[Marxism] Provo capitulation

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Feb 6 16:26:42 MST 2007

In response to Walter, there is a certain amount of activity going on in
the north outside the Provos.  There have been big public meetings in
Belfast, Derry and (I think) Strabane to debate the policing issue.  The
most recent, the one in Derry, attracted 400 people.  New Sinn Fein has
stopped sending speakers along, because they have come in for such a
drubbing at these meetings.

The IRSP has been able to slowly reorganise, having to start virtually
from scratch.  Their military wing, the INLA, is on indefinite ceasefire
because the IRSP and INLA recognise that the conditions for armed
struggle do not exist in the north at present (and are probably unlikely
to in the foreseeable future).

There has been an outflow of people from the Provos, although many have
been so demoralised that they have just dropped out, a similar process
to what happened with former ANCers in South Africa when the ANC started
implementing neo-liberal economic policies in government.

The outflow of members and the erosion of part of their traditional
support base is not a major problem for the Provos, however, as their
sell-out has made them capable of picking up a chunk of the SDLP vote in
the north and make inroads into the Fianna Fail and Labour vote in the

Before this year is out we could see New Sinn Fein as the junior partner
in coalitions on both sides of Britain's border in Ireland.  Helping run
Britain's direct colony in the north and the neo-colony in the south.

Today, there is not one single significant republican principle that New
Sinn Fein continues to hold.  All principles are now simply "tactical"
questions and everything is subordinated to getting into government.  In
other words, what was once a revolutionary nationalist movement is now a
bourgeois-nationalist movement and a fairly corrupt one at that.  

Its leaders are cynical liars and moral and political bankrupts.

Given that the entire struggle against partition has been abandoned,
it's rather difficult to see what one earth Walter Lippmann continues to
see as supportable in the Provos. 

Btw, in my view it is true that the Brits couldn't beat the IRA.  But
the leadership of the IRA could beat the IRA and that's what happened.
The leadership, with Adams and McGuiness as the key players,

It's not exactly a new phenomenon in Irish history.  Capitulation has
taken place again and again, which indicates that republicanism, in and
of itself, is inadequate.  James Connolly pointed out a long time ago
that in the Irish context nationalism without socialism was mere
national recreancy.  Today, the same thing could be said about

(I might add that I also think that socialism in Ireland without
republicanism is just gas-and-water reformism.)

I look forward to seeing an energetic campaign in the Stormont elections
from opponents of the GFA and St Andrews Agreements and New Sinn Fein's
role as British colonial underlings.  I hope that the IRSP, 32-County
Sovereignty Movement, Republican Sinn Fein, Socialist Democracy and the
circles around 'The Blanket' and 'Fourthwrite' plus people like
Bernadette McAliskey get together to produce a slate of candidates and a
political platform worthy of the long years of sacrifice and struggle.

Philip Ferguson   

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