News - September 2002


27th Sept '02

In the latest copy of 'Spark' Autumn 2002, a publication produced by Sinn Fein Youth an article on the rise of the far-right concludes that the only group in England 'worth a toss is Red Action'. Entitled 'Far-Right Rise on Back of Weak Left' the author as well as providing an analysis as to why the threat from a revitalized fascism is continuing to grow, also and as importantly foregrounds the basic political strategy required to counter it.

On both these grounds the attitude toward what is described as the 'conservative left' is unforgiving throughout. Among other points it is argued that the 'one theme' that runs consistently throughout the recent elections in Europe 'is the abject failure of the left'. Particularly when there is, it is argued, 'a vacuum for alternative politics' with 'vast swathes of disaffected votes there to be won'. An opportunity, which itself arises out of the 'failure of the centre.'
But instead of adjusting to this objective reality, the left is widely regarded, and happy to be seen as an 'extension' of the same failed 'liberal political consensus'. Because it is 'blind to reality and mired in dogma' the left is effectively paralyzed, with the result that as the far-right continues to eat up essentially working class support the 'likely' and indeed possibly only 'reaction of the centre left will be to blend into and prop up the centre-right.' Along with the usual 'liberal do-gooders', the 'greens' and assorted 'pinko-socialists', will rush to join these ill-named radicals 'in this defensive'. As evidence of what it argues is already 'a trend' it cites the activities of the ANL in England and the left-wingers in France 'who rallied behind one right wing candidate [Chirac] to keep out an even more right wing one [Le Pen]'.
While in England it points to 'the BNP rising as the real alternative, the far-right opposition to a centre-left government', it is instructive that in Ireland 'Sinn Fein is rising as the real alternative, the left-wing, pro-working class opposition to a succession of centre-right administrations.'
Understandably the conclusion it draws from the comparison is that 'where the left has shown itself to be dynamic, responsive to local communities and competent it is winning support'. Hardly rocket science.
And in truth it is because it is just that straightforward, that Red Action, the 'only group' it identifies as being full-square behind the basic analysis, is eulogized. 'Allied to the militant Anti-Fascist Action, and staunch critics of the conservative left, they are building the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) as a vehicle for pragmatic working class politics, to provide a left alternative to disenchanted voters currently wooed by the BNP. Naturally the Trots scream 'reactionary fascist' at every pragmatic approach to socialism. Red Action and the IWCA are the hope the British left has of fighting the BNP rise, because -let's face it - the middle class, politically correct screeching of the SWP would be enough to turn anyone to fascism!'

Like the IWCA and Sinn Fein 'the far-right is prepared to appeal directly to the people to place its faith in hands of the general population rather than the media...The left on the other hand treats the people with contempt ...They have largely proven themselves too lofty to engage in the nitty gritty of street politics'. As a result, while 'pundits will rush to blame apathy and irresponsible protest voting for results such as Le Pen's and for the BNP gains in the English council elections...the real blame lies with the Trots.'

*For a copy of 'Spark' or to find out more about Sinn Fein Youth write to:
Ogra Shinn Fein, Ard Oifig, 44 Parnell Square. Dublin 1