Ferguson’s shameless cop-baiting


Bob Gould

Philip Ferguson, the shameless cop-baiter of the leadership of the nationalist working class in northern Ireland, has blasted off four or five of his nasty, eccentric posts abusing me for various political crimes, but he avoids a direct answer to the questions I asked. As well I’ve not had an answer to the question I asked of Louis Proyect.

Ferguson shelters behind a string of articles from the bourgeois press about cops in Sinn Fein and the IRA in northern Ireland, and behind reckless statements similar to his own about cops in Sinn Fein by some dissident republicans in the north.

He even has the gall to attack Adams by saying he didn’t really spend much time in jail. There must be big gutters at the University of Otago, from where Ferguson makes these sweeping judgments.

A while ago, on Marxmail Ferguson made a great deal of the fact that about 300 former republican prisoners had repudiated Sinn Fein, and it was pointed out to him that more than 3000, 10 times as many, former republican prisoners supported Sinn Fein.

Ferguson refers to the journalist Moloney’s book about Sinn Fein, which I’ve read several times. That book is essentially an attack on the Sinn Fein leadership from the right, from the point of view of so-called stable bourgeois politics.

Ferguson has nothing to say about the evolution of the Furedi RCP into a straight-out political tool of the ruling class. The reason that is relevant to this debate is that, in its time, the RCP specialised in Ferguson-style, scattergun ultraleft attacks on the republican leadership, and I’m led to believe that Ferguson knows a fair bit about the RCP. An analysis of the degeneration of the RCP would be much more relevant to real politics than Ferguson’s obsessive diatribes about Jack Barnes.

If Ferguson is worried about coppers in a serious way, as socialists should be, he should study Victor Serge’s little book about the massive penetration of the Bolsheviks by the Okhrana, based on Serge’s examination of files captured by the Bolsheviks.

Serge makes the general point that despite all this penetration the Okhrana was incapable of stopping the Russian Revolution.

The other aspect of Serge’s book on the Okhrana is the mine of information about the real operational practices of the first and most effective modern secret police of the bourgeoisie.

One of the operational techniques of the Okhrana was to stir up indiscriminate cop-baiting among the Russian revolutionaries.

Concerning Ferguson’s vile insinuation that Gerry Adams may be some kind of British agent, one test is the attitude of the oppressed working class republican constituency in northern Ireland to this question, as expressed in election results.

For example, it’s a well-known fact that despite the exhaustion and blood-letting of the civil war after the treaty, in the first major electoral test in the Free State, the intransigent anti-Free-State republicans led by De Valera, despite proclaiming that they wouldn’t take their seats in the partitioned Dail, got nearly 40 per cent of the vote and more than 30 per cent of the seats.

That indicated that Irish opinion was more or less split down the middle by the treaty.

In the most recent elections in northern Ireland, Sinn Fein, led by McGuinness and Adams, increased its vote, particularly in the most oppressed working class nationalist areas, such as Belfast, beating the more moderate nationalists, the SDLP, about 60:40 in the nationalist electorate.

The rejectionist republicans, some but not all of whom made the same nasty accusations as Ferguson against Sinn Fein, got a very small vote, and Patsy O’Hare’s mother, the most well-known rejectionist republican, a person widely respected in her constituency, only got a very modest vote.

Clearly the nationalist masses in the north, who have experienced the brutality of the British state for many years, don’t believe that the main leaders of Sinn Fein may be British agents, as Ferguson implies.

I’m disgusted, and it takes a lot to disgust me, at the personal slanders against Adams and McGuinness, and I’m even more angered by Ferguson’s implied contempt for the nationalist masses in northern Ireland, and for their political judgment.

I repeat my question to Louis: how long is this crank to be allowed to go on with his veiled slander that the clearly popular leaders of the most oppressed nationalist masses in northern Ireland may be British agents?

This is not a matter of opinion about the political process in northern Ireland, from a Marxist point of view it’s a question of political hygiene.


3 Responses to “Ferguson’s shameless cop-baiting”

  1. Bob Gould Says:

    In the congenitally mealy-mouthed way that characterises all his scattergun abuse, Ferguson has now moved away from implying that Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership are direct agents of the British state, ie cops, to a more generalised quasi-political argument that they are agents of imperialism.

    Will Ferguson now withdraw his implication that Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership are possibly police agents?

    Further to this point, I repeat my original question to Ferguson: would he give us some kind of political analysis of the degeneration of the Furedi group, of which I understand he has a good knowledge, from ultraleft rhetoric about Ireland, among other things, to direct and public agents of the ruling class?

  2. John Says:

    Bob, have you ever reviewed the evidence compiled indicating that Jack Barnes is an operative of the capitalist state? If so then why don’t you factually refute it rather than make references to obsesive diatribes?

  3. JackP Says:

    John, the Sergent Plods of this world are only ever a carbuncle on the back of a walrus. The walrus is not stopped by mere carbuncles!

    Walruses rule or not depending on other factors, mate. Would be nice to blame Sgt Plod and co for all their woes. But life’s not that simple and is much more interesting.

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