This morning I held my nose and read the latest Socialist Worker, something I do more out of duty than pleasure. What I was looking for, and indeed found, was coverage of the Save Our Barracks campaign, which we have previously covered here. I was confident we would find something, because the SWP can’t be involved in anything without boasting about it.
So we have an article by Seán Mitchell on the Glen Road barracks site and the campaign around it. “The People before Profit Alliance, local residents, and independent activists recently launched the Stop the Sell Off campaign in West Belfast. The SSOC was formed to campaign against the proposed sell off of public land on the Glen road.” Indeed.
Most of the article is the usual SWP boilerplate about “public land”, “privatisation” and “privateers” (God, they love their alliteration, don’t they?). As I’ve said before, I’m not particularly friendly to developers and not hostile to the idea of a community project, but I’m still scratching my head over the hysterical defence of a small patch of derelict land.
A clue can be found towards the end of the wee lad’s article:
Local politicians from the SDLP and Sinn Fein, who both originally welcomed the proposal have now backtracked significantly and have come in line with much of the campaigns demands. Despite their acceptance that the site should be 100 % community, they still insisted, at the campaign launch, that some form of private finance is needed.
This was rebutted by several speakers, who argued that this was a contradiction in terms, private finance means private profit, and this isn’t welcome.
Readers with long enough memories will recall the Provos’ engagement with the White House in the early stages of the peace process, which set off a few alarm bells among the radical fringe of the base. In response to this, Eoin Ó Broin vaingloriously declared, “We’ve got Clinton by the balls!” The SWP’s fond belief that they are leading the Provos by the nose is even less credible. And yet that’s what they really seem to believe. According to the wee lad’s scenario, they are mobilising the masses of West Belfast around SWP politics, and the Provos are scrambling to get on board.
Contrast this with the coverage in the Andytown News, which is running regular articles on how Grizzly is taking the issue in hand, pictures of him meeting protesters etc. Now which newspaper of record do you believe – Socialist Worker or the Andytown News? It’s a bit like choosing between the National Enquirer and the Sunday Sport.