Category Archives: Labour Party

95th anniversary of execution of Rory O’Connor, Joe McKelvey, Dick Barrett and Liam Mellows

December 8 marked the 95th anniversary of the execution without trial of left-republicans Liam Mellows (1895-1922), Rory O’Connor (1883-1922), Joe McKelvey (1898-1922) and Dick Barrett (1889-1922).  The four had been taken prisoner after the surrender of the anti-Treaty forces in the Four Courts in Dublin on June 30.

In the ten months of the civil war the Free State would murder in cold blood more republicans than the British had in the almost three years of the war for independence (aka the Tan War).

 

Further reading (three chapters from my old MA thesis, written in 1995 and the first few months of 1996):

From Truce to Treaty: the pan-nationalist front divides

Civil war, counter-revolution and the consolidation of the Free State

Winners and Losers in an Unfree State

 

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Where, oh where, is our James Connolly?

by Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh

“There is always some excuse ready for evasion. The difficulty is, that every party likes some part of the truth; no party likes it all; but we must have it all, every line of it. We want no popular editions and no philosophic selections—the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” —Terence MacSwiney, Principles of Freedom

SIPTU’s Head of Research publicly announced in 2001 that the union would be sponsoring “the publication in several volumes of all Connolly’s articles and letters”, which would “at last enable us to appreciate Connolly’s own originality and greatness to the full”.1 I happened to be sitting next to him on the platform, and in my own contribution I welcomed the announcement but hoped people wouldn’t take it as a signal to sit back and think all was now well in the world of publishing Connolly. I was aiming for that curious amalgam that goes under the name of ‘cautious optimism’, and probably came off as a moany old begrudger. In fact, I was guilty of being far too generous altogether.

Recovering Connolly

My presence on that platform was a result of the momentum that had been building up for five years previously. On the unveiling of a statue of Connolly in Dublin in 1996, I was allowed to point out in the programme that hundreds of his articles had never been made available since their original publication, and to republish the first Connolly work for twenty years.2 The year after, The Lost Writings was published, in which I assembled 65 articles of his unpublished since his execution. It never ceased to amaze me how many people were under the sincere impression up until then that all of Connolly’s work was available. The Collected Works title put on a reprint of previous Connolly selections in 1987-8 had been taken all too literally by many. Also in 1997 Red Banner began its ‘Hidden Connolly’ series, underlining that The Lost Writings wasn’t even the half of it.

A group including some prominent labour historians then tried to get an initiative off the ground which would assemble a team of researchers to publish all of Connolly’s works, an initiative which had the blessing of the Labour Party leader (dubious as that may be). But the SIPTU announcement cut the feet from under that. While ‘The Hidden Connolly’ continued to mine a seemingly inexhaustible seam, any impetus towards publishing Connolly’s complete writings was sucked into the Liberty Hall plughole.

The first fruit of SIPTU’s project appeared in 2005 in the shape of a Connolly biography by Dónal Nevin. It was a disappointing work, but promised Read the rest of this entry

Support the remaining Jobstown defendants

The second group of Jobstown accused were in the Criminal Court of Justice on Tuesday (July 25) for a pre-trial hearing.

Judge Melanie Greally stated that she will not tolerate any social media commentary on the trial – that anyone who comments on the ongoing trial will be in contempt of court, and that any sort of online petition in support of the defendants will also be deemed contempt.

Any public display seeking to influence public opinion or garner support can also lead to criminal charges of contempt.

This is a deliberate attempt to gag both the defendants and the general population.

The accused are back in the Criminal Court of Justice this Friday to argue bail conditions and stop the attempted gag on #JobstownNotGuilty.

Anyone who can get to the CCJ to show their support is encouraged to do so.

NZ elections 2017 – putting the case for not voting

We head towards a general election here in New Zealand in September.  The capitalist National Party has been in power for three terms (ie since 2008; we have three-year terms here) and look headed for a fourth.  The capitalist Labour Party is wallowing in the polls – 27% to National’s 47%.

Labour and National are basically the two cheeks of the one arse.  Or, as a veteran leftist here put it back in the early 1990s, National are the front-stabbers and Labour are the back-stabbers.

