Left Archive: Students and Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin, c.1980? March 3, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
To download the above file please click on the following link: SF STUDENTS
This document,issued by Sinn Féin appears to date from prior to the Hunger Strikes because there’s no mention of same in the text. A two sided A4 leaflet it notes that SF is ‘one of the largest political organisations in Ireland with over 300 branches throughout the country and elected representatives on both sides of the border’.
Sinn Féin is a democratic socialist organisation working for the establishment of a workers’ republic where the wealth of this country will be owned and controlled directly by the people who produce it.
It defines socialism as:
The belief that the ownership and control of wealth and of all the wealth producing process should be taken out of the hands of the relatively small group of people who presently own them, and vested instead in the working class.
There are some interesting mentions of ‘the rat race of the totally exam-oriented and class biased secondary schooling system’ and the ‘semi-private nature of Church-controlled schools – in spite of massive state subventions’ and ‘a professional or clerical strangles hold over the lives and futures of thousands of students’.
It also unequivocally expresses support for the ‘armed struggle for national liberation being waged in the North by the IRA’.
Left Archive: Know Your Rights – Advice on What to do if Arrested in the Twenty-Six Counties, Sinn Féin, c.1980s? February 3, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: SF KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Many thanks to the person who donated this document to the Archive.
This 6 page long document is a short but detailed leaflet that covers all the issues that may arise on being arrested in the Republic, from psychological to practical and other issues. It notes the various stages from the initial arrest, where one will be held, interrogation and the necessity to be aware that making ‘any kind of statement, even a verbal one, is as bad as a written one’. It also notes that (at the time) ‘the most you will have to stick it out [is] for 48 hours – if you break it could be years before you get home’. And it asserts that:
…you might also remind yourself about the shame it will bring on you and your family to be known as an informer for the rest of your life. A lot of people would like to get a second chance because they made a mistake and talked while in the barracks.
It’s worth noting that this is one amongst many documents issued by PSF during this period on a very wide range of subjects. Each month it is intended to post one up in the Archive.
Left Archive: Lámhleabhar Poiblíochta – Manual of Publicity – Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 January 6, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
To download the above file please click on the following link:
SF MANUAL OF PUBLICITY
This document, 18 pages long, is a Manual of Publicity issued by Provisional Sinn Féin in 1974. Note the instruction on the inside of the front cover which states: Confidential – Faoi Rún
This manual has been prepared solely for the information and guidance of SF members. It is not for public sale or distribution. The Director of Publicity is grateful assistance received in the composition design and illustration of this manual.
It is hoped that the contents will be studied seriously and implemented efficiently.
The golden rule which applies to all kinds of publicity, spoken or written, is this: always use short simple words and short simple sentences.
It is remarkably comprehensive with mention of ‘The Main Methods of Publicity’ including Public Meetings, ‘Effective Public Speaking’, organising meetings, Sales of Papers, Sales of Literature, Letters to the Press, Press Statements, ‘cultivating channels of communication’ and how to engage with the media, Press photographs, Press Conferences, Interviews, Leaflets, Pickets, Posters, Advertisements, Songs and Music, Stickers and Flags and Education and Publicity.
In terms of building institutional memory within an organisation it is clearly of considerable use.
As it notes at the start:
The importance of communicating efficiently in an an increasingly complex world is appreciated by practically every company, group and organisation in the world. It has led to the growth of the huge expensive ‘Publicity and Public Relations’ Industry. The importance attached to it by everybody from the Churches to the politicians to the international corporations is reflected in the increasingly large salaries which persons who are thought to be experience fit eh art of effective and favourable communications are commanding.
There is also the negative side of the question. Publicity is vital to counteract the efforts of opponents who will seize on every opportunity to misrepresent your point of view. Publicity is a vital part of the major task of political education in which SF is engage. it is the major tool in ensuring increasing support in our struggle for the life of the Irish nation. It is the most effective weapon in our effort to ensure that we are no misrepresented. It is the best way to see to it that maximum benefit is gained from the blood, sweat and tears of all those who are working for the Republican idea – an Éire Nua.
