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Far out February 13, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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One excellent feature of the election was the very poor showing of the far-right in the polls. As the IT notes:

The success of anti-immigrant movements across Europe and recent protests over direct provision in towns around Ireland prompted some 30 candidates from several groups to compete on a far-right platform.
These candidates, who often describe themselves as “Irish patriots”, are united by strong anti-immigrant rhetoric. They frequently cross-promoted each other during the campaign.
Without exception they were heavily defeated, with no candidate even polling well enough to get their expenses back.

Add to that the 1% or so rating polling suggests immigration was held at by the electorate as a concern in the election and one would have to think that – for the moment, the political route is closed to them at national level. It was striking during the campaign how the issues close to their hearts had no traction whatsoever. And telling too, because it underscores the toxic mixture of hyperbole, delusion and malice that constitutes that political worldview. One other feature of this is best summed up by the following:

“The Irish of #Fingal have voted once again for their own extinction,” [Gemma] O’Doherty posted on Twitter at the weekend.

That feature being an absolute willingness to criticise others for their supposed failings in not supporting their viewpoint. Perhaps that lack of political nous, to put it at its mildest, is one of the major stumbling blocks for the contemporary far-right – it’s not difficult to conceive of more emollient figures using these issues for their advantage.

Then again, the piece makes a good point about those who offer seemingly ‘softer’ views – almost as incidental to their broader political approach – one need name no names, but two individuals might fit that category. And they’ve not done too badly.

Comments»

1. An Sionnach Fionn - February 13, 2020

I think some of the Irish anti-immigrant crowd are genuinely deserving of the label “far-right” and with all the connotations that description brings to people’s minds. So far, the flirtation with old fashioned European or Anglo-American neo-nazism has been pretty minimal. The Irish wannabes are all about aping the hipster-style alt-right in the UK and US rather than the torch-bearing Aryan true believers seen elsewhere. But that attitude is very definitely tipping over at this point as they become more and more frustrated with their lack of traction in the country and more and more paranoid, convinced of some overarching conspiracy against them to explain away the contempt they are held in.

They will never be more than a nuisance. But as we have a seen, for those individuals and communities who have watched these cranks and lunatics come into their businesses and gathering places, a deeply upsetting and unsettling one.

How some of them are still able to spread their vile propaganda on YouTube and other platforms is beyond me. Especially when some of it is explicitly racialist with little attempt to hide behind the fig leaf of differing political or party political viewpoints.

Fascinatingly, many claim to be Fíorghaeil republicans and to wrap the Green Flag around them. But most of their ideology comes from the UK and is heavily informed by the British far-right and Brexit movements. Indeed, to some extent they are simply Irish subsidiaries of the British motherships.

Which is a bit, er, SP and SWP like! 😛

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pettyburgess - February 13, 2020

None of socialism, Marxism or Trotskyism are of British origin. The Irish SP has recently split with its long time British sister party and is more or less a leading ideological force in its own international current. The SWN/PBP has only a pretty tenuous affiliation with an international current that itself only has a pretty nominal existence.

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Pangurbán - February 13, 2020

If swm/ pbp have such a tenuous connection with the UK why did their regional executive divide over the squalid comrade delta scandal? Why did a prominent member and frequent poster on this forum resign over the issue?

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CL - February 13, 2020

“Marx was the genius who continued and consummated the three main ideological currents of the 19th century, as represented by the three most advanced countries of mankind: classical German philosophy, classical English political economy, and French socialism combined with French revolutionary doctrines in general.”
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/granat/ch02.htm

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2. John Goodwillie - February 13, 2020

Looking at their transfers, the impression I have is that these people tended to transfer to Independents. Which suggests that their supporters may not be very politically savvy. (Granted, of course, many of the Independents may have tended in that direction.)

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3. lcox - February 13, 2020

One thing very visible on social media is the proportion of “Irish” far right supporters who are US citizens “identifying as” Irish, often with made-up identities (some quite funny cases of this).

Which is a trivial pointer to a more serious issue: a large proportion of far-right organising in Ireland is financially viable because it is serving up Ireland to US (and other international) audiences as the front-line of the battle against cultural Marxism, the Great Replacement or whatever. These markets apparently overlap quite significantly with the longer-standing US interest in (hence funding for, hence roles for) anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+ etc. fundamentalism in Ireland.

But the saleability of “performative” far-right behaviour in Ireland (in that it has to be filmed and put online to turn into a way of making a living) is partly dependent on how much Ireland is actually in the (international) news. The recent referenda and then this election provided a marketing hook for this.

The hope would have to be that after their recent dismal showing and the reduction of anti-abortion / anti-gay activism to far smaller – though deliberately distressing – levels (hospital protests and conversion therapy), this way of making a living will no longer work for many of the worst cases, and the glee felt around electoral organising will fade in the harsh light of deposits lost and in most cases pitiful results.

Of course that won’t be true for more organically grown racists and we can expect some of them to make every use of the media attention their views get them for more local purposes. But I want to hope that in a year’s time there will be notably less of the Nazi salutes, the dogwhistles getting proposed DP centres torched and the lunatic conspiracy theories.

Fingal Communities Against Racism in particular played a blinder in this election and shared their winning strategy – based on what they learned in the pro-choice movement – with other constituencies. Hopefully this means that active anti-racism will come to have a higher profile and be more of a vote-winner. And of course the wider swing to the left should help overall.

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tafkaGW - February 13, 2020

Your absolutely right to emphasise the commercial nature of much of this far right online activity.

The Heartland Institute and the like have deep pockets and the quasi-Irish actors want some of the lucre.

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4. Ian - February 13, 2020

I would argue more than 2 in the “soft” far right won seats

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5. Trevor - February 14, 2020

Sinn Fein tacked to the wind quietly with its manifesto declaring it does not want open borders and that better rules are needed to ensure integration . It has to “serve the interest of the people of the country ” . Where labour is needed i.e. health it needs to be managed under the system.
Oh, and don’t forget end Direct Provision they say at the end.
SF has figured out where it wants to position itself but it’s not clear whether this is the end point or their start point.

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