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The Left Archive: “What Happened on the Twelfth?”, Workers Association, 1975, (British and Irish Communist Organisation). July 20, 2009

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in British and Irish Communist Organisation (BICO), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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BICO 12th

A bit of an oddity this, but worth posting up for the month that is in it. Here is the Workers’ Association (or another branch, so to speak, of the British and Irish Communist Organisation) presenting its analysis of religion as an aspect of the conflict in Ireland in order to contextualise the UWC Strike, of which it states… “…the Strike has shown once and for all that there is no need for that kind of behaviour and that the community is sufficiently well organised, determined and united to resist any attempts to push it around; and that it can do that without indulging in a bloodbath, or mindlessly submitting to a Hitler-type ‘leader’..

In a most interesting analysis of religion on the island and in the process of ruminating about the Glorious Revolution it manages to take a side-swipe at both the Provisional IRA (“… [their] activity resembles the temper tantrum of a child that can’t get away with what it wants”) and the Official IRA (which it describes their ‘notion that the Shankill Rd Protestants are going to ‘rediscover’ their Gaelic heritage and join the struggle against ‘British Imperialism’… as ‘fantasy’).

What is very striking is the sense of aversion to a ‘Catholic Ireland’…which it states ‘because [it] had so little conscious political, economic, religious or intellectual history that the Church was able to get such a grip’.

A couple of interesting asides about the ‘new free state’… ‘which came into existence in 1922…[when Britain] drew up a democratic and secular constitution for it… the result was a democratic republic [!] with a powerful Church working to develop among the people a mentality appropriate to the middle ages (even Connolly, who is held up as the very embodiment of progressive socialism, idealised pre-medieval Gaelic Ireland)’. One suspects Eric Hobsbawm might have something to say about that analysis.BICO 12th

Comments»

1. Vabian - July 20, 2009

(even Connolly, who is held up as the very embodiment of progressive soc<ialism, idealised pre-medieval Gaelic Ireland)’

And is that necessarily a bad thing? William Morris idealised
ancient medieval society, but this did not stop him becoming
an insightful and influential political thinker (by contrast, when was
the last time you heard anyone cite H.M Hyndman as an
influence?).

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2. WorldbyStorm - July 20, 2009

That’s something I’d actually agree with you on Vabian. Morris drew much of the strength of his thinking from that point. Obviously there are limits to how much one can map one period of history to another, but really, these guys are criticising Connolly despite the fact that he was embedded in the time of the Gaelic Revival, or at least towards its end, etc…

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3. Vabian - July 21, 2009

I wonder who wrote this pamphlet? Brendan Clifford, Boyd
Black, or several authors working together?

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4. WorldbyStorm - July 21, 2009

No idea. It’s not credited as far as I can see.

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5. Starkadder - July 22, 2009

You may be interested to note the July issue of the
Irish Political Review has only one, disparaging reference to the
Great God Ganley. Surely his dismal performance in the
Euro elections has nothing whatsoever to do with
the Herd of Independent Minds’ switcheroo… 😉

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6. WorldbyStorm - July 22, 2009

Never, that’s shocking… ah, how quickly they forget…

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7. Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen Linken « Entdinglichung - July 24, 2009

[…] British and Irish Communist Organisation: “What Happened on the Twelfth?” […]

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