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

Cynthia L. Irvin
Volume: 9
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Militant Nationalism
    Book Description:

    Why do some militant nationalists turn to electoral politics while others resist-and even seek to destroy-that arena? Cynthia L. Irvin examines two cases of electoral interventions by nationalist organizations engaged in violent political competition: in Northern Ireland and in the Basque provinces of Spain. Through her research, she offers important insights into these insurgent organizations’ adoption of different strategies--from armed struggle to parliamentary politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8895-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. List of Abbreviations and Organizations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. 1 Unconstitutional Means to Constitutional Change: Dilemmas of Violence and Politics
    (pp. 1-19)

    In October 1984, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) captured the attention of the world press when it bombed the Brighton Hotel and very nearly succeeded in assassinating Margaret Thatcher and the Tory cabinet during the annual Conservative Party Conference. In May 1985, Sinn Fein, the political party that represents the interests of the Irish Republican Movement, pushed the IRA off the front page when it secured almost 35 percent of the nationalist vote in its first nonabstentionist campaign for seats on local government councils in Northern Ireland. Quite symbolic of this dual bullet and ballot strategy was a photograph that...

  6. 2 Splits in the Ranks: A Theory of Militant Nationalism
    (pp. 20-47)

    The chronicles of innumerable militant nationalist movements, including those that are the focus of this study, show that disparities in the political aspirations and the intensity of political preferences expressed by activists can easily fuel violent disagreements about strategy. Although activists in both of these movements have generally agreed on final goals, they have often had markedly divergent perceptions of the existing structure of political opportunities and their core base of support. For some, nationalism represented the appropriate guiding ideology and all members of the ethnonational group were a potential support base. For others, revolutionary socialism was the correct path...

  7. 3 Resurgent Nationalism in Ireland and the Basque Country: The Historical Context, 1950–1976
    (pp. 48-81)

    By the early 1960s, the social reforms set in motion in Northern Ireland by the introduction of the welfare state fifteen years earlier were beginning to have a noticeable impact on Catholic class composition. Perhaps the most significant of all the welfare state measures for the Catholic community was the provision of access to a free higher education. A young Catholic intelligentsia was now taking shape as a result of that reform. In the job market, however, the situation was much less positive. Catholics continued to have great difficulty finding work, and throughout the 1960s their rate of unemployment was...

  8. 4 Sinn Fein and Herri Batasuna: Parties to the Conflict
    (pp. 82-127)

    During the two years following the death of Franco and the first H-Block protests, Basque and Northern Irish politics were a maze of intersecting forces. This was a period characterized by much experimentation with new political forms and strategies, with varying degrees of success. The history of the IRA and ETA during this turbulent time was a fascinating interplay of several key factors: a continuation of armed struggle and increasingly dramatic acts of violence, new attempts to establish mass-based organizations, including cultural associations and labor unions, and efforts to create or mobilize organizations that could compete effectively in electoral contests....

  9. 5 Republicans and Abertzales: Pathways to Activism
    (pp. 128-177)

    Although determining what motivates people to participate in an organization is (as students of both social movements and party activism have noted) a process fraught with many difficulties, the theoretical aim of this chapter is to assess the microdynamics of individual decisions to participate in Sinn Fein and Herri Batasuna. Using findings from the set of interviews I conducted with Sinn Fein and Herri Batasuna activists and from the survey of the Herri Batasuna activists, I first analyze the activists’ social backgrounds and pathways to activism. Second, I examine their ideological, organizational, and strategic preferences. Finally, I attempt to distinguish...

  10. 6 Regime Responsiveness, Recruitment, and Movement Strategies
    (pp. 178-205)

    Chapter 5 empirically identified three types of movement activists with distinct political, strategic, tactical, and organizational preferences. Each type was also shown to be associated with a particular social background and pattern of prior political experience. But merely identifying different types of activists does not explain or predict the size and influence of a particular group in a specific situation. Nor does it provide us with much analytical understanding of why specific intraorganizational coalitions emerge, dominate, or decline.

    Although the skills and choices of individual activists are important in the formation of internal coalitions, strategic situations clearly influence not only...

  11. 7 People, Places, and Political Violence: Some Concluding Comparisons
    (pp. 206-212)

    In an analysis of recruitment into clandestine political organizations in Italy, della Porta (1988, 163) found that these organizations also recruited their militants from “tight-knit networks of social relations in which political ties were strengthened by primary solidarity based on friendship and kinship relations.” Doug McAdam (1988) in his insightful study of the participants in the Freedom Summer of the American civil rights movement reveals similar findings. These findings, together with those from the Northern Ireland and Basque cases, offer strong support for the argument that individuals who are well-integrated in their communities and belong to tight-knit political networks have...

  12. Appendix 1: Methodology and Data
    (pp. 213-216)
  13. Appendix 2: Survey for Sinn Fein Activists
    (pp. 217-238)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 239-256)
  15. References
    (pp. 257-274)
  16. Index
    (pp. 275-282)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 283-283)