[Marxism] Replying to Phil

D OC donaloc at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 29 05:45:10 MST 2004

>Your leadership is in a coalition government with the loyalists,
administering neo-colonial rule for British imperialism in Ireland and
you claim this in no way contradicts Connolly.

Again, as I said, you are in a timewarp. SF aren't in Govt at all. Moreover, 
there's no hope of any analysis of why we're not. You seem totally incapable 
of dialectical analysis.

>Connolly was *totally opposed* to the Irish bourgeoisie and never
entered any political alliances with them.  He advocated independent
working class politics, as *opposed to* pan-nationalism.

Indeed he was totally opposed to the Irish bourgeoisie - so is SF. SF, btw, 
is an indept party composed generally of the working class and small farmer 
types who have taken the war to the Brits over their continued occupation of 
our country. A little bit better than your own self-styled revolution group 
(I hope).

>Your 'strategy' is pan-nationalism.  Indeed it even involves working
with the loyalists and British imperialism.

SF's strategy is about building coalitions - shifting and changing with 
time. It doesn't need to cut off any avenue for struggle. When you're in a 
position like the Republican Movement - and just look across the globe on 
this - you don't want to paint yourself into a corner. SF will meet the 
Tories of Britain or Bush himself - if it serves our agenda of countering 
their attempts to isolate us. That doesn't mean that we've adopted some of 
their thinking or approach. That's just tactical engagement. You're getting 
all worked up about words. If we meet FF (which is a party led by bourgeois 
nationalists - and composed of petit-bourgeois and supported by the working 
class) - then that's just meeting them. We don't somehow sign up to their 
politics. Pan-Nationalism in my mind is the concept of building a coalition 
in support of national-liberation objectives. Of course, that means taking 
on board bourgeois nationalists but of course that doesn't mean that we 
compromise on the rest of our programme. The thing is whether they're 
signing up to support our initiatives or whether we're limiting ourselves to 
theirs. The lesson of the last 3 years is that building such an alliance has 
actually served to reduce support for the bourgeois nationalists and 
increased that for our radical nationalism. This has meant that the 
pan-Nationalist 'front' has collapsed with FF and the SDLP playing politics 
ahead of our greater national good.

We're more than happy to engage with others - so long as it doesn't 
prejudice our nations future independence (in the big sense). But the logic 
of the process is that SF should be central to a future United Ireland. Our 
political opponents will then be forced to choose between neocolonialism and 
allying with the Brits and their supporters here - or behind our banner for 
equality and justice.

>The naive assumption here is that you can "work with" the national
bourgeoisie.  Connolly was under no such illusion.

Not whether you can work with them but whether you can use them. Big 

>Connolly and Pearse and their comrades fought and died not only to
overthrow British rule in Ireland but to break the Irish Nationalist
Party.  They didn't form an alliance with Redmond, let alone go into
government with loyalist Carson, they attacked them full-on.

So, you're suggesting that Republicans go out and barracade ourselves in 
Belfast City Hall - otherwise, we're not 'Connollyist'? That's pretty much 
as dishonest as what you're saying about the Republican movement. Its not in 
any alliance with anybody right now - I don't see how you could say they 
are. It's engaged in building different types of coalition for different 
purposes - of course, right now no such coalition is possible - as they 
can't accept SF in on the principle of equality. Instead, the movement is 
building political strength at all levels of this society. Pretty soon, they 
won't be able to ignore or exclude SF. It was 15,000 votes away from being 
the biggest party in the Six Counties. It's now the third largest party in 
Ireland and is growing at the fastest rate. SF is its own bosses. The party 
will compromise its objectives for no-one.

>These 'left-wing' policies have you helping administer partition.  Very

Partition is here whether or not we're engaged in a political process. At 
some stage, most political activists come up against reality. Perhaps not in 
your mind though. Besides, our policies were sufficiently radical that they 
forced the unionists to bring the Brits in to collapse the institutions. The 
main thing is to understand that the Six Counties cannot withstand equality. 
It just cannot. There is no hope of any future dispensation living if their 
was true equality. That means, and to gain the widest level of political 
support, all we have to do is fight for equality. That will be sufficient to 
bring the state tumbling down. That's why they had to bring down the elected 
assembly and removed 211,000 people from the electoral register. It's also 
why these measures didn't stop our growth.

