An Anarchist response to the British Army Barracks Attack

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A member of the Belfast branch of the WSM gives his opinion of the March 2009 attack on Massereene British Army barracks by armed republicans.

The armed and indiscriminate attack on the Massereene British Army barracks in Antrim on Saturday night is futile and counter-productive which only serves to strengthen the status-quo.

These attacks along with the killing of a police officer will only heighten sectarian divisions in times of growing alienation and disillusionment in working-class communities. Especially, in the midst of a global economic recession with an increase in class struggle at home and abroad. Convienently, diverting attention away from the disastrous neo-liberal economic polices pursued by our rulers at Stormont.

The armed and indiscriminate attack on the Massereene British Army barracks in Antrim on Saturday night is futile and counter-productive which only serves to strengthen the status-quo.

These attacks along with the killing of a police officer will only heighten sectarian divisions in times of growing alienation and disillusionment in working-class communities. Especially, in the midst of a global economic recession with an increase in class struggle at home and abroad. Convienently, diverting attention away from the disastrous neo-liberal economic polices pursued by our rulers at Stormont.

The attack has left two off duty soldiers dead, Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21 as well as four others injured including two pizza delivery workers.

Their use and justification of using two civilian workers as human bait in the assault is disgusting and once again highlights the failures of republican militarism. It should be remembered that in the past this was also the practice of the Provisional IRA and other republican armed groups. For example, the Teebane Massacre in 1992 in which eight protestant construction workers were murdered.

We must also resist attempts by these highly infiltrated authoritarian armed groups to drag working-class communities back to conflict and provoke state repression. Despite carrying out sporadic attacks in recent years they are unable to mount a sustained campaign and have always shown like all paramilitaries they are more of a threat to working-class communities and the building of a viable non-sectarian revolutionary alternative, than the status-quo.

Taken from a section of the WSM position paper on the ‘Partition of Ireland’.

“The tactic of armed struggle, as carried out by the Republicans, was never capable of forcing the withdrawal of the British state because it was incapable of delivering a military victory over the British army. The British ruling class cares little for the deaths of individual soldiers in its army. The 'commercial bombing campaign' caused civilian casualties and heightened sectarian tensions.

The armed struggle was also faulted because it relied on the actions of a few, with the masses left in either a totally inactive role, or one limited to providing intelligence and shelter to the few. It is claimed that it did serve to maintain the gains made in the 60s and early 70s. The mass campaigns (civil disobedience, rent & rates strike, street committees, etc.) would have been a far greater protection for the gains won than the elitist militarism of a few.

The British state is responsible for the long history of armed conflict in Ireland. As long as the British state remains in Ireland there remains the possibility of armed struggle against it, especially when there is no mass movement to demonstrate an alternative to militarism. We have opposed the republican armed struggle because it was an impediment to working class unity. It was based on wrong politics, it was a wrong strategy and it used wrong tactics. However we refused to blame the republicans for the situation in the six counties. Their campaign was the result of a problem and must not be confused with its cause. In the final analysis, the cause lies with the continuing occupation by the British state.”

related link: http://www.wsm.ie/story/804

Following the winding up of ‘Operation Banner’ in July 2007, there are still around 5,000 garrison troops in North based on pre-1969 level. Their role is mainly for training and operations abroad in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and additional and technical support to the police if necessary.

This attack comes against the backdrop of the ‘dissident republican threat’ being raised to severe and the MI5 stating that 15% of their resources are geared towards ‘domestic terrorism’. The security agency is now based in a state of the art headquarters at Place Barracks near Hollywood, Co. Down. There are believed to be around 150 military operatives based here.

Last week, also saw fractures begin to emerge at the Policing Board whenever Hugh Orde Chief Constable announced the 're-deployment' of the shadowy Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) to target ‘dissident republicans’. In 2005 the 14th Intelligence Company and the Force Research Unit amalgamated to form the SRR who have a history of collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. His announcement was criticised by mainly nationalist politicians from Sinn Fein and the SDLP for failing to announce this at the board and therefore undermining the accountability and scrutiny function of the Board.

This bickering only demonstrates that the Policing Board the District Policing Partnerships are merely ‘talking shops’, despite token gestures of opposition from opportunist politicians. The fact is Hugh Orde is well within his remit based on operational and national security to evade scrutiny.

As the former British Spy master Martin Ingram revealed to the Irish News on Saturday 7th March anyone who believed that British Army Special Forces were not active in Northern Ireland was “living in cloud-cuckoo land.” Special forces will always been an integral part of states armed forces and no amount of token reforms designed to camouflage there repressive functions will change this.

The challenge is to build a mass movement which not only removes the blight of statism and militarism from our society whether in the form of the police, army or paramilitaries, but also virus of capitalism and various shades of reactionary nationalism.

At the end of the day capitalism is a social relationship played out in our everyday lives, in our communites and workplaces based on exploitation of our labour and leisure. It cant be bombed out of existance. Only working-class mass action can get rid of the system and put something better in its place- revolutionary anarchism.

full wsm position paper on the 'Partition of Ireland.'
http://www.wsm.ie/story/804