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Nationalism in Northern Ireland


Drogheda445

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What strikes me as rather odd about Northern Ireland politically is whenever the term "nationalism" is used, its almost always Irish nationalism. This, IMO, is misleading. The constitutional issue in Northern Ireland clearly features two opposing forms of nationalism: Irish nationalism (the belief that Ireland as a whole is a nation, and in this case needs it be unified) and British of Ulster nationalism (usually, but not always, a combined form of nationalism in which Ulster loyalists are considered to be a nation, and that they are a part of a greater British nation). The latter form of dual-nationalism is usually, but not always, linked to unionism and loyalism.

I consider myself to be, on the whole, anti-nationalist, and I freely admit it. This doesn't mean I am opposed to Irish unity (I would like to see it eventually, whether it be under an independent Irish state or within a European federation) or that I am a unionist or a "West Brit". I am anti-nationalist towards all forms of nationalism, particularly the two mentioned above, not just Irish nationalism. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling pride in your country, but I dislike the notion of arbitrary nations in which certain people are considered true members of that nation and some are not. I also feel that, aside from religion, it has been the root cause of an endless number of conflicts across the world, and particularly here in Ireland. I am not opposed to nationalists as individuals, I am simply opposed to nationalism as a concept.

Its often said that unionism isn't nationalism, but I don't think this is true. While as a concept it simply means wishing to maintain a Union with Britain, in the Northern Irish context it usually means highlighting a British national identity, more specifically an Ulster British one. For "God and Ulster" and "No Surrender" are slogans which are just as nationalist as "Tiocfaidh ár lá", just in another, opposing form. Identification with flags, anthems and historical events are clear signs of nationalist sentiment. Unionism in Northern Ireland, more often than not, doesn't discuss the economic and political advantages of remaining within the UK as much it does national identity and cultural reasons.

These are my thoughts on it. I simply find it puzzling that nationalism in NI nearly always translates as Irish nationalism when nationalism is clearly evident on both sides. Your thoughts?
 

Ren84

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An excellent post. Unionists perpetuate the lie that they aren't British ultra nationalists when in fact they are. I've always said there were two ethnic groups in the North: the British and the Irish.
 

Drogheda445

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An excellent post. Unionists perpetuate the lie that they aren't British ultra nationalists when in fact they are. I've always said there were two ethnic groups in the North: the British and the Irish.
I find it a bit hypocritical if you ask me. I don't know how many threads have been set up here by clearly British/Ulster nationalist individuals which criticise "nationalists" or nationalism (when they mean Irish nationalism).

I want to make it clear that I don't regard all unionists and non-unionists as nationalists, there are very reasonable people on both sides. Unsurprisingly, the most reasonable people on both sides are usually not British or Irish nationalists.
 

Marcella

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Some people are seen as true members of the Nation and others not ?

Irish Nationalism considers everybody on this island as being part of the Nation. There is no volk concept in Irish Nationalism.

I don't see Ulster Protestants as being British. They're Irish Unionists. Ed Carson seen himself as an Irishman.
 

Ren84

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I find it a bit hypocritical if you ask me. I don't know how many threads have been set up here by clearly British/Ulster nationalist individuals which criticise "nationalists" or nationalism (when they mean Irish nationalism).

I want to make it clear that I don't regard all unionists and non-unionists as nationalists, there are very reasonable people on both sides. Unsurprisingly, the most reasonable people on both sides are usually not British or Irish nationalists.
It is very hypocritical. Unionists whine about the, lol, "evils" of nationalism despite being nationalists themselves. Of course the key difference between the two is that Irish nationalism, like Scottish nationalism, is left wing and progressive, while British nationalism is right wing and quite intolerant of other cultures.
 

Protestant/Catholic=Irish

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I consider myself to be, on the whole, anti-nationalist, and I freely admit it. This doesn't mean I am opposed to Irish unity (I would like to see it eventually, whether it be under an independent Irish state or within a European federation) or that I am a unionist or a "West Brit". I am anti-nationalist towards all forms of nationalism, particularly the two mentioned above, not just Irish nationalism. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling pride in your country, but I dislike the notion of arbitrary nations in which certain people are considered true members of that nation and some are not. I also feel that, aside from religion, it has been the root cause of an endless number of conflicts across the world, and particularly here in Ireland. I am not opposed to nationalists as individuals, I am simply opposed to nationalism as a concept.
You seem to me to be against ultra nationalism, not nationalism.

In wars directly caused by nationalist ideology, it is due to ultra nationalism/fascism rather than the form of nationalism that most people identify with.

Nationalism, when it is not hijacked by racists/supremacists, is an extremely healthy concept.
 

Mickeymac

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Some people are seen as true members of the Nation and others not ?

Irish Nationalism considers everybody on this island as being part of the Nation. There is no volk concept in Irish Nationalism.

I don't see Ulster Protestants as being British. They're Irish Unionists. Ed Carson seen himself as an Irishman.

I truly believe that many of them don't know what they are.
 

Ren84

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Some people are seen as true members of the Nation and others not ?

Irish Nationalism considers everybody on this island as being part of the Nation. There is no volk concept in Irish Nationalism.

I don't see Ulster Protestants as being British. They're Irish Unionists. Ed Carson seen himself as an Irishman.
If someone implicitly rejects their Irish heritage and swear allegiance to a foreign monarch then there's no point in trying to include them in our nation. They want to be isolationists so leave them at it so.
 

Ren84

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You seem to me to be against ultra nationalism, not nationalism.

In wars directly caused by nationalist ideology, it is due to ultra nationalism/fascism rather than the form of nationalism that most people identify with.

