Monday, April 02, 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 Sinn Fein 'Eire Nua' document asserted with optimism : " It remains to indicate the lines along which Sinn Fein may win the support of the majority of the Irish people for the realisation of its objectives . It is clear that resistance to the British forces of occupation in the Six Counties is alone insufficient . It will be necessary to develop the unity of the people around a programme of economic resistance to the non-military aspects of imperialist interference in Ireland .

By this means it will be possible to safeguard the livelihood of the people , to frustrate the plans for a completely export-orientated , dependent , industrial economy on the East coast , and at major sea ports , with the rest of the country a depopulated 'tourist paradise' and to build up an institutional structure which will foreshadow certain state organs of the future Republican Government . " While this aspiration - with its primary intended application obviously being in the 26 Counties , rather than the North - is undoubtedly correct , it is increasingly necessary to look critically at the short and long-term feasibility of Sinn Fein building such 'extra-constitutional' mass agitation along the lines of the 'Economic Resistance Movement'.

In so analysing , it is essential not to look through the rose-tinted spectacles * of republican enthusiasm , but in the cold and uncomfortable light of the actual political situation in the Free State....... ('1169...' Comment * : Irish Republicans never owned a pair of "rose-tinted spectacles..." between them ! They are aware , from their own history , of the uphill nature of the path they have chosen . However , as in all such Struggles , there are , equally , those who ignore their own history and , wearing said "rose-tinted spectacles" , convince themselves that they have found 'friends' amongst their adversaries .)

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 .

The first significant shot in this protest was fired in November 1981 , not by Irish Republicans , but by Loyalists who are also demanding segregation : they took their protest on to the roof of the top security 'A' wing of Crumlin Road jail, having systematically wrecked the wing . Following this incident , loyalist politicians have periodically called publicly for segregation , claiming that loyalist prisoners ' are out-numbered and under threat from republicans' .

But warnings from both republican and loyalist camps of impending trouble between the prisoners , and as a consequence between prisoners and warders , have fallen on deaf ears at the 'Northern Ireland Office', which continues to issue statements proclaiming that it is not government policy to segregate prisoners according to their political beliefs . The comparison between this statement and the existing reality in the prisons , particularly Crumlin Road, shows it to be nothing other than a blatant lie .

For over six years , indeed since July 12th 1976 when a riot occurred in the canteen of 'C' wing between republicans and loyalists , the prison administration has operated a policy of segregating remand prisoners during meal-times , association and exercise periods , and while cleaning out their cells . The only time in Crumlin Road Prison that loyalist and republican prisoners 'mix' is when they are going to and from visits , and this practice existed even before political status was withdrawn in 1976 .......

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 PARTY: Formed in 1930 by the division of the Irish Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress into its constituent parts . Throughout the period the Labour Party has been the largest organisation numerically , although this strength was possibly rivalled for some time by Sinn Fein - this does not imply any great level of activity on the part of ts members , who are obviously heterogeneous in the level of activity and commitment . The election of Brendan Corish as leader in 1960 was followed by a cautious move leftwards and the adhesion of a radical layer of 'intellectuals' .

This development was helped by the entry of the National Progressive Democrats in 1963 , which raised the combined 'left' strength in Leinster House to 17 . But the 1969 general election was outwardly disappointing , reducing the strength from the 22 of 1965 to 18 , despite the vote increasing from 15.4 per cent to 17 per cent . The aftermath was the adoption of a coalitionist policy in 1970 and the departure of the most left-wing elements .

Through the period of the Cosgrave coalition (1973-77) and the first FitzGerald coalition (1981-82) and the following Fianna Fail governments , the Labour Party vote steadily declined and seats declined from a peak of 19 in 1973 . The 1977 general election also saw an outflow of left-wingers from the party .