Vol. 4- No 10
Sunday April 1st 2007
E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) Province of permanent instability ‘normalises’
3) Phantom Peace
a. In defence of RSF
b. Editorial response
6) What’s On?
This edition carries a piece written before last Monday’ agreement between Paisley and Adams by Liam O’Ruaric. He correctly predicted more humiliations for the Adams republicans and so it has come to pass. Pressure is being mounted for the Army Council of the PIRA to be dissolved. Who knows what other hoops Adams may be forced to jump through in the pursuit of political power under British jurisdiction. It should be noted that Adams sees little difference between the policies of the DUP and Sinn Fein (Provisional) In a recent interview he said
"I don't think there need necessarily be a battle-a-day between us and the
DUP on social and economic issues."
Quite! What a stunning victory for the British!!
We also continue the correspondence between the Plough and a reader. This correspondence raises important issues about debate within and between republicans. We hope others join in this debate for it is always good to talk.
Province of permanent instability ‘normalises’
On March 7, electors in the Six Counties went to the polls to elect 108 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs).1 The elections are unusual in the sense that voters are asked to elect representatives to a devolved institution whose future existence is conditional upon the approval of Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party - something far from guaranteed at the present moment.
The London and Dublin governments are attempting to resurrect the Stormont assembly and construct a power-sharing executive “to underpin the gains that have already been made and to provide the basis for long-term stability”2 and therefore normalise British rule in Ireland. Both prime ministers are working hard to achieve a breakthrough - Blair because he will be retiring this year and wants to go down in history as the one who ‘brought peace to Ireland’ rather than war on Iraq; Ahern because he has a tight election to fight before the summer.
The business community is also arguing that Northern Ireland needs its own stable government to help its companies and people compete on the world stage. Frank Bryan, chairman of the Ulster branch of the Institute of Directors declared:
“Northern Ireland is now presented with an opportunity to turn a talking shop at Stormont into real government - and if our political leaders are looking for the key to a better future, let me offer this simple analysis: it’s the economy, stupid. As Northern Ireland competes to win vital new investment and open up new world markets, stable political institutions are a prerequisite.”3
The results were a triumph for the DUP and a spectacular defeat for the Ulster Unionist Party. The DUP now has 36 MLAs - a gain of six seats since the 2003 elections. In contrast, the UUP only succeeded in getting 18 MLAs - a loss of nine.
In its election literature, the DUP boasted that it had been successful in getting: “unionists setting the political agenda”; a “DUP veto over all major decisions”, including “cross-border relations”; and what it called “republicans jumping first” and their “support for the police, the courts and the rule of British law”. It promised “a unionist-dominated executive” and unionist first minister and that is would “keep republicans under pressure”. It also pledged genuine devolution, “which will mean that the party will be able to stop legislation such as the Irish Language Act”.
According to Henry McDonald, writing in The Observer the huge increase in the DUP vote leaves unionism stronger:
“For more than a decade, one of the consistent ironies of the Irish peace process has been unionism’s inability to comprehend its own strengths ... Both the Good Friday agreement of 1998 and latterly the St Andrews accord are grounded in the consent principle. That is, that there can be no change to Northern Ireland’s constitutional status without the say of the majority: ie, the unionists.
“Republicans used to call this the ‘unionist veto’, denouncing it as an undemocratic maintenance of partition by a ‘national minority’ on the island. Now, the very people who once were so vocal in opposing the principle of consent, Sinn Féin, embrace it. This is a historic 360-degree turn by the republican movement, which no amount of verbal gymnastics or over-emphasis on relatively weak cross-border bodies can contradict.
“The fall-out from last week’s assembly elections also leaves unionism stronger. Unionists now control a majority of the ministries should the DUP choose to enter into a power-sharing coalition with nationalists, including Sinn Féin. They will hold six portfolios, compared to the four held by nationalists. By taking up Peter Hain’s offer to restore devolution, Paisley will also preserve, among other things, academic selection. Unionism’s middle classes are particularly fond of Northern Ireland’s renowned grammar schools; the DUP is tantalisingly close to saving them and claiming the glory for doing so.”4
With its increased share of the vote, then, the DUP is likely to impose even more humiliating terms on the Provisionals.
On the nationalist side, Provisional Sinn Féin increased its share of the vote, with 28 MLAs returned - a gain of four seats compared to 2003. Its rival, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, continued its decline, losing two seats and returning 16 MLAs.
