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Regional demands for cultural rights, for full civic rights which are being suppressed by central government, or for partial or total autonomy from the central government, are often voiced even in well-established ‘nation states’, and may take the form of regional political parties, calls for referendums, demonstrations and civil resistance or violent resistance. The movements in the Basque region of Spain – where despite success for moderate nationalists ETA has waged a prolonged armed struggle, and the rise since 2010 of a nonviolent Catalan nationalism, illustrate these tendencies. There are regional movements with varying degrees of public support in Italy (Sardinian activists proposed in 2014 that Sardinia should secede and become a canton of Switzerland), and in France (for example in Brittany). Where there are divisions within a region based on ethnicity, language or religion political solutions may be undermined by bitterness and tension, as in Kosovo’s moves towards independence (see Vol. 1. Guide to Civil Resistance, D.I.).

In this section we are not attempting a comprehensive coverage of regional movements, but focus on those within the UK, which illustrate a variety of different political approaches and issues. Nationalists in Scotland have made major gains primarily through the political process: in September 2014 the nationalists won 44.7 per cent of the votes in a turnout of over 84 per cent of the electorate in an independence referendum, and the Scots were promised further significant measures of devolution. Radical nationalists engaged in a few spectacular exploits – for example four Scottish students removed then symbolic Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1951 – and a few symbolic targets such as letter boxes in Scotland with the Queen’s name were bombed or dynamited. But these were a temporary and minority part of a predominantly constitutional campaign, which is not directly relevant to this Guide.

Movements which are relevant are the nonviolent action campaign for the use of the Welsh language in Wales, and the examples of civil resistance – in particular the Civil Rights Movement of 1967-73 – in Northern Ireland. Welsh nationalists have otherwise primarily pursued a political path towards greater autonomy through Plaid Cymru contesting elections. The position in Northern Ireland is however complicated by its broader history within the movement for Irish independence, the divisions between the Protestant and Catholic communities with their distinct political allegiances, and the legacy of armed struggle embodied by the IRA (and in the late 1960s the Provisional IRA). Northern Ireland illustrates how nonviolent resistance can be overtaken by violent resistance and how this can lead in turn to inter-communal violence. But on the positive side Northern Ireland illustrates too the scope for creative initiatives towards reconciliation and peacemaking from below, which is another reason for including it here. Moreover, the long political peace process in Northern Ireland, involving both the British and Irish governments as well as parties on the ground and US mediators, has – despite continuing evidence of tensions – become a model for resolving bitter political conflicts in other parts of the world.

The long campaign for the public use of the Welsh language – including Welsh language radio and TV stations, and for Welsh political autonomy or independence – has used a mix of constitutional tactics and more dramatic protest. Plaid Cymru has contested local, British and European elections in Wales, but Welsh language campaigners have also refused to pay BBC radio licences and prominent activist Gwynfor Evans engaged in public fasts. The movement has included some acts of sabotage, such as burning down English second homes in Wales, and a guerrilla style attack on a reservoir built in a Welsh valley to provide water for Liverpool, but the Welsh campaign has made varied use of nonviolent direct action tactics.

Dafis, Cynog, Cymdeithas yr Iaith – the Manifesto, Translated by Harry Web, Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist, issue 26/27 (Winter), 1974

Earnshaw, Helena ; Jones, Angharad Penrhyn, Here we Stand, Aberystwyth, Honno, 2014, pp. 450

Anthology of accounts by 17 British women campaigners, engaged in a range of militant direct action, including one by Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr laith) activist, Angharad Thomas.

Evans, Gwynfor, The Fight for Welsh Freedom, Caernarfon, Y Lolfa, 2000, pp. 176

Covers Plaid Cymru, history and Welsh politics and government. An earlier book by Evans from the same publisher is: Evans, Gwynfor , Fighting for Wales Talybont, Y Lolfa, , 1992, pp. 221

Evans, Gwynfor, For the Sake of Wales: The Memoirs of Gwynfor Evans, [1986], Updated edition, with Foreword by Dafydd Elis Thomas, and epilogue by Steve Dubè, Caernarfon, Welsh Academic Press, 2001, pp. 281

Memoirs of this key figure in the nationalist movement and committed advocate of nonviolence.

Howys, Sian, Breaking the law to make change, In Bierley, John , Gathering Visions, Gathering Strength Bradford and London, GVGS Publishing Group and Peace News, , 1998, pp. 13-15

Madgwick, P.J., Linguistic conflict in Wales: A problem in the design of government, In Williams, Glyn , Social and Cultural Change in Contemporary Wales London, Routledge, Kegan and Paul, , 1978, pp. 227-241

McAllister, Laura, Plaid Cymru – The Emergence of a Political Party, With a foreword by Gwynfor Evans, Bridgend, Seren, 2001, pp. 224

Covers the period 1945-99 when Plaid was developing from a pressure group to established party with MPS and MEPs.

Morgan, Gerald, The Dragon’s Tongue: The Fortunes of the Welsh Language, Cardiff, The Triskel Press, 1966, pp. 144

Osmond, John, Creative Conflict: The Politics of Welsh Devolution, Llandysul and London, Gome Press and Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978, pp. 314

States the case for devolution, criticizes British regional policy, and traces the emergence and development of a distinctive Welsh politics.

Thomas, Ned, The Welsh Extremist, [1971], Talybont, Y Lolfa, 1991, pp. 144

Chronicles the Welsh cultural and national revival in the 20th century, including the nonviolent direct action campaign of the 1970s. Chapters on several of the leading figures in the movement. Critical assessment of the response of English socialists to the movement.

