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Left Archive: An Phoblacht, Numbers 9 and 10, Irish Revolutionary Forces, January 1967 and Mar-Apr 1967. August 25, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Revolutionary Forces.
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To download the above documents please click on the following links: An Phoblacht No.10 Mar-Apr. 1967

An Phoblacht No.9 Jan. 1967 And…

To go to the Left Archive please click here.

Many thanks to Jim Lane for donating two more issues of An Phoblacht – The Republic from Irish Revolutionary Forces. It is intended to have a complete set of this important document in the Archive. It is also important to note how useful this document is in tracing – from a critical perspective, changing attitudes within Republicanism and Sinn Féin and the IRA during the late 1960s. That it was positioned critically in relation to Sinn Féin and the IRA is of particular importance offering a distinctively different view into the changes in those organisations.

As always it is probably most useful to quote briefly from both editions.

The Editorial in number 9, from January, makes the point that many who are antagonistic to the then direction of the Republican Movement had no assisted in contributing to a larger paper than An Phoblacht, and it argues that:

…we must again stress that our attacks are against certain lines of policy which are being openly pushed by a specific clique of people’ and that at no time have we dwelt on maters detrimental to the security of any undertaking against the Partitionist regimes.

And it continues:

The Republican Movement is not an Irish version of the Mafia, you know; it is a political organisation responsible to the people it claims to represent. And this business of keeping one’s mouth shut, while the fortunes of Republicanism go to the dogs, has been prevalent for far too long already amongst Republicans.

Other articles in this edition include one asking will Clann na hEireann be ‘sold-out’ in relation to ‘throwing their lot in with the British Communist Party’? Another argues that ‘talk of ‘constitutional action’ emanates strongly through the backdoor of the ‘Sinn Féin Club’’, while a third notes the establishment of a Wolfe Tone Society in Cork and asks ‘who are these people?’. Another argues that a ‘big-sell out [is] on the way from the Republican Movement’.

Intriguingly it also dismisses the idea put about by some that ‘we ‘claim force as a principle..’ and that if we ‘could get Ireland free without force (we) wouldn’t accept it’, and it notes that ‘Force is the mailed fist of revolutionary principles; but it is not, and never can be, a revolutionary principle in itself…’.

It concludes with the thought that ‘the Republican movement is presently in the hands of interlopers’.

Other articles in this edition include one asking will Clann na hEireann be ‘sold-out’ in relation to ‘throwing their lot in with the British Communist Party’? Another argues that ‘talk of ‘constitutional action’ emanates strongly through the backdoor of the ‘Sinn Féin Club’’, while a third notes the establishment of a Wolfe Tone Society in Cork and asks ‘who are these people?’. Another argues that a ‘big-sell out [is] on the way from the Republican Movement’.

One very interesting feature of March-April issue Number 10 is the cover, which as noted inside the document ‘is a reprint of the Proclamation issued by the Provisional Government during the rising of ’67. It is an important document which is not without significance. It is a pity it is not better known to Republicans.’

The Editorial continues this theme and notes:

This year it is again our duty to commemorate yet another Rising which marks the progress of the Irish Revolution. A century ago, on March 5, 1867, brave men ventured forth to win an objective first crystallised in the ideology of Irish Republicanism as it was formulated by the revolutionary leadership of the Untied Irishman. The men of ’67 lost the battle, it is true… but as Col. T.J. Kelly Chief Executive of the IRB… wrote… ‘Our movement is only commencing, and it is not about to finish. I speak,’ he wrote, ‘in the name of all proletarian Ireland’.

It takes Republican publications to task on their lack of focus and ‘derogatory treatment accorded’ the Fenians whose ‘aim to organise a military coup’ is contrasted by the RM with ‘Parnell’s parliamentarianism… which had a revolutionary purpose: to make it impossible for the Westminster Parliament to function unless Irish demands were conceded’. It further criticises the RM for arguing that the ‘banner of agrarian revolt… was not picked up by the Fenians’. Indeed the editorial argues that the Fenians were ‘far to the left’ of Lalor on the issue of the ‘land question’.

