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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Left Way Could be the Right Way for Sinn Fein


Eamon McCann • Belfast Telegraph, 17 March 2005

George Bush is a hypocrite.

The US president wants us to believe he feels such outrage at innocent people being butchered by thugs on the streets of Belfast that he cannot stomach being in the same room as those he identifies as the thugs' erstwhile political associates.

Meanwhile, he makes a holiday in his heart at the thought of hundreds, maybe thousands, of innocent people being blasted to bits in Fallujah by far better-equipped and more ruthless thugs operating on direct orders from himself.

He demands due process for Belfast, while denouncing as outriders of terrorism any who defend due process for the thousands interned without trial and put at risk of torture and murder by his own administration.

The reason decent Sinn Feiners - and it's useful to remind ourselves at this point that that's the vast majority - must squirm in near-silence as their party is rubbished by an odious charlatan is that their leaders have been among Ireland's most enthusiastic colluders in this hypocrisy over recent years.

Some of us have had the disturbing experience of being told by people 30 years our junior to, "For Christ's sake, grow up" when we've suggested that the jagged contradiction upon which they'd impaled themselves would do for Sinn Fein in the end.

On Tuesday, one dedicated supporter of the party remarked to me, "Jesus, that's the end of it," when word came that Congressman James Walsh of upstate New York had joined in demands that the IRA disband, and pronto.

The reason Walsh's defection hit hard was that he has arguably been Sinn Fein's most doughty defender on Capitol Hill over the past decade.

He is also one of Congress's most forthright advocates of US aggression abroad, assuring New York station WRVO some months back that not only had the illegal, lie-based invasion of Iraq been a splendid idea in itself, but that, "In time it will be seen as a model."

If it hadn't been for the bank heist and the murder of Robert McCartney, Walsh would have been striding through the shamrock-strewn streets of Syracuse this afternoon in perfect step with a top Sinn Fein leader, and anybody back home who suggested to a Sinn Feiner that this was inappropriate would literally have been laughed at.

The same calculated ambivalence has been on display in relation to policy here, too, and, again, helps explain how the Republicans have managed to mire themselves in a horrible mess.

It's only a couple of months since commentators were speculating, reasonably, that Sinn Fein might soon be in coalition government with Right-wing parties, North and South. All it had to do was break with the IRA. That is to say, the armed struggle and its ersatz, underlying ideology apart, there was nothing about Sinn Fein which the establishment viewed as threatening its interests.

And nothing new in this, either. One of the most striking aspects of Republican history has been the speed and ease of the absorption into the conservative mainstream of each group which broke with the IRA and armed struggle.

The reason Fianna Fail has been particularly enraged by the turn of events is that they understand this better than any other party in Ireland. After all, they are one of the groups concerned.

Sinn Fein is now being told on all sides it must immediately choose between, on the one hand, ditching the IRA and fully embracing the status quo or, on the other hand, maintaining links with the IRA and marching into oblivion.

The message from the White House, Downing Street, Leinster House and every mainstream commentator is - go into government, chastened, on a Right-wing programme, or reconcile yourselves to irrelevance.

But these are not the only options. Turning off the path of nationalist armed struggle doesn't necessarily mean turning Right.

Turn Left, brothers and sisters. Forget the baubles of bourgeois office. Stay out of alliance with neo-liberal war-mongers. Build the opposition, North and South.











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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

22 March 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

A Must Read
Mick Hall

Green Paper on Irish Unity
32 CSM Press Release

The Advisocrats
Anthony McIntyre

Fig Leaf
Dr John Coulter

Democractic Killers
Fred A Wilcox

Eamon McCann

No Dodging the Moral Dilemma
David Adams

After St Patrick's Day, Where Goes the Peace Process?
Fr. Sean Mc Manus. INC

The Left Way Could be the Right Way for Sinn Fein
Eamon McCann

Robert McCartney
Carol Mallon

Don't Lose Perspective
Richard Wallace

Anthony McIntyre

Is Spring Banging at the Doors of the Arab World?
Michael Youlton

The Letters page has been updated.

16 March 2005

Statement from the Family of Knife Murder Victim Mark 'Mousey' Robinson
Robinson Family, Derry

Power in the Pub
Anthony McIntyre

Why No Arrests? (Whose agenda are we working to)?
TR FitzSimons

McCartneys: how the personal became political
Brendan O'Neill

No Breakthrough
Michael Benson

Hope for Justice
Mick Hall

Provisional Thuggery in Strabane
Des Dalton

Basking in the Glory?
Dr John Coulter

This Is What Democracy Doesn't Look Like
Fred A. Wilcox

Way Beyond Orwell
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Aliyah and the Oligarchs
Mary La Rosa



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