WHICH WAY FORWARD IN THE FREE STATE....... ?
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 .
Just as the Republican Movement can , with hindsight , be accused of naivity in the early 1970's in its confident assertions that each coming year would be 'Freedom Year' , it may well be that we are now assuming naively that the Free State establishment faces a politically insoluble economic crisis , and that all that is needed to spark the crisis is the touch-paper of republicanism's socialist ideology .
Let us begin by accepting honestly that we are not currently a major political force in the Free State - except in the reflective context of events in the North - and look briefly at the areas of unemployment (of youth in particular) , the trade unions , women's rights and EEC withdrawal as issues on which we can potentially mobilise :
One frequent assertion by republicans is that the effect of the seemingly endless rise of unemployment will be to alienate the working class , and the young in particular , from the capitalist system. By the beginning of 1984 - most observers agree - the toll of jobless in the Free State will top 200,000 , or about 22 per cent of the working population - but where is the expected bubbling ferment of disillusioned youth ? A look at the annul live register goes some way to providing an answer........
A SEGREGATED JAIL .......
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 .
Those in charge of prison policy at the 'NIO, such as 'Lord' Gowrie, know and accept that a system of segregation is being operated : their 'official' denial of such a reality , in typical British double-talk , claiming that it is the prisoners themselves who work this set-up and not the administration , is theoretically right but in actual practice is far removed from the truth . A look at an ordinary working day in Crumlin Road Jail shows clearly that peace exists because the prison administration operates a limited system of segregation -
- the day begins at 7.30 am when prison warders arrive on the landings . Prisoners awaken to a shout from a senior prison warder to the effect that either the 'RC's' (republicans) or 'Prods' (loyalists) are in the canteen for their breakfast . If it's the republicans , we will then eat our breakfast in the canteen while the warders supervise the 'slopping out' of those prisoners remaining in their cells . Then , when the republicans return from the canteen , we 'slop out' while the loyalists are washing and showering . At 9am exercise begins for the non-political prisoners , who are now located in 'B' wing : this , in itself - keeping non-political prisoners in a separate wing - is further evidence of the administration voluntarily operating a form of segregation .
The exercise session for the non-political prisoners ends at 10am and is followed by republicans exercising from 10am to 11.15am and , while we are exercising , loyalists continue to wash and 'slop out' . They then collect their dinner from the canteen and eat it in their cells , while republicans eat in the canteen . 'Lock Ups' are next on the agenda.......
GLOSSARY OF THE LEFT IN IRELAND : FROM 1960 TO 1983.......
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 YOUTH: Formed in 1979 as the youth movement of the Labour Party. MILITANT quickly established itself as the dominant influence .
LEAGUE FOR A WORKERS' REPUBLIC: Formed in 1968 as a hard Trotskyist breakaway from the Irish Workers' Group. Affiliated to the Organising Committee for the Reconstruction of the Fourth International (known as 'Lambertists', and then 'Fourth International', and then 'International Committee For Reconstruction'. ) The 'League' played an important role in the Young Socialists, and following the failure of the Socialist Labour Alliance re-oriented itself to the Labour Party in 1976 . Some members participated in the Socialist Labour Party in 1977-1978 .
LEAGUE FOR WORKERS' VANGUARD: Trotskyist organisation formed in 1970 as a breakaway from the League For A Workers' Republic on the basis of support for the International Committee Of The Fourth International (known as 'Healyites') . The 'Vanguard' group changed its name to Workers' League in 1971 .