jump to navigation

The Left Archive: Spirit of Freedom leaflet, Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), 1987 November 3, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

Once more these days, most notably in the universal approval (in bourgeois political circles, not amongst the people) of the recent Unionist Task Force Report ‘An End to Drift’, the talk is being turned towards the restoration of devolved government in ‘Norther Ireland’, how this ‘desirable objective can be achieved, on what terms for catholics and protestants, for nationalists and unionists, whether there should be ‘power-sharing’ or what form of power-sharing etc. etc.

“Bourgeois political circles…”? Yes, it’s the CPI (M-L), once more.

Many thanks to PJ for scanning and forwarding this document. It’s a short four page leaflet promoting their “Spirit of Freedom” campaign which was centred on the Birmingham Six. However as important a concern to them was the Anglo-Irish Agreement and these two themes make up the bulk of the material here, as well as a number of advertisements for CPI (M-L) publications.
As PJ notes:

I dont know too much about the group except that they organised a number of public meetings in various cities under the ‘Sprit of Fredom Committee’ banner.

Their attempt to march at RSF’s Bodenstown (around the date of the publication) ended up with the marshals telling them to take down their banner and get lost!



1. PJ Callan - November 3, 2008

On reflection I think this was actually a newsletter that ran for a year or so, rather than a one off leaflet.
Ironically the CPI(ML ended up supporting PSF and the Good Friday Agreement – which restored Stormont.


2. Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen Linken - eine Auswahl « Entdinglichung - November 3, 2008

[…] Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist) (CPI(ML)): Spirit of Freedom leaflet […]


3. NollaigO - November 3, 2008

Ironically the CPI(ML) ended up supporting PSF and the Good Friday Agreement – which restored Stormont.,

Ní thagann ciall roimh aois !


4. PJ Callan - November 3, 2008

There is no sense in a re-established Stormont, as part of a program for the establishment of a 32 County Socialist Republic – I think they were right in 1987.


5. NollaigO - November 3, 2008

The Assembly is not a re-established Stormont


6. Garibaldy - November 3, 2008

I wonder how they planned to intensify the armed struggle to drive the imperialists out seeing as it had precisely fuck all to do with it. Certainly not by actually doing it themselves.


7. WorldbyStorm - November 3, 2008



8. entdinglichung - November 4, 2008

did the CPI(ML) have an “armed wing”?! or were they like most “pro-albanian” parties in europe in the 1970ies only taking about guerilla warfare while leafletting factories and 5:30 a.m.?


9. Garibaldy - November 5, 2008

They certainly did not have an armed wing.


10. PD Curby - November 5, 2008

Well Rod Eley had the ear of prominent people within PSF (following the ’86 split) and they considered the provos to be an “armed wing” worthy of unconditional support.


11. WorldbyStorm - November 5, 2008

Hmmm… I somehow don’t think the sentiment was entirely reciprocated to the CPI (M-L) en masse!


12. PD - November 5, 2008

True enough, but at one time they had influence – who remembers the debate between Rod Eley and Alan Dukes on RTE 1 Radio?


13. WorldbyStorm - November 5, 2008

Fair point, although was that more a few individuals from CPI (M-L) rather than it as an organisation?


14. Garibaldy - November 5, 2008

If they considered the Provos to be an armed wing that they influenced, it just shows what morons and meglomaniacs they were.


15. PD - November 5, 2008

Well they had ‘some’ influence, influence earned in that they were the only left formation that continued to defend the PIRA in the bad-old-days of the 80’s – after Enniskillen.

I mean at the time their propaganda took the form of calls to defend the right to armed struggle – no other Marxists were putting stuff out like that.

You Stickies never liked them for that reason, as you were too busy treading the path that has taken ye up the rear passage of Ulster Unionism.


16. Garibaldy - November 5, 2008

The fact that people in PSF may have talked to them is a long way from influencing how the Provos waged their campaign, nevermind them actually being involved in what they were so vociferous about what should happen. My basic attitude to armed struggle is simple. If you believe in it do it yourself. Don’t act as a cheerleader for someone else. Pretty much anywhere were Marxists have seen the necessity for it, they’ve taken the lead, from the partisan movements of World War II to anti-colonial struggles. Except of course in Ireland, where any groups that considered themselves Marxist that believed in armed struggle have merely supported it. With the possible exception of the IRSP. As for being up the arse of Ulster unionism, how many members of the CPI(ML) or any of these other groups were murdered by loyalists?


17. skidmarx - November 5, 2008

I’ve just found in the street what looks like a local Solidarnosc leaflet from 1981.
It’s four sheets of A4, headed:
Dziennik NSZZ “Solidarnosc” Region “Mazowsze”
piatek 7.8.81
and the lead article’s title is “PO ROZMOWACH”


18. Baku26 - November 6, 2008

The perspicacity and consistency of the CPI(ML) might be gleaned from a reading of their analysis of the Ulster Workers’ Strike in 1974 which they greeted as a “severe blow to the British monopoly capitalist, as weel as to the comprador bourgeoisie north and south”. The strike was lauded as a sign that “the workers of Ulster are going to participate in proletarian socialist revolution, are going to unite with their fellow Irish workers to settle matters with the British imperialists …”


19. Starkadder - November 6, 2008

“The strike was lauded as a sign that “the workers of Ulster are going to participate in proletarian socialist revolution, are going to unite with their fellow Irish workers to settle matters with the
British imperialists …””

Hmm. I’m sure both Tom Nairn and Maurice Brinton also expressed hope that the UWC would turn Ulster Loyalism in a left-ward,
anti-capitalist direction, Didn’t happen…


20. WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2008

They were great. I always thought of them as more of a sort of rolling piece of installation art than a political party. Anyone ever drop into their little shop in Dublin?

In fairness, Nairn wasn’t on hand and perhaps his understanding of the dynamics of working class loyalism was faulty.


21. Unrepentant - November 7, 2008

Where do the quotes come from, there isnt much of their written material still around. I read their pamphlet on the AIA on this site but havent seen much else?


22. Joe - November 7, 2008

Yeah WBS, rolling piece of installation art is a good description. I remember going into Progressive Books on the quays near the Civic Offices for a browse. As I examined a hardback of the Collected Works of Enver Hoxha, the man at the counter engaged me in conversation from a distance. I made the mistake of telling him I was in the WP. “The Irish working class will not lightly forgive you for what you have done”, he said, menacingly.
I have a copy of their paper that I bought one night in the Palace Bar. I opened it up to see a photo of their banner being carried in a Stop the Criminal Justice Bill march. And me walking proudly in front of their banner like a vanguard of the working class party…
One for the Archive if I can ever learn how to scan.


23. D. J. P. O'Kane - November 7, 2008

I’ve told this story before, but I once ran into a Cork lad who knew quite a lot about Eritrea. . . asking him how he knew so much about a country most people have never heard of, he said ‘oh I was in the CPI M-L’.

‘Ah’, I replied, ‘you guys were Maoists, right?’

‘Well’, he said, ‘we thought North Korea had the right model, but we worried they were too soft’.

I have no further comment at this time.


24. Jim Monaghan - November 7, 2008

I’ve told this story before, but I once ran into a Cork lad who knew quite a lot about Eritrea

Many groups in an International including Trotskyist ones tend to get obsessed with something like that. I am told that Liverpool dockers at a certain time were very well clued in on Class Collaboration etc. in Sri Lanka because of the SLL paper.
Young Trotskyists could easily do PhDs on Germany and France between the 2 world wars, because of exposure to the Old Mans writings
Currently the Woods/Grant tendency are into Venezuela where they have the ear of Chavez.


25. D. J. P. O'Kane - November 7, 2008

When John Peel was still alive and doing the Home Truths show, he said he’d had a letter in from a lad who was a member of the Juche Study Group of Great Britain.

‘My problem’, this lad wrote, ‘is that I don’t know what the English term for a follower of Juche might be’.

‘I think ‘weird’ will do to be going on with’, was JP’s comment.


26. WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2008

Brilliant stuff.

Progressive books. I remember it well… a dour lot as I recall.

Joe, that sounds like a very interesting piece of Left Archive headed material… 😉


27. Starkadder - November 7, 2008

“Progressive books. I remember it well… a dour lot as I recall.”