This is well worth a read, not least in order to consider how its suggestions were applied by the party during the 1970s and after.
Left Archive: Mining and Energy – The Sinn Féin Policy, Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 December 9, 2013Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: SF MINING
This well presented document, issued by Provisional Sinn Féin in 1974, attempts to engage with the area of Mining and Energy. What is notable about it is that it is one a broad range of policy materials issued by PSF during this period on a number of issues, many of which are being posted to the Archive in the New Year. This somewhat blunts the impression that PSF was focused on independence and unity to the exclusion of all else. However it is fair to say that, naturally, Sinn Féin positioned the issue of Mining and Energy in the context of national independence.
The introduction notes:
Because the Republican Movement believes that the irish people are on the verge of victoy in the age-old struggle for national liberation it has shown an increasing awareness of the necessity to initiate, promote and develop political policies which can be put into action as soon as Britain declares her intention to get out of our country. The partitionist settlement of 1921, exposed as the betrayal Republicans have always held it rob e, is crumbling before the inspiration of a New Ireland.
The SF Éire Nua document, first published in January 1971 (some 16,000 copies have been sold to date) outlined 10 fundamental feature so the Republican Social and Economic Programme. it also contained detailed policies for specific sectors in chapters dealing with Finance, Education, Industry, Agriculture, etc., outlining not only what an independent Irish government could do in the New Ireland but also setting out the specific measures which could be taken here and now to ensure that the fabric of Irish life would remain as healthy and intact as possible under the present colonial and neo-colonial conditions that prevail in the partitioned states North and South.
It argues that since the publication of Éire Nua the party has expanded policy in a variety of fields. It also suggests that:
It is necessary however, to point out form the beginning that SF policy always distinguishes between what can be achieved within the limitations of the present governmental structure of this island, and the vigorous revolutionary policies which Republicans would advocate in a free New Ireland.
Interestingly the document starts by identifying ‘the question of ownership and exploitation [of Irish natural resources] in the interests of the Irish people. And it argues that the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 by asserting the “right of the people to the ownership of Ireland” in tandem with the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil Éireann, 1919 which declared:
…the nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the nation, but to all its material possessions; the nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the nation and with Pearse we re-affirm that all rights to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare’.
To this end the document argues that:
Sinn Féin stands not merely for the complete overthrow of English rule in Ireland but also for the setting up of a Democratic Socialist Republic. WE have outlined clearly what form this federated Republic would take in our Éire Nua programme and have incorporated the right of the Irish people to the natural resources of the country in the first point summary thus: “The wealth of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland is theirs to be exploited and developed in their interests”.
It continues that ‘we reject “Western” liberal capitalism and the consumer society on one hand and the state capitalism of the “Eastern” bloc on the other. Our aim is to outline an alternative third way of life based on Irish traditions and values and adapted to the geographic and historic situation we find ourselves’.
And it outlines one caveat:
We also feel that what may suit in one particular sector of the economy, or even in one region of a New Ireland may not necessarily be the best solution for another. Thus while we emphasise the growth of co-operatives in agriculture and fishing matters, we advocate state management of most major sectors of the economy and the financial and banking institutions. Some industries lend themselves to independent ownerships, others to workers control, others still to development as state corporations. But the underlying principle in each case is that the rights, welfare and prosperity of the ordinary Irish citizen are paramount and have to be protected.
It argues that in the case of mining ‘because it concerns a fundamental natural resource – a national resource not owned by anybody until it is discovered and exploited… is quite unique and needs to be considered as such. For this reason we feel that the question of compensation, which would arise say if some land were to be nationalised for whatever purpose, does not apply’.
And it further argues for the establishment of the equivalent of a state Bord na Móna for mining exploration and research, which would also coordinate mining and energy development in the country and to maintain strict control on any multi-national companies that would be interested in developing any particular sectors of the wealth.
