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Soldier of the revolution and working class intellectual: two tributes to Vol Tony Catney


Funeral of Tony Catney

Below is the tribute to Tony ‘TC’ Catney written by republican POWs in Roe House, Maghaberry.  It was read out at his funeral in August 2014 in Belfast by Paul Duffy.  The text is taken from The Pensive Quill blog.

People assembled at the graveside of Tony Catney hardly need an introduction to the life and times of the man being laid to rest. There are so many dimensions to the life just ended that it would be impossible to catalogue them or squeeze them into some easy to deliver package. TC, as we all knew him, was a republican gem, a rough diamond with sharp edges and a razor sharp intellect to match.

People will remember TC in different ways and for different reasons. His friends will remember him fondly. His critics will see him more caustically. But the mischief in him would have enjoyed that. His attitude would be that if he was not annoying those he fundamentally disagreed with then he wasn’t doing his job. And the job of TC, as he saw it, was to bring clarity to matters that others tried to obscure.

For IRA prisoners TC will always occupy a Read the rest of this entry

Commemorating Tony Catney

TCRegardless of which particular socialist-republican group anyone belongs to, or supports, the death of Tony ‘TC’ Catney last August was a loss to all serious socialist-republicans.  The 1916 Societies in Dublin have taken on organising what is intended to be an annual debate dedicated to him.  The inaugural Tony Catney Memorial Debate was organised by the new Cathal Brugha 1916 Society, based in Kilbarrack/Donaghmede, and took place in the Teachers Club in Parnell Square on March 7.  The topic was Republicanism in the Twenty-first Century and the speakers were Dee Fennell, Cait Trainor and Anthony McIntyre.

It attracted a large audience, including sections of the disparate left republican currents, and went on for two-and-a-half hours.  There were still hands in the air when it had to be ended because the club was closing.

Anthony McIntyre’s speech can be read here.

Hopefully the speeches by Cait Trainor and Dee Fennell will be on-line soon or a video will appear.

While, as Anthony McIntyre noted, the Provo leadership cabal around Adams destroyed the struggle to an extent no amount of British repression ever could, this meeting was yet another indication that there is still a significant layer of left republicans floating around wondering what the hell happened and wanting to talk about how the struggle was taken up the cul-de-sac of bourgeois nationalism and republicanism and socialism were both sacrificed.

At the same time, there are too many left-republican groups.  The differences between them are far, far slighter than the common ideas – most particularly that in the 21st century, and after the debacle of the Provos, any real republicanism has to be socialist-republicanism.  The bulk of republicans at this meeting should be in a common socialist-republican organisation, one with a lively internal political life which is also publicly projected.

Well done to the 1916 Societies, especially the new Cathal Brugha 1916 Society, for organising such a lively political meeting.

Given that the 1916 Societies devote a lot of energy to public events such as this, it would be great to see them hosting meetings where representatives of the various left-republican currents were invited to speak.  One of the topics might be on how to work together to ensure the most successful revolutionary celebration/commemoration of the 1916 Rising, rather than having half a dozen different groups all organising their own events, a recipe for being completely overshadowed by the Adamsites’ carnival of blarney.  A combined revolutionary programme, involving all the genuine republican forces, could be attractive and big enough to at least present an alternative to the attempt by the Adamsites to grab ownership of 1916.

Dunnes Stores strike – follow-up article

I’ve done a follow-up article, which can be read at:

Gay marriage referendum

I’ve written a feature-length article about this for another blog.  Because it’s written for a mainly non-Irish audience, it explains things that wouldn’t need explaining to Irish readers, but hopefully is still well worth a read by this blog’s readership.

You can find it at:



The Dunnes Stores strike – fantastic workers’ action

Photo: RTE

Photo: RTE

I’ve written about this over on the Redline blog:

Six thousand workers employed in 109 Dunnes Stores in the south of Ireland staged a 24-hour strike yesterday (Thursday, April 2).  (The business sells food, clothing, home furnishings; they’re roughly similar to a chain like Woolworths in NZ.)

