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And the election on this island! NI GE 2017 open thread June 9, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Any and all observations welcome here…

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1. An Sionnach Fionn - June 9, 2017

Intranationalist landslide for SF, SDLP in serious trouble on broader electoral level, DUP has undercut unionist rivals in UUP, TUV, APNI, and BBC News has never heard of the place! 😉

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WorldbyStorm - June 9, 2017

No surprise there

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2. GW - June 9, 2017

Herman holds Down North.

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3. GW - June 9, 2017

Some suggestion of a customs union remaining but an ‘immigration’ border being erected. Can’t see how that could happen without physical border.

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4. GW - June 9, 2017

Do the DUP get whatever they like WRT NI? What price the peace process and power sharing? Will they much engaged with the Irish talks starting on Monday at the same time as the Brexit negotiations?

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5. GW - June 9, 2017

All in all not a good result for Ireland.

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WorldbyStorm - June 9, 2017

Yep, agreed GW. Not good at all. Hermon is reliably pro LP though.

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6. ivorthorne - June 9, 2017

So the Tories can get into bed with the DUP and all of their unpalatable policies on homosexuality etc.

They’ll pay a price for that next time around.

They could probably convince the Lib Dems if they committed to a second referendum but this weakens their negotiating stance and gives UKIP a new reason to be. They’d lose those borrowed UKIP votes next time around.

Any other options?

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ivorthorne - June 9, 2017

But yes, the DUP in government is a terrible scenario. They’re as corrupt as the Tories and even more xenophobic than UKIP.

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GW - June 9, 2017

Check.

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7. GW - June 9, 2017

SF are right tactically (apart from the long principled policy of abstention) not to consider taking part in a ‘progressive coalition’.

That would let the Tories and the DUP off the hook on Brexit and allow the Tories to come back as the party that ‘will really give you Brexit’.

But yet, the whole Brexit proposition is floating in an indeterminate state, because who knows who is negotiating for what on the British side on the long run. I don’t envy British civil servants trying to work out what they should be aiming for amongst all the mixed signals.

Equally, on the EU side, the Germans want to long finger Brexit – see that corrupt shit Oettinger’s intervention – so their traditional (reliably neolib) counterweight to France remains, while the French want shot of the Brits.

Multi-dimensional isn’t the word for it.

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8. GW - June 9, 2017

I’m not sure the Northern Assembly won’t continue in a holding pattern for the foreseeable either.

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9. 6to5against - June 9, 2017

Interesting that abstentionism should come into the spotlight just as SF sweep nationalist NI. Given the likelihood of another election in the next year or two, and assuming that a hung parliament remains a likely outcome, I think the SDLP could be back in business in the not distant future.

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10. Gearóid - June 9, 2017

So we have a DUP-Tory coalition.

This might be a naive question, but can the Sec. of State for the north be a northern MP?

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RosencrantzisDead - June 9, 2017

Hmm…I think SF will have to monitor this situation closely. The DUP are bonkers. Having them be the decider on the border with the North could be very, very bad.

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RosencrantzisDead - June 9, 2017

Rolling back the Belfast Agreement could be a possibility, particularly if it would pose a barrier to a Brexit strategy.

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EWI - June 9, 2017

They do share a hatred of the ECHR and such.

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shea - June 9, 2017

Yes nothing stopping the sos being a dup, as long as the British state doesn’t mind the riots and all that.

Who ever it is will be working for them anyway.

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11. Joe - June 9, 2017

Could I be the first to humbly congratulate Roddy on his great victory.

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12. roddy - June 9, 2017

Thanks Joe,I gave you a prediction a week or two ago.Things worked out at the”good day” end of the scale.

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ivorthorne - June 9, 2017

Thoughts on the DUP in power?

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EWI - June 9, 2017

Will they be ‘in power’, though? They strike me as in the mould of the Healy-Raes (in more ways than one). Uninterested in administrative power itself, they’ll be after their shopping list of NI-specific asks.

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WorldbyStorm - June 9, 2017

Very notable how they don’t want to be in Cabinet.

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dmfod - June 9, 2017

Aside from their gag that they wouldn’t mind being NI Secretary of State. Rubbing them’uns noses in it with that. The effect of this on NI politics won’t be pretty – even more of an increase in sectarian polarisation than has been happening already.

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13. sonofstan - June 9, 2017

Ruth Davidson, who strikes me as that near oxymoron, a possibly decent tory, has expressed her doubts concerning the deal with the DUP; as well she might – she describes herself as ‘a protestant unionist about to marry an Irish catholic woman’

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WorldbyStorm - June 9, 2017

That’s pretty cool. But will others join her? Is the DUP lash up going to appear in a short enough while like another great Tory wheeze gone wrong?

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sonofstan - June 10, 2017

I had a few conversations about the DUP yesterday; the unionist delusion that the Brits love them back is about to get a reality check. Homophobia has gone in a generation from something that May’s predecessor was able to enshrine in policy to being absolutely beyond the pale in any political party, and they are going to get a fair bit of stick for the sort of shit they come out with – and for the refusal to extend same-sex marriage in the North. What’s slightly annoying is the way people still feel that everyone on our island is like that and assume similar reaction among nationalists. SF could and should start trumpeting its liberal credentials and making hay with the backwoods men’s bigotry.

As an aside, I stuck with R4 through the night and they chatted with Adams at about 4 in the morning; it was noticeable how he’s becoming just as avuncular a figure in British political discourse as he already is in Ireland – having the crack with Jim Naughtie as if he was one of those loveable old characters in politics like Dennis Skinner. He showed his teeth though when responding the charge about Corbyn’s complicity with the ‘Ra by talking about tories being ‘up to their oxters’ in Iraq and Syria.

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EWI - June 10, 2017

Is it just posturing by someone who faces electoral difficulties if associated with Orangeism?

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14. Paddy Healy - June 10, 2017

Not a word in this thread so far about the People Before Profit debacles in Foyle and West Belfast?- and the inability of the seriously debilitated and marginalised SP(NI) to make any intervention?

The mobilisation of the youth and the poor against May and austerity in the UK is a hugely important positive development as is the mobilisation of nationalists against the DUP through Sinn Féin in the 6 counties. We are seeing the development of a serious crisis of rule of imperialist capitalism in Ireland and the UK which presents huge opportunities for socialists and republicans in these islands .
The problem is the total inability of the left to take advantage on behalf of the working class on both islands.
The biggest problem in Ireland is the rejection by SWP and SP of the Connolly position on the national question in the Irish Socialist revolution.
This culminated in Gerry Carroll MLA PBP and the unfortunate Derry candidate contesting the election on the basis of sitting at Westminister. That position had been jettisoned with the formation of the First Dail 1919
My priority is to help the left remedy this situation not to compete among sects for recruits.

Gerry Carroll’s vote was almost halved from 19.2% in the previous Westminister Election to 10% last Thursday The Derry candidate (not Eamonn McCann???) was marginalised at 3%.

No Sinn Féin or left candidate raised the prospect of sitting in an All-Ireland Parliament.

Is it not time that we all had a deadly serious discussion on the way ahead and in particular on the role of the fight for Irish Unity, Independence and Sovereignty in the socialist revolution in both these islands!

The pity is that much good work done by PBP and SP(NI) in fighting cuts while SF were in the Stormont Executive has been set back. This will recur as long as the national question is ignored by the left.

