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Monday, 12 February 2007

Architects of the Resurrection ride again

A wee while back I did a review of the republican press. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that I left one journal out, and deliberately so. That’s because it isn’t strictly speaking a republican journal – in fact, it’s exceedingly difficult to categorise. I am of course referring to the Hibernian, the monthly magazine edited by Gerry McGeough, which I find compulsive reading for all the wrong reasons.

A glance over the back issues of the Hibernian, which are conveniently available online, will confirm that this is hair-raising stuff. The magazine manages to be wildly eclectic while at the same time having a consistent worldview. A lot of this is related to the personality of McGeough, who is a fascinating character. He’s a long-standing and very tough republican, and one of the most articulate critics of the Grizzlyite peace strategy, while at the same time being an extreme Catholic traditionalist, of the sort that Seán Sabhat might have recognised.

So to read the Hibernian is almost to be transported back to 1942 and the heyday of Ailtirí na hAiséirighe. There is trenchant commentary on the peace process, combined with historical articles on past republican struggles and martyrs, plus a rather worrying – due to its sectarian overtones – fixation on native struggles against the Plantation. One also finds the usual clericalist bugbears of abortion and homosexuality. It’s interesting that the February issue describes the Sexual Orientation Regulations as an anti-Catholic measure, while the Orange Order, as noted below, thinks them an anti-Protestant measure. The only charitable thing I can say about this stuff is, anyone who can call SDLP and PSF Assembly members “rapscallions” can’t be all bad.

But it gets odder still. The Hibernian goes big on Masonic conspiracies – the latest issue has a lengthy piece on the Bavarian Illuminati and the Bilderberg Group. This feeds into the regular denunciations of the “Liberal/Masonic Agenda”. You will find acres of stuff on the arcane socio-political philosophy of Fr Denis Fahey, which would appear to provide the Hibernian’s programmatic basis. The February Hibernian also has quite an interesting essay on TV as a mind control device, so I’m hoping that future issues will carry some bizarre pseudo-science as a regular feature.

What’s interesting here is that we have the development of a kind of ultra-Catholic nationalism, without any encouragement whatsoever from the hierarchy – on the contrary, the magazine is full of digs at the “useless” bishops, as well as puffs for the dangerous idea of reintroducing the Latin Mass. The genesis of this is a source of bafflement to me. Maybe McGeough shares the same literary interests as Mel Gibson. Or maybe he’s listened to some of Kieran Allen’s speeches on “Catholic nationalism”, and decided it sounds like a good idea.

The other interesting point is McGeough’s candidacy for Fermanagh/South Tyrone at the upcoming Stormont elections. Word from the area is that he might poll quite well. I would guess, or at least I would hope, that this has more to do with his stance on policing than a public approval of his more esoteric interests. The key question is, will he run a republican campaign or will he rant and rave about the nefarious influence of the Jewmen and Freemasons? If his speech at the dissident conference in Derry is any guide, probably a bit of both.

So there you have it – the most articulate standard-bearer for dissidence is a howling Ultramontanist reactionary. I am depressed.


WorldbyStorm said...

"Or maybe he’s listened to some of Kieran Allen’s speeches on “Catholic nationalism”, and decided it sounds like a good idea."

Brilliant... :)

Frank said...

Good points. Only just came across the site from your comments on the post I did on the same subject on Cedar Lounge. Excellent stuff on the Irish left.