It also argues that:
In this respect an attitude similar to the present policy of Norway would be adopted. Thus while the irish tax rate on profits form exploration at about 50% is rather similar to the profits tax imposed in Norway, Sinn Féin would also insist, as Norway does, that the state company have a share in the development and that a permanent royalty be paid where a successful strike was made.
Worth noting the emphasis on wind and tidal energy to generate electricity and ‘an intensification of development on our peat-lands’.
Left Archive: Towards a Policy on Culture: Sinn Féin Dréacht pholasaí ar chultúr – Sinn Féin, 1981 October 21, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above file click on the following link: SINN FÉIN TOWARDS A POLICY ON CULTURE
Many thanks to the person who scanned and donated this document to the Archive. A brief five printed pages it offers the outline of a policy on culture from that party.
In the Introduction it notes:
We write ‘towards a policy on culture’ because the final policy document of Sinn Féin in this respect will be the attitude, living example and support of the traditional culture of Ireland expressed by the average SF member from day to day.
Although by definition culture is every aspect of the life of an individual, a group or a larger society, what we are concerned about primarily in this document is that which makes up the essentials of the traditional Irish identity, readily recognisable at any period in the history of the Irish people.
According to the experts, by far the most important element in any culture is its own particular language. Thus we agree with the late IRA activist, professor, lecturer and revolutionary writer, Mairtin Ó Cadhain, when he stated: Tosoidh athghabhaíl na hÉireann le hathghabháil.
The task before Sinn Féin today, as before the 1918 elections, is to change the perspective of the Irish people, who have the only really essential resource for survival, their determination. The instinct of the Irihs people remains true to tradition: they will continue to support the men of force. If given resolute, scientific and principled leadership, they will restore the Irish language. We believe that only the Republican movement can give them that leadership.
It argues that Sinn Féin itself “should aim to conduct its business through Irish and Irish would be the normal means of communication between Sinn Féin members, new members having to pass through a training programme, including a good working knowledge of Irish, before becoming full members”.
It notes that while SF policy is to use Irish titles for various offices, ‘in recent years there has been a tendency to abandon such terms and to use the English example’. It also suggests that SF members should reject ‘that version of one’s given name or surname which the enemy would have us use, as a formal and permanent act of submission, and the discovery, use and exclusive cultivation of the historic and traditional Irish terms’.
It encourages members of SF to join or support all those organisations that help strength Irish identity at various levels. But it also suggests that members consider ‘it part of SF activities to analyse and uncover the activities of persons and groups organising local events which degrade Ireland and her people (beauty contests, for example) and which bring benefit to tiny gombeen minorities’.
In discussing occasions for the use of Irish it points to cultural events, and also that ‘local national martyrs may be honoured in like manner’ it continues:
Obviously… Christianity is part of the Irish culture (as is unbelief, disbelief, agnosticism and anti-clericalism) and, at the lowest level, that of tacts, at least, it is sensible to facilitate religion as an integral part of the general festivities.
It continues, though:
In such an event, however, it is essential that all the religious beliefs represented locally be invited to contribute. An ecumenical service, in both languages, might be the answer. If there is a local Jewish presence it should not be ignored.
It is interesting that the focus is very much on what SF members can do to encourage their use and the use of Irish more broadly in the society.
Left Archive: Private Property Rights? Republican Documents – Issue 1, Published by Republican Club TCD (Sinn Féin). 1969 October 14, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in 1969/70), Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above please click on the following link: SF DOC
This document issued by the Republican Club in Trinity College Dublin, was one of a series which included ‘Selected Works of O’Connaire, Mellowes, and Costelloe’ as well as ‘The Writings of John Mitchell’. The contents of this issue were Felon’s Letters No. 3, by James Fintan Lalor, The Sovereign People by Padraig Pearse and Who Owns Ground Rents in Ireland? by Seamus Costelloe, a speech delivered by him to Bray Urban District Council in 1967.
Each is of specific interest, but it is probably best to quote from the Introduction in order to get a sense of the orientation of the document.
The three works which we present in this pamphlet represent the verdict of Republicanism on the nature of private property and ownership in Ireland. Both Lalor and Pearse lay down principles, which, if we relate them to our own situation, we find are still as relevant as when first expounded.
