I ask this question as we purvey over the wreckage that is the left in Ireland.
The left in this country is consumed with infighting, betrayal, personalities and an eerie urge to fight one another in a scramble to see who can be the mudguard to either of the two failed and right-wing civil war parties.
At a time when left-wing unity is more important than ever I see no real moves to make this a possibility.
As a proud Sinn Féin member I accept that many within the party view the national struggle for Independence and Unity as the number one concern. I also know from speaking to many comrades that they are asking themselves the question, "Must Labour Wait?".
They are asking this question because we have yet again supported the introduction of PFI's and PPP's inside the Assembly.
In 2004 I asked the QUB Sinn Féin Cumann to send a motion to the Ard Fheis demanding the no elected Sinn Féin rep support the introduction of PFI's or PPP's. That motion was endorsed by the Ard Fheis, albeit with a watered down Ard Chomhairle amendment.
The fact that such an amendment was even suggested is, in itself, a sad indictment on a party that seeks a 32 county Socialist Republic....fuck! I forgot, an Ireland of Equals.
We should all remember the words of James Connolly, the father of Irish Republican Socialism, when he said
“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs”.
It's hard to argue with that when you think about Tesco's, BT, Granada, Boots, Marks and Spencer etc.
You often hear people cry that the left is dead in Ireland, that we are so obsessed with material possessions and social climbing that the right has an unassailable lead.
We hear the same, what can only be described as, capitalist pigs asserting that the right offers freedom while the left offers only control.
Yes, its true, the right does offer freedom.
It offers you the freedom to die in the gutter, it offers you the freedom to stab your compatriot in the back for an extra fiver and it offers working class people the freedom of their poverty pen. It affords the rich the chance to get richer and the poor the opportunity of enjoying their cycle of inequality.
At this time when community spirit is at an all time low, when the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and when we are getting into more and more personal debt to fuel this hedonistic capitalist lifestyle the need for left wing unity grows ever more greater.
I accept the left in Ireland have serious issues, both personal and political, with each other however if we agree on a three principle approach then perhaps there may be hope.
Those three principles should be Socialism, Republicanism and Environmentalism, the three strands that characterises the left in Ireland.
In the words of Jim Larkin,
"The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise!"