It is disappointing to see that Sinn Féin have failed to vote in favour of a motion calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassadors in Ireland and Britain on Derry and Strabane District Council.
Although the motion did pass without their support, Sinn Féin’s decision to abstain on the vote will come as a surprise to most given that many of their elected representatives have recently (and indeed historically) expressed support for Palestine. It appears that they do not wish to rock the boat as they come to the cusp of entering government both north and south for the first time.
Their youth wing, on the other hand, have explicitly called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. While this is something that the Workers’ Party agrees with, it appears that their own parent party are unsure about it.
Sinn Féin are currently trying to be everything to everyone. One of their councillors for west Belfast recently posted a picture of himself holding a Palestine flag at last night’s Celtic match on social media, just a couple of days after posting a picture with the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, a representative of the same country that arms and supports Israel in their war against the Palestinians.
This trend does not end with their two-faced approach to Palestine. Sinn Féin wishes to court business leaders ahead of their entry into government in the south, with Mary Lou McDonald travelling to Silicon Valley and the party also addressing the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec). “Sinn Féin are pro-business,” says their finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. This is certainly not the message being sent to their voters in working class areas nor to their core support base. In the north, their implementation of austerity measures hand-in-hand with the DUP and the Tories should tell us all that we need to know about whose class interests they ultimately serve.
Sinn Féin appear to have a flawed analysis of class, purporting that they will be able to balance the interests of workers and business while satisfying all, as well as a seemingly contradictory approach to anti-imperialism, supporting the Palestinians one minute but meeting with representatives of the American government the next. Any socialists within Sinn Féin should be aware that, despite the radical rhetoric, their party might not be all that it’s cracked up to be when push comes to shove.