2007 at 04:41

  19. incidentally, Mike,

    chip in if you want, I thought your question about Saudi billionaire’s was funny and spot on, I wish I had asked it


    09/11/2007 at 04:42

  20. Its not a question of “some irish feeling oppressed” we all know they were brutally oppressed by british imperialism for many many years, so their grievances were totally legitimate and so were their methods of struggle from 1789, 1916, 1969 before and after.


    09/11/2007 at 04:43

  21. paddy,

    so that is a yes as well??

    PS: I’m more than happy to discuss Irish history, if you want, but I trying to get a clear answer from you


    09/11/2007 at 04:45

  22. As a teetotal and unrepentant prohibitionist like Connolly, Larkin and many other socialists, I wouldn’t have a problem with that providing a warning was given, if people choose to ignore it and stay and get pissed that’s their problem


    09/11/2007 at 04:46

  23. I want to discuss the middle east with you as that seems to be your area of expertise, Ireland isn’t the issue at the moment. Would have gladly discussehat in the 1980s when it was still kicking off.
    After all this thread was supposed to be a discussion of the middle east until you renamed it.


    09/11/2007 at 04:48

  24. so essentially you agree with pub bombings in Britain by Irish republicans, but you prefer if they were done to squaddies

    is that the essence of your view?


    09/11/2007 at 04:48

  25. Yes the less pubs around the better. Preferably full of squadies.


    09/11/2007 at 04:50

  26. And wont have a problem with pubs being targeted by islamists either.


    09/11/2007 at 04:50

  27. good, I’m glad we cleared that up.

    fire away on the middle east,

    what’s your question for me?


    09/11/2007 at 04:51

  28. That last comment was flippant, but Im sure its what you wanted to hear.
    Do you support Israeli state terrorism?


    09/11/2007 at 04:52

  29. You have links to Zionist websites here, you call for the release of Israeli soldiers from Hamas and Hezbullah custody don’t you?


    09/11/2007 at 04:55

  30. Paddy,

    flippant? perhaps we must have misunderstood each other

    debating in good faith essentially means that the debaters are honest about their own opinions, and logical with the argumentation

    so I’d like to be clear about your view on pub bombings, before we move on to the Middle East


    09/11/2007 at 04:56

  31. No problem with pub bombings if they are full of squaddies, bankers, members of the ruling class etc. etc.
    Now pubs in working class areas I would have a problem if they were deliberately targeted without a warning.


    09/11/2007 at 04:58

  32. you have to bear in mind that us oldies can’t read too quickly, remember I’m using a screen reader, so several comments one after another from you, might yet missed, until I refresh the screen, I normally answer your first point, with my first reply.

    I hope to make sense


    09/11/2007 at 04:59

  33. so your equivocating now on the pubs?

    what about the bar room staff in squaddie pubs? or passing visitors, from council estates?

    collateral damage?


    09/11/2007 at 05:01

  34. Am having problems myself, the print is too small for me to read and am getting cramp on my hand, so please bear with me too. By the way am almost 50 years of age, so not that young myself!


    09/11/2007 at 05:01

  35. you can adjust the size of the fonts, by going to View ->Text size


    09/11/2007 at 05:02

  36. Collaborators, anyone who hangs out with squaddies becomes a target.


    09/11/2007 at 05:03

  37. as you are nearly 50 years of age and you’ll surely remember the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974?


    09/11/2007 at 05:04

  38. Thanks for that, lot better now. Told you Im a technohobe, its my teenage son who knows about these things!


    09/11/2007 at 05:04

  39. Of course I do, got beaten up at school for saying that the IRA had a legitimate cause.


    09/11/2007 at 05:05

  40. 1974 was the year I came to Britain for the first time. Real culture shock.


    09/11/2007 at 05:06

  41. Where I came from The IRA were seen as heroic guerilla fighters, in the same league as Che Guevara and others.


    09/11/2007 at 05:07

  42. So do you still think that the Birmingham pub bombings were legitimate?


    09/11/2007 at 05:08

  43. They were also bombings in Guilford and Woolwich, As far as I remember there was some controversy as to whether it was an authorised IRA action or the work of renegade elements or even the security forces.