Read more here: For a 32-County Campaign agains Austerity and an All-Ireland Popular Assembly http://wp.me/pKzXa-tz

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EWI - June 10, 2017

Is it not time that we all had a deadly serious discussion on the way ahead and in particular on the role of the fight for Irish Unity, Independence and Sovereignty in the socialist revolution in both these islands!

I believe that there have been noises recently about something along the lines of a ‘reverse GFA’ to accomodate a new, British-identity minority with reunification.

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15. roddy - June 10, 2017

Paddy,the SF MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone demanded Dail speaking rights during the campaign.PBP were badly wrongfooted in that they failed to comprehend that those voters who temporarily switched to them from SF were overwhelmingly republican.Anyone on the left in republican areas who starts to show ambivalence on the “National question” will suffer at the polls.That is where the WP got it wrong and PBP were careful not to cosy up to unionism.However they failed to realise that their staying on the correct side of the line with regard to the non denunciation of republicans role in the conflict etc also meant not swearing the oath to the queen and attendin Westminster.The left must never forget that vast swathes of territory up here (indeed if you look at yesterdays electoral map,themajority of the 6 county land mass) are DEFINITELY NOT ” as British as Finchley”

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Joe - June 10, 2017

That electoral map is scary in many ways. Repartition anyone?

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EWI - June 10, 2017

How long could the north-eastern coast viably last in that situation?

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Joe - June 11, 2017

Don’t think repartition is on anyone’s radar. The thing with the map is it shows all the SF-won seats and all the unionist-won seats as uniformly green and uniformly orange respectively. But of course there’s a big unionist minority in the ‘green’ areas and a big nationalist minority in the ‘orange’ areas.
Population exchanges anyone?

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

That would be the worst possible outcome. Or second worst after sectarian conflict.

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EWI - June 12, 2017

The distinct long-term trend is that areas will continue to turn ‘green’. And I believe that nationalist councils have remained much less toxic than unionist ones?

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EWI - June 12, 2017

As for re-partition, it’s a non-runner for everyone. The nationalists have their eye on the long-term prize of removing the unionists from power, and eventual reunification.

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16. Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

More nonsense – this election, like a couple of months ago, was a rabid sectarian headcount with the objective of SF and the DUP to wipe out their respective competition.

Of course, in his rant against the SP (and PBP) Paddy conveniently ignores the fact that a couple of weeks ago the Broad Left won 28 of the 34 seats on the NIPSA Executive (many SP members) and SP members elected to two officer positions including being re-elected President. NIPSA have been and will be the key trade union fighting the austerity cuts being imposed by the SF / DUP Executive and the Tories.

But let’s ignore this development and focus on a sectarian headcount election to take a pop at the only organised left forces in the North (and I am not talking about N. Tipp).

And roddy can stay on the ‘correct’ side of his sectarian line – he is doing nothing to serve the interests of the working class in the North anyway.

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Paddy Healy - June 10, 2017

Just in the very faint hope that JRG might face reality and agree that there must be something wrong with the policies of the left in the 6 counties let me remind him:
SP Down in all Constituencies it contested in 2016 in Assembly Election 2017
Cross-Community Alternative(Socialist Party NI) Down Everywhere!
2017 East Belfast Courtney Robinson CCLA 442 1.0%
2016 East Belfast Courtney Robinson CCLA 517 1.4%
2017 Suth Belfast Sean Burns CCLA 531 1.2%
2016 Suth Belfast Sean Burns CCLA 871 2.7%
2017 East Antrim Conor Sheridan CCLA 393 1.1%
2016 East Antrim Conor Sheridan CCLA 551 1.7%
2017 Fermanagh South Tyrone Dónal Ó Cofaigh 643 1.2%
2016 no candidate
Despite much good work done by SP activists in trade unions and communities this is the outcome. Ranting about sectarian head counts is just an excuse for refusing to review failing policies. The old North of Ireland Labour Party(NILP) constantly moaned on about “sectarian head counts” but it is long gone into oblivion. Whisper! Marx thought us that political and cultural phenomena which last hundreds of years must have a material basis. Pray, what is it?

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Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

I will take ‘good work’ in the trade unions any day over the sectarian headcount that passes as an election in the North.

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EWI - June 12, 2017

More nonsense – this election, like a couple of months ago, was a rabid sectarian headcount with the objective of SF and the DUP to wipe out their respective competition.

You know what removes the ‘sectarian headcount’? Getting rid of the cesspit that NI has been since its inception, the last remnant of British rule here.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 12, 2017

You are absolutely correct – now is SF’s strategy for getting rid of this cesspit likely to be successful?

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17. sonofstan - June 10, 2017

As was noted by a few of us, the ones, you know, who actually vote in the UK, it can feel a little pointless putting your tick beside the name of a certain loser in safe tory seat. I’m sure PBP voters in West Belfast and Foyle felt the same, as probably, did SF voters in Lagan Valley and East Antrim. FPTP does that, and I think the total nationalist vote was lower compared to the assembly election?

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Paddy Healy - June 10, 2017

The halving of the PBP vote in West Belfast was in comparison to THE LAST WESTMINISTER ELECTION where the same technical factors were operating not the assembly elections. There was no clear outcome predictable to the Derry election where Sinn Fein ousted SDLP by 200 votes. The debacle was due to the disastrous anti-marxist position of PBP on the Irish National Question

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18. roddy - June 10, 2017

The SP have gained influence in NIPSA through “entryism” and the fact that the vast bulk of civil servants show absolutely no interest in union affairs.My civil servant brother and a handful of others from republican areas were the only ones to take part in industrial action in his office.The rest stayed at their desks or took “holiday” or sick leave.Very few from the likes of the Bogside or Ballymurphy now or for generations past ever worked in the civil service..

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Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

Oh holy bejaysus – NIPSA is opposing the austerity of SF so the shinners have to denigrate public sector workers – did SF make this clear to the Catholics working in the public service during the election campaign.

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19. Aonrud ⚘ - June 10, 2017

I assume I’m not alone in finding the last couple of days of NI coverage frustrating. We’re like bloody Brigadoon to them, popping up every few years with our strange ways and culture.

Even fairly senior political commentators/journalists seem to have no problem laughing about looking up the DUP on Wikipedia or having to rush some research. There’s no sense they should have the gist already…

And the DUP are Irish now. Fine, the media are referring to the fact they are in Ireland, but there are I’m sure many in the DUP who wouldn’t identify as such. It certainly suggests a poor understanding of identity in NI. And, more conveniently, it’s a great way of Othering the problem of this illiberal ‘foreign body’ that’s appeared in UK politics overnight. George Osborne called them “Irish Unionists”, which is just confusing…

And that enormous petition against the DUP that’s getting coverage. Again, they came out of nowhere…

I know, nothing new, but it’s tedious nonetheless.

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sonofstan - June 11, 2017

Yeah, the ‘who are these people and where did they come from?’ response is tedious and dishonest. The record of the Tories in using Loyalist reaction to the point of treason and beyond goes back more than a century and it’s a story no one knows here because it’s SF/IRA who started it and Tony Blair who solved it.

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

+1 to you both. I found the ‘Irish’ Unionist term particularly jarring.

