From a young age, I was brought up with the sense of an ‘other’. Protestants were different, and that’s why we avoided their areas, why we went to different schools and why there was conflict. I accepted this as ‘just the way it is’. However, as I grew up, I made friends from the Protestant community and what I found was a collective viewpoint that the division between Catholics and Protestants is totally futile.
It made me wonder why Northern Irish society continues to be so divided when so many seemed to be indifferent to religious background. The recent election. in particular, which has been the most divisive since the Good Friday Agreement, made me realise that continuing with this Green-Orange mindset will solve no issues.
Capitalism divides and conquers. By driving a bridge between two sides of Northern Irish society, we are easier to control. To support capitalism is to support a sectarian society which allows the problems of the working class to continue unceasingly. Having thought about this, I wondered what I could do. Before, as a Catholic, I thought a united Ireland was the solution, not for any particular reason, purely because that’s what I felt I had to think, as a Catholic. However, after a year of government collapse, failing talks between the two sectarian blocs and the ever-growing atmosphere of political mistrust which permeates Northern Irish society, I came to the realisation that the only way to combat capitalism and sectarianism in Northern Ireland is to fight for socialism.
The only party that offers this is the Socialist Party. They represent the only genuinely cross-community, socialist alternative in Northern Ireland and so, wishing to be part of the solution to this problem, I felt obligated to become politically active for the first time. I joined the party because I feel the only way to solve the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland is through the unity of the Protestant and Catholic working class in a battle for socialism.
By Lucy Marron