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Orange Pith

From the August 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

Orange Myths

It is Sunday 7 July. In Portadown this morning a riot took place and working people, including policemen, were hurt; some were arrested. Another battle  . . . another myth . . . another contribution to the bitterness and hatred that divide the working class in Northern Ireland.

The government and police and wanted to ban this morning's march through the exclusively Catholic Obins Street district. The marchers, Orangemen going to church accompanied by bands playing sectarian tunes and flaunting sectarian symbols, refused to obey the Government, the police and the law despite their vociferous protestations of loyalty to all three. The police - probably working on the assumption that they could cope more easily with the Catholics than they could with the loyalists - gave in and the march took place. The holy men of the Orange Order marched defiantly through Obins Street to communicate with their god.

The Orange Order in…

Give the Orange Lodge their marching orders!

 “Cathy cats eat the rats, Proddy dogs eat the frogs”

As part of the Queen's 60th Jubilee the Protestant, pro-monarchist Orange Order staged numerous parades and held street parties to commemorate the day.

The Orange Order has its origin in Ireland, where in the 18th century Protestant and Catholic farmers banded together in defense of each other in secret societies and informal militias. The structure of the Order was modeled after the Freemasons, and the name was chosen to show support for William of Orange, the man who had replaced James II in 1690. Early in their history, the Order was mostly an agrarian movement, and was not particularly popular with the gentry. They were seen as a potential problem. It was feared that they would turn on the aristocracy. This changed when the United Irishmen entered the scene in Ireland in the 1780s, with their revolutionary ideas, and posed an even greater threat to the gentry. The reality was that the Orange Order became a counter-revoluti…

Neither Orange or Green but Red

Even up to the present time, demonstrated by new laws to curtail bigotry and letter bombs mailed to the Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other Catholics, Scotland has been plagued by religious sectarianism. For many Scots "1690" and "1916" have had more resonance than "1314" or "1707". Many blame it on segregated denominational schools, some blame football supporters, the football clubs blame extremists and the extremists blame the Catholic schools, a vicious circle. Catholics make up only 16% of the Scottish population, largely descended from poor Irish immigrants, and still largely working-class. Though overwhelmingly of Irish extraction, even by 1900 most Catholics were Scottish-born. Yet they were still known as "Irish" up until around the Second World War. Despite this Scottish Catholics do not any longer largely define themselves as Irish anymore, but Irish symbolism and allegiances can still be witnessed amongst Celtic or Hibs su…

The belfast poor

Up to 80% of children in west Belfast's most deprived areas are living in poverty, an academic has claimed.



Workless Protestant households are closing the gap with their Catholic counterparts - but it is a levelling downwards .



No gains for the catholic working-class community except for those government jobs for those so-called and mis-named freedom fighters now in Stormont and certainly no improvements for the protestant workers who shed their blood for the Establishment .

Now is the time to recognise class loyalty - not loyalism

The red white and blue of Larkhall

The Scotsman describes the religious bigotry of the Central Scotland town of Larkhall where the colour green and the connotations lead to vandalism and the only "safe" colours is the red and white and blue of Glasgow Rangers and the Union Jack .

"...historians believe anti-Catholicism to have been greater in mining towns such as Larkhall, where Irish Catholics were used by pit owners to break strikes. So the fuel was as much economic fear as it was cultural dilution of Protestant stock, the idea which found support in sections of the Church of Scotland in the 1920s and 1930s..."

By playing the "orange card" the bosses employed the divide and rule tactic to weaken the Scottish workers and the consequences linger on to this day .

Isn't it time to discover class loyalty rather than loyalty to the crown ?