The piece concludes by arguing that Ireland has not had a bourgeoise revolution and that it cannot have one – and it asks that when asked to pass judgement on the Fenians it be kept in mind that a century of experience has passed.

This edition also contains a report from the Clann na hEireann Ard Fheis, a piece by Eoin McDonaill looks at ‘Revolution vs. Reform: The Battle Now Being Waged’.

There is a piece on the IRA badge and how apparently ‘Dublin’ ‘refuses to supply this badge any longer’. And there’s a scathing piece on The United Irishman.

AP 9 and 10 contents

Left Archive: Would anyone have a print copy of Pobal an Dulrá? August 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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I’ve been contacted about Pobal an Dulrá, the late 1990s community based newsletter. Would anyone happen to have one of the printed copies of it? Here to jog the memory is an excerpt from it… many thanks to RN for forwarding the text.

Fun and games at Aughinish

As the oral hearing into the EPA’s integrated pollution licence for Aughinish Alumina on the Shannon estuary got under way last week the company’s spin doctor Frank Dunlop was in full flow, earning his blood money with the kind of comment we have come to associate with apologists for the chemical industry. The allegations of pollution from Aughinish were, he said, “totally completely unfounded with no basis in fact or science”. Is that right Frank? According to the licence Alcan – as they are known locally after their majority shareholder – are permitted to spew various noxious and toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and into the Shannon. Among these are sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides and particulate matter – tiny particles which are coated with chemicals. There is strong evidence that aluminium is present in the particulate pollution. Now Frank I hate to tell you how to do your job but are you aware of the consensus statement about toxic chemicals and the immune system written by 18 scientists, which was published in the summer of 1996? You’re not! Well don’t worry. It was published under the title ‘Statement of the Work Session on Chemically- Induced Alterations in the Developing Immune System: The Wildlife/Human Connection’ in Environmental Health Perspectives, vol 104, Supplement 4 (August, 1996), pgs. 807-808. And you’ll be delighted to know that EHP and supplements are available on the internet. The scientists had met at a workshop in Racine, Wisconsin, between February 10 and 12, 1995, to discuss the issue “because of the pervasive contamination of the environment by compounds which have the potential to disturb the immune system of wildlife and humans, introduced into the environment by human activity”.

They were very concerned about aromatic hydrocarbons, carbamates, heavy metals, organohalogens, organophosphates, organotins, oxidant air pollutants and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – in other words (if you don’t know anything about these specific compounds) virtually every source of pollution that results from industrial activity. Would you recognise anything there Frank?

Now I’m sure you’d agree that a perfectly functioning immune system is essential for the well being of humans, not to mention the odd cow – you know the sort that used to reside on the west Limerick farms of Liam Somers and Justin Ryan until some mysterious illness struck down about 200 of them – and a horse or 11, just like those on the Sheehy farm. And that anything that effects the immune system would lead, you’d agree, to a decrease in the quality of life, whether it’s humans or animals we’re talking about? What these synthetic chemicals do is alter the immune system so much that it is unable to function the way it is supposed to. In humans these changes can cause allergic reactions, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and a dozen other diseases.

These alterations can also affect reproduction, significantly in the developing fetus in humans and in egg-laying species. The 18 scientists noted that “alterations in the developing and mature immune systems may not be recognised as an adverse health effect until long after the exposure”. And the scientists added “with confidence” that “certain synthetic chemicals, such as those listed above, released or reintroduced into the environment act upon the developing and mature immune systems in humans and other vertebrates.
The scientists concluded that, “the potential exists for widespread immunotoxicity in humans and wildlife species because of the worldwide lack of appropriate protective standards. This is based on documented immune effects from high-level exposure, plus a large amount of anecdotal data on humans and wildlife, and strong experimental animal data”. Yet Frank you appear to believe that there isn’t a problem, that your clients should continue to pump these chemicals into the environment. The reason why? Because it will hurt their profits if they aren’t allowed to do so.

Because the conditions imposed by the EPA will cost £9.5m and possibly force Alcan to close down and put people out of work.