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EWI - June 11, 2017

The record of the Tories in using Loyalist reaction to the point of treason and beyond goes back more than a century

It goes back more than two centuries. The creation and promotion of the Orange Order was a classic British tactic in their preferred vein of dividing populations so as to rule them (a lesson forgotten again in 1922).

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sonofstan - June 11, 2017

Not a Tory creation though was it? the memory of ’45 was still fresh in Tory hearts when the OO was founded.

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EWI - June 12, 2017

I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the Orange Order (as we know it today) came into being to counter the Presbyterian radical tradition which had panicked the British with its involvement in the United Irishmen.

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20. roddy - June 10, 2017

I am not denigrating public servants .As I said ,my brother is always to the forefront in taking industrial action to improve their conditions.However the vast bulk of civil servants have no interest in union affairs and the neo unionist SP use this to their advantagr by getting “place men” easily installed in union positions.They are careful not to “rock the boat” however.While JRG will castigate Republicans for “surrendering to imperialism” for example, the “I” word will never be mentioned by the SP placemen or the crown forces criticized. If British imperialism or repressive legislation were ever mentioned,the civil servants of East Belfast and North Down who dispreportionally make up the various departments would waken from their slumber and oust the entryists.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

So the only people willing to strike against the austerity policies of the shinners are the shinners.

Your rant reminds me of the derogatory comments of FG/LP durng the last teachers strike – claiming they all took the day off to go shopping in Newry.

Maybe you consider that the bus workers on the picket line a few weeks ago were all FGers and the union members were off at their holiday homes in Brittas Bay or brushing up on their golfing skills with the touring professional at Portmarnock.

NIPSA are the most active trade union in Northern Ireland – and have been directly as a result of the work of Socialist Party members in the union. The shinners couldn’t build a base in NIPSA no matter how hard they tried – NIPSA – the only trade union in the north that backed the demands of the h-block hunger strikers on a motion proposed by Socialist Party members. The same union that fought a SF minister attempting to shaft classroom assistants.

It is also worth noting that SF and the DUP worked hand in hand to back a right-wing trade union bureaucrat in the NIPSA GS election – against a member of the Socialist Party – and celebrated her win because they knew she would try and sabotage the campaign by NIPSA against the cuts being imposed by the SF/DUP executive.

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21. Paddy Healy - June 10, 2017

Just to Show How misleading the comment of Sonofstan is in relation to the PBP electoral debacle, I have assembled the West Belfast Results in the Westminister elections of 2015 and 2017-comparing like with like! PBP did so badly that the DUP passed their candidate out in WEST BELFAST!!!!

Belfast West GE 2017 Compared to GE 2015 Figures
change
Sinn Fein Paul Maskey 27,107 66.7% +12.5%

Democratic Unionist F McCoubrey 5,455 13.4% + 5.6 %

People Before Profit Gerry Carroll 4,132 10.1% -9.1%

Belfast West GE 2015
Sinn Fein Paul Maskey 19,1963 54.2%

Democratic Unionist Frank McCoubrey 2,773 7.8%

People Before Profit Gerry Carroll 6,798 19.2%

It is clear that the slide which begun in the Assembly Election for PBP has continued. The cause is clearly political.

Just to Recall The Extent of the slide in the Assembly election of 2017
PBP in West Belfast Assembly Elections 2017 and 2016
West Belfast 2016 PBP Gerry Carroll 22.9% 8229
West Belfast 2017 PBP (Two Candidates) 15.6% 5999
Gerry Carroll gained the fifth seat for PBP, having headed the poll with 1.4 Quotas in 2016

PBP changed its position on Brexit in Ireland between the 2017 Assembly election and the Recent Westminister General Election

Prior to General Election 2017 Gerry Carroll undertook to take his seat at Westminister if elected.(Irish News April 28) This involves taking an oath of allegiance to the British Monarch which is a political statement accepting British Sovereignty in Ireland.

Further Material is available at the links below
Assembly Election http://wp.me/sKzXa-assembly
Irish Sovereignty and the Realignment of the Left http://wp.me/pKzXa-ps

Read more here: For a 32-County Campaign agains Austerity and an All-Ireland Popular Assembly http://wp.me/pKzXa-tz

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Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

Tell us Paddy – how are the plans for WUAG to become a national party progressing – have ye expanded into North Tipp yet?

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Paddy Healy - June 10, 2017

The comment of JRG shows that the SP does not entertain any serious discussion. They just throw back stones. I won’t waste my time on this trivial nonsense

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22. FOR A 32-COUNTY CAMPAIGN AGAINST AUSTERITY AND AN ALL-IRELAND POPULAR ASSEMBLY | Paddy Healy's Blog - June 10, 2017
Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

I love the little dig with SP (GB) – particualrly when no such party exists.

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Paddy Healy - June 10, 2017

Typical little tittle tattle to avoid discussion. What do the people I used to meet in Greys Inn Rd London call themselves these days? Is there anything JRG won’t use to avoid discussing the issues seriously.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

If your intervention warranted discussion then I would – but it doesn’t.

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23. roddy - June 10, 2017

I support civil servants in all their industrial action and would never or have never crossed a picket line in my life but the fact is the vast majority of them have no interest in union matters and for historical reasons they are not representative of those communities most repressed by the state.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 10, 2017

Yea – right – it is all the fault of those pesky useless civil servants for not standing up for republicans.

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24. roddy - June 10, 2017

Anyone in union circles who is’nt in your neo unionist cult is described as “right wing”. Unison were denounced for forging an agreement with SF’S Catriona Ruane which you opposed in the hope that your pathetic party could make gains .You have never issued a public statement to any media outlet as a party or union place men opposing collusion,plastic bullets,Castlreagh torture etc for fear of offending reactionary unionism who would whip up their followers to oust you.Jeremy Corbyn wants fuck all to do with you.He has supported SF for decades as has every major figure with any credibility on the British left.Diane Abbott suffered greviously for that support,Tony Benn denounced your two nationist shite and even this week the great Ken Loach urged support for SF’S john Finucane.

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WorldbyStorm - June 10, 2017

That’s an interesting point re Corbyn and his relationship with SF which is clearly very very strong. The thought struck me that at Brexit referendum time it was that relationship which helped Corbyn decide to so strongly support Remain.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

Corbyn didn’t back Remain because of the Shinners – he did it to appease the Blairites.

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

No he didn’t do it to ‘appease Blairites’ (and – general observation – really for someone who spends so much time telling people here they’re talking nonsense you could really ramp back on the hostility you’ve displayed to others on here this last few days. I strongly advise you do so. I’ve already had to point out the alternative). Either you don’t know or don’t care that the policy of the LP supported overwhelmingly by the membership (and LP voters) was pro membership of the EU. It would have been profoundly anti democratic of Corbyn to have attempted to “lead” (for which read impose by fiat in contradiction to Conference and democratically arrived policy) a campaign for Leave given that. And post the referendum Conference supported keeping open the prospect of remaining in the EU.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 12, 2017

WbS – the Blairite LP (and it is still Blairite because of the control they exercise over the LP apparatus) is a profoundly undemocratic party where the bureaucrats control all.

Opposition to the EU within the LP dropped when Kinnock implemented new ‘rules’ to limit LP democracy and since then the Blairites have all but eliminated any semblance of democracy. A demonstration of this was how the Blairite bureaucrats ruled out large numbers of pro-Corbyn potential election candidates from the short lists that the candidates were chosen from.

