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Looking Left, No.1: The Irish People May 26, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Media and Journalism, The Left, Uncategorized, Workers' Party.

Here’s something for those interested in the Left Archive, a programme produced by DCTV which as Donagh says on the Irish Left Review...

…examines Irish alternative media and left-wing publications from the late 60s to the 1980s. This program deals with The Irish People, the newspaper of Official Sinn Féin, which later became Sinn Féin the Workers Party and then The Workers Party.

A great panel includes:

Dr. Brian Hanley of Queens University, Belfast and co-author of the soon to be published The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party, Padraig Yeates, former editor of the Irish People, and Dr. Conor McCabe, Labour Historian and contributor to Irish Left Review. The discussion is facilitated by Daniel Finn, also an Irish Left Review contributor.

Seeing that masthead certainly brings back some memories. And as you’ll see Conor has photographed two copies of the IP from various times in its history which are also available there.

We also have a downloadable copy in the Archive…

I’m looking forward to the other programmes in the series. Fair dues to everyone involved. An excellent piece of work.


1. Eamonn - May 26, 2009

Its a pity Eoin Harris was not on the panel. His knowledge and leadership of the stickies would have been good to hear.


2. WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2009

‘leadership’? Shurely shome mistake.


3. John Moran - May 28, 2009

Leadership, my arse.


4. Joe - May 28, 2009

Great stuff. Well worth a watch. Isn’t nostalgia just the best? And Hanley’s book is “hopefully” coming out in the Autumn. I can’t wait. Now on to DCTV.ie to see how I can get that channel.


5. Worzel Gummidge - May 28, 2009

Like the reggage music. Any other reviews of leftie papers planned?
Why no other books on the Stickies before now? Can you get this on normal TV?
Questions, questions…


6. Maddog Wilson - May 28, 2009

Just seen on Amazon, the publication date is September 3rd.


7. Garibaldy - May 28, 2009


ask Henry Patterson the answer to your second question.


8. Worzel Gummige - May 28, 2009

why? what does he know about it?


9. Garibaldy - May 28, 2009

The Politics of Illusion could have been such a book.


10. Maddog Wilson - May 28, 2009

Also Sean Swan ‘ Official Irish Republicanism 1962-1972’.


11. anarchaeologist - May 29, 2009

I’m reading The Politics of Illusion again in the context of trying to get into the heads of former republican activists in a rural part of the country who left the RM completely after 1973-4. We’re trying to see if we can run an archaeological project on the WoI and CW in the area as part of a more general study on the area’s cultural archaeology…

A mixed group spanning the political compass from… errr… FF to FG (one of the latter being actually a Green in a Blueshirt’s beret, albeit with two uncles who went to Spain with O’Duffy), they’re all up for a good discussion at least and the crack tends to be, er, 90.

Anyway, I was wasn’t around when the book was published but was familiar with his supposed political past in the RM. I don’t know if I’ve read any reviews over the years. I’m not quite at the Split yet and starting to drown in Patterson’s theory (again). What’s Swan’s book like? Any background or assistance with reading material much appreciated!


12. Maddog Wilson - May 30, 2009


I was not too keen on Pattersons book, he seemed to spend a lot of the book setting up his own construction, something he called ‘Left or Social Republicanism’ and then trying to demolish it. At the time he wrote the book i am pretty sure he had left the Workers Party. A lot of what he writes seems to me like generalities and although he wrote for party journals he clearly was not part of the leadership.

Swan on the other hand is as far as i know a member of the Workers Party who was given access to party records on that account alone his book has more information on for example: what happened to OIRA.

My favourite anecdote from the book is the desciption of Harris by the OIRA C/S as being like a cow. ‘he can provide the milk then goes and puts his shitty hoof in it’ or words to that effect. This was a reference to Harris’s contribution to producing the policy document ‘ The Irish Industrial Revolution’ worth a read.


13. Garibaldy - May 30, 2009

Discussion document Maddog, not a policy document!!

The first version of Patterson’s book was in 1989 when he was still connected to The WP. The social republicanism thing was I think reflective of his personal background, and his belief that he was a proper Marxist, unlike say Connolly.


14. Maddog Wilson - May 31, 2009


My mistake, it became policy though, at a later Ard Fheis? Was Patterson a BICO member?


15. Garibaldy - May 31, 2009

No bother Maddog, I was mainly joking as this argument has been had here before. As far as I know, it was never adopted as policy. Patterson certainly shared a lot of BICO’s analysis. I think he was a member.


16. WorldbyStorm - May 31, 2009

Mind you, I remember Pat McCartan giving public speechs on the WP industrial policy which explicitly name-checked the IIR.

BTW, someone very kindly copied it for me, I haven’t had a chance to scan it yet, but will perhaps over the Summer.


17. Maddog Wilson - May 31, 2009

That should get a good thread going. I wonder how much of it could be thrown back at Harris now that he has joined the Shoneen Class he did a good job giving a thorough verbal kicking to all those years ago. Maybe he could be accused of jumpimg into bed with the Ascendancy Class in a marriage made ‘not from lust but convenience’.


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