Category Archives: Political education and theory
Readers of this blog will be aware that I have no time for Liam Lynch, the walking disaster that ran the anti-Treaty IRA during the Civil War and led it to defeat when the anti-Treaty forces actually had the clear advantage in early 1922.
This is an excellent piece by Daniel Murray that examines Lynch’s performance in Limerick city; the performance was typical Lynch: start with the advantage, prevaricate and prevaricate and waste the advantage, then lose it, then retreat.
I have talked in the past about writing about Lynch and the problems with him, but I don’t think I need to now. Daniel Murray has done a fine job in his series on Lynch (follow the links).
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by Daniel Murray
The ten-day battle for Limerick reached its weary climax before midnight on the 19th July 1922 when the anti-Treaty Irish Republican Army (IRA) decided that enough was enough. Following the orders of their Chief of Staff, Liam Lynch, the men evacuated their positions under the cover of darkness and left the city in a line of motorcars, passing northwards through the Ballinacurra road, the only route still open to them.
They did not depart quietly.
A rear-guard kept up covering volleys of machine gun and rifle-fire. At 12:30 am, two or three explosions ripped through the gate of the New Barracks, courtesy of a detonated mine. So strong was the blast that stones and debris were hurled into nearby streets, tearing the roofs of houses.
Two hours later, huge columns of smoke were seen billowing out from two separate places, the New and Ordnance Barracks, the flames beneath lighting up the night sky and granting the milling crowds a view of the latest drama in their city as it was played out. Soon, a similar sight could be observed over the Castle Barracks. The Anti-Treatyites had set their posts ablaze before retreating. . .
Video on the book launch; the book I think concentrates on the years of the Border Campaign (Operation Harvest):
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):
There’s a chunk of material on him here and some also on the other blog I’m involved in, Redline.
The stuff on this blog includes:
There is also lots of material on particular commemorations re comrade Costello. If you click into the categories section, you’ll find there is a Seamus Costello category and you’ll find much more stuff there.
by Socialist Democracy*
In June, following the Stormont elections, the Irish blogger “Sráid Marx” wrote about socialists and elections, arguing for a reformist movement that would open a space for working class politics to advance.
The article contained many assertions that were not strongly based on evidence. Apparently by issuing a call to “Smash Stormont” we in Socialist Democracy had proved ourselves the worst kind of ultra leftists, opposed to any reform, even though our entire history refutes that claim. SM cast a vote for People Before Profit on the grounds that this was the way to build a movement that would go through Stormont in order to destroy it (PBP have expressed no such ambition, rather calling for a left wing Stormont).
A serious weakness is the dismissal of Sinn Fein as a “Catholic party,” the green equivalent of the DUP. It is true that this is their mode of operation in the various carve-ups in Stormont, but it does not sum up the party itself or the dynamic of their supporters. Sinn Fein presents itself as a party of the left. Their main demands at the moment – an Irish Language Act, LGBT marriage rights, investigation of state killings, are essentially democratic demands. Their attitude to supporters of unionism is essentially conciliatory, arguing that the political structures can act to reduce sectarianism. When Stormont was operating they were the main conduit of trade union lobbying campaigns. It is not so long ago that the SM blog itself proposed Sinn Fein as a central element of a reformist movement in the 26 county state!
To assert that Sinn Fein are two-faced and will not deliver or that they do not represent the interests of workers is one thing. To assert equivalence between them and the full-throated sectarian triumphalism of the Democratic Unionist Party is quite another.
It is true that Sinn Fein voters, along with the majority of the nationalist population, hold the Read the rest of this entry