329 Years After Defeat at the Battle of the Boyne, A United Ireland Approaches
A Communique from New Resistance
Official Communique from New Resistance, published in parallel by the FRN Editorial Board –
July 12th marks the day when, three-hundred and twenty-nine years ago in 1690, the English had mustered a largely Protestant Scottish force and invaded Ireland. This was the Battle of the Boyne, and the consequences of the Irish defeat would signal the start of a centuries-long fight for Irish national liberation against the English.
The following several centuries would see an Ireland in a state of opposition to this subjugation by Britain – that is, until 1921, when Ireland’s nationalist and socialist guerrilla war would find relative success in the creation of the Irish Free State, and then in 1937 with the new constitution that gave it the title, Republic of Ireland.
Since July 12th 1690, and the travesties that it brought, good and moral people, people of conscience around the world, have supported the plight of the Irish against English domination. And this plight has found continual success, and what remains now is the final liberation of the northern counties from British domination. This would make a single and unified Republic of Ireland. It would make it a finalized version of the reality that it is already becoming. What we mean by this, will be explored in this piece.
Centuries of Resistance have paid off – A Unified Ireland is more a reality today than ever before
The momentum and weight of all historical factors is on the side of a unified Republic of Ireland – and yet this is merely an opportune reality. For if it were not in the cards, as it appeared not to be for centuries, it would still be the correct and noble fight. It is therefore both a practical and fortunate matter that the factors to realize what is right, and the fight for what is right, have lined up so evenly.
And so this day, July 12th, celebrated only by a sad and losing few Ulster sectarians, whose psychological disorder as a bona fide case of collective Stockholm syndrome, is on display. Their disturbed self-hating bi-polar sentiments as the loyal Queen’s subjects on Tuesday, and then spiteful at the Queen’s betrayal on Wednesday, are evident.
Indeed today among young self-identifying Ulster Protestants, is a growing sense of betrayal by the Queen, and Ulster Unionism/Royalism has continued to fracture in two directions. An increasing disassociation with the history of England has risen on the one side, leading towards mainstream Irish sentiments, and a fracture among Ulster militants that has arisen between Unionism/Royalism on the one hand, and Ulster Nationalism on the other – with Ulster Nationalism representing an increased disassociation with feelings of Britishness.
While these sentiments have been brewing for nearly a century, the social and economic conditions which the Queen has chosen suitable for her most loyal subjects, has done more harm for their cause than the success of the Republic of Ireland, on the island known as Ireland. For now, there is no real consensus among the Ulsters except for their religio-ethnic hatred for Catholics.
This Ulster psychological defect stands in marked contrast with the healthy sentiments of Irish and Scottish alike, who in their respective countries, place their national characteristics far head of their ostensible religious ones.
‘Ulster Identity’ – Made in England ®
Where the realization that the UK cares nothing for the self-identifying Ulsters of Northern Ireland should land on, is the idea that Ireland united, is a stronger Ireland for all. Indeed, the 5-10 percent of protestants that make up the Republic of Ireland feel no less Irish than the 75% or so Catholics. Likewise, the 16% or so of Catholics in Scotland feel neither Italian nor Irish, but entirely Scottish.
The economic and social realities of the abuse of Ulsters (and all of Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant alike) by the Crown and Westminster, have led towards a desire to see a more independent Ulster.
Arguments for an independent Scotland find support among the Irish, and a disavowal of the crimes of England in Ireland, which only made use of subservient Scots, is the common sentiment in Scotland. But an independent Ulster is an historical and philosophical non-starter.
It would, first of all, be an ultimate error to associate Protestantism in Ireland with pro-Ulster sentiments. In the Republic of Ireland, the Protestants are Irish first. However, the term ‘Ulster’ is, and foreseeably will remain, a term intractably tied to the history of the Crown’s invasion of 1690, and its establishment of the Plantation of Ulster.
What we have then in the north of Ireland, is an identity in Northern Ireland where some hold-out minority within what is only 48% of the population of these 6 counties, who suffer under the delusion of an identity which was socially constructed and reinforced by Westminster. But that 48% of protestants in the 6 counties in the north of Ireland, increasingly feel Irish, and think like Irish. Meanwhile, 75% in the Northern Ireland city of Derry are Catholic and furthermore reinforce these predominating Irish sentiments. In Belfast the Catholic population tends to be younger and has grown to 49% of the population while the Protestant population tends to be older, dropping to 42% this year.
