Friday, April 06, 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 .

Unemployment in the 12 month period up to August 1983 increased by 36,000 to a total of 192,000 , yet despite this increase the most notable feature is the high turnover on the register . For example , from December 1982 to April 1983 , while 66,000 went on to the unemployment register , 48,000 came off it . Currently , only 46,000 (or approximately 25 per cent of those on the register) have been receiving unemployment benefits for longer than 15 months .

This figure represents roughly 5 per cent of the total potential workforce and actually compares favourably with the 7 per cent to 8 per cent level of long-term unemployment which was the norm during the 1960's .

In the supposedly explosive Dublin area there are currently 18,000 recent school leavers on the dole - yet they are concentrated in relatively few areas of the city , such as Finglas and Ballyfermot , which have traditionally experienced high levels of deprivation . Outside of Dublin , the scattered nature of the Industrial Development Authority - sponsored industrial base means that with few exceptions (e.g. Dunlop , and potentially Ford's at Cork) no great concentrations of industrial workers exist in any one area which could provide a strong impetus for anti-unemployment action . This is despite the harsh reality that more industrial workers are currently unemployed than are in work , and that traditionally major sources of jobs - such as the construction industry - are in collapse.......

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 .

All prisoners are locked up from 12.30pm to 2pm ; then , at 2pm , loyalists have an opportunity for exercise , following which they have their tea in the canteen . Again all prisoners are locked up between 4.15pm and 5pm . Republican prisoners get two hours' association starting at 5pm , one hour of which is spent in the yard and the second hour in the canteen . On alternate days , this procedure is reversed and operated in the loyalists' favour .

As can be seen , the routine is a cumbersome one to operate , especially when between 100-200 prisoners are in each wing . It could not be worked without the full co-operation of the prison administration but the 'official' acceptance - at the prison administration level - of the need for segregation , does not stop at the day-to-day running of the prison only . At the weekly remand courts on Tuesdays and Fridays , republicans and loyalists are segregated , and even in the area of education classes in Crumlin Road Jail, segregation has been implemented - a development which was unheard of prior to the hunger-strike .

As recently as September last (1982) , during discussions between the Board of Visitors and republican representatives , the Board agreed that segregation did exist and that they would argue for improvements within this established procedure . Republicans , however , regard the Board of Visitors as a toothless animal.......

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' .)

LEFT ALTERNATIVE: An alliance between the Communist Party Of Ireland, Official Sinn Fein and the Liaison Committee of the Labour Left. Formed in 1975 , it produced two economic manifestos and operated quietly in various areas but collapsed in 1976 because the participants had other priorities .

LEFT REVOLUTIONARY GROUP: Formed in 1976 as a breakaway from People's Democracy on the basis of stronger support for the military struggle and an analysis of the Loyalists as fascist . Changed its name to the Red Republican Party.

LIAISON COMMITTEE OF THE LABOUR LEFT: Formed in 1971 to re-group those left-wingers in the Labour Party who had not defected to the Socialist Labour Alliance. The 'Committee' collapsed in 1977 when the majority of leading members participated in the events which led to the formation of the Socialist Labour Party.