    09/11/2007 at 05:10

  44. indeed, but you do still agree that they were “legitimate”, that’s the question


    09/11/2007 at 05:11

  45. I stuck up for the IRA then and did every single day of my life until they disbanded


    09/11/2007 at 05:11

  46. I supported their right to engage in armed struggle against the British state, more in general terms rather than specific actions which I may or may not have supported at any particular time.


    09/11/2007 at 05:13

  47. it is late, let’s continue on the morrow


    09/11/2007 at 05:14

  48. The armed struggle was totally legitimate, some actions were worthy of more support than others, think that is a fair view to take.
    I didn’t know what debates in the Army Council took place before and after operations, as to whether some members disagreed with particular targeting or not. Maybe you do? Maybe you were in the IRA yourself?


    09/11/2007 at 05:16

  49. Sure got to get up early tomorrow. Lets keep this comradely and avoid personal insults ok?


    09/11/2007 at 05:17

  50. Paddy wrote:

    “The armed struggle was totally legitimate, some actions were worthy of more support than others, think that is a fair view to take”

    so when aren’t attacks on Pubs “legitimate”??

    would a Loyalist gang attacking a Pub, used mostly by the nationalist population, be “legitimate” as some of these Loyalists might FEEL oppressed by upperty Nationalists?

    doesn’t it all some down some very dodgy and SUBJECTIVE rationalisations, depending where you’re sitting at the time?


    09/11/2007 at 15:52

  51. Modernity,

    A straightforward set of questions that could be answered “no” by most sane individuals in short measure. Those who answer “yes” to any of them is a sociopath, an advocate for murder. At the minimum, those who hold these views are clearly outside the domain of democratic politics.

    “doesn’t it all some down some very dodgy and SUBJECTIVE rationalisations, depending where you’re sitting at the time?”


    Paddy writes:

    “The nature of resistance are determined by the brutality of the occupation whether Ireland, Iraq or Afganistan,”

    This reads like some sort of pseudo-marxist formula and is absolutely not the case at all. The nature of armed resistance is not this mechanistic. Have a look at the variety of instances where people have engaged in armed struggle and it is never this simple. In some places the regime is quite brutal and the resistance is minimal. In other instances, you have organizations in democratic states engaging in armed struggle.

    The nature of resistance is determined by a combination of exogenous factors and has less to do with exogenous ones (like “the brutality of occupation”). Here are three of those factors (in no particular order):

    1) The will of the “resistors.”
    2) The resources they able to mobilize to their cause
    3) The support they receive from the population.

    This is just a start.

    Another thing, reading the other comment thread, Paddy and the supporters of suicide bombers seem to forget one important point in their attempts to compare the actions of the jihadis to the actions of the IDF. The stated purpose of the terrorists is killing as many civilians as possible. The IDF takes great efforts to avoid killing civilians.

    To some this distinction is meaningless. Killing is wrong. I can respect that position from pacifists. I may not agree, but I can respect it. But for those who compare the methods of these opposing forces and say that the “state terror” of the IDF is the same in purpose and intent as the intentional killing of civilians i.e. mass murder, conducted by terrorists, these people are beyond help. Thankfully, most people do not believe this sort of lunacy but you can see the depths that the radical left has sank.



    12/11/2007 at 23:49

  52. TYPO:

    “The nature of resistance is determined by a combination of exogenous factors and has less to do with exogenous ones (like “the brutality of occupation”). Here are three of those factors (in no particular order)”

    SHOULD read:

    The nature of resistance is determined by a combination of *endogenous factors* and has less to do with exogenous ones (like “the brutality of occupation”). Here are three of those factors (in no particular order):


    13/11/2007 at 13:55

  53. TNC,

    thanks for your comment,

    but that’s why the thread petered out, when you start to question, and question directly the instances and parallels of pub bombings, attacks on shoe shops and restaurants then the apologists for these atrocities start to squirm

    I think in part because they’ve never sat down and thought through the implications of the situations

    I would have thought that Northern Ireland was a good example of why the specious “Armed Struggle” was so wrong, because in politics you have to ask yourself the question what does any particular action achieve?

    and in NI, the answer is death, senseless murder, drug running, criminality and the society brutalised beyond our comprehension

    I wouldn’t wish that on anyone


    14/11/2007 at 00:47

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