Author Archives: Admin

Workers and the way forward: a socialist-republican perspective

In order to get real action, the workers will need to act for themselves not rely on ICTU leadership

by Philip Ferguson

It seems a long time now since trade union members in the south of Ireland voted to reject Croke Park 11, a deal promoted by leaders of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in partnership with the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government in Dublin.  The current coalition, like the Fianna Fail/Green coalition that preceded it, has sought to make southern Irish workers pay for the financial crisis of Irish banks and the meltdown of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy.

For several decades the bulk of the union leadership has pushed tripartite deals with the bosses and the state, a ‘partnership’ model which has been held up by union leaderships as far afield as New Zealand as worth emulating.  But these tripartite deals did not deliver to workers even during the ‘good times’ of the ‘boom’ periods in the 1990s and early 2000s.  Now the boom has turned to bust the partnership model has simply locked unions into accepting responsibility for the financial crisis and agreeing to the austerity measures demanded by the Troika.

Rhetoric v resistance

The leadership of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has engaged in some token rhetoric about ‘sharing the  burden’ of the crisis and they have marched workers up and down the hill and then sent them home a couple of times.  But, in general, they have acted as faithful lieutenants of the state and capital, serving more to Read the rest of this entry

Remembering Maire Comerford

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Rare photo of Mairin Keegan and Eamon McCann

Mairin Keegan and McCann 1970

Mairin Keegan and Eamon McCann

A front-page news story of the September 17, 1970 issue of the Irish Times informed readers of the disruption of the satirical review “A State of Chassis” at the Peacock Theatre.  The show was about the civil rights movement and growing conflict in the six counties and was written by   John D. Stewart, Tomás MacAnna and Eugene Watters.

Protesters objected to what McCann called the “abysmally ignorant” portrayal of the north and its caricature of Bernadette Devlin.

Among those taking part was Mairin Keegan, a prominent figure in the Marxist-republican organisation Saor Eire.

Further reading:

Tribute to Mairin Keegan, 1932-1972 

Video of the 1997 commemoration to Mairin on the 25th anniversary of her tragic death

éirígí launch campaign for EU withdrawal

13307473_1197141990298216_1157554319007110554_nWith the assertion that socialist politics is on the rise in Ireland, particularly in the wake of the Stormont elections, the socialist republican party éirígí now calls upon the progressive and socialist forces in British occupied Ireland to galvanise and deliver a strategic blow to both capitalism and imperialism; by voting ‘LEAVE’ in the upcoming referendum on membership of the European Union.

Speaking from the éirígí party office in West Belfast party spokesperson Pádraic Mac Coitir said:

“The denial of the Irish people to the right of national self-determination is twofold, hindered by the British puppet administration in the North, and the plutocratic EU lapdogs in the south. The dual nature of this occupation by two separate imperialist entities has served to only further subdue the Irish working class to the barbarity of Read the rest of this entry

Join in the Imperialism study group

We haven’t started it yet, due to involvement in other stuff.  However, it should be getting going at the end of this month.

See: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/imperialism-study-group/

It will likely be done through an email group, with members of the study group doing reading each week, someone taking on to present a synopsis and then everyone discussing the reading through the email group.  

Because people are in different time zones – NZ, Canada, the US and western Europe – skype or other such hook-ups are not really possible on a weekly basis.  But we could all possibly manage occasional such link-ups. . . ?

You can contact the people initiating the study group by emailing: redlinemarxists@gmail.com

I look forward to studying with some of you!

 

Keeping score

The pieces below have all had over 1,000 views.  The most-viewed, on women and the national struggle from the Rising to the Treaty and civil war, has had almost 8,000 views; the one on the assault on Markievicz has had 1,025; the rest are part way in-between:

Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922

The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on

Politics and the rise of historical revisionism

Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography

Saor Eire – Marxist and republican

The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’

A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three

The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921

The global-historical significance of the 1916 Rising

About

The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century

Republicanism and the national independence struggle, 1916-21

Chapter 4: The Home Rule Crisis

The Rossville Street (Derry) Bloody Sunday murals

In review: Joost Augusteijn on Patrick Pearse

The lesbian fighters of 1916

The assault on Markievicz – as fact-free as it is malicious

Abolish the Special Criminal Court

Sign the petition to abolish the Special Criminal Court:

https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/abolish-the-special-criminal-court

The Special Criminal Court was set up by Fianna Fail in 1972 as part of their attempt to suppress the national liberation struggle that had re-erupted in the late 1960s.  The ‘Soldiers of Destiny’ were worried that there was mass support in the south for the struggle in the north, especially following the burning down of the British embassy in Dublin in early 1972 after the British Army massacre of peaceful protests in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

The southern state sought to regain the initiative and repression of republicans through things like juryless courts, secret evidence and so on was the order of the day.

