Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Colonisation of Sinn Fein/IRA

The Colonisation of Sinn Fein/IRA
Paddy Hackett


Contrary to what Kieran Allen claims in his article, The Death of Radical Republicanism, the conflict within the six counties of Ireland led to the strengthening rather than the weakening of the Northern state. It was the ongoing strengthening of the six county state that shaped the conditions facilitating the making of The Good Friday Agreement (The Sunningdale Agreement dusted down). The IRA bombing campaign provided the reactionary environment for the promotion of the growing strength of the six countystate. The Orange state, an integral part of the British state, constituteda decisive obstacle standing in the way of the radicalisation of the massesin the North, in Ireland and Britain itself. The Provos played a key role incontributing to the fortification of that very obstacle. Instead of helpingto shrink and abolish it, the Provos helped make it stronger. In generaltheir theory, programme, strategy and tactics strengthened the six countystatelet, the 26 county state and the and the British state itself. Had theNorth/ South talks between Lemass and O Neill been free to proceed in theearly seventies, who knows, there may by now exist an independent 32 countydemocratic Irish republic. It has been the very strengthening of thenorthern state, as an integral part of the UK state, that has facilitatedthe reaching of The Good Friday Agreement and prevention of theestablishment of a formally independent 32 county Irish Republic. In thatsense the politics of the Provos promoted the sustenance of the Orange statewhile preventing the evolution of a 32 county bourgeois democratic republic.The strengthening of the two states North and South of the border renderedthe emergence of a formally independent 32 county democratic Republicimpossible. The result was victory for British Imperialism over the nativeIrish bourgeoisie. The IRA had become so weak in relation to British imperialism's six county state that it had no alternative but to surrenderin the form of TGFA. The Good Friday Agreement constitutes a definitivedefeat for the Provos. The only distinction between Trimble and Paisley isthat the latter was able to extract the maximum terms of surrender from theProvos. What was a defeat for the Provos has been paraded as their victory.The Provo movement had become so weakened and demoralised that McGuinnessand Adams were able, with ease, to win the vast bulk of its rank and fileover to a position of surrender. Indeed the Provos had become so weakenedthat the British ruling class itself had turned the Provos into a colonyserving the class interests of imperialism.What was imperialism's (the British state's) strategy for surrender of theProvos was presented as the IRA's brainchild (TGFA). Indeed so much had the colonisation of the IRA by the British ruling class progressed that it was increasingly difficult to ascertain whether significant elements in the leadership ofthe IRA were agents of British intelligence. The Donaldson affair is an indicator ofthis.There is an entire history here that has yet to be made public. Indeed thehistory of the Provos is the history of its take-over by the British state. Her majesty's Sinn Fein/IRA has been transformed from a petit bourgeois republican movement to a reactionary bourgeois party.Incidentally I was once a very active member of Sinn Fein who believed SinnFein could be turned into a Marxist party. However my experience of therepublican movement and growing political consciousness taught me that thiscould never be. There were others, within Sinn Fein at the time, who hadentertained a similar utopianism.