If, however, the increase in DUP votes leaves unionism stronger, the same cannot be said for republicanism:
“The more effective that Sinn Féin is as an electoral force, the more impotent it becomes as an ideological one. Every deal it strikes with Tony Blair legitimises the British presence in Northern Ireland. Every concession it secures that advances the economic and social standing of ordinary Roman catholics in Ulster weakens the argument that it is only through Irish unification that those material interests can be realised. With every step that Ulster takes towards becoming a ‘normal society’, what Sinn Féin officially regards as an ‘interim settlement’ becomes more deeply entrenched.
“This is the outlook for Republicanism. A larger and larger number of nationalists in both the north and the south will vote for Sinn Féin - but more because they regard it as the best vehicle for representing them in a divided Ireland than out of support for a united one. Nor will it make much difference if catholics finally outbreed protestants in Ulster. Even at the height of the troubles a substantial percentage of nationalists preferred the status quo to the upheaval of unification.”5
Or, as Anthony McIntyre puts it,
“To claim that there are more republicans in Ireland today than ever before because of the electoral strength behind Sinn Féin is on a ludicrous par with the claim that there are more socialists in Britain because of the Labour Party vote. Labour is as socialist as Sinn Féin is republican.”6
Nowhere is that better illustrated than by the fact that if is there is a power-sharing deal, Sinn Féin will go down in history as the party that put Paisley in power!
The big losers in the election are the traditional republicans. For the first time, six candidates stood for Republican Sinn Féin, who gathered an average of 1% of first-preference votes in the constituencies contested. Oppositional votes went mainly to Labourite ventures that ignored the national question. The People Before Profit candidate in West Belfast polled over 700 votes compared to RSF’s 437. In Derry, Eamonn McCann received over 2,000 votes, compared to 1,789 that went to Independent Republican Socialist candidate Peggy O Hara. The fact that oppositional politics are now reduced to what Connolly called ‘gas and water socialism’ is in itself an indication of how successfully normalised the north has become.
What was striking about the election campaign was that, contrary to the claims of international media that it was ‘historic’, it “has been one of the most low-key in living memory”.7 Late in February, The Irish News noted:
“The election campaign which should now be reaching a climax has actually become one of the most low-key in recent memory ... no single new issue has emerged over recent weeks which has the potential to capture the imagination of the wider public.”8 Only 63% of the electorate bothered to vote - a turnout lower than 1998 and 2003. The BBC Northern Ireland political editor claimed that an election campaign had never been “so dull”.9
“the border question - for so long the only issue that mattered - has for the first time disappeared from the electoral agenda”:10
“Politics now seem to be about how much additional expenditure party leaders can jointly secure from the treasury ... A new politics based on butter, not guns, in Ulster is a massive improvement.”11
These two facts prove how successful the British state policy of normalisation has been:
“The result is a kind of hyper-normality, in which there can be no real policy disagreements because everyone is going to end up on the same side, governing together. It means Northern Ireland is about to jump from civil war to soggy consensuality, without ever passing through democratic, adversarial politics.”12
That is because all parties elected to the Stormont assembly adhere to the same neo-liberal agenda:
“Sinn Féin’s original aim of a 32-county socialist republic now appears closer to a six-county capitalist monarchy. Those who included the ‘Labour’ in the SDLP’s title have long since gone ... The DUP’s christian influence might have led it to oppose society’s more obvious inequalities. But poverty could never quite stir the faithful to the same degree of indignation as homosexuality. The UUP has always been unashamedly capitalist. It opposed the introduction of the welfare state into the north”.13
Even worse, from a UK point of view, by arguing for an all-Ireland tax rate of 17.5%,
“Sinn Féin is standing slightly to the right of the Conservative Party and the Confederation of British Industry in wanting the north’s rate for this tax slashed.”14
The DUP and the Provisional movement are now supposed to reach an agreement, following which a devolved power-sharing government will be restored on March 26. The British government has told them that their choice is devolution or dissolution by that date. Which means that the DUP is caught between two imperatives:
“Political deadlines have been missed, rather than met, in Northern Ireland. And, in the past, republicans frequently failed to step up to the mark. This time, things are different. The IRA has disarmed and Sinn Féin, in the words of Martin McGuiness, has declared ‘wholehearted support for the PSNI’. The party desperately wants to enter government. But the DUP appears determined to impose a period of political quarantine. Nothing but ritual and humiliation can be served by such an approach.”15
On the one hand, ritual humiliation of nationalists has been central to DUP agenda. But on the other, as Dean Godson, the shrewdest analyst of unionist politics noted, Paisley’s agenda has always been about his own personal power which might motivate him to secure a deal with the Provisionals by March 26.16
The concluding words go to Ed Moloney, whose analysis written six months ago is more relevant than ever:
“As I write this, the peace process, its beginning dated by the first ceasefire of 1994, has lasted nearly three times longer than World War I, almost twice as long as World War II, and virtually as long as American involvement in Vietnam. Not only is the peace process in Northern Ireland one of the longest in human history, but the political stability it promised is as far off as ever, and in its stead extremism has triumphed.