It was interesting that your managing director Cynthia Carroll was quick to refer to the 450 full time people and 200 contractors Alcan employ, the annual wages of £14.4million and the contributions of £40m to the local economy and the £55m to the national economy. It was interesting because she felt a need to leave the issue of profits to her financial controller Michael Collins. Perhaps that was because he went on to make a grand job of telling us that Aughinish’s projected profits for 1997 would only be £11m. As he said himself in capitalist terms that’s a poor return on investment. What was he said, 3.7% (percent)? Not an adequate return at all, is it? So all this talk of profit and loss means, does it Frank, that your employers might have to close down? Strange. I thought this hearing was about environmental control, protection and enforcement, not the economics of the global alumina market.
Well Frank people are getting wise to the effects of toxic pollution so if Alcan have to close down I hope you’re not going to suggest it was because of the environmental conditions imposed on the company the first time it had to apply for a licence of some substance? Or would your bosses simply lay off a few people, reduce wages, skimp a bit on the old health and safety? Of course not, a reputable company such as Aughinish wouldn’t do that, would they? It’s time to stop playing this employment card and get a grip on your responsibilities to the health of your workers, that of the immediate community and the ambient environment, and your perspective. What did you say McCarroll’s salary was again and that of the shop floor worker?
Sorry, I didn’t hear you.

Left Archive: Interview with Paddy Bolger (Ard Comhairle Member, Provisional Sinn Féin), from Gralton Magazine, Aug/Sep 1983 August 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on this link: SFDOCGRALTON2

SFDOCGRALTON2This interview dovetails neatly with the one with Proinsias De Rossa posted up recently (and now available in the Archive) and provides an insight into the thinking of Sinn Féin during this period. Bolger was then National Organiser with special responsibility for Dublin.

Again, many thanks to the person who scanned these, and if anyone has any issues of Gralton it would be great to add at least one to the Left Archive.

Left Archive: Revolutionary v Reactionary Line (Mass-Line in Education), Issue 3, Words and Comment Pamphlet Series, Internationalists (precursor of CPI (M-L), 1968 August 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Internationalists (forerunner of CPI (M-L)), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: MASSLINE DOC

To go to the Left Archive please click on this link.

This document published by the Internationalists, the forerunner of the Communist Party of Ireland Marxist Leninist, was published in 1968. It notes that ‘Words and Comments material [is] researched by the Necessity for Change Ideological Institute’. At 30 or so pages it is a densely argued text which posits that ‘Reactionary Ideas and Practices Do Not Die of Their Own Accord, They are overthrown by the new, progressive ideas and practices’.

There is too much material here to consider in a brief overview, suffice it to say that the document engages with a range of areas, including ‘Comment on Lenin’s Empiro-Criticism’, the ‘Monist Concept of History’, ‘Das Kapital: the contradiction in commodities’, ‘German Ideology’, ‘Family State and Private Property’, ‘Science for Whom? – Evolution’ (which takes up a view often put forward by the Internationalists as regards Darwinian evolution) and ‘The Two Lines’ by Hardial Bains.

There’s also a reprint of an Internationalists ‘Letter of Protest to the Junior Dean’ and an Invitation to an Internationalists meeting.

The Editorial notes a recent confrontation at an event (presumably in Trinity College Dublin, where the Internationalists had some support):

…the reactionaries have come out openly against knowledge, understanding the act-of-finding- out. They have responded to the challenge of Words and Comment.

It notes that:

Words and Comment open[ed] its new year with attacks on reactionary ideas and people and challenged them to bring into the open their sordid and decadent, retrogressive policies and ways of organising societies. The response to this challenge, in accordance to our historical expectations, was cowardly like the impotent frenzy of a person at the tether-end of his life. Reactionaries are the most ignorant and unproductive segment of the human society. They do not read, this their virtue. They do not discuss, this is their privilege. They do not participate in the production of real life because they are the parasites. But they have lots of bourgeois arrogance which, from time to time erupts into open violence; the frantic attack of the arch-reactionary, right-wing elements last Friday (Jan. 26 1968) on Words and Comment, and the Selected Readings of Mao Tse-tung was just the sort of behaviour one would expect from such types.