On the subject of defunct left-wing bookshops, Barracka Books in Cork has closed down a few weeks ago. 😦
They used to carry some good left-wing material, including copies of Red Banner and the Cork Workers’ Club pamphlets. Mind you, their magazine list left a bit to be desired-several of them came from two or three years ago,when you could buy the current issues of the same publications in Connolly Books in Dublin.

There was another left-wing bookstore in Dublin that was near
Temple Bar that’s gone as well, and one in Bantry only does mail order now.


28. WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2008

Hmmm… which was the one in Temple Bar and when? Anyone remember Left Bank Books which was the WP shop down from the Hapenny Bridge?

Barracka Books rings a bell.


29. Starkadder - November 7, 2008

The bookshop near Temple Bar was an anarchist one above a clothes shop.


30. WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2008

Never went in…. I didn’t know it was there. Any good?


31. PJ Callan - November 8, 2008

Starkadder wrote in a supposed direct quote from the CPI(ML) –

“The strike was lauded as a sign that “the workers of Ulster are going to participate in proletarian socialist revolution, are going to unite with their fellow Irish workers to settle matters with the
British imperialists …”

Look like Mr. Starkadder has been tutored by the WP Eoghan Harris school of black propaganda and lies when the CPI(ML) are on record on this very website as writing –

“..the various organisations UWC, UVF, UDA etc are organisations led and run by both the British bourgeoisie and the Ulster bourgeoisie to serve their class interests. The fact that they incorporate some workers does not mean they represent the workers, or represent the so-called ‘protestant’ members of the working class”.

from ‘Red Patriot’ Dec.1976


32. Garibaldy - November 8, 2008


Starkadder was quoting somebody else, quoting the CPI ML. And from 1974. It is quite likely that they changed their minds when they saw the truly reactionary nature of the UWC strike, rather than lies being told. Similar hopeful interpretations of events involving workers who were also unionist can be found going back as far as the time of Connolly and Pearse (and for all I know further).


33. PJ Callan - November 8, 2008

“quoting somebody else, quoting the CPI (ML)”

Thats a cop out for a deliberate smear, the type of anti communist/anti republican smear that always came from the mouths of Stickies.

The CPI(ML) said no such thing in 1974 or in 1976 and never supported any loyalist activity such as the so-called UWC.


34. WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2008

Ah now, in fairness PJ, this site is always ecumenical in its approach to the Irish left and any material about the CPI (ML) or any formation is welcome and open to discussion.. Sometimes that discussion may throw up stuff that is mistaken, but that’s why it’s crucial that someone like indeed yourself is on hand to ensure that such mistakes are noted and rectified.

I don’t think either Garibaldy or Starkadder are trying to smear the CPI (ML)… it’s a genuine error. And it is true that for some groups (obviously not the CPI (ML) the UWC was – in a completely wrong interpretation – seen as a positive development. For myself I can’t see how people saw it as anything other than a negative communal and sectarian display of near state power. And in fairness to CPI (ML) from reading their material over the years I’m 100% you’re correct as the quote you reference backs up, and they had the same view.

Btw, I’m not sure Starkadder is or ever was a Stick.


35. PJ Callan - November 8, 2008

When the comment was made, you completely overlooked it and took it as acceptable. Now you’re “100%” sure that Starkadder’s comment was bullshit. Why then didn’t you pick up on what either he or Baku 26 (at #28) wrote after it was posted? In fact you responded (at Post #20) with some wanky comment about the CPI(ML) as “installation art”.

In the past you’ve agreed with comments that described BICO as ****** – that hardly very “ecumenical”.

I was not a member of either organisation but why do you think anyone will bother to rectify anything on your blog if future if you yourself do not bother to deal with historical issues in an even handed way?


36. Baku26 - November 8, 2008

I was the person who provided the quotation. It most definately was made by the CPI(ML). It appears in a pamphlet entitled “An Analysis of the Significance of the Ulster Workers’ Strike, May 14th – 30th, 1974”. It was produced on 27th August 1974 as “A Series of Articles from RED PATRIOT Editorial Staff”. It was produced by the “Necessity for Change Institute of Anti-Imperialist Studies”, Dublin, a CPI(ML) group; printed by the All-Ireland Publishing House, c/o 10 Upper Exchange Street, Dublin (the CPI(ML) publisher) and distributed in Ireland by “Progressive Books & Periodicals” Dublin and distributed in Britain by the Workers’ Publications Centre, 569 Old Kent Road, London. The quotation appears in a section of the pamphlet entitled: “Strike of Ulster Workers Deals Severe Blow to the British Monopoly Capitalist Class and Marks Growing Revolutionary Trend amongst Ulster Workers”. Res ipsa loquitur!


37. Garibaldy - November 8, 2008

So it seems that in fact rather than lies being told or things being made up, the CPI (ML) changed its mind.

If PJ is going to adopt such a confrontational attitude, perhaps he might (a) read other people’s comments carefully so that he doesn’t wrongly identify who first said what before making baseless allegations, (b) accept that people here virtually 100% operate in good faith, even if there can be strong disagreements and (c) acknowledge that the quote is not made up.

On which note, I have to say I think that WBS owes an apology to Baku26 for assuming that that comment was made up because PJ said so. Especially after it had been pointed out that the two comments were made several years apart, and that the first line fit in with a certain line of mistaken thinking among the Irish left, and so it was not outlandish to think that it was a genuine quote.

As to the quote itself, the fact that they published this 3 months after the UWC strike when it was clear it was a virtual coup by reactionary forces speaks volumes.


38. WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2008

PJ, to be honest I don’t conduct a forensic analysis of every comment people make. I overlooked it, as you rightly said because I don’t police these threads, but I expect people like you to call others on it. Now Baku has given new information – and again I didn’t read through carefully enough to see that he had made it initially, so my apologies to him/her. My phrase was ‘over the years’, I didn’t scurry back this morning to check it out. Anyhow, we can see how this all pans out.

Ecumenical doesn’t equate with undiscriminating. As it happens I wasn’t hugely fond of the members of CPI (M-L) I came across bar Tommy Graham. They seemed to be a sanctimonious self-righteous bunch whose politics was odd even in the early to mid 1980s when I knew them. I think I’m entitled to an opinion about these things and I suspect I’ve done a damn sight more than most to publicise their viewpoints, and that of the Irish left more generally, over the past two years.

But I’d also point out I’d be delighted if a former CPI (M-L) person wrote up a piece to talk about their experience from the inside out, as it were.

As regards installation art, you’re quite right, due to tiredness I should have used the term ‘performance art’.


39. Starkadder - November 8, 2008

I’m not a Stick. In fact as I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve never been a member of ANY political party.I’m not an expert on the CPI (ML) and was going by the other poster’s quote.


40. WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2008

Don’t worry about it. It’s cool.


41. PJ Callan - November 9, 2008

I have some stuff from an “insider” from the CPI ML in Monaghan (of all places). In the interests of ecumenism and greater understanding I’ll forward it.


42. WorldbyStorm - November 9, 2008

PJ, that would be very welcome. worldbystorm _ AT _ eircom.net does the trick. Incidentally, there’s a point you made that’s very valid and I’ve been thinking about since you made it. Whatever the views on different organisations, and it’s difficult here when there so many competing strands meet, certains words should be avoided.


43. Garibaldy - November 9, 2008

Indeed, words like ****** et al should not be used. Though mad/bonkers/etc should be ok – besides, when dealing with many leftie groups, there are no other choices. Having said that, false accusations of black propaganda and lies should probably be avoided too.


44. PJ Callan - November 9, 2008

Well the CPI(ML) is gone – their legacy is that they supported the right of the Irish people to wage armed struggle and opposed the revisionism of Khruschev/Gorbachev et al, revisionism that led to the demise of the once great USSR. The PD’s are gone, their legacy as the west Brit wing of Fianna Fail amounts to nothing. The WP is gone, their legacy is that they became completely subsumed in Labour, FG and the Unionist Party – the most mad/bonkers of the lot.

BICO (in various forms) is still going strong – Ted Grant at http://www.tedgrant.org/archive/grant/1966/clifford.htm argued against Brendan Clifford at a stage when Clifford still defined himself as a communist (maybe he still does?) Grant is long gone but Clifford and his comrades are still fighting their corner. In fact they might even be getting better with age?!

