Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This site is simply washing Sinn Féin's dirty laundry in public

I received this post as a comment and again i think the points raised are valid and should be discussed.

This is a general comment on your blog, having read through your earlier posts.

I mean this genuinely with no disrespect, as I don't know you or your background in the party. I realize your intention here is something positive, but would it not fit you better, rather than washing dirty laundry in public about the party, to get more involved in your local party structures and argue your case from there?

I think you'll find the more active you are and the more responsibility you take on, the more respect you will have in SF circles - the more respect you have then the easier it is to argue your case up the line and have leadership people take your views on board.again no disrespect - but would you stand at the side of the road with a megaphone criticizing and debating the parties faults? No? well then why do it on the internet?


  1. Interesting post and one I considered before starting this site.

    Firstly, I would point out that I am not the only person posting on here and I have, and I really want to, put up articles from anybody who is interested in the development of Sinn Féin. To date I think I have posted articles from 5 different sources including you. For a clear indication of what I wish to achieve please look at the first post I made.


    In relation to doing our dirty washing in public I would be interested to know which articles you feel do that?

    I don’t see it has having happened here at all and indeed I moderate all posts and will not put them up if I feel they are not constructive in terms of adding to the debate (again review first post to see who this blog is not intended for). So far discussions have taken place on going into coalition with other parties, where SF positions itself politically, the future of An Phoblacht, building a left alternative, how we get our message across etc. None of which I consider dirty laundry.

    In relation to your point that I should get more involved in the local party and thereby get my voice heard. Well, in all honesty I have no wish to take on any leadership role in the party and I am happy with the level of involvement I have. What I do want is to be part of a party that is seen as encouraging debate about issues of concern to us. This site is also intended to give party supporters and members from anywhere the chance to come together and read, discuss or write about issues relating to Sinn Féin. To me this is a positive thing and one I wish to continue with because I believe to really grow our party must not be a top down organisation whereby only those who have shown prolonged loyalty to the party can shape policy. Rather I wish to be a member of a party that has a strong, creative, inspirational leadership, but also listens actively to what the ordinary member/supporter/citizen has to say. And not only listens but values what they have to say and considers the concerns they express.

    I would also point out that this site is getting a lot of hits and to me this shows that this site is filling a need.

  2. Hi,

    I am always quite up front about the fact that I am not a member but a supporter.

    I dont therefore have any insight to what might be described as "dirty laundary".

    Even though a supporter I am effectively an outsider. What I know about Sinn Fein I learn through the public media, various web fora and via the SF site.

    In essence I know what other members of the public know and maybe the only difference is my interest in the topic is greater than the average punter.

    The topics that are discussed here are, IMHO, no different to what is being discussed by any political enthousiast across Ireland, across the web or amongst people working for other political parties (who talk about SF).

    I dont believe in open debate for its own sake though. Strange to say that on a site dedicated to open debate! But I recognise that in some instances an open debate, on some issues, could do harm. On that basis I would very much be against the airing of "real" dirty laundary.

    However I think the topics that are being discussed - the future of AN P, coalition strategy, book reviews, voting strategies etc are not big secrets.

    I read on a different place about the frustration on one activist when he saw party members leave the minute they dont like something. (If thats dirty laundary then its being out to dry for a while).

    I see this site as fulfilling that function. It allows a debate to explore issues and maybe allows members to change their mind about issues that would have previously, if undiscussed, have resulted in their leaving. I'd like to think that this is a useful tool for bringing the party forward in a united direction.

    I personally approach this site from probably a more centrist point of view while still being on the left. Thats a good thing because it means we sometimes find out that the only thing separating us is perspective rather than substantive issues. That prevents misunderstanding and keeps us united.


  3. SF has a history of secrecy, understandably so, due to the nature of the struggle it was involved in the north. However times change, if the party is to prosper people must get used to open and honest democratic debate, indeed in my view SF should be at the forefront of such debate.

    One of the main problems in recent years is that the SF leadership have attempted, often with some success, to sweep the party's dirty laundry under the carpet.

    This has rebounded on the reputation of the party whose leadership amongst some have a reputation for telling lies. In the age of 24hr media coverage, surly it is far better for SF to bring any problems they face out into the open, rather than wait for a hostile media to break the news and then for SF to rely on denial or spin.

    Sweeping dirty laundry under the carpet or spinning it away is the way the mainstream party's deal with their housekeeping, I hoped SF would find a better way.

  4. Sinn Féin has a great problem with criticism, especially from those who have the capacity to wash the party's dirty linen in public....

    I have experienced this at first hand - I have great respect for many individuals in the party but I have no time for those who say to fight from within and hope that leadership figures take you on board etc. It's a waste of time and effort.

  5. http://gaskinbalrog.blogspot.com/2009/06/cross-roads.html

    interesting read

  6. Just found your blog. Only read a bit but seems good- even if it were to turn out that you're significantly to the left of me (I'm a democratic Marxist/left-wing social-dem), still glad to see someone holding SF's feet to the left-wing fire (I think that makes sense).

    I'm an American supporter of SF, used to do a lot of activism on the subject, now I do a lot of blogging on the subject, although A) my blog is more of a web-site, and B) I'm frequently perfecting it, although at this point I think it's about 99.9% perfect, and at the rate I'm going, in about a week it'll be 99.99% perfect, and a week after that.... I explain that because a lot of my blog has a theme similar to yours, trying to get the American left and SF to hook up- they're both looking for the same thing, more or less, so I'm trying to help. Another big part of my blog is opposing bigotry in America, often by reference to the North. There's one piece I did recently which I'd like to bring to your attention, although I will soon make a few TINY changes (I'm going to explain more about and nail down the estimates I make about SF members).

    Which reminds me, although I probably need to worry less about this with you than with people at the OSF blog. I'm not an uncritical supporter and am very honest and feel very strongly about bigotry. All of that is reflected in what I write about SF- I wouldn't be surprised if we're very much on the same page.

    Unfortunately, at the same time that I decided to start a bog, for various reasons I have had trouble following current events as closely as I should, but I need to do the blog and I follow current events okay. I say that because although 1997-2005 and especially in 2002 I was very familiar with SF's politics, but since 2004 I can only take the small number of articles I read and an assumption that SF can't be that different than it was five years ago.

    Anwyay, I'm glad to see your blog and glad that it's getting a lot of traffic. I'll link to it. The post I mentioned that's relevant to SF keeping left is at http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com/2009/05/in-spirit-of-malcolm-x.html