Friday, April 20, 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 .

In acknowledging these issues as they exist , we are faced with no different a situation than that which faces socialist movements in countries as socially and politically developed as France , Spain or Italy : scattered pickets on laudable issues , or minority industrial action , cannot compensate for the realities of the general political situation .

Politics in the Free State , as in most bourgeois democracies , take place only at election times - at least insofar as political action visibly affects the mass of the people . There is no social revolutionary potential in the State at present so it must therefore be in the superfically reformist area of 'advice clinics' and elections that we will build our base , and in principled and patient work in other organisations , notably the trade union movement .

We cannot get around this gradualist process under the conditions that exist . As Che Guevara said - " Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote , fraudulent or not , and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality , the guerrilla outbreak cannot be prompted , since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted . " ('1169...' Comment : some have obviously taken that to mean that they should join with those 'fraudsters' ....)

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 'troublesome Irish' comments expressed by J.R.Clynes was typical of the core of British Labour's attitude towards Ireland - a 'troublesome subject' that they would much rather see go away peacefully . If one could sum up all subsequent policy on Ireland it would be the search for the 'middle ground' .

Concerning this , Geoff Bell notes correctly however that "...there is little evidence that there is a navigable middle way in Ireland , or that there ever has been.. " ('1169...' Comment : those who - before the rich pickings of political corruption set in - would have once agreed with that sentiment are now the loudest in condemning same!)

The only consistently democratic attitude would have been support for the Irish right to self-determination and the forces struggling for full independence without partition. In the years since the partitioning of Ireland in the 1920's, British 'labourism' has blown hot and cold over 'the Irish Question'.......

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 THE WORKERS PARTY: Changed its name from 'Sinn Fein' in 1977 . Known in the North of Ireland as 'Republican Clubs - the Workers Party'. While their support in the North was much reduced from that at the time of the split with the Provisionals, support in the South was steadily building itself along fairly conventional lines , culminating with the election of one party member to Leinster House in 1981 and three party members in February 1982. This group changed its name to the Workers' Party in 1982 .

SOCIALIST LABOUR ACTION GROUP: Formed in 1970 to resist the rightward trend in The Labour Party, this group included members of 'The Young Socialists' organisation . This 'Action Group' was replaced by 'The Socialist Labour Alliance' in 1970 .

THE SOCIALIST LABOUR ALLIANCE: Formed in 1971 (after being in 'preparatory form' since 1970) following the coalition decision of the Labour Party conference . Most of The Socialist Labour Action Group joined , the 'People's Democracy' group affiliated to them as did Saor Eire, nominally . By early 1972 it consisted of the People's Democracy' group, the League For A Workers' Republic (with the remnant's of the 'Young Socialists') , and the newly formed Socialist Workers' Movement and Revolutionary Marxist Group. It ceased to function when the Socialist Workers' Movement disaffiliated on the ground that the organisation had become a mere 'debating society' .