Mistakes are made, the only people who don’t make mistakes are the people who do nothing, incorrect positions can be replaced for correct ones – the point is not give up the basic principles, not to go over to the enemy.

This is the text from the leaflet the Aubane Historical Society gave out last night at Cork City Hall.

“The dead of WWI, or of any war, should not be commemorated with a fancy dress concert in the spirit of the ‘Good Old Days’ as this event has been promoted. This is dancing on the graves of the dead.
The Cork and Irish dead of WWI were already sufficiently abused and humiliated in their lives and in their deaths. They were killed in horrible circumstances and their ideals were then betrayed by the government they fought for. They died for a propaganda lie – “the freedom of small nations.”
When Ireland expressed its clear desire for freedom in the 1918 General Election what it got was the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries. All the latter being veterans of WWI and they burned down this City Hall along with countless other atrocities to show how much they cared for the freedom of this nation. How ironic that these same forces also killed two former Lord Mayors of the City whose busts patrons will pass on their way into this concert.
That First World War was fought to further the expansion and power of the British Empire – and for nothing else.
That war and the way it was ‘settled’ at Versailles ensured a century of warfare and we are still living with the consequences. All the tensions in the Middle East today arise directly from that war. The ‘war to end all wars’ and ‘the peace that ended all peace’ at Versailles ensured the 20th century was the bloodiest in human history. It is not a suitable subject for entertainment.
This concert is part of a series of celebrations, opening of so-called Peace Parks, etc., that claim to honour the Irish who died in WWI on the basis that they were ignored. Ireland never forgot the dead of WWI – that would have been a physical impossibility. It just did not celebrate Irish slaughter in Britain’s interest and it never should.
These commemorations seek to honour Irishmen no matter what uniform or what cause they died for. They seek to inculcate an attitude of indifference and amorality to war.
There is no thought conveyed by these celebrations. Their purpose is to cultivate the feelings that respond to the beat of the drum, and to stifle thought about the past, present and future involvement of Irishmen in wars.
In reality, their real purpose is to sanctify British militarist activity in the world, regardless of its particular object at a particular time.
Celebrate British militarism if you wish. Restore its hegemony over Irish public life if you can. But spare us the humbug”.


45. Garibaldy - November 9, 2008

Well The WP is weak, but not gone. I join your condemnation of those within it who gave up their basic principles.
That leaflet is interesting, and I would agree with most of it.


46. Starkadder - November 9, 2008

“But spare us the humbug”.

This is of course, the same organisation that is on record as saying
the Herero-slaughtering Kaiserreich was morally superior and should have won the FIrst World War:

From Wikipedia:


“..the Kaiserreich represented a superior social model and the world would be a better place had it been victorious. Clifford has argued that the First World war was deliberately precipitated by Britain in a plot to cripple Germany, and that the long-term fallout from this mean that Britain is morally responsible for Hitler’s accession to power and hence the Second World war also.”

However many historians, such as Bernard Wasserstein, argue
that it was Imperial Germany that bears the principal responsibility
for the outbreak of World War One. One also wonders what Clifford
thinks of the brutal conduct of Germany’s Turkish allies toward the

The “peace rheotoric” is a front. Aubane have no probably with
war or imperialism as long as it’s anti-British war and imperialism.


47. WorldbyStorm - November 9, 2008

To be honest PJ I think that’s another example of the old BICO (and do you really think they’ve been ‘consistent’ in any meaningful way across the decades) line of looking into their own hearts and deciding that they know what other people think and mean. Commemorations are tricky things, who knows that better than the Irish, but to suggest that they only have one ‘real purpose’ or that they can be assessed in such a reductionist fashion is simplistic stuff. At best.


48. Garibaldy - November 9, 2008

I agree with Starkadder that their take on the origins of WWI is wrong-headed, though they are right to raise the point that all sides were gearing for war before it happened, and welcomed it when it came.

I have to say I agree with opposition to the way the discussion of WWI and those who died in it from Ireland has gone. Far too often, it loses sight of the real victims of the imperialism from which the war sprang, and in the rush to use WWI as some form of communal experience for all types of Irish people. We should instead remember it as a disaster, and condemn those Irish people who took part.


49. WorldbyStorm - November 9, 2008

That’s a tough old proscription Garibaldy… condemn those who took part – eh? It most certainly was a disaster and I’m no fan of the jingoistic connotations, but a little like the final season of Blackadder – if I can be so middlebrow about it – I find it hard to condemn those put through the mincer. And btw that seems to be a world away from the old WP line of the 1980s. Surely it’s not the recognition by SF of such commemorations since the 1990s, while still taking a line that the war was a bloody event for which there no justification, isn’t the reason?


50. Garibaldy - November 9, 2008

It’s got absolutely nothing to do with PSF. And it is just a personal opinion, not a party one, and one that would not necessarily be shared by all party members. Mac Giolla for example has been at at least one of these commemorations due to a relative’s involvement I think. Having said that, one of the things I most admire the people in Waterford for was blocking the building by the council of a statue of the youngest winner of the VC (I think it was) in WWI who was from Waterford. Why should there be statues built for people who fought in imperialist wars designed to oppress the peoples of other continents just because they were Irish? How are they different from German or French or Italian or British imperialists?

If we want to find heroes during WWI who should have statues built to them, let us look to those who refused to fight, and opposed the war. People like Jean Jaures, who died at the hands of a French ultra-nationalist; or the Bolsheviks; or the Volunteers or ICA members who stayed at home in Ireland. It is not like those who went from Ireland had no alternative. I have more sympathy for the French and the Belgians who were defending their homelands against invasion than I do for Irish people who fought in the war.

I will admit – as I said above – that a great deal of my ire on this issue comes from the facile attempts to use the slaughter of tens of millions in an imperialist war as a positive thing for Ireland, rather than a lesson to be learnt and avoided in the future.

Having said all that, I of course acknowledge that some people were driven into the various armies by desperation at a time of great poverty and conscription. But that is not the case for large numbers of those from Ireland.


51. Garibaldy - November 9, 2008

PS is Blackadder middle brow? I remember it as being more popular than that, though there were only 4 channels at the time I guess.


52. WorldbyStorm - November 9, 2008

Statues of VC winners, well, I’m with you on that, but memorials I think – if thought through properly – can be sufficiently nuanced to avoid the sort of outcomes that used to happen. For example the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC is as far from a jingoistic commemoration as it is possible to find, and has been roundly criticised by the right for that. The important thing is to absolutely not condone the events while commemorating the dead. It’s difficult to disentangle individual from structure, but it has to be done, for many reasons.


53. Garibaldy - November 9, 2008

The counter-proposal from The WP was a memorial to all the victims of imperialist war, which the other parties rejected. It seemed like a sensible proposal to me.

I do think that there is a question of personal responsibility, especially in a country that hadn’t got conscription, and in which a significant alternative vision to fighting was clearly available. I do think people who have volunteered to join the armies now in Iraq and Afghanistan bear personal responsibility.


54. slawomir - November 9, 2008

A year or two ago I heard Manus O’Riordain outline the development of his thought in a conference in Liberty Hall. He said that his original position in relation to James Connolly was that that the 1916 leader was not a Leninist. Since Manus himself was a Leninist he denounced Connolly and also denounced C.D. Greaves for pretending that Connolly was a Leninist. However as the years went by Manus came to the conclusion that Connolly’s position made more sense than Lenin’s (certainly from an Irish perspective). Connolly believed that the Germany social system was superior to the British system from a working class point of view and that the working class interest was best served by a German victory.

Although the slogan of the Irish Citizen Army was “neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”, the facts of the matter were that it was in favour of Germany. The “gallant allies” reference in the 1916 proclamation lets the cat out of the bag. Connolly’s journal makes it abundantly clear which side Connolly supported. And the other leading thinker Roger Casement (who had inside knowledge of British ruling class thinking) shared Connolly’s position.

