[Marxism] Tony Catney's letter

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Dec 11 19:22:47 MST 2006

Below is the letter by Tony Catney, formerly Sinn Fein's director of
elections in the north, who left the Provos last year because of their
capitulation to the Brits.

It provides an interesting insight into how the leadership views the
rank and file, suppresses debate and attempts to smear people who
disagree, especially people who leave and disagree.  Of course, smearing
is not all they do, as the murder of Joseph O'Connor showed.

Stuff like that which Catney exposes is what Donal covers for and why I
have no respect at all for him:

Catney's letter in the 'Irish News' a fortnight ago

Always tell the truth

Within the past few days it has been brought to my attention - and
confirmed by a member of the Sinn Fein leadership - that senior members
of Sinn Fein have been briefing sections of the Sinn Fein membership
about me and my alleged activities.

The content of the briefing is to state as 'fact' that I am "a member of
an armed organisation which poses a threat to people or things unnamed."

The alleged armed organisation does not have a name, and as far as the
briefing goes I am the only member.

The basis of this allegation is information supplied by what a member of
the Sinn Fein leadership describes as "a tout".

Whose tout, working for whom and to what end is not made clear. However,
on the basis of this evidence the instruction being given to the
membership of Sinn Fein is 'that they should not trust me, have nothing
to do with me and that they should not talk to me.'

Now, apart from feeling like Wolfie Smith from the TV series Citizen
Smith, it concerns me that internal Sinn Fein briefings are being
organised to specifically name me as 'the' member of an 'armed
organisation' - this is little more that an exercise in felon setting.

The motivation behind such a process of felon setting can be better
answered by the leadership of Sinn Fein.

However, in my opinion the motivation has more to do with attempting to
denigrate my name and by extension my views (which are critical of the
direction in which the Sinn Fein leadership is pushing the republican
struggle) than "information" which has any basis in the real world.

Nevertheless, for the purposes of a public record and as a means of
addressing those friends and comrades within the wider republican
community allow me to state categorically that I am not a member, let
alone 'the' member of any armed organisation.

I am an Irish republican, I was a member of the republican movement for
37 years and resigned last year as a result of the lack of internal
debate on matters of policy and strategy and the manner in which
membership were expected to blindly follow a leadership-led policy
without question or dissent. Since then, I have met on a regular basis
with other republicans of a similar mind, to discuss ways in which open
and constructive debate can be generated within the wider republican
community on matters such as, policing, water charges, the St Andrews
proposals and the achievement of an Irish socialist republic.

I shall continue to meet with any and all other republicans to discuss
such issues because I believe that not only do I have a right to do so,
but I also feel I have a responsibility to do so.

I have no reservations about discussing my views and opinions with
anyone who would care to listen and I am prepared to be proven wrong on
the views I hold. But only through a process of discussion and debate
and not as a consequence of 'Chinese whispers', intimidation or
leadership lines handed down from on high.

The republican people of the six counties struggled long and hard to win
the right to have a voice.

Why should I have to give mine up because of other republicans?
Republicans should be allowed to decide on who they want to talk with
and listen to on the basis of open and frank discussion, not as a result
of shady meetings held in secret and informed by dubious facts and
fanciful fiction.

To end, allow me a personal observation with friends and comrades in the
republican family.

On two occasions in the past I have been subjected to the process of
Diplock courts as a result of my involvement in republican politics and
was incarcerated for 16 years as a consequence.

>From this experience I have first-hand knowledge of how 'facts' can be
constructed and manipulated. Such corrupt dealings coming from an
oppressor such as the British establishment are in many ways an expected

Coming from former comrades, who claim to offer a better way forward
towards the liberation of an oppressed people, it is inexcusable.

To those friends and comrades within the republican movement struggling
to create an Ireland of equals, I wish you well.

However, I fear that if you do not speak your mind we will achieve an
Ireland where some republicans are more equal than others.

Tony (TC) Catney
Belfast republican

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