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Irish Left Archive [Remembering 1969]: United Irishman, Sinn Féin, October 1969 October 26, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Left Online Document Archive (Remembering 1969), Sinn Féin.
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UI OCT 69 cover

UI OCT 69

The United Irishman from October 1969 provides us a sense of the mood of Republicans in the aftermath of August. The lead article argues that Civil War is Britain’s Aim, the rationale being that ‘Britain is not unwilling to have a civil war so that she can arrive again as a ‘saviour’, abolish Stormont and have the anti-Unionist population delighted to be fully absorbed into the United Kingdom’, a process that the UI argues is the ‘opposite of the Civil Right demand as spelled out by Chairman Frank Gogarty: ‘The Civil Rights Association is not asking for direct rule from Westminster but is simply demanding that the British Government exercise its powers under Article 75 of the Government of Northern Ireland Act of 1920, to legislate directly for civil and democratic rights in Northern Ireland’. And a finger is pointed at Fianna Fáil ‘[who] are getting ready to do a deal wth Britain over some form of Federation or Council of ireland. Lynch calls for a federation, but he does not say if it is to be just a federation of North and South. His speech allows for a federation ‘of these islands’ as called for by Eddie McAteer, Captain O’Neill and Quintin Hogg… in effect a Fianna Fáil sell-out that will bring the whole of Ireland back into the British Empire’.

The inside articles are notable for their range. They discuss ‘fish-ins’, an oddly timely piece on the economy on leathanach trí, and a full page on evictions and housing issues. There’s also a mention of ‘More Trouble in R.T.E.’ and vehement condemnation of attacks on Protestants in the 26 Counties. But the North is never far from the concerns of the UI, whether in the form of ‘An Open letter to the poor Protestants of Ulster’, a survey of unemployment on the Falls or articles on the ‘B’ Specials.

Perhaps most telling is a short piece on leathanach ceathair which asks ‘Where were the Republicans?’ and suggests that:

In recent times some publications in the 26 cos. have tried to undermine the efforts of Republicans during the August unrest in the occupied area, by endeavouring to convince their readership that the Republicans took a back seat during the campaign for social justice and when it was necessary to defend the nationalist population against attacks from R.U.C. ‘B’ Specials and extreme Right wing Unionists of the Paisleyite movement.

And a defence of the approach of Republicans follows pointing to ‘social agitation in such issues as housing and unemployment… as far back as 1963 Republicans in Derry City had established an organisation for unemployed youth which later became known as Derry Unemployed Action Committee…’

Add to this an attack on the ‘Paper Hat Irish’ (Irish-Americans) and that old standby of SF and OSF material, ‘Preparing to Join NATO’ (the South), what is remarkable in contrast to later editions how comparatively calm the situation was at this early stage. Despite the events of the Summer of 1969 and the mention of barricades in Belfast the worst was most certainly yet to come.

Comments»

1. Sean Mór - October 26, 2009

Thanks for that WorldbyStorm. Pure coincidence, but this edition of The United Irishman just so happens to reflect where exactly I am in my reading of ‘The Lost Revolution’ at the minute!

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WorldbyStorm - October 26, 2009

Glad to help. One of the things I like about TLR is that it’s making me reconsider the UI’s in a new light. And of course that works vice versa.

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2. Jim Monaghan - October 26, 2009

One worth republishing was a reworking of the proclamation in an ironic senses to make it fit current bourgeois concerns. I think 1072

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3. Clayton Blackmore - October 27, 2009

The ‘paper-hat Irish’ article was written by Lenny Glazer, an American Trotskyist and activist in the National Association for Irish Justice. He later wrote the Official Sinn Fein pamphlet on Britain and the USA- ‘A special, special relationship.’

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ejh - October 27, 2009

This has probably been asked before, but is there any connection between “Clayton Blackmore” and “Remi Moses”? Can we expect postings from the likes of Peter Davenport?

(Fact: I was present at Ferguson’s first match.)

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Remi Moses - October 27, 2009

There may well be. They certainly know each other. Russell Beardsmore was also about once.

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4. Jim Monaghan - October 27, 2009

Lenny was a member of the American SWP. He had left it at this stage. He ran NAIJ along with Brian Heron (a connolly grandson).NAIJ was the NICRA affiliate in the USA, for all practical purposes an Official front.
Glazer was a larger than life person. I must facebook him

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5. NollaigO - October 27, 2009

I recall meeting both Brian Heron and Lenny Glazer in the early 1970s.

Lenny was keen US supporter of the Officials at that time and was from a Trotyskist background. IIRCC, Jim, Lenny was not in the SWP by then but was dubbed ” the 110% Republican by Gerry Foley. Lenny was approached by the controversial Gery Lawless in early 1970 and was asked to make enquiries with the Official leadership about him rejoining the movement! Lennie reported back to Gery that they were “reluctant to get involved” with him.
Surely not?
Shorely Shome mistake!

Brian Heron, a grandsonof James Connolly, was an important contact of the Officials in US during the late 60s, early 70s. Brian visited many parts of Ireland in the Spring of 1970 and I remember meeting him in Cork in the house of a leading local Official. There a furious argument occurred over the Official leadership’s decision to push the abolition of the absentionist policy at the recent Árd Fheis.
Brian’s politics were very eclectic: evidently from a CP background but also influenced by American New Left ideas and Castroism. One of the recommendations, that he made in Cork, was that the Republican Movement should hold military drilling in the “projects”, an idea taken from the Black Panthers. He was very skilled in political argument and had strong presence. I heard that he fell out with the Official shortly afterwards but I don’t know the issues. I don’t know if Brian is still involved in politics. I presume that James Connolly Heron, mentioned in the references section of TLR, is a son or close relative.
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Ramzi Nohra - October 27, 2009

The Panthers were a really interesting political movement. Their overt armed period only lasted for a couple of years and after that they got more involved in social programmes, food distribution, education etc etc There is / was recently an interesting exhibition of their art on in the New Museum in NYC for those in the vicinity.

I wonder what their views on Ireland were? I know they were with broad left consensus on vietnam, palestine etc

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Garibaldy - October 27, 2009

IIRC they made some of the PD people honorary Black Panthers. Somewhat ironically given that they were influenced by Mao more than Trotsky.

The book discussed here seemed quite interesting

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/oct/25/black-panthers-photographs-howard-bingham

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Ramzi Nohra - October 27, 2009

yeah i might check it out. Disappointing there doesnt seem anything interesting in that tradition in the US of today, although they were different times.

Emory Douglas was their “revolutionary artist”. He was responsible for some really striking images /slogans.

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6. Brian Hanley - October 27, 2009

http://gaelicadventure.org/about.html

Nollaig, see above for one of Brian Heron’s recent projects. He helped found the Irish Arts Centre in New York during the 1970s. He is still in contact with some of those in Ireland that he worked with in the 60s/70s.

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NollaigO - October 28, 2009

Thanks for the link, Brian.

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7. Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung - October 30, 2009

[…] * The Workers’ Party: Tomorrow’s People, Oktober 1991 * Sinn Féin: United Irishman, Oktober 1969 […]

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