The Aubane Historical Society had three different launches over the last week. In two of the launches there was standing room only. At the launch of the book on Coolacrease in Tullamore the Fianna Fail Senator Moylan spoke from the platform. In my opinion Senator Moylan was out of his depth but at least it was an indication that Fianna Fail believes that it is important to keep up with working class thought on the subject of the War of Independence (which is why it is the most successful party in the State).

The Cedar Lounge Revolution, on the other hand, believes that Aubane/the Irish Political Review are *****. This, of course, gives the CLR permission to avoid thinking about the issues raised by Aubane. I would respectfully suggest that this is more of a problem for the CLR than Aubane.

WBS, regarding your comment 52, your nuances are lost on me. Are you saying that we are to celebrate all wars regardless of cause as long as they are sufficiently nuanced and not “jingoistic”? I have absolutely no doubt that there were many brave working class Germans who died on the Eastern front. I’ve read Soviet acknowledgement of the heroism of the Germans. But are we required to celebrate their heroic sacrifice?

Even though I would never celebrate the sacrifice of American soldiers in the Vietnam war, I can at least understand why the American State would want to celebrate such a sacrifice. But what sense can be made of Ireland’s willingness to celebrate the sacrifice of Irish people in the interests of British imperialism? The foundation of this State was based on an alternative vision, an anti-imperialist vision.

I can only conclude that the willingness to celebrate such a sacrifice is indicative of a cultural collapse in the British interest, in which I have no wish to acquiesce.

Regarding comment 53, it appears that the WP, to its credit, has established beyond any doubt that the celebrations are imperialist celebrations.


55. PJ Callan - November 10, 2008

The debate is also running at –


I’ve read a little on the origins of WW1 as presented by Manus O’Riordan and other ex-BICO members. The first article I read some years ago was an article (or speech) O’Riordan presented on James Connolly’s support for Germany. I have no idea where I read it but it made a convincing argument regarding “our gallant allies in Europe”


56. PJ Callan - November 10, 2008
57. Starkadder - November 10, 2008

“In my opinion Senator Moylan was out of his depth but at least it was an indication that Fianna Fail believes that it is important to keep up with working class thought on the subject of the War of Independence (which is why it is the most successful party in the State).”

I have seen Marxist reviewers like Phil Ferguson criticize the work
of the Aubane Historical Society for its lack of class analysis.

“The Cedar Lounge Revolution, on the other hand, believes that Aubane/the Irish Political Review are ***** This, of course, gives the CLR permission to avoid thinking about the issues raised by Aubane. I would respectfully suggest that this is more of a problem for the CLR than Aubane.”

What issues have they raised? That anyone who disagreed with Charles Haughey was “led by Whitehall”? That Stalin was a
“a wonderful man”? That a system based on the butchery of
the Namibians and Armenians were better than a system
based on butchery of the Congolese and Indians?

And I wonder would Senator Moylan ever turn up at a book launch by the Socialist Party, the Irish Socialist Network, or Socialist Democracy?

Connolly not being a Leninist-since Connolly died before 1917,when
the political philosophy of Leninism first appeared,that’s unsurprising.


Philip Ferguson - May 18, 2009

I think you must be confusing me with someone else. As far as I can recall I have never reviewed anything by the Aubane Society, much less criticised them for lack of class analysis. From what little I know about them, they seem to be bringing out some good stuff.


58. Garibaldy - November 10, 2008

In fairness, there is no CLR line on anyone being or not being *****.
Moylan’s presence is interesting, but I guess explicable as they see themselves as defending their origins, and self-image when issues like Coolacreese or Kilmichael are brought up.


59. Mairtin Hogan - November 10, 2008

At post 54 slawomir wrote –

“I’ve read Soviet acknowledgement of the heroism of the Germans.”

I’ve just started V.I Chuikov’s – ‘The End of the Third Reich’ where he describes the German army at Stalingrad as a “formidable enemy who fought with skill and determination”


60. WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2008

“The Cedar Lounge Revolution, on the other hand, believes that Aubane/the Irish Political Review are “*****”. This, of course, gives the CLR permission to avoid thinking about the issues raised by Aubane. I would respectfully suggest that this is more of a problem for the CLR than Aubane.”

slawomir, I could argue that I find your characterisation of a CLR ‘line’ on BICO as being bizarre, but the idea that I or others who post here give more than a seconds thought to that organisation on a daily basis – if ever – is entertaining. The idea too that FF even recognises the AHS existence is equally entertaining and that they’d be concerned about them just fits into the usual grandiose self referential stuff I’ve learned to expect from that quarter. Heroes in their own heads even when it’s just a book launch.

As regards my comments above I think we’re in a slightly/or radically different context to the US, not least because a goodly portion of those who we consider Irish have a completely different perspective on these matters. I don’t see it as being hypocritical to suggest that one can commemorate people without providing any justification for the events within which they were caught. Obviously some people do try to use those commemorations as justification but I find the idea that one can hold two or maybe three thoughts in ones head at the same time is usually sufficient to avoid falling into the sort of reductionist absurdity exemplified by the AHS leaflet above.


61. Preacher man - November 10, 2008

There is indeed a considerable school of historical thought that does not agree that Versaillies was particularly vindictive and argues that by 1929 the strictures on Germany were being loosened. The Nazis used the argument about Versaillies to depict the Germans as being unfairly punished, and to deny any responsibility for Imperial Germany’s role in the war. A recent book ‘Hitler’s Empire’ by Mark Mazower (?) shows the extent of racial/ethnic suppression evident in German policy towards the Poles and Russians during the First World War. So the AHS seem to be very wrong on this in my view and also, particularly in their discussions on the origins of Zionism to give all sorts of hostages to fortune to reactionary ideas about Jews.


62. anarchaeologist - November 10, 2008

An interesting discussion on BICO with a comment on the CPI (M-L) appeared here


It may be of interest to note that out of a random sample of 10 or so TCD and UCD history graduates from the ’80s, 5 (not all explicitly leftie types) regularly buy anything published by Aubane, along with their usual trawl of history titles that come out on a fairly regular basis. I am sure there are others who do likewise. Maybe Aubane has a hidden constituency which actually buys all its books?


63. Slawomir - November 10, 2008

WBS, I’m glad to learn that the CLR doesn’t think that BICO/Aubane/IPR are *****. But my “misunderstanding” is hardly “bizarre” given the comments below.

38. Omar Little – October 6, 2008
I’m not a lapsed sticky at all. But I still think that BICO were ******.
39. WorldbyStorm – October 6, 2008
I guess *I’m* a lapsed sticky… And I can’t help going some way to OL’s thoughts…

Also since those comments were made the expletive has been used a number of times by at least one of your contributors in connection with the Irish Political Review without any comment from yourself even though you claim to have a moderation policy.

For someone who doesn’t give a “second’s thought to Aubane” there is a fair amount of anger in your comment. Maybe you should calm down.

Regarding the political point, I have no objection to anyone remembering dead relatives no matter what the cause they were fighting for. The point I am making is that it is not appropriate for this State to commemorate the sacrifice of Irish soldiers in the cause of British imperialism. It was not “our” war as some of the promotions proclaim, it was Britain’s war. The seminal event in the foundation of the State (1916 Rising) was in opposition to Britain’s war on the Continent.

Incidentally, it is not inappropriate for the USA to commemorate its Vietnam War. The American State in this instance has obligations to the relatives of those whom it asked to make the ultimate sacrifice (even if it was another imperialist war).


64. Garibaldy - November 10, 2008

I read Aubane stuff when it falls into my hands, but buy the stuff infrequently. I might buy the Hart thing, but that depends on how much of it is new. Because BICO appealed to some academics, and produced the sort of material academics like to read, it has always received far more attention from historians and political scientists than it actually deserved. I admire their talent for publicity, which has ensured that once more they publish above their weight. At the same time, they deserve credit for producing a lot of material which is well researched, and there is no doubt that they have done a great service in bringing the questions around Hart’s work to public attention.


65. Omar Little - November 10, 2008

Omar Little here. I don’t speak for the CLR or anyone on it except myself. My use of the word ***** may or may not be approriate for people who justified loyalist murder of Catholics as legitimate defense by Protestants against irredentistm. It is heartfelt however, I despise the fuckers and look on aghast at their re-birth as defenders of traditional nationalism. Btw 1916 is not the foundation of the southern state, the Dail of January 1919 with its declaration of independence is.