And it suggests in answer to the question as to ‘Why are the arch-reactionary and right-wing element in such a violent mood?’ that:

1. We represent the majority progressive view and our paper has been, and is instrumental in exposing there reactionary ideas and practices. 2. We stand for the act-of-finding-out which reactionaries thoroughly oppose because they believe in containment of all progressive ideas and practices and maintaining the status quo.

And it concludes by saying that:

Words and Comment rigorously condemn the actions of these person who participated in the most outrageous performance ie. of attempting to burn and mutilate political literature which is opposed to their thinking and ideas. REACTIONARY VIOLENCE SHALL BE MET BY REVOLUTIONARY VIOLENCE.

Inside there is a small notice for the Dublin Housing Action Committee and a Public Meeting being held by that group.

There appears to be a pagination problem with the original document. Pages numbers 22/23 are apparently missing, although the text flows from page 21 to 24.

Left Archive: Interview with Proinsias De Rossa (Workers’ Party), from Gralton Magazine, Oct/Nov 1983 August 12, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.


To download the above please click on this link here: WPDOC GRALTON2

Recently the question was posed as to what accounted for Workers’ Party policies on the North during the 1980s? This interview with Proinsias De Rossa from Gralton Magazine, Oct/Nov 1983, perhaps provides some answers pointing to the manner in which the past weighed upon those in that party, and – arguably – indicating an increasing emphasis on politics in the Republic.

Many thanks to the person who scanned these, and as a more general thought, if anyone has any issues of Gralton it would be great to add at least one to the Left Archive (if you want to read one in full thankfully Conor McCabe scanned this one here on the fantastic Irish Labour and Working Class History site).

More next week with an interview from Gralton from the same year with a (Provisional, as was) Sinn Féin AC member.

Left Archive: One Ireland, One People, National Manifesto for the EEC Elections 1984, Sinn Féin August 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.


To download the above please click on the following link: ONE IRELAND SF 1984

To go to the Left Archive please click here.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This interesting document printed for the EEC elections of 1984 is ten pages long. On the front cover it has the old SF logo with the initials SF superimposed on the map of Ireland. Inside it notes that:

SF is contesting the EEC elections in all five constituencies in the 32 counties, putting before the people a real alternative. We are the only all-Ireland party with an unapologetic stand in support of national re-unification and in defence of the right of the Irish people to resist British occupation.

It notes that SF has ‘consistently opposed membership of the EEC’. And it suggests that the EEC has failed ‘to pro due the economic miracle promised on entry’. It also argues that ‘EEC membership has subjugated national sovereignty to the interests of the bigger and richer EEC states, only shifting the balance of colonial neo-colonial dependency on Britain to dependency on Brussels’ and that it has ‘re-emphasised partition’.

Under various headings, Unemployment, Policy Control, Agriculture, Fisheries, Social Issues and Cultúr it critiques the EEC and it concludes by arguing:

SF advocates withdrawal from the EEC and the negotiation of trading agreements with it, but also advocates the implementation of a radical socialist economic programme in a united Ireland.

Left Archive: Labour Referendum Posters, 1968 and 1972 August 7, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.

Many thanks to Peter Mooney for donating these posters to the Archive (just part of a large number of materials that will be appearing here over the next year from him), both from the Labour Party.


The first from 1968 was in response to the referendum introduced by the then Fianna Fáil government to abolish Proportional Representation and replace it with the ‘straight vote’.

The second is from the 1972 campaign in regard to the European Economic Community.

Music in the Irish Left Archive August 6, 2014

Posted by AonRud in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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This overview of music in the documents was recently added to the collections on the Irish Left Archive site here: Music in the Left Archive.

This collection brings together some of the musical content in the archive, including specific song books as well as songs within the various magazines and papers featured. The political use of music has a wide and varied history – from deliberate use in the inculcation of national sentiment in many nation-building projects of the twentieth century, to its use as a means of resistance and expression of dissent. What is recognised in each is that music has capacity not just to reflect and describe, but also to reinforce or challenge social and political situations. It is no surprise then that many of the publications in the archive draw on political music.

