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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
On the One Road
Mick Hall • 24. 10. 03

Gerry Adams in a recent speech at the Balmoral Hotel, on 21st October 2003, not for the first time compares the Good Friday Agreement with a long journey. However these days he seems to be envisaging the final destination as being a place somewhere different to that which was intended, by the thousands of Republicans who have participated with Adams on this journey over the last thirty odd years, in this phase of the historic struggle for Irish freedom from the English State.

In his speech Adams said, "Some years ago I compared all this [the GFA] to a journey. For us the destination is an Irish republic." If he means this literally, then many will say “you're on your own on this part of the journey, for we have seen the 'Irish Republic' as envisaged by the likes of Michael Collins and the founders of the Free State.…and administered by the heirs of both Collins and De Valera.”

What the likes of them call the Irish Republic is light years away from that envisaged by Connolly, Mellows and the vast majority of Republican Socialists. It is a land inhabited by loan sharks, corrupt politicians and sleazy business people who feed off each other and leech off those who are economically less well off. The former living a life of plenty at the latter's expense. Few Republicans risked their lives, suffered and sacrificed simply so that all the people of the Island of Ireland could be citizens of such a state and thus eligible for similar exploitation by Irish gombeen men and women. No, the place the majority of Republicans, along with their supporter's who have equally struggled and sacrificed over the years, envisaged is a far better place than what Adams seems willing to settle for these days. It is called a Democratic Socialist Republic of Ireland.

Words are important in politics, the more so for a cautious conservative politician like Gerry Adams. This speech would have been read over and again by he and his advisors. Every i and t would have been carefully dotted and crossed and then again double checked. The fact that the word socialist appears nowhere in the speech, despite a Socialist Republic being to date part of Sinn Fein's objectives in its constitution is not some sort of oversight let alone a mistake.

Adams and his clique—for all their abilities that is what this SF leadership group have become—were informing via this speech their new found friends in the worlds of corporate business and politics north, south and overseas, plus their associates within the Catholic Church that they have nothing to fear from Sinn Fein. “We intend conducting any future political campaigns by the rules laid down by you. Big business has nothing to fear from SF, socialism may from time to time pass their lips and occasionally appear in SF's press. But like all reformist party's this should be seen as nothing more than bread and circuses for the membership. In reality we are responsibly bourgeois politicians. Your wealth is safe in our hands.”

Now no one expects Sinn Fein to wear its socialism on its sleeve like some Trotskyist sect, who unless one of the old beards of socialist theory gave their approval in one of their theoretical works, decades if not centuries before for any new turn in party policy, then it cannot possibly be pursued as it would be traitorous to the working classes. But in a speech of such importance as this in which Adams himself points out the importance of having a route map to where Irish republicans wish to arrive at, the exclusion of the word socialist is about as clear a statement of Sinn Fein's future political intent as one could ask for.

Many socialist members of the Provisional Republican Movement have sat back these last ten years and at important moments kept their thoughts to themselves for one reason. Although often appalled at the direction the Adams clique has been taking the Movement in, they understand that this stage of the armed struggle is over. The Adams leadership to their credit understood this before many and as such there has been no alternative to them; if the movement is to remain united, thus emerging from the traumatic events of the last thirty years as a united movement capable of going forward to a new phase of the struggle for a United Socialist Ireland.

Whether they were right or wrong in this analysis is not for me; what I would suggest that the time has now been reached for socialist republicans to assert themselves. To say openly that it is not acceptable for Sinn Fein Ministers and Councillors to implement policies that are detrimental to the mass of the Irish people. Policies such as the Irish equivalent of Public Private Initiatives which can in the long run only but weaken Ireland's public schools and hospitals. It should not be overlooked that policies like this were originally shipped across the Irish sea to benefit UK and US and EU multi national corporations. It is high time the word Socialism is not something with which the leadership rallies the party faithful, in much the same way Labour Parties sing the Red Flag at the end of meetings the world over, only for it to be tightly packed into delegates' ruck sacks and forgotten about until the following year.

Ireland is desperate for a party that represents its dispossessed, whether they live in rural or urban parts of the Island. People within Ireland and around the world placed their hopes in Sinn Fein emerging as such a party and in the process becoming a beacon for socialism and democratic accountability. A party whose leadership, membership and supporters come from the same constituency, the wretched of the earth. Such a party if it is to succeed in its task of building a new Ireland can only be a broad based Socialist Party. Is it not time the thousands of socialist Republicans within the ranks of the Republican Movement redraw the flawed route map the party leadership has been charting its way by and told the Clique around Gerry Adams that they have taken a wrong turning and they must get back on the road, straight and clear as previously charted by Connolly, Mellows, Sands and the hundreds of thousands who have invested in the day when a United Socialist Irish Republic is born?

The alternative is to forget about socialism as the Adams clique seem to wish and let them go unchallenged. Sinn Fein or whatever it ends up calling itself (history teaches us that such ex Republican parties always change their names, as to keep the old one is a living reminder of their betrayals) will become one of many such parties in the South and eventually part of the exploitative establishment in the North with a united socialist Republic being a distant memory.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

24 October 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Lies, The Lying Liars Who Tell Them and the Law of Unintended Consequences
Tom Luby


One More for the Road...And Another. Come Back Tony & Bertie, the Crack's 90

Anthony McIntyre


On the One Road
Mick Hall


Conduct Unbecoming
Kathleen O Halloran


A Political Nightmare
Eamon Sweeney


Ireland: Repression, Violence, Segregation - The Realities of the Sectarian State
Paul Mallon


When the Drugs Don't Work
Sean Fleming


Last Week, It Happened Again. In Bolivia.
Michael Youlton


20 October 2003


The Big Fella and the Big Lad
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Sabotaging the Fight for Freedom
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Republicanism: Relevant and Not Going Away
TJ O Conchuir


Anti-Racism Network Statement for Endorsement
Davy Carlin


From Where Springs Hope
Anthony McIntyre


Trashing Free Software
Toni Solo




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