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To download the above please click on the following link. <a href="
Many thanks to Jim Lane for forwarding an almost complete set of Gralton’s to the Archive. Over the next year these will be posted up in sequence.
This first edition of Gralton starts strongly with a broad range of articles. These include a focus on the Fall and Fall of Labour, ‘Poland in Perspective’, ‘The Police and their Powers’, ‘Socialism and Feminism’, the ‘Politics of Moving Hearts’ and ‘The Left and Elections’. The range indicates the ambitions of the magazine to provide a strongly political but broad based direction encompassing Irish, international and cultural topics. There’s also additional elements such as a pull-out section on ‘How to go on strike!’.
In format it is analogous to then contemporary publications like Magill, although it eschews colour photography.
The editorial board includes names familiar to activism on the Irish left and media, including Paul Brennan, Mary Cummins, Des Derwin, John Goodwillie, Gene Kerrigan amongst others.
It also is open as regards the need for a readership that is responsive, arguing ‘Whether or not [we] succeed depends on the response from readers. This magazine is open to those on the left who need the outlet to explore new ideas or review old ones or have a contribution to make – whether in debate or in providing information.
In relation to the name, a full page article on the back cover by Brian Trench notes that:
Jim Gralton is the only person to have been deported from the 26 Counties for political activity. The deportation was ordered in February 1933 by de Valera’s Fianna Fáil government, which had just had its position confirmed in the second general election inside a year.
Gralton was not prosecuted for any criminal offence. His offence was to have helped give the poor, the landless and the unemployed of Co. Leitrim the confidence to fight for themselves. Conservative politicians and the Catholic Church waged an in tenses, occasionally violent, campaign against him. the LAbour Party an the IRA watched the battle, only individual members of each stood firmly with Gralton.
The editorial outlines both those involved and their goals for the magazine.
What kind of people are producing Gralton? What kind of people will read it? We think the answer to these two questions is the same; those interested in discussing the realities of Irsih society and the methods of radically changing it; those who feel that no existing publication or organisation is at present providing a forum within which the experiences, victories and defeats of the past decade can be assessed and learned from.
We hope Gralton can become that forum. Our aim is to promote debate and discussion centring around a number of broad positions:
That capitalism is not a force for progress and has to be replaced by Socialism.
That Socialism consists essentially of people controlling their own lives in the workplace and the community.
That such change of systems goes far deeper than anything that can be achieved through parliamentary methods alone.
That real change cannot be brought about through the actions of any small elite group, whether guerilla army or state bureaucracy, but requires the action of masses of people acting consciously together to establish their own power
That none of this change can be achieved solely in an Irish context.
It suggests that:
…there is a close link between the experience of activity and the development of ideas and we shall always be seeking to strengthen it.
It notes that:
The Editorial Board of Gralton reflects who we believe to be our audience: individual socialists and activists in a wide variety of left-wing movements. Some of us are members of left organisations, more are not. Among us there are differences of tradition, political bias, interests – even some sharp disagreements on major political issues. But we all share a basic political approach and method; that of looking towards and participating in the struggles and movements of the working class and all the oppressed and exploited sections of society.
It asserts its independence, saying that ‘Gralton will be independent, broad-based and non sectarian in all its coverage’. And it emphasises that it ‘will not be handing down any firm ‘line’. our articles are the responsibility of the authors alone… we are not a ‘heavy theoretical journal’ so they will have to be written in ordinary English and priority will be given articles from whatever source which raise real questions or which provide useful information’.
Finally, it notes that ownership is vested ‘in a body called Gralton Co-Operative Society Ltd.’ consisting of all individual readers who are in broad agreement with the aims of the magazine and are committed enough to the project to take out a Supporters Subscription’.
The overall impression is of a strong, relatively well produced publication with a less narrow focus than some other material published on the left. One telling feature is a small box on the third page which outlines ‘Coming Soon…’ including interviews and articles in the next edition. In some respects the magazine was fortunate to launch when it did during a period of heightened political activity.
Some of those involved would reappear involved in Z Magazine later in the decade.
Any additional thoughts from those involved or who read it at the time would be much appreciated.
Many thanks to the person who donated this to the Archive.
