Category Archives: Labour Party
Southern Irish election: Sinn Fein takes the lead
I wrote an article on the elections just after I saw the exit polls, then updated it earlier this morning (NZ time; Sunday night, Irish time).
by Philip Ferguson
With almost all the votes now counted, Sinn Fein looks like being the big winner in Saturday’s election in the south of Ireland.
Exit polls showed a three-way virtual tie between the main parties in the south of Ireland. Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were all on just over 22% of first preferences: FG on 22.4, SF on 22.3, FF on 22.2. These polls indicated that almost 32% of 18-24 year-olds voted Sinn Fein.
But now, with 96% of the votes cast, SF is sitting on 24.1% of first preferences and both FF and FG are on 22.1%. For the first time
SF didn’t expect to do so well, especially after suffering substantial losses in the Euro and local government elections last year, so ran a limited number of candidates – it looks like it will get less seats than it could have gotten if it had’ve aimed for two seats in more constituencies. At the same time, its surpluses have transferred significantly to two Trotskyist parties, helping them keep their seats. . .
See full article at: Sinn Fein takes the lead
Posted in Elections, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Social conditions, twenty-six counties
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1916 Comdt-General Sean McLoughlin on Civil War: “How the Republicans May Win”
The article below first appeared in the July 29, 1922 issue of The Workers Republic, the paper of the newly-established Communist Party of Ireland. The civil war had begun just a month earlier. The CPI aligned with the anti-Treaty IRA and agitated for it to adopt a social programme pointing to a workers’ republic, not just a republic.
Sean McLoughlin was actually the senior surviving commandant of the Easter Rising of 1916. On the Friday evening, as the Rising was drawing to a close, the 21-year-old had so impressed James Connolly and other leaders that he was appointed overall military commander. This was done due to the incapacitation of the badly-wounded Connolly, the original commandant-general of all the insurrectionary forces. McLoughlin then led the break-out from the GPO and into Moore Street.
McLoughlin later worked closely with Roddy Connolly in founding the original, short-lived CPI and was active in workers’ struggles during the civil war, including workplace occupations and the formation of soviets.
I have broken up some of the longer original paragraphs. Also the article referred to both the Labour Party and labour (the working class with capital ‘L’; I have put the latter in lower case to differentiate them.
On the political side, it should be noted that the true perfidy of the Irish Labour Party was not grasped yet, although they had gone along with the Treaty – something which should have given the game away. But a section of revolutionaries still saw them as being a party which Connolly had helped found and this produced illusions.
The text I used is taken from the appendices to Charlie McGuire’s Sean McLoughlin: Ireland’s Forgotten Revolutionary (London: Merlin, 2011).
by Sean McLoughlin
The Republicans have only one object, a purely sentimental one, as far as the masses are concerned – the establishing of a Republic, separated completely from Britain. This is supported by the Communists and the advanced labour elements, in so far as it is a revolutionary step, in helping to smash British imperialism, but the masses are not swayed by these questions of high politics. They are moved by economic pressures, and will not respond to sentimental appeals, no matter how impassioned they may be, And the masses are correct.
In the first place they are tired of war. In the second, they see that, no matter who wins, they will still be slaves grinding out their lives for wages and ruled with a rod of iron by bosses and landlords, and they cannot summon up enthusiasm enough to enable them to fight on behalf of wage-slavery.
The Republicans Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in British strategy, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Labour Party, Political education and theory, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Sean McLoughlin, Secret police, Social conditions, Toadyism, Trade unions, Workers rights
Interview with Alan MacSimoin (1957-2018)
Alan MacSimoin 1957-2018 was a long-time anarchist activist and a founder member of the Workers Solidarity Movement.
MacSimoin joined the Official Republican Movement (Official Sinn Fein) as a young man in the 1970s. He was involved in the Murray Defence Committee in 1976-77 to stop the state execution of anarchists Noel and Marie Murray for the killing of a member of the police.
He was also involved with the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement’s boycott of South African goods in Ireland and the Irish Anti-Nuclear Movement that stopped the building of nuclear power stations around the coast of Ireland in the 1970s.
Below is an interview my friend Mick Healy did with him a year or two back and has passed on to me . . .
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, Anti-nuclear movement, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Interviews, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Officials, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Secret police, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism
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Éirígí on the housing crisis and how to fight it
The following was issued by Éirígí on October 4. You can check out the party website by going to the links section on this site.