To suggest that the post-Brexit conference was anything other than a Blairite stitch-up belies the fact that Corbyn was still incapable of winning a majority on the NEC despite the fact that he has the support of a significant majority of the LP membership – the reason why – the selection of LP delegates for the conference in no way reflected the attitude of the membership of the LP.

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WorldbyStorm - June 12, 2017

This is simply wrong JRG – though I note you try to slide away from the central issue which is that the attitudes of LP members are well mapped out in surveys etc. There was overwhelming support for Remain amongst the membership and amongst the broader support base (the latter as exemplified in voting patterns at the referendum).

Of course you haven’t addressed issue of why it is that Corbyn would have been entirely undemocratic to impose by will a view which by the by he doesn’t claim to hold in relation to the EU.

To be honest it is tiresome to hear someone opine at length and incorrectly on matters inside a party which they are not a member of, which they would be not a member of and whose supposed political support is for a formation whose referent in the UK is a rival of the LP.

Anyone would have to take more than a pinch of salt any suggestions emanating from you in relation to the welfare of the BLP.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 12, 2017

I do not agree that Corbyn would have been undemocratic to reject the decision of an undemocratic LP conference. I would argue that Corbyn has every right to ignore any and all conference decisions because the LP conference is not and has not been representative of the large numbers that have joined the LP in the past two years – another 150,000 during the election campaign.

And I did not ‘slide away’ from the issue that the LP support base – and I would disagree that the ‘overwhelming’ attitude is Remain. The reason for this is because you have not addressed the reasons why it is ‘Remain’ and does this mean support for the right-wing, neo-liberal, pro-austerity EU. I would argue that a substantial slice of the ‘Remain’ support is based on an abhorrence of the little Englander xenophobic nature of the Brexit campaign, rather than any affinity with the EU of the elites. Corbyn has taken the correct approach of arguing for a brexit on the basis of the protection of workers rights, the protection of public services and growing the economy through socialist policies.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 12, 2017

Finally – my attitude and the attitude of the CWI to the LP – the CWI is 100% behind Corbyn and 100% supportive of the attempt by Corbyn to return the LP to its working class roots. The CWI actively supported Corbyn and the Corbyn manifesto during the election campaign and canvassed and agitated for a LP victory. The Socialist Party/CWI is not in competition with the LP – it is in competition with the Blairites, just as Corbyn is. The Socialist Party would affiliate to the LP if afforded the opportunity and SP members would join the LP if afforded the opportunity (this is being blocked by the Blairites and to a lesser degree the leadership of Momentum – and is something that Corbyn actually supports). They would do so on the same basis that the Militant participated in the LP for two decades before being expelled – supporting and campaigning for socialist policies, mass mobilisation of the working class to defeat the policies of the right, building the political and industrial arms of the workers movement and fighting for the establishment of a democratic socialist society – all things that Corbyn argues in support of.

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Ed - June 12, 2017

“Corbyn has taken the correct approach” – funny, I can distinctly recall just a couple of months ago JRG telling us that Corbyn had ‘dug himself into a hole’ by not following the SP’s line on Brexit. Now it turns out he had it right all along! I happen to think Corbyn did get it right, both in his stance on the referendum and in the way he handled the aftermath, so I’m glad to see JRG get on board, however belatedly.

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WorldbyStorm - June 12, 2017

“Ido not agree that Corbyn would have been undemocratic to reject the decision of an undemocratic LP conference. I would argue that Corbyn has every right to ignore any and all conference decisions because the LP conference is not and has not been representative of the large numbers that have joined the LP in the past two years another 150,000 during the election campaign.”

Wow. You are not a member of the LP. You are in no position to determine above the heads of actual LP members the state of their organization. Your position is not merely undemocratic. It’s absurd. And by the way, it’s the height of hypocrisy on your part to even be discussing this in these terms given your complete aversion to even the mildest enquiries as to the structures of the SP some years back. We were told very sharply to mind our own business. Nice.

Yes you have slid. You didn’t address the reality of the membership’s attitude to the EU, instead focusing on supposed Blairites. Please try to address arguments made, not throw rhetorical chaff. That pro-EU attitude in the membership long predates Brexit, has been a feature of the LP for many decades now, and indeed was always extant given that even in the 1970s there was a strong lobby within the LP and by no means an exclusively right wing one which was pro-EEC.

Your point about Remain support being due to an abhorrence at the Brexit campaign is both incorrect in the specific and utterly ignores long term and deeply rooted support for the EU in the LP. There was of course an abhorrence but the support wasn’t a response to but came before. It was there long before the Brexit campaign and it persists long after the referendum.

As to supporting Corbyn and the LP and how you’re 100% behind him (I won’t critique or criticize the CWI – your opinion is clearly very much your own). Ed mentions a couple of months ago but we don’t have to go that far back. Who was it who wrote in response to 6to5against:

“Corbyn isn’t a Marxist and has been compromising with the Blairites far too much. On top of that the Momentum leadership are bureaucratic and conservative. ”

Oh yes, that was you, not a day or two ago, That doesn’t sound like 100% behind Corbyn or 100% supportive of him. Could it be 80% behind him and 70% supportive of him. Or 50% behind him and 40% supportive of him. After all that reads like you think he’s a compromising non-Marxist whose main allies in the LP and without are bureaucratic and conservative (and hush, let’s not mention the CPB inclined folk around him). Compromising with Blairites no less! What a sell out he must be.

Of course the SP would affiliate but that doesn’t mean or prove anything. Loads of people would like to affiliate to the LP if they could. I’ve no doubt there is sincerity in terms of qualified support but lets not be naive, there’s expedient and self-serving aspects too and all these in various admixtures. But the programmes of the two parties are quite significantly different. They come from different political traditions. One is social democratic of various flavours, the other is Marxist. I presume the SP wouldn’t want social democrats flocking into it and changing its constitution and approaches and structures, why should it function the other way around?

And of course they’re in competition. That’s the logic and nature of electoral politics and of politics full stop. The SP entirely legitimately has a different perspective to the LP. That’s why they are utterly distinct from one another and were even during the Militant days within the LP. And it’s absurd to argue otherwise. Sure, at times a smaller party will stand aside, will even offer that qualified support. But the smaller party isn’t the larger party.

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revolutionaryprogramme - June 13, 2017

“the CWI is 100% behind Corbyn”….

My, my how far the CWI have come. 100% behind soft-left reformism in Britain, calling imperialist war-mongers in the USA “socialists”

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FergusD - June 13, 2017

Well as a member of the BLP and involved in the discussions in the BLP branches around the referendum I can say that it is clear to me that the majority of the membership, including the left, backed the Remain position, with various degrees of holding noses. Thankfully, the argument that the UK working class would be better off out of the EU was not supported by the majority of the membership. Also, the idea that socialism would be easier to achieve/implement outside the EU no longer has traction. That was the (thoroughly reformist) Bennite position. Of course 99.9% of the BLP are “reformist” i.e. social democrats (well except for those, in the PLP mostly, who are closet Tories), but they are right on that anyway. It is spurious nationlist argument, certainly not Marxist in any way.