PDF available here: WP MAKE THE BANKS
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To download the above please click on the following link. FIANNA 1964
Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.
This newspaper issued on behalf of ‘na Fianna Eireann – the national Boy Scouts’, the youth section of the IRA, was printed in 1964, to judge from the text, though no date is printed on it. It clearly dates from prior to the split in Sinn Féin and the IRA that led to the establishment of competing organisations.
It argues that: ‘this paper is not the organ of any political party or society, but is confined solely to furthering the aims of Na Fianna Eireann’ which it argues is ‘a non-political, non-sectarian organisation’.
It notes that:
During the last few years, Na Fianna Eireann has resurrected itself and completely re-organised. The overseas units have been re-organised and Sluaite have been reformed in the principal cities and several of the principal towns at home.
It also notes that:
This year an intense effort was made by the Dublin Castle Lackey’s to crush the sale of the Easter Lily – Mr. Haughey’s way of showing respect to the men of ’16.
…takes this opportunity of congratulating all those republicans who defended the Easter Lily from the vicious onslaught of the Twenty-Six County Police during Easter 1963.
The rest of the paper contains the history of the Fianna and outlines the activities of same. There’s also a short piece on ‘The National Flag’.
Left Timeline: Fasten Your Anorak, We’re Going to Need a Bigger Graph September 29, 2014Posted by AonRud in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
As posted here previously, there’s a timeline of Irish Left organisations taking shape on the Irish Left Archive site. Thanks to everyone who commented with additions and corrections, and in particular to John Goodwillie, on whose work in Gralton the initial timeline was based, and who also provided a number of corrections.
Since it was posted there have been a couple of dozen additions, and numerous corrections, so the feedback has been very helpful. It should already be a lot more accurate and comprehensive than where it started.
It’s also getting inevitably larger, so I’ve added a search feature that should make it easier to find an organisation from among the mass of links, and also to spot any that are missing. There remain some groups which have been hard to pin down, including some already represented in the archive, which hopefully some readers will be able to assist with, and no doubt others that I haven’t come across.
You’ll notice there are different markers for the end of organisations where I’ve had to estimate the year. Short of an official dissolution, end dates can be hard to set for organisations, and often they may limp on long after any real activity, but if anyone has a more accurate guess for these, do let us know in the comments.
As with the archive itself, the intention is for the timeline to be quite broadly inclusive. So, short of including lots of single issue campaigns, which I expect would make it unmanageable, any suggestions are very welcome.
Left Archive: An Phoblacht, Numbers 11 and 12, Irish Revolutionary Forces, May-June 1967 and August 1967. September 29, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Revolutionary Forces [1960s].
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To download Issue 11 please click here:
An Phoblacht No.11 May-Jun. 1967
To download Issue 12 please click here:
An Phoblacht No.12 Aug. 1967
To go direct to the Left Archive please click on this link.
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.
Issue 11 has a reproduction of the text by John O’Leary of a piece on Self-Sacrifice, first published in the Irish People on December 19th, 1863.
The Editorial in number 11, is focussed on the idea that ‘Organized Republicanism has always asserted with justification that it has never succumbed to external influences when it came to the management of its own affairs’. It continues:
This is as it should be, and as it must be if Irish Republicanism is to retain that independence elf action essential to is success as a revolutionary movement. When organised Republicanism becomes the lackey of any external influence, it ceases right there and then to be IRISH, and it cannot justifiably claim the capability to serve the Irish People. No movement can serve two masters; it is as simple as that.
Over the past few years, we have continually laboured to bring home to all Irish Republicans the hard fact that a foreign directed clique has worked its way into leadership circles, for the express purposes of directing the efforts of the Republican Movement along lines advantageous to the interests of a foreign power.
The subversives are, as we have repeated pointed out, drawn primarily from the ranks of the British Communist Party and its Irish sections, which are in turn directed from Moscow.
It suggests that ‘these foreign agents initially entered the movement through the influence of an IRA Headquarters officer’ and argues that while they thought initially he was sincere they now believe they have proof he was ‘recruited into that network which covers Britain and Ireland, and which is managed by the British Communist Party’. It also mentions ‘four-eyes’ Johnson of whom it argues it was no accident that ‘he should so easily enter the leadership circles of the Republican Movement’. And it continues that ‘Johnson, Coughlan and the rest of their clan were on the other side in ’56, but at least they were, for them, being reasonably honest then’.
