Irish Left Open History Project: ‘Miscellaneous Notes On Republicanism And Socialism In Cork City, 1954–69′ By Jim Lane (Cork, 2005) June 9, 2010Posted by leftopenhistoryteam in Irish Left Open History Project.
[Protest in Cork against the Vietnam War, 1967. From left to right: Gerry Higgins, Jim Savage, Jim Lane, Jim McCarthy, Derry McCarthy, Noel Lane, Jim Blake, George Sisk, Gerry Madden, Barty Madden, Tom McCarthy.]
What follows deals almost entirely with internal divisions within Cork republicanism and is not meant as a comprehensive outline of republican and left-wing activities in the city during the period covered. Moreover, these notes were put together following specific queries from historical researchers and, hence, the focus at times is on matters that they raised.’ (Miscellaneous Notes, p.1)
[Download 'Miscellaneous Notes' pdf here.]
We will be covering the various aspects of Jim Lane’s activism as a Socialist and Republican at a later date, but for now here is a copy of his recollections of the period 1954 to 1969. It touches on his involvement with the IRA campaign of the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as the Cork-based Irish Revolutionary Forces, and the publications An Phoblacht (Cork), and People’s Voice. The pamphlet ends with 1969 and the outbreak of the Troubles.
Last September (2009) I interviewed Jim in his home in Cork. We talked for about five hours. Below is a short eighteen-minute extract from that interview, where Jim talks about the Irish Revolutionary Forces (IRF), as well as the attraction which Maoism held for the IRF at that time.
Jim explained this a little further to me in a recent correspondence:
“Sean Daly (ex IRA at the time) and myself met Hardial Bains and the other leaders of the Internationalists in 1968. Sean Daly is the person mentioned several times in my Miscellaneous Notes……. We met with the intention of working together to build a Marxist-Leninist type party in Ireland. We certainly had a great issue with them about their methods of work in Ireland, among other matters. Suffice to say, we didn’t reach an agreement on the way forward. However, we did agree to remain in touch. Prominent in their group then and in the years that followed were; David Vipond, John Dowling, Arthur Allen and Carole Reekes. Hardial Bains of Indian birth was based in Canada.
As I may have said to you in our conversations last year, we were attracted to the line of the Chinese Communist Party, after we had studied the publication, The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, (China, 1965). For us here in Ireland in the 1960’s, we saw Mao and his party as advocates of armed revolutionary struggle, whereas the Soviet Union favoured the ‘ peaceful road to Socialism, by Parliamentary means’ . Is it any wonder why Irish Socialist Republicans began to take an interest in the writings of Mao Tse-Tung back in the 1960’s. Mythology has led many students of republican development in the 60’s, to believe that all those who opposed ‘the left-wing drift’, were ‘right-wing red necks’. Not so, many who were conveniently referred to as ‘Maoists’ within and without the Republican fold, were in fact those who were struggling to uphold true socialist revolutionary concepts.”
[The MP3 file of the interview extract is below. Please keep in mind that it is only a short section, and that Jim spoke for almost five hours without notes. My own contributions are a little hazy to say the least. However, it gives a great sense of the man, I hope, as well as some interesting insights on the period.]