The EU referendum was Cameron’s stupid idea to get him out of a hole. Sadly, but unavoidably I suppose, it has become a false hope for many people hit by austerity and neo-liberalism – well capitalism really. A quick look at the data just in my constituency suggest many, probably older, working class votes in some areas (not all) went to the Tories (probably from UKIP) because of the Brexit/immigration nexus. We will have to get them back to win the seat (very close, it is now a marginal, has been Labour in the past). On the other hand the BLP did pull in some ex-UKIP and lots of new voters both nationally and in my area.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

As for roddy’s little rant – it really is quite astonishing the sh*te the shinners spout to one another about the Socialist Party – and then actually believing their own sh*te. It really bugs the crap out of them that the Socialist Party refuse to toe the republican line and expose the hypocrisy of SF on such a regular basis.

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25. roddy - June 10, 2017

By the way did you all see how the voters responded to Diane Abbotts shameful treatment by the BBC and their ilk.She polled 42 k votes and won by a majority of 35k .As they would say up here “go on ye girl ye”!

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WorldbyStorm - June 10, 2017

Agreed. The treatment of her was disgraceful.

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26. Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

From 1981 on the hunger strikes condemning Thatcher and the Tory government and demanding the implementation of the prisoners’ demands.

http://redlug.com/Archive/1981HBJuly.htm

From 1984 demanding an end of the supergrass trials

http://redlug.com/Archive/1984supergrass.htm

A statement from 1989 demanding an end to the use of plastic bullets

http://redlug.com/Archive/1989PBu.htm

Article from 2004 on the Cory Report and condemning collusion by the British state with loyalist paramilitaries.

http://redlug.com/paper2004/0404Collusion.htm

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27. roddy - June 11, 2017

All the above statements were made in obscure publications not read by more than a couple of dozen people in the North and only issued to cover the embarassment of being challenged on your cravenness by genuine anti imperialist leftists.In a lifetime of following politics I have never once seen a statement from the SP,its various fronts or union place men issue a statement to the mainstream media on any of the above issues.To do so would result in reactionary unionism expelling them from their various positions gained by entryism when nobody noticed.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

Love the attempt to jump through hoops there roddy – you were caught out – and caught out big time.

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28. Paddy Healy - June 11, 2017

I very much welcome the fact that the attitude to the left (in Ireland and the UK) to the Irish National Question has become the subject of political discussion including the fact that even SP(NI) has to state its credentials on the matter

As Secretary of the National H-Block trade Union Committee, it was my role to organise and co-ordinate work stoppages and general trade union support for the demands of the H-block Prisoners. In that capacity it was part of my role to liaise and engage with all political strands active in the trade union movement.

We welcomed the 1981 statement from SP and its allies calling for concession of the prisoners demands.
However, unlike the League for a Workers, Republic, Sinn Féin trade unionists, Members of SWP(then SWM) and many politically unaligned shop-stewards, “Militant” (SP) activists played no significant role in organising the many significant work stoppages which took place.
While I strongly disagree with the PBP stance in the recent Westminister election, it is fair to recognise the sterling work done by Eamonn McCann in the H-Block campaign

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Paddy Healy - June 11, 2017

Gabh mo leath-Scéal!
I omitted some organisations who helped organise and co-ordinate work stoppages in support of the H-Block hunger strikers; The sentence above should have read :”However, unlike the League for a Workers, Republic, Sinn Féin trade unionists, Members of SWP(then SWM), IRSP, Peoples Democracy/IMG, Workers Solidarity and many politically unaligned shop-stewards, “Militant” (SP) activists played no significant role in organising the many significant work stoppages which took place.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

Tell me Paddy – how many of the trade unions in this country did your eclectic mix of republican cheerleaders get to nationally back the hunger-strikers demands?

The Militant were responsible for NIPSA being the only trade union in the North to back the hunger-strikers demands – and, despite roddy’s nonsensical claims – the Socialist Party over the past decades repeatedly succeeded in raising (and getting support for) the issues of repression, collusion, shoot-to-kill, internment, prisoners rights, rubber bullets etc within NIPSA, NIC-ICTU, numerous trades councils, other trade unions – coupled with organising strike action against paramilitary attacks and threats against trade unionists – something Sinn Fein, the SWP, the rest of the eclectic mix of Republcian cheerleaders and, most definitely, the LWR were never able to do.

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29. roddy - June 11, 2017

I marched for decades alongside the SWP, CPI,troops out, miners representatives to protest at the actions of British imperialism.Not once did SP or its various fronts show up.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

And now we get to the real issue for roddy – not that the Socialist Party didn’t and doesn’t oppose imperialism – but the the Socialist Party doesn’t bend the knee to the shinners and act as cheerleaders for republicanism.

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30. roddy - June 11, 2017

Your SP members all 3 of them locally lived within 2 miles of 2 hungerstrikers just over the bann in Portglenone.While the internationalleft and anti imperialists world wide flocked to Bellaghy ,The SP “revolutionaries” travelled 10 miles to Ballymena (the Montgomery Alabama of the North) to leaflet “workers” in this “industralised” area. Not Withstanding that these workplaces were bastions of sectarian discrimination (highlighted bytrade union stalwatrts like Inez McCormack but ignored by the SP) .You see in the neo unionist SP world view ,the North was really “asBritish as Finchley” and taking on imperialism would jepordise their “federation of the British isles” utopia.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

Come on now roddy – just admit you were caught with your pants down because you believe the urban myths that you like to peddle about the Socialist Party.

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revolutionaryprogramme - June 13, 2017

Why is the idea of a Socialist Federation encompassing workers republics on these islands off the coast of mainland Europe supposedly at odds with taking on imperialism.

It would quite clearly necessitate the smashing of the British imperialist state to achieve such an outcome.

I’m quite happy to criticise the SP where necessary but the idea that a Socialist Federation position is somehow support for unionism and its imperialist backers is absurd.

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31. Paddy Healy - June 11, 2017

Ruth Coppinger (Socialist Party-Solidarity TD) now advocating taking 6-county seats at Westminister on RTE The Week in Politics
SWP(PBP) Promised to Take Seats at Westminster requiring an Oath of Allegiance To Queen as Head of British State on behalf of Irish People whom they Hoped to Represent!!!!!
For a 32-County Campaign against Austerity and an All-Ireland Popular Assembly http://wp.me/pKzXa-tz
IT WAS UNPRINCIPLED and it did not work electorally either!!!
Electoral Debacle for SWP(PBP) in Derry and West Belfast

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Jolly Red Giant - June 11, 2017

This has always been the position of the Socialist Party Paddy – right back to its origins on this island in 1968.

The Socialist Party does not and never has danced to the republican tune – you on the other hand !

And for f*ck sake – do you really have a hang-up about taking an ‘oath’ – how very rural nineteenth century of you.

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yourcousin - June 11, 2017

My god man! As someone who’s contributions here are literally one level above trolling I have to say, “quit being a dick!”

But on another level because I feel that my pleas for civility (much like WBS) will fall on deal years, I say, better to a Defender than a Tankie pledging fealty to the Queen.

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

One level above trolling… you are far too generous, actually we both are!