It argues that in contrast to the ‘self-styled Progressives’ in the Republican Movement ‘we are most assuredly committed to ‘trouble-making’ for all enemies of our traditional Republican aspirations and for all parasites and milk-and-water patriots who embrace Republicanism for the sole purpose of draining it of its fighting blood’.
And it concludes by saying… ‘Unfettered freedom never came to a people gift-wrapped in a ballot box. It is only for those strong enough to take it, and determined enough to hold on to it. Our claim to Freedom and national sovereignty rests squarely on our ability to pursue them by the only means they ever have been won; BY ARMs’.
Other articles in this edition include one taken from the Irish People of October 1, 1864 entitled Doubters and Shams. Another argues under the heading ‘A Source of Weakness’ that ‘It is a sad fact that over the past 50 years the weakest link in the Republican front has been Sinn Féin’. There is a piece on ‘Views on the Present Situation’ which argues that those dissatisfied with the direction of the then Republican Movement should not leave it. And it concludes by asserting that ‘If you desire victory, Arm, Organize, Educate’.
Issue 12 has a striking cover, an illustration of a soldier rising from the flames in which are inscribed dates such as 1798, 1803, 1848, 1916, 1939 and 1956 beside the headline ‘WE WILL RISE AGAIN!’.
The editorial focuses on ‘The issue of the Free State’s entry into the European ‘Common Market’ [which] dominates the activities of the Republican Movement these days. It argues that ‘Many complicated, and at times contradictory arguments are being presented by the ‘Progressives’ to show why the Free States should not enter’. And it continues, ‘We notice that when the ‘Progressives’ deal with the Free State in this question, they talk of it as IRELAND! We notice they talk in terms of ‘our ministers’, and on the ‘relinquishing of national control’ which implies that we presently possess such control’.
It argues that ‘We are not suggesting that entry into the ‘Common Market’ would be in the beset interests of the people. However, the real question for Irish revolutionaries is not the effects of such an alliance but its root cause. And this is a matter which gets little space in the laments penned by the scribes of the Wolfe Tone Society’.
It suggests that:
As a neo-colonial state subordinate to British Imperialism, the Free State has no option but to do what its economic masters dictate. It cannot enter, even if it desired, if Britain does not; and it must enter the ‘Common Market’ regardless of whether it wants to or not, if Britain does. To confuse and cloud this basic issue with talk about loss of sovereignty, is to play the games of the neo-colonialists; because it gives recognition to their claims of an independent politico-economic status, which they never possessed to begin with, and which Irish revolutionaries have never recognised, and rightly so.
It makes the point that:
One only has to read the social, political and economic programmes of present-day Sinn Féin to see this clearly; to see that what they present is not a real alternative politico-economic system, but merely an alternative Free State party to manage the existing system, and which proposes to change that system only insofar as the fundamental interests of its ruling class allow. And it is for precisely this reason that the people in general reject them. The national colour may be green; but the people are not so green that they cannot appreciate that if we are to be stuck with the system represented by the Free State, it is far better to vote for the devil you know than the one you do not know.
The editorial argues that only if State Power is contested and won will there be a possibility to ‘fundamentally alter… the adverse effects of neo-colonialism’.
This edition also contains a piece on ‘Revolution and Force’, another on the issue of how on IRA Sweep Tickets an illustration of a volunteer ‘trampling defiantly on the British Imperialist Union Jack’ has been altered so that the flag ‘blends nicely into the background, and in fact disappears altogether’. There is a long piece on ‘The Road to Free-Statism’ which strongly criticises the Connolly Association, their paper the Irish Democrat and Desmond Greaves. There’s also an article which draws largely on the text of ‘Guerrilla Warfare: A Method’ by Ernesto Che Guevera.
There’s also some wry observations on the then recent Local Elections which argues that ‘The results of the Local Elections amply demonstrate what we have said all along: the road to compromise offers no solution to the problems facing Irish Republicanism’.
