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Left Archive: ‘Revolutionary Nationalism, Class Struggle, and Problems of Party Building in Ireland’ and ‘Performing Artists on a Flying Trapeze’, articles by Gerry Foley, Intercontinental Press, 1973 December 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Gerry Foley, Irish Left Online Document Archive.


To download the above please click on the following link. GFoley

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This article is a further addition to the now strong collection of works by Gerry Foley from the 1970s on Irish republican socialist political activity. This particular article which is twenty pages long and was printed in Intercontinental Press in May 1973 comes on foot of two previous pieces he had written in that publication on the same topic.

This particular article is in part written in response to a critique written by a member of the Gerry Healy led Socialist Labour League (later Workers Revolutionary Party) [wiki entry on those organisations available here]. what is particularly interesting is that Foley argues that the critique was written in order:

…to impress the most dogmatic and workerist fringe of the Official republican movement, whose attempt to build a mass revolutionary party in Ireland has tended to get bogged down in various types of sectarianism. The fact that [the writer] indicated this interest in the OFficials confirms the nature of some of the problems this group has been experiencing.

Foley continues:

Because of their unique historical advantages, the fact that their organisation is known and respected for its heroic past and includes among its activists most of the politically conscious vanguard of the Irish people, the Official republicans tend to think that they cannot fall victim to deviations of the kind affecting some of the smaller left groups.

Unfortunately, as the last year in particular has shown, this is not true. In fact, as a result of the all-inclusive political char ted of the Official republican movement, the disputes of the far-left tendencies have been reflected in its ranks. This process will inevitably continue and deepen as it has in similar organisations elsewhere.

The article examines the topics addressed under a number of topics including ‘The Civil Rights Struggle’, ‘The Role of Stalinism’, the ‘Theory of Permanent Revolution’ the ‘Danger of Reformist Orientation’ and the ‘Need for a United Front’.

‘Performing Artists on a Flying Trapeze’ from June 1973 continues to address the issue of how the Official republican movement can ‘fulfil their aspiration of building a ‘revolutionary party of the Irish people’ and the critique by the SLL. It also examines aspects of the thinking amongst Provisional republicans, not least what it describes as ‘moralistic ideas and unalyzed (but rationalised) tradition [where they] make errors about the dynamic of the Northern struggle, which is certainly extremely complex. This is clearly a case where Marxists can make the best demonstration of the superiority of their method’.

Overall an energetic rebuttal by Foley of the SLL.


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