Tomos, Angharad, Realising a Dream, In Blanchard, Simon ; Morley, David , What’s This Channel Four? An Alternative Report London, Comedia Publishing Group, , 1982,

The 1920 Government of Ireland Act created a Northern Ireland state within the UK with its own devolved parliament and government in the six North East counties of Ireland, which had constituted part of the nine counties of the province of Ulster. This constitutional arrangement was strengthened by the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty which created the Irish Free State, and also provided for Northern Ireland to choose to remain separate. The Treaty split the nationalist movement in the South and led to a bitter civil war between those for and against the Treaty.

Since Catholics/Nationalists formed a majority in two of the six counties of Northern Ireland and in the city of Derry/Londonderry, and since Irish republicans had fought for a united independent Ireland, the settlement created continuing sources of conflict. The demography of the new state and the political divide on Protestant/Unionist and Catholic/Nationalist lines ensured permanent Unionist control of the Provincial government at Stormont and the exclusion and political alienation of the Catholic minority. Unionist governments, fearful of this minority which mainly looked to the south and cherished the hope of a united Ireland, enshrined Protestant dominance through restricting voting rights in local elections, altering local electoral boundaries and controlling most aspects of government and society, including law and order. Thus judges and magistrates were almost all Protestants, many members of the Unionists Party. The police force, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was 90 per cent Protestant and the Ulster Special Constabulary – the ‘B-Specials’ – entirely so. Many in the political, and religious establishment, and the security forces were also members of the Orange Order, founded in 1795 to defend the Protestant Ascendency. Discrimination in jobs and housing, which pre-dated the creation of the new state, continued. This was the background to intermittent unrest, and to bombings and other military attacks by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Following the end of the IRA bombing campaign of 1956-62, a more effective challenge to the political status quo arose in the form of the Civil Rights movement which had its origins in various community initiatives dating back to the early 1960s. Thus in 1963 women in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, formed the Homeless Citizens League and supported homeless families who squatted in empty pre-fabs due for demolition. This was followed soon afterwards by the formation in the town of the Campaign for Social Justice in Northern Ireland which publicized the discrimination in housing operated by Dungannon and other councils. In 1968 the Nationalist MP in Stormont (the Northern Ireland Parliament) for East Tyrone, Austin Currie, squatted in a house which Dungannon Rural District Council had allocated to an unmarried Protestant woman ahead of a young Catholic family. His action proved a catalyst for the countrywide campaign for civil rights and an end to discriminatory practices.

In Derry/Londonderry, a city with high unemployment, acute housing shortage and a majority Catholic population ruled by a Protestant/Unionist City Council, a campaign in 1965 to have the second university for Northern Ireland sited there brought together a cross section of people, including Catholic, and some Protestant, business people. The suspicion was that the Council was reluctant to have a university in the city as that would alter the demographic and threaten Protestant/Unionist control. Although the group failed in its objective its experience enabled some of its members to provide useful organizational support for a more far-reaching campaign on discrimination in housing and employment launched by a small group of socialists, republicans and other radicals in 1968, the Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC).

In January 1967 the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was launched in Belfast with support from trade unions, community and campaigning groups, republican bodies and representatives of all the Northern Ireland political parties. (The Unionist Party delegate walked out of the initial meeting but the Executive Committee subsequently co-opted two young Unionists.) NICRA called, not for the abolition of the border, but for an end to collective discrimination against Catholics on voting, housing and employment, the repeal of the Special Powers Act (which gave police sweeping powers of search and arrest and the right to ban meetings or publications), the disbandment of the B-Specials and the disarming of the RUC.

In August 1968 NICRA organized the first civil rights march from Coalisland to Dungannon in support of the campaign already under way there. Though prevented by police from entering the town centre, and facing provocation from a loyalist counter-demonstration led by Rev Ian Paisley, the majority of the march remained nonviolent.

However, the event which catapulted the campaign into the headlines, and can be seen in retrospect as marking the beginning of the mass movement for civil rights, took place in Derry on 5 October 1968 when police baton-charged a banned but relatively small march of around 400 people organized by the DHAC, with the backing of NICRA. Two weeks later 4,000 to 5,000 took part in a peaceful sitdown in Guildhall Square, this time organized by the newly-formed, and generally more middle-class and ‘respectable’, Derry Citizens Action Committee (DCAC), drawn mainly from people who had been active in the campaign over the siting of the university. The demonstration concluded with people singing ‘We Shall Overcome’. On 16 November the DCAC engaged in civil disobedience for the first time, defying a ban to march to the city centre. Around 15,000 people took part and the police had no option but to allow them through and leave the maintenance of order in the hands of a well-trained body of marshals.

On November 22 the Stormont government, announced its intention to introduce a package of reforms and on December 9 Prime Minister Terence O’Neil made a passionate appeal for people to give him their support and allow time for the promised reforms to succeed. NICRA and DCAC announced a temporary suspension of marches, but others argued that what the government promised fell far short of what was needed and that it was vital to keep up the momentum. In January 1969 a civil rights march from Belfast to Derry, the ‘Long March’, organized by the Peoples Democracy (PD) campaign, based at Queen’s University Belfast, was attacked by Protestant loyalists at Burntollet Bridge a few miles from Derry.

A subsequent PD march in Newry, Co. Down,was followed by rioting and damage to property. In March, the Northern Ireland government set up a Commission of Enquiry under Lord Cameron to inquire into the causes of the disturbances which concluded there had indeed been partisan law enforcement, the gerrymandering of local government boundaries, and discrimination in the areas of housing allocation, and local government employment. The report also criticized the police for failing to protect the PD marchers at Burntollet.

