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Left Archive: The Leninist – Ireland: Thatcher’s Vietnam [Supplement] c. Winter 1985/Spring 1986 September 26, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Great Britain [Leninist grouping], Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

To download the above file please click on the following link: Leninist CPGB

This document is a four page pamphlet produced in conjunction with the Leninist, a publication of a small group within or close to the Communist Party of Great Britain in the United Kingdom. This group operated in opposition to the leadership of the CPGB taking a somewhat traditional Marxist-Leninist approach [indeed it’s not entirely clear how many involved were also members of the CPGB – John Sullivan’s work appears to indicate that at least some were].

In any event the Leninist was published by a group who had left the CPGB to join the New Communist Party. This was in retrospect regarded as a mistake and subsequently the Leninist was established to promote their viewpoint. When the CPGB itself dissolved The Leninist announced that they would ‘reforge’ the party. Now calling themselves the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) they also operated in alliance with other groups and began to publish the Weekly Worker in print form and eventually online.

The links above will give some indication as to their former and current political position.

When this document was published they sought to appeal to members of the then CPGB. Indeed it urges:

…all readers, sympathizers and supporters of The Leninist… to support the London Bloody Sunday demonstration on February 2 1986. Members of the CPGB should in particular see to it that they have an organized presence on the demonstration, not least given our Party leadership’s past and present chauvinist stance on the Irish struggle for national re-unification and independence.

This document “Ireland: Thatcher’s Vietnam” is unashamedly pro-IRA and Sinn Féin. It argues that:

Rising like the proverbial phoenix from the setback it suffered in its 1950s border campaign and the debilitating reformism of its then President MacGiolla (now the leader of the rump Workers’ Party) the IRA/Sinn Fein has heroically taken on the British giant.

It further argues that…

As to Sinn Fein, it has grown at a staggering rate both north and south of the border, giving the establishment politicians in London, Belfast, and Dublin countless sleepless nights worrying about Ireland becoming ‘another Cuba’.

The remainder of the document is written in a similarly vigorous style. An interesting addition to the Archive.


1. roasted snow - September 26, 2011

Originally led by John Bridge aka Jack Conrad. Still is as far as I know! Once accused by Ken Livingstone of being MI5 agents, not that that means they were/are. Positioning on Ireland changed in the late 90s when they argued a case for nation rights for the British – Irish, but not to be confused with BICO, causing a healthy debate in its ranks, invoking the wrath of Steve Riley among others. I think Anne Mc Shane who has contributed on this site is still linked to WW, which remains a good read. The project of reforging Britain’s Communist Party also remains the primary task. For a small organisation were
involved in several left unity projects from the original SLP to the Socialist Alliance to Respect.


WorldbyStorm - September 26, 2011

Thanks RS, that’s great background info. Appreciated.


2. john O'Neill - September 26, 2011

The had a bit of a ‘love in’ with the IRSP/INLA in the late 1980’s. I can remember a few watching aN IRSP march to Milltown one Easter with a delegation all carrying red flags.


Roasted Snow - September 26, 2011

That’s right. The IRPs Starry Plough paper in the early 90s adopted ‘The Leninist’ layout and there was fraternal work. There was also a short lived Irish fraternal group organised around the journal’The Irish Marxist’, What I have always enjoyed about this group is the fact that Trotskyists called them Stalinists, and perhaps still do, and Stalinists called them Trotskyoid or some such. Their roots are in ‘Official Communism’ as they would have it (i.e) NCP or CPGB and borrowed heavily from Turkish Communists in terms of theory and organisation as the Socialist states in the East collapsed. Have long since abandoned any Stalinist sympathies. A healthy respect for Trotsky more recently and always a call for democracy within the revolutionary party. Their willingness to engage and work with other Workers parties is healthy but were not actively involved in TUSC last year as the SP in England and Wales (SPEW) argued their membership was too small. They still called for a vote for TUSC. The Weekly Worker is published weekly online.

On another note;
I am in possession of much Irish and British Left and Republican literature from the late 80s and 90s which really deserves to be archived, where do I send it?


WorldbyStorm - September 26, 2011

Can you email me at worldbystorm [@] eircom.net

Just remove the [ …] when you email me. That would be brilliant.


Mark P - September 26, 2011

The Irish Marxist journal you mention would be particularly interesting to see, if you have an issue or issues.

Presumably it’s too late in time to be connected to the Irish Marxist Group which split from the CPI around 1975?


WorldbyStorm - September 27, 2011



3. dilettante - September 26, 2011

This might be interesting for some people: http://irelandsalternative.blogspot.com/


WorldbyStorm - September 27, 2011

I read that a while back. A real insight into some of the thought processes during the late 80s.


4. PJ CALLAN - September 27, 2011

The most interesting bit I found is the line from Conrad that Jimmy Brown of the IPLO was responsible for the printing of Congress 86


WorldbyStorm - September 27, 2011

That’s very true, and by the way anyone with Congress 86… give us a shout. But I found the whole of it fascinating.


Roasted Snow - September 27, 2011

I have IPLO in print ( they completed at least one journal, looks a bit like a Congress one from the time, politically all over the place with guest writers) and shall send WBS for the archive.


5. PJ CALLAN - September 28, 2011

Roasted Snow, IPLO in print is as rare as hens teeth. I had heard they had put out a publication but it never appeared down in the FS, to my knowledge. Would be great if you could scan it and upload it here. I sold Congress 86 around the pubs and have a full set of them stashed away somewhere.


WorldbyStorm - September 28, 2011

That would be a real find PJ.


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