“Moderate unionist trust in the process has evaporated, and protestants have flocked to support a party whose founder and everlasting leader combines the worst elements of religious and political extremism - one who built his career on bigotry, division, fear and conflict and many of whose apparatchiks behave like mindless, loyal bullies.
“The majority of nationalists now support a party that is morally bankrupt, whose leaders lie outrageously and who stand accused of the most heinous deeds - from disappearing a widowed mother to contriving the deaths of hunger-striking comrades - to advance their own political ambitions. Each has grown fat on the back of community division spawned by a peace process that seems never to end, spurred on by two governments whose leaders behave as if they care less for the sort of society they are helping to create, and much more about their own place in the history books.
“Fundamental to the political prosperity of Sinn Féin and the DUP has been the failure of the peace process to produce political stability. The pattern has been repeated endlessly, to the benefit of both.”17
Liam O’Ruaric (originally printed in the Weekly Worker http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/664/ireland.htm
1. For detailed election results check: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2007/nielection/html/main.stm
2. David McKittrick The Independent March 7.
3. Nigel Tilson Belfast Telegraph February 9.
4. Henry McDonald The Observer March 11.
5. Tim Hames The Times August 1 2005.
6. Anthony McIntyre The Blanket http://lark.phoblacht.net/AM280107.html
7. Editorial The Irish News March 6.
8. Editorial The Irish News February 26.
9. Mark Devenport, BBC, March3, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6414717.stm
10 David Sharrock The Times March 5.
11. Editorial The Times March 5.
12. Jonathan Freedland The Guardian March 7.
13. Patrick Murphy The Irish News December 23 2006.
14. Marc Coleman The Irish Times March 6.
15. Editorial The Irish Times March 10.
16. Dean Godson The Times March 13.
17. Ed Moloney The peace process and journalism in Britain and Ireland: lives entwined Vol 2, London 2006, pp77-78.
Historical events are getting easier to come by in Northern Irish Politics. The last few days have seen an embarrassing climb-down by the British Government effortlessly evaporating the deadline "set in stone" when a troubled Paisley won the tête-à-tête with Peter Hain. The Stormont limbo has been extended again to May to placate DUP hard line "delayniks" who want to see a quarantine period for the new "improved" PSF. No doubt concessions have been given to the increasingly accommodating Adams leadership, which may in the future prove to be useful tools for the DUP to delay and scupper Devolution if PSF don't jump through the required hoops.
Such is the nature of the "hamster wheel" peace process in the North of Ireland: continuous limping in ambiguity and uncertainty. A strategy designed by British Labour Government to pacify and normalise a deep-seated social and political conflict. It is also a scenario that has served the two majority nationalist blocs in the Northern Statelet. As long as there is uncertainty in the political future in the North, the two extreme poles found votes gravitating toward them.
Hence we see the Vice and Versa of Stormont politics sitting together in a headline-grabbing pose. The hackneyed buzzwords of "peace" and "historic" are spiralling in the media. Brian Feeney rather fancily compares the latest developments to Francis Fukuyamas "End of History" concept. Just as Fukuyama is being increasingly discredited for his naive assumptions, it seems likely that Feeney will be discredited in his new-found role as PSF cheerleader. Everyone else claims Feeney is simply "Ya-booing” about "basic principles". (1)
Fukuyama failed to foresee the socio political upheaval in Latin America, where self-determination rights are again being expressed by peoples of many countries who were historically subject to US parasitic policies. Likewise, Feeney fails to see how pruning the leaves of the Northern Irish tree will do little to heal it rotten roots. Peace is a wonderfully emotive word but Peace is inalienable from Justice. In Ireland, the issues of self determination are left un-reconciled in many levels of society on both sides of the border and many people will not find peace in today’s post Adams Paisley tea party; not today and not in the foreseeable future.
