Friday, March 30, 2007


In the wake of Sinn Fein successs in the North , republicans are increasingly having to confront the problem of building a realistic strategy for the very different political situation that exists in the 26 Counties . In this controversial analysis , Sinn Fein ard comhairle ('National Executive') member Paddy Bolger , argues that the Sinn Fein concept of an 'Economic Resistance Movement' , put forward in 1971 and expanded eight years later , is seriously over-optimistic , and that the national question remains the central revolutionary issue on which Free State workers can be mobilised in a painstaking and gradualist approach .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 .

The most regularly-drawn contrast in relation to Sinn Fein's position is that between the situation that existed for the party in the North prior to 1981 and the massive increase in Sinn Fein's influence and credibility in the North that has occurred since then .

But what about the other major contrast , as massively relevant to republican strategy as the Northern electoral interventions - the contrast between the state of the party in the North and in the Free State ? While few people would challenge the strong possibility of Sinn Fein securing majority electoral support among Northern nationalists * in the not so distant future , would anyone venture a comparable optimism about Sinn Fein's prospects in the 26 counties ? Undoubtedly not . ('1169...' Comment * It was actually those that left the Republican Movement in 1986 with Gerry Adams that "secured majority electoral support..." , but they done so by 'out-stooping' the Stoops, an 'opportunity' that was always available to Irish Republicans but which was only ever taken-up by those that left the Movement .)

And yet , the current social and economic situation in the South is almost identical to that projected in the Sinn Fein policy document adopted in early 1980 - ' Eire Nua : the Social , Economic and Political Dimensions ' (a revision of the 1971 Social and Economic Programme) . That document urged the immediate forging of an 'Economic Resistance Movement' centred on the trade unions and co-operatives and mobilising the people for national aims around issues such as unemployment , women's rights , youth , withdrawal from the EEC etc.......

Formerly Sinn Fein's national organiser , 28-year-old Belfast republican Jim Gibney has been imprisoned on remand since last January , one of many who have been held solely on the word of an RUC informer . Most of this period on remand has been spent in Belfast's Crumlin Road Jail.
In this article , smuggled out of Crumlin Road , Gibney outlines the daily routine in the jail , in which segregation between republican and loyalist prisoners -one of the hunger-strikers' five demands- plays a central , if 'officially' unrecognised , role .
From 'IRIS' magazine ,November 1982 .
By Jim Gibney .

One year after the ending of the hunger-strike in the H-Blocks, the British government continues to refuse to concede some of the outstanding demands which prompted it .

Principal among these demands are the issues of segregation between republican and loyalist prisoners , and a full restoration of remission lost by prisoners during the six-year protest . Although the relationship in the North's prisons - Long Kesh, Armagh, Magilligan and Crumlin Road, which contains remand prisoners - between prisoners and prison warders has improved , this is due more to the ending of the no-wash and blanket protests by the prisoners which in turn led to the warders ending their physical assaults and the internal body searches than to any enlightened handling of the prison situation by the self-avowed 'liberal' prisons' minister , 'Lord' Gowrie.

More than enough time has passed since the hunger-strike ended on October 3rd 1981 for the necessary changes to be implemented if the British government was genuinely interested in preventing yet another major challenge to their prison policy , which was derailed last year when they were forced to concede the political prisoners' right to wear their own clothes . Since then , the focus of attention has switched to the issue of segregation - one of the original five demands which the British government has said it will not implement.......

These notes attempt to record the left-wing organisations which have existed in Ireland since 1960 . No attempt has been made to record purely local organisations outside Dublin and Belfast , or microscopic groups which never reached double figures . The larger organisations have been presented in more detail .
From 'GRALTON' magazine, 1983.
By John Goodwillie.
(NOTE : Links in the following article are as accurate as possible - not all the groups mentioned left a discernible 'footprint' .)

LABOUR AND TRADE UNION CO-ORDINATING GROUP: Formed in 1974 with the participation of members of Militant to campaign for a mass party of labour in the North of Ireland . Changed its name to Labour and Trade Union Group in 1979 .

LABOUR AND TRADE UNION GROUP: (See above) . With the participation of members of Militant, this organisation worked for a mass party of labour in the North of Ireland .