No. 11 An Phoblacht May-June 1967
Editorial p. 2
Doubters and Shams p. 4
A Source of Weakness p. 6
Views of the Present Situation p. 8
No.12 An Phoblacht August 1967
Editorial p. 1
Revolution and Force p. 3
The Last Soldier p. 5
The Reason Why p.5
The Road to Free-Statism p. 6
Guerrilla Warfare : A Method p. 8
Is that a fact! Compromise Fails p.11
Left Archive: Northern Ireland: A Marxist Analysis – Militant (Dublin) [then part of the Irish Labour Party] October 1988 September 22, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Militant.
To download the above document please click here: MLITANT 1988 GO
This is a Northern Perspectives document from Militant written in Belfast by Peter Hadden. Any clarification of its provenance would be very much appreciated. A relatively long form publication, produced as a series of bullet pointed paragraphs, it provides a useful snapshot into the thinking of that formation during that period.
In relation to the analysis it argues that:
Over the 20 years of the troubles in Northern Ireland, the analysis and perspectives of the marxists have been strikingly confirmed. While every other tendency within society has been caught entirely unaware by these events, the marxists have been able to explain the fundamental processes at work. In this laboratory of social ferment the superiority of marxism over all other modes of thought has been demonstrated. It has been the victory of scientific thinking over empiricism, of ‘foresight over astonishment!’
And it continues:
Twenty years ago a revolutionary opportunity existed in the north. The crimes of the reformists and the stalinists, together with the infantile ultra-leftism of some of those involved in these events, combined to allow this opportunity to slip by. By the early 1970s, the working class paid for these crimes and errors in the form of intense sectarianism reaction. In 1975/76 the working class intervened to halt the drift to all-out sectarian conflict. For a period of years class issues came to the fore. Again these opportunities were squandered by the rotten role of the trade union leaders in particular. The aftermath of the hunger strikes of the early 1980s, coupled with the industrial and political defeats suffered by the working class in Britain, prepared the way for a new period of relatively mild reaction. In this context the 1985 signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement provoked a fierce sectarian backlash, depend the reaction and further set back the Labour movement. The result of these decades of reaction nd missed opportunity has been the entrenchment and reinforcement of the sectarian division. The tasks of building a revolutionary party and accomplishing the socialist revolution have been complicated and made much more difficult.
After twenty years of failed bourgeois initiatives and ‘solutions’ and particularly after nine years of the crude methods and crass errors of the Thatcher government, the prospect of even a temporary accommodation within the north has receded out of view. The social and economic crisis of capitalism in the north has now produced a complete paralysis in the political thinking of the bourgeois.
A new political initiative such as devolution, an assembly or convention is unlikely for a further period…while now less likely than ever it is not entirely excluded that an accommodation might be reached between the Unionist and SDLP leaders and elections held to some new local parliament… Such a result would be very difficult to achieve and liable to fall to pieces at any moment during its conception and establishment. NO matter what the subjective wishes of the SDLP and Unionist politicians, the basis for power sharing has been even further eroded by the sectarian reaction of recent years, and by the emergence of SF as a political force. Even if established a new local parliament would solve nothing.
Unable to advance towards even a temporary political settlement, the ruling a class are thrown back to military means. Repression is the distilled essence of their policy. Everything else having failed the Tories have greatly stepped up the use of repression. A continuation and intensification of this policy is the most likely scenario for a further period.
At some stage the ruling class will be forced to recognise the dangers of continuing with a purely military holding operation and be forced to attempt some new political initiative. In the sudden lurches of the bourgeois from political military methods and back again, from concession to repression, is expressed their total impotence in the face of this national conflict of their own past making.
Further on it argues that:
That SF can remain as an electoral force be accuse of the lack of any alternative to give expression to the anger of the Catholic workers particularly on the issue of repression. Because of their sectarian appeal and outlook they can achieve nothing. At best they can become the majority party of the minority, although this is not the most likely perspective.
And it argues that:
A section of the Provos have grown impatient at the lack of success of their strategy of a war of attrition stretching over ten, twenty or more yeas. This, together with the fact that the organisation is now equipped with large quantity of highly sophisticated weaponry – makes an attempt to dramatically escalate the military campaign,m the most likely immediate prospect.