In the unsustainable statelet of the North that suffers from a £14 Billion infrastructure deficit and "boasts" a £5 billion annual budget gap, where is the peace for the 530,000 people who are currently "economically inactive " or unemployed in real terms. (2) Where is the peace for youth, so alienated from a society that offers no employment stability and social security that they self-destruct in crime, alcohol and suicide? Where is the peace for the young couples that can't compete with the property speculators for access to a decent home? Where is our peace?
Our latest historic event will prove to be another adrenalin shot for a process that suits all involved parties to avoid a definitive end. For PSF, a conclusion will expose them for the centrist Capitalist party that can offer nothing to cure the social ills in a Society becoming more class defined as a result of the finance boom. For the DUP, it will expose the ridiculousness and unmanageability of the failed statelet the so cherish.
(1) Brian Feeney "North needs a new political vocabulary" Irish News, Wednesday March 28th 2007
(2) John Murray Brown "Finance issues will face N Ireland" Financial Times March 26th 2007
In your response to my letter I don't know how many times you used the term 'elitist'. I found this somewhat ironic, because the whole tone of your reply came across as very elitist, both towards myself and rsf. As I said you come across very elitist in your attitude whilst vainly trying to couch your own elitism in either explicit or quiet condemnation. I find your use of misleading innuendo annoying at best. Making statements like, 'let's have a bit of honesty here" is an obvious attempt to try and make out I favour hiding the truth whilst you are the straight shooter. Shame on you. In my letter to you I merely stated, "I don't believe your negative comments towards RSF candidates is very helpful in regards to seeing a united Ireland free of British imperialist rule." and you then turn that into an obvious attack on my character. I would suggest from your response to my letter that it is you that is the underhanded one here not I. Further, you misrepresent the facts in claiming sf and rsf were on even terms as far as the media was concerned. You know better than this and if you don't then there is no helping you. Also, it is obvious to even the most unscholarly student the reasons sf did as well as they did. Could it have been that most Catholics (I won’t call them republicans because sf is anything but republican) seen sf as the only legitimate alternative to an otherwise worse fate. Initially, rsf had not even considered fielding candidates but at the last minute they did so to allow an alternative for some that couldn't with good conscience vote sf.
As far as you asking me to clarify rsf's position as to being linked to any military group. I again, say shame on you. First of all, I would have no idea one way or the other, and secondly, if I did, I certainly wouldn't be ignorant enough to clarify that position. What do you take me for a fool or a tout? You, know full well that throughout the troubles even until this day certain parties were always trying to link sf with the provos. This link was always denied. Oddly, enough isn't it that these accusations generally came from Ian Paisley's camp? Makes one wonder where your loyalties lay doesn't it?
Concerning your statement that using the term English "…downplays the role British regiments played in the suppression of republicans including those made up of Scots and Welsh soldiers." This statement makes little sense as how could the term English downplay the role British regiments played in the suppression of republicans? First of all none were Scots or Welsh soldiers. For some, that may well have been their nationalities, but these regiments were all British regiments. All of these soldiers’ duties were carried out under the union jack and the crown.
Further, regarding the following statement made by you, "Those who elevate armed struggle to a strategic level regardless of objective conditions just do not understand revolutionary politics no matter how many posters of Che they have on the wall. One cannot separate either Che or Mao from their politics. Both were committed communists and both also engaged in building socialism as well as having engaged in armed struggle. Armed struggle with out politics is the road to defeat demoralization and destruction."
First, before Che was killed in Bolivia in October 67, he did in fact, elevate armed struggle to a strategic level regardless of objective conditions. He did this and he did understand revolutionary politics. Loosely quoting Che, "I don't care if I die as long as someone picks up my gun and shoots when I die".
From reading your posts I have to wonder if you are at all familiar with rsf’s eire nua or saol nua. If you are familiar then you are less than honest when you try to parlay to your readers that rsf does not endorse the principles and policies of James Connelly and hence socialism. Ruairi O’Bradaigh and rsf stands on the very principals and dogma of socialism and republicanism.
Below is a partial extraction of Saol Nua dogma
We need a new system of economies which would put human beings and human development before the interests of finance and maximisation of profits. Major changes are now needed in order to promote the true long-term interests of people and social justice. We need to create a new vision of the Ireland we want, lay our plans accordingly and give our people a sense of direction and purpose.
