The prospect of a left government in Dublin is certainly very exciting. Interest pales slightly when we find that the conversation is actually about Sinn Fein in a coalition government. Alliance with smaller parties is supposed to make it left, but in private most leftists admit that the most likely combination is with a section of Fianna Fáil. Apparently this would still be progressive because of voters expectations. Left out of the conversation is the history of coalition in Ireland, the recent history of attempts at left government across Europe, the history and politics of Sinn Fein and their role in administration in the North. The left government suggestion is driven by an increased reformism and parliamentarianism in the socialist groups. The alternative is popular mobilisation, driven by recognition of economic dependence on imperialism and the collaborationist role of local capitalism.
John McAnulty is a founder member of the '68 group Peoples Democracy and currently a member of Socialist Democracy. He has been a political activist over 50 years and written extensively on the class struggle in Ireland.