Ireland

Philip Ferguson plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Feb 4 15:15:26 MST 2002


Donal wrote, summing up our respective positions:

>1. You believe that the leadership has identified our medium-term strategic
>objectives as the real project objectives, their stated project objectives
>being false.
>2. The activist-base is a passive group or has, even worse, has been bought
>off by material  gains associated with the peace process.
>3. The Republican movement entered into a pan-Nationalist front in which it
>is merely a passenger.
>4. The Leadership have sold out and are concerned with reducing criticism
>from the left.
>5. SF will be further compromised by joining the police boards, 26 County
>government and the IRA will be disbanded.
>
>My analysis:
>
>1. The strategic objectives are precisely that and the project objectives
>remain constant.
>2. The activist-base is now becoming more empowered and that leadership
>recognises the importance of this process. The activist-base remains hungry
>and determined.
>3. The now largely defunct pan-Nationalist front was a vehicle to pursue the
>advancement of our strategic objectives, those others who participated are
>now fundamentally weakened.
>4. The leadership adopts a very cautious and controlled approach to the
>struggle - we don't get pushed backwards. Any difficulties experienced are
>those coming from the militants.
>5. We won't join the police boards, there is no mass desire to join the 26
>Co Government and the movement will see the implementation of the 1919
>Democratic Programme (as it set out to do).

This is a generally fair and correct summary of our basic differences.

I would just add in relation to 2 and 3 that you attribute to me.:

2. Yes, I think the activist-base is, well not yet entirely passive, but
certainly becoming so.  I don't think, however, this is simply due to being
bought off.  I think the leadership has been bought off, and a section of
activists in the north have too through the social eocnomy.  But most of
the base is becoming passive because the leadership doesn't need an
activist base, other than for electioneering.  The elite transition
strategy foloowed by the leadership simply does not need, and does not
want, a load of radical rank and filers.

3.  No, I don't argue the republicans were merely passengers in the
pan-nationalist front.  They were actually driving agency in it, but in
order to do this they had to abandon core principles.  The pan-nationlaist
strategy has undoubtedly worked well, in terms of putting SF in the
mainstream and making it the dominant nationalist party in the north and in
a breakthrough position in the south, but it is at the cost of abandoning
its principles.

The only other thing I will say is in relation to your comment about
Connolly.  You cliam Connolly made a united front with "bourgeis
nationlaists".  Actually, this is what the (antirepublican) historical
revisionist school argues, and what (anti-republican) sections of Irish
Trotskyism argue.  Connolly never made any sort of alliance with burgeois
nationalists in Ireland.  The bourgeois nationalists were the IPP.
Connolly made a strategic alliance with *revolutionary nationalists* who
had sided with the workers in the 1913 Dublin Lock-out - Pearse, Clarke et
al.  Connolly and the revolutionary nationalists regarded the IPP as scum
who were, if anything, worse than the Brits.  It is Adams and co, who have
made an alliance with the bourgeis nationalists.  Indeed, it is today's SF
leadership which is transforming itself - rapidly - into new bourgeois
nationalists.

I'm happpy to leave the discussion there for a while.  We can revisit it
when SF does all the things you say (in number 5) it won't do.

Tiocfaidh ar la,
Phil







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