Yesterday (Oct 3) saw thousands of people mobilise in response to a call from housing groups, trade unions and political parties to ‘Raise The Roof’ in response to the housing scandal in the Twenty-Six Counties. The rally was organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and supported by the National Women’s Council, the Union of Students in Ireland and others. These organisations represent hundreds of thousands of Irish workers, women and students that are being adversely affected by the chaos of privatised housing. The fact that such a breadth of ‘civic society’ is now coming together with housing and homelessness organisations to demand housing justice is a very welcome development.
Housing has been Éirígí’s key campaigning issue for close to three years. During that time our activists have consistently worked to build a mass campaign for housing justice. To this end we have distributed tens of thousands of pieces of literature; organised countless public meetings; participated in direct actions; helped form housing action groups and homeless outreach groups; networked with other like-minded individuals and organisations to build alliances in support of our key housing demands.
All of this work has been informed by our key housing demand, namely the creation of a new Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, Economy and workers' resistance, Housing, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Political education and theory, Public events - Ireland, Trade unions, Workers rights
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Edinburgh Connolly conference, Saturday, June 2
Posted in 1913 lockout, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish Citizen Army, James Connolly, Labour Party, Political education and theory, Revolutionary figures, The road to the Easter Rising, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Women
More bad news for the Labour Party scumbags
In the 2016 election, these anti-working class scumbags, who had been involved in imposing vicious austerity on the working class in the south, lost most of their seats in the Dublin parliament.
The latest Sunday Times Behaviour and Attitudes poll, published yesterday, show Labour is continuing to decline. Among the poorest 50% of people in the south, their support level is 2%, a mere one-tenth of the support for Sinn Fein and also smaller than the support for the Trotskyist bloc in the Dublin parliament.
34% of the poorer half of the population indicated they would vote for SF, the Trotskyists and independent leftists.
Yesterday’s Sunday Independent published findings from the Kantar Millward Brown poll, showing total support for Labour at just 4 percent.
Posted in Economy and workers' resistance, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Social conditions, twenty-six counties
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Constance de Markievicz: What Irish Republicans Stand For (1923)
Today, February 4 (2018) marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Constance Gore-Booth/Constance de Markievicz. To commemorate the anniversary, I’m putting up the text of her 1923 pamphlet What Irish Republicans Stand For.
I have had a copy of this pamphlet since the late 1980s – ie for about 30 years! – dating back to when I first began collecting her writings, many of which appear on this blog. I drew on her writings for my MA thesis which was written in 1995 and the first few months of 1996 – the thesis chapters also appear on this blog.
Ever since I started this blog in 2011, I have meant to stick it up here, but wanted to coincide it going up with some anniversary relating to her. I had intended, finally, to put it up on July 15, last year, the 90th anniversary of her death, but got caught up in other things and the day came and went.
However, the 150th anniversary of her birth seems an even better time. So, finally here it is. Nick Scullin typed up half of it from a photocopy of the original pamphlet; I typed up the other half.
At first, I thought it was published in 1924 but it appears that it is 1923. I don’t have access to libraries with copies of daily papers from that time so haven’t been able to double-check – Markievicz, for instance, cites several newspaper articles, giving the day of the month, so these could be looked up to verify 1923 is the year and not 1924.
The original includes the words, “Reprinted from Forward by courtesy of the Editor”. This was a left-wing Scottish newspaper, based in Glasgow. Revolutionary socialists such as James Connolly and John Maclean, plus others associated with ‘Red Clydeside’ wrote for it, as did a range of reformist socialists. After WW1, the paper was particularly associated with the ILP (left social-democrats). Although Forward had its own printing and publishing company, What Irish Republicans Stand For was printed by Civic Press Ltd of Howard Street in Glasgow.
We typed it up in line with the original pamphlet – ie where it used italics, bold, capitals etc, we left them in place and where headings were centred in the original, we left them centred. I have, however, put in gaps between paragraphs where the original simply indented a few spaces to indicate new paragraphs.
I’ve not corrected mistakes – eg Eamonn de Valera did not draw up the Democratic Programme (he, like Markievicz, was in prison in England at the time). Also, some of the language now seems quaint. Co-operative Commonwealth, for instance, was often used as a synonym for socialism. There was also the view that pre-Conquest Gaelic society was a pre-class society, so references to “Gaelic ideas” often referred to this; regardless of the exact nature of Gaelic society, certainly both feudalism and capitalism were imposed on Ireland from across the water.
It is also important to keep in mind the time in which this was written. A counter-revolution was taking place, reactionary elements within the independence movement were gaining control and imprisoning and murdering their former comrades, including people Markievicz had worked with. Although Markievicz staunchly opposed the Free State, the counter-revolution took a heavy toll on her and she died just four years after the end of the civil war.
The cover has a box with the following in it, just below the title and by-line. NB: the misspelling of Wolfe, Mitchel and Lalor are as on the cover.
“The conquest of Ireland has meant the social and political servitude of the Irish masses, and therefore the reconquest of Ireland must mean the social as well as the political independence from servitude of every man, woman and child.”
I offer this little leaflet humbly to the memory of Wolf Tone, of Mitchell, of Lawler, and of James Connolly to whom I am indebted for the faith and the knowledge that inspired it.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
WHAT IRISH REPUBLICANS STAND FOR
by Constance de Markievicz
Free State as Tool of British Capitalism
In these articles I am going to discuss Ireland and the “Irish Free State” from an economic point of view, and endeavour to show that this “Free State” is but a further attempt to force the English social and economic systems on a people who cling instinctively and with a passionate loyalty to the ideals of a better civilisation, the tradition of which is part of their subconscious spiritual and mental selves.
It was devised by the British Cabinet of imperialists and capitalists and accepted by their would-be counterparts in Ireland, whom they supply with money, arms, and men for the purpose of breaking up the growing movement towards the development of the Co-operative Commonwealth in Ireland. I claim that for this reason the Free State can never be acceptable to the people of Ireland, and, moreover, that this is the key that opens the door to a thorough understanding of the Irish question, and that there is no other key.
For 800 years Ireland has been devastated again and again by English armies and tricked by English politicians for but one object – the destruction of the Gaelic State to its last traditions and relics, and the establishment, in its place, of the feudal-capitalist state.
The military and political conquests were but means to this end, whole clans were massacred, dispersed or starved to death, whole provinces laid waste again and again for this one purpose – the forcing of an alien and repugnant civilisation on a civilised people.
It is only in latter years that the history of Ireland has been approached in a scientific manner, and that this has been made clear. Mrs Alice Stopford Green is the great pioneer in this work. For many years she has been digging laboriously into the past and bringing to light all that she has gleaned from the old documents that survive the systematic destruction of the records of Ireland’s greatness by the English.
James Connolly went further. A student of labour, viewed as a world question, from both scientific and historical sources, a man of practical experience as an organiser, agitator, and speaker in two continents, he mated his knowledge and experience with the facts disclosed by Mrs Green, George O’Brien and others, and has left us in his books a wonderfully comprehensive sketch of Ireland’s real struggle. Her past sufferings, her present slow awakening and struggle and her future hopes and aspirations.
I would appeal to my readers in his words: “The sympathetic student of history, who believes in the possibility of a people by political intuition anticipating the lessons afterwards revealed in the sad school of experience, will not be indisposed to join with the ardent Irish patriot in his lavish expression of admiration of his Celtic forefathers, who foreshadowed in the democratic organisation of the Irish clan the more perfect organisation of the free society of the future.”
Padraig Pearse also dwelt much on the Gaelic State. He emphasises his vision of an Ireland “not free merely, but Gaelic as well.”
The reason why the Republican movement was accepted by the people, and a Republic was brought into being by them at the price of such terrible sacrifice and suffering was that the ideals embodied in that Republic touched into life all that was most vital and most Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in British state repression (general), Constance Markievicz, Corruption, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), James Connolly, Labour Party, Prisoners - past, Public sector/cuts, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism post-1900, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Toadyism, War for Independence period, Women, Women in republican history, Workers rights
1916 Cmdt-General Sean McLoughlin on the social programme anti-Treaty forces needed to win the civil war
On the Friday evening, as the 1916 Easter Rising which had begun on the Monday morning was drawing to a close, 21-year-old Sean McLoughlin had so impressed James Connolly and other leaders that he was appointed overall military commander. This was done due to the incapacitation of the badly-wounded Connolly, the original commandant-general of all the insurrectionary forces. McLoughlin then led the break-out from the GPO and into Moore Street.
