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The Republic ( in ) The Ireland Institute

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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject: The Republic ( in ) The Ireland Institute Reply with quote


" ... The Ireland Institute is primarily an active intellectual environment for the study, discussion and promotion of Irish republican thought through historical and cultural research. ... The Ireland Institute hopes to be a positive influence in Irish life, providing an intellectual environment, independent of party politics, for informed discussion and analysis of issues which shape the future of our nation. ...

A TOPICAL SORT OF MAGAZINE - http://www.theirelandinstitute.com/citizen/

TRY - http://www.theirelandinstitute.com/citizen/c04-mcauliffe-page.html

An Equal and Just Society? Towards Recovery: The Programme for a National Government ( 2011 - 2016 ) - Mary McAuliffe - Women’s Studies, School of Social Justice, UCD

AN ACADEMIC SORT OF MAGAZINE - http://www.theirelandinstitute.com/republic/ ...

I was recently recommending an essay from Republic by Finbar Cullen " Beyond Nationalism " which has a similar pitch to my own argument which might be called " Beyond Notionalism " -


Beyond Nationalism : Time to Reclaim the Republican Ideal - Finbar Cullen

- of course I disagree with Finbar Cullen's argument ... because he equates Democracy with Republicanism i.e. he defines Republicanism in terms of ' The Sovereignty of The People ' instead of the Res Publica residing in ' The Rule of Law ' or ' The Sovereignty of Justice ' ... but I will forgive him that, because this is a nice short essay about the basic differences between the kinds of state envisaged by the political ideologies we call Nationalism and Republicanism - and this echoes my own argument that " Nationalist Republicanism " is a contradiction in terms because Republicans are Cosmopolitans i.e. ' Citizens of The World ' - Internationalists and therefore logically Pacifists or Pacificators - and therefore frequently opposed to the institution of the nation-state and so advocates instead of overlapping and interwoven jurisdictions in order to mutually bind the whole of the world together : logically Republicans oppose Nationalism as basing polities upon imaginary notions whilst protecting nations from being imposed upon by polities which deny the real existence of nations in favour of yet other notionalisms e.g. Socialism, Liberalism, Conservativism, Feminism, Ecologism, Economism, Capitalism, etc which interfere with the real lives as lived by The People in The Real World - not the imaginary worlds of " Notionalists."

Thus Republicans reject those practising " identity politics " who try to enslave other people by invoking their identities either positively or negatively to manipulate them - and so this in turn logically leads to protecting people's sense of identity so that they are not manipulated through being discriminated for or against their race, nationality, language, religion, politics, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, diet, disease etc. Thus Republicanism advocates " Freedom " both in the negative sense of providing relief from distress and the positive sense of enabling choices for pleasure - but it does not offer to completely guarantee anyone a life devoid of stress or full of happiness but only that freedom which we can collectively and mutually contrive together, which in terms of the mechanism of the state is merely to provide for us to have a legal remedy for those non-consenting relationships which cause distress to us and prevent us from making the choices we wish.

Philip Pettit has argued in his book " Republicanism " that beyond the positive and negative freedoms argued about like this - or rather before them - the fundamental issue to be addressed in Republicanism is " Non-Domination." This is turn raises the question as to how ever many freedoms we appear to have if we are dependent upon others giving them to us then we are then by definition not free e.g. does " The Welfare State " save us - or enslave us ? In the political system that we know as The United Kingdom the relationship between the majority of the electorate and The Welfare State has become one of dependency but it contains none of the constitutional remedies in terms of checks and balances which Republicanism advocates and as a consequence the relationship between The United Kingdom and The People is one of severe domination : electing politicians who might reform this political system is for most of the electorate unthinkable because of the economic uncertainties involved.

This is the same issue that was argued about in 16c and 17c ' Renaissance Republicanism ' when Democratic Republicanism was rejected because of the economic dependency ( of an akin sort to this ) of those who were not property free-holders which meant that they simply voted for their landlords : it was economic suicide for tenants and tradesmen in Britain and Ireland to exercise their independent judgement against the Aristocracy because they did not enjoy " Non-Domination " - but - this all changed in the North American Colonies where the emigrants acquired land and economic independance from the Colonial Aristocracy who then ceased to be able exercise Domination over The People and then utterly lost control over them in the American War of Independence. My feelings about this essay are that Finbar Cullen does not understand that Republicanism is essentially a descriptive not a prescriptive political theory, and not only predicts that Democracy is not the necessary consequence of Republicanism but also that Democratic Republicanism can only arise in given circumstances e.g. the Non-Domination as described by Philip Pettit.

Furthermore in the version of Pure Republicanism that I have begun to argue for, Democracy can not survive when substantial numbers of The People in Wales are dependent upon The Welfare State because they are compelled by their economic circumstances to vote for bread and cheese. As a consequence of this in our first-past-the-post elections the political party seen as being closely associated with The Welfare State can rely upon being elected because of this bias and the opportunities available to the Labour & Cooperative Party in being permanently the Welsh Government point towards their behaving as we observe them behaving - with indifference and even contempt towards their own electorate. The original Republican theory predicts that what happens next is that - as a consequence of those exercising political power becoming closely allied to those exercising economic power - Aristocracy replaces Democracy whilst the outward appearances of Democratic society continue, such as elections.

To illustrate the kind of essay which Finbar Cullen has written - and because it is useful - I feel that three of his paragraphs are not too much to take :


" ... In Ireland republicanism has long been problematic and controversial and for most people the term has come to be emptied of its true meaning and content. In the last thirty years it has become common to equate republicanism with militant or armed nationalism and an absolutist rejection of any British involvement in Ireland. For some it became a term of abuse, and many who might have shared the goals and principles of republicanism, retreated from the word itself. Perhaps now with the end of the armed conflict and the continuing peace process there will be more space to challenge this. Already people are reaching out to the word again, and some to the ideal. We must try to ensure that
[ Republicanism ] will never be co-opted again for undemocratic or chauvinistic purposes, or to serve the goals of nationalism.

... The purpose of republicanism is to provide good government in the interests of the common welfare – ideas of the common good and the commonwealth are central to the meaning of republicanism. In seeking to advance the welfare of the people and in the historic development of republicanism, the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity were added to its programme. The internationalism of republicanism also has its roots in this history where the links and solidarity between America and France and Ireland in the eighteenth century were extensive and important. But the principle of cooperation, understanding and solidarity beyond the boundaries of the nation and the state also has origins in republican thinking and the recognition that interests are shared across borders.The implementation of republican and nationalist programmes lead to very different outcomes. ...

... While republicanism rejects the idea that nation and nationality should be the basis for political organisation, or that nation should be equated with the state, it does respect and welcome them as forms of community and identity. It sees them as arising out of ordinary human activity, social, economic, cultural and political, and as such they are part of ordinary democratic development. Neither does republicanism favour one nation over another, nor believe that nations should be territorially contiguous.* It treats all nations equally. It follows that republicans should have a democratic respect for their own nations and nationality, supporting what is good and challenging what is not. ... "

[ ' territorially contiguous ' ... what I think he is talking about is the idea that ' nationality ' justifies a claim to land, or that ' nationality ' justifies a claim to rule others identified as fellow nationals in another land i.e. Republicanism does not favour the nation-state.]

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