66. Joe - November 10, 2008

Well spoken Omar. But are you or were you ever a Stick(ie)? (This was an attempt at humour. Please don’t answer unless in a funny way).

WBS: Anyone remember Left Bank Books which was the WP shop down from the Hapenny Bridge?

I do of course WBS. The Party’s attempt to capitalise on the nascent bookbuying boom of the early nineties by relocating the bookshop to a street with a bigger passing trade than Gardiner Place. I remember talking to a good friend who worked there at the time. Apparently the Party had a contract with a Soviet publisher to distribute their wares around the country. The Gen Sec had set up a comrade with a car to be the salesman around the country. Said comrade parked outside the shop one day and was inside chatting when he saw two suspicious looking types carefully examining the car and trying the doors. He rang the Garda (in accordance with Party policy) who arrived hotfoot. It transpired that the suspicious types were repo men. The Gen Sec hadn’t paid any instalments on the loan for the car.


67. WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2008

Slawomir. Some thoughts. if you cast your eye back up the page to comment number 42 you will note that I said:

“PJ, that would be very welcome. worldbystorm _ AT _ eircom.net does the trick. Incidentally, there’s a point you made that’s very valid and I’ve been thinking about since you made it. Whatever the views on different organisations, and it’s difficult here when there so many competing strands meet, certains words should be avoided.”

Now I have only limited time to devote to the CLR and that is taken up by writing posts, scanning material for the Archive (although some people have done so themselves – for which many thanks) and casting an eye over comments and trying to keep things moving along. In other words I make mistakes and stuff gets through, since broadly speaking despite a big assist from smiffy, garibaldy and our guest posters this is often just a one man band.

I’m not certain where else the offensive term was used in the period since, so I’m puzzled by that charge. I can’t find it by googling. I also note that the original usage about an organisation, not an individual, wrong and all as it was, evinced no complaints until yesterday and that I went only ‘some way’. The term was wrong though and I was at fault not to pull Omar up on it. My apologies. My eye, for various reasons, was off the ball that time. I’ll deal with that immediately.

But let’s not confuse two issues, one the use of an expletive and the other an analysis of BICO, etc.

I completely disagree that there is a CLR line about BICO or Aubane. Frankly I think that’s a self-serving reading of these matters. As you’ll know – if you’ve bothered to read it – we gave more than some support to the viewpoint championed by members of the AHS as regards Coolacrease. And you’ll find that if anything we’ve been more antagonistic to the EH’s of the world than those who take an AHS line. But that’s not to say we don’t critique the AHS.

In other words there are no ‘lines’ at the CLR. I have one view, smiffy another, franklittle (whereever he’s got to) a third and garibaldy a fourth, joemomma a fifth, etc, etc…

As with the CPI (M-L) this site here is doing more to bring back into the public domain their published material than most others and you’ll find the pieces accompanying them treat of them respectfully and pretty much on their own terms.

As noted above as well, I’m as entitled to an opinion as the next person and I’m the one overseeing the CLR so that’ll be my input. I’m more than happy to accommodate differing opinions and that’s what the threads are for.

What you mistake for anger is a sense of the futility of the usual rhetoric that couched in the language of high principle that we seem to be treated to by the BICO/AHS axis, something that we see in spades from others such EH, elements who were within the WP who were influenced by BICO, etc. There’s little humility, no sense that positions were mistaken, just a drip drip drip of self-justification at how right they are and how everyone else is wrong.

In the context of Ireland in 2008 – and the history of the Irish left – I think that’s laughable stuff. Particularly in an Ireland where the real enemies are… oh yeah, that’s right, a government led by FF that with no apology seeks cuts across the board. Now *that* makes me angry.


68. Slawomir - November 10, 2008

WBS, I take your point about the work you put in. From the outside looking in you seem to be doing the vast bulk of the work in maintaining the site. I wasn’t particularly looking for an apology, but I am happy to accept it nevertheless re: Omar’s expletive.

Regarding your puzzlement at where else the term was used, I think you’ll find that the expletive (or at least the word “c**nts” is repeated twice by “Corkman” in the “Tim Pat Coogan launches troubled history” thread. When asked for his opinion on the content of the IPR editorial he had laboriously transcribed, “Corkman” was struck dumb. And, of course, “Omar” has just weighed in again with the approval of “Joe”.

Regarding Omar’s point about the foundation of the State I didn’t say 1916 was the foundation of the State, but that it was the “seminal event in the foundation of the State”. It was the event that led to the foundation of the State. I haven’t come across any article justifying Protestant killing of Catholics. However, the IPR and (the Irish Communist before then) has criticised Jack Lynch for making inflammatory speeches in 1969 about not standing “idly by” while not making the necessary military arrangements to defend the Catholic population.

Your criticism of BICO and the IPR seems to be more about its style than substance. You also seem to have problems with a perceived lack of consistency and an unwillingness to admit mistakes.

BICO/the IPR group has developed its ideas over the last 40 years. Its two nations theory has not changed. Briefly it says that the Unionist population in the North have the characteristics of a separate nationality and would not wither away if British support was withdrawn (unlike Southern Unionism). But the theory does not dogmatically state which State the Unionist should belong to. It is not at all unusual for national minorities to be contained within States. In a United Ireland the unionists would be in a minority. Within Northern Ireland the nationalists would be in a minority etc.

In the 1970s and 1980s the BICO believed that the working class interest would be best served by “British rights for British citizens” in Northern Ireland. The most glaring democratic shortcoming was the denial to the people of Northern Ireland of the right to vote for the government of the United Kingdom. The political parties in Britain contesting for power in the United Kingdom did not stand for election in Northern Ireland.

The campaign by BICO with others in the Campaign for Labour Representation (CLR) was a failure. As a consequence BICO had to reassess its strategy. It concluded that its understanding of the nature of the British State was inadequate. It was no accident that Northern Ireland was a democratic slum within the United Kingdom. That was the way that it was intended. Since partition the British State has used Northern Ireland as a lever to influence politics in the 26 counties. It never accepted independence in the 26 counties. The big game as far as the British are concerned is a United Ireland within the British sphere of influence. The means by which it is implementing this plan is to promote the British view of Irish history (e.g. the Ewart Biggs prize for Peter Hart etc). There is no doubt that Britain in making headway as the celebration over the weekend of “our war” by the Lord Mayor of Cork indicates.

The IPR group believes that the preservation of the Republican values of this State is worth defending. And that is why it resists the promotion of a British view of history by publishing a Republican view by IPR group members and authors with no connection to the IPR or BICO.


69. WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2008

Thanks for that Slawomir, I’m going through the site to expunge it.

I do think there is a philosophical, if I can put it so loftily, distinction between our views on such matters. First the whole thing about the CLR is to say that there is no one truth, and the corollary of that is that ‘lines’ bar the most obvious are broadly speaking a bad thing and that everywhere there is good to be found in all formations, CPI(M-L) included 🙂 ….

There are things about BICO and later the AHS which are worth applauding, but there are problematic aspects to it. When I – and I’m speaking for myself here – think they’re on the right track I’ll happily agree – I certainly thought they had more than something about Coolacrease (and I’d echo Garibaldy about the Peter Hart controversy). When not I won’t.

Incidentally, if any from the AHS wish to write a post explaining, as you do the rationale – or perhaps you’d like to – that would be great.


70. Omar Little - November 10, 2008

I promise not to use Joe Kinnear type language in future WBS.
I might ask Slawomir if he/she considers Irish republicanism an ‘altar hugging gombeen’ ideology as BICO did or that the Loyalist death squads were provoked into action only after IRA attacks on protestants, or that the UWC strike was a victory for the working class, or that Northern Ireland was a much more progressive state than the Republic.


71. Starkadder - November 10, 2008

“The big game as far as the British are concerned is a United Ireland within the British sphere of influence. The means by which it is implementing this plan is to promote the British view of Irish history (e.g. the Ewart Biggs prize for Peter Hart etc). There is no doubt that Britain in making headway as the celebration over the weekend of “our war” by the Lord Mayor of Cork indicates.”

John Martin wrote in the June 2004 of the IPR that:

“…A United Ireland that the British would be conceding
Would be West Britain in all but name. The Provo campaign allows
the possibility that moves towards a united Ireland will be on
Irish terms.”

