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Left Archive: Class War, Issue 1, May 1994, Class War [Ireland] March 12, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Class War [Ireland], Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

To download this document please click on the following link: ClassWar1 go

Many thanks to Alan Mac Simoin for forwarding this to the Archive [and for more archive material in this vein consider again the Irish Anarchist History site which is building up a great library of materials on Irish anarchism].

Class War in Ireland had a short-lived existence in the early 1990s but this document gives a real insight into the organisation. Running parallel to the UK based Class War it was an interesting group which although strongly inflected by anarchism saw itself as ‘a working class revolutionary organisation’. On its demise members became involved in a range of other groups on the Irish left including community groups and the Frontline Collective.

This is the first issue dating from May 1994. A4 size, 8 pages long it is characterised by a stark and visually striking approach and an uncompromising rhetoric.

For example the editorial notes that:

Recently the media has been full of talk about peace and ceasefires. However one group has not given the slightest indication that they are willing to end the vicious campaign which they have been waging for years and which their very existence depends upon. The group in question is of course the Irish rich.

The existence of this group of parasites depends upon their ability to con, cheat and rob all they possibly can from the workers of this country. These bastards long ago declared war on the working class. Unemployment, low wages, homelessness, crime, discrimination and repression are the effects of this war. Well if it’s a war they want then it’s a war they’ll get.

It continues:

Why should they be the only ones capable of going on the attack? After all, we are the ones who create all the wealth of this society. It’s about time we set about taking it back. It’s time we took the war to them. Why should we remain hidden away on our estates and ghettos, in our low paid and dead end jobs, while they swan around flaunting their ill gotten gains in our faces?
These gangsters know all too well that a state of war exists between our class and theirs. It’s about time that we started fighting as hard for our class as they do for theirs. We have no demands to make of them. There are no reforms they can make to get rid of us. Our message to them is clear: You started this war We will finish it.

There’s a longer piece on page 4 which discusses the politics of class war under the subheading ‘Angry and Proud and which notes that it is a ‘working class revolutionary organisation’. It states:

First of all let’s get one thing clear – we make no ridiculous claims to be the ‘leadership’ of the working class, nor will we ever. We are not just another political party or group that is seeking to win power for itself. We do not see ourselves as ‘political intellectuals’ who can guide the masses to victory. When it comes down to it. we, as Class War, are just a bunch of individuals who have come together to do something about the society we are forced to live in. We want to help build and be part of an independent revolutionary movement, within the Irish working class, under the control of no one but the class itself. This movement will be inspired by, and will build upon, the traditions of our class – unity, solidarity and resistance.

And discussing the nature of the society they wish to build they argue that”

When the motivating factors of profit and competition are removed… in the past different people have described this type of society in a variety of ways: Communism, Socialism, Anarchism. We just call it common sense.

Tellingly the one quotation from the left in that piece is from Rosa Luxemburg.

Overall it’s an energetic and enthusiastic document. It covers a range of issues from the Downing Street Declaration, a review of Emily O’Reilly’s ‘Masterminds of the Right’, a column named ‘Copwatch’, Water Rates and a piece on ‘Pigs in the Middle’ which excoriates the middle class… ’some will genuinely side with us. They can only do this as our equals. Many of our class will distrust them (and rightly so, as the ‘authority figures’ we come up against in everyday life are mostly middle not ruling class) – they’ll have to accept this. The bottom line is that they usually have the option to comfortably drop out of the struggle – we don’t – we were born into it.’


1. Tel - March 12, 2012

They held a big public meeting (or two), possibly as their launch, which got a lot of Branch attention – there is a small mention of it somewhere on the WSM site.

Class War (in Britain) were briefly big news circa 1990 & 1991 – amusingly Verso even published a ‘best of’ coffee table edition of their paper – sold in Dublin in Forbidden Planet. Some other organisations influenced by them were set up in other countries notably Angry People in Australia. When the organisation split in 1997 the larger faction published a self critique which can be found linked to on the wiki page & which is interesting enough.

Apart from glorification of violence & an interest in riots the material on the middle class was I think what set them apart politically & gave them their defining characteristics in the (ultra) left market.


2. Neue alte linke Archivalien « Entdinglichung - March 13, 2012

[…] – Class War, Mai 1994 […]


3. Jim Monaghan - March 13, 2012

Seems a bit like the Black Block to me. Did they win the class war and dissolve?


4. Liam - November 20, 2013

I haven’t see that paper in ages. I wrote a fair bit of that and did the paper layout. Seems a very long time ago now


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