Eoghan Harris has been dropped from his column with the Sunday Independent after the discovery that he sent anonymous tweets to a journalist. It is a fitting end to one of the most right-wing media commentators.
Harris began life as a left winger and was the leading theoretician inside the Workers Party in 1970s. In the book, the Irish Industrial Revolution, he promoted a crude Stalinist view that Ireland needed to first industrialise by inviting in multi-nationals instead of relying on a ‘lazy’ Irish bourgeoisie. Only after this industrialisation programme was completed could there be an advance towards socialism.
He was instrumental in pushing the Workers Party to characterise Sinn Fein as ‘fascists’. He was a producer in RTE and set up a party cell, whose main function was to ban ‘Provo-Trot’ voices from the airwaves.
When the Berlin Wall collapsed, Harris claimed there was no possibility of socialism and urged the Workers Party to move to social democracy and form alliances with the Labour party and, bizarrely, the social democratic wing of Fine Gael.
After this it was all downhill. Harris became an advisor to the Fine Gael leader, John Bruton, and to the Unionist Party. He supported the US invasion of Iraq, spotting more ‘terrorists’ and ‘Islamofascists’ that a civilised empire could crush.
Throughout his career, Harris never saw socialism as the outcome of working-class struggle and self-emancipation. Like a host of former Stalinists, he moved from defending the horrors of the Soviet Union to embracing a ‘better’ form of imperialism.
The removal of his bigoted rant from the Sunday Independent is to be welcomed. Even if the paper will not move much further from its anti-trade union, pro-capitalist line.