Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday February 15: Progressive Loyalism

Progressive Loyalism in
the 1970s:
The Search for Common Ground

Tony Novosel, Ph.D.
Department of History

Friday, February 15, 2008
3500 Cathedral of Learning
2 P.M.

Professor Tony Novosel is an historian with specializations ranging among the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, modern European history, the origins of mass violence in the 20th century, and the conflicts in Northern Ireland, which is his subject today. The "accepted wisdom" about the "peace process" in Northern Ireland posits that the IRA, Sinn Fein and the "pan-Nationalist Front" (Irish-America, Bill Clinton, The Republic of Ireland, the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) and even the Pope), drove the Northern Ireland Peace process. One cannot understate what Republicanism meant to end the conflict, between 1988-2007. However, the Republican narrative is only part of the story. Another process if allowed to develop and find its own voice may have been able to transform Northern Ireland in the 1970s and end the bloodshed at least 20 years earlier. For reasons not always clear, Progressive Loyalism was not allowed to develop and in fact found itself under attack from all sides. This talk will focus on the Ulster Volunteer Force and its political representatives, the Volunteer Political Party, and the Progressive Unionist Party and examine their search for "common ground" and speculate on why that search failed in the 1970s.

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