Contradiction at the heart of Sinn Fein

In this telephone interview with the Socialist Worker in the US, Eammon McCann argues that the IRA has been de facto remaindered by Sinn Fein’s signing of the Belfast Agreement, leaving it little constructive role to play in the areas it was once see as protecting.

  • Davros

    As ever, an excellent analysis-

    “Some people say, “Aren’t the McCartney sisters hypocrites for looking for justice from George Bush?” But in fact, the path to the White House was paved by the Sinn Fein leadership, and the McCartney sisters have made this point–that they are taking the path that Sinn Fein took to seek respectability.”

    one among many good points.

  • J Kelly

    I wonder is Eammon of the people calling the McCartney sisters hypocrites after all he was very angry when Durkan and Adams met with Bush.

  • Davros

    Aye, right J Kelly – it’s a carefully crafted interview that points out all those SF and IRA inconsistencies in order that he might really try to undermine the McCartneys struggle for justice 😉

  • spartacus

    I think McCann has got it right here. He is obviously critical of the McCartney’s decision to meet with Bush, predicting that it will lose them credibility in nationalist working class areas, while at the same time pointing out that Adams and company have had no problem treading exactly the same path in recent years. Correct on both counts, in my view. It was a disastrous decision, politically, for them to go to the White House. Adams’ problems, or more importantly the political problems facing left republicans, are further developed and more debilitating, however, and cannot be solved without a decisive break from the politics represented by the SF leadership.

  • J Kelly

    He is obviously critical of the McCartney’s decision to meet with Bush, predicting that it will lose them credibility in nationalist working class areas,

    I am sure you are right but if Eammon McCann is being candid with his language this will be a first as he is always principled and says exactly what he means. The point I am wondering about why is Eammon not saying it as he sees it. Maybe it would not be PC to criticise the McCartneys.

  • IJP

    Maybe it would not be PC to criticise the McCartneys.

    No, it wouldn’t.

    Someone should tell Ogra Shinn Fein that, among others.

  • spartacus

    IJP:

    Are you saying that it is off-limits to be critical of the way the McCartneys have allowed themselves to be hitched to right-wing and anti-republican agendas of Bush and the other powers that be? If so, people will do so regardless (hav ealready done so, in fact), and in my view they will be right to do so. One can be critical of the families’ lack of forethought, their obscene choices about who they are seen to be aligned with WITHOUT exonerating anyone involved in the killing of Robert.

    Their own problem from here on is not ‘exhaustion’ in nationalist areas at being saturated by this story (and the obvious selectivity of the media that it points up), which all the usual pundits use to explain things, but as McCann points out, their willingness to align themselves with someone widely reviled (and hopefully not just in nationalist working class areas) as a mass murderer. Its called hypocrisy.

  • Ringo

    Spartacus

    widely reviled as a mass murderer

    much as I loath Dubya, the McCartney’s would hardly have to travel as far as Washington to hobnob with mass murderers.

    right-wing and anti-republican agendas of Bush

    This is just nonsense. They don’t have an anti-republican agenda no more than they have a republican agenda. They don’t really give a monkey’s about a republican agenda, because they couldn’t care less about what happens in NI.

    And the right-wing thing is equally misplaced. Again, do you really think that if they were concerned about Sinn Fein’s mock ideological leanings (the vigilante campaign run by SF in Louth regarding the placement of a sex offender is definitely more right than left wing).

    Do you think that maybe if they told Dubya about this they might get onside?

  • spartacus

    Ringo

    You’re right. They could visit 10 Downing Street. Or, for an indirect link to mass murder, they could hang out with Bernie, who has allowed Shannon to be used as a stepping-off point for Iraq, and has probably opened it up to ‘torture flights’ as well. Whatever our disagreemnts about the PRM–and I’m sure we do disagree–even granting validity to your obsession they just don’t make it into the big leagues.

    I think that you’re wrong about the Bush admin not caring what happens here. Number one: they, and Blair, want political stability and an end to armed conflict; Number two: politically, they will not abide the British government being held culpable for what’s gone on here since 1969, or longer, and therefore they lean more heavily upon republicans than on any other parties to the conflict; 3) Number three, as McCann points out so well, they want the imposition of the neo-liberal agenda–with privatization, cuts in social services, drastic shrinking of civil service, etc. and they want no viable political forces standing in their way.

    This agenda cuts against the interests and very often the political orientation of the republican constituency, certainly of its working class component. Part of getting Gerry on board is about muzzling those in the republican tradition that stand to his left.

    On the last point, I was not asserting that SF were pursuing a left wing agenda. McCann’s article points out better than I could the length which the leadership has traveled to accommodate the most right-wing US administration of the last century, probably in American history. I merely meant that the McCartney’s did themselves damage by being seen with him and, tacitly at least, allowing a mass murderer to appear concerned about ‘justice.’

  • Ringo

    Spartacus –

    You’re in a big shiney greenhouse so put the brick down.

