This book analyses the underlying reasons behind the formation of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), its development, where this current in Irish republicanism is at present and its prospects for the future.
Tommy McKearney, a former IRA member who was part of the 1980 hunger strike, challenges the misconception that the Provisional IRA was only, or even wholly, about ending partition and uniting Ireland. He argues that while these objectives were always the core and headline demands of the organisation, opposition to the old Northern Ireland state was a major dynamic for the IRA's armed campaign. As he explores the makeup and strategy of the IRA he is not uncritical, examining alternative options available to the movement at different periods, arguing that its inability to develop a clear socialist programme has limited its effectiveness and reach.
This authoritative and engaging history provides a fascinating insight into the workings and dynamics of a modern resistance movement.
Tommy McKearney was a senior member of the Provisional IRA from the early 1970s until his arrest in 1977. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he served 16 years during which time he participated in the 1980 hunger strike in the Maze. He is now a freelance journalist and an organiser with the Independent Workers Union and the author of The Provisional IRA (Pluto, 2011).
Preface Introduction: From Orange State to Sectarian State 1. Police Batons Answer Demand for Civil Rights 2. Unionist Determination to Deny Democracy 3. The Violent Storms of August '69 4. Widespread Conflict Looms 5. An Emerging Force 6. Training People for Insurrection? 7. Attempting to Quell the Insurgency by Bloodshed and Blandishment 8. Republicanism in Ireland and its Relationship to Class 9. Political and Military Strategy of the Provisional IRA 10. The War in England 11. Britain's Response 12. Reviewing Strategy in the Mid-1970s 13. The Gradual Adoption of Parliamentarianism 14. Options and Opportunities 15. The Road Less Travelled: The Left Alternative 16. Parliamentary Sinn Fein, Surrender and Re-grant 17. From Armalites to Populist Conformity 18. General Election Upset in South 19. The End of a journey 20. A New Republic and a Relevant Republicanism Notes Index