I’m involved in a NZ-based blog called Redline and got interviewed on Hamilton local community radio – Hamilton is NZ’s fourth bggest city – to put the case for not voting:

https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/radio-interview-with-philip-ferguson-on-a-positive-campaign-for-not-voting-in-the-elections/

 

 

Scott Masterson on Jobstown verdict

 

Great victory for the Jobstown defendants and the right to protest

Over on Redline, I’ve put up an article Ian Ó Dálaigh wrote for us.  See: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/jobstown-not-guilty-working-class-activists-beat-labour-state-assault-on-right-to-protest-in-ireland/

Peter Graham – revolutionary militant

Peter holding Young Socialists banner, Dublin 1968

Peter holding Young Socialists banner, Dublin 1968

by Mick Healy

“In 1966 we in Ireland celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion (1916). The writings of James Connolly, which prior to then had been read little, and then only by the older hands’, began to be read more widely. The younger generation found through his writings that he was not quite as the Christian Brothers in school taught – “only the 7th leader’ of 19l6.” They found in his writings Connolly the revolutionary, the worker, the union organiser and Marxist”.
– Peter Graham, Workers Fight, June 1968.

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Funeral of Peter Graham, Dublin, 1971; Tariq Ali at centre

Comrades who have read about the Irish Revolution know something about the contributions made by Nora Connolly O’Brien, Michael Davitt, Liam Mellows and Frank Ryan, but many do not understand the important contributions made by significant but lesser-known figures such as revolutionary Marxist Peter Graham.  Peter came from 46 Reginald Street in the Liberties of Dublin and attended Bolton St College of Technology. Working as an electrician in CIE he was a shop-steward for the Electrical Trade Union.  He joined the Labour Party, but discontented with their lack of radicalism shifted over to the Communist Party.  Disillusioned with their reformism, he left and became involved with Irish Workers Group and then the League for a Workers’ Republic, an organisation openly declaring itself revolutionary and Marxist, identifying with the Trotskyist current of Marxism.

With single-minded dedication he was the Read the rest of this entry

IRSP challenge British capitalist Labour Party’s attempts to organise in occupied Ireland

The article below appeared on the IRSP site on October 2:

Paid activists of the British Labour party (joined by supporters in the pacifist Belfast left) today attempted to use the guise of an anti-Tory austerity protest to promote efforts to organise electorally in the six counties, an intention which flies in the face of basic Socialist doctrine and traditional Labour claims to be ‘Anti-Imperialist’.capture-pngddewSporting a banner proclaiming ‘Ireland did not vote for Tory cuts / break the connection with England’ IRSP activists distributed leaflets to all those in attendance, focusing on the traditional Socialist aspiration of Irish independence and encouraging the Belfast left to return to the cause of National Liberation as espoused by Marx, Lenin and James Connolly.

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British Labour Party banner at City Hall

In recent months British Labour activists have been hosting meetings across the six counties aimed at building support for standing candidates in occupied Ireland; they have been supported in their efforts by the self styled ‘Socialist party’ formerly ‘Millitant Labour’ a dissident Labour party splinter group who effectively support the partition of Ireland and stronger links with the British left as a safe alternative to traditional Marxist aspirations towards Irish Freedom.

IRSP hand out leaflets to the pacifist left, urging them to adopt the socialist position

IRSP hand out leaflets to the pacifist left, urging them to adopt the socialist position

At a gathering at Belfast city hall, the IRSP in a civilised fashion gathered alongside the Labour activists with a view to offering the traditional Republican Socialist message, reminding them that Ireland was a subjected nation which has never had a chance to vote either for or against Tory cuts and promoting the wider cause of Irish independence as the principled socialist response to the continued economic and political oppression of our people.

Paid New Labour workers refused to speak to IRSPers

Paid New Labour workers refused to speak to IRSPers

The IRSP attempted to engage those in attendance in debate on the importance of the issue and while some younger members of the Socialist Party admirably agreed to do so, the full time Labour workers refused, appearing un-confident in their purpose and showing physical distain when told that they were speaking to the IRSP.

capture-pngffeww The Irish Republican Socialist Party holds to the traditional Labour principle of full Irish independence and anti-imperialism and promises that any attempts to dilute that principle under a false flag of Socialism will be challenged and exposed.

The leaflet urging those in attendance to return to the Socialist position.

The leaflet urging those in attendance to return to the Socialist position.

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

On the elections in the south. . .

I’ve written an article on how the southern elections will confirm the new political cycle in Ireland.  it appears on the NZ-based Redline blog:  see here.