Right Turn: Sinn Féin Attacks Radical Left
Sinn Féin has issued a scathing attack on the radical left—purposely distorting PBP’s position on the border—in their main online article in An Phoblacht this week. The same view has been very actively promoted on social media by Mary Lou McDonald. It is a thinly disguised attempt to cover their own growing political shift.
The article claims that: ‘Self-styled ‘radical left’ parties parrot status quo arguments to oppose United Ireland Referendum’. The headline of the article associates People Before Profit with the Tories, DUP, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael in opposing a call for a referendum on a united Ireland.
The claim about People Before Profit is a blatant lie. It is similar to claims made by Gerry Adams before the North assembly election where he suggested that People Before Profit was a ‘two nations;’ party.
The truth is that People Before Profit stand for a 32 county socialist Ireland.
In the aftermath of Brexit, we are for the right of the people of the North, and Ireland as a whole, to hold referenda on whether or not the border should remain. Similarly, we are for the right of the Scottish people to determine whether they want to remain part of the United Kingdom.
This is simply a matter of basic democracy. If the people of Britain had a right to vote on membership of the EU, then by the same logic people in Scotland and the North have an equal right to determine where their future lies.
The weakening of the EU elite after the Brexit debate can help a workers revolt across the continent – provided the racists like Nigel Farage are challenged. On a global scale, the vote will also weaken the ability of the US and the EU to co-ordinate their imperial projects.
In a similar manner, the break-up of the UK itself will also diminish the confidence and reach of the British ruling class and that can only be welcomed.
We have never thought that the unity of working people across borders depends on the maintenance of structures like the EU or the present constitutional arrangements of the UK.
As James Connolly, predicted the partition of Ireland led to a carnival of reaction whereby right wing politicians clothed themselves in Orange and Green flags to attack their own working class. Breaking that border and uniting workers on a class basis is key to advancing in Ireland. Discussions on partition and Irish Unity can never therefore be dismissed as ‘divisive’ – no more than discussion on abortion or racism can be dismissed as divisive.
However, there is little prospect that Irish unity will be established under Sinn Féin strategy. In recent years, they claimed that unity could be established by 2016 by working through the cross border institutions of the Good Friday agreement. But there was no chance that discussion on tourism, trade and water ways was ever going to morph into a 32 county Ireland.
The real purpose of Sinn Féin’s attack on the radical left is to cover their own rightwards drift. They have given up on opposing an undemocratic and neoliberal EU and now pretend it can be reformed to suit the interest of working people. In this they parrot the line of other establishment politicians.
They have joined with the DUP in supporting a reduction of taxes on big corporations while at the same time pressing for the removal of 20,000 jobs in the public services.
In Dublin, they have even backed a Labour Party candidate for the Mayor, knowing that this can only help to rehabilitate a party that betrayed working people.
The Sinn Féin-DUP alliance in the Northern Assembly is facing growing anger over their austerity policies. Lies about the policies of People Before Profit will not help their cause.