Most nominally Protestant people in Northern Ireland who are the descendants of the Royal forces used to subjugate Ireland in 1690, are not particularly political, have opinions in passing, and – like most people – juggle multiple identities. They can be, and feel, simultaneously Protestant and Irish; British and yet have an Irish-national identity. Secular realism, and Irish republican ideas tend to rise, while the obscure and overly contingent (upon factors no longer really in play) identity of the Ulsterman or Unionist is on the decline.
And this number is declining, quite quickly, both due to low birth rates and changes in self-identity. For the idea in Northern Ireland that Protestantism makes one a Unionist, Ulstermen, or Royalist, has given way to increasing secularism and civic nationalism of an Irish type, among that demographic. And without that peculiar religious attachment – or rather a conflation of religion with a not-quite ‘national identity’, which is shared neither in the rest of Ireland nor in Scotland – we land upon an Irish identity; correctly and quite logically.
There is one truth, and a million and one ways to frame a lie
The one truth is a unified Republic of Ireland, encompassing all 32 historical counties, including the 6 in the north. Besides the fact that this is the emergent reality that needs to be reckoned with, it is the correct process on all levels – philosophically, morally, historically, and economically.
Everything besides this is a coded and malfeasant lie aimed, in desperation, at scuttling in some euphemism for the UK’s presence and control in Northern Ireland. This may include ridiculous and unworkable calls for dominion status, or ‘full independence’ for Northern Ireland – even more so ridiculous and unworkable when these are termed ‘Republic of Ulster’, ‘Ulster Republic’, ‘Ulster Independence Movement’ or any other historically moribund proposals mirroring the anti-national ‘nationalism’ of the Ulster Third Way.
Moves in 1998 towards more independence for Northern Ireland from Ulster nationalists and secular Irishmen in the 6 counties proved problematic for Westminster, and divided Ulster sentiments. The nominal changes were ultimately revoked a few years ago in 2017. This idea of a more thoroughly independent Northern Ireland fractured the Ulster movement, and worked in opposing directions at the same time.
You see, despite that Ulster nationalists broke with Ulster unionists to support increased independence for Northern Ireland, both the Unionists and Westminster correctly understood that this would not lead towards an thoroughly independent Ulster that the City of London could control through the financial sector, but rather – and ultimately – towards the unification of Ireland. That’s why, among other reasons and in light of Brexit, Westminster revoked this in 2017.
It’s no wonder then that Dublin found those moves towards more independence for Northern Ireland more favorable than not – the relationship between Dublin and Belfast would only deepen as a consequence.
On the one hand, it sought to reaffirm the status of Northern Ireland as separate from the Republic of Ireland – something that Ulsters could get behind. It also sought to deal with the political and economic nightmare which has been Northern Ireland’s subservient relationship to Westminster as a continued part of the UK, but within the framework of the UK. This was a point, interestingly, that self-identifying Irish (whether secular, Protestant, or Catholic) could get behind, for many of the same reasons that Irish Republicans have been making about the travesty of Westminster’s treatment of its royal subjects.
On the other hand, it appeared to move in the direction of political and economic autonomy from the UK, and towards something of a dominion or commonwealth status, like that of independent countries in the former British Empire, like Canada or Australia. But Northern Ireland isn’t an island from events in its region, and isn’t an island. Any moves that separate it politically and economically from Westminster, which even many Ulstermen (Unionists, ‘British’, Royalists, etc.) could get behind for practical and realistic reasons – inevitably bring it closer to Dublin. And that is the conundrum, the real problem that the Ulster hold-outs are facing today.
Those events showed, also, that the Ulster concept, name, and ideology is in continual disarray and meltdown. The Ulster identity is a unique and interesting one, and we are fast approaching a day when that identity will carry with it no harm, no foul, and no real problem. Because the reality is that the Republic of Ireland is winning the historical battle for a single, free, Ireland – and the threat posed historically by the Ulster mentality in the north, is quickly vanishing. As a minority in Northern Ireland, and a soon-to-be even greater minority in a unified Ireland, they will quickly disabuse themselves of any self-imposed minority mindset and join with the rest of Ireland’s Protestants and simply consider themselves Irish, with a sub-category or asterisk of some historic Ulster affinity and identity. That’s what truth and reconciliation will accomplish in a single unified Ireland, for the Irish – Catholic and Protestant, and secular. Indeed, that’s the entire concept and framing of the existing Republic of Ireland itself, hence the orange and the green in its standard.
