ED Moloney bumps into an old friend while giving an interview (downloadable in mp3 format here) to Democracy Now in America, in which he charts the movement of mainstream republicanism from an armed to an increasingly democratic position. Meanwhile, this left-wing analysis of the NI political situation post-Donaldson raises questions about how the mainstream republican movement (was) shifted.While Moloney pays tribute to the SF leadership in many respects, he argues that its authority should be measured on the basis of what it achieved. He sums up his thoughts:
Well, my own view, and I think it’s one that is shared quite widely, is that there is absolutely nothing in the power sharing deal which could guarantee or even suggest that the goal of Irish unity is achievable. And what Sinn Fein and the I.R.A. have done by signing up to the Good Friday agreement is to accept the constitutional status quo that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and that it will remain so as long as the majority of its population, in other words, the Protestants or Unionists of Northern Ireland say so.
And, of course, you know, given the demographics of Northern Ireland, that’s going to be a reality for as far as one can see in the future. And in return for accepting the status quo and in return for accepting the so-called principal of consent, Sinn Fein has been offered and presumably whenever this deal is revived, they will take seats in a power sharing government and become ministers.
So, I mean, in the last power sharing government that survived for a couple of years, Martin McGuinness who is now over here selling this deal was Minister of Education, and they had another colleague who was Minister of Health. Those were cabinet posts. If you had said 20 years ago that these people who were out directing a bombing and shooting campaign to get rid of the British presence in Northern Ireland would have ended up as Ministers of the Crown in the government of Northern Ireland, people would have thought you were mad. But this is exactly what has happened and is likely to happen again.
Steve James and Chris Marsden write on the World Socialist Web Site:
[I]t is inexcusable that Sinn Fein has refused to publicly take seriously the allegations of extensive, and decades-long, infiltration of its own organisation. Reports suggest that there are investigations taking place, but any agents discovered are likely simply to be quietly sidelined, rather than named and denounced, to avoid further damage to Sinn Fein’s credibility.
The Donaldson affair raises vital issues for all those concerned with the dangerous erosion of democratic rights and the ongoing conspiracy by the state forces against the working class. They must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. The tactics used against Sinn Fein can and will be used again and again against all opponents of British imperialism. Indeed there can be no question that similar tactics are currently being deployed in British-occupied Iraq.
From this standpoint, to the extent it is possible without further compromising their security, it is imperative that Sinn Fein make clear:
* Who are the remaining British agents in their ranks?
* Given the central role of Scappaticci, how many of those apparently murdered by internal security were innocent of the spying charges levelled against them and were in fact fingered by the security services?
* What information was handed by Donaldson to his handlers, not only on the IRA, but on other organisations with which he was in contact?
* Which IRA terror operations were allowed to go ahead or were even instigated by British agents in order to foment sectarian tensions and legitimise state repression?