The 12th July: Folk Festival or Supremacist Rallies
Despite attempts by the Loyal Orders, Unionist politicians and indeed the local BBC and ITV Television channels to normalize the sectarian Orange festival whose apex is the 12 July, under any scrutiny this is no quaint folk festival. Perhaps I should I have used the term ‘Volkfest’ as more apt term. Any casual glance at the dynamic of the Loyal Orders, scores it highly as a Supremacist, Gnostic, sectarian and ultra-right wing body to similar organisations globally, for example, the Afrikaner Broederbond, the Ku Klux Klan or the Flemish Vlaams Belang.
A Traditional Benevolent Movement?
Certainly it is ‘traditional’ in that it has a certain longevity in that at numerous historical violent crises, the Loyal Orders have been either the cause of or heavily involved in serious disorder. In fact their actions could arguably have been cited as an important cause of the recent 40+ conflict in the north of Ireland. Furthermore, at significant times of heightened civil tension, such as the various Drumcree crises, the Loyal Orders were given carte blanche by the British security services to act as a right wing militia erecting barricades, manning checkpoints, intimidating the public and were directly responsible for the conflict that saw the murders by burning to death of the 3 Quinn children in Carnany Estate, Ballymoney and the murder of the newly Graduated Michael McGoldrick. The list is long including the burning down of numerous Catholic Churches.
So yes, it is a ‘traditional’ movement, in the same way that the lynching of Black people in the Southern states of the USA were ‘traditional’. At best , their ‘traditionalism’ is anti-modernistic and reactionary. If, as the Loyal Orders would have one believe, that illogically the 12th July was an inclusive ‘festival of culture’ then they would have extreme difficulties explaining the mass exodus by a a significant section of the population of the north east of Ireland, to parts of the world as far away as possible from their ‘traditional’ parading as they can get? Not to mention the ’11th night’ which is the north east of Ireland’s annual version of Kristallnacht. If anyone has the dubious need to experience it, there are plenty of places where this can be done but it would be a seriously dangerous form of Gonzo journalism.
The Loyal Orders’ Modus Operandi
For many Catholics living in majority Loyalist areas or those living in interface areas, especially where the Loyal Orders insist against the majority of residents’ views of marching through their areas, the 12th July and other Loyal Orders’ parades, life is a living hell. For instance, without delving too deeply into ‘whataboutery’ no Irish Republican organisation has ever sought to march through Protestant/Loyalist areas yet the Loyal Orders see it as some kind of divine right to trample through Republican areas like Ardoyne. On the few occasions so far, when they have been prevented from marching through Ardoyne on their ‘return journey’, the Loyal Orders have caused serious violence costing thousands of Pounds.
The Loyal Order’s primary function is to stop any easing of the sectarian divide between working class people and to permanently divide the Proletariat. One need not look too far to see the beneficiaries of these divisions, they can usually be seen on election days, as they leave polling stations and counts to invariably return to their petit-bourgeois areas, far removed from the areas they glean their votes.
Re-published below in a nutshell is the sad tragedy of sectarianism in the northern six counties pursued by the deferential Tories of the Loyal Orders :
“Let not the poor man hate the rich,
Nor rich on poor look down,
But each join each true Protestant
For God and for the Crown.”
(Traditional deferential Orange song – stressing anti-working class unity)