Socialist Worker

Lies behind Belfast flag riots

Issue No. 2336

The Loyalist riots in Belfast have moved on to their traditional target—Catholics.

At the beginning of this week rioters threw petrol bombs at a Catholic church and homes in the Short Strand area of the city.

Bus workers were attacked as protests over the flying of the Union flag over Belfast City hall entered their sixth week.

Bigots in the unionist DUP are trying to regain control in Protestant areas.

But years of managing economic decline has made them unpopular.

So like every unionist before them they turned to bigotry—and called on paramilitaries to orchestrate riots.

They claim that Catholics are getting everything.In reality neither ordinary Catholics nor Protestants are getting anything.

The riots are an indictment of the structure of Northern Irish politics—set up to copper fasten sectarianism.

Politicians benefit from this. They can sign up to cuts and attacks on ordinary people while claiming to stand up for “their” community. Sectarian division means that wages in Northern Ireland are lower for all workers than in the rest of Britain.

The British partition of Ireland was designed to divide workers along sectarian lines.

Uniting workers against sectarianism, and the state that breeds it, is the way out of the impasse.

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What We Think
Tue 15 Jan 2013, 16:32 GMT
Issue No. 2336
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