Category Archives: six counties
Online discussion hosted by Socialist Democracy
Garda and RUC officers at the Irish border 1920s
100 Years of Partition
Counter-revolution and reaction
Speaker: Philip Ferguson (Irish Revolution blog)
23 March 2021
Register in advance for this meeting:
Philip Ferguson is a socialist activist based in New Zealand. He runs the Irish Revolution blog. A member of Sinn Fein in the 1980s and early 1990s; he is now a supporter of the socialist republican group Eirigi.
This year marks the 100 years since partition. Over that period, it has had a profound influence on Irish politics and society. It has been the foundation of imperialist rule in the north and of reaction across the whole of Ireland and has proved to be a severe impediment to the advance of the labour movement and to the development of socialist politics. The prediction of James Connolly that partition would usher in a “carnival of reaction” proved to be correct.
This discussion will examine the continuing legacy of partition and how it can be overcome. It will also consider whether there is any validity to recent claims that the decline of unionism and the dynamics of Brexit are advancing the cause of a united Ireland.
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, British strategy, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Partition, Political education and theory, Public events - Ireland, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, six counties, twenty-six counties, Uncategorized, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, War for Independence period, Women's rights, Workers rights
Interview by Mick Healy with Diarmuid Breathnach on the Save Moore Street Campaign.
Mick also did an earlier interview with Diarmuid on his decades of political activism:
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Housing, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish Citizen Army, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Secret police, six counties, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Toadyism, Trade unions, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Women, Women in republican history, Workers rights
Today marks the dawning of not only a new year, but also a new decade. The last ten years have been largely defined by the response of the Irish and British political establishments to the collapse of the private banking sector in 2008.
Both states chose to reward the malpractice and criminality of the private banks with unlimited political and financial support. The cost of this support was transferred to the people at large in the form of vast public debts and the savage austerity programmes that were implemented on both sides of Britain’s border in Ireland.
Éirígí activists were heavily involved in the fight against the bank bailouts and austerity. We take this opportunity to recognise and applaud the significant contribution that current and former party members made in these critical battles to defend the interests of the Irish people.
We also take this opportunity to thank all of those who have supported the party over the last decade, by attending party events, through financial donations and by entrusting our election candidates with their votes.
The decision of the Dublin government to bail out the private banks in 2008 exposed the underlying ideology that has informed all important decision-making by all Dublin governments since the foundation of the state. When faced with choosing between protecting the interests of capital or protecting the interests of the Nation, they have always chosen the former, at great cost to the latter.
Decades of blind, unquestioning, fanatical commitment to the concepts of private property, private capital and private markets has Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Corruption, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Housing, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish politics today, Natural resources, Partition, Political education and theory, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
Commemoration in 1997, marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary fighter Máirín Keegan. Frank Keane is the main speaker.
Posted in Civil rights movement, Commemorations, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Ireland and British revolution, Mairin Keegan, Partition, Political education and theory, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, six counties, twenty-six counties, Women, Women in republican history
The Tories had actually granted IRA and other captured republican soldiers – and loyalist prisoners – ‘special category status’ in 1972. This recognised the simple fact that there was a political conflict in the six north-eastern counties of Ireland and that ‘paramilitary’ activists were political activists and not terrorists or criminals.
Special category status meant that the prisoners did not have to wear prison uniforms or do prison work. They were housed with other members of their own military organisations and were allowed more visits and food parcels than people convicted of ‘regular’ criminal offences.
Labour returned to power in 1974 and began considering how to beat the republican struggle. The strategy involved normalisation, criminalisation, and Ulsterisation. The British state would try to make “Ulster” (in reality not Ulster, which is 9 counties, but the occupied six counties) look like a ‘normal’ statelet which faced an explosion of criminal activity. The “Ulsterisation” element referred to removing the British Army from some of its frontline role and getting the local (ie Protestant/loyalist) police to take on the frontline roles.
The withdrawal of political status by the Labour imperialist government occurred on March 1, 1976.
Further reading: Republican POWs and the struggle in Maghaberry today
Éirígí launches election campaign for Brian Leeson, Saturday, 17 November, 7pm, Mill Theatre, Dundrum
Clare Daly TD and MIck Wallace TD will be in attendance as special guests. Food, music and drinks in The Eagle after the launch for those that want them.
A political activist since 1989, this is Brian’s first time running for public office. Probably no other candidate in the Dundrum Local Electoral Area has been involved in so many progressive political campaigns over such a long period of time.
