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Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism

Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism

Eoin Ó Broin


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Sinn Fein is a growing force in Irish politics. Now the country's third largest party, Sinn Fein have been one of the central architects of the peace process and are increasingly setting the terms of political debate in Ireland north and south. Despite this, the party remains much misunderstood and often misrepresented.

Sinn Fein and The Politics of Left Republicanism explores the ideological and organisational origins of the party, charts their history and recent political development and assesses their possible futures.

Eoin O Broin argues that Sinn Fein is part of a distinct left-republican tradition in Irish society whose future lies in the globally resurgent radical democratic left.
'An intelligent, readable and very fascinating reflection on left republicanism in Ireland'
Richard English, Professor of Politics, Queens University Belfast, author of Armed Struggle and Irish Freedom
'Full of information and analysis yet extremely easy to read, Eoin O'Broin poses the question that has occupied the minds of many down through decades of struggle - not just how best to establish the 'republic' but what that republic will look like?'
Dr Laurence McKeown, writer, playright and former IRA political prisoner

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Table of Contents vii
Introduction 1
1. The Origins Of Left Republicanism 18
Republicans 18
The United Irishmen 22
Nationalists 36
Young Ireland 40
The Fenians 43
Socialists 56
Conclusion 72
2. The Arrival of Left Republicanism 80
James Connolly and the Irish Socialist Republican Party 85
After the Irish Socialist Republican Party 89
Connolly’s Socialism 97
Connolly’s Republicanism 101
Connolly and Unionism 105
Connolly and Gender 108
The Connolly Paradox 110
3. Left-Republican Interventions 113
Left Republicanism on the Margins: 1916–26 113
Political Radicalism and Partition 116
Left Republicanism After Partition 123
Left Republicanism and the Rise of Fianna Fáil 126
Left-Republican Retreat: the Republican Congress 135
A New Departure: Clann na Poblachta 140
Discarding the Republic: From Offi cial Sinn Féin to Democratic Left 148
Conclusion 161
4. A Century of Struggle 174
Arthur Griffith’s Sinn Féin 174
Sinn Féin After the Rising 181
Sinn Féin During the War of Independence 185
Sinn Féin After the Anglo–Irish Treaty 189
Sinn Féin on the Margins 194
Sinn Féin Reorganises 196
Sinn Féin in the 1960s 200
Unionist Hegemony and State Crisis 208
Civil Rights and Conflict 214
Provisional Sinn Féin 221
Political Expansion 235
Changing Dynamics 246
Adapting to Changing Political Conditions 255
Towards a Lasting Peace 261
The Peace Process 269
Agreement 272
Building the Future 277
Conclusion 285
Conclusion 289
Notes 312
Appendix 1: Sinn Féin Election Results 1982-2007 325
Appendix 2: Sinn Féin Policy Documents 327
Recommended Reading 331
Bibliography 333
Index 340