Nationalism, when it is not hijacked by racists/supremacists, is an extremely healthy concept.
Indeed. In fact Irish, Scottish and Catalan nationalism is quite progressive, unlike British nationalism which rejects our fellow Europeans, withdrawing from the EU and see Britain isolated.
 

Marcella

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If someone implicitly rejects their Irish heritage and swear allegiance to a foreign monarch then there's no point in trying to include them in our nation. They want to be isolationists so leave them at it so.
That's silly. And as Cruimh correctly pointed out - it legitimises the unionist veto over re-unification.

All people born and brought up in Ireland are Irish.
 

IfOnly

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Thus validating partition...... well done Ren, you shot yourself in the foot - again :D
Are we going to re partition the North... Great... All you lot pile into Larne so, fill you boots and leave the rest of Ireland in peace.
 

Ren84

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That's silly. And as Cruimh correctly pointed out - it legitimises the unionist veto over re-unification.

All people born and brought up in Ireland are Irish.
It doesn't legitimise the unionist veto in Ireland as British nationalists represent an ethnic minority in Ireland. If a group of Irish Travellers decided to move en masse to Galway and declare a Gypsy homeland, independent of Ireland, would that be acceptable? Of course not.

Ireland is, and will always be one nation, with different ethnic groups, with the Irish being the largest alongside smaller communities of British, Traveller and more recently Polish and Chinese.
 

vivabrigada

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It doesn't legitimise the unionist veto in Ireland as British nationalists represent an ethnic minority in Ireland. If a group of Irish Travellers decided to move en masse to Galway and declare a Gypsy homeland, independent of Ireland, would that be acceptable? Of course not.

Ireland is, and will always be one nation, with different ethnic groups, with the Irish being the largest alongside smaller communities of British, Traveller and more recently Polish and Chinese.
The only thing I can add to that is the mentality of some Loyalists telling "us Nationalists and Republicans" to go back to our own country (meaning down south). Unionists need to realise they don't own this part of Ireland, and are fully welcome to be British if they want.
 

Marcella

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It doesn't legitimise the unionist veto in Ireland as British nationalists represent an ethnic minority in Ireland. If a group of Irish Travellers decided to move en masse to Galway and declare a Gypsy homeland, independent of Ireland, would that be acceptable? Of course not.

Ireland is, and will always be one nation, with different ethnic groups, with the Irish being the largest alongside smaller communities of British, Traveller and more recently Polish and Chinese.
If you recognise Irish Unionists as being British, as being separate from the Irish Nation and therefore belonging to a different Nation, they are entitled to self determination.

Your argument is against every concept of Irish Republicanism in uniting all under the term of Irishman.
 

Ren84

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If you recognise Irish Unionists as being British, as being separate from the Irish Nation and therefore belonging to a different Nation, they are entitled to self determination.

Your argument is against every concept of Irish Republicanism in uniting all under the term of Irishman.
It's not. I like to call a spade a spade. If they want to be Brits then off they go so under the flag of GB. They should understand though that they are living in Ireland, one nation.
 

Marcella

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It's not. I like to call a spade a spade. If they want to be Brits then off they go so under the flag of GB. They should understand though that they are living in Ireland, one nation.
A Nation is a people. It's not soil.
If you recognise two sets of nationalities on this island, you're recognising two distinct peoples. Therefore one island, two Nations, thus in effect legitimising partition of Ireland to accommodate two separate Nations.

It's not a question of what Unionists see themselves as, anyone born on this island with ancestors dating back generations are patently Irish.
 

IfOnly

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A Nation is a people. It's not soil.
If you recognise two sets of nationalities on this island, you're recognising two distinct peoples. Therefore one island, two Nations, thus in effect legitimising partition of Ireland to accommodate two separate Nations.

It's not a question of what Unionists see themselves as, anyone born on this island with ancestors dating back generations are patently Irish.
Hang on there, just because two sets of people live in gerrymandered part of Ireland, it doesn't legitimise partition. England have a significant population of diverse ethnic groups who claim any number of nationalities, would partition of Birmingham fron england be a good idea for instance..think not.. If you live in England, you may be from Bangladesh but you can't throw up an Asian flag and claim Birmingham for yourself - same scenario for the loyalists headers in Ireland.
 
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Marcella

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Hang on there, just because two sets of people live in gerrymandered part of Ireland, it doesn't legitimise partition. England have a significant population of diverse ethnic groups who claim any number of nationalities, would partition of Birmingham fron england be a good idea for instance..think not.. If you live in England, you may be from Bangladesh but you can't throw up an Asian flag and claim Birmingham for yourself - same scenario for the loyalists headers in Ireland.
Comparing one million Protestants with centuries of history in Ireland to Asians living in Birmingham is obviously flawed.

My point is that Ulster Protestants are my fellow countrymen. By virtue of birth, upbringing and a shared history.

It is truly sad on the anniversary of a Republican hero, there are some Republicans who appear willing to accept that Ireland consists of two Peoples. It is a concept in direct odds with Tone's aim of uniting Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter under the term of Irishman.

I find myself wondering what has gone wrong that their appears to be many young Irish Republicans who fail to grasp this point.
 

InsideImDancing

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It doesn't legitimise the unionist veto in Ireland as British nationalists represent an ethnic minority in Ireland. If a group of Irish Travellers decided to move en masse to Galway and declare a Gypsy homeland, independent of Ireland, would that be acceptable? Of course not.

Ireland is, and will always be one nation, with different ethnic groups, with the Irish being the largest alongside smaller communities of British, Traveller and more recently Polish and Chinese.
Liked for saying "Gypsy homeland". :)
 
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