From supporting the then-isolated nationalist community in the Six Counties in the early 1990s to fighting for housing justice today, Brian has Read the rest of this entry →
Seamus Costello in very first issue of ‘Starry Plough’ on differences between IRSP and the Officials
The following appeared in the very first issue of the Irish Republican Socialist Party’s paper, The Starry Plough. in April 1975. The IRSP was founded on December 10, 1974. A military organisation, the Irish National Liberation Army, was founded at the same time.
Q. What caused the present feud between the IRSP and the Officials?
As far as we can see, it is the fact that the IRSP is undermining the Officials organizationally, particularly in Belfast where the feud is most intense. During the past 3 or 4 months, since the party was launched on the 12th of December, the IRSP has taken some 200 members from the Officials in the Belfast area. This has led to a situation where, at the moment, the Officials in Belfast have only half the numerical strength of the IRSP. As a result of this, a request was made by the (Official) Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle to the Official IRA to prevent the organization of further IRSP branches in the Belfast area. Immediately after this request, starting on Dec. 12th, a number of our members were kidnapped in the Belfast area. From then until the murder of Hugh Ferguson, we have had dozens of people kidnapped, people beaten up, people wounded through shooting, houses petrol bombed, cars burned and so on. Undoubtedly the immediate cause of the feud is the fact that the Officials are losing members.
Q. What are the main ideological differences between the IRSP and the Officials?
The principal ideological differences would be their attitude towards the National Question as against our attitude. Basically, the position of the leadership of the Officials is that there is no hope of achieving National Liberation until such time as the Protestant and Catholic working class in the North are united and therefore there is nothing which can be done in political terms or in any other terms about this particular issue. Our attitude, on the other hand, is that the British presence in Ireland is the basic cause of the divisions between the Protestant and Catholic working class in the North. It follows from that, in our view, that the primary emphasis should be on the mobilization of the mass of the Irish people in the struggle for National Liberation. We believe, also, that the left in Irish politics should play a leading role in this struggle. Up until recent years, many of us felt that the Official Movement was capable of and willing to do this. Indeed the rank and file of the Official Movement had expressed their views on this at the 1972 and 1973 Ard Fheiseanna, where they rejected the position of the national leadership on the national question and put forward a policy which would have led to a more militant approach on this question.
However, the leadership disagreed with this policy and deliberately frustrated its implementation. The result of this was that the Official Republicans, who, at that time, were the largest single body of organized left-wing opinion in Ireland, deliberately divorced the working class struggle from the national struggle and gradually degenerated, taking a reformist position on a number of very important issues.
Q. What issues in particular?
The principal issues that come to mind immediately are the Civil Rights struggle, the Assembly Elections, the question of taking seats and the question of the rent and rates strike. In all these issues, the leadership of the Officials hesitated to take a stand. They have, for instance, regarded the Civil Rights struggle since 1969, as the only struggle worth taking part in. They ignored the presence of 15,000 troops on the streets. They ignored the torture and terror perpetrated by the British Army on the Nationalist population and they acted as though there was no change in the situation since 1969. In other words, they failed to realize the change in the nature of the struggle in Ireland, particularly in Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Civil rights movement, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Irish politics today, IRSP, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Seamus Costello, six counties, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism
The issue of public housing played a key role in the Civil Rights movement during the late 1960s/early 1970s.
Prior to the creation of the Housing Executive in 1971, public housing had been allocated by local councils, and within unionist-controlled councils, discrimination in housing allocation was widely practiced against members of the minority Catholic community.
Indeed, the right to, and fair allocation of, public housing were key demands of the Civil Rights movement.
Through the creation of the Housing Executive, housing decisions were taken out of the political arena and placed in the hands of a neutral specialised organisation.
By 1983/84, public housing – almost all of which was controlled by the Housing Executive – accounted for 37% of continued here. . .
Excellent talk and discussion period – Ronan Burtenshaw at the James Connolly Forum in the little city of Troy, in New York state in March 2017. Troy, of course, is somewhere Connolly himself lived and organised – thus the name of this working class political forum group.
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British strategy, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish politics today, Partition, Political education and theory, Provos - then and now, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Workers rights
Does intense class conflict with bosses, cops and government necessarily lead workers to draw radical conclusions? To put the question another way, does struggle mean that the working class becomes conscious of what is in its own best interests?
In 1922 striking miners defending their jobs in the South African town of Witwatersand fought gun battles in the streets killing about 70 troops. The political conclusion those white workers drew from their experiences was that they needed a Nationalist-Labour Pact with the Afrikaaner Nationalist Party. This was despite the involvement of the newly founded Communist Party of South Africa in the struggle. Even intense and bloody class conflict is no guarantee that the working class will necessarily act in its own best interests.
That’s a lesson it’s worth holding in mind when reflecting on politics in the north of Ireland.
Seán Mitchell, a member of Read the rest of this entry →