Whereas in New Zealand, there is currently a campaign against zero-hours contracts, in the Dunnes Stores case the  most pressing issue is low-hours contracts.  About 80 percent of Dunnes workers have only 15 hours guaranteed work a week, so the effect is still that they cannot plan their finances beyond any one week, if even that.  The strike is also for. . .

full at:


Education for socialist-republicans


Karl Marx

I’m involved in the little collective behind Redline blog.  While a chunk of what Redline produces uses specifically New Zealand examples, because that’s where it’s based, it also runs educational material that is relevant to anti-capitalists everywhere.  Below are a few pieces.

What is Marxism?

What is exploitation?

How capitalism works – and why it doesn’t

4,000 words on Capital

Karl Korsch on “tremendous and enduring” impact of Marx’s Capital (1932)

Marx’s critique of classical political economy

Capital, the working class and Marx’s critique of political economy

Capital and the state

How capitalist ideology works

Pilling’s Marx’s Capital: philosophy, dialectics and political economy

How capitalism under-develops the world

The political economy of low-wage labour 

See also the document from éirígí:
From socialism alone can the salvation of Ireland come

Easter Rising event, Dublin, Saturday, April 4

A Chara,

This year marks the 99th anniversary of one of the most momentous events in Irish history – the 1916 Easter Rising. The insurrection and the executions that followed transformed the political landscape in Ireland.  Within three years of the Rising the Irish people had rallied to the Republic, leading to the establishment of the revolutionary Dáil Éireann, the Tan War, Partition and the withdrawal of British forces from the Twenty-Six Counties.

The 1916 Rising asserted the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland and their right to control the destiny of the Irish nation.  The 1916 Proclamation placed equality and social justice at the heart of a new Irish Republic.  Ninety-nine years later and much remains to be done to fulfill the vision contained within the 1916 Proclamation.

At 4pm on Saturday April 4th a Citizens Celebration of the 1916 Rising will take place in Dublin City.  This family-friendly event is being organised to give citizens an opportunity to honour those who have died for Irish freedom whilst also demanding an Ireland that truly cherishes all the children of the nation equally.

The format for the 1916 Citizens Commemoration will be as follows:

  • Assemble at 4pm beside the statue of Countess Markievicz on Townsend Street (just off Tara Street)
  • Parade across the Liffey to Liberty Hall where a short piece from James Connolly will be read aloud
  • From Liberty Hall the parade will re-trace the route taken by the Republican forces in 1916 to the GPO where the 1916 Proclamation will be read out and lilies and a wreath will be laid
  • From the GPO the parade will head to the final headquarters of the 1916 Republican forces at No 16 Moore Street where there will be a short speech by Brian Leeson and a rendition of Amhran na bhFiann

Music on the parade will be provided by the Black/Ryan flute band from Glasgow who are travelling to Dublin to participate in the celebrations.

It’s expected that the Citizens Celebration will take about ninety minutes in total, finishing up about 5.30pm.

A social event with ól, ceol agus craic will follow in Lloyds Bar on Amiens Street.

We would like to invite you and your family to join the Citizens Celebration of 1916 on April 4th.  Please invite your neighbours, friends and workmates to come along to remember our patriot dead and demand a new Ireland that will put the needs of the people ahead of the greed of the corrupt politicians, bankers, landlords and the rest of the ruling elite.

All welcome.  Bígí linn.

Blog future

Just a short note on the future of the blog.

In the past, up til about a year ago, I tried to get heaps of stuff up on the site and cover lots of small things that were happening in Ireland.  However, it’s proved to not be possible to keep doing this and attempting to do so has become exhausting and also gotten in the way of having time (and energy) to get up more substantial stuff.

So, from now on, I won’t be making any attempt to cover various events as they happen within Ireland.  Instead I’ll put in links to stories on particular struggles maybe once a week – or once a fortnight if not much is happening at any time – from socialist-republican sites.  They have members on the ground involved in these struggles and do much more ongoing articles on them than I ever could.

Instead I’m going to concentrate on:

  • Historical material

  • Occasional in-depth work on particular contemporary issues of Irish politics and political economy

  • Book reviews

At the end of this year, I’ll also review whether it’s worth continuing the blog.

In the meantime, I’m really keen to run book and film reviews that anyone might fancy contributing, anything on the Irish economy/ies, the new political dispensation in the six counties, historical material, etc etc.