The point of no return came in Derry on 12 August 1969 following clashes between the Protestant Apprentice Boys March and residents of the Catholic Bogside area of the city. The Bogside came under siege from loyalists, largely backed by the RUC and B-Specials, an event which came to be known as The Battle of the Bogside. The rioting escalated and spread to Belfast on 14 August, where 150 Catholic homes were burned, eight people killed and hundreds injured. The British government sent troops into the province, who were initially welcomed by Catholics. But increasingly the troops were seen as serving the interests of the Unionist government. In this period too, 1969-70, there was a split in the Republican movement between the ‘Officials’ who had been pursuing a political, Marxist, strategy, and the breakaway ‘Provisionals’ who favoured a continuation and stepping up of a military campaign to defend Catholic areas and ultimately to end partition.

In August 1971 in face of armed attacks and bombings by the Provisional IRA and loyalist paramilitaries, the British government introduced internment. Over 2,400 people were arrested in the first six months, the majority of them in the initial phase from the Catholic/Nationalist community. Although most were soon released, internment further antagonized the community, and the newly formed (mainly Catholic) Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) announced a campaign of civil disobedience, including a rent and rates strike. Many Catholics also withdrew from public bodies.

The last civil rights march took place in Derry in January 1972 when the British Army Parachute Regiment opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, killing 14 people and wounding many more. Bitterness in the Catholic/Nationalist community at the ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre was intensified when later that year an official Commission of Inquiry, under Lord Widgery, largely exonerated the army – though commenting that its firing on the demonstrators ‘bordered on the reckless’ – and concluded that the organizers of the march bore the main responsibility for what happened by creating a situation where confrontation was inevitable. In March of that year the Northern Ireland government resigned, Stormont was suspended and direct rule from Westminster under a Secretary of State imposed. Thereafter violence escalated.

Despite the descent of Northern Ireland into violence, the Civil Rights movement did draw world attention to the injustices suffered by the minority community and forced the Northern Ireland and British governments to introduce reforms. These included one-person-one-vote in local council elections (1969), the creation of Parliamentary and local commissioners for complaints (1969), the replacement of the B-Specials with the Ulster Defence Regiment (1970), the establishment of a new housing executive (1971), proportional representation in local and European elections (1972), local government reorganization (1972), and the Fair Employment Act (1976). The movement also produced a new generation of political leaders and who continued to press for more far-reaching political and constitutional changes including, increasingly, the abolition of the border.

There were a number of initiatives at an official level to end the conflict in the course of the 1970s. In 1973 the British Government set up the Northern Ireland Assembly whose members were elected by proportional representation. The Sunningdale Agreement in December of that year provided for the establishment of a power-sharing Executive, a Council of Ireland (with representatives from both parts of Ireland) and, as a reassurance to the Protestant/Unionist community, reaffirmed that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland could only be changed with the consent of the majority in the Province. The Executive took office in January 1974 with ministers drawn from the Ulster Unionist Party, the SDLP and the Alliance Party. But the Agreement proved divisive. Provisional Sinn Fein and IRA rejected it and the latter continued their attacks. The Unionist party split on the issue, its leader, Brian Faulkner, resigned, and all the Unionist MPs at Westminster opposed it. Anti-Sunningdale Unionist candidates won 11 out of 12 Westminster seats with 51 per cent of the votes in the UK February 1974 general election. Finally a strike by the Ulster Workers Council, in which gas and electricity workers played a critical role, brought the Province to a standstill, led to the downfall of the Executive and a decision by the British government to suspend the Assembly.

In a sense the UWC strike was an impressive demonstration of civil resistance, but it was far from nonviolent as there was widespread intimidation by Protestant paramilitary groups to enforce the strike. It also coincided with bombings of civilian targets in Dublin and Monaghan by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in which 33 people were killed. However, the downfall of the power-sharing Executive was perhaps an indication that the time was not yet ripe for a cross party alliance of this kind to succeed and that the ‘extremes’ on all sides, including paramilitary groups, had somehow to be included in the peacemaking process.

For discussion of the UWC strike see:

Fisk, Robert, The Point of No Return: The Strike which Broke the British in Ulster, London, Times Books: Deutsch, 1975, pp. 264

Detailed account by journalist of the strike and its political repercussions.

See also:

Eamonn McCann, War and an Irish Town, (I.2.c.i. Civil Rights Movement 1967-73), McCann cites reports that Prime Minister Harold Wilson was set to order the army to confront the UWC but was informed that the army would refuse to obey such an order (p.144).
Tom Nairn, The Break-up of Britain, (I.2.a. Historical Background and Political Perspectives), Chapter 5, ‘Northern Ireland: Relic or Portent?’ The author comments: ‘It [the strike] was without doubt the most successful political action carried out by any European working class since the World War’ (p. 242).
David McKittrick; David McVea, Making Sense of The Troubles, (I.2.a. Historical Background and Political Perspectives), Chapter 5: ‘Sunningdale, Strike and Stalemate’, pp. 98-117.

After Sunningdale, there was slow and fitful progress at the official level. In 1975 a Constitutional Convention made recommendations as to how the government of Northern Ireland should be constituted. In 1983 representatives of the four main constitutionalist nationalist parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic set up the New Ireland Forum to discuss ways forward to ending the Troubles. Its report published in May 1984 indicated greater flexibility on the part of nationalists with respect to constitutional changes, and paved the way for the Anglo-Irish Agreement of the following year which gave the Republic an advisory role in the government of Northern Ireland. In 1993 the British and Irish governments signed the Downing Street Declaration which set out the broad principles of a settlement, and this was followed five years later by the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) – also known as the Belfast Agreement – which re-established a Northern Ireland Assembly and power sharing Executive. The Agreement was endorsed in referendums in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. There was also an additional referendum in the Republic, in accordance with the terms of GFA, to approve the amendment of Articles 2 and 3 of its constitution so that the claim that its jurisdiction extended to Northern Ireland was relinquished. This too received overwhelming endorsement.