The real problem is that the Protestants of Northern Ireland are a victim of the British imposed educational system. This indoctrination stands at total odds with the socio-economic realities imposed on Protestants and Catholics alike in Northern Ireland. Thus, while they understand from a socio-economic perspective that being a part of the UK, in the status that they now have, has been a disaster for them – they cannot overcome the brainwashing instilled prejudice against the Irish, they cannot overcome an affinity with the history of Unionism and Royalism in Northern Ireland, they cannot overcome their actual hatred (even if self-hatred) for the Irish.
For if they could overcome this psychological stumbling block, they would realize that the correct, honest, true, and natural course is the unification of Belfast with Dublin.
In truth, however, it was formations like the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland that emerged in the 70’s which proposed a break-through around the ethnic divisions of remaining in the UK, and proposed a politics based in the economics of the question. That one or two individuals in the north of Ireland today believe this should more properly be smuggled into an Ulster nationalism line, only speaks to the state of moribund decadence of this failed identity.
The economics of the question however favors a Northern Ireland integration with the rest of Ireland, and not remaining in the UK. Indeed, for practical concerns, this has already happened. Electrical systems, waterworks, roads, emergency services, even pizza delivery behaves as if Ireland and the 6 counties were already a single entity. How does that work? To begin with, Dublin has pledged some 5-10 billion euros annually that it would take to subsidize and develop Belfast and the 6 counties, to bring impoverished, UK dominated, Northern Ireland up to the standards of the Republic of Ireland, which are top-rate in the world.
How to understand the situation in Ireland today
Imagine if you will, that Anglo-Atlanticism gave up on Israel, and that economic growth in Palestine reached a zenith that it came time to approach the question of a single state. The roads, infrastructure, waterways, as they are now, all point to a one-state solution, even as they do now. This is similar to the situation in Ireland with Northern Ireland. But rather than the Palestinians, in our analogy, being on the increasingly short-end of the stick, it’s the Zionist settlers. This is the case in Ireland. In fact, the British understood the question similarly:
Moves towards increasing autonomy for Northern Ireland in the direction of an Ulster Republic are appealing to Ulster Nationalists who now oppose Ulster Unionism and Royalism, and want to win them to this idea.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland has fared well since its 1921 independence from Westminster, and today stands consistently in the top 10 most prosperous economy in the world. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland as a subject-colony of England, ranks as one of the poorest regions in all of Europe.
Indeed, some 9 of the 10 poorest regions in all of Northern Europe, are in the UK, with Northern Ireland featuring among the poorest of all. In addition, drug-related deaths for males has increased by 98% in Northern Ireland.
It’s no wonder that even Ulsters aren’t particularly as Royalist or Unionist as they used to be. That doesn’t make an anti-Irish ‘Ulster Republic’ any more realistic or viable, however. Calls for such are just one ‘growing pains’ step in the direction of realizing the need to come together to form a single Ireland.
The difference between Northern Irish poverty and Republic of Ireland success is in part of a product of the national concept of Ireland, as opposed to the class society which is the UK. The UK is a class society, which uses relative ethnic divisions to buttress class rule. It did so in the US, where the US inherits its major class-race problems from, and it did so in South Africa, in India, in Australia: indeed everywhere that the British Empire went, class-race problems went as well.
Commenting on the idea of class systems versus socialism, in his work Prussianism and Socialism, Oswald Spengler correctly assessed that Germany was more prone to socialism due to its volkish (people-oriented) framework, as opposed to the UK which was mired in classicist internal ethnicism. Spengler found that this was a result of its formation out of Jute and Norman invasions. We would be wise then to view Irish nationalism and meritocracy along these Prussian lines, and Ulster chauvinism and self-defeating, self-hating ethnic-classism as a product of English proclivities. Indeed, Irish nationalism and Irish socialism have historically emerged hand-in-hand.
And so just like any individual would, Ulsters find themselves in this moment of crisis, when reality cannot be dealt with and the facts cannot be embraced, holding onto more absurd and increasingly unlikely ‘solutions’.
This is, as always, a common course – the last hope of the hopeless. Indeed, it becomes difficult not to feel a bit of compassion for this betrayed and servile lot, the Ulsters.
It must be difficult to have an existence defined as being the descendants of those Scots who lacked the moral and economic fortitude to deny the orders of the English king. For today, Scots themselves eye independence, a sentiment that only grows, and probably succeeded at the polls with the infamous ‘YES’ vote, only to be rigged to their detriment by Westminster. But the Scottish fight for independence will carry forward, ultimately with success – and if that is true, it is doubly more true that Ireland’s historic mission is almost complete.
