The carnival of reaction and who is to blame now

A few days ago I posted a piece from James Fearon, which originally appeared on the Socialist Democracy site.  Below is a follow-up letter posted on their site. ( I’m in full agreement with the letter – the one bit in the Fearon piece I disagreed with, for instance, was the same as the point made by Red: that the reference to plebeian loyalists being the problem is mistaken):

I was greatly cheered by James Fearon’s letter on the “Carnival of reaction.”  It is wonderful to see someone speaking  out in the tradition of Connolly when the majority of Irish socialists seem to have collapsed altogether and seem only able to ape their liberal counterparts or the collaborationists who run the trade union movement. 

However I fear his anger has led him to a poor formulation; 

“Plebeian Loyalists come first! These Loyalists must be placated at all costs, even at the expense of bourgeois unity, this is the basic form of social organisation upon which the sectarian state stands”.

I fear this is an error of the form of the tail wagging the dog.  The plebeian loyalists have always been tools of someone else. In this case it was the DUP and their unionist allies who played the Orange card.  

The distinction is important because it is quite evident that the loyalists do not have the support of the majority of workers from a Protestant background. The demonstrations would be largely ineffective if the state did not facilitate them by closing down major roads whenever a few loyalists appear. On the other hand there is widespread support for a political popular front led by Peter Robinson that has exactly the same aim – to make the Fenians lie down.

This in turn lets Sinn Fein off the hook – they are all for a dialogue as long as they get a cut for the “nationalist tradition”. 

The hidden story is Sinn Fein’s support for the bigot Nelson McCausland’s “reform” of the Housing executive.  They are a key component of a new Northern Iron, even more sectarian than the old where workers will depend on patronage based on sectarianism.

We don’t want to end up focusing on the power of Loyalism when the real threat comes from mainstream unionism and nationalist collaborators.

In solidarity,



Posted on January 17, 2013, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Partition, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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