    The only thing your friend Bernie Ahert tortures is the English language. Regardless of the scale of the operation (you’re very keen to down play the brave patriotic actions of the provisional movement for an apologist) the Provisionals have a well documented history of torture which we are both aware of so lets leave it at that.

    If you think that Bush’s Paddies Day parties are held for any reason other than domestic reasons you are mistaken. This ‘leaning’ more heavily on the republicans is more nonsense. Prior to this year Sinn Fein were received better than other parties in the US. And if you are deluded enough to trot out the old conspiracy theory to explain their sudden fall from grace in the past 12 months, that’s up to you.

    The next bit I am genuinely confused by – are you saying that Bush is against the republican agenda because it he’s a neo-liberal, neo-con? How exactly do you reconcile this socialist backbone within the provisional movement with McCann’s story about the Union rep and the two councillors? Or my earlier example about the vigalantism in Drogheda you haven’t addressed? It should be clear to you that Gerry & co are clued in enough to realise that if they won’t be taking any lessons from McCann when it comes to political power (or lack of it in his case), and they won’t need anyone to push them towards centrist economic policies (when they get around to having some).

    Your last point is ruined by the fact (as repeated on this thread a number of times) that Sinn Fein have worn the threads of the White House carpet with visits to any presiden that would have them. And unlike Gery and co, at least the McCartneys aren’t babbling on about Bush’s evil regime etc when the americans are out of earshot.

    And Since when has Ted Kennedy become a right-wing, neo-liberal, neo-con? That isn’t what they call hin in the republican party (GOP not FF).

    Now any comment on the socialist vigilantes in Louth? You know when they hound (minor) sex offenders out of council estates and into privately owned estates, and then hound them them out of there – is this done by the people to the right or left of Gerry? Exactly what ideology is this and how does it compare to Bush’s ideology?

  • spartacus

    I’ll try to speak more slowly for you, Ringo; put away your toys for just a few minutes:

    1) If you do not perceive a disparity between the mass murderers in Downing Street and the White House, those in Dublin who abetted their latest venture, and the gang in Magennis’, I can’t help you. You are trivializing mass murder, flagrantly, and you nned to find someone else who will indulge you in this.

    2) We disagree over the US admin’s view of the function of the annual St. Paddy’s day hooley in DC. I think you are misleading yourself when you argue that it is simply a show for domestic US consumption. That is basic common sense stuff, it seems to me; A-Level Politics.

    3) The most recent study I’ve seen (from Queen’s) concludes that SF has the most working-class constituency of any political party in the north. Whatever you think of them, they draw more heavily from the most socially deprived sections of this society than any of their rivals. This is what I was referring to when I wrote that

    ‘[the neo-liberal] agenda cuts against the interests and very often the political orientation of the republican constituency, certainly of its working class component. Part of getting Gerry on board is about muzzling those in the republican tradition that stand to his left.’

    You may be so blinkered by your obsession that you deny the existence of left-leaning republicans, but if so you are better off discussing with yourself (or the like-minded) than with me. See McCann’s piece on the Blanket last week in which he argues much the same point.

    4) ‘Your last point is ruined by, etc.’ I wrote:

    ‘McCann’s article points out better than I could the length which the leadership has traveled to accommodate the most right-wing US administration of the last century, probably in American history. I merely meant that the McCartney’s did themselves damage by being seen with him and, tacitly at least, allowing a mass murderer to appear concerned about ‘justice.’

    What part of that point is ‘ruined’? I did not grudgingly acknowledge that SF has bent over for the US admin, I asserted it.

    5) Louth? Sex? Vigilantes? Ted Kennedy? Chappaquiddick? Is there some point in this thread (or any?) where I open up these discussions? Or is it that you are eager to smear anyone who does not subscribe to the ‘Provos eat their children’ drivel that passes for ‘discussion’ around here?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    anti-republican agendas of Bush

    Whether we like it or not (and I suspect we’d both go for the latter) Bush is Earth’s Premier Republican.

    I merely meant that the McCartney’s did themselves damage by being seen with him and, tacitly at least, allowing a mass murderer to appear concerned about ‘justice.’

    Yes, perhaps it was a mistake for the McCartneys to go to the Ard Fheis…

  • IJP

    Spartacus

    Not off-limits. Just very stupid.

    Gonzo

    LoL!

  • Davros

    I merely meant that the McCartney’s did themselves damage by being seen with him and, tacitly at least, allowing a mass murderer to appear concerned about ‘justice.’

    Yes, perhaps it was a mistake for the McCartneys to go to the Ard Fheis…

    ROFL Gonzo. Game, set and match.

  • spartacus

    You see, Ringo? I told you you’d find plenty of people around here eager to talk nonsense with you.

  • vespasian

    Many in Northern Ireland think of SF as the representatives of an underclass criminal element that has managed to persuade decent law abiding people to vote for it in increasing numbers.

    They are at lost to understand why, apart from Gerry Adams having been feted and accepted around the cities of Dublin, London Washington and New York etc. as an International statesman, such people could be persuaded vote for SF.

    There is a now a thought, in all quarters including SF, that Gerry Adams having been shunned as a statesman in all those quarters and now openly viewed as a representative of a ruthless criminal gang that they will not want to be seen as supporting criminality and stop voting for Sinn Fein.

    As everyone knows tides and flow in politics are apt to turn very quickly and many years of work can be undone in a minute. The question is will the nationalist community finally stop their increasing vote for SF and follow the unionist community in staying at home or vote for the SDLP or ignore International opinion and carry on givng SF more votes.

    We will have an interesting few months as SF try to move to the centre and eshew violence and the SDLP move to greener pastures to attempt to capture their vote. Time will tell what shade of green the nationalist voters want to have represent them in the 21st century.

  • Ringo

    Spartacus –

    1)You’re comparing the in-bred violence inherent in NI with geopolitical matters. You won’t manage to make a coherent argument on this no matter what.

    2) If you’re still suggesting that Dubya’s admin sees Paddies day as primarily a foriegn relations excercise it would be a first. Surely you’ll agree that what the rest of the world thinks is a couple of floors down below what americans think on the bushometer? They don’t give a damn about Ireland, Irish Americans are a different thing. We’re not as important as you seem to think.

    3) I don’t disagree with the statement that SF has the most working-class constituency of any political party in the north or deny the existance of left-leaning Sinn Feiners. But like the title of this thread suggests, this another contradiction. Sinn Fein may like to talk like a left-wing party to butter up the very people you refer to, but nobody, not even Dubya, seriously thinks that in reality they are anything other than a broad centrist party.

    4) Nobody without a circle-the-wagons republican agenda thinks they did themselves any harm in going to Washington. 100,000 people marched 2 years ago in Dublin, (the highest per capita in the EU that day) against the war in Iraq, and yet there isn’t even a murmur of discontent from anyone on this issue.

    What part of that point is ‘ruined’? I did not grudgingly acknowledge that SF has bent over for the US admin, I asserted it.

    The point isn’t whether you asserted it, the point is that your position and the position of many republicans on this issue is incompatible with the fact that Sinn Fein have has no problem doing the exact same thing as the McCartney’s. I didn’t hear ye complaining last Paddies Day?

    5) I take it from your lack of response that you’re not familiar with the story in Drogheda. Fair enough.

    As for Chappaquiddick, first case of American whataboutery I’ve come across on Slugger. Nice one. The point about Ted Kennedy is that he has a big problem at the moment with the republican movement, but considering he’s the leading liberal and left-wing senator in the US, it is hardly because of Sinn Fein’s looney left that he is not willing to meet them.

  • spartacus

    One last time Ringo.

    1) I think you will find that it was you who first attempted the comparison between ‘geopolitical matters’ and the violence inherent in the sectarian state of NI. See your post at 2:37pm.

    2) I think you’ll find that it was you who first proposed a one-sided take on the annual Washington junket, separating foreign policy and domestic aims in a way that doesn’t ring true. I was merely responding to your false assertion that in the age of ‘good vs. evil’ “they (Bush etc.) couldn’t care less about what happens in NI.” See your posts at 2:37 and 4:29.

    3) No substantial disagreement.

    4) You obviously missed the point in McCann’s article (about which this thread developed) where he argues that

    ‘the McCartney sisters’ association with Bush and their meeting with him will not have done them any good at the grassroots level back in Northern Ireland,’ etc.

    I was merely agreeing with this observation. I think it is a fair one, and not one only taken up by people with an agenda against the McCartney sisters. There may be a smear campaign out there (I haven’t seen one, and I think I’d know about it), but there is also a sense of disbelief and ‘what’s going on here’ at their allowing themselves to be hosted by Bush.

    I agree that SF has gotten away with much the same thing, though there is real disgruntlement there too. If you didn’t hear me complaining about it last Paddy’s Day, and the ones before that, you weren’t listening.

    5) Not sure what to say here. Kennedy is not left-wing, and has been hostile to republicanism for as long as I can remember. In the paranoid mentality of not-an-inch unionism, he no doubt counts as a terrorist sympathizer, but he’s always, always been an SDLP supporter, and extremely hostile to republicanism.

  • lo_rre

    Sinn Fein and Prince Harry share uniform bad taste

    What does Deborah Devenny, Sinn Fein’s council candidate in Short Strand, have in common with Prince Harry? Well, back in 1987 she attracted a lot of comment by turning up at a fancy-dress do in a slinky SS uniform. Bet Debs and her colleague are hoping that doesn’t get dragged up in the election campaign — there are enough people accusing republicans of using fascist tactics since the murder of Robert McCartney. Incidentally “Gringo” Joe O’ Donnell, the previous Sinn Fein councillor in Short Strand, turned up at the same event dressed as a Mexican bandit complete with six shooters. The cowboy image doesn’t work these days either

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2091-1543292,00.html