The other thing people have to realise is that it is very difficult to make 
the transition from a guerrilla movement to a revolutionary one advancing 
through politics alone. That requires a huge level of political development. 
Just look elsewhere - it's not an easy process. I think it is very much to 
the credit of the Irish RM that it has embarked on that in such an open and 
self-critical manner. Republicans are big enough to say we've made mistakes. 
That's no guarantee for the future but it's the best start we can have.

>Capturing the hearts and minds of the population is done in *opposition*
to the national bourgeoisie, not along the lines of pan-nationalism.

Pan-Nationalism doesn't pre-suppose anything about our criticism of the 
position of those with whom we are aligning. To use the example of Connolly 
- he had serious criticisms of the IRB/SF in the early 1910s (and before). 
They were seriously wrong - they even called for Ireland to have colonies. 
But that didn't stop him from joining the Irish volunteers and the IRB in 
fighting the Brits when it suited him.

>Connolly understood how to do this.  It wasn't along the pan-nationalist
road, which he totally opposed, as did Larkin, as did Pearse.

I don't get where you are finding this. Just because Connolly totally hated 
the Redmondites - it didn't mean he didn't have problems with the 
bourgeois-nationalist Sinn Fein of the day. It didn't stop him physically 
fighting alongside these guys (many of whom would later lead a bourgeois 
neocolonial Ireland).

>The IRB alliance was a perfectly sound one as the IRB was a
revolutionary nationalist organisation.

And were they not gathered around the achievement of bourgeois-nationalist 
objectives? People like deValera and Collins? The question for you to answer 
is their class composition. The bulk of people fighting in 1916 were working 
class - mostly from the ICA. The IRB were often petty-bourgeois intellectual 
types or else rural contingents. It was a broad alliance of types - there 
were clearly bourgeois nationalists in there (the IRB and SF could probably 
be termed revolutionary bourgeois nationalist).

>Entirely different from Fine
Gael and Fianna Fail.  Show me where Connolly tried to unite with the
antional bourgeoisie, show me where he collaborated with loyalists in
administering partition, show me where he did deals with British
imperialism and helped run neo-colonialism for them.

Of course, there was no partition at the time of Connolly so that wasn't 
appropriate. Neither was there any neocolonialism only British Colonialism. 
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail were composed of those people who fought alongside 
Connolly in 1916. Their sons (and daughters) and grandsons (and 
grand-daughters) lead those two parties until today. Have their genetics 
somehow changed? No. Their politics have, but something remains.

They still proclaim to believe in Irish freedom - so let's see just what 
that means. Today, we've played this contradiction to antagonism - Bertie 
Aherne is merely repeating what Paisley said yesterday. They have jumped 
into bed with reactionary Loyalism and Unionism. We had to go into coalition 
with them to expose them. Again, you appear to have no inkling of the 
dialectics of struggle. Just remember what Castro and the July 26th movement 
did - it had bourgeois nationalists in charge of key ministries for a while 
- but that was part of a process of transition. The same here. We obviously 
don't control the state but the nature of the state itself is under 

>More nonsensical abuse.  Your attempt to make out that the
pan-nationalism you are mixed up in has anything to do with Connolly's
strategy in 1916 merely shows how little you and the SF leadership have
in common with that strategy.

Perhaps your failure to see the realities of the situation stems from your 
own sectarian blindness.

>Connolly united with fellow revolutionaries against imperialism and the
national bourgeoisie.

Just how 1916 could be thought of as an explicit rising against the national 
bourgeoisie is beyond me. It was a proclamation of independence against 
British colonialism. Just re-read it.

>You want to unite with the national bourgeoisie,
with the loyalists and you are helping run the six counties for the
Brits.  What is not clear is who you are now fighting against - other
than against the Irish working class, that is.

SF is not helping run anything - the Assembly is in cold-storage for the 
foreseeable future. Perhaps Paisley's DUP will change their tack but I 
personally don't think that they will. They're talking British Direct-rule 
until 2006 at the least. As for uniting with the 'national' (i.e. twenty-six 
county) bourgeoisie - I don't think that you probably understand the level 
of stuff thrown at the party by that bunch in the last 2 months. SF is 
threatening their vote and they know it. You might just remember what a 
local election might be like in the 26Cs - well its getting tough out there. 
Some unity?? SF is building its own strength behind its independent banner.

Is mise

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