There is a game some comrades and I play called “How Low Can Sinn Fein Go?”. Invariably the player loses as Provisonal Sinn Fein continually probes the depths. Martin McGuinness standing shoulder to shoulder with Peter Robinson and PSNI head Hugh Orde at the steps of Stormont and declaring the “dissidents” traitors to Ireland should come as no surprise. Though coming from the man who signed off on the “proxy bombs” of Coshquin and Newry (actions that came well into the “Peace Process”) any moral revulsion he feigns is suspect to say the least. And isn’t Martin a Minister of the British Crown?
Traitor? That’s pretty rich coming from Minister McGuinness. I’ll give Gerry and Martin, et. al. the benefit of the doubt and take them at their word that they don’t work for British imperialism (though their paychecks say differently), but as a friend from the North often says, “what’s the difference between working for them and working with them?”
This Easter Week, in the aftermath of the attacks by republican militarists last month, saw plenty of former Provo combatants mount the podium to declare James Connolly’s support for the Saint Andrews Agreement or to invoke the ghosts of Hunger Strikers in support of Stormont. In Tyrone a number of families of dead volunteers demanded that the Provos not sing the praises of the New Dispensation over the graves of their loved ones this Easter. The Provo spin is that those brave volunteers died not to free Ireland or for a socialist republic, but for peace. Strange that, fighting for peace. Of course we do not know what the dead would say now, but we know what they said when they were alive and it sure didn’t sound anything like the words now spoken in their names by the Provo politicos.
The old Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) used to be known as the “Stoop Down Low Party”. Sinn Fein (SF) is now called by some “Stoop Further.” Nowhere is this more grotesque than in the international “Peace Process” industry that the housebroken Provos are currently pimps for. From the Philippines to Latin America to the Middle East Sinn Fein’s message is simple; “peace is the goal (justice? maybe later) and your resistance is the obstacle to peace, not imperialism”.
Of course there is no “peace” possible under imperialism. There is no “peace” in an unremitting class war waged by the powerful against the poor. But class and imperialism are words now long since lost to the Sinn Fein leadership. They speak only the double-speak obscurantist language of “peaceprocessia”. That, fifteen years on from the surrender, they are still talking about the Peace Process is telling. These things are meant to last forever and a day. Peace Processes are designed to continue the status quo, not change it and they trap insurgents into the logic of imperialism they previously rejected like a twisted funnel; once you go down, there’s no way back out.
Disgustingly Gerry Adams brought this message to the people of besieged and battered Gaza. Now, how did the long time leader of the Irish Republican Army (despite the farcical denials) get allowed to enter Gaza when food and fuel can not? Palestinian solidarity activists are routinely denied access to the place by Gaza’s Israeli gatekeepers, and yet Gerry Adams gets through? Still the new right-wing government at first said they wouldn’t let the erstwhile anti-imperialist into The Strip. It took a phone call from “Middle East Envoy” Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara to unlock the gates.
What? Let’s underline that shall we. Tony Blair, still dripping with blood from Iraq and Afghanistan, had to vouch for the benignancy of British imperialism’s former foe in Ireland to the settler leaders of a former colony of The Realm. Why would he do that? Because he knew exactly what Gerry would be saying (perhaps like other statements Blair even took the time to write it for Gerry himself) and say it he did: “There should be a complete cessation of hostilities by all sides and I stressed our opinion that dialogue is central to what’s required and that is the only way forward.” We presume the “our” means he and Blair. All sides? That’s a broad brush Gerry.
For New Sinn Fein imperialism is not the issue, resistance to it is. Because every act of resistance (and by this we do not mean only “armed actions”) is a telling reminder of their own surrender. Sinn Fein’s well dressed purveyors of peace are perhaps a little lonely in that position. It can sometimes be embarrassing, after all, to be lap dog to America’s poodle Tony Blair. Like the man at the bar who assuages his alcoholic guilt by insisting you share a glass with him Sinn Fein wants those who still choose to resist to sup from the same poisoned cup as they. Drinking alone is such a drag.