These the document argues are that ‘the right of private property’ is ‘not applicable to private ownership in land’ and it continues by asserting that ‘Pearse… goes on to show that the nation’s sovereignty extends overall the nation’s material resources and that such sovereignty is absolute’.
And so we come to Seamus Costelloe, who draws heavily on both Pearse and Lalor in relation to the question of ground rents…
And it notes that he finds an interesting source of validation for his thesis.
Not only does he take the Republican thinkers of fifty and one hundred years ago as his guides, but also the religious authority of Pope Paul in our own day. He finds the two opinions strangely in accord with one another, and related to his own experience as a civic representative, comes to the conclusion that the political philosophy of Republicanism is still highly relevant to the Ireland of 1967.
Nothing has happened in the eighteen months since he addressed the Bray urban District Council to change his conclusions. If anything, the recently published ‘Stolen Waters’, by Seamus O Tuathail, the Editor of the United Irishman, enforces the conviction that private ownership of the land and waterways is immoral and indefensible.
This selection of writings is intended to assist both Republicans and non-Republicans to come to a better understanding of the philosophy of Republicanism; perhaps having read these works, all will come to the conclusion that little has changed in Ireland, despite our sham independence.
Note the Civil Rights Now! printed on the back cover.
Left Archive: Setting the Criteria – Tackling Discrimination: Sinn Féin’s analysis and proposals *Proposed Ard Chomhairle policy document for the SF Ard-Fheis, Sinn Féin, 1987 June 10, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link: SF DISCRIM
This document published by Sinn Féin in 1987 provides an insight into SF analysis and proposals in the area of discrimination in Northern Ireland during the 1980s.
It notes that:
Almost 20 years after the issue of job discrimination against nationalists was highlighted by the civil rights struggle, the response of the British government has been the begrudging acknowledgement that discrimination does exist. Last year it published proposals ostensibly aimed at tackling the problem. Sinn Féin argues that not only are these proposals inadequate but that they would not have been made at all had it not been for the MacBride Principles campaign in the USA which has put international pressure on Britain.
The MacBride Principles are seen in the USA as acceptable and reasonable objectives on a parallel with the campaign for the adoption of the Sullivan (Anti-Apartheid) Principles.
In the section headlined Background the document notes – perhaps to forestall criticism – that:
This paper does not intend arguing the republican contention that Britain cannot reform the Six-County state to the extent that support dwindles for the aspiration for Irish reunification. Its purposes are:
(i) To show that Britain – as the de facto government – is responsible for job discrimination against Catholics/Nationalists and that it has shown no genuine interest in tackling the problem;
(ii) To set down alternative proposals, which deal more effectively with the problem at this time; and
(iii) To set as the ultimate criterion of any proposals the actual effect of their implementation.
Before making specific proposals – such as ‘clear and comprehensive legal powers are required to eradicate discrimination and to ensure that equality of opportunity is realised’ – it notes:
Sinn Féin does not believe that the eradication of discrimination can be achieved within the confines of a Six-County state or under the auspices of a British government. Nevertheless, the responsibility of attempting to tackle this historic/structural problem lies with the British government as creators of and apologists for the Six-county state. We repeat that the ultimate criterion of any proposals is the actual effect of their implementation – they must lead to an end to sectarian discrimination in employment within tangible timescales.
Left Archive: Abortion Ireland – A Report by Sinn Féin’s Department of Women’s Affairs, October 1981, Sinn Féin May 6, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
Many thanks to Alan at Irish Election Literature and the person who scanned this document.
To download the above please click on the following link:ABORTSF1981
This short document, issued in 1981, addresses Provisional Sinn Féin’s approach to abortion at that time.
It starts by noting that:
An estimated 10,000 Irish women will have had abortions during 1981. It is precisely because thousands of Irish women do travel to Britain every year that a recent E.E.C. report called for national legislation to remove the need for such lonely and desperate journey’s.