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Paddy Healy - June 12, 2017

JRG knows very well that my objection to the oath to the queen has nothing to do with morality or religion. As I said above, my objection is to pledging allegiance to a colonial power on behalf of a colonially dominated people. Irish rebels gave up that in 1918/19.
Unfortunately the Socialist Party has, indeed, always rejected this pillar of the Irish revolutionary tradition. This defines it as social democratic, even if of a leftish variety.
As for “dancing to the republican tune” it is well known in republican circles that I resigned as Secretary of the National H-Block Trade Union Committee, when after we had co-ordinated a virtual general strike on the day of Bobby Sands funeral, SF(Then including RSF) refused to ramp up pressure on the Free state government to save Kieran Doherty TD. I treasure my independent position as a socialist and a republican in the Connolly tradition.
In addition to the longstanding non-Sinn Fein republican organisations-RSF, 32-county Sovereignty, Eirigi, there is a widespread growth of non-militaryn republican organisations north and south. These are epitomised by the 1916 Societies which reject the internal settlement and campaign for an All-Ireland assembly.
Following the EU Fiscal Treaty and now further reinforced by the governmental alliance between the Tories and DUP,the national question is becoming a red hot issue in the 26-counties.
IF SP and SWP DO NOT CORRECT THEIR SERIOUSLY WRONG POSITIONS ON THe IRISH NATIONAL QUESTION IT WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS in THe 6-Counties

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Jolly Red Giant - June 12, 2017

Paddy – the ‘Irish rebels’ of 1918/19 were right-wing nationalists in the main – certainly the right-wing held the leadership of nationalist movement in a tight grip to prevent the radical left having any influence over the trajectory of the Irish revolution.

The Socialist Party stands with the revolutionary traditions of the workers movement of the period, the revolutionary traditions of the soviets, the revolutionary traditions of the Marxist trade union organisers like Sean Dowling and Seamus McGrath, the revolutionary traditions of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (which had a significant base of support among the Protestant working class of East Belfast) – the revolutionary traditions of the Irish working class of the period.

The Socialist Party rejects the right-wing outlook of Irish nationalism of the period – the outlook of attempting to split the trade union movement along sectarian lines, the outlook of breaking strikes the outlook of attempting to and actually suppressing the Irish soviets (both pro-and anti-Treaty republicans), the outlook of implementing a narrow, repressive, right-wing nationalist priest-ridden state.

And you own approach has always been one of left-republicanism – one which subverts the interests of the Irish working class to the interests of Irish republicanism. It is astonishing that you claim the one ‘true’ approach to the Irish revolution yet this approach by you has failed to maintain, never mind grow, even a tiny revolutionary tendency over the past 50 years.

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Paddy Healy - June 12, 2017

“Paddy – the ‘Irish rebels’ of 1918/19 were right-wing nationalists in the main – certainly the right-wing held the leadership of nationalist movement in a tight grip to prevent the radical left having any influence over the trajectory of the Irish revolution.
I won’ bother with other parts of JRG’s diatribe except the above.
To dismiss the process which passed through the general strike against conscription to the demolition of the Westminister-participating Irish National Party of Redmond to the formation of the First Dail and the Promulgation of the Democratic Programm of the First Dail to the Declaration of War on the British Empire with the sentence “the Irish Rebels were right-wing nationalists in the main” is a negation of all marxist method. This involved a huge mass movement of the Irish workers and smallfarmers. It is inevitable that there would be conservative leaders in democratic anti-colonial movements. The problem was that just like the SP-ers of to-day the Labour and trade union leaders refused to participate and fight for the leadership of the democratic movement. The Connolly tradition had been defeated within the Labour movement and the social democrats Johnson and Willie O’Brien were in control.
When fundamental tasks of the democratic revolution remain uncompleted(eg Unity , independence and sovereignty of the nation),it is suicide for socialists to attempt to skip them and leave them in the hands of “right-wing nationalists” as Trotsky has taught us. This does not, of course mean that socialist and working class demands must be toned down to facilitate non-socialist Republicans. On the contrary,The Devalera dictum “labour Must Wait” must be firmly rejected. It is the strength of the working class in pursuing its own class demands that draws the intermediate classes to its side against the capitalisats and imperialists.
Such was the power of the mass movenent right up to the end of the civil war. including the development of “the Munster Soviets”, that an effective revolutionary socialist leadership could have gained dominance on a number of occasions. Middle class Republican leader Ernie O’Malley has stated that if to get a united independent Ireland it had to be a Workers Republic, he was prepared to travel that road. But the Labour leaders abstained and worse still joined the Free State counter-revolutionary parliament giving legitimacy to the marauding free state army which smashed “the soviets” as it advanced into Munster. They did this when even Devalera refused to enter the Free State Parliament and huge masses of workers and small farmers were resisting the counter-revolution.
The national question is becoming a burning issue in the whole of Ireland again to-day. The same mistakes must not be made. Mass movement in the direction of an all-Ireland constituent assembly is developing as Irish People North and South seek strength in unity. This movement must not be left to Right wing nationalists or even to vacillating petit-bourgeois nationalists!
I write this in the hope of making a contribution to preventing a new debacle.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 12, 2017

Clearly Paddy you have little knowledge of the Munster Soviets – including the history of the workers movement in South Tipp during this period – and the fact that the anti-Treaty IRA suppressed soviets and strikes during the period leading up to and during the civil war.

I will give one quote that you can find in the national archives that demonstrates the approach of the leadership of SF during this period – it comes from a Dail Ministry for Home Affairs document dating from 1921

“1920 was no ordinary outbreak…the immense rise in the value of land and farm products threw into more vivid relief than ever before the high profits of ranchers, and the hopeless outlook of the landless men and uneconomic holders…All this was a grave menace to the Republic. The mind of the people was being diverted from the struggle for freedom by a class war and there was every likelihood that this class war might be carried into the ranks of the republican army itself which was drawn in the main from the agricultural population and was largely officered by farmers’ sons.”

The report then goes on to describe how the republican courts –
“saved society from anarchy…There was a moment when it seemed nothing could prevent wholesale expropriations, but the crisis was surmounted thanks to a patriotic public opinion and the civic sense of justice expressed through the arbitration courts and ENFORCED BY THE REPUBLICAN POLICE.”

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32. Joe - June 11, 2017

In fairness surely the PbP vote is W Belfast was a massive success. For any genuine leftist to be getting that kind of vote in the north is a real achievement. To call it an electoral debacle is way off.

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Paddy Healy - June 12, 2017

As I have said above the PBP vote in West Belfast was about half that achieved in the Westminster election of 2015 and about one third(1.4quotas) of that achieved in 2016 Stormont election. This was achieved by much good work against cuts which took place when Sinn Fein were in the executive. It is regrettable that the political effect of this good work has been seriously damaged by the seriously wrong position of SWP(PBP) on the National Question in the 2017 Stormont election and in the recent Westminister General Election election

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33. yourcousin - June 11, 2017

I think its interesting that no one has really touched upon the fact that the “responsible parties” of the GFA have finally been reduced to assembly status. I don’t see a way back for the UUP from their death spiral. I see a much slower demise for the SDLP as the generation who will never vote for the shinners passes on and the leadership transitions to non paramilitary linked figures.

I mean the SDLP vote share has been consistently declining in both Parliamentary and assembly elections for over a decade ( I haven’t looked at council elections but I suspect you’ll see the same trend there). I’m guessing as SF consolidate you’ll see a splintering of the vote for explicitly left wing forces(ala Derry) but for them the challenge will be to outwork SF on a community level, and I don’t see that happening too easily.

I’m also curious about changing demographics in Belfast. And this is where I really miss Splintered, but how long until South Belfast goes green reliably? And even more interesting how long until North Belfast becomes a competitive seat?

