Wednesday, April 18, 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 .

Total grants , subsidies and loans from the EEC during the period of membership up to 1981 (ie 1972-1981) amount to a total of £3,777.7 million , while the total Free State contribution to the EEC in the same period amounts to £360.5 million .

Most people in the South believe that the 'recession' is due solely to world market forces , and that it will improve . And so despite the actual effects of the EEC on jobs and on small farmers there is no concrete mood for EEC withdrawal : an anti-EEC campaign based solely on economic opposition would not command support across a sufficiently wide spectrum of people .

Sinn Fein may well grasp the political realities that underlie the EEC , but the fact is that , as yet , the mass of people does not . The consideration of these complex issues in the confined space of this article has arguably been rather trite , but its basic assertion is that in the identified areas of economic and social issues Sinn Fein will not in the near future begin to build anything approaching an 'Economic Resistance Movement' in the South of Ireland.......

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 .

The British Labour Party's manifestos in the two general elections of 1910 made no commitment to , or even mention of , Irish Home Rule : in 1916 , the British labour movement's newspaper , the 'Daily Herald', made this comment on the Easter Rising: " No lover of peace can do anything but deplore the outbreak in Dublin ." It is strange how pacifism always breaks out when the oppressed fight back !

When the inter-imperialist wars break out , labour leaders glorify the call to arms in the name of 'national sacrifice' . James Connolly was quite right when he told his comrades in 1916 that British socialists would simply not understand why he joined the Rising .

After Sinn Fein swept the board in the 1918 elections, British labour leader J.R. Clynes could only deplore that the Irish movement "...which treats this country and this House (ie Westminster) with contempt , and refused to come under it , * received the support of the great majority of the Irish people.." (* '1169...' Comment : Mr Clynes would no doubt be pleased with the actions of Westminster's 'newest' subjects.......) It was , stated Mr Clynes , the 'lawlessness' of Sinn Fein which was "...being especially encouraged by the government's neglect of this troublesome subject.."

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' .)

SINN FEIN: Formed in 1905 originally , after the 1930's it was no longer a mass movement but had renewed its ties with the IRA . It lost its four seats in Leinster House in 1961 and in 1962 the IRA called off the Border Campaign: Sinn Fein then began to consider a move to the left , and a re-orientation to radical activism took place with an ideology approaching that of the Communist Party. The failure to provide guns in the North of Ireland and the ending of the abstentionist policy with regard to seats won in Leinster House led to the split between the 'Officials' and the Provisionals- 1969 on the military side and 1970 on the political side .

The Officials , known in the North as the Republican Clubs, continued their movement , increasingly emphasising the winning of parliamentary seats, and changed their name to 'Sinn Fein The Workers Party' in 1977 .

The Provisionals' greater emphasis on military methods of struggle brought them more recruits , and their concentration in Nationalist working-class areas helped them to begin their own move to the left and their popular support led to the contesting of the 1982 Assembly elections when they won five seats.