Up to now, they have been saying: ‘All go home.’ But now they’re here, too. So either they go home as well, or they say what they want to do for their country and their children.

The electoral success of Italian comedian Grillo reminds me of those “joke” candidates in student union elections: usually, the joke is on them when they get elected and discover that they have to take part in student government. Except, they don’t actually have to take part; wouldn’t it be great if, after a campaign based around the conviction that politicians are corrupt and they should all fuck off, Grillo’s MPs, having themselves becomes politicians, decided to fuck off? Sadly, it doesn’t look likely that they’ll do this, still less use the time and resources to organize extra-parliamentary forms of organization. The only politicians I know of who have been elected on the basis of refusing the legitimacy of the political system they are being elected in, who have followed through by refusing to participate in the resulting body, are the Sinn Fein members of the UK parliament.

"When you vote, you are choosing between rulers. Instead of urging people to vote  raise the option of choosing to rule yourself, to organise freely with others ..at work, in your community, in your neighborhood -all as equals. The option of something you cannot vote for, a new society.

Instead of waiting for others to make some changes for you, do it yourself. This way, you cannot but build an alternative to the state which can reduce its power now and, in the long run, replace it. “

How Sinn Fein can take the Oath of Allegiance

David McCann wrote on eamonnmallie.com that there would be ‘No end to Sinn Fein abstentionism.’ Ruth Dudley Edwards dissented and wrote in the Belfast Telegraph that ‘Sinn Fein would breach House of Commons abstention taboo if it suited them.’

On this question, let’s not forget Fianna Fail. A party cut from the moribund Sinn Fein of the 1920s. A party built by, of and for the resolute, absolute and implacable abstentionist; the greenest of green; men and women who fought a civil war and killed their own brothers in total opposition to the Oath of Allegiance.

Under this new political vehicle, Fianna Fail, Eamonn de Valera and his allies went from being unchallengeable abstentionists to takers of the Oath of Allegiance. Managing to simultaneously express loyalty to the Crown and to their 32-county republican cause through a mix of obfuscation, feigning and procedural contortion. UCD historian Ciara Meehan explained here (10m30):

"[Eamonn de Valera] describes the Oath as an empty political formula. Fianna Fail turn up at the office of the clerk, they remove the bible from where the book is, they cover over the wording of the oath. De Valera said there’s no contractual obligation because they’re not read, they’ve not heard, they’ve not seen the oath, all they’ve done is sign their names and that’s enough for them to take their seats in the Dail.

Ciara Meehan in full here.

What is a bridge too far when the very same Martin McGuinness who expressed these sentiments and spoke these words, can sit down, shake the sovereigns hand and give a toast?

The implementation of the Home Rule Act was irreversible politically and would have come into effect if the violence and abstentionism of the 1919 to 1921 period had not made it impossible. The Lloyd George Coalition Government’s re election manifesto in the December 1918 Election stated bluntly “Home Rule is upon the statute book”. There was no going back on it. My belief is that , at that time, instead of launching a policy of abstention from Parliament and a guerrilla war, Sinn Fein and the IRA should have used the Home Rule Act as a peaceful stepping stone to dominion status and full independence, in the same way as Treaty of 1921 was so used, but only after so much blood had been shed.