It was with almost incredulity that I heard that the IRA had offered to shoot the killers of Robert McCartney.
A moments reflection, though, suggested that it wasn't some monstrous joke, but simply the logical expression of what the IRA is. It is a state in waiting, exerting command over a community by threats of death and violence. It tries to project itself as the legitimate authority in Ireland.
Essentially, they are amatuers emulating the big boys. The politicians who furl their lips into a snarl and declaim the barbarity of the IRA's offer, are the same murderers who launched thousands of rockets in wars across the globe, which have killed more people with less discrimination than the weekend mass-murderers of the IRA ever could. They accept the principle that tens of thousands of deaths are an acceptable cost of their political goals.
Socialists have a long record of opposing the barabarity of the death penalty. We also have a long record of stating that the border divisions in Ireland - or anywhere else of Earth - did not justify the shedding of one drop of workers' blood.
Peace is not going to come from the barrel of a gun, but through common interest and a solid community based on a co-operative commonwealth and the free association of producers. Socialism must be worldwide or nothing and we need to start to build this real movement - the only way to stop the killers getting their way. With such a society, we can decomission all armies.