Among significant events at the grassroots level post the civil rights years were the formation of the cross-community Peace People initiated by Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams in 1976, the hunger strikes in 1980-81 by republican prisoners demanding the reinstatement of their former Special Category Status, the election of the hunger strike leader, Bobby Sands, as MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone shortly before his death, and subsequently the death of nine other hunger strikers, and a gradual shift away from a military policy by Provisional Sinn Fein and IRA, which twice instituted cease-fires in the 1990s, and finally in 2005 declared an end to the military campaign. This shift was occasioned in part by the evidence that the campaign had reached a dead end, and perhaps also by the fact that civilian campaigns such as the Smash H-Block campaign in support of the hunger-strikers, and the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign in Derry showed the potential of mobilizing mass civilian action. The election to the Westminster Parliament of Bobby Sands who had become such an iconic figure in the republican movement and the wider Catholic/nationalist community – his funeral in Belfast was attended by 100,000 people – strengthened the position of those within Provisional Sinn Fein and IRA who favoured some level of engagement in conventional politics.

On the loyalist side, the Ulster Defence Association and its armed wing, the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) called a ceasefire in 2004 and announced an end to its military operations in 2007. The other main loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), responsible for some of the worst sectarian killings, announced a ceasefire in 1994 and, in 2007, an end to its military campaign, but it has subsequently been deemed responsible for fomenting riots, and for attacks on the police and rival paramilitary groups.

The political breakthrough, which virtually no-one had anticipated, came when Provisional Sinn Fein on the Republican side and the Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party, (DUP) won the majority of seats in Assembly elections and agreed to form a power-sharing Executive in 2007, with Ian Paisley as First Minister and his former arch-opponent, Martin McGuinness, as his deputy.

Communal tensions have, however, persisted related particularly to marches, the flying of the Union Flag at City Hall, sporadic attacks by breakaway republican and loyalist paramilitaries and the legacy of unsolved killings during the Troubles. By the autumn of 2014, these issues, plus wrangles over the administration budget and the implementation of welfare changes, threatened the collapse of the Assembly and Executive and a return to direct rule from Westminster. However, after 11 weeks of talks involving the five main parties in Northern Ireland, and British and Irish governments, a deal was reached on 23 December which averted the collapse, secured a £2 billion grant from the British government to cushion the effects of cuts and welfare changes, and established commissions to consider the unresolved issues of marches and flags.

Bew, Paul ; Gibbon, Peter ; Patterson, Hnery, Northern Ireland 1921-2001, [1995], Updated edition of "1921-1994: Political Forces and Social Classes", London, Serif, 2002, pp. 274

An extended historical interpretation from a Marxist perspective, which makes use of the large volume of archive material released in the 1970s. Focuses on the interaction of class and other economic and political factors in the conflict in Northern Ireland. Maintains that the divisions in the country made some form of partition inevitable, the issue at stake being what form it would take.

Curtis, Liz, The Cause of Ireland: From the United Irishmen to Partition, Belfast, Beyond the Pale Publications, 1994, pp. 436

A history of the period from a nationalist perspective with the stated aim of putting in context the divisions and conflict in Northern Ireland. A postscript notes briefly some of the political developments in the 1920s and 1930s including the introduction of the Special Powers Act in 1933 and the emergence of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Elliott, Marianne, The Catholics of Ulster: A History, London, Allen Lane and The Penguin Press, 2000, pp. 642

A major study looking at the history of Catholics in Ulster from the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 to the signing of the Belfast agreement in 1998. The author, who defines herself an ’Ulster Catholic’, takes a fresh look at the attitudes, assumption and convictions of the Catholic community, and at some of the causes of sectarian division. She notes that there has been a return of self-confidence among Ulster Catholics since the signing of the GFA and that the overwhelming majority of them support the constitutional arrangement based on majority consent.

English, Richard, Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA, [2003], Oxford, Pan Books, 2012, pp. 544

The chapters in this history of the IRA which deal with the gradual shift in the position of Provisional Sinn Fein and IRA, their engagement in the political process through discussions with both the rival nationalist SDLP and the British government, and their eventual decision to end the military campaign, provide valuable insights into the dynamics of the peace process in Northern Ireland. The final chapter subjects the republican case to critical – though not unsympathetic – scrutiny but rejects the contention that the struggle was in any straightforward sense an anti-colonial one or that its religious dimension can be ignored.

Farrell, Michael, Northern Ireland: The Orange State, [1976], London, Pluto Press, 1980, pp. 406

A history of Northern Ireland, and socialist political analysis of the causes of the conflict there, by a leading civil rights campaigner and founding member of People’s Democracy. He concludes that the choice in Ireland is ‘between, on the one hand, a semi-fascist Orange statelet in the North, matched by a pro-imperialist police state in the South, and, on the other hand, an anti-imperialist and socialist revolution’.