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

Yeah so much for the centre ground, so called. +1 re missing Splintered Sunrise.

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yourcousin - June 11, 2017

But isn’t that it? SF has occupied a much more centrist ground and has defeated the SDLP by beating them on a community level, while Unionism writ large has moved in the opposite direction.

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

To a large extent. Though it’s also a consolidation of the parties as the most powerful blocs, which is tautological I know, but you get what I mean – there’s a snowball effect. I’ve never really believed in the concept of a centre ground as such, at least not with unionism which tilted rightwards and in other ways more or less uniformly (I was amused by Newton Emerson writing about the moderate UUP and then having to hedge his piece with caveats about their ‘backwoodsmen’. Moderates, eh?). The SDLP obviously were more moderate but that power dynamic has kicked in. This does make SF somewhat vulnerable in some places from left or populist rivals. Though not I suspect at ‘national’ level.

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yourcousin - June 11, 2017

I think we are largely in agreement, but it does beg the question, “what does ‘moderation’ mean”? The SDLP were outflanked on both a “national” level and at a local level.

They have struck me since the oughts as a place where “respectable” talking heads went to. But once the luster of, “we don’t shoot our neighbors” wore off they really had nothing else to replace it with.

As roddy points out Gildernrew beat a unionist unity candidate convincingly this time out. I see North Belfast as the next serious battle ground and quite possibly a literal one as well.

Again there is a niche market in standing to the left of SF and saying one is anti sectarian. It is quite another actually be that AND be an effective local representative.

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WorldbyStorm - June 11, 2017

Definitely in agreement. I think ‘moderation’ became a shorthand in relation to nationalism for ‘not SF’ despite SF jettisoning support for armed struggle, abstention from local institutions etc. On the unionist side it is more complex isn’t it in that the DUP refused to work the institutions until late in the day while the UUP was willing mostly. It’s like two different definitions of moderate and two different definitions of non moderate in play which were collapsed into a single moderate and single non moderate.

Re the niche market short of a UI I see no scope for smaller left parties to make any serious inroads until constitutional issues are settled once end for all or the transitional process is well under way. The last twenty four months is instructive in pointing to how even in the context of a prior period of relative calm those constitutional issues have reared up and by the by I take real issue with the idea and I know it’s not your view either tha these are simple sectarian processes or conflicts, they’re fundamental issues about how the North is administered and about how sovereignty is applied. There may well be sectarian aspects inflecting parts of all that but it is no more sectarian as an issue than largely similar issues in Scotland.

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yourcousin - June 12, 2017

Again we’re in agreement but the truth is that no one from unionism really wanted to engage. Trimble had to be dragged along for the ride with Hume and never could secure his right flank. From the get go the DUP and the UUP’s “right flank” made hay with their opposition and Trimble could never get comfortable in his role as peacemaker.

By the time Trimble departed and the Big Man ruled the roost a more liberal moderate voice MacFarland or Hermon were of little use to captain a sinking ship.

I think that is one of the key differences when discussing the fates of the two “moderate” parties. Both SF and SDLP buy into the vision laid out in the GFA. SF has simply and consistently delivered better on the ground. Whereas domination within unionism has consistently come from obstructionism.

Not sure if left parties can make inroads at a council level until the constitutional question is settled or not.

I guess any folks who hope to succeed will have to deal with being functionally sectarian (who’s keeping up with their reading folks?) just the cost of doing business in the north.

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WorldbyStorm - June 12, 2017

100% agree. The UUP wouldn’t seriously deal with even the SDLP until the mid 90s by which time everything had changed. I think you’re right too that buy in to the GFA on the side of unionism has been partial.

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34. roddy - June 11, 2017

The “moderate” UUP stood down to give far right Dodds a free run as did the “socialist” PUP along with the even further right TUV. Similarily they all ganged up on Michele Gildernew but she bate the lot of them.As Jim Royle would say “moderate unionism my arse”!

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35. Paddy Healy - June 13, 2017

Reply to JRG(Socialist Party)
Of course I am fully aware of all the issues adduced by JRG(Socialist Party) . Nothing in anything I said has ever hid or covered up the pro-capitalist activities of Sinn Féin and IRA leaders during the War of Independence
What he refuses to understand is that these events and processes support my position and makes nonsense of his.
As I said above it is inevitable that movements for national independence in colonially dominated countries contain conservative and therefor pro capitalist forces as well as workers, small farmers, big farmers and small traders and other middle classes.
Free rein was given to the conservative capitalist elements was given by the refusal of the Labour and trade union leaders to participate in the First Dáil, to maintain a strong Citizen Army, and to be part of a leadership alliance prosecuting the war of independence. This is what Connolly did in 1916.
There was widespread conflict between the IRA leadership and the Sinn Féin Courts and workers during the war of independence. But this was not all. Land hungry small famers and farm labourers seizing land of ranchers were oppressed and attacked. At the same time workers took strike action against carrying British soldiers and ammunition.
There was huge public support for the war of independence and the renegacy of the Labour and Trade union leaders on the national question, allowed this support to be used by capitalist republican leaders against workers and small farmers.
This renegacy helped the the most conservative elements capitulate on the national question as well in the treaty and civil war.
The Devalera-Collins Pact in the post-Treaty election was justified by the need “to stop the Red Brigandage rampant throughout Munster”
It is clear that a Connolly style trade union and Labour leadership fighting the war of independence through its citizen army could have won the leadership of the independence struggle and isolated the pro-capitalist elements. Supporting and protecting the “Munster Soviets” and the land seizures provided an ideal opportunity for the workers republicans.This would have opened the way to the Workers Republic.
It is the ignoring of democratic tasks (in Ireland national Independence, unity and Sovereignty) the social democratic leaders cleared the way for Irish Capitalism and British Imperialism to launch a “carnival of reaction north and south” as predicted by Connolly, through the partition settlement.
In the coming campaign for Irish Unity and Sovereignty and the reversal of the partition settlement, if socialists abstain, they will open the way for a new defeat of Irish workers
JRG(Socialist Party) might be able to pass off his superficial and erroneous views in the political bubble in which he lives, but he couldn’t get away with it in Clonmel!!

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Jolly Red Giant - June 13, 2017

For some reason or other I can only post short comments on here – so this will end up in two or three parts –

Paddy you are making a few wild and incorrect assumptions about the revolutionary period, about the approach of Connolly and, most specifically, about how to apply the lessons of the period to today.

First lets deal with the inaccuracies – the LP did not refuse to participate in the first Dail. SF attempted to make the LP a small appendage of the nationalist movement by offering them a handful of seats in the 1918 in return for not only adopting an abstentionist position, but by accepting a subsidiary and subservient role to the nationalist forces in 1918. The leadership of the LP quite rightly rejected this approach, but incorrectly failed to provide a left political alternative to the nationalist movement in 1918.