It notes that SF’s policy document ‘Women in the New Ireland’ states:
There is a need to face up to the problem of abortion no matter what individual opinions are. We do not judge women who have had abortion but recognise that it is an indictment of society that so many women should feel the need to avail of abortion. We are opposed to the attitudes and forces in society that impel women to have abortions. We are totally opposed to abortion.
It outlines the legal situation as regards abortion in both parts of the island and provides statistics as to the geographical and occupational data of those seeking abortion in Britain.
It also outlines broader family planning law and the provision of contraceptives in the Republic and the six counties.
The overview in Section Two: Organisations Pro/Anti-Abortion is of interest.
Of the Women’s Right to Choose Group they note ‘They see abortion as the fourth viable option to a pregnant woman after the choices of keeping the child, fostering it or having it adopted. Their commitment is to ensure that women’s lives are controlled by women themselves. They believe that every child should be a wanted child and not a burden or a point of resentment.
Of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) they write:
Unfortunately they attract a great many reactionary types who would be extremely conservative on most social issues. Our research failed to find any of them involved with organisations who aid pregnant women nor have they protested at the limitations of the Health At whereby Medical Card holders – those least well off – have to pay for contraceptives.
The reasoning behind this report is to show that abortion is an issue in Ireland and will not end with a solitary sentence in a policy document. Any one of these statistics could be your wife, your sister or your daughter.
We believe that those who are ’totally opposed’ to abortion and those who see it as a tragedy and an indictment against society must work to improve conditions for and attitudes towards pregnant women.
Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2013 April 12, 2013Posted by doctorfive in Irish Politics, Sinn Féin.
Gerry Adams was on with Pat this morning.
Left Archive: Provos – Patriots or Terrorists? Seán Ó Riain, 1974 February 11, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
To download the above document please click on the following link: PROVS
In some respects this document is not a left-wing publication, and yet it provides a refutation of the two nations theory from the point of view of Provisional Republicanism. The author (who is later credited, as was pointed out to me, in a second edition of the pamphlet published later in 1974, under the byline of ‘G. Ó Danachair.’) clearly worked closely with PSF in writing the book, indeed in the Introduction he writes;
The author would like to express his gratitude to Éamonn Mac Thomáis and Joe Clarke for their kind help.
The Introduction also is clear in terms of the strong identification it establishes with Provisional Republicanism.
As your read this, the climax of the struggle for an independent and sovereign Irish nation is being enacted in the North-Eastern part of our country. Despite the gallantry of the beleaguered people of the Six Counties, gallantry alone cannot defeat the military and propaganda might of the Britain and her allies in this country. Only the entire people of IReland can achieve that. But the Irish people are not being told the truth about either the Northern situation or the I.R.A. campaign. it is in order that the truth be known that this pamphlet has been written.
It should be pointed out that all references to either the ‘Republican Movement’ or the ‘Irish Republican Army refer to the ‘Provisional Movement or the ‘Provisional’ I.R.A. – unless otherwise stated.
One notable omission is that of the concept of class. This is particularly evident in the first chapter which attempts to engage with the ‘Two-Nations’ theory.
There are certainly two traditions but no two nations. After 350 years there is no longer even a distinguishable dividing line between those of platner or native ancestry. there is no linguistic difference, or physically apparent racial difference. All share the same territory, the same history and the common name of ‘Irishman’. Their differences are based on religious conflict or to put it in its current terminology, they are only separated by sectarianism.
The rest of the pamphlet is broken up into various chapters, including ‘The Northern Situation’, ‘In Justification’, ‘the Terrorist Myth’, ‘Criticism and Refutation’ and ‘The Republican Alternative’. There are also appendices dealing with various topics including ‘Torture’, ‘Repression’, ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Éire Nua in Outline’.
In relation to the last, there’s an interesting analysis of how that document provides ‘an ideal solution’, one which ‘has to… offer… something to both sides’ on pp.39-40.
All told a very useful document that provides a considerable insight into both the thinking of the Provisional Movement during that period and how it sought to be represented to a broader audience.