McGarry, John ; O'Leary, Brendan, Explaining Northern Ireland, [1995], Oxford, Blackwell, 1996, pp. 533

Critical examination of both Nationalist and Unionist accounts of the causes of the conflict. Authors distinguish broadly between explanations that focus on external factors – the policies of British and Irish governments – and those that identify the internal factors of religion, culture and ethnicity in Northern Irish society. They reject the proposition that the conflict is fundamentally a religious one, and are sceptical not only of the various Marxist accounts – Orange, Green and ‘Red’ – but of the essentially materialist accounts by many liberal commentators. While acknowledging the multiplicity of causal factors, they view the conflict as essentially one between groups which identify themselves along different national, ethnic and religious lines, though they hold out the hope of an accommodation between them to produce an ‘agreed’, though not necessarily a united, Ireland.

McKittrick, David ; McVea, David, Making Sense of The Troubles, [2000], (revised edition), London, Viking, 2012, pp. 404

Coverage of major events during the Troubles. Includes a useful chronology and an account of the Ulster Workers Council strike in 1974. . The revised 2012 edition also covers political developments in Northern Ireland since the origonal publication including the historic power-sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin in 2007.

Miller, David, Rethinking Northern Ireland: Culture, Ideology and Colonialism, Abingdon, Routledge, 1998, pp. 344

Aims, in words of editor, ‘to give its readers a reasonably broad critical introduction to the Northern Ireland conflict’. Most of the 13 contributors to the book are academics working in the field of sociology, politics and media studies, plus writers and journalists. The thrust of the argument in the book is that the conflict needs to be understood as an anti-colonial struggle, not as a religious or ethnic one, and that tackling the inequalities brought about by colonialism is the key to securing a lasting peace.

Murphy, Dervla, A Place Apart, [1978], Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1980, pp. 300

Records the experiences of this distinguished Irish travel writer during her cycling tour of Northern Ireland in 1976-77. Briefly recapitulates the historical background to the Troubles, and re-examines the rival myths and prejudices of the Protestant and Catholic communities, both of whom warmly welcomed her while remaining suspicious of each other. Informed by genuine affection for the people of Northern Ireland and an optimism about its future in the longer term though discounting the possibility of a united Ireland.

Murphy, Dervla, Changing the Problem: Post Forum Reflections, Lilliput Pamphlets No. 3, Gigglestown, Lilliput, 1984

Puts the case, following the publication of the report of the New Ireland Forum, for an independent Northern Ireland

Nairn, Tom, The Break-up of Britain, [1977], London, Verso, 1981, pp. 409

Marxist analysis of the political and economic factors leading to a resurgence of national consciousness in the constituent parts of the UK. In a chapter on Ireland, he rejects what he sees as the oversimplified imperialist analysis of Ireland’s situation by Irish nationalists and some fellow Marxists from Connolly to Farrell. Argues the case for an independent Northern Ireland.

O'Brien, Conor Cruise, States of Ireland, [1972], Republished, London, Faber & Faber, 2015

Mixture of history, personal memoir and analysis by this Irish academic, writer and statesman. In chapter 8, ‘Civil Rights: the Crossroads’ (pp. 147-77) he argues that the campaign of civil disobedience begun by the civil rights movement in 1968 was bound in the context of Northern Ireland’s deeply divided society to increase sectarianism and lead to violence. Defends Partition on the grounds that the alternative would have been a much bloodier civil war than the one that occurred in the South in 1922-23. Cites a loyalty survey conducted by Richard Rose in 1968 to dismiss as unrealistic the proposition that the Catholic and Protestant working class might unite in a struggle against a common class enemy and create a workers’ republic in a united Ireland.

O'Dowd, Kiam ; Robston, Bill ; Tomlinson, Mike, Northern Ireland: Between Civil Rights and Civil War, London, CSE Books, 1980, pp. 232

Examination from a socialist perspective of key issues by three Northern Ireland academics. Includes a chapter on the reform of the RUC in the 1970s.

O Connor, Fionnuala, In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland, Belfast, The Blackstaff Press, 1993, pp. 393

Investigation of the convictions and sense of identity of people in the Catholic Community in Northern Ireland based on recorded interviews with fifty-five individuals – not all of them necessarily practising Catholics – about their political allegiances, their relationship with Protestants, and their attitude to the IRA, Britain, Southern Ireland and the Church.

Porter, Norman, Rethinking Unionism: An Alternative Vision for Northern Ireland, [1996], Belfast, The Blackstaff Press, 1998, pp. 252

Advocates a ‘civic unionism’ which acknowledges both the Britishness and Irishness of Northern Ireland. To quote from the Preface it ‘accommodates questions of cultural identity, liberal emphases on the entitlements of individuals and a substantive understanding of politics in which the practice of dialogue is central’.

Rose, Richard, Governing Without Consensus, An Irish Perspective, London, Faber & Faber and Beacon Press, 1971, pp. 567

Standard and frequently cited work by an American political scientist based in Britain. Charts the origins and development of the divided community in Northern Ireland since the foundation of the state, and considers the problems of governance it gives rise to. Includes a discussion of the civil rights movement. Sees no immediately practicable solution to the problem and draws a comparison with the race problems in the United States. The analysis is supported by data from an extensive social survey of public opinion and informal discussions with people active in Northern Ireland politics.

Rowthorn, Bob ; Wayne, Naomi, Northern Ireland: The Political Economy of Conflict, Cambridge, Polity Press, in association with Blackwell, 1988, pp. 208

Analysis of the causes of conflict in Northern Ireland, dealing mainly with the period from partition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, though with a brief survey of the longer historical background. Pays greater attention than the majority of accounts to economic and class factors.

