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Fascism: Irelandís illusion of immunity begins to pall

18 September 2020

Over the past decade there have been many boasts from liberals and leftists claiming immunity from a fascist threat in Ireland.

Gay rights,  abortion, social partnership covering almost all of society, the inability of forces to the right of Fine Gael to get a purchase, decline in the power of the church, the electoral rise of the reformist left.  What could go wrong?

Yet often the left has used blinkers in accessing political currents.  The 2004 racist referendum removing automatic citizenship from children born in Ireland saw only minimal opposition from Sinn Fein and the socialist groups,  busy seeking electoral advantage.  More recently obvious racist opposition to migrant accommodation has been accepted as concern about the direct provision system.

In reality Ireland is a society riddled with misogyny, class hatred,  sectarianism and anti traveller discrimination that easily adapts to racism.  In the North an entire political system is built around competing sectarian rights and housing apartheid.

The old governmental system in Dublin, revolving around two largely identical right wing parties, is in decay.  An opening has occurred and fascists have begun to mobilise.

They are still weak and disguise themselves in yellow vest and anti mask protests, but they are strengthened by their willingness to use violence and by winks and nods from the police.

Two guiding principles should lead us.  Firstly we must not privatise opposition,  with each left and republican group organising independently,  shouting "trash the fash" without having built the means to follow through on our promise.  There has to be an all Ireland anti-fascist  movement.  Secondly, socialists in such a movement must argue for a radical alternative.  Fascism grows whenever the workers movement fails.  At the moment the trade union leaders have buried themselves in partnership with the government and many socialists are advancing the fatuous plan of a "left" government led by Sinn Fein.

When working people are desperate and the left are silent we are leaving the door open for the far right.  Time to unite for a revolutionary alternative!

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