James Connolly and the unions we need today in New Zealand

Folks may be interested in this – Connolly is relevant all over the world!



Challenging the construction of republican ‘dissidents’

In the past few days I’ve been in contact with a number of republicans around Ireland and further afield, as part of my attempt to expand this blog’s readership and also to find more people to write for it.

One result is that I came in contact with someone who recently (2013) completed a master’s thesis on how republicans who continue to hold core republican views have been presented by the Provisionals’ leadership (and others – academics, media) as “dissident republicans”.  Larry has kindly agreed that I can use his MA thesis for the blog.

So, over the next couple of weeks, I hope to go through it and start getting it up on the blog.

I am trying to put aside time to work on a feature piece on Fintan Lalor and the Irish Revolution, as well as a bunch of reviews which I have been meaning to write over the past couple of years and haven’t, as other aspects of life have intervened continuously, as they are wont to do. . .

Once again, I am very keen to get other people involved in writing stuff for the blog.

McKearney v Dudley Edwards debate on 1916 now on youtube

The debate between veteran republican activist Tommy McKearney and veteran revisionist historian Ruth Dudley Edwards on “The 1916 Rising – a good or bad thing for Ireland”, organised by the 1916 Societies and held at the Teachers’ Club in Dublin on July 29, is now up on youtube.

You can watch it here.


Che and Seamus

Next week marks the anniversaries of the murders of two great revolutionaries, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and Seamus Costello, thinkers and fighters who were murdered ten years apart.

Che was murdered (executed) in Bolivia on October 9, 1967 while Seamus was murdered in Dublin on October 5, 1977.

Seamus was kind of Ireland’s Che Guevara.  While Guevara was joining forces with the Castro brothers and the July 26 Movement, Seamus at just 16 years old joined the IRA and took part in the ‘border campaign’.  Already his talents were leading to him being dubbed ‘the boy general’.

While Che was part of the revolutionary government in Cuba in the early 1960s and then went to fight in the Congo and, subsequently, Bolivia where he was captured and executed without trial, Seamus had become a member of the Army Council, the 7-person central leadership of the IRA and was to the forefront of the political rethinking that was going on in IRA and SF following the defeat of the ‘border campaign’.

With the 1969/1970 split in the Republican Movement, resulting in the ‘Officials’ and ‘Provisionals’, Seamus was a key figure in the Officials.  However, the Officials’ commitment to revolutionary socialism was quickly replaced by a virulent strand of pro-Moscow reformism and they began quickly to retreat on the national question and the armed struggle,  In 1974 Seamus, who was the chief internal critic of the drift of the Officials, led his supporters out of the Officials and established the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the INLA.  The new movement attracted a layer of revolutionary-left activists including Bernadette Devlin.

The Officials, who had been overtaken by the (originally smaller) Provisionals were determined not to allow themselves to be outflanked from the left and began to try to violently suppress the IRSP.  Several activists in the IRSP were murdered and the IRSP struck back in defence.

The Officials’ central leadership then decided to kill Costello and he was shot dead while sitting in his car in the centre of Dublin.  Miriam Daly then took over as chair of the IRSP before she too was murdered – this time by the UDA during the 1981 hunger strikes.

On Seamus Costello see: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/remembering-seamus-costello-1939-1977/ (this includes an excellent talk given by Louise Minihan of eirigi a couple of years ago)

Bernadette Devlin tribute to Seamus:  https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/remembering-seamus-costello-outstanding-irish-revolutionary/

Miriam Daly tribute to Seamus:  https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/miriam-daly-on-seamus-costello/

And see the text of a key 1969 speech of Costello: “On Democracy and the Mass Movement”:https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/seamus-costello-democracy-and-the-mass-movement-speech-feb-1969/


On Che, see The Legacy of Che Guevara: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/the-legacy-of-che/

Che’s African Dream: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/in-review-che-in-africa/

Che’s message to the Tricontinental: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/ches-message-to-the-tricontinental-1967/

Connolly conference, Edinburgh, October 10


Seamus Costello Commemoration, Bray, October 4


Look who owes Ireland. . .

11229689_1057516514260765_7546518945015317525_nApple is estimated to owe seventeen billion (yes BILLION) euro in unpaid corporation back-taxes to the Twenty-Six County exchequer.