Whyte, John, How Much Discrimination Was There under the Unionist Regime, 1921-72?, In Gallagher, Tom ; O'Conell, James , Contemporary Irish Studies Manchester, Manchester University Press, , 1983, pp. 1-35

Detached assessment of the evidence. Concludes that while discrimination against Catholics in this period certainly existed, it was more marked in some policy areas than others – more marked in electoral practices (especially at local government level), public employment and policing, generally less so in private employment, public housing and regional policy. But he notes that geographically, also, there were marked differences, with discrimination being more widespread in the west, which had a higher Catholic population.

Whyte, John, Interpreting Northern Ireland, Foreword by Garret Fitzgerald, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1990, pp. 328

Reviews the principal interpretations of the causes of conflict in Northern Ireland, including various Nationalist, Unionist and Marxist accounts, and proposed solutions. Concludes that both the traditional nationalist and traditional unionist interpretations had lost their popularity over the previous 20 years to be replaced by one prioritizing internal causes. Points also to the serious disagreements among Marxist commentators but acknowledges the major contribution a number of them, including McCann, Farrell, Bew, Gibbon and Patterson, have made to the literature, Suggests a new paradigm may be needed which, among other things, would take account of the contrast between different parts of Northern Ireland where areas only a few miles apart can differ enormously ‘in religious mix, in economic circumstances, in the level of violence, in political attitudes.’

Fay, Marie Therese ; Morrissey, Mike ; Smith, Marie, Northern Ireland’s Troubles: The Human Costs, London and Stirling, Virginia and Pluto Press, 1999, pp. 229

Part I of this book sets out the context of the conflict in Northern Ireland, including a chronology of key events from the opening of the first Parliament there in 1921 to the Provisionl IRA ceasefire in September 1998, considers political, social and economic facets of the conflict, and reviews the principal interpretations of its causes. Part II examines the effects of the violence on individuals and groups and argues the need to address them if there is to be peace in the longer term.

Fearon, Kate, Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition: institutionalizing a political voice and ensuring representation, Accord, issue 13, 2002, pp. 78-81

(Accord is published by the London-based Conciliation Resources. Issue 13 was entitled ‘Owning the process: Public Participation in Peacemaking’, edited by Catherine Barnes.)

The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) was initiated by women of various political affiliations, religious beliefs and occupations. It was institutionalized as a political party in 1996 so that its members would be eligible to take part in the all-party talks that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement. It also campaigned for the acceptance of the GFA in the referendums which followed its signing.

Hennessey, Thomas, The Northern Ireland Peace Process: Ending the Troubles?, Dublin, Gill & Macmillan, 2000, pp. 256

Detailed account by an academic historian who acted as special advisor to the Unionist Party of the negotiations that led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The author comments in the Introduction that ‘what complicated the Northern Ireland conflict was the range of options which the central protagonists – Unionists and Nationalists – viewed as their preferred solution.’ Historically, he states ‘the Ulster Question has been a dispute concerning sovereignty and identity. Or to put it another way, it has been a dispute between states and nations. But neither Unionists nor Nationalists could agree which states were legitimate or the legitimacy of the opposing group’s national identity’.

Irwin, Colin, The People’s Peace Process in Northern Ireland, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, pp. 326

Discusses the lessons learned from the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement. Describes how opinion polls were used by politicians to explore what compromises their supporters might accept.

McCartney, Clem, Striking a Balance: The Northern Ireland Peace Process, in Accord, issue 8, London, Conciliation Resources, 1999

Accounts of peace process from perspectives of various parties involved, including several members of the then recently formed Northern Ireland Executive. Clem McCartney writes on ‘The Role of Civil Society’ and Monica McWilliams and Kate Fearon of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition on ‘Problems of Implementation’.

McEvoy, Joanne, The Politics of Northern Ireland, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2008, pp. 194

Discusses competing theoretical perspectives on the causes of the conflict and the political parties and paramilitaries involved. Records the various reforms and constitutional initiatives from the 1970s to the 1990s to find a settlement which culminated in the Good Friday Agreement, the setting up of a power-sharing Executive and Assembly, and finally, following the suspension of the Assembly between 2002 and 2007, the agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein to co-operate in a power-sharing government.

McEvoy, Joanne, Power-Sharing Executives:Governing in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014, pp. 288

Comparative study of power sharing-initiatives, analyzing the different approaches in each case and the role of external actors. Author argues that the experience in Northern Ireland, despite many setbacks and false starts, has been relatively positive, though threatened by the rioting and quarrels that followed the decision in December 2010 to fly the Union flag at Stormont only on special occasions rather than every day as had previously been the case.

Murray, Dominic, Protestant Perceptions of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, Limerick, Centre for Peace and Development Studies, University of Limerick, 2000, pp. 173

Contributions from Northern Ireland Protestants with backgrounds in politics, the media, education, religion and community work. Murray, himself from a nationalist background, stresses the importance of contesting the widely held view in the Republic of Ireland and beyond that the Unionist population of Northern Ireland is a homogeneous group, which is both intransigent and obstructive. His intention as editor, he states, is to illuminate the diversity which exists in the unionist community.

Tonge, Jonathan, The New Northern Irish Politics, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, pp. 282

Analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the constitutional arrangements embodied in the Good Friday Agreement. Argues that despite the difficult concessions unionists had to make, the GFA was a triumph for them politically since it embodied the principle of consent for any constitutional change in the province and the amendment of Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic’s constitution. Rejects the proposition that the separate referendums on the GFA in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic amounted to a genuine exercise in Irish self-determination, but expresses cautious optimism that the void left by ‘the demise of traditional republicanism’ can be filled within the broader EU context by a growing bi-nationalism and diminution of the north-south border.

