a November 23, 2006 article entitled, Not
Too Late for a United Front, Mick Hall noted
"There is little doubt that former members
of the Provisional Republican Movement now make
up one of the largest political factions within
well as all the people who have left as individuals
over the past decade, there is Republican Sinn
Fein, the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, the
IRSM, Socialist Democracy and independent socialist-republicans
such as Bernadette McAliskey and the people grouped
around The Blanket and Fourthwrite. Outside Ireland
there are also friends of Irish freedom who have
been discarded by, or had already seen through,
the Adams cabal atop New Sinn Fein.
the number of what could be described as genuine
anti-imperialists is quite impressive and significant.
Mick Hall also rightly noted, however, "their
inability to come together to combat their nemesis,
even in a small way, has all but left the playing
field clear for the opportunistic politics of
Gerry Adams' SF."
I think it could be argued that the divisions
amongst the anti-imperialist opponents of Adams'
Surrenderist politics are the biggest single thing
that New Sinn Fein has going for it. These divisions
can only reinforce moods of demoralisation among
the sections of the republican base that disagree
with, or at least have serious doubts about, the
course of New Sinn Fein.
is urgently needed is open, comradely discussions
among the anti-imperialist forces with the aim
of forming some kind of united front. No-one need
abandon their particular views and there could
be full freedom of action and expression for each
group within such a united front.
of the first challenges of such a united front
could be to pose an alternative to the Surrenderistas
of New Sinn Fein in the next Stormont elections.
I cannot see why it should not be possible to
put together an impressive abstentionist argument,
political platform and candidates posing a convincing
critique of New Sinn Fein on every level - its
policies on the national question and on social
and economic issues. Although Mick Hall favours
taking seats in Stormont, most of the forces which
could be united for an anti-imperialist platform
should have little trouble agreeing to run on
an abstentionist basis.
a basic set of points which everyone in the united
front could agree upon, each current would be
free to raise their own specific analysis.
way to form such a united front would be for representatives
of the anti-imperialist organisations to begin
meeting and discussing working towards establishing
such a front, agreeing a basic, minimum platform
which was consistent with everyone's principles
and then organising an open conference with the
aim of attracting as many people as possible.
The draft platform could be circulated and discussed
publicly before the conference and presented for
endorsement, along with any additions or amendments
which groups or individuals attending the conference
wished to put forward.
conference as a whole could also either select
candidates for the Stormont elections or the participating
groups could agree to a slate, with each group
selecting its own candidates, and additional places
on the slate being left open for nominations from
the floor at the conference.
in the South are due around mid-2007. Discussions
between the components of the anti-imperialist
left could also take place about an approach to
these elections, although agreement might be much
more difficult as some groups have an abstentionist
principle in relation to Leinster House and others
don't. If agreement could not be reached on the
anti-imperialist left regarding a platform for
Leinster House, then each group would have to
'do its own thing'. However, that is no reason
why collaboration should or could not be fruitfully
pursued in relation to the northern elections
and at least discussions take place about possibilities
for collaboration in the 26 counties and avoiding
anti-imperialist groups running against each other's
it was not possible to put together a united campaign
in the north around the Stormont elections then
at least opponents of the New Sinn Fein betrayal
should agree to divide up seats and ensure they
don't run against each other and split the anti-imperialist
vote. Such reckless political sectarianism is
in no-one's interests apart from the Brits and
their New Sinn Fein collaborators.
Ferguson is Ex-Sinn Fein and a former organiser,
Irish Anti-Extradition Committee (now resident
in New Zealand)