One of the most notorious of the Special Criminal cases was the Sallins train robbery case in 1976.  A mail train was held up and robbed and the state, worried about the rise of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, arrested five members – Osgur Breatnach, Michael Plunkett, John Fitzpatrick, Nicky Kelly and Brian McNally.  ‘Confessions’ were beaten out of four of them.  Evidence of the beatings was simply dismissed by the judges and the men were convicted on the basis of confessions alone, although two jumped bail and fled the country.  It took four years before several convictions were overturned, but the last one took until 1984.

Good work by Workers Solidarity Movement on 100th anniversary

191624thAprilThe Workers Solidarity Movement is to be congratulated for some very good work documenting events in Dublin on April 24, the actual anniversary of the start of the Rising.

See here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republican Congress doco – in review

Nora Connolly - she was right! She should be given her due.

Nora Connolly – she was right! She should be given her due.

by Shan Van Vocht

A few nights ago I finally got around to watching the Republican Congress DVD. The revival of left-republicanism in the wake of the Provisional leaderships’ sell-out is a very welcome development.  Among other things it has sparked renewed interest in important left initiatives in the 15 years following the Treaty between the British ruling class and the southern Irish bourgeoisie.  So this document is a very worthy project.  At the same time I think it has some important weaknesses.

Let’s not beat around the bush.

What is the utterly despicable Ann Matthews doing in it?  Her life these days is devoted to attacking republican women of the early 1900s, especially Markievicz.  She says things about these women that are blatantly untrue (like we only have Markievicz’s word for it that she was second-in-command at Stephen’s Green), she suppresses evidence that doesn’t suit her vilification of Markievicz and others (for instance, she uses Free State unionist judge Willey’s 20-years-after-the-event ‘memory’ of Markievicz breaking down at her court-martial while not telling readers that the official court-martial record shows no such thing), she’s written a viciously anti-Markievicz play and her two books on republican women of the 1900-1940 period are extended diatribes aimed to destroy these women’s reputations.

West Brit audiences and readers no doubt love what she writes.  However, she should be absolutely persona non grata on the left and yet she pops up here and there – in this doco, as speaker at a left meeting in Sligo with Declan Bree in the chair for chrissakes, launching her book on the ICA in the GPO with Eamonn McCann for chrissakes helping her.  And in the Republican Congress DVD she claims the Cumann na mBan women who initially were favourable to Republican Congress backed off as they were “religious conservatives”. Sure, Sheila Humphreys was a right-wing Catholic!!!  She also claims there were no political brains in Cumann na mBan, as if they were all airheads like herself.  Chrissakes, why would the makers of this documentary invite her to spout this ludicrous crap in their documentary?!!!!  (Matthews’ stuff on republican women is so off-the-wall, I started to think a while ago that she might have mental health issues.)

My two other gripes was that they gave a platform to fake-left Read the rest of this entry

Free Dónal Ó Coisdealbha, oppose internment

Protest outside Leinster House, Thursday, May 12

“Freedom for Donal” protest outside Leinster House, Thursday, May 12

Last Thursday (May 12) saw a protest outside Leinster House against what is, in effect, the internment of republican activist Dónal Ó Coisdealbha.

This case is particularly appalling since he will be tried by a non-jury court (the Special Criminal Court) where the three judges can accept secret evidence.

Although three TDs (Clare Daly, Maureen O’Sullivan and Mick Wallace) have offered to put up bail and Dónal has agreed to house arrest and electronic tagging, he has been denied bail.

It’s in the interests of everyone concerned with basic civil liberties to oppose what amounts to the internment of this young activist.

 

 

 

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