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(en) Ireland, From Red and Black Revolution #8 - After Nationalism ... A WSM* member on leaving Sinn Fein by James McBarron

Date Sat, 30 Jul 2005 15:35:32 +0300


An analysis of why many on the left joined Sinn Fein and what their options are now
I joined Sinn Féin in the mid eighties with many others on
the back of what we saw as a radical shift to the left and a
commitment to build a 32 county Democartic Socialist
Republic. I find myself outside that movement now,
thoroughly disillusioned with it and its shift to a left nationalist
and social democratic electoralist future.
We are many years into the Irish peace process - how many
depends on your perspective - but we can at least agree that
the Good Friday agreement of 1998 is a key point in the
evolution of the process. The current impasse centres largely
on the question of accomodating Sinn Féin into the political
establishment north and south. Though the IRA was defeated
and Sinn Féin began the journey towards an accomodation
with imperialism and the southern state, many of the activists
and indeed many in the communities from which the
republican movement drew its most hardcore support have had
a difficulty adjusting to the new realities. This has arisen
primarily because of the lies that the leadership of that
movement have fed the grassroots in order to keep them on
board.

Mostly this has consisted of pretending that the road they are
now on is something new and innovative that will lead them to
the Republic. But time has taken its toll and the British and
Irish states have become impatient of the Adams
leadership’s slow softly approach and want the open
capitulation of the republican movement, an end to the IRA
and the full integration of SF into the system.

This isn’t easy either for the republicans or the unionists
who have to also abandon their stated hardline approach.
(Unionism represents the politics of the former ruling class in
the north, almost exclusively protestant and pro the union with
Britain, they monopolised power after partition and used this
power to build a sectarian little state. Unionist politicians enjoy
the support of the vast majority of the protestant working class
at election time. Unionists are a majority in the north. The
unionist leadership has realised that a carve-up of power with
nationalism is their only future hope of any power). The
various crises around the process have revolved around these
issues.

Of course it is inevitable that Sinn Féin in its current
manifestation will go in to the system and fully endorse
policing, the courts the prison system, the civil service etc.
Sinn Féin have always believed in the use of the state and
the division of people into leaders and lead. All institutions of
the state will be accepted and Sinn Féin will become the
new and more organised SDLP of the north.

They will share in power eventually with a pragmatic and
realistic unionist leadership which will emerge more strongly
as the old guard die off or become marginalised with time.
What we will have then will probably be a government in the
north enjoying a large degree of acceptability or at least benign
indifference amongst the population. Sinn Féin in the south
will follow the well worn path to participation in administering
power in the Dail. Outside of the mainstream republican
movement some few of those embittered by their experience
will hang onto the old politics and recruit, drill, train, fundraise
and prepare for another round at some day in the future.

And us, the working class, well we will again be faced with the
same old problems of exploitation, oppression, inequality and
constant struggle that we always are. But we will have to fight
a movement that once proclaimed itself revolutionary and keen
to abolish capitalism north and south but that is now bought
and part of the structure. How many good sincere activists will
be destroyed, buried in the bullshit of paliamentary politics,
trying to get the odd pot-hole filled whilst the whole show goes
on as before and past dreams of social revolution slowly ebb
away to “a favour here or there” and a few dry empty
commemorations of past deeds.

If all the peace process had done was end the armed struggle
that would have been great, but it has done far more than that.
It has strenghtened the states north and south. The struggle for
social justice continues. Today fighting the Water Tax in
Belfast, on a picket line in Dublin, pushing for abortion rights
in Cork, fighting racism in Galway, demanding housing in
Derry. All these struggles and many more push our class
interests forward. Unifying them in ideas of self reliance, mass
democracy and direct action, libertarian ideas, anarchist ideas -
that is where the struggle is at. Republicanism will rise again,
taking many good young activists to the grave, prison and
despair unless we popularise truly revolutionary ideas to act as
a positive pole of attraction.

From Red and Black Revolution 8
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm.html
======================================
* WSM is ananarchist federation
========================================
This article is from Red & Black Revolution (no 8)
http://struggle.ws/wsm/rbr/rbr7/index.html
Read more articles from this issue
http://struggle.ws/wsm/rbr.html

Print out a PDF file of Issue 8
http://struggle.ws/wsm/pdf/rbr/rbr8.html
Back issues of Red and Black Revolution
http://struggle.ws/wsm/rbr.html#Back


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