Political reform and the moves towards a settlement were initially driven by grassroots mobilizations and campaigns. Chief among these campaigning organizations, as noted earlier, were the Derry Housing Action Committee and the Derry Citizens Action Campaign, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the more left wing People’s Democracy (PD). There were also some later rights’ campaigns, which are dealt with under I.2.c.ii, and initiatives, and campaigns aimed specifically at ending inter-communal, paramilitary and state violence which are dealt with under I.2.c.iii.

Arthur, Paul, The People’s Democracy 1968-1973, Belfast, Blackstaff Press, 1974, pp. 159

Author was active in PD, but this nonetheless is a dispassionate and sometimes critical account of the movement, which had its origins among student activists at Queens University Belfast in 1968. Recounts internal debates and divisions and shows how PD moved from being a purely civil rights campaign to taking a radical socialist position, and campaigning for a workers’ republic in a re-united Ireland.

Devlin, Bernadette, The Price of My Soul, London, Pan, 1969, pp. 206

Autobiography of one of the most dynamic student leaders of the civil rights movement. Recounts the emergence of People’s Democracy (PD) at Queen’s University Belfast, and includes vivid first-hand accounts of the August 1968 March in Derry, and the Belfast to Derry march by PD in January 1969 which was ambushed by a loyalist mob at Burntollet. Also recounts Devlin’s election to the Westminster Parliament in April1969, her frustration at the limits to her power as an MP, and her participation in the Battle of the Bogside in August of that year.

McCann, Eamonn, War and an Irish Town, [1974], London, Pluto, 1980, pp. 176

Describes the genesis of the civil rights and housing action campaign in Derry in which he played a leading role, and the civil rights march through the city in October 1968, which was attacked by the RUC and is now widely regarded as marking the start of the Troubles. Analyzes subsequent political developments from a radical socialist perspective and argues that the solution to the conflict lies in the creation of an all-Ireland workers’ republic. Critical of what he regards as the apolitical stance of NICRA , and of the later Women Together and Peace People campaigns. McCann took part in the Battle of the Bogside in 1969 and the civil rights march in Derry on Bloody Sunday. Argues that there is war in Ireland ‘ because capitalism, to establish and preserve itself, created conditions which made war inevitable.’

McCluskey, Conn, Up Off Their Knees: A Commentary on the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Conn McCluskey & Associates, 1989, pp. 245

Account of origins and development of the movement by an activist who played a key role in its foundation.

O’Dochartaigh, Niall, From Civil Rights to Armalites: Derry and the Birth of the Irish Troubles, [1997], London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, pp. 332

Describes the trajectory of resistance from largely nonviolent demonstrations, modeled on the US Civil Rights movement, to riots and finally to virtual civil war in Derry/Londonderry. O’Dochartaigh subscribes to the view that in conditions of civil disorder and conflict ‘the local environment becomes ever more important as a focus of political activity.’ A central thesis of the book is that ‘occasions of violent confrontation play a crucial role in promoting the escalation and continuation of conflict’.

Prince, Simon ; Warner, Geoffrey, Belfast and Derry in Revolt, Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2012, pp. 271

Detailed account of the beginnings of the Troubles in these two cities. Argues that 5 October 1968, the date of the first civil rights march in Derry, which was attacked by the RUC and a loyalist mob, has a strong claim to be ‘the second most significant date in Irish history’ – after Easter week 1916.

Purdie, Bob, Politics in the Streets: The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland, Belfast, Blackstaff Press, 1990, pp. 286

Argues that the movement made a strategic error in taking to the streets because of the connection between street demonstrations and sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. Although activists drew inspiration from the US Civil Rights Movement they did not, in his view, take sufficient account of the different circumstances in the two countries.

Campbell, Juleann, Setting the Truth Free: The Inside Story of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, Dublin, Liberties Press, 2014, pp. 256

Detailed account of the campaign set up by the families of the 13 people killed, and 14 injured, on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry in 1972. The campaign set up in 1992 succeeded, in the face of intransigence by the British authorities and indifference or open hostility of many others, in forcing the government to institute a new inquiry under Lord Justice Saville. This concluded in 2010 that the demonstrators had been unarmed, that no stones or petrol bombs had been thrown and that the civilians were not posing any threat. British Prime Minister David Cameron made a public apology in Parliament, describing the killings as ‘unjustified and unjustifiable.’ The book is written by the niece of one of those who was killed, and includes the testimonies of eyewitnesses, and a foreword by the leading civil rights lawyer, Garreth Pierce.

Farrell, Michael, Twenty Years On, Dingle, Brandon, 1988, pp. 192

Contributions by nine activists who had been involved in the Civil Rights movement in 1968. Contributors include Gerry Adams on his experiences as a republican in the civil rights campaign and the Provisionals’case for splitting with what became Official Sinn Fein and IRA; Bernadette (Devlin) McAliskey on her time in the British Parliament which she entitles ‘a peasant in the halls of the great’, and Michael Farrell on the ‘Long March’ from Belfast to Derry in January 1969 and subsequent developments. Carol Coulter describes the reverberations of the campaign in the South and Margaret Ward its influence in the development of feminism in Ireland.

Garvaghy Residents, Garvaghy: A Community Under Siege, Belfast, Beyond the Pale, 1999, pp. 171

Garvaghy Road, a Catholic area in mainly Protestant Portadown, has been the scene of confrontations down the years during the annual Orange Order parade on the weekend before 12 July, following a service in Drumcree Church. The Orange Order claims the right to march along the road; the residents say that they face abuse and violence when this happens and that there are alternative routes the parade could take. Resistance to the event has included sit-downs, a women’s Peace and Justice Camp and the setting up of Radio Equality. Part 1 of the book is based mainly on the diaries of residents in July 1998 when the parade was banned and police and soldiers erected barricades and dug trenches to prevent the march from entering the road. Part 2 is an edited version of the Residents’ submission in 1996 to the Parades Commission.

