This introduction outlines the vast and bitter gulf which has developed and become entrenched between the Provisional and so-called ‘dissident’ worlds. It locates ‘dissident’ republicanism within the long trajectory of Irish republicanism, stressing ideological continuity, a ‘living link’ through the people involved and the cyclical nature of debate at significant historic junctures. Radical republicans have rejected the term ‘dissident’. An examination of contested language and terminology contributes to our understanding of the nature and politics of the radical republican world. The ideology and message articulated by radical republicans today are the same as those articulated by the Provisional Movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Sinn Féin has transformed into a constitutional party which has given its allegiance to the institutions of Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin’s message has shifted from one which emphasised freedom to one which emphasises equality. In contrast, the radical republican base rejects the significance of altered structural conditions within Northern Ireland; thus forms the heart of the Provisional–‘dissident’ divide. Debate surrounding what constitutes a ‘principle’ versus ‘tactic’ has struck to the heart of what it means to be a republican – both between the Provisional and ‘radical republican’ worlds and within the radical republican base.
The introduction chapter depicts a common story of thousands of Black migrants to Canada from various Caribbean islands and territories. Contact with a cricket and social club was critical for settling in Toronto’s urban and suburban neighbourhoods, finding (mainly) middle-class jobs, returning home to their nations of origin for visits, and travelling to Black plurilocal homespaces created in Canada, the Caribbean, the United States, and England. The Mavericks Cricket and Social Club (MCSC) involved sport, spectatorship, food, music, dancing, travelling, and socializing that were crucial for recreating the sense of home necessary for Black men’s survival in a city rife with interpersonal and systemic racism. The chapter outlines the ways in which cricket is an essential yet often forgotten component of Black Atlantic cultures and Canadian socio-politics The chapter describes the MCSC participants and researcher involved in this study; reviews the sociological processes of making and crossing group boundaries; and sets the context for the book by reviewing a range of literatures including the Black Atlantic and the Caribbean diaspora in Canada, studies of sporting diasporas, the narrative inquiry approach used, and the contents of the remaining book chapters.