Palestine solidarity

downloadAs readers will be aware, as well as doing this site I am part of the collective behind Redline, a great little marxist site based way down in New Zealand.

One of the main areas covered by Redline is the struggle for Palestinian liberation and, within that context, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.  A number of us at Redline were engaged a few years ago in a campaign to raise funds for the PFLP.  A campaign which, sadly, no longer exists.  However, it managed to raise several thousand dollars in its only too-brief existence.

The Palestine/PFLP connection also fits neatly with this blog because of the solidarity between éirígí and the PFLP.  Indeed, it was an earlier incarnation of Redline which was able to put éirígí in touch with Leila Khaled and the PFLP, although Leila has been banned from entering the twenty-six counties (ironically, she has been able to enter Britain – another case of the neocolonial lackeys sometimes being worse than their imperialist masters!).

Anyway, this is a plug for the Redline coverage of Palestinian and PFLP material, as I keep this site for specifically Irish material.

We have numerous articles up on Redline on the cause of Palestinian liberation and the PFLP, including an interview that was done with Leila as part of the fundraising campaign.

Below are a few pieces:

Remembering George Habash: Palestinian revolutionary intellectual and freedom fighter:

For a world free of racism, imperialism and capitalist exploitation – message from PFLP to 2014 éirígí conference:

Palestinian liberation and the PFLP today – interview with PFLP deputy-general-secretary:

PFLP on the Palestinian Authority:

NZ solidarity activist interview with Palestinian revolutionary icon Leila Khaled:

The case of Ahmad Sa’adat:

Also, check out the Palestine and PFLP categories on the site.

Upcoming conference on radical agitation from 1968-2010: a call for papers

“From Civil Rights to the Bailout: Social movements, workers agitation, and left-wing activism in Ireland, 1968-2010″

Irish Centre for Histories of Labour and Class
NUI Galway
19-20 June 2015

From the Civil Rights Movement to contemporary protests against austerity, the years since 1968 have witnessed widespread and varied social movements in communities, workplaces and colleges throughout Ireland, North and South, that have fought for, and resisted, social change. These movements have spurred the growth of numerous organisations ranging from those advocating limited reform, to those advancing revolutionary change in society. However, despite its immediate relevance to an understanding of contemporary Ireland, the lack of historical research conducted in the agents and resisters of social change since 1968 is a noticeable gap in the study of class and politics in Ireland. This interdisciplinary conference hopes to address this.

We welcome scholarly contributions of 20 minutes from established academics to students on any issue that falls under the remit of the conference title. The conference also affords us the opportunity to preserve and generate sources for the benefit of future researchers. We hope to offer workshops on oral history and the preservation, including digitisation, of documentation such as leaflets, posters and periodicals. To this end, we especially want to hear from activists in movements and organisations from the period who may be interested in sharing their experiences and documentation in a friendly and open environment.

Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:
* Civil Rights in Northern Ireland
* Trade union growth, activism, and change
* Workplace strikes/occupations
* Left Social Democratic groups (e.g. Socialist Labour Party, Liaison of the Left, etc)
* Socialist Republicanism
* Trotskyist, Communist, and other Leninist groups
* Anarchist and other libertarian groups
* Catholic Worker, Christian Socialist groups
* Left-wing periodicals
* Community campaigns (e.g. housing, drugs, hospital closures, water charges)
* Second Wave Feminism and Women’s rights (e.g. equal pay, access to contraception, divorce, abortion rights)
* LGBT rights
* Anti-globalisation movement
* Anti-war movement
* Solidarity campaigns on issues abroad (e.g. Nicaragua, Vietnam, Miners’ Strike, apartheid in South Africa)
* Student activism                                                                                                                         * Media representation of social movements, trade unionism, and left-wing activism

If you wish to present a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short biography including affiliation, if any, by 31 March 2015 to David Convery at

If you were/are an activist in this area and are interested in attending, please let us know at the same address by the same date. We would be especially grateful if you could inform us if you are willing to share your experiences as part of an oral history interview and/or have documentation which would be of interest. All documentation will remain the possession of the owner.

For more information, please see the conference website at:


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