Ross, Stuart F., Smashing H-Block: The Popular Campaign Against Criminalization and the Irish Hunger Strikes 1976-1982, Liverpool, University of Liverpool Press, 2011, pp. 226

In contrast to most accounts of the anti H-block campaign, this book focuses on the popular campaign outside the prison for the restoration of ‘Special Category Status’, originally accorded to both republican and loyalist prisoners in 1972 but phased out by the Labour Home Secretary, Merlyn Rees, in 1976. Ross maintains that the campaign that grew around the hunger strikes of 1981 and 1982 was ‘perhaps the biggest and broadest solidarity movement since Vietnam’, much of it driven from the bottom up by the republican grassroots, not its leadership. He also suggests that it propelled the Provisional IRA towards calling a ceasefire and shifting to a political strategy.

The growing tension between the Protestant and Catholic communities in the 1970s and the rising violence by both republican and loyalist paramilitary groups led to a number of attempts to halt the violence and promote reconciliation, for example Witness for Peace created by a Protestant clergyman in 1972, and Women Together founded in 1970 to stop stone throwing and gang fights. But the most publicized and controversial campaign against violence was that of the Peace People, founded in 1976 after three young children were killed by a runaway IRA car whose driver had been shot by the army. Two women initiated the movement, Protestant Betty Williams, who saw the tragedy, and Catholic Mairead Corrigan, the children’s aunt. The Peace People brought 10,000 and then 20,000 out onto the streets in Belfast in August, and 25,000 in Derry in September to demand an end to paramilitary violence. These demonstrations were followed by rallies and public events in more than a dozen towns and cities in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and Britain. By November 1976 the Peace People had over 80 local groups, offices in both Belfast and Derry and its own paper, Peace by Peace. The movement was criticized, especially by Provisional Sinn Fein, for its initial failure to condemn violence by the British Army and the Protestant-dominated RUC, and attacked by the militant Protestant leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Ian Paisley, as a Catholic front. Over time, under the influence of the third key figure in the movement, former journalist Ciaran McKeown, the Peace People turned to long-term community organizing. See its website:

Two periodicals which ran articles on the Peace People from a nonviolent perspective are Peace News (London) and the monthly Dawn (published by a collective from Belfast, Derry and Dublin). In the latter, see especially issues no. 25 (November 1976), the editorial on the Peace People leadership in no. 26 (Christmas 1976), and the analysis of Peace People strategy in nos. 27 and 28 (January and February 1977). Dawn also published a combined issue, ‘Nonviolence in Irish History’, no. 38-39, (April-May 1978), which traced nonviolence in Ireland back to the arrival of the Quakers in the 17th century, through the campaign of Daniel O’Connell for Catholic Emancipation, the Land League agitation in the 19th century and nonviolent elements in the national and labour movements (late 19th and early 20th centuries) to the Peace People.

Cory, Geoffrey, Political dialogue workshops: Deepening the peace process in Northern Ireland, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Vol. 30, issue 1, 2012, pp. 53-90

The author discusses the more than fifty residential three-day political dialogue workshops he facilitated between 1994 and 2007 at the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation near Dublin that brought together politicians from all parties in Britain and Ireland during the period of peace negotiations in Northern Ireland.

Deutsch, Richard, Mairead Corrigan, Betty Williams, Foreword by Joan Baez, Woodbury NY, Barrons, 1977, pp. 204

Account of the genesis, development and programme of the Peace People by French journalist resident in Belfast at the time the movement began

McKeown, Ciaran, The Passion of Peace, Belfast, Blackstaff Press, 1984, pp. 320

McKeown was one of the group of student activists campaigning on civil rights issues at Queens University Belfast in the mid-1960s from which People’s Democracy emerged in 1968. However, he opposed the Belfast to Derry march in January 1969 as likely to inflame sectarian divisions, and the Marxist direction to which the organization turned. Best known for his leading role in the Peace People whose origins and development he recounts in detail. Sets out his idea for a parliamentary system based not on political parties but on autonomous community groups.

O Connor, Fionnuala, Community politics in Northern Ireland, In Randle, Challenge to Nonviolence (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements), Bradford, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, pp. 207-222

Text of a talk given in June 1997 to the Nonviolent Research Project at Bradford University.. Discusses the development of community level political engagement and the vision of Ciaron McKeown of the Peace People that it could someday provide an alternative to the existing political system. She argues that Community politics up to that time (1997) was more developed in the Catholic/Nationalist community than in that of the Protestant/Unionist one but there too it had emerged in the previous five years or so. Former members of paramilitary groups were frequently involved because they had come to see the futility of the violence or because they wanted their own children to have a different life to the one they had experienced.

Overy, Bob, How Effective Are Peace Movements?, Bradford and London, Bradford School of Peace Studies and Housmans, 1982, pp. 78

Includes a sympathetic analysis of the Peace People pp. 30-38. See also:

Wells, Ronald A., People Behind the Peace: Community and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Pub, 1999, pp. 126

Focuses on the contribution to the peace process in the lead-up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement of three ecumenical Christian peace centres in Northern Ireland – the Corrymeela Community, the Christian Renewal Centre, and the Columbanus Community. The author, in contrast to the majority of commentators, identifies religious differences as the main cause of the conflict, though he argues that religion can be ‘both cause of and cure for social conflict’.