It is apposite to recall here the prophetic words of the Irish patriot, James Connolly: "If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.
"England would still rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.
"England would still rule you to your ruin, even while your lips offered hypocritical homage at the shrine of that Freedom whose cause you had betrayed."
James Connolly and Patrick Pearse died but the system they sought to change continues in existence to this very day. This system has forced 2,000,000 Irish people to emigrate since 1916.
Here in this document Sinn Féin Poblachtach seeks to outline the principal elements of its Social and Economic Programme. We are of a firm belief that a continuation of the present system, whether on the basis of the partition arrangement or in some form of united Ireland, within or without the EU, cannot bring about the human, social and economic development which would promote freedom, equality, justice and the happiness of each community and each individual person in it.
Centuries of colonialism and decades of high emigration and unemployment have produced a psychology of defeatism in Ireland. To accept these problems as inevitable is to lower our standards of national achievement. The politicians who advocate closer integration into the EU see this body as a mere mechanism of escape from their own ineptitude and failures.
Something new, based on a set of human values and on policies designed to promote these values, is needed. These values and policies are outlined below, and indicate the road to a new society in Ireland - Saol Nua.
Saol Nua dogma end
"Anyone that trembles with indignation at any injustice, that person I call comrade"- Che
By the way, my walls aren't covered with flags of Che but I believe I had a better understanding of the man than you do.
And you can keep your olive branch as it is covered with thorns.
PS: While you seemed to take great pleasure in condemning rsf I have yet to see rsf condemning irsp in any of their forums.
Also I like to add that I don't speak for rsf as I am not even a member. I replied to your earlier letter simply because it seemed unfair to me.
Joe thanks for your response. I have no desire to let this contact degenerate into a personal slanging match so if my response came across as elitism or personally insulting to you may I apologise immediately.
Let me try to answer your points and hopefully at the end we can at least agree to disagree.
“In your response to my letter I don't know how many times you used the term 'elitist'.”
Twice, Joe, I used the word twice, and the reason I use it particularly in relation to RSF but also in the past with regard to the PRM was because of experience s of our own movement at the hands of the PRM. Our prisoners were demonised by the PIRA in jail and treated as criminals by other republicans even after the hunger strikes of ‘ 81 One of the reasons I believe they had this attitude was because the leadership of the provisionals particularly in the seventies considered themselves the legitimate Government of Ireland having been passed on the power from the last surviving members of the second Dail. For that I believe is the reason why RSF will have little or nothing to do with other republicans (see their resolutions below).They and nobody else or the “true republicans” I call that attitude “elitist” Personally I deny any organisation the right to say I am not a republican. That is the clear implication of their stance.
That this Ard-Fheis reaffirms its commitment to the long-standing policy of Sinn Féin as set out in the statement issued on September 1, 2006. We reject alliances or any cooperation with groups or organisation who claim to represent or give leadership to Irish Republican opinion in Ireland or abroad other than the true Irish Republican Movement.
Go n-athdhearbhaíonn an Ard-Fheis seo cuspóir seasmhach Shinn Féin a foilsíodh í ráiteas Mhéan Fómhair 1, 2006. Diúltaíonn muid aon comhaontas le grúpaí nó eagraíochta a cuireann i gcéill ceannas a thabhairt do tuairim Poblachtach in Éireann nó thar lear ach amháin do fíor Ghluaiseacht na Poblachta.
Cumann Cill Chuillinn, Co Chill Dhara
17. In light of recent press speculation in relation to the setting up of broad fronts that this Ard-Fheis reiterates the Republican Sinn Féin stand outlined in a statement by An tUachtaráin Ruairí Ó Brádaigh on September 1 last.
Mar gheall ar an spéacláireacht le déanaí sa mheán cumarsáide maidir le comhaontas a bhunú le heagraíochta eile, go n-athdhearbhaíonn an Ard-Fheis seo an ráiteas atá curtha amach ag an tUachtaráin Ruairí Ó Brádaigh ar an t-aonú lá de Mhéan Fómhair seo caite.
Cumann Cill Chuillinn, Co Chill Dhara
18. That this Ard Fheis repudiates any attempt to involve Sinn Féin Poblachtach in any broad front.
Go gcáineann an Ard-Fheis seo aon iarracht chun Sinn Féin Poblachtach a bheith páirteach le comhaontas leatan le eagraíochtaí eile.