And Ulstermen in turn are in shock and horror at the specter of an independent Scotland.
Ulster sentiments are on the decline in northern Ireland, and this is a good thing, as adhering to lost causes which are ideologically, politically, economically, and moreover metaphysically, and culturally indefensible ought to be in decline.
This has to do in part with Ireland’s showing itself to be a relative economic success, compared with Westerminster’s utter and total neglect of its loyal subjects in the northern 6 counties. To wit, mindless and loyal subjects as Ulstermen and their analogues around the world, are often treated with contempt by those they are loyal to. This is one of the logical outcomes of such a relationship, as described in Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.
The History of July 12th
July 12th is a ‘holiday’ observed among Ulsters and this is clearly not a day celebrated by the Irish – Protestant or Catholic – nor by its secular Irish citizens – and more, it’s not a day celebrated in Scotland, nor by Protestants anywhere in the UK, except among the most avid defenders of British imperialism and colonialism.
It is neither the pride nor joy of the Protestants of the island anywhere, except that is, among a dwindling population of Ulstermen in Ireland’s northern counties, which as a consequence of factors of decreasing relevance, continues as a subject of that indefatigably disgusting lot of imperialists and royals ruling from Westminster and Buckingham.
A perfect sectarian storm has been raging in Northern Ireland, referred to by ‘Her Majesty’s loyal subjects’ as ‘Ulster’, and has not ended since that sectarian Protestant invasion of 1690.
In 1685 King James II, a Catholic, became the King of England following the death of his brother Charles II. The English wanted a Protestant king and were determined to get rid of King James II. They invited the Protestant prince William of Orange of the Netherlands to take the throne. William was married to King James II’s eldest daughter Mary Stuart. King James, following the demands of the indigenous Irish Catholics, refused to give up his throne or to carry out reforms that William requested. However in 1689, William of Orange and Mary were crowned the monarchs of England. William was now king of Ireland too. Most indigenous Irish people wanted to get the throne back for James II. They decided to help King James, and a war began in Ireland.
Fighting broke out in Ireland and also in Scotland, where James was from. The people who fought for King James were known as ‘Jacobites’. The people who supported William were known as ‘Williamites’. King James went to France and Ireland to get support from Catholics. James was not popular with the Protestant Irish because he removed many of them from positions of power. Many Protestants did not at first wish to support Prince William but they disliked the way James took away their power.
Fighting broke out in many places in Ireland. In 1689, the city of Derry was placed under siege by the army of King James because the soldiers there were not loyal to James and would not let his army enter the city. The siege lasted for over one hundred days causing terrible suffering to the civilians of the city. The supporters of King William eventually won and the siege was ended.
In June 1690, William of Orange landed in Carickfergus. He brought a large army with him. His army was made up of Dutch, French, Irish, Scottish and Italian soldiers and many others. William marched south towards Dublin . However, King James also had an army in Ireland at the time. Some of James’ army were Irish but others were English, Scots and French.
William’s army fought King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. The leader of James’ army was Patrick Sarsfield. William of Orange won the battle and also captured the cities of Dublin and Cork. King James left Ireland for France.
His defeat put and end to Catholic hopes of recovering property that had been confiscated from Irish landowners over the years since Oliver Cromwell’s involvement in Ireland. For Protestants in Ulster it ensured the survival of the Protestant colonists and their English-speaking areas. The victory is still celebrated every July 12 in Northern Ireland by the Orange Order, named after William of Orange, to celebrate the invasion and domination of colonial rule over the indigenous Celtic-speaking, Irish population.
However, despite being the most impoverished people in all of the United Kingdom, the Ulster Protestants remained fiercely loyal to the monarchy and are proud of their invading and colonial ancestors and heritage.
But as a consequence of said monarchy not reciprocating this fierce loyalty, some Ulsters have turned to the unworkable idea of an entirely independent Ulster Republic.
The 6 counties in the north under Westminster rule has a population that is split roughly in half between descendants of Protestant colonists and the indigenous Catholic community, ensuring that every July 12th is an intense sectarian driven day.
For the descendants of Protestant invaders, this almost sacred day is associated with violent scenes and intimidation since the Orange Order and other Ulster loyalist marching bands hold large parades along routes decorated with British flags that dissect through indigenous Catholic areas. Huge bonfires are lit, often with Irish flags attached so they can be burned, rubbishing many Protestants arguments that the marches are a “cultural event.” Rather, it is a demonstration of Protestant militarism and defense of British colonialism and imperialism.
