Militant Nationalism: Between Movement and Party in Ireland and the Basque Country

Militant Nationalism: Between Movement and Party in Ireland and the Basque Country

Militant Nationalism: Between Movement and Party in Ireland and the Basque Country

Militant Nationalism: Between Movement and Party in Ireland and the Basque Country

Excerpt

In August 1983, while working and traveling in Ireland, I knocked on the door of the central Sinn Fein office in Dublin. I did so because, while many people I had met spoke about or against Sinn Fein, I had never encountered anyone who had actually spoken (or, at least, would admit to me to having spoken) with anyone in Sinn Fein. Given the role that Sinn Fein and the IRA had played and continue to play in Irish politics, I was, at the time, puzzled by the official and informal censorship and repressive measures applied to Sinn Fein activists. The omnipresence of members of the Garda Síochána (Irish Police) in Parnell Square, admittedly, further encouraged my interest, because previous experiences in Paris with political exiles from around the world had led me to believe that the more a government must rely on intimidation to suppress a political voice, the more likely it is that the voices being silenced need, at least, to be heard.

By stepping through that door, I began a journey that would later lead me to graduate school and to the study of issues of ethnic identity, historical memory, nationalism, and conflict. A fortuitous encounter with an Herri Batasuna delegate to the 1986 Sinn Fein ard fheis (party conference) and a visit to Donostia (San Sebastián) later that year would expand the horizons of my research and enrich its findings.

As a native of the American South, where many of these same issues lie dormant but not resolved, despite the passage of time since the Civil War, the terrain I would cover in the next ten years would at times appear startlingly familiar and at others, exceedingly strange. At each step of the way, however, I was accompanied by those who both believed in themselves and . . .

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