The Irish Times: The media wing of Éirígí? July 29, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, The Left.
I wonder are we seeing some massive shift in the IT psyche as it barely, just about, perhaps, maybe, comes to terms with the fact Sinn Féin isn’t going to go away anytime soon and therefore it needs something else… something more Republican than Republican, more socialist than socialist… something scarifying and with just a hint of an organised conspiracy against the state… you know what I mean. A sort of Workers’ Party c. 1988, but without all those nice articulate near-middle class spokespeople, some of who would later be ushered into the circles of the great and the good. A sort of Joe Higgins like cohort… but more sinister, as strident but not as cuddly. An IRSP without the bloody splits and general mayhem. You know what they mean. You know what they need… they need someone who means it…maaaaan!
So, hot on the heels of Fionnuala O’Connors musings about Éirígí replacing Sinn Féin in the South comes another missive, this time from Dan Keenan about that ‘emerging and distinctive’ group.
Feel the fear…
Éirígí sees itself as a genuine republican revolutionary organisation, steering itself away from endorsement of violence and denying links with any armed group. It shuns also what it sees as the trap of representative politics Stormont-style. It further denies the oft-repeated claim that it is little more than a split from Sinn Féin over the issue of endorsing the PSNI.
Note the denying… and feel more fear…
Founded in 2006, the organisation, whose name translates as “Arise”, claims to have followed the organisational precedents set by the Fenians and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. For them there is little point in a broad-based membership if activism is limited to selling ballots and circulating An Phoblacht. Better to have small and committed “circles” of activists committed to clear political themes. “There are no inactive revolutionaries,” says one.
No ‘inactive’ revolutionaries… but… but… that means there are active revolutionaries!
Let the fear choke you up and wash you away, at least until you take a trip out to IKEA.
Brian Leeson, Éirígí national chairman, claims that since the Belfast Agreement there has been “a massive realignment within Irish republicanism”.
“In real terms this means that thousands of republican activists have transferred their allegiance from Sinn Féin to other republican organisations, such as Éirígí. A proven track record of political campaigning, combined with an unambiguous socialist republican platform, has enabled Éirígí to attract large numbers of existing left-wing republicans.
“massive realignment”… “Irish republicanism”… “thousands of republican activists”… “transferring allegiance”… erm… how many to Éirígí? Don’t worry, or rather do worry.
“In addition a new generation of activists, who are attracted by Éirígí’s message of revolutionary national and socio-economic change, is now emerging. Éirígí’s decision to directly challenge the establishment parties within the electoral arena has further boosted our credibility as a coming political force.” The organisation believes Sinn Féin’s rush towards the nationalist centre ground may have drawn in former SDLP voters, but the shift is costing Gerry Adams his republican soul.
“A coming political force”… Jeekers… although memo to Éirígí: Keep it perhaps a tad lower key comrades… rhetoric has to have substance. Otherwise that way disappointment lies. Remember, it took effectively over thirty five years, effectively half a life time for Sinn Féin to get to where it is today… you may not like where that is but it does point up the scale of any project to move towards state power (and note that that is true only for the North, the project in the South hasn’t been faring quite so well…). And you’ll be far from the only Republican party to wind up with a restless activist base, although, crucially, you’ll still lack the trappings of power that help to calm the nerves.
Éirígí sources, speaking to The Irish Times in the wake of the Ardoyne riots, claim there is a new furrow to be ploughed in the territory between violence and Stormont constitutional politics.
A new furrow? In what way is this different from ‘dissident’ Republicanism in the past two years, or from the plethora of groups who loosely fall into that category.
And so on…
Three sentences stand out for me in the piece…
That’s why recruits to the movement must serve out a probationary period, to prove revolutionary credentials, before being fully accepted.
A proven track record of political campaigning, combined with an unambiguous socialist republican platform, has enabled Éirígí to attract large numbers of existing left-wing republicans.
Well, we’ve had the posters. Then we’ve seen the ‘events’ (those of us who check out indymedia). Now we have the Irish Times – the most unlikely recruitment wing one could think of. Pity Éirígí, dressed up as the fire next time. It can surely only be a matter of months until we hear the dulcet tones of one E. Harris opining on their malevolence, and inevitable rise to power… and what a pity the Cruiser has departed this vale of tears or else he’d be arguing that they were only a step away from making common cause with Rome and Islamd, or is it Islam and Rome, to drag down the pillars of western civilisation and cause yet further harm to the plain people of Ulster.
They are not yet registered in the North as a political party and their first tilt at an election may yet be some way off. They say it is better to get it right than get it soon.
All that said, still some way to go though, I’d have thought.