So they are justifying the PIRA violence they once spent a quarter of a century calling on the British Army to crush. The cognitive dissonance between their previous positions is enormous.

I have also read numerous material from the 70/80s by the
BICO and there two nation theory, and ANY moves towards a United Ireland were denounced in terms bordering on the hysterical. Far from “the theory does not dogmatically state which State the Unionist should belong to”, it was made quite clear that Ulster should be as
tightly integrated into the British state as possible. The B&ICO
went after anyone, Unionist or Nationalist, who opposed this aim.
Even today, the Athol Books publications still defend the UWC strike.

And no, I don’t see any logical link between the Weekly Worker saying “British Workers should be proud of the British Empire” and
the IPR saying the British Empire was worse than Stalin’s Russia or
Hitler’s Germany. They want a United Ireland now-fair enough.

But as Phil Ferguson has pointed out elsewhere, they put so much time (25 years!) ,effort, and money into linking Ulster as tightly with Britain as possible,that it is genuinely baffling they have gone the other way.

Also, whenever the IPR writes about the CLR, it always failed because of Trimble, or Bob McCartney or Kate Hoey….there’s never any admission they might have made a mistake on any issue.

At least the Pope only claims to be infallible on faith and morals-
the IPR claim to be infallible on every conceivable subject.


72. Slawomir - November 10, 2008

Thanks for your comments, WBS and generous offer. Unfortunately, time constraints and other commitments might prevent me from availing of it, but thanks all the same.

All the best!


73. WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2008

You might know someone who would.

I might add I’m not throwing Omar under the bus. S/he may use language way over the top, but the critique is still one that I think is valid when applied to the IPR/AHS and s/he raises – as does Starkadder – questions which at some point it would be good if the IPR/AHS did address, either here or elsewhere.

But preferably here.


74. Omar Little - November 10, 2008

Omar ain’t under no bus.


75. WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2008

Omar ain’t thrown under no bus either. 🙂

I love that phrase. Seriously. I wish I’d heard it before this year.


76. Starkadder - November 10, 2008

Odd that this entry started about the CPI(ML), and then went on to B&ICO.

Let’s discuss Revolutionary Struggle for a bit, shall we 😉 ?


77. WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2008

Sounds good to me… 🙂


78. Garibaldy - November 10, 2008

“The big game as far as the British are concerned is a United Ireland within the British sphere of influence. The means by which it is implementing this plan is to promote the British view of Irish history (e.g. the Ewart Biggs prize for Peter Hart etc). There is no doubt that Britain in making headway as the celebration over the weekend of “our war” by the Lord Mayor of Cork indicates.”

See this to me encapsculates what is both good and bad in the Aubane project. The critique of the Lord Mayor’s actions I can accept to a large degree. Though I would couch in terms of anti-imperialism more than the protection of nationality. At the same time, the idea that the Ewart-Biggs prize is in the direct gift of British imperialists and a tool of them is to me plain silly and paranoid. It is judged by a panel of academics (and possibly others). Now some would certainly be judged by Aubane as west Brits, but I doubt this applies to Paul Arthur for example.


79. Omar Little - November 10, 2008

Aye, Seamus Heaney won it for example; how did that help the Empire?


80. WorldbyStorm - November 11, 2008

That’s the thing OL and G. The charges are so overblown. It’s not that the UK doesn’t use cultural events as a tool of foreign policy, so does the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. It’s that the idea this solidifies Empire in any meaningful way seems so inapt.


81. Dunne and Crescendo - November 11, 2008

I’m a little wary of the acceptance that the AHS have got it right on Hart et al. I’ve read Meda Ryan’s book on Tom Barry and she argues that the 13 Protestants killed in Dunmanway in early 1922 were spies, because their names were on a list of informers left by the Auxies. But this list is not contained in any archive and I don’t think Ryan claims to have seen it. She just accepts that it exists. How is that a superior form of historical investigation to that of Peter Hart?


82. Garibaldy - November 11, 2008

I hadn’t heard that about the list, though it does seem clear that Hart cut a sentence in half that indicated that there were informers in that area. That seems to me to be the real problem, given that he has hung his whole thing on his superior historical skills. As for the interview thing, somebody is telling fibs somewhere, though not necessarily any of the historians.


83. PJ CALLAN - November 13, 2008

This statement (below) from a British group – the RCG, echoes the IPR to some extent. In the statement the RCG talk about a “conscious ideological offensive by the British state” – it’s obvious from the preceding discussion that some think that the British state does not stoop to anything as lowly as concious ideological offensives.

Celtic Park , Glasgow , 8 November 2008

The Revolutionary Communist Group salutes the principled Celtic football supporters who led the protest against British imperialism outside Celtic Park today. In the face of an intense propaganda campaign waged by the government and risking demonisation by the media hundreds of fans walked out of the game in opposition to the clubs support for the British Legion and its annual poppy appeal. Around 400 fans gathered outside the stadium for over an hour chanting slogans and singing songs against British imperialism in Ireland and around the world. As one protester put it to FRFI, ‘we are here protesting for peace, not war. But peace can only come when there is justice.’

This latest development is a part of a conscious ideological offensive by the British state and its lackeys in order to encourage support for British imperialism and to eradicate any opposition to it. The appointment of the war criminal John Reid to the chairmanship of Celtic FC is part of this ideological offensive. During his time in office, the current Labour member of parliament and former British cabinet member, ruthlessly defended the interests of British imperialism acting as Defence Secretary, Home Secretary and British Direct Ruler to Ireland .

Today’s demonstration was called by the newly formed group Celts Against Imperialism and was an explicit protest in opposition to not only British imperialism in Ireland but also included chants in opposition to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and also support for the Palestinian Resistance. The RCG recognises the political significance of today’s protest led by a section of the Celtic support on a clear anti imperialist basis. This protest comes despite the failure of the anti war movement in Glasgow and elsewhere to build any real and meaningful opposition against British imperialism. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the RCG were the only political group on the left to support the protest alongside Celts Against Imperialism.

The protest continues the traditions of Celtic fans opposition to imperialism and injustice. One Celtic fan was ejected from the stadium today and had his season ticket confiscated by stewards for refusing to remove his Palestinian flag. The fan spoke to FRFI afterwards and intends to fight this action by the club. Only by actively campaigning in support of democratic rights can we assert our right to organise. Over recent years FRFI has campaigned against the attempted bans on the sale of political literature outside football grounds and the attempts to ban and censor the image of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara. In the context of the international capitalist crisis which will see increasing attacks on working class people in this country and around the world, the RCG and FRFI stands with any movement which represents the interests of the oppressed.

FRFI would welcome any letters or contributions from readers and supporters. Please send your contributions to editorial@rcgfrfi.plus.com

To contact FRFI in Glasgow email frfiscotland@yahoo.co.uk

Report and pictures to follow on the news section of the RCG website. http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org


84. Omar Little - November 13, 2008

400 out of about 50,000 at Parkhead on Saturday took part in the protest then. Subtract the RCG paper sellers who wouldn’t have been at the game anyway and we can conclude that the vast majority of Celtic fans arn’t too bothered about Poppy appeals (though many don’t wear them either.)


85. PJ Callan - November 13, 2008

That’s about the correct ratio, 30,000 march off to die for the “freedom of small nations” and a handful occupy the key buildings in Dublin.

Which side are you on?


86. Omar Little - November 13, 2008

The side of realism. The RCG are weirdos and the idea of them trying to influence Celtic supporters is beyond the beyond. Btw I’ve been to Parkhead, have you?


87. PJ Callan - November 13, 2008

No – so that makes you special. But I have watched league games in Austin Stack Park in the middle of winter…..you’d have to be a weirdo to do that.


88. Garibaldy - November 13, 2008

Arguing that the Ewart Biggs prize is not in the gift of imperialists is not the same as saying that the British state – or any other state – does not engage in ideological offensives. I fail to see how one follows form the other. As for the RCG or RCP or whatever they are calling themselves these days, Omar seems to be spot on. Cranks is perhaps a term that springs to mind as well as weirdos.


89. Slawomir - November 13, 2008

Well done, PJ.

I have been thinking about the following quote from WBS re: the Irish Political Review Group.

“I do think there is a philosophical, if I can put it so loftily, distinction between our views on such matters. First the whole thing about the CLR is to say that there is no one truth, and the corollary of that is that ‘lines’ bar the most obvious are broadly speaking a bad thing and that everywhere there is good to be found in all formations, CPI(M-L) included”

I think at the end of the day you have to make a stand and decide between alternative “truths”. We (including WBS I presume) are not just commentators, but activists as well.

Regarding Garibaldy’s question of who is fibbing. Meda Ryan, Niall Meehan and Aubane have made an allegation that the interviews that Peter Hart claimed he conducted with the participants of Kilmichael took place after all of them had died. When this question was raised in an interview with Hart in History Ireland he said that the Kilmichael incident was only a small part of his book. In other words he evaded the question.

The Ewart Biggs prize was awarded to Peter Hart for his imperialist propaganda.

Like PJ I know which side I am on!


90. WorldByBreeze - November 13, 2008

The above reminds me of the line in Niamh Sammon’s Coolacrease documentary, when the narrator says “There are two sides, there are two truths”. Of course, the “two truths” patter was just tricky camouflage for puffing one side and denigrating the other. The exchange above looks a bit like that to me.
Love & Respect,


91. Dunne and Crescendo - November 13, 2008

‘That’s about the correct ratio, 30,000 march off to die for the “freedom of small nations” and a handful occupy the key buildings in Dublin.’
Yes, walking out of Parkhead is exactly the same as taking part in the Easter Rising.


92. Dunne and Crescendo - November 13, 2008

While we are quoting people; ‘the source of the Troubles in Northern Ireland is the continued denial by the Southern Irish Constitution and by the Northern Catholic community of the national rights of the Northern Protestants to a state of their own.’
ICO, 23 July 1971


‘the cause of this strife is not Unionism or the Unionists. Responsibility for it lies at the door of the Southern ruling class, which on the basis of ‘one historic Irish nation’ has pursued a reactionary policy of national oppression for the past 50 years.’
ICO, 12 June 1971

Who’s ‘fibbing’ about opposition to the Northern state?


93. Omar Little - November 13, 2008

‘No – so that makes you special.’ It just means I may know a bit more about Celtic than you do. And the typical RCG activist wouldn’t strike me as the usual ‘bhoy’ of the old brigade.


94. WorldbyStorm - November 13, 2008

slawomir (and WorldByBreeze), what on earth do ‘sides’ have to do with this? BICO, as noted above has assumed so many contrary positions in so many different organisations, and argued them so trenchently over the years, that one would be forgiven for treating them with a certain degree of caution.

As regards my statement above, it was very clearly in the context of the Irish left, and specifically that there are no party ‘lines’ that contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth. To then extend that outwards to assume some sort of specious relativism as regards all else is misinterpreting my point.

As regards Coolacrease, again if people bothered to read about my posts from last year or whenever, you’d see that I felt that Sammon et al were making a very partial reading of what factual evidence there was. As regards commemorations, I will stress again what I stressed before, I see no difficulty in commemorating the dead without having to buy into the conflict within which they fought. It’s not an innovative thought, it’s not particularly complex and on an island like this it makes a lot more sense than pretending that there are no differing views on such matters. Weirdly I’d have thought BICO or its descendants of all people would understand that.


95. ejh - November 13, 2008

I’ve been to Shielfield Park in April and it felt like the middle of winter. Will that do?


96. Slawomir - November 13, 2008

WBS, I am perplexed at the persistent criticism of BICO’s changes. What political organisation in this island has not changed its position in the last 40 years in relation to Northern Ireland? Official Sinn Fein? Provisional Sinn Fein? Fianna Fail?

It is a truism to say that no party “lines” contain “absolute truth”. But who is claiming absolute truth? Certainly not the IPR group. In the imperfect real world of political engagement you take a position, defend it and attack the opposition. The CLR or anyone else is perfectly entitled to criticise the IPR group. But you seem to think it is a virtue not to have any political position other than a broad left orientation?

Regarding Coolacrease not only did I read your posts but in one of them I made a brief contribution. I think your criticism of Sammon is a gross understatement. In my view the documentary was an egregious piece of propaganda from a British imperial perspective.
As I have said before I have no problem with anyone commemorating the war dead. The problem I have is that this State is commemorating the war dead of Irish people who died fighting for another State. The founding of the Irish State was largely inspired by the rebels of 1916 who were opposed to Irish people fighting in Britain’s wars. The commemoration by the Irish State of the sacrifice of Irish people in the interests of British imperialism is a betrayal of the Republican values upon which this State was founded.


97. WorldbyStorm - November 13, 2008

I think what distinguishes BICO from other parties or groups is the vehemence with which they argue a position they previously considered anathema and lambaste those who took the original position which they now consider wrong.

As it happens, I’m with ejh on the idea that ‘attacking’ the opposition, particularly that on the left is the worst possible political position to take except in extremis. And I think a broad left, arguably an ‘old Labour left’ position which is in a way my own, is not unuseful in a society with many different but very small left currents. Not least because getting people talking is a big part of developing a bigger left.

Incidentally, historically speaking the situation would of course be that those who fought in 1914-18 were fighting for another state that many of them considered ‘their’ state. That’s a small, but not insignificant distinction on an island where we have clearly multi-stranded nationalisms. As regards later wars the situation is obviously more mixed, but it’s a bit rich to hear arguments about ‘betrayal’ coming from those who – historically – speaking were fulsome, or worse, in their de facto support of an Orange state. I understood those arguments, and recognised grains of truth in them as regards not using force to generate a UI, but it was and remains far from an unproblematic proposition.


98. ejh - November 13, 2008

As it happens, I’m with ejh on the idea that ‘attacking’ the opposition, particularly that on the left is the worst possible political position to take except in extremis.

Did I say that? I thought I said it was cold at Berwick Rangers. The soup’s good, mind.


99. Starkadder - November 13, 2008

Slawomir:”WBS, I am perplexed at the persistent criticism of BICO’s changes. What political organisation in this island has not changed its position in the last 40 years in relation to Northern Ireland? Official Sinn Fein? Provisional Sinn Fein? Fianna Fail? ”

It’s not just Northern Ireland, though.

*B&ICO used to argue that British Imperialism was progressive in the Marxist sense (Check out Brendan Clifford’s vile screed “Against Ulster Nationalism”, which is actually a hymn to British rule in Ireland, or the work of B&ICO’s Bill Warren). Now they publish editorials saying the British Empire was worse than Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia.

*They used to be pro-Likudnik-now they are anti-Zionist
to the point of arguing the Balfour Declaration was “fascist”. (See Clifford’s “Union Jackery” pamphlet).

*They used to attack the Irish language movement as “racialist” and authoritarian in the compulsory Irish (The Irish Language: Revivialism and the Gaeltacht)-now the IPR demands the government continue the compulsory Irish project.

*They used to denounce Connolly (Connolly-Cut-outs, B&ICO pamphlet) and James Larkin (letter from Sean Barrett on behalf of B&ICO to the Irish Times, 8th April 1981)-now they laud them.

These contradictions, picked at random from a selection that could have been ten times as long, show that B&ICO/Aubane have abandoned almost everything they once believed in, and viciously attacked other people for disagreeing with even mildly.

It’s also interesting how the IPR has turned on former B&ICO members such as John Lloyd (FT journo) and Boyd Black (NI Academic) who still espouse a pro-Ulster-Unionist position today (jealousy? Or reminders of an embarrassing past?).

Of course, people are entitled to change their minds.But when a group of people change from one extreme position to another without any acknowledgment of“maybe we weren’t always right on everything”, alarm bells start to go off.

Also, the IPR lauds people like Charlie Haughey, Denis O’Brien, Aine Ni Chonail and Declan Ganley-all people committed to a Ireland of social justice, economic equality and political freedom, I’m sure you’ll agree.


100. WorldbyStorm - November 13, 2008

ejh, you tend to eschew blanket or knee-jerk criticism. Or at least that’s how it seems to me…


101. slawomir - November 13, 2008

WBS, how would you characterise the attacks on BICO on the CLR website? I think many of them go beyond “vehemence”? Incidentally, they don’t bother me, but since you’ve raised the issue of BICO’s lack of moderation …

As regards support for an Orange State, one of the most well known pamphlets of the BICO was “Against Ulster Nationalism” which was published in 1974. It opposed Britain’s (or at least a tendency within the British State) attempt to “Ulsterise” the conflict by creating an independent “Orange” State. As long as I have being associated with BICO/Irish Political Review (more than a quarter of a century) the “line” has been that Northern Ireland was a failed political entity.


102. Dunne and Crescendo - November 13, 2008

Lets be honest here. The AHS would not acknowledge their past, or draw any attention to it, unless others did so. They once courted the Loyalist fringe and the Unionist hard-right. Now they want “real’ Fianna Fail (not including Manseragh of course) and hopefully Sinn Fein (successful you see) to come to them for intellectual guidance. They have had some success but a great many people on the left and within republicanism find the transformation just a bit too strange and the jury is still out on motivation.


103. WorldbyStorm - November 13, 2008

But slawomir. They’re not *my* attacks. I’m critical of BICO and it’s successors. But I tend to avoid vehemence. Some people here have and I’ve dealt with that as best I can.

And here’s a thought. This is an open forum, within limits as regards use of language/personalised abuse.

Re the Orange state, note that I said ‘de facto’ support. Not de jure.

Let’s consider Weekly Worker Vol. 2, No. 8 from 27 7 74.

First let’s trip by this paragraph here and consider some of the views expressed above.

“In the North, we don’t regard the ‘British presence’ as foreign. The majority of people ‘feel’ British, and have no problems of national identity, or of feeling ‘put upon’ by foreigners.

In the South however there is a clash of identities. On the one hand there are ‘Irish’ things – Guiness, [etc]… on the other there are ‘British’ things – BBC, soccer, large scale industry [etc]. The OIRA would like to wipe out all the British things and leave us with the Irish things, or rather the Irish things minus the only substantial one – the Catholic church and its social teaching. And they are upset because the British Protestants in Ulster are not enthusiastic about the idea…’

Then let’s consider this…

‘…The only possible platform on which Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland can unite is to build a peaceful and democratic state in Ulster. The policial [sic] representatives of the Catholic Community must not be allowed any diversion from the need to face up to that.’

In the context of two nationalities how precisely could a ‘democratic’ state in Ulster not be seen as supporting – effectively – an Orange dominated state – either within or without the UK?

I’ll post up WW in a couple of weeks. There are other interesting thoughts in it.


104. Garibaldy - November 14, 2008


I don’t think any of us is on Peter Hart’s side in the argument over his exaggerated claims of sectarianism. And I agree entirely he has not answered the questions raised and needs to do so. Nevertheless, it is entirely possible that someone he interviewed who claimed to be at, or centrally involved in, Kilmichael but wasn’t. Which is what I meant by the possibility that no historian was fibbing. Whatever about its interpretation, there is much in Hart’s book that is good, and remains unaffected by the criticisms, e.g. his sociological profiling of IRA members that is useful.

On the issue of BICO/Aubane/IPR. Certainly people and organisations can and do change their minds. What makes I think this group unique is that it appears to have flipped on almost everything that once defined it. But has maintained a style of argument that can be highly vindicative, unreasonable, and personalised while often containing much of interest. It shouldn’t be that big a shock if people talk about them in similarly unrestrained terms.


105. Starkadder - November 14, 2008

The words “dish it out,but can’t take it” spring to mind.


106. WorldByBreeze - November 14, 2008

The AHS are probably a bit mad. The BICOs were definitely Mad, not to mention Bad.

But the Stickies (- of which I get a strong whiff above) were not only Mad and Bad, but, with their guns and their foreign gold, very very Dangerous to Know. This Lounge is probably the safest place for them – for Lefties too Stubborn to Quit (Posturing)!

Give me the AHS any day, even if they’re slightly off the wall.



107. Omar Little - November 14, 2008

I am not, and never was, a member of the Stickies. I am on record as describing the AHS in terms I am no longer allowed to use. So whats my excuse?


108. A Corkman - November 14, 2008

It’s worse than that, Stasia. The Stickies were famous for tail-ending BICO while hypocritically denouncing them. The were just BICO-with-guns!

I agree with Omar. They are all “terms-we-are-no-longer-allowed-to-use” but “wish-we-could”!


109. Garibaldy - November 14, 2008


You can’t seriously believe that can you?


110. WorldbyStorm - November 14, 2008

Wow, WorldbyBreeze… pretty po-faced stuff.

This isn’t a den of Sticks. I’m the only one out of five or six non-guest contributors to posts who was a Stick in the 1980s – and I sure as hell ain’t one now. And seeing as most people who contribute seem to be anti-WP… well, draw your own conclusion.

‘…too stubborn to quit’ is tongue in cheek. As is my own handle. Something that appears to have escaped you.

Still, I’m sure your right, and I’ll pass on the word that those of who’ve gone to the bother of collecting, scanning in and sending on all that BICO and IPR stuff, amongst other groups, are just posturing dilettentes.


111. Garibaldy - November 14, 2008


We prefer the term a snakepit of Sticks to den, as you ought to remember 😉


112. WorldbyStorm - November 14, 2008

Ah feck! I’m always missing the memo from the centre… 🙂


113. WorldByBreeze - November 15, 2008

Ha-ha, Got you, WuS!
All the smileys in Microsoft won’t cover up that knowing self-importance of hurlers on the ditch!
Keep on Lounging!


114. D. J. P. O'Kane - November 15, 2008

Is this the Stasia who was the nude dancer for Hawkwind, back in the day?


115. WorldByBreeze - November 15, 2008

Damn you, DJP!
Are there no real gentlemen left?
But I still like you, just the same.


116. WorldbyStorm - November 15, 2008

Got me, WBB? I don’t think so…it’s just part of my outreach programme.

Anyhow, if you’re so exercised by us hurlers (although isn’t the definition of the hurler on the ditch the person who does nothing. I know for a fact that’s not true of Garibaldy or myself when it comes to politics) there’s an easy answer, just don’t point your browser in the direction of the url at the top of the page…

BTW Hawkwind’s buddy was named Stacia…


117. ejh - November 15, 2008

Weren’t there two? The other was Marcia. I think.


118. D. J. P. O'Kane - November 15, 2008

>>>But I still like you, just the same.

Why don’t real women ever say thsi to me?


119. WorldByBreeze - November 15, 2008

Now now, WuS, temper temper!
I’m still going to shimmy in here now & again.
Unlike the crusty old barman, there are still a few gents here who know how to make a girl happy.
Your ever-loving


120. WorldbyStorm - November 15, 2008

Temper? I’m sort of thinking this is more about you than it is me… but trust me, you’re nowhere near being barred…


121. WorldbyStorm - November 15, 2008

Although now I think about it, to paraphrase smiffy, I sense a presence I have not felt since the old P.ie days.

I wonder…


122. Garibaldy - November 15, 2008

Is Smiffy Darth Vader then, or was he quoting him?


123. WorldbyStorm - November 16, 2008

He was quoting him… Mustn’t use a smiley… mustn’t use a smiley…


124. Garibaldy - November 16, 2008

Shame. It would have been well cool if he was Darth Vader.


125. PJ Callan - November 16, 2008

Just to let ye know

Next on the list to digitise is the –

‘Public Lecture by Comrade Hardial Bains on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Internationalists in Ireland” a 32 page A5 pamphlet.

followed by

‘The Irish Marxist’ No 1 and ‘The Irish Marxist’ No 2

Bet ye cant wait?


126. WorldbyStorm - November 16, 2008

Very good. The Bains stuff sounds great… seriously.


127. Garibaldy - November 16, 2008

I’d definitely be interested in reading that stuff myself. I’ve heard some stories about him, but never read anything by him.


128. WorldbyStorm - November 16, 2008

Yeah, likewise. He’s legendary.


129. The Irish Left Archive: Workers Weekly,Workers Association, British and Irish Communist Organisation, July 1974 « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - November 24, 2008

[…] mentioned a couple of weeks back on this thread, here is Workers Weekly, a publication of the Workers Association, also of the British and […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: