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Interview with Rayner Lysaght May 20, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Marxism, Video interview.

Rayner O’Connor Lysaght author ‘of The Story of the Limerick Soviet ‘ was born into an affluent family in North Wales. While a student in Trinity College Dublin he became interested in left- wing politics.

In May 1967 Lysaght became a member of the Irish Workers Group a Trotskyist political party. Lysaght later left the Irish Workers Group and joined the breakaway Socialist Labour Alliance; the Irish section of the Fourth International.

In 1972 he was instrumental in organising the Revolutionary Marxist Group who along with the Peoples Democracy and the Irish Republican Socialist Party called for the legalisation for abortion in Ireland.

Given over 50 years of political activism Lysaght gives his analysis on the current developments within capitalism.

This is his story, in his own words.


1. D_D - May 20, 2013

The Socialist Labour Alliance was not a breakaway or the Irish section of the (US)FI. The SLA was an early forerunner of far left alliances with the aim, by some, of an eventual party. It was the LWR that Rayner and Co broke away from in 1971 and they formed the actual USFI section in 1972, the Revolutionary Marxist Group.



In 1968-9 I was in the Young Socialists (which was associated with the LWR) with Rayner – and another CLR correspondent today actually, John Goodwillie. I missed all the excitement as I went off from ’69 to ’72. 1972 was a seminal year for the Irish Trotskyist left as the RMG, the Socialist Workers Movement (now the SWP) and the Militant (now the SP) were all founded in that year. I was back for 1972, in the SWM (along with John Goodwillie, but not Raynor). My path often crossed Rayner’s along the way and I have never lost respect and affection for him. I think his ‘Irish Republic’ was a real pioneer. I look forward to viewing this interview with him.


2. anne - May 20, 2013

Did he graduate from Trinity? What did he take his degree in?


3. Mick - May 20, 2013

D_D my introduction to the Rayner Lysaght interview may not be historically correct, the same can not be said of Rayner’s interview.
We hope you are pleased with the final result as we are trying to record our Marxist-Republican past.


4. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - May 20, 2013

Then adjust the introduction Mick- there’s several mistakes in it.


5. Mick - May 21, 2013

Anne Rayner graduated from Trinity 1964 in Honours Modern History and Political Science, he also has an M.AA. from UCD (1983)


anne - May 21, 2013

Nice to know. I ‘ve heard a lot about him but never anything definite about his background. -Even the introduction just says he attended TCD and we are none the wiser as to whether he finished his studies. Am looking forward to having time to listen to the full interview – have just managed 10 mins so far!!


6. oconnorlysaght - May 22, 2013

A good recording, Mick, but I suppose I do ramble on a bit.
A further correction to your introduction; I did not say I left the IWG. As its secretary, I played a major role in dissolving it as it was going nowhere. As I say, this may have been a mistake as it left no organised Trotskyist group able to offer a political line in August ’69.
Of course, whether the IWG could have done so remains a conundrum.
I myself was one Trotskyist in search of a party for nearly two years, still in the Labour Party, hoping for the best and entering the Dublin Citizens Committee to get supplies to the northern ghettoes, and producing propaganda on the struggle, talking to the LWR and eventually forming the nucleus of the future Revolutionary Marxist Group and adhering to the Socialist Labour Alliance.


7. Jim Monaghan - May 22, 2013

I remember someone disparaging Ranor way back in I think 1970. And Paddy Healy said to me that when most of the then student radicals had long left their radical pasts behind them, Ranor would still be fighting the good fight.How true.You might ramble a bit and who doesn’t but your rambles are worth a lot.
Beir bua


8. Starkadder - May 25, 2013

Of interest: Lysaght takes issue with the criticism of
Dr Cillian McGratten, regarding Lysaght’s disagreements
with the work of Peter Hart :



9. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - May 25, 2013

‘Peter Hart was an openly conscious defender of the status quo. Whether he believed in the most conspicuous expression of this, the current bank bail-out, is not known to this writer, but it seems likely.’

?????? Lysaght’s talents obviously include mind-reading.


10. Starkadder - May 25, 2013

Interesting- Bob Purdie was in the IMG? (46:17-46:30 ).


11. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - May 25, 2013
12. oconnorlysaght - May 27, 2013

Two further corrections.
To take the more important first. Branno (or, at least her/his t-shirt) ascribes mind-reading powers to me that I do not possess. My suspicion (no more than that) that the late Dr Hart would have approved of the bailout, in 2010, is based on deductive logic, drawn partly from observation of a number of people who would not consider themselves as the doctor’s intellectual soulmates but who favoured the move lest worse befell. If anybody (or t-shirt has evidence that Dr Hart disapproved of the bailout, they might inform us.
Secondly, I have just noticed a further mistake in the introduction. I was brought up in south, rather than north Wales: Cardiff, to be precise. I’m sorry to have given my interlocutor the wrong impression; how I did so, I do not know.


13. Mick - May 28, 2013

Rayner, will edit the mistake in the introduction to you’r interview.


14. Bob Purdie’s memories of Dublin | Come Here To Me! - February 22, 2016

[…] also met some Trotskyists who were more in tune with the IMG, Rayner Lysaght (still a good friend), Brendan Kelly and a couple of others. On my last day in Dublin I was sitting […]


15. socialistfight - November 11, 2018

Reblogged this on Socialist Fight.


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