Below is an article that Sean McLoughlin wrote shortly after the civil war broke out in June 1922. Along with Roddy Connolly and others, he had set up the shortlived very first Communist Party of Ireland and the article was published in the August 19th issue of their paper, The Workers Republic (named after James Connolly’s pre-1916 paper).
In the original, the second section (“Free State Methods”) was one huge paragraph. I have broken this up into several; this is the only editing – I decided, for instance, not to change his use and non-use of commas and the bold, upper case subheads are as in the original.
This is the first of several of his articles which I will be getting up here, although I am also busy typing up more articles from the 1840s by Fintan Lalor, a project which got stalled for some time unfortunately.
The text here is taken from Charlie McGuire’s excellent bio of Sean McLoughlin – I thoroughly recommend this to all republicans, especially socialist-republicans. Buy it! Read it! If you can’t afford it, get your library to buy a copy.
Social Programme for Republicans
by Sean McLoughlin
AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY
Since the beginning of the present struggle against the forces of the Free State the Irish Republican Army in the field has been able to withstand all the attacks of its enemies, and at the present moment occupies a favourable position from a military point of view. The positions held are being strengthened, supplies are good, and most important of all, the morale of the Army is splendid. Yet these things while being fine achievements do not necessarily spell victory for the Republican forces.
In order to carry the war to a successful issue, it is essential that the Republican authorities seize every opportunity of any nature, that will Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Counter-revolution/civil war period, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Labour Party, Political education and theory, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Sean McLoughlin, Social conditions, Toadyism, Workers rights
The Shinners, Fianna Fail and the state of southern Irish politics – a conversation
The other day I was talking to one of my long-time best mates in Ireland about stuff and thought chunks of the conversation – it was on messenger – would make interesting material for this blog. My mate is a longtime (southern) republican and OKed the following. We’ll call him ‘Eamon’.
The conversation actually began with other subjects, like the problem of (religious) sectarianism among some Shinners. Then it moved onto a mixture of discussion about Sinn Fein and southern politics, interspersed with various personal recollections and comments, which aren’t appropriate here.
Eamon: A Shinner asked me today to delete my latest post on my facebook page!
Me: Typical. Hey what did McElduff say? I think FF and DUP love stuff like this, as it enables them to take the moral high ground, covering over their own sins.
SF has basically chosen in the north to be a catholic/nationalist party instead of a republican, let alone socialist-republican, party. So McElduff is just doing what a bunch of Shinners (and some of their support base) is thinking. The leadership will be fucked off because he is doing in public what they are thinking.
E: True. Hey, it looks like Mary Lou will get to be leader unopposed.
They knew what they were doing when Michelle O Neill was appointed leader in the North…..With McDonald being the president of Sinn Fein there would be no opposition from Belfast about the president been from Dublin with O Neill in the North…..Very clever move….
Me: Adams is nothing if not crafty. A worthy heir to De Valera in that (horrible manipulative) sense. O’Neill and McDonald are also lightweights, so Adams will be able to string pull after he retires. SF have been reshaped entirely as an Adamsite party. His creation. Quite sickening really.
E: SF folk seem to think with Adams and Martin gone that they will fly it now in the South……That the IRA monkey is off their back……But they are wrong…..After all Adams topped the poll in Louth and brought in another SFer on his surplus.
The Irish electorate have long forgotten about Sinn Fein’s past…… Still, I would bet anybody a thousand euro that SF will not get more than 15% next election down south.
And 15% will not get them into government, even in a coalition.
The careerists in SF will not stay there forever in opposition….. I predict some will walk after the next election…
Me: Adams was contradictory in terms of popularity. He was the Shinners’ biggest asset (gunman turned statesman, although he apparently never did fire a shot), but he was also their biggest liability. Fine in Louth – and he would have been very popular in Monaghan and Donegal if he had’ve stood there – but of less use electorally in Dublin or Cork.
I think there is a reasonably big space for SF’s politics – the gap left by Labour and FF since they are discredited by imposing austerity. But the closer the Shinners get to a whiff of “power”, ie Leinster House government, the more Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Blog News, Civil War period, Corruption, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Social conditions, twenty-six counties
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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
Posted in British state repression (general), Catholic church/church-state relations, Censorship, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Labour Party, Liam Mellows, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Thesis chapters, Trade unions, War for Independence period, Workers rights
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