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Left Archive: Red Banner, A magazine of socialist ideas, Issue 1, November 1997 March 1, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Miscellaneous.
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Here’s an interesting one. Red Banner, ‘a revolutionary socialist magazine’ for those who ‘are sick of the way the world is run…. we intend to present socialist ideas to as many people as we can, and to develop and apply those ideas to the needs of the struggle for socialism today. It is our belief that struggle requires a clear understanding of its situation, of its history, of the conditions of its victory’.

Noting that ‘Capitalism every day proves itself to be incapable of resolving the basic problems facing humanity’ it also allows that ‘just as obvious… is the failure of the left, thus far, to get rid of it. There is no use denying it: there are too many on the left who see the struggle in terms of their own narrow organisational success, and not enough whose main concern is the strength and fighting consciousness of the working class. Red Banner has no illusions whatsoever that it is destined to form some revolutionary vanguard, but we are convinced that a powerful socialist movement can be built by the working classes themselves.’

And it continues…

The rainforests are in bad enough shape as it is, so we won’t be wasting paper with appeals to seek salvation in the election of nice politicians, or in the ascendancy of benevolent dictators. We stand for the workers of the world independently and self-consciously taking control.

But we wont’ be resorting to censorship and heresy hunting to put our views forward. Only those unsure of their politics need gunboats in the bay to enforce an intellectual monopoly for their product We, on the other hand, have enough confidence in the strength of revolutionary socialist politics to believe that they will win through and grow stronger in the free competition of ideas.

The contents are an eclectic mix, with contributions from Joe Conroy, Mick Doyle, Rosanna Flynn and others, including The Myth of Michael Collins by one Brian Hanley. Well worth a read. And also worth noting that it is still going strong.

Comments»

1. Dr. X - March 1, 2010

I think I’ve got a couple more of these somewhere or other. . .

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2. Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung - March 1, 2010

[…] * Red Banner, November 1997 […]

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3. Jim Monaghan - March 1, 2010

Aindreas O’Cathasaigh, the editor, is one of the most interesting left intel;lectuals around. He has published books both in Irish and english, both on Padraic Columb and Connolly.He was in the SWP but as ususl they got rid of hime. Their loss.

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Seán Ó Tuama - March 1, 2010

He also did a good biography of Máirtín Ó Cadhain.

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Dubhaltach - March 1, 2010

He also did a very good biography on Pádraic Ó Conaire (Réabhlóid Phádraic Uí Chonaire) and a collection of his socialist articles (An tAthrú Mór – Scríbhinní sóisialacha le P. Ó Conaire)

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4. Mark P - March 1, 2010

I’ve always had a soft spot for Red Banner. There is pretty consistently something of interest in it.

It’s a rarity on the Irish left in that it is a long running magazine – very few magazine format publications have managed to amass a significant number of copies. That’s a pity really as it allows much more space to develop an argument or analyse a situation than a newspaper. I think that only Red Banner and Socialist View (the Socialist Party magazine) are over issue 20 and still going. Dozens of magazines have come and gone, some barely making it to a second issue, others struggling on for half a dozen before disappearing.

It’s all the more impressive when you consider that RB doesn’t have an organisation behind it. The SWP, SF and the WP have all tried and failed to sustain magazines over the years.

There are some irritating things about RB. One of the most notable is its insistence on carrying sometimes quite detailed and specific criticisms of left organisations without mentioning what organisation a particular criticism or allegation refers to. This is a very unfair method of argument, allowing as it does the writer to collapse together the alleged wrongs committed by different organisations as if they applied to all equally. It also leads to a situation where anyone taking issue with these criticisms seems to be accepting that they recognise their own organisation as the target, that the cap fits in other words. It’s a form of argument by insinuation.

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5. Starkadder - March 1, 2010

It’s a rarity on the Irish left in that it is a long running magazine – very few magazine format publications have managed to amass a significant number of copies. That’s a pity really as it allows much more space to develop an argument or analyse a situation than a newspaper. I think that only Red Banner and Socialist View (the Socialist Party magazine) are over issue 20 and still going.

There’s also the WSM’s “Red and Black Revolution”. SF published
IRIS on an irregular basis from the 1990s to now. The WP
publish something called “Look Left”, but I’m not sure if
that’s a newsletter or a magazine.

I reckon the internet has displaced these magazines-I remember
Fortnight in the early seventies listing almost a dozen
left-wing Irish mags, by PD, OSF, both CPI’s, B&ICO, and
the Cork Workers’ Club (a short-lived mag called
“Cork Worker” ).

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Conor McCabe - March 1, 2010

I think that Fortnight article you’re on about is here:

http://www.irishlabour.com/pamphlets/Fortnight-22-02-74.pdf

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6. Starkadder - March 1, 2010

Yes, that was the Paula Howard article I was thinking of.
Thanks Conor.

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