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Left Archive: Resistance – Civilian Resistance c. 1971, People’s Democracy? February 25, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Official Sinn Féin, People's Democracy.


To download the above file please click on the following link: Resistance

Many thanks to Alan Mac Simoin for scanning and forwarding this document to the Archive.

Unusually there’s no clear provenance of this document. It mentions the Civil Rights Movement, People’s Democracy and the Republican Movement, and the cover is obviously taken from the famous Joe McCann ‘Army of the People’ photograph from the Official IRA. That said it appears to have been written by NICRA or PD members and any clarification on it would be very welcome.

It was written in the wake of internment and before the suspension of Stormont in March 1972.
As such it calls for the end of internment on foot of what it considers to be a mobilisation of the people. It also focusses on Crossmaglen and gives a detailed list of activities in that area such as protests, barricades and other forms of opposition to the state. There’s also a ‘Jail Journal’ reprinted from the Irish Times which consists of a personal account by Seamus O Tuathail, former editor of the OSF United Irishman and his experiences in Crumlin Road Prison.

The document also states the aims of the groups that it represents, most important of which is the establishment of a ‘democratic assembly’ and that:

The Assembly would be organised on a 32-county basis, and would lay the foundation for an all-Ireland democratic republic in the tradition of Tone, Connolly and the 1916 Proclamation.


1. WorldbyStorm - February 25, 2013

Many thanks to the person who emailed to say the following: –

‘Resistance’ is the product of cooperation at a local (Newry) level between PD and the Officials. Sam Dowling was NICRA and Official republican, Niall Vallely was PD. Note how Dowling was the speaker at the protest in Crossmaglen after Harry Thornton’s death; the idea of Crossmaglen as a Provo stronghold dates from after 1971. Shows how flux things were at that stage- later that year PD would become more PRM inclined (though former PD members joined both Provos and Officials).


2. anarchaeologist - February 26, 2013

I’ve just spent the weekend at a conference in Derry where we visited the Free Derry Museum in the Bogside. Well worth a look if you’re in the city.


3. Florrie O'Donoghue - February 26, 2013

It is interesting how quickly the misquoted ‘cannot stand idly by’ became an accepted term in referring to events in the north.

The shooting dead of Harry Thornton certainly seems to be a watershed in the growth of the Provisional IRA in south Armagh; although the deaths of the two RUC men, Donaldson and Millar, almost exactly a year prior are often attributed to that organisation.

Is mise srl.,


4. Joe - February 26, 2013

Samuel Donaldson and Robert Millar.


Florrie O'Donoghue - February 26, 2013

No disrespect intended in shortening their names.


Joe - February 26, 2013

Thanks Florrie.


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