Much of the music available in the archive can broadly be described as ‘folk’ music. Without considering here the usefulness of the term in any musical typology (when does a popular song become folk, or vice versa?), folk music has a unique status of being perceived as music that belongs to the people (regardless of whether ‘the people’ may in fact have more familiarity with the popular music of the day), which makes it natural material for politicisation.

Of course, this is also likely to reflect the time period in which much of the material in the archive was published, when the folk revival was often linked to political and social movements of the Left. (It is notable, for example, that one of the major music publishers of the British folk revival, Topic Records, was originally founded by the Communist Party of Great Britain).

It is perhaps useful to distinguish overtly political ballads from those that are politicised. A song such as ‘The Red Flag’ is fairly unambiguous in its political message, and would be difficult to appropriate to an entirely new politics, whereas an older, traditional song may lend itself more easily to alternative political readings, or politicisation by association.

There are two song books in the archive, Songs of the Workers from the Socialist Party of Ireland and In Dublin City in 1913: Songs and Stories of the Workers of Dublin, published by The Dublin Council of Trade Unions to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1913 lockout. There is considerable overlap between the songs in both documents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they both include ‘The Internationale’ and ‘The Red Flag’, for example. (For more on the latter, see Helena Sheehan’s site – including recordings with the originally intended ‘White Cockade’ melody). Both also include Patrick Galvin’s ‘James Connolly’.

In total, of the thirteen (appropriately) songs in In Dublin City in 1913, seven also appear in the SPI publication. These are notable for their international character, despite the title of the booklet, and also demonstrate how songs arising from a particular event such as ‘Joe Hill’ can come to be used as symbols in a broader political context. Songs such as ‘Joe Hill’ and ‘Bandeira Rossa’ (‘Avanti Popoli’) clearly position the collection in an international workers’ context. Songs of the Workers provides the texts and a brief explanatory note for a wide range of songs. Again, they draw from America and Britain as well as presenting Irish songs such as ‘James Connolly’ and Connolly’s ‘The Blackleg’ and ‘Be Moderate’.

In addition to these song books, a number of the magazines and publications in the archive feature music-related content. The Irish Socialist had a regular column from 1968 to 1975 by John McDonnell entitled ‘Ballad Corner’, which provided the lyrics and (generally) an accompanying commentary. McDonnell was a CPI member who left with the Irish Marxist Society in 1976, ultimately joining the Labour Party 1. The ‘Ballad Corner’ column has been described as the genesis of his book, Songs of Struggle and Protest, published in 1979. In the introduction to the 2008 reprint of the book, Francis Devine says of the Ballad Corner column:

Researching songs was not easy for a contract electrician with a young family. Accessing the National Library of Ireland and Trinity College, Dublin proved difficult. On occasion, a half day off work was unrewarded as material failed to arrive at his desk before it was time to return to work or the library closed. McDonnell’s book was a triumph over adversity for a worker historian in all the best senses of the term. […] McDonnell’s doggedness was borne as much out of political commitment to the task in hand as to his own indefatigable personality. Frank Harte believed that songs were a key to understanding the past. He often observed, “those in power write the history, those who suffer write the songs”. McDonnell believed this too and attempted to recover workers’ history through song. ‘Ballad Corner’ gave the social context and provenance of songs, McDonnell’s work often being the first to provide such a detail for songs, be they well-known or obscure.

Francis Devine, 2008. Introduction, in John McDonnell, Songs of Struggle and Protest, Irish Labour History Society

The two editions currently in the archive that include this column provide the text of ‘The Cutty Wren’ (Irish Socialist: No. 96 – page 2) and ‘Preab San Ól’ (Irish Socialist: No. 95 – page 2).

The United Irishman provides another example of a regular music page in “The Rebel Ballad Sheet” in the 1969 editions in the archive, and a couple of example editions are included in this collection. The emphasis in these is entirely on rebel songs. For example, The Rebel Ballad Sheet from September 1969 includes Dominic Behan’s “The Patriot Game” and a ballad to Seán South.