Cumann Wolfe Tone, Tamhlacht, Baile Ótha Cliath
Cumann Seosamh Mac Domhaill, Baile Ótha Cliath
“Further, you misrepresent the facts in claiming sf and rsf were on even terms as far as the media was concerned. “
I did not misrepresent the facts Joe. Read again what I wrote
”They were also controlled by the same elements when provisional Sinn Fein first entered the electoral field.”
It should be clear from that I’m talking about the early 80’s when PSF first entered the electoral field. Of course in the recent elections PSF were well courted by the media precisely because they accept the neo-liberal agenda. Anti-Good Friday Agreement candidates were always at a disadvantage,
“As far as you asking me to clarify rsf's position as to being linked to any military group”.
Joe, you know as well as I do, that was a rhetoric question and my intention was to draw out the failure of RSF to support all political prisoners. Everybody with any sense knows the real situation. Again this goes back to our own movement’s experiences in jails north and south with other republicans. They, RSF only support those prisoners connected to the Continuity IRA. See the resolution below passed at their last Ard-Feis.
“That this Ard-Fheis congratulates the RPAG on the sterling work they are carrying out on behalf of the Continuity POWs and pledge them whatever help necessary to aid them in the struggle for political status.”
Go dtugann an Ard-Fheis seo bualadh bos don RPAG maidir leis an obair dian atá déanta acu ar son na cimí Leanúnach agus geallann muid dóibh aon cabhair is mian leo ar son troid stádas polaitiúil a bhaint amach.
The point you make about regiments does not make sense to me. I repeat my point that to use “English” instead of “British “ is to downplay Imperialism and pander to a narrow nationalism that plays on anti-English feeling. This is not something that a organisation claiming to be internationalist,
“Republican Sinn Féin is internationalist. We have a sense that we all have a common identity as human beings, as members of the great family of peoples.”
I feel should be doing.
“before Che was killed in Bolivia in October 67, he did in fact, elevate armed struggle to a strategic level regardless of objective conditions.”
That was Che’s mistake. His guerrilla warfare theories proved inadequate to deal with the realities of South American life. That is not to dismiss Che. I have his portrait on my own wall and his writings about the relationship between man and socialism are brilliant. But on the topic of armed struggle I prefer to take my line from James Connolly. He wrote,
“Ireland occupies a position among the nations of the earth unique in a great variety of its aspects but in no one particular is this singularity more marked than in the possession of what is known as a “physical force party”-a party that is to say whose members are united upon no one point and agree upon no single principle except the use of physical force as the sole means of settling the dispute between the people of this country and the governing power of Great Britain”
Connolly went to point out that the “hillside men” had elevated into a principle “what revolutionists in other countries had looked upon as a weapon”.
He then pointed out
“We neither exalt it into a principle nor repudiate it as something not to be thought of “
If all republicans took this stance then the possibilities of renewing the radicalism of republicanism would be greatly improved
“If you are familiar then you are less than honest when you try to parlay to your readers that rsf does not endorse the principles and policies of James Connelly and hence socialism. Ruairi O’Bradaigh and rsf stands on the very principals and dogma of socialism and republicanism.”
You claim that RSF and Ruairi O’Bradaigh are socialist and followers of James Connolly.You may well be right. I that simply point out many years ago O’Bradaigh denied that the republican movement was socialist.
“Going into 1966 with MacGiolla defending a free enterprise economy and suggesting the co-operative movement as an alternative “to either, capitalism or communism”,it was understandable that Ruairi O’Bradaigh could state emphatically during the Westminster election campaign that the Republican Movement was not socialist.”  An Phoblacht, May 1966. Organ of the Irish Revolutionary Forces - better known at the time, as the “An Phoblacht Group”.
Finally on the issue of criticism may I say that there is a clear distinction between political criticism and what you call “negative comments”. I have no time for negativity for its own sake. Political criticism is intended to draw out the differences and allow people to make a decision on the basis of the arguments. Too many republicans and for that matter socialists have covered themselves with the mantle of “true this” or “real that” and put forward no policy no politics no positions as if they are so pure they don’t have.
We in the IRSP are not above criticism. But neither is anybody else and given the state of the republican traditions and the poor showing of the left maybe it is time we had a serious critique amonst all on the republican left without tip toeing around so called sensitivities.
Fraternally John Martin