ON Tuesday, during a 4-day visit to Ireland, Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, had a private meeting lasting 20 minutes with the leadership of the republican Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.
After the meeting Adams told reporters:
‘We did discuss the need for the entire process to move forward, particularly in regard to those who have suffered, those who have been bereaved.’
He added: ‘Both he and we expressed our regret for what happened from 1968 onwards.’
In one sentence, Adams is ‘regretting’ the entire struggle and sacrifices made by the Irish working class in the north against British imperialist domination.
He is regretting the struggle that erupted in 1968 over civil rights for catholic workers who suffered extreme discrimination and gerrymandering by protestant loyalists and the brutality of the loyalist dominated Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
Adams is regretting the armed struggle against imperialism and playing the liberal trick of apportioning equal blame to those fighting oppression with the violence used against them by their oppressors, in order to suck up to the British ruling class and its monarchy.
While Adams and McGuinness were bending the knee to the British monarchy a protest was taking place in Derry opposing Charles’ visit.
Amongst the protesters were relatives of innocent people murdered by the parachute regiment in the ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre – the regiment which has Prince Charles as its Commander-in-Chief.
Adams paid lip service to these victims of British imperialism when he told reporters:
‘I am also very conscious of the hurt inflicted on my friends and neighbours in my own community of Ballymurphy and Springhill in 1971 and 1972 when sixteen local citizens including three children, a mother of eight, two Catholic priests and ten unarmed men were killed by the Parachute Regiment. The British royal family is inextricably bound up in the military institutions of the British state and the British Army regiments of which Prince Charles is commander in chief were responsible for inflicting hurt on many families on this island, including in Derry in Bloody Sunday.’
He could also have added that not only is British royalty ‘inextricably’ bound up with the military, it is also inextricably bound up with the British bosses and ruling class.
On a previous visit to Dublin in 2011, the Queen made clear the position of the ruling class when she said: ‘The challenges of the past have been replaced by new economic challenges which will demand the same imagination and courage.’
For British capitalism, the ‘peace process’ so eagerly greeted by the Sinn Fein leadership means that they can now get on with carrying out the same savage austerity attacks against Irish workers as they have inflicted in Britain.
Throughout the years of the armed struggle, British governments were unable to carry out austerity cuts in the north of Ireland. Now the ‘peace dividend’ for them is that they have a free hand in imposing the full weight of austerity on the people of the north.
In this they have been supported to the hilt by Sinn Fein members in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
In January 2015 Sinn Fein agreed to sign up to a budget full of austerity cuts.
In an act described by trade unions as ‘shameless’, Sinn Fein also supported a huge day of industrial action held on 13 March against these same cuts!
The duplicitous role being played out by the Sinn Fein leadership – bending the knee to the butcher-in-chief and also to the diktats of a bankrupt British capitalist system intent on waging a civil war against the working class of Britain and the north of Ireland – signals the complete bankruptcy of bourgeois nationalism.
They have betrayed the Irish working class who want to see a united socialist Ireland.
The only way forward lies in Irish workers uniting with their allies in the British working class in the fight against austerity throughout Britain and Ireland in the fight to get rid of the bosses, bankers and monarchy through the socialist revolution.