Friday, April 13, 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 women's movement is not of course in any sense a mass movement , and where women have mobilised it has been in the area of civil liberties on issues which primarily affect them . But the Anti-Amendment Campaign, and campaigns for contraception and divorce , are democratic demands which cross class divides and are not in themselves revolutionary demands , except insofar as they challenge the 'confessional nature' of the 26 County State .

Although changes in family law and other areas are absolutely worth fighting for , can anyone seriously argue that they have any real revolutionary potential ? Class demands for women - equal employment opportunities for working-class women , equal pay and the release of working women from the family home - are of central importance for the building of a progressive women's movement , but the current potential of these demands - and for the foreseeable future - is as limited as is the current revolutionary potential of the working class as a whole.......

The book - 'Troublesome Business-The Labour Party and the Irish Question', by GEOFFREY BELL , was published by Pluto Press in 1982.
Reviewed here by Ciaran Dowd.
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1982 .

Geoff Bell , the author of this short book , and himself a member of the British Labour Party, concludes unequivocally that "...the attitude and relationships of the British Labour Party to Ireland have been neither honourable , international nor socialist . "

While this can scarcely be news to Irish republicans , the book does serve nonetheless the useful purpose of documenting the progress of this dishonourable , chauvinist relationship from the days of the Black and Tan war up to the 1981 hunger-strike. Although it is in fact heavy on recording events and somewhat lacking in analysis , Geoff Bell's book is extremely readable and useful as a reference for dates and quotes . Overall , as the first book of its kind , it is recommended reading .

During the 1880's one of the small left-wing predecessors of the Labour Party, the 'Social Democratic Federation', threw its weight behind the campaign of the Land League and pledged itself to "...end coercion in Ireland.." . This solidarity was met with a mixed reaction from groups already campaigning on that issue.......

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' .)

RED REPUBLICAN PARTY: This group changed its name from 'Left Revolutionary Group' in 1976 : by 1978 it had ceased to function .

REPUBLICAN LABOUR PARTY: Formed in 1963 around two M.P.'s , Harry Diamond and Gerry Fitt. Although it won several seats on Belfast Corporation, it never had much of a party organisation . Reduced in size after the departure of 'Lord' Fitt to the SDLP in 1970 , its remaining M.P., Paddy Kennedy, continued to use the name . The Party ceased to function after winning no seats in the 1973 election.

REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST TENDENCY: Formed within the Socialist Labour Party in 1979 by supporters of People's Democracy, this group left the SLP altogether shortly after their formation .