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Exposing the ‘big lie’ of the passive Irish left.

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‘Unity’, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Ireland, on the 24th of August carried a front page article entitled “Facing up to Sectarianism”. The article addressed question of public protests.

For the previous nine moths the vast majority of street protests in the six counties, by far had been conducted by loyalists and involved vicious sectarian attacks on working class nationalist homes. Furthermore the CPI article came just at the end of the ‘marching season’ which involved thousands of openly sectarian orange marches.

Yet despite the glaringly obvious presence of a current and existing Orange threat, more than half the article, written by Lynda Walker dealt instead with republican parades- and specifically RNUs Henry Joy McCracken commemoration which (as it turned out) was re-routed out of existence the day after the article appeared.

Contrary to the writer’s arrogant assertion, those organising the March were well aware of the Presbyterian background of the United Irishmen. Indeed that was the very reason why those same organisers had offered to talk to those who wished to protest against the March. That was why they took steps to ensure trouble makers stayed away from their own ranks. That was exactly why they wanted to mark and honour the ideals of the founders of Republicanism.

There were no grounds to the smug assertions contained within the Communist Party journal, which branded the Henry Joy McCracken march and commemoration a “coat trailing exercise” it was in fact a genuine paying of homage to a great United Irishman from Belfast, no more and no less. Had the CPI, or others within the passive Irish Left who held such opinions came down from the plateau of academia and actually engaged with those on the street, they would have had much more to think about than simply launching broadside condemnations in their paper.

Still it must be said that many in the Communist Party, along with the other well established Irish leftist groups do in fact believe that alternative Republican groupings (such as RNU) are in fact sectarian by nature, ‘the opposite side to the Orange coin’ as they casually put it. Leadership figures within the left know better but continue to let the lie permeate within their ranks.

Such accusations of sectarianism would be greeted with more than a mild offense was it not made far away from the arena of actual working class struggle in Ireland, but it is a myth persistently asserted on an almost ritual basis by groups such as the CPI, and the Socialist Party.

In September 2009 Sinn Fein Cllr Domhnall O Cobhthaigh resigned to join the ‘Socialist Party’. At a meeting in Belfast City Centre in September that year he cited how glad he was to ‘be able to sit with people who quote Connolly and mean it’.

When asked by an RNU member present how certain he was that his new party were in fact followers of Connolly (given that they have given de facto recognition to partition since their existence) the SPs new comrade looked like he had misjudged the crowd as being entirely of the passive left tradition, he had.

Furthermore the ‘Socialist Party’ members present (much to their own disgust) were asked why they had taken to the streets with placards describing the IRA Messerine Barracks attack earlier in the year as ‘Sectarian murder’.

Certainly – they were told – they had the right to question or condemn any action they disagreed with, and for whatever reason, but to label the shooting of British soldiers in Ireland by Republican soldiers as ‘Sectarian’ appeared to be no less than attempt to stretch logic in order to suit the current party platform of a particular sect on the Irish Left.

And this is where the passive Irish left are at. Armed with an unwillingness to face up to the uncomfortable fact that they still live with the residue of British rule in Ireland; occupation, state oppression, partition and sectarianism, they instead effectively make their peace with partition and in an attempt to ‘square the circle’ they turn on those who hold true to the Anti-Imperialist ideal which should form a key part in the Socialist world-view.

There is no doubt that in recent decades some who described themselves as Republican may well have failed to live up to the Anti-sectarian standards which should be demanded by such a title. Likewise the passive Irish left have been equally wanting in their failure to support not only the battles against sectarian marches here, but the struggle for Irish National Liberation itself, while still supporting similar causes all across the globe, much to the confusion of left-wing and Trotskyist groups’ worldwide.

What should be of concern to those on the left, who have chosen to ignore the National Question and instead blame Republicans on sectarianism, is the fact that alternative republican groupings such as RNU are on a daily basis finely tuning their ideological outlook in a way which best combines the National and Class struggles as James Connolly intended.

As the recently released ‘Revolutionary Republicanism’ booklet shows, they are committing their thoughts to paper, and they are acting on those thoughts.

Any on the passive left who doubt this should be challenged to comment on the actions of RNU activists last week who entered Social Security offices on the Shankill Road and Rathcoole and delivered leaflets encouraging workers not to take part in attacks on the working class by implementing the savage ‘Welfare Reform Bill’, no amount of stretched academic logic can rationally call into question the Anti-Sectarian merits of that action.

RNU do not run away from the inherent evil of British rule in Ireland, nor will we ever, for this reason we are in a stronger anti-sectarian position than the passive left who for less than commendable reasons attempted to re-invent the causes of sectarianism as well as the ideals of International Socialism.

Perhaps the CPI and the Socialist Party should remember that the sectarianism which permeates within the North is the direct responsibility of the British state and its allies within Unionism. Sectarianism, coat trailing or whipping up tribal hatred is not in the interests of Republicanism and nor will it ever be, we know that, they know that but they choose to ignore it. The question is why?


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I didn't hear that RNU went into offices in Shankill Road and Rathcoole.  Fair play to them, that would have taken some balls!!


The CPI play two different cards when it comes to the national question, depending on their audience.  In Dublin they are all proud of their Republican roots (although its a long time since they had any time for Republicans in the here and now), while in Belfast they are essentially a Unionist party.  They play right into the partitionist agenda, which is not surprising given their support for the Good Friday Agreement.

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