And looking to the future, if this one US corporation actually paid the full 12.5% rate of corporation tax the state could receive an estimated FOUR BILLION in tax revenue from just this one company each year.

For comparison the state currently takes an average of just €4bn in corporation tax from every domestic and international company combined. Yes, COMBINED.

Do you find it hard to believe these figures? Do you think éirígí has made them up? Or perhaps you think we used the Anglo-Irish Bank approach and ‘picked them out of my arse’?

The actual source of these figures is that well-known hot-bed of revolutionary socialist republicanism – J.P Morgan.

Back in May J.P Morgan issued a Read the rest of this entry

eirigi open new office in Belfast

photoThe socialist-republican party éirígí have opened their new ‘Belfast Office & Advice Centre’ on the Springfield Road. Party spokesperson Pádraic Mac Coitir, said that the new space was opened in response to ‘an increase in housing, welfare and other issues’ that the party were now responding to.

Speaking from the recent launch in Belfast Pádraic said, “Following the opening of our first Belfast  office two years ago, our party has received a gradual increase in demand for advice services and other requests for help from the local community. And it’s not just locals, we have actually had people from outside Belfast coming in to speak to us about common issues such as welfare and housing and other concerns that we never expected to deal with, like legal disputes and, more surprisingly, immigration.”

“It’s for those reasons that we felt the time was right to expand the services that we provide and open a more accessible space on the Springfield Road. We’ll now have a Read the rest of this entry

Who’s Afraid of the Easter Rising? 1916-2016

jhp55f16913a1cffTwo old acquaintances of mine – Kevin Rooney and James Heartfield – have written a new book on 1916, including looking at the response of the post-1921 establishment in the south.  I asked James to write a couple of paragraphs about the book.  I highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy.

by James Heartfield

A few years ago senior politicians from Ireland were meeting their opposites in Britain to talk about how to handle the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising.

‘The Easter Rising damaged the Irish psyche’, said the former Taoiseach, John Bruton: The Rising was ‘completely unnecessary’, and ‘led directly to the brutal violence of the war of independence and the civil war that followed’. The Rising’s leader Patrick Pearse ‘had justified the provos’ – the Provisional IRA. Bruton’s thinking echoes the prejudices of two generations of Irish intellectuals, from Conor Cruise O’Brien to Roy Foster, who have levelled forests of newsprint dismissing republicanism. In our book, ‘Who’s Afraid of the Easter Rising?’ Kevin Rooney and I show that the anniversary has always been a problem for the ruling class in Dublin, who fear Republicanism the movement because they owe their status to an agreement with the British to put it down.

British politicians shared Bruton’s wish that the Easter Rising could be Read the rest of this entry

The gathering crisis in the six counties: more Provo capitulation?

Since Adams & McGuinness got the IRA to effectively surrender, the Provos have made new friends and suffered endless humiliation at the hands of the Unionists and British state

Since Adams & McGuinness got the IRA to effectively surrender, the Provos have made new friends and suffered endless humiliation at the hands of the Unionists and British state

The piece below is reblogged from the Socialist Democracy site here.

The latest crisis in the slow decay of the Irish peace process was unleashed following the murder of republican Kevin McGuigan when the local chief constable announced that the IRA continued in place with an organised structure and that members were involved in the murder of their opponent. 

In the furore that followed the most honest comment came from a surprising source. British secretary of state Thersa Villiers said she was “not surprised” by the news. Neither was anyone else on the island of Ireland. Former southern Irish minister Michael McDowell explained that the governments had decided to leave a dried up husk, calculating that this would act as a barrier to the formation of a new republican movement. In fact the IRA have been involved in killings since the claim that they had been stood down and the police have obscured the issue with a formula similar to that used today. 

So why have Irish politicians been thrown into crisis by a ghost? Especially one whose appearance lacks the element of surprise and where the police have used a familiar formula, used in the past to obscure direct IRA involvement, invoked purely imaginary cover names for the IRA such as Action Against Drugs and stopped short of alleging that the killing was carried out by the IRA as opposed to individual members, in fact explicitly ruling out evidence of a chain of command.

Peace process

The explanation lies at the foundation of the peace process. The process is at odds with the programme of Read the rest of this entry


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