Furthermore – there was never a prospect of the anti-Treaty IRA adopting a class approach during the civil war period. It is possible that significant sections of the anti-treaty IRA could have been won to the class struggle but the petty-bourgeois leadership were intent on suppressing the class struggle. Indeed it is worth noting that Roddy Connolly’s CPI (who had a small base in Clonmel at the time) instructed the workers of Clonmel to abandon their soviet and join the ranks of the anti-Treaty IRA – and the workers of Clonmel ignored them. This is your ‘part of the leadership alliance’ and was ignored by the workers of your home town.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 13, 2017

But there is a much bigger issue with your approach – while the nationalist movement did have mass support – it was not the only mass movement of the period – the labour movement also had mass support. Indeed it could be argued that the labour movement had much bigger and more consistent mass support than SF during this period. Certainly the local elections n January 1920 demonstrate the scale of the support for the ILPTUC as did the 1922 general election. But here is the nub of the problem – you state that should have been ‘part of the leadership alliance prosecuting the war of independence’. This is an utterly false approach and stems from you taking Connolly’s approach to the 1916 Rising as a correct approach to be repeated and reciprocated. Connolly’s approach in 1916 was false – he allowed the citizens army to be subsumed into the IRB. Connolly was initially wrong in agreeing to participate in the Rising with the IRB (and there was significant opposition within the Citizens Army to his approach) and then he made another blunder – accepting that the ICA were going to participate, Connolly should have march the ICA to the GPO as a separate and distinct unit, under a workers banner.

The problem with your outlook on the Irish Revolution is that you take the guerrilla war as the main focus of the struggle for self-determination and national emancipation. The reality was that such a guerrilla war did not and could not succeed – even if there was an organised ICA to participate as ‘part of the leadership alliance’. Those methods are the methods of the petty bourgeoisie and are only successful in peasant societies. Despite the backward nature of the Irish economy in 1919, it was not a peasant society. The method of the workers movement was / is the mass mobilisation of the working class through demonstrations, strikes and the building of workers power through soviets. There are numerous examples of this – from the general strike against conscription – to the Belfast soviet – to the Limerick Soviet – to the general strike for the release of prisoners (republican and labour movement prisoners) – to the Munster Soviets and the farm labourers strikes in the period of the civil war. In many parts of the country Labour was the dominant social and political force.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 13, 2017

In my view if Connolly had survived into the revolutionary period he would not have been arguing for the labour movement to be ‘part of the leadership alliance that fought the war of independence’ – he would have argued for the labour movement to act on an independent class basis, engaged in a struggle not only for political independence, but social and economic independence as well. The development of a combative mass labour movement (and many of the key trade union organisers were close confidants of Connolly) would have led him to the realisation that the labour movement needed, not to be ‘part of the leadership alliance’ – but to assume the leadership of the movement on a class basis.

In April 1919 the Limerick Soviet demonstrated how workers could take control of an entire city. The key necessity at that time was for the ILPTUC to call a nationwide general strike in support of the Soviet. It would have received a massive response throughout the island. But it did not happen because the leadership of the ILPTUC chose to subvert the Soviet in the interests of maintaining ‘unity’ with SF. It was clear that if a general strike was called then the ILPTUC would have to assume the leadership of the struggle for self-determination – not alone for political independence but leading the revolution in a socialist direction. Furthermore – it would have led the labour movement into a direct confrontation with British imperialism – not through a guerrilla war but through a mass uprising of the working class. The leadership of the ILPTUC baulked at this prospect, as they were to do on several other occasions during the revolutionary period – and the opportunity was lost with SF again being able to assert its dominance in the national movement.

Your approach to the current situation is the same as Connolly in 1916 – being ‘part of the leadership alliance’ that fought the (failed) Easter Rising – where as what is needed is the unity of the working class, the struggle being fought on a class basis, the building of a mass revolutionary party and an international outlook. You place the issue of ‘Irish Unity and Sovereignty’ as the key issue when the reality is that the revolutionary party and a revolutionary workers movement will be built not by placing nationalist demands at the head of the movement but class demands. Your formulation would ultimately divide the workers movement and lead it to another defeat – just like during the revolutionary period 1919-1922.

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36. roddy - June 13, 2017

The fact is that every significant left wing figure inIreland for decades after the civil war had a background in the anti treaty IRA.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 13, 2017

The most significant left-wing figure in Ireland in the post independence period was Jim Larkin – and he most definitely did not have a background in the anti-treaty IRA – plus he was not the only one.

Furthermore – the left-wing figures the did emerge from the anti-treaty IRA all left the IRA because of its refusal to pursue a left programme and engage in social agitation.

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37. sonofstan - June 13, 2017

“here is speculation that the SDLP could merge with the Irish centre-left party Fianna Fáil in order to bolster its position in Northern Ireland.”

from the Guardian piece on SF abstentionism.

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WorldbyStorm - June 13, 2017

urghhh…

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38. roddy - June 13, 2017

If they do ,they’ll split with their neo unionist wing going it alone or lashing up with free state labour

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39. Paddy Healy - June 14, 2017

Socialist Party Defends the Formation of anti-Revolutionary Irish Social Democracy
JRG(Socialist Party)
“First lets deal with the inaccuracies – the LP did not refuse to participate in the first Dail. SF attempted to make the LP a small appendage of the nationalist movement by offering them a handful of seats in the 1918 in return for not only adopting an abstentionist position, but by accepting a subsidiary and subservient role to the nationalist forces in 1918. The leadership of the LP quite rightly rejected this approach, but incorrectly failed to provide a left political alternative to the nationalist movement in 1918.”

THe LP did refuse to participate in the 1918 election. It was a British General Election in which the LP was free to stand and did not stand. Sinn Féin was in no position to prevent them standing. Sinn Féin was only in a position to place conditions on not opposing the LP in certain constituencies. The labour and trade union movenent, which also had widespread support, could also have contested SF in many constituencies.

Driving the British armed forces out of Ireland was a key task to open the way to the Workers Republic. The Labour and trade union leaders had allowed the Citizen Army, though still in existence, to wither. They abstained from the mass movement of which the election on an abstentionist was a component. THey abstained from the war against the British Forces. This is the definitive formation of counter-revolutionary pro-imperialist Social Democracy in Ireland. Entry into the Free-state parliament when that reime was waging a pro-British war against the Irish People confirmed the position.

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Paddy Healy - June 14, 2017

JUST TO ADD TO THE ABOVE
The Break with The Labour Party and The Second international and the formation of the first Communist Party of Ireland in 1921 is a key part of the Irish Revolutionary Socialist Tradition to which I Adhere

(The Socialist Party of Ireland was established in 1909. It was a re-establishment of James Connolly’s Irish Socialist Republican Party.

In 1921, during the Civil War, it affiliated with the revolutionary  Lenin led Comintern and was renamed the Communist Party of Ireland (the first party of that name, and not to be confused with the current party, founded in 1933).

In September 1923, Larkin, having returned to Ireland, formed the Irish Worker League (IWL), which was soon afterwards recognised by the Comintern as the Irish section of the world communist movement. In 1924 Larkin attended the Comintern congress in Moscow and was elected to its executive committee.)
 The Labour Party and Trade Union Congress remained affiliated to the second international whose affiliates had supported the war effort of their respective imperialist countries leading to the massacre of millions in the fight for capitalist markets.

Brenda Halligan-The Johnson Years

One indispensable contribution by LABOUR to the creation of Irish democracy was its participation in the 1922 General Election, which thereby LEGITIMISED THE CREATION OF THE IRISH FREE STATE(and partition-PH) and enshrined respect for the will of the electorate and respect for the rule of law as the fundamental principles of Irish Democracy.-Brendan Halligan
(Brendan Halligan, asLABOUR Gen SEC, led the Labour Party back to coalitionism after the 1969 general election and organised my expulsion from the national executive of the Labour party for opposