The “Left” in Ireland Unites … Against Russian Imperialism

A recent “debate” in the Dáil (Irish parliament) exposed the utter fraud of the “left” parties represented in the Dáil on the question of the war against Syria.

The players:

Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil (right-wing populist party supporting the minority Fine Gael right-wing populist government);

Seán Crowe (Sinn Féin);

Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd-Barrett and Bríd Smith of the Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit (AAA-PBP).

In their own words:

Micheál Martin: “You do not want to condemn Russia in Aleppo . . . That is your problem . . . You guys are incapable of condemning Russia.”

Seán Crowe: “[I have often spoken out] against Russia and Iran’s military support of the Syrian army and instead called on them to use their influence to broker a ceasefire and initiate a peace process . . . Their current actions in Aleppo and the use of barrel bombs and bunker-busting bombs on heavily populated civilian areas, including hospitals and food markets, are criminal.”

Paul Murphy: “Martin’s problem is that he is upset that we are also condemning Western imperialism . . . We are condemning Russian imperialism but also condemning Western imperialism.”

Richard Boyd-Barrett said Mr Martin’s portrayal of their position was “utterly distorted,” that the alliance had “repeatedly condemned the barbaric bombing by Russia and the Assad regime against Aleppo . . . Martin is getting us confused with the old Workers’ Party, who had a very close relationship with Russia and with Stalin. We have always been opposed to Russian imperialism. I’m not sure if it is ignorance or opportunism on Martin’s part.”

Bríd Smith: “In one way it was slightly amusing, because we are normally accused of being Trotskyites, which is supposed to be an even dirtier word than Russian apologist. Trotsky was the one person who stood out and led a movement against Stalin and the barbarism of the Soviet Union in its heyday and ended up with an ice pick through his head for his efforts.”


Poor Trotsky! I have no doubt he would put an ice pick through his own head if he had to endure such drivel, ineptitude, opportunism and cowardice perpetrated in his name.

All those quoted above (except Micheál Martin and Fine Gael) did criticise the actions of all the other parties involved in the war to some degree or other.

However, two things are clear from this “debate.” The ease with which Martin was able to whip the left into an anti-Russian and anti-Assad frenzy is scary. His triumph made them look like of a pack of wolves gnawing at a bait of fresh meat but lacking the decorum usually displayed by a pack of wolves.

And the utter lack of analysis. Either they failed to do the analysis, which raises the question of their usefulness, or they did the analysis and are too cowardly or opportunist to present it.

If this is how they behave when faced with crude though powerful propaganda, I have a good idea which direction they will be facing when confronted with hard political and economic situations in the future.

All is not lost. The  Irish “left” described above does not have a monopoly on left thinking and analysis. The battle of ideas in Ireland has been enhanced by the disgraceful performance of the “left“ in the Dáil.

Declan McKenna is a former Co-ordinator of the Cuba Support Group—Ireland. He can be reached at dmck01@eircom.net

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