his article 'Irish
Americans' Gerry O Hare makes a fundamentally
valid point concerning the political shortcomings
of Irish American republican activists, but he has
allowed to appallingly poor quality of political candidates
in America to leave him grasping at straws.
there are a great many lessons that Irish republican
activists in the US might have learned along the way.
As O Hare points out, they might have learned that
the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York
are the price one pays for running rough-shod over
the nations of others throughout the globe, but when
I issued a statement on behalf of the IRSCNA making
precisely that point, posting it onto Irish republican
discussion lists on the Web brought me three days
of multiple death threats and seemingly endless attacks
on the moral uprightness of my mother instead. One
Irish republican activist from the U.S. finally spoke
his feelings openly, he said, "Yes, American
lives are worth more than other people's lives."
Some people are slow learners.
American republicans might have also learned something
about the nature of oppression, occupation, denial
of rights, and imperialism; and had they done so,
they might have stopped wallowing in reactionary campaigns,
like the attempt to make a hero of the Irish American
cop that Mumia Abu Jamal was convicted of shooting
or terrorising young women outside abortion clinics
because they were trying to exercise their legal right
to terminate a pregnancy.
might have embraced what the Irish hold in common
with the people of Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Libya,
Iraq, Afghanistan, the Basque lands and ofofferedheir
solidarity to the communities of these nations in
America. They might have recognised that being Catholic
in Belfast is very much akin to be African American
in South Central and demonstrated that fact by being
outspoken in their opposition to racism.
might have recognised that America's long-standing
'special relationship' with Britain renders their
own government anything but a friend to Irish republicanism
and been more open to questioning their own government's
motives every time they turned around.
might have watched events in Ireland unfold a little
more keenly than they did as well, so that rather
than proclaiming the excellence of Sinn Fein's candidates,
they might have recognised the many mistakes made
by Sinn Fein in pursuing its "peace talks"
with the British and Irish governments, as well as
in SF's behavior to others within the republican community--such
as those left crippled or with neurological deficits.
They might have recognised the incredible damage Sinn
Fein's mistaken policies have done to the struggle
to end partition.
rather than simply bemoaning the poor quality of American
political candidates compared to the only mediocre
ones that Ireland finds in Sinn Fein, Irish Americans
might have actually supported the efforts to launch
a Labour Party going on in America, or supported the
Peace and Freedom Party in California, or any of the
various socialist candidates that one generally finds
on the ballot at election time, but my guess is that
few of them ever looked beyond the "not a dime's
worth of difference" Democrats for an alternative
to the current thugs and monsters who make up the
American executive branch.
truth, however, is that relatively few of them appear
to have learned these lessons at all. In the course
of my 23 years working with the IRSP I have learned
some things relevant to US politics. Chiefly, I've
learned that my government is the source of most of
the evil in the world today and that it should be
brought to its knees. In addition, I've learned that
there is little hope of the American people taking
hold of the political process in America anytime soon
and America's working people are doomed to face an
increasingly bleak future as a result. The most important
thing I've learned though, is that it isn't the failings
of the individual politicians in the U.S. that damn
us to poor government, it is the failing of the system
of capitalism which we Americans continue to embrace
that is the cause of our misery and American imperialism
which exports that misery to the rest of the human
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives