[Marxism] John McAnulty article

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Thu Dec 7 17:26:25 MST 2006

In an excellent article, John McAnulty wrote:
>As the process moves on Sinn Fein support will begin to slip. Already
many members have left and their vote is beginning to decay in key
areas. 8000 voters, 15% of the voting population, have failed to
register to vote in the key base area of West Belfast. 

Donal responded to that particular part of the article with:
There is absolutely nothing new in this. Since the British brought in
their new requirements for voter registration - which were a weapon
against Republicans - people have been knocked off the register. West
Belfast has always had huge registration losses only to see them
reversed through Republican activity on the doorstep.

What is new is the actual numbers.  The old republican base is fraying.

The same kind of process happened in South Africa as it became
increasingly clear that the ANC was committed to a neo-liberal economic
course.  There was no big split - no-one within the ANC was able to form
a coherent, revolutionary opposition - so, instead, there was just
confusion and demoralisation.

I think the SF vote will hold up overall, however, because whatever they
lose in terms of real republican votes they have a good chance of making
up for in capturing the nationalist middle class (ie winning over SDLP

I suspect we'll see something similar to what has happened with New
Labour in Britain - substantial boycott by traditional working class
Labour voters.

However, in each of these cases the lack of a credible alternative has
meant demoralisation rather than a left resurgence.

This is also why the divisions between the anti-GFA left are so
frustrating and counter-productive.  

If the forces that reject the GFA could even establish some loose,
working coalition while maintaining their organisational independence at
least there would be some counter-force to the sell-out and some chance
of regrouping some serious forces rather than having a feeling of
hopelessness pervade the old republican base.


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