Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beyond the Nation - Inspiration from overseas.

The Republican movement is characterised by its openess to outside influences. It has never closed its eyes to the outside world to focus solely on our own struggle to establish a republic but has always been ready to look beyond these shores to find inspiration, to support people in struggle etc.

There are many examples - republicans like Bob Doyle; the close bonds with the African National Congress, the support for the Basque people etc.

From each of these encounters we have given and received support and inspiration.

Eoin o'Broin in his book sets out several theses for development which he argues Sinn Fein must consider in order to maximise the party's growth and development

One of those thesis is "Beyond the Nation". o'Broin contends that Sinn Fein must continue to build and deepen its engagement with like minded parties across Europe. Specifically he mentions progressive parties in Finland, Norway, Netherlands and other Scandinavian/European Left-Green movements.

Looking abroad has always been of benefit to our movement. Whether it was the support and advice offered by the ANC at the start of the peace process, or the inspiration of the Basque people whose struggle to retain their culture and unite and free their country is so similar to ours. We can learn from their mistakes and their successes.

So are there, for you, any particular parties or movements in Europe, or even wider afield, whose success can be a model for our own and whose failures we can avoid by studying their mistakes.

Considering one of the big challenges in Ireland is the breaking down of the partitionist mindset and also the need to persuade unionists of the merits of a UI then I would suggest the Scottish National Party is a good example of a party that is very successfully reasserting the identity of a country and gradually building momentum for an independent Scotland. Their steady approach of good governance and the assertion of their separate cultural identity is making normal the idea of a separate, independent Scotland and making that day more likely, in my opinion. But they have not lost their focus on the need for social equality either for the Scottish people. They have made big improvements in reducing poverty in Glasgow, they have stopped the selling of council houses in order to maintain a supply for those who need it etc.

Who else might be a good example or inspiration for this party? Any suggestions?


  1. us in the basque country always look at other struggles to learn, probably ireland is the main source of inspiration.
    as from us to show the world, well apart of a strong youth movement, LAB the trade union is getting stronger by the day, the support and use of the basque language with the korrika as its main event and the housing problem where the basque movements is very active demanding the use of empty houses for the young people and the ones in need are interesting issuses maybe to learn from.

  2. SNP should be at the Ogra Congress which should be of interest re: this. They do seem to be a good example of how progressive policies can be implemented by a devolved government while pursuing independence. Advantages are that they form a minority government of their own, and have some tax varying powers.

    Die Linke maybe is another possibility with reference to its electoral success and work in local government?

    ANC seems to be suffering the problems of power, which we have on a far smaller scale in the North, that of essentially administering capitalism and contradictions it creates. Also, the issue of democratic centralism etc.

    In Nepal the victorious maoists negotiation for state power seems to be faltering, which is another area for study perhaps... ...the point at which negotiation has failed and a return to opposition and insurrection is the only answer.


  3. 'B',

    Die Linke was one party I though of as well. They are left wing and professional. ANC and the Nepalese Maoists are both facing problems, albeit of a different nature. The ANC seem to be simply rotting in power. How prepared were they for the requirement of exercising power and implementing their agenda? Were they ready to handle the opposition they would face as a govt.

    for nepal -A return to opposition and insurrection? If thats the only option then yes they should. But are there no options? Is it a return to their comfort zone if they choose to go into opposition and insurrection? As you say its a point for further discussion.


    The success of the Basque language movement in reclaiming step by step Naforra as part of the Basque language area is inspiring. A model for us Irish in how to build new gaeltachtaí

  4. The basque experience is an interesting one I would be interested in finding out more about, espercially in terms of the ccultural movement and the massive growth in basque language schooling.

    I feel down in the south the war in the north led those opposed to republicanism to remove support for aspects of our culture and led to a rewriting of history. i strongly feel that down here the republican movement needs to get strongly involved in reinvigerating our culture and appreciating our history. Important initiatives such as the gaelscoil movement, and things such as the spirit of 16 Dublin Supporters club and cultural events like the play 12 days in May (about to open in Liberty hall ) need to be strongly supported by us all.