[Marxism] Situation In Ireland

Calvin Broadbent calvinbroadbent at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 15 04:36:01 MST 2005

The following is from an Irish correspondent:

The onslaught on Sinn Fein and the Republican movement continues. Recent
opinion polls have shown a reduction in the party's support among
middle-class voters but a strengthening of their vote among lower class
layers. This is true enough. The party is having a rough time but the
level of political maturity in Ireland would be far above that in most
other countries - for the simple reason that people have lived through
section 31 bans on Republican speakers and through propaganda from both
British, Six County and Free State agencies since partition. People are
much more politically aware than the media would like them to be.

The fact that the Sinn Fein vote actually increased in Meath in the last
bi-election there (just the last weekend) is a testimony to that fact.
It is also thought likely that the loss of the seat for the ruling
Fianna Fail party was due in most part for a very low transfer from SF
voters to that party (which is usually the beneficiary of a Republican

However, all is not that rosy. Sinn Fein's growth potential has been
badly hit by the recent onslaught. The party demonstrated a clear
ability to win increasing numbers of working class and lower
middle-class voters across the Free State. That situation has now been
halted with the scare-mongering. Whilst party support has held firm, the
potential growth has been stymiaed.

Recent press releases by Oglaigh na hEireann (the IRA) have been less
than helpful. Most Republicans were dejected at the last one which
openly spoke of 'shooting those directly involved' in a murder in East
Belfast. This statement was grasped by a range of political opponents
who pointed to the IRA's cessation of all *military* activities back in
1997. Can anyone remember an occasion when Martin Maguinness stated that
he considered an IRA statement to be 'wrong'.

An immense pressure would appear to be building up for the IRA to take
itself out of the equation in some manner. Many would be happy to see
this outcome, yet are Sinn Fein capable of making the transition from a
party largely focussed on winning elections as a means to strengthening
the hand of Republicans in negotiations to a party of grassroots
campaign which is what a revolutionary political party needs to be
about. This is the immediate question posed in the context where the IRA
have made a transition to political work in its entirety.

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