Submission to Sinn Fein ( Provisional )
Sinn Féin & Irish National Self-Determination
A Submission to Sinn Fein (Provisional) by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement
In this the centenary year of the founding of Sinn Fein the most pertinent question facing Irish republicans today is why Ourselves Alone remains unrealised. In a series of political submissions to the various political groupings the 32 County Sovereignty Movement is attempting to address the failure to achieve this realisation and to realign political thinking along a separatist heading. We do this because we believe Irish unity is our fundamental right and that such unity represents the proper democratic framework in which to resolve divisions amongst our people.
These divisions are in fact the principle strategic mechanism by which our unity remains outside of our control.
In devising the various submissions the 32CSM were mindful of two facets concerning the political interests involved;
1. Their stated public position.
2. This position set against their political actions.
In attempting to put forward credible political alternatives the 32CSM felt it necessary that any inconsistencies or contradictions in the above facets had to be resolved, both to bring clarity to the political theatre, and to allow our alternatives be measured against this clarified environment. We are also acutely mindful that the political theatre in which all the interested parties practice is one where conflict pervades. To this end the 32CSM will outline, in clear and concise terms, our political position and correlate that position with our political programme to achieve our ends.
In any conflict resolution process the relationship between clarity of position and purpose of action is essential if the core cause of conflict is to be addressed. The 32 CSM contend that the violation of Irish sovereignty is the core cause of conflict in Ireland and that the legitimacy of our demand for national self determination for the Irish people is what the legitimacy of the republican struggle to achieve this end is predicated upon. For our part the 32CSM lodged formal representations to the United Nations with the dual purpose of legally challenging Britain’s claim to sovereignty over part of Ireland, and upholding the right of the Irish people to sovereignty over our national territory, the island of Ireland. (see document appendix). The challenge is open to any political interest to either refute its contentions or support them. This invitation is extended to Sinn Fein also.
In consequence the 32CSM seeks the engagement of Sinn Fein in the following areas;
1. Democratic Debate within Republicanism.
2. The Cause of Conflict in Ireland.
3. The Good Friday Agreement and Self Determination.
4. Irish Democracy and Irish sovereignty.
Histrionics makes for bad politics, history teaches us this. The engagement by republicans with all political interests to the conflict is essential in bringing about its resolution. Isolation of the separatist position is as detrimental as subordinating it to a ‘Home Rule’ ethos. That being said history cannot be ignored, as one of the more indelible aspects of the Irish conflict is the failure of repeating history. All political movements must be accountable to their interpretation of their history through word and deed. What runs in tandem with one hundred years of Sinn Fein, and others, is one hundred years of occupation and both continue to exist. This fact in itself is an indictment of Irish republicanism to which perfidious Albion is not a sole defence.
For our part the prefix ‘provisional’ does not identify a Sinn Fein in any sense that the name Sinn Fein identifies a practitioner of separatist politics. Given the centenary year there will exist a distraction in the body politic of claim and counter claim as to who represents the party’s true heirs. Given the continued violation of our sovereignty, and its electoral ‘endorsement’ in 1998, the separatist analysis will no doubt tell the body politic, in fact, who is not.
Democratic Debate and Republicanism
There exists a state of affairs in which longstanding members of Sinn Fein remain suspended from the party for endeavouring to have the issue of Irish sovereignty debated within the broader party structure. These events came to pass in the run up to the ratification of the GFA where said members wished to voice genuine concerns about the fundamental ethos of the peace negotiations, so called, themselves. Having identified in the talks a critical deficiency as regards the issue of Irish sovereignty their attempts to raise these concerns at an Ard Fheis were greeted with prohibition.
The basis of their suspension, as relayed by party officials, was that membership of the 32CSM was/is incompatible with membership of Sinn Fein. Given that the 32CSM is concerned primarily with defending Irish sovereignty it would seem that the issue of sovereignty itself is what is deemed incompatible. Given also that the establishment of a sovereign independent Ireland is the declared aim of Sinn Fein could it now, in that light, address the following observations;
1. What is the basis of incompatibility between membership of Sinn Fein and the 32CSM?
2. Is the issue of Irish sovereignty a prohibitive subject for debate within Sinn Fein?
3. Will Sinn Fein engage, officially, with debate on the issue of Irish sovereignty with the 32CSM?
4. Who constitutes the Republican Family?
No one who holds to a credible political position need fear democratic debate. Democratic debate can only strengthen the political viewpoint of those who engage in it. In a genuine conflict resolution process the 32CSM contends that the stronger the republican viewpoint the more potent its impact at negotiations. We equally contend that not to engage in democratic debate on the republican position is incompatible with seeking a just resolution to the Anglo Irish conflict.
Cause of Conflict in Ireland
The longevity, colonial nature and perfidy of the Anglo Irish conflict has given rise to a strategic masking of its core cause. The intermittent success of this strategy was most pronounced when practiced by domestic Irish politics. The legacy of this success is the perpetuation of the conflict.
The 32CSM hold that Britain’s violation of Irish sovereignty is the core cause of the Anglo Irish conflict and the resultant conflicts between different sections of the Irish people. Sourced from this violation is the denial of our right to self determination, our right to resolve our differences within an Irish democratic framework and our right to establish peaceful relations with our neighbouring island. We equally hold that clear recognition of the core cause of conflict is essential in seeking its resolution. The politics of conflict resolution must be constructed from outside the politics which the conflict has engendered.
