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The Left Archive: “The Irish People” from Official Sinn Féin, 1974 December 3, 2007

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Republican Socialist Party.


Okay, another anonymous donation (and again we’re very grateful for it). And this one provides an interesting contrast with the copy of the United Irishman from some weeks back. For here is an Irish People, august paper of Official Sinn Féin, from 1973. (Apologies about the file size. This is about 10mb’s).

By now the ceasefire was bedded in. The IRSP and PLA/INLA were some months into the future. And we see a document that on the one hand – with the emphasis on industrial struggle, playgrounds and ‘threats to aged tenants’ was not disimilar to the IPs I used to hawk around Dublin North East in the 1980s – while on the other hand was quite radically different. Note the mention of NICRA etc, the front cover story about the Littlejohns. There is a whiff of the cold war about it… although intriguingly little or nothing about the rest of the world bar a curious little comparison between Qutar and Ireland as regards oil rights… And the editorial about Enoch Powell who at that point had just joined the Ulster Unionists, while entirely correct, speaks of another world.

There is still a reflexive Republicanism in some of the pieces. Note the mention of Lord Mountbatten. And the ‘Screw’s cause prison unrest’ article would hardly find it’s way into a party political paper today.

A central ideology is hard to distinguish. Certainly there is nothing of the tedious verbiage of BICO or other formations on the further left…
And a final point. Essentially no mention of OSF within these pages. Just the Republican Clubs.

Anyhow, here it is…irish-people-1974.pdf


1. Garibaldy - December 3, 2007

You’re right there’s no central theoretical theme threaded through it all, but was that its job? But you wouldn’t mistake its politics for anything but hard left, surely? The stuff about the Brits is just showing off how good information was, and at this distance seems almost childish, but may have been to try and head off the impending split by assuring people of militancy.

Very true, and suprising, about the Republicans Clubs/southern balance. I guess the southern stuff was just cast as Trade Unions doing stuff rather than the party. But weird.


2. WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2007

To be honest it reminds me nothing so much as more recent AP/RNs. The same mix of left politics and Republicanism with no clear theoretical core.


3. Garibaldy - December 4, 2007

I don’t read that particular publication, so I’ll take your word for it 🙂


4. Starkadder - December 4, 2007

A pretty interesting, if unfocused, publication.Ironically,
Lord Mountbatten would be killed by the other branch of
Are there
any books which focus on the history of Official Sinn Fein and the
Workers Party?


5. WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2007

Garibaldy, it’s genuinely worth a look.

Starkadder, I’m fairly sure there is one out next year that will be of some interest to us all…


6. Starkadder - December 4, 2007

Okay, WBS.. Do you know who is writing or publishing it?


7. WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2007

Scott Millar and Dr. Brian Hanley of NUI Maynooth. Not sure of the publisher. I would anticipate that this site is whetting the appetite for all things WP amongst the rest of the further left…


8. Starkadder - December 4, 2007

Thanks WBS. I’ll keep an eye out for it next year.


9. Garibaldy - December 4, 2007

It’s being published by Penguin Ireland I think, which published Henry McDonald’s autobiography too.


10. Garibaldy - December 4, 2007

Oh yeah, and on that other publication, actions speak louder than words. Compare the workers in struggle page (assuming it’s still there to the experience of the classroom assistants).


11. Joe - December 5, 2007

That book has been a long time coming. Can’t help thinking it will be a disappointment. How can they write a “history” when they haven’t even interviewed me?!!


12. Redking - December 5, 2007

There is a book available -“Official Irish Republicanism 1962 -1972”-it’s full of very useful material as the author- Sean Swan is I think, a WP member and has had fairly unprecendented access to ard choirle , coiste seasta minutes etc from the WP archives. He’s also spoken to a lot of “confidential sources”. Worth a look but available via the internet only.

Good old Tom MacGiolla is also I hear writing his tuppence worth which I’m looking forward to more than that the Millar/Hanley tome.

Joe -why don’t you put your experiences up on the internet? – your posts here on the WP have always been very interesting (to me anyway!)


13. Joe - December 5, 2007

Redking comrade. I suppose I could put my experiences of the WP up on the internet. I guess I was just an ordinary member who did his best like a lot. That included a lot of campaigning for His Honour Judge McCartan… hero of the working class. But I guess everyone you meet along the way is a story in themselves. WBS and me will get together one of the days to reminisce…
I’m hopeful that the Millar/Hanley book will resonate – that there’ll be a lot in it that will ring bells for me and you and the likes of us. How many were there around the country? Must have been thousands in the heyday. And all over the place now in terms of politics and lack of same.


14. John O'Neill - December 5, 2007

I’m quietly confident that the Hanley/Millar book will be fairly objective and I know that the WP have assisted them in giving access to documentsand interviews etc. Having said that I think it will be critical.

I don’t think I could bring myself to read wee Henry’s book. Since he got his Observer job he deserves the nickname wee Hitchens.

I read Sean Swans book and it was interesting (published by Lulu.com) although I couldn’t make out what his angle was, either he was saying that WP attempts to merge socialism with traditional republicanism was incompatable or that the WP veered away from republicanism under the influence of ‘elements’ the CPI (a negative, in his opinion). others might have some thoughts if they have read it.


15. WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2007

Joe, you’re more than welcome to put your thoughts here if you want to… John, I’d tend to agree. I think it should be good. I really liked Deadly Divisions – with obvious caveats, but yes, H has gone to a strange neo-conservative place…

I’ll have to check out the Sean Swan book.


16. splinteredsunrise - December 6, 2007

I read the Sean Swan book a little while ago but haven’t got round to writing about it. I’m a bit unclear about his thesis, but it really is a goldmine of info.


17. The Left Archive: “Advance” from the Socialist Party of Ireland, 1977 « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - December 31, 2007

[…] But perhaps there is another reason. In fairness it seems like a better read that the Irish People posted up in the Archive earlier in the year. But then, the cynic in me also suggests that that […]


18. irishelectionliterature - July 22, 2011

I was recently given a copy of ‘The Irish People’ from 1973. It has only four pages (with no page numbers), would it have normally had 8 pages?.
(In other words am I missing a part of it)


Tawdy - August 7, 2011

It was in it`s early stages so four pages would be about right for the time


19. THATS NOT MY NAMA! - August 7, 2011

Apparently the Andersontown News was set up as a community paper with the proceeds of the track ‘Men Behind the Wire’. Can anyone confirm or deny? With the anniversary of internment approaching is there any possibility of getting an early copy uploaded?


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