This comes as Brexit is set to force the question of Ulster to be answered. With loyalists knowing full well that the status-quo cannot remain, and as the indigenous population of Ulster is set to outnumber the descendants of British colonists within the coming decade or two, desperate attempts to maintain Protestant hegemony has emerged knowing full well that the United Kingdom cannot be maintained. One such example includes independence for Ulster as a method to preserve Protestant domination over the occupied counties – with the logic being “if we cannot maintain the United Kingdom, it is better to be independent then reunite the counties with the rest of Ireland.”
Facing Reality – Time for Sobriety
The primary stumbling block for self-identifying Ulsters in Ireland’s north, has been the Westminster imposed education system. While reinforcement from civic organizations, Ulster unionist and nationalist organizations, and family-held views is a factor, the official doctrine of the school system in the six counties has proven problematic for its people. It’s held them back from the realization that they are Irish. It would be incorrect to view all Irish protestants as being the descendants of Scottish forces sent by the English – there are entirely indigenous Irish protestants. Moreover, given that the events in question were well over three-hundred years ago, there is no idea and no sentiment that the Ulster ought to ‘return’ to Scotland. This is not even in the cards, and no one demands it seriously.
Likewise, we could go far back in history, and likely land upon a series of migrations far predating the events of the close of the 17th century, which would show that Ireland was originally populated by Celts from the country now called Scotland. Gaels, Scots, Eire, are at times mutually interchangeable terms in the historical record, leading to confusion and multiply clashing identities fighting over its origin and authenticity.
The fact that Ulster was the region of Ireland that fought the most against foreign domination and, prior to the 1690 Battle of the Boyne which resulted in an Irish defeat, Ulster was the Irish symbol of defiance and unity. It’s ironic and a sad state that Ulster has come to refer to the Plantation of Ulster – named by the British in mere reference to its geography, whereas before Ulster was the historic center of resistance to the enemies of Ireland. Of course Ulster nationalists have cynically tried to twist this fact to somehow refer to themselves, when in reality they hold the vast, vast majority of Irish in total contempt.
Thus, Ulster ideology has emerged discoherently, as an ‘anything but’ worldview. Anything but the real history, anything but unity with the real existing Ireland, anything but overcoming the bi-polar and entirely Stockholm syndrome imbued in them by Westminster. Anything but Irish.
Philosophy and history proves that an identity of people formed in negation to another, are doomed projects. In the case of Croats, who are ‘not Serbs’, in the case of Ukrainians who are ‘not Russian’, in the case of Kurds who are ‘not Iranian’, of Salvadoreans who are ‘not Mexican’ – enter the Ulsters who are ‘not Irish’.
So-called Ulsters today appropriate the real history of Irish Ulster as their own, except when confronted with the rest of the Irish – upon which Irish Republicanism was built. Then the ‘Ulster mask’ falls off, and their proud role as regulators and constable-men of the Crown emerges. The fact that Ireland was populated by Celts from the lands now in Scotland thousands upon thousands of years ago, is somehow used by themselves to refer to, by analogy, the 1690 invasion. Such an incoherent assessment of history is not only rejected by the Irish and Scottish themselves, but also by the Protestants in the Republic of Ireland.
Whether Brexit goes down as planned or not, or goes down at all, the integrated economies that connect Belfast and Dublin are growing, while Northern Irish dissatisfaction for Westminster and its status in the UK are likewise growing.
While Ulster nationalism reflects in part this realization, and legitimately feels an urge to maintain some semblance of credibility for the tradition of Ulster ‘ism’, it is a still-born thought. It represents merely a half-way mark in the historical undoing of the ‘Made in England’ constructed identity which is that Ulsterman.
The armed-struggle stage of the liberation of Ireland is over, mostly because it is complete, and has all but won.
The time for sectarian divisions has come to an end, and while Republican forces in Northern Ireland, as do the Ulster, have a strong sectarian essence, the Republic of Ireland does not. And it’s the Republic of Ireland – with its Orange-White-Green tricolor (and all the symbolism this infers) that Northern Ireland will be joining, and not the sectarian proclivities of the republican movement in the 6 counties.
The final and real obstacle will be for these remaining Ulster hold-outs to realize that a united Ireland is not only an inevitability, but the most correct, moral, and philosophically coherent course for today and tomorrow. It’s time for today’s generation in Northern Ireland to realize the course they are already on is the right one – towards a unified Ireland.
With this accomplished, Ireland will be able to carry forward the twin battles against Brussels and Westminster – for a Socialist Republic of Ireland