[Marxism] Re: ****, Sinn Fein, and the imperialists

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Feb 11 09:03:19 MST 2007

Walter wrote:
In effect, the critics of SINN FEIN counterpose

the democratic to the socialist revolutions


My point was that many of the critics of Sinn Fein do this, but not all of
them  on this list do, as James Daly made clear in his comment.  Also I
think it should be stated that, unlike in South Africa, no historic
democratic-revolutionary victory has been won.  And while I am not sure t
hat British imperialism is growing stronger in Ireland., as Daly thinks
as Walter and I are not), it certainly seems to me that the Sinn Fein role
is currently helping them to hang on rather than undermining their position
in opposition.  I do not consider their course democratic-revolutionary,
although I am not convinced that British imperialism may still have to let
Northern Ireland go (which I am convinced will require another big upsurge
which may produce a revolutionary alternative to Sinn Fein or create new
leadership within it), and the current orientation of Sinn Fein's leadership
does provide them with a bourgeois nationalist collaborationist force to
fall back on if they have to leave under the pressure of the masses.  


The Adams leadership's course does not seem to me to be revolutionary in any
sense of the word.  I do not see them fostering broad mass struggles of any
kind in Ireland today.  


But I tend to think that British imperialism's position is weakening
generally  (after all, they are also losing the war in Iraq and, basically
as a consequence, the Blair government is becoming disgraced) and I don't
think Ireland is really an exception.  Perhaps this will be the "exception"
that proves (in the sense of tests) the rule. The Sinn Fein course helps the
British hold on for now, and, when that becomes impossible, may provide them
(and the Irish bourgeoisie) with an acceptable form of Irish unification,
which, when it happens, will be progressive regardless of Sinn Fein's


Walter also writes::


I am NOT saying "TINA", or their is no alternative to SINN FEIN's
strategy. I genuinely don't have that information. But were
their to be any alternative, by now someone would surely
have told us what that alternative might be.
It seems to me that Walter says "I am not saying.there is no alternative to
Sinn Fein's strategy."  And then says THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE because "by
now someone would surely have told us what that alternative might be."
I pointed to worldwide class struggle conditions not to let Adams,
Ramaphosa, or anybody else "off the hook" as Louis suggests, but to explain
why no alternative has emerged yet in Ireland. (In South Africa, there are
now rising trade union struggles which mark  the beginning of an
alternative, which won't emerge decisively until a fight for the land
emerges alongside them, in my opinion.) 
I think it is unrealistic for a real alternative to emerge to widespread
public knowledge in this conjuncture in Ireland.
We should remember that Chavez's group in Venezuela was known to almost no
one, and counted for almost nothing until the Caracazo, which began the
reversal of the neoliberal tide in Venezuela (and therefore in Latin
America). It was only then that Chavez began to reach out more broadly to
political forces in order to prepare the revolutionary-democratic attempted
coup. Until then, nobody knew that there was an alternative, or that
Chavez's perspectives had a realistic foundation. And the collapse of the
old revolutionary guerrilla movements still weighed on the situation just as
the collapse of the "physical force" plus "socialism" perspectives of the
provos now weigh negatively on the situation in Ireland.
If there is going to be an alternative to Sinn Fein's bourgeois nationalist
course, which is not at present contributing to getting the British out, as
far as I can see, it will have to emerge in and through a new wave of
I will consider Irish independence and national unity even under the current
Sinn Fein leadership and the current 26 counties bourgeois leadership to be
progressive. But that hardly demonstrates that the bourgeois
collaborationist course of the Sinn Fein leadership is to be supported


I rather think not.


Just to clarify where my thinking is at present.


Fred Feldman

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