Monday, April 16, 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 .


Sinn Fein is the predominant group among a small number of organisations in Ireland calling for withdrawal from the EEC : in 1972 , Sinn Fein correctly predicted that EEC membership would result in the destruction of native industries and warned that the parallel policy of welcoming multinationals would not provide a long-term alternative .

The 23,000 jobs lost by the collapse of industries such as textiles and leather-working were replaced in the short-term by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), and , as has been discussed earlier in this article , the massive increase in unemployment since 1972 has not yet led to a total collapse of the Free State economy , which of course no longer exists as an independent reality .

In agriculture it is the small farmers who have suffered from the EEC : another 5,000 farmers currently face ruin over the EEC milk super levy, but the medium and large farming sectors have benefitted substantially from the net balance between Free State contributions to the EEC and EEC subsidies to the Free State , at the expense of other social groups - when the following figures are examined , the 'profit' going to those 'in favour' and , indeed , the reason why they are 'in favour' , becomes clear.......

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 .

Not everyone welcomed the involvement of the 'Social Democratic Federation' in the Irish land struggle issue , although some were : the great revolutionary and member of the Fenian Brotherhood, Michael Davitt, was so impressed by this show of solidarity that he declared -

" The rising democracy in England are not animated by feelings of hatred towards the people of Ireland . I believe , on the contrary , they are willing that Ireland should have these rights , political and social , that they themselves are demanding . " Unfortunately this was not to be . Charles Parnell, leader of the Irish Home Rule Party, although not in Davitt's radical mould , was ironically more realistic in his estimation of the English labour movement -

" We are told of some great wave of English democracy which is coming over here to poor Ireland to assist the Irish democracy . The poor Irish democracy will have , I fear , to rely upon themselves in the future as they have had up to the present . " In Britain subsequently , the democratic or socialist forces were to prove how 'vacillating' they were , collapsing often into naked imperialist chauvinism : the nascent British Labour Party (formed in 1906) began by simply ignoring Ireland - the first ten conferences were taken up by such 'vital' matters as cab trade legislation , vaccination and the laws governing motor traffic.......

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' .)

REVOLUTIONARY MARXIST GROUP: Trotskyist organisation formed in 1972 as a breakaway from the 'Young Socialists' on the basis of support for the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. The group changed its name to the Movement for a Socialist Republic in 1976 .

REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE: Formed in 1975 with a somewhat Maoist tinge , comparable to what are called Autonomists on the Continent .

SAOR ÉIRE: Formed in 1967 as a left-wing breakaway from the Republican Movement with a somewhat Guevarist orientation . Ceased to function in about 1973 .