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Thread: Nationalism in Northern Ireland

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    Politics.ie Member Drogheda445's Avatar
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    Default Nationalism in Northern Ireland

    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?

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    Politics.ie Member Ren84's Avatar
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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.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren84 View Post
    I've always said there were two ethnic groups in the North: the British and the Irish.
    Thus validating partition...... well done Ren, you shot yourself in the foot - again

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    Politics.ie Member Drogheda445's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren84 View Post
    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.

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    Politics.ie Member Marcella's Avatar
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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.

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    Politics.ie Member Ren84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drogheda445 View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drogheda445 View Post
    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.
    "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots" - Marcus Garvey

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    Politics.ie Member Mickeymac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcella View Post
    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.

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    Politics.ie Member Ren84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcella View Post
    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.

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    Politics.ie Member Ren84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Protestant/Catholic=Irish View Post
    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.

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