on The Apprentice Boys and the Catholic-Protestant conflict

The ‘Apprentice Boys’ is a Protestant fraternal society that celebrates Londonderry’s resisting of the Catholic King James’ army in 1689,

“At the start of the siege of Londonderry in 1689, 13 apprentice boys slammed the city gates against the army of the Catholic King James II.

The Apprentice Boys of Derry, one of the Protestant Loyal Orders, is based upon this defiant action of "no surrender". bbc




Claiming lineage to the ‘heroic men’ of the past is like directing our attention to an invisible umbilical cord that validates us to be of equal significance by association. It ‘folds space’ and makes the passage of time, tides of power , and the graduating demise of patriarchy irrelevant.
When i first read of the ‘Apprentice Boys’ - no, not a ‘‘Back Street Boys’ sequel - and that their membership was restricted to ‘men only’, I couldn’t help thinking that this was akin to celebrating the significance of men in an age where the penis can be deemed to be nothing other than an elongated clitoris. Claiming lineage to the ‘heroic’ men of the past is like directing our attention to an invisible umbilical cord that validates us to be of equal significance by association. It ‘folds space’ and makes the passage of time, tides of power , and the graduating demise of patriarchy irrelevant. Ridiculous of course. They might as well conduct their parades with a giant phallic symbol held overhead.



Of course, another meaning that can be attached to this event, amongst a host of others, is how it is an attempt to validate the significance of the truly labouring classes in a socio-economic system that politically renders the average male as potent as a castrated bull. The labouring classes certainly do think up all kinds of strategies to help compensate for their socio-economic impotency don’t they. We are fragmented along lines such as racial, national, religious, political inclination......... And all for what? To get around a problematic socio-economic situation taken as natural because it is taken as natural. But in the very act of forming such clubs and associations, we are betraying our subconscious appreciation of the self-abnegating effects of a socio-economic system aren’t we. Sort of a ‘heath supplement’ that whilst making us stronger simultaneously addresses our weaknesses. We are fragmented along lines such as racial, national, religious, political inclination......... And all for what? To get around a problematic socio-economic situation taken as natural because it is taken as natural. But in the very act of forming such clubs and associations, we are betraying our subconscious appreciation of the self-abnegating effects of a socio-economic system aren’t we.


And what else can we make of the religious division between the Catholics and Protestants other than technical differences? In the historical past, wherein the perspectival origins of the current marches such as the ‘Apprentice Boys’ Parade can be found - which is taking place at this very moment in Derry, Northern Ireland - it illustrates the clash between those swearing allegiance to the Pope in Rome as opposed to the ‘chief priest’ of the national elite. Religious wars? Certainly not. We could see it as a war between earlier versions of universalists (those placing themselves under the staff of the Pontifex Maximus in Rome) and nationalists (those labouring under the heels of the local elite.)


However, in a twist to the story, the Catholics whom are against union with the UK are now the nationalists and the Protestants are the universalists - as quite a few Catholics want their own state, whilst the latter want a union with the rest of the UK. But it is a sort of paradoxical situation. If the Catholics have their way and break with the English state, the hegemony of the British, or rather, English state, is broken. And with this, the historical nationalist English break with the Catholic and relatively universal empire is scorned. But at the same time, the nationalism of the Irish is reaffirmed and universalism suffers a further blow.


In essence, the unionists are taking on the persona of the catholic universalists of the past in the face of Catholic nationalism, whilst Catholic nationalism mirrors the historical nationalism of the English in the face of Catholic universalism. Try and get your head around that.In essence, the unionists are taking on the persona of the catholic universalists of the past in the face of Catholic nationalism, whilst Catholic nationalism mirrors the historical nationalism of the English in the face of Catholic universalism. Try and get your head around that. All in all, universalism is getting a bashing. Do we have to contract nationalism to the point of increasing fragmentation so that universalism is honoured? In other words, do we have to keep dividing ourselves so as to extol the value of autonomy and mutual respect and equality? And when that is achieved, will we then realise that we are all one and unite as one global human state?


And is not all this fragmentation that is going on, with every sub-state aspiring to becoming a state in its own right, when taking place within a self-abnegating socio-economic system, little more than a paradoxical attempt to reinstate our own individual significance by placing ourselves under a more and more local elite within an increasingly contracting nation?


ed

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