Reply to John O'Neill

D OC donaloc at
Thu Feb 20 05:37:38 MST 2003

John O'Neill wrote:

>Lets be honest, the Provisional Republican Movement always argued  their
>primary goal was the unification of Ireland. That is why their movement
>often had such diverse political strands and was ambiguous enough to garner
>support from both the left and more conservative America.

I think we might say our primary goal is the establishment of the 32 CDSR in
line with the 1919 Democratic Programme (fully understood).

>The ending of the "Long War" and the entry into the Peace Process has
>required their movement to consider their political ideology more
>seriously. The fight for the (IMO) vague "Socialist Republic" sits uneasily
>with being in a powersharing administration.

Certainly true. A key difficulty is producing policies which are achieveable
but still radical. The other difficulty is proposing such policies in an
open culture where if you fail it will be openly criticised and used against
other elements of your programme. The key to achieving Socialism in Ireland
is the broadening of real democracy and popular empowerment throughout
decision-making structures everywhere. That for me is a key objective.
Agreed though, that vague commitments to the DSR wouldn't be satisfied with
the reality of struggle in the bureaucracy of the Assembly, Executive or
even 26 Co 'parliament'.

>I am sure all their present contradictions are making for some extremely
>interesting internal debate and I am also sure there are socialists within
>SF contributing to this debate. In the next 10 years they could be the
>second biggest Party in the South and the largest Nationalist Party in the
>North or they could fracture, the left going one way and the more pragmatic
>merging with Fianna Fail the Republican Party(sic).

I really don't foresee the time when SF would split. But you can never be
sure of such things, can one? There is a lot of discussion going on, but
reality is that the level of discourse is only recently starting to pick up.
I think one must understand that we're only slowly emerging from both war
and a culture of obedience to the party line.

>They are presently a relevant, radical political force in Ireland and
>deserve serious analysis from the left. Domhnall assures us their youth
>section is dominated by socialists and I have no reason to disbelieve what
>he says, but it is very difficult for people outside SF to know what their
>strategies are short, medium and long term and, more importantly, the power
>blocs that struggle within SF.

I'm not sure I said what you have attributed. I'm sure most youth are left
wing, particularly in the South. In the north, most are anti-Brit but anyone
thinking in the youth tends to be left. If I had to say, most of RM is
dominated by scientific socialists/republicans - although the base can vary
somewhat in places. If anything SF is shifting to the left with time -
rather than the right. Particularly, with the idea of pushing and empowering
popular democracy - I think that strikes a chord throughout the party.

Is mise

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