There is much more, including the belief that a mass labour party may emerge ‘late in the revolutionary period’, but it concludes:
The objective situation is still difficult and may even deteriorate in the short term. However it is a contradictory situation. Despite the sectarian violence, the class issues are never far from the surface… this work is a preparation for the major struggles of the future. At some stage the movement will return to the traditionalise of 1907, 1919 or 1932. The ability of the marxists to intervene in and play a leading role in these events depends on the work of developing cadres being successfully carried out in periods such as now.
The Rising Tide – LookLeft 19 in shops now September 15, 2014Posted by guestposter in The Left, Workers' Party.
LookLeft 19 is in Easons stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the island now. Still only €2 this issue includes former Workers’ Party President Séan Garland’s assessment of the career of Eamon Gilmore, an exclusive article by Greek economist, Yanis Varoufakis, on the failure of European Social Democracy, an interview with new Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger, an examination of the growing militancy among trade union members in Ireland and John Cooney on Scottish Independence and much, much more…
CLASS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The links between Irish corporate and clerical elites, Richard McAlevey investigates.
RACISM, NORTH AND SOUTH
Brian McDermott and Kevin Squires discuss the rise of racism on both sides of the Border.
THE OIREACHTAS’ NEWEST SOCIALIST
Kevin Squires meets Ruth Coppinger to discuss her aims in the Dáil.
CAN RENT CONTROLS WORK?
Osal Kelly discusses how to put a lid on a the bubbling housing market.
WHAT IS TTIP?
Dara McHugh and Padraig Mannion discuss the threat to democracy from the secretive trade deal.
RISING TIDE OF EXPECTATIONS Workers are seeking a new militancy in the trade union movement, Francis Donohoe explores.
THE FORUM Seán Garland bids an unfond farewell to Eamon Gilmore. Also featuring John Cooney, Anna Quigley, Cian O’Callaghan, Marie Moran and Gavin Mendel-Gleason.
WHAT NEXT FOR EUROPE?
Yanis Varoufakis and Terry McDonough discuss the fall of European social democracy and look at how the Left can rise instead.
Conall Parr looks at the legacy of radical Protestants in Northern Ireland politics
GLAM ROCK AND ANARCHY
Dara McHugh talks music, politics and petty theft with pioneering Dublin folk band Lynched.
NO NAZIS AT MALMÖ
Neil Dunne discusses the reactions of Malmö FC to the stabbing of a fan by neo-nazis.
Many thanks to NollaigO for the following: Focalin GO
To go to the Left Archive please click on this link.
Seamus, a friend , recently discovered five editions of Focalín in his attic and has loaned them for copying to the CLR Archive.
Focalín (“A wee word” for the odd reader of CLR who does not understand the First Language) was an Irish political satirical magazine produced in London in the late 1970s /early 1980s. The founders of the magazine were former supporters of the early Peoples Democracy and included an outstanding cartoonist.
Given the nature of the material in the magazine, it had a “sub rosa” flavour about it. Main targets for the magazine were Conor Cruise O’Brien, Charlie Haughey, Irish journalist Mary Kenny who was working in London at the time and legendary Gery (sic) Lawless [and his mythical(!) first lieutenant, Paddy of Cricklewood] to name but a few. One of the magazine’s exposés was the Kincora Boys Home scandal for which they got an informal tribute from Glenn Barr.
Specially recommended in this issue are the articles on the Inflatable Bodhran Kit (p3), Letters to the Editor (p4 &10), cartoon SUPERMICK and the Taxman, in fact every page (including the cover)!
The Cedar Lounge Revolution hopes to publish these five editions over the next few months [Libel laws considered!].
We estimate that at least twenty issues of the magazine were published.
Any of our readers got any further copies in their attics?
Left Archive Gralton Excerpt: Interview with Michael D. Higgins Oct/Nov 1983 September 11, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Here’s a very interesting interview with Michael D. Higgins from all of 31 years ago. To download click here: GRALTON LP
Many thanks to Jim Lane who has forwarded almost a full set of issues of the magazine to the Archive. These will be appearing shortly.