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Left Archive: Marxist Leninist Weekly, December 19th, 1985, Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) – 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Internationalists in Ireland March 23, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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CPI ML 1985 DEC 19

To download the above please click on the following link. CPI ML 1985 DEC 19
Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This is a fascinating document from the CPI (M-L), issued on 20th Anniversary of the foundation of the Internationalists in Ireland. This saw an Internationalist Rally of Marxist Leninist Parties to celebrate the anniversary. This combined celebration over that fact with protests against the then recently signed Anglo-Irish Agreement. Both the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and that of Canada were in attendance.

As it notes:

[The Internationalists] was the forerunner organisation which made the immortal contribution in preparing the conditions for the re-establishment of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party for the working class and people of Ireland – CI (M-L).

The advance of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party means the advance of the working class itself, whose sole genuine political organisation and whose true class leadership this party represents.

Later in discussing the annual demonstration by ‘Spirit of Freedom’ Committee and the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) ‘have been to expose these fascist deceptions and the total violation of the democratic rights of our single and all-Ireland nation to our unity and independent and to a call on the asses of the people to coin tune the just patriotic struggle (in ongoing resurgence over the last 16 years) and the intensity and accelerate this national liberation movement, which is spear-headed against British colonial occupation of the north, as the central task and the greatest priority of the revolutionary movement of the Irish people as a whole, led by the proletariat.

It argues that:

The call of the Party has been for today’s generation to put the seal of final victory on the self-sacrifice of the countless previous generations of patriotic martyrs by finally achieving the goal they fought for so heroically – UNITY AND FREEDOM TO THE IRSH PEOPLE!

It notes that:

The street meetings and the massive postering campaign for the demonstration attracted the attention of the masses of people and the comrades of CPI (M0L) and SPirit of Freedom engaged hundred inn discussion with a most favourable reception. At one of the meetings, the ‘Free’ State organised their Gardai to launch a vicious attack in an attempt to clear the campaign against the Anglo-Irish Agreement for the streets so as to protect the monopoly of the bourgeoisie and British imperialism on the political questions in the country.

And it suggests that:

By Saturday December 7th, a great deal of public interest had been aroused in the demonstration and the bourgeoisie had decided to temporarily abandon the tactic of open attack to suppress the campaign, and fall back, instead on the ‘wall of silence’ tactic. The ‘Spirit of Freedom’ and CPI (M-L) contingent wheeled round with banners flying to take possession of the street in front of the GPO and a large crowd of several hundred people together to participate in the meeting in the street to denounce the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921 and the current Anglo-Irish Agreement, whilst the gardai ceded to stand their distance and devote most of their resources, in the form of numerous plain clothes ‘special brand’ detectives to surveillance. Their single fitful attempt to disrupt the meeting by means of a provocation by an ‘ordinary bystander’ (i.e. plainsclothespoliceman) shouting anti-communist slanders met with total opposition from the people gathered at the GPO, and this individual having been exposed, had to absent himself instead.

It continues:

For the next hour and a half, the whole of one side of O’Connnell Street was blocked for traffic, whilst representative of the ‘Spirit of Freedom Committee, the Voice of the Youth Preparatory Committee for the Communist Youth Union of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), Irish Student Movement, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (our fraternal party who sent a delegation to participate..) and the CPI(M-L) made their speeches to the large and most attentive crowd who stayed throughout the whole rally. Despite the fact that this demonstration must have been witnessed by literally thousands of people in Dublin, as well as the subsequent march to the Garden of Remembrance, back down O’Connell Street to College Green beside Trinity Colelge and the Bank of Ireland, not a single word let alone a photograph, appeared in any of the bourgeois media, in recognition of the fact that such a large political manifestation had actually taken place against the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The Rally itself was held in the Junior Common Room of Trinityc College and comprised of book stalls, a photographic exhibition ‘of the activities of the Marxist-Leninists right from the early days of the Internationalists to Saturday’s demonstration against the Anglo-Irish Agreement’ and banners ‘saluting the Party of Labour of Albania and Socialist Albania, welcoming the delegations of the fraternal Marxist-Leninists parties, hailing CPI (M-L), proletarian internationalism and Marxist-Leninism. About 120 people were in attendance.

Once more the document, like others from CPI (M-L) speaks of the renunciation of “Mao Zedong Thought” ‘which had effected our party like other of the new Marxist-Leninist parties, as well as two attempts to liquidate the Party from within’. Indeed it goes further and notes in reference to ‘important assistance which our party received from the RCPB(M-L)at the time of our most serious liquidationist attack to destroy the CPI (M-L) in the period 1978-81’. Again, the Archive would be very grateful for any documents which mention those events in greater detail, or indeed any reminiscences on that topic.