Similarly, it is not unexpected to see an emphasis on Irish and Republican songs, as opposed to the above International socialist emphasis, in An Phoblacht’s choice of songs for the 75th anniversary of the 1916 Rising (An Phoblacht/Republican News, Vol. 13: No. 13), which include Amhrán na bhFiann with an accompanying history of the song (and an admission of favouring “sine Laochra Fáil” rather than the more common “sine Fianna Fáil” to dissociate from the party of that name). Patrick Galvin’s ‘James Connolly’ makes another appearance here also.

A couple of other song appearances are included in this collection: The Socialist Republic, by Tony Doherty in The Starry Plough; Venceremos 2 in the eponymous publication from the Patsy O’ Hara Youth Movement.

There seem to be no publications that have included written music as well as the words of songs in the archive. Most of those discussed make no mention of the tune, although the “Rebel Ballad Sheet” pages, like the historical broadsides, put “to the tune of” some well known tune above the text. This is of course fairly typical of the folk or ballad tradition.

The usefulness of music as a means of spreading a political message has been evident in politics of all hues, and although the Left orientation of the archive materials means there is a tendency to music of resistance, it is of course equally capable of functioning as a reinforcement of the status quo. (Even the same song can have its meaning challenged to serve both purposes, as is perhaps hinted at in the above use of ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ ).

Hopefully this sample draws attention to some of the ways music has featured in the Irish Left. The collection doesn’t purport to being exhaustive, and there are no doubt a few more stray songs in various publications in the archive, so if readers spot any of interest do let us know in the comments.

  1. McDonnell was also involved in the visit of miners’ families to Tallaght, documented in the British Miners’ Strike 1984/85 collection. And note from the agenda of events there that the entertainment included an evening at the Workers’ Music Co-operative Club.
  2. While not the same as the popular Chilean song entitled Venceremos, this may be intended to use that tune. If anyone is familiar with it, let us know.


Left Archive: The Worker, Socialist Workers Movement, May 1972 August 4, 2014

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Socialist Workers' Movement.
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To down load the above document please click on the following link here:


To go to the Left Archive please click on the link here.

Apologies in advance for the slightly odd condition of the photographs, though the text remains legible.

This edition of the Worker from the Socialist Workers’ Movement joins another later edition in the Archive.

The main focus of this is on ‘EEC: Bosses’ Answer’. And it positions itself in opposition to the then forthcoming referendum on EEC membership. It argues that financial, economic and even Northern affairs are shaped by membership.

It simply states that:

The alternative to the EEC is not simply to vote NO, letting the government find another way of coming to terms with its investment and trading problems. The alternative is to resist the EEC by taking up the struggle against the attacks on our living standards, and on our class organisations. It will take much more than vote to find answer to our problems. It will take a sustained and concerted fight, a fight for socialism in Ireland, and socialism in Europe.

One interesting aspect of the paper is how little the North intrudes upon it, though there is a dedicated Northern Notes section.

It is in contrast notable how focused it is on industrial disputes throughout. But the range of coverage is very wide, including pieces on Education, International News ‘Vietnam: NLF Fights On’ and so on.

John Goodwillie is represented by two articles including one on ‘Fine Gael – party of law and order’ and another on ‘pro-EEC propaganda’. Brian Trench has a piece on the ‘TUC breaks ESB Strike’.

Wishlist for Left Archive… July 31, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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…it’s that time of year when we ask for copies of documents from organisations that are not yet represented in the Archive…

As always one that would be very handy to flesh out our CPI (M-L) collection would be a Red Patriot from 1979, a year when according to subsequent Red Patriots there appears to have been contention within that party that was reflected in a different line expressed in that publication.

Then there are the Red Republicans who may, or may not, have produced material. More feminist publications are essential, and we’re interested in broadening the historical scope of the Archive, currently we’ve very few documents that pre-date the 1960s, but the Irish Left didn’t sprint into being then, anything but, so if you have, or know of documents from before that any information would be very welcome.

And any thoughts from you as to what is missing would be very welcome.


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