Not all Irish politics holds or practices this view. The two basic trends of political thought which evolved around the conflict was a view which seen a British dimension as intrinsic to it and the view which rejects this premise. In their workings there were those who opposed;
1. The manner of British occupation.
and those who opposed,
2. The fact of British occupation.
It was the separatist tradition which arrayed itself against the fact of occupation whereas the Home Rule tradition contented itself with constructing an acceptable manner to it. As a declared separatist party we call upon Sinn Fein to address the following;
1. Is the fact of British occupation, irrespective of manner, a cause of conflict in Ireland?
2. Is the manner of British occupation a strategic device for preserving the occupation?
3. Is the practice of Home Rule politics a practice of British politics in Ireland?
4. Is the practice of Home Rule politics incompatible with the pursuit of the separatist objective?
The 32CSM calls upon Sinn Fein, as a declared separatist party, and others, and for Sinn Fein to call upon others, to formally declare that the British violation of Irish Sovereignty is the cause of conflict in Ireland.
The 32CSM invites Sinn Fein to join us in seeking to have the above declaration form the basis of the Irish political dimension in a peace process between the peoples and political representatives of the two islands.
Good Friday Agreement & Self Determination
Sinn Fein is a negotiator, signatory and continued adherent of the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Fein was instrumental in securing, from a partitioned Irish electorate, the GFA’s popular endorsement. Sinn Fein negotiated and accepted the GFA’s terms from a position of prolonged conflict, engaged in to defend and implement the Irish people’s right to national self determination. Clearly this gives rise to political implications pertaining to the legitimacy and pursuit of the republican struggle. To give clarity to these political implications we call upon Sinn Fein to outline in detail a response to the following enquiry;
To what extent is Sinn Fein bound, legally and politically, to the terms it negotiated and endorsed in the GFA?
From our analysis of the terms of the GFA the 32CSM deduces the following;
1. Our right to national self determination without external impediment is refuted.
2. British occupation can be legitimately permanent.
3. The use of armed force to defend Irish sovereignty is a criminal act
4. Britain is the legitimate sovereign authority in the occupied area.
The basis of the 32CSM’s political strategy to progress the republican struggle is founded on two premises;
1. The legitimacy of the republican struggle.
2. A separatist analysis of prevailing politics.
We now set our analysis against that of Sinn Fein. We address the following political observations to you;
1. How is our right to national self determination defended and promoted by signing a treaty which states that no such right exists?
2. How is our right to national self determination defended and promoted by securing an electoral endorsement thereon from a partitioned Irish electorate?
3. By what authority does Sinn Fein sign a treaty which states that British occupation in Ireland can be legitimately permanent?
4. What was the legitimate pretext for the republican struggle up to the signing of the GFA?
5. Is the use of armed force defending and seeking to restore Irish sovereignty a criminal act?
6. What part of the GFA challenges Britain’s claim to sovereignty over part of Ireland?
7. Which other signatories to the GFA views it as a mechanism for, or a mechanism to, securing the unity of our national territory?
The 32CSM calls upon Sinn Fein to repudiate any stance on the national question which subverts Irish sovereignty. We call upon Sinn Fein to assist the 32CSM in realigning the Irish political position to this basis and to create a peace process wherein this position is resolutely defended.
Irish Democracy & Irish Sovereignty
The central focus of the political programme of the 32CSM to pursue the republican objective is the concept of an Irish Democratic Framework (IDF). Given that democracy is the strongest and most just criteria for securing a settlement to the conflict we submit that Irish democracy, at its maximum expression, offers the only realistic and just opportunity to resolve the conflict and the conflicts engendered thereof.
An Irish Democratic Framework represents;
1. The ultimate expression of Irish sovereignty.
2. Maximum and secured democratic inclusion for all sections of the Irish people.
3. A peaceful alternative.
4. A firm foundation for national and political development.
Alternatives to the status quo require alternative politics predicated on fundamentally alternative concepts. Tinkering with existing and previously failed agendas is merely to invite repeated failure. The IDF offers new and secure ground upon which to construct a political viewpoint which can address the conflict afresh. Most pertinently it challenges each political view point in the conflict as it relates to;
1. Democratic accountability to and from government.
2. Democratic inclusion to and from government.
3. Constitutional and political stability.
4. Sovereign integrity.
Inherent in the concept of democratic integrity is sovereign integrity and any derogation in either field is a derogation of the other. The 32CSM submit to Sinn Fein that an Irish Democratic Framework is the vehicle upon which the republican struggle can be progressed because the IDF ensures that advocacy of Irish unity would be synonymous with its pursuit. We look forward to your considered response.
In tandem with this submission to Sinn Fein the 32CSM has compiled other submissions to the various political interests with analysis and political initiatives we see as pertinent to them. Specifically we sought of the following;
1. British Government: A Declaration of its Long Term Intentions Toward Ireland.
2. The Irish Government: A Declaration of, and Programme for, the Realisation of its Political Preferences.
3. The Broad Unionist Community: To Address the Probability of Irish Unity.
In these submissions we offered our analysis of the prevailing political climate, we outlined our basic position and we proffered political initiatives to advance a settlement. We called upon each to respond formally to our legal submission to the UN concerning Irish sovereignty and we once again invite Sinn Fein to do likewise. Also we urge Sinn Fein to encourage the other political parties to engage positively with these submissions.