Photo credit: Sinn Féin via Flickr (CC BY 2.0

BEN SCALLAN: Sinn Féin’s authoritarian hypocrisy

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And those who carry water for brutal Communist dictators shouldn’t start shouting about extremists taking over the world.

Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan decided to take a brave stand last week against a terrifying new threat in Europe – people in other countries voting for parties that he doesn’t like:

“I hope we all share concern about the growth of far-right governments in Sweden and now in Italy. It is important for people to speak out. It concerns me that prominent parties…are actively coalescing with these fascist parties…The Sweden Democrats [are] an outrageously right-wing, far-right racist group.”

In the same speech he also took a jab at Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, adding:

“There is this horrific trend towards far-right governments. It is important for all of us to speak out and, I hope, agree on a common platform of keeping fascists out of government.”

Now, we could spend this entire article getting into whether or not figures like Viktor Orbán, Georgia Meloni and the Sweden Democrats truly are “far-right fascists.” We could look through their policies and speeches with a fine tooth comb, and try to see if there is any truth to Gavan’s claim.

But an easier approach might be to simply look at who else Gavan deems to be a “fascist,” to get a sense of the methodology he’s using.

For example, if you’re an Irish citizen and you decided to protest against the government’s Covid lockdown last year, Paul Gavan wanted you to know that you are a “fascist” and a “Covidiot.” He also called on people to challenge the anti-lockdown protesters’ ideology of “hatred, prejudice and poison.”

So to Paul, people who oppose authoritarian government lockdowns are “far-right fascists.” That’s the yardstick he’s using to measure by.

He also said that the Roe vs. Wade decision in America, in which the US Supreme Court returned abortion legislation to the individual states, was an example of “fascism.”

He says that Spain is fascist. He says that Belgium, France and Germany are becoming “far-right and racist.” He said that 2019 Presidential candidate Peter Casey was “far-right.”

In fact, it would probably be easier to list the things that Paul doesn’t consider “fascist” or “far-right” than the things he does. Unfortunately, I suspect hair curlers are fascist because he can’t use them. You’d have to ask him about that one, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Also green M&Ms, plastic traffic cones and Leap cards – all totally racist and fascist.

Maybe paperclips are OK, and perhaps certain kinds of fridge magnets at a push, but that’s about it.

So in short, being called a “fascist” by Paul doesn’t really tell you much about the accused. It’s a label he uses against anyone and anything that moves. He probably thinks it’s “fascism” when Dublin Bus is full and he has to walk to the shop.

But let’s suppose for a moment that what Paul is saying is true – let’s imagine for a moment that he truly has stumbled across a rise in extremist rightwing governments.

Even if that was true, why should we take him remotely seriously, when he is on record as having praised ruthless Communist dictators like Fidel Castro? Gavan called Castro a “hero,” a “giant,” a “revolutionary,” a “great man,” and “one of the greatest world statesmen we have ever seen.”

He even said “As a socialist, I am proud of [Castro’s] record.”

This is remarkable, considering the fact that Castro had a personal net worth of $900 million at the time of his death according to Forbes, while his own people lived in poverty – in true socialist fashion, I might add.

Amnesty International repeatedly condemned Castro’s brutal offences against human rights, with USA director Erika Guevara-Rosas saying:

“Over more than five decades documenting the state of human rights in Cuba, Amnesty has recorded a relentless campaign against those who dare to speak out against the Cuban government’s policies and practices. The state of freedom of expression in Cuba, where activists continue to face arrest and harassment for speaking out against the government, is Fidel Castro’s darkest legacy.”

Additionally, Human Rights Watch director José Miguel Vivanco said:

“As other countries in the region turned away from authoritarian rule, only Fidel Castro’s Cuba continued to repress virtually all civil and political rights. Castro’s draconian rule and the harsh punishments he meted out to dissidents kept his repressive system rooted firmly in place for decades.”

This brutal legacy of oppression, authoritarianism, and cracking down on dissent is apparently the record that Gavan is “proud” of. And this is the same guy who’s trying to scare you about the supposed rise of “fascism.”

No wonder Sinn Féin finds common cause with them, saying that Cuba inspires “socialist movements like our own.”

SF: Cuba inspires “socialist movements like our own”

Now of course fascism and communism are not the same worldview. That’s abundantly obvious.
But though the two ideologies are not identical, the main things that most decent people hate about the one also apply to the other.

For example, the worship of the State is a value held in common by both fascists and communists. They both typically love strongman dictators like Mussolini and Stalin (or in this case Castro), and they are both happy to crack down on political dissent and free speech.

They’re generally not too worried about mass killings and genocide either. For examples of this, see the Holocaust or the Holodomor, the Italian concentration camps or the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields – not to mention the Kulaks.

So while communists and fascists certainly aren’t the same, they’re like ugly cousins. In a broad sense, they both follow the same sort of draconian, anti-freedom, controlling and idolatrous State-worship philosophy.

In fact, this is sort of like the philosophy that Gavan espoused when he attacked the anti-lockdown protesters who were rising up against state-overreach.

He even laughed off the idea that being a “Hard Left Marxist Socialist” is a bad thing.

It’s a rich irony that a party which is as allegedly linked to political violence historically as Sinn Féin would have the gall and temerity to start shouting about “extremists” taking over.

So in short, Gavan’s screed against what he sees as “the far-right” is simply one far-Left extremist complaining that the wrong kind of extremists are coming to power. He wishes Europe was taking a radical lurch towards extreme-Left authoritarians and dictators, rather than alleged rightwing radicals. He has zero problem with extremism and the State strong-arming people – he just wants his ideological team to be the ones doing the strong-arming.

And that is a kind of hypocrisy which no reasonable person can abide.

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