As always with CPI (M-L) publications there is a clear and identifiable style. Notable is the fact all the faces in photographs have been scratched out, presumably to make identifying them more difficult.

Comments»

1. que - March 23, 2015

Would it be fair to say there was a Walter Mitty element there.

The various long live posters on the wall. The hyperbolic accounts of the GPO demonstration.

The sense that: “the advance of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party means the advance of the working class itself, whose sole genuine political organisation and whose true class leadership this party represents.” A victory for us is a victory for you.

Its fascinating but somewhat scary.

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2. 1MayBloc - March 23, 2015

I can’t understand how the “Voice of the Youth Preparatory Committee for the Communist Youth Union of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist)” failed to prosper – such a catchy name an’ all……

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Gewerkschaftler - March 23, 2015

🙂

In 1985 and all! Beyond satire.

By contrast the formerly M-L Dutch Socialist Partymanaged to develop into a mass party with a large membership and genuine inner-party democracy and popular support.

Partly because they no longer claim to be the ‘sole genuine political organisation’ and ‘true class leadership’ of the working class.

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Gewerkschaftler - March 23, 2015
Mark P - March 23, 2015

The comparison is misleading. The SPN was a much larger and more serious organisation than the CPI(ML) to start with. The CPI(ML) and the other groups started by Hardial Bains were always regarded as deeply peculiar outliers even by other Maoist, Hoxhaist and “anti-revisionist” groups.

Secondly, the SPN didn’t grow because they became less triumphalist. They grew by turning into social democrats and moving into the space vacated by the original social democrats as the latter turned to neoliberalism.

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Gewerkschaftler - March 23, 2015

Hm… possibly.

The members I’ve met I’d describe as at most tactical social democrats.

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Mark P - March 23, 2015

Many of their members would be more radical in their heart of hearts, but that has no bearing on the behaviour of the party. Much like Die Linke.

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que - March 23, 2015

It didn’t fail to prosper. It succeeded but the youth failed it.

Onwards ever onwards to mass parties.

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Gewerkschaftler - March 23, 2015

Sorry. My false conciousness got in the way of the truth there.

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que - March 23, 2015

Your name has accordingly moved down the list

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3. 6to5against - March 23, 2015

I was amongst the crowd in the JCR that night. I was never a devotee but I had attended a few ML meetings out of curiousity and went along to help bolster the crowd if nothing else.

As a 20yr old I found the speaches long, technical and uninspiring. But meeting some of the speakers later, I found them to be engaging characters, quite happy to discuss their views in ways that were meaningful to me.

One exchange lingers with me still, though. Making small talk, I mentioned to one delegate that I hoped that by the time I graduated a few years later, there might be some work available. She attacked this idea and argued vehemently that things would only ever get worse, and worse again, until the capitalist system collapsed. That was a fair enough in ways – this was ML meeting after all. But what rankled was the glee with which she forecast the predicted decades of unemployment and social collapse. It is an element of the leftie culture that can be alienating.

All in all, an interesting experience.

I believe Tommy Graham was the central organising figure at the time, who I think is now editor of History Ireland. But perhaps I have that confused.

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que - March 23, 2015

Its worse than alienating its absolutely revolting. Imagine being long term unemployed and being thanked for your sacrifice and to boot any annoyance you might express could be met with detailed theoretical explanations.

Horrendous stuff.

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4. CL - March 23, 2015

The Junior Common Room of Trinity is the perfect location for a rally of the true representatives of the Irish working class.

Liked by 1 person

5. Ghandi - March 23, 2015

Thought the main guy was Rod Eley like 6to5 I went to many of their meetings for the same reasons, Rod was also editor of History Ireland before TG. Surprised to see an information stall for the Fourth International at march on saturday – They haven’t gone away you know…

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Mark P - March 23, 2015

That would have been the International Committee of the Fourth International, one of a number of claimants to that tarnished crown. Some former SWP member has joined them and they are trying to set up a group here. They had a public meeting a few weeks ago, which seems to have consisted almost entirely of denunciations of the existing left groups.

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que - March 23, 2015

Mentioning the word international twice in a name 4 words long would point at a serious bureaucratic streak.

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Mark P - March 24, 2015

In this case it’s more a result of a bombastic streak. It’s a group with a case of self-importance that borders on funny.

There’s actually more than one ICFI. They result from the explosion of Gerry Healy’s WRP and its international affiliates. This particular ICFI consists of what remains of most of the small groups outside of Britain, led by Healy’s former American franchise operator, Dave North. It’s chiefly notable for running the World Socialist Website, which was at one point and possibly still is the most prominent far left web news outlet. And for opposing trade unions.

The original ICFI stemmed from a very large split in the Fourth International in 1953. The majority side was known as the “International Secretariat of the Fourth International”. The largest ICFI affiliate, the American SWP (no connection to our one or the British one) eventually drifted back to the ISFI, which promptly became the “United Secretariat of the Fourth International”. Why exactly people distinguished them by referencing their leadership body is beyond me, but I suppose it makes as much sense as Sinn Fein (Gardiner Place) and Sinn Fein (Kevin Street). Broadly speaking the ICFI side was the more “hardline” or “orthodox”.

Over time the ICFI gradually lost all of its major sections (the Americans, the Latin American Morenoites and the French Lambertists) except for the British Healyites. There was an Irish aspect to the French/British split, as the Healyites and Lambertists meddled with the League for a Workers Republic, leading to its own split with the League for a Workers Vanguard.

When the British Healyites spectacularly fell apart in the mid 80s, there were for a period three WRP’s and, I believe, as many as four ICFIs. Continuity and legitimacy are big concerns with this trend, as with Irish Republicanism (and French Monarchism!), so their splinters tended to try to hold on to the names, to bolster their claim to be the real thing. The affiliates of this particular ICFI are nowadays mostly called the Socialist Equality Party. The group they are trying to set up in Ireland is to be the Socialist Equality Group, indicating that they are too small to be considered a party.

(That was probably more detail than anyone wanted).

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WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2015

“(That was probably more detail than anyone wanted).”

Not at all and very true re the legitimacy/continuity aspect of the trend. As you’ll know Healy famously acquired Trotsky’s death mask in 1979 which seems to me to fit in with a depressing necro fetishism on parts of the left (the embalmed bodies on Red Square being another) – though not unknown in a way in regard to Republicanism I suppose.

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que - March 24, 2015

+1

Thanks, that’s some story. Complicated path

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Mark P - March 24, 2015

It’s probably not a huge surprise to anyone here that I had somewhat nerdy hobbies as a kid, so I have no hesitation in revealing that I’ve always thought that the Healyites buying Trotsky’s death mask could provide the basis of an excellent Call of Cthulhu scenario:

Well known actors of the 1980s using it to perform obscene rituals. Cultists gibbering out the meaningless phrases of Healy’s essays on dialectics. Their “training schools” as a network of unholy temples…

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WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2015

Works for me!

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que - March 24, 2015

Sounds like a kick starter project

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Mark P - March 25, 2015

the incident kicking off the plot and one of the locations:
https://stayingred.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/14.pdf

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6. Gerryboy - March 24, 2015

The Internationalists in Trinity College during the late Sixties were the precursors of the CPI (ML) and came across as a tightly knit group of quasi-religious book thumpers. Their god was Mao. They chanted slogans incessantly; carried colourful but repetitive banners at marches. Harangued students from the Dining Hall steps. Circulated Gestetnered leaflets with the words of the Internationale during a housing action protest. Tried to hijack an anti-Vietnam War protest organised by Peadar O’Donnell et al. Condemned anything they disliked as bourgeois, reactionary/revisionist or fascist. Attended ideologystudy camps in England during the summer holidays. Wore khaki jackets around campus. Rose at 6 am to do an hour of party work before breakfast. They memorised passages from the scriptures of Mao and enjoyed quoting them at questioners and detractors. The North Dublin working population never took to this embarrassing religious frenzy.

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Joe - March 24, 2015

They were certainly a bit on the edge. Wasn’t there a story on here with press cuttings of the trial of one of their members for something or other in the late sixties? My memory is of a young man haranguing the judge with chanted slogans. And, memory can play tricks, but I think the middle class parents sort of telling the judge that they didn’t know what to do and the judge sympathising and suggesting a mental health approach rather than a custodial sentence – or given the times, sentencing to a mental hospital?

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Gerryboy - March 24, 2015

Joe, There was a certain Martin Dolphin who was ‘certified’ after appearing in a district court, in the early Seventies. I don’t remember the court details or exact political circumstances. I don’t remember how long he was mentally ‘treated’ before leaving such unwelcome incarceration.

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Pasionario - March 25, 2015

I’ve heard they seemed to be surprisingly well-funded. Tirana gold perhaps?

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Gerryboy - March 26, 2015

No, they may have been funded by wealthy parents. Some of their prominent public speakers had English public school accents – another reason the North Dublin working population didn’t take kindly to them or their messianic ideology.

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7. Alan MacSimoin - March 24, 2015

Among their many pamphlets was a gem entitled ‘Punk Rock is Fascist’

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sonofstan - March 24, 2015

I would love to see that.

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WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2015

+1

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8. Gerryboy - March 24, 2015

IMHO some of the louder punk rock epitomised what Lenin described as “the heart of a heartless world..[it was] the opium of the [depressed young] people.”

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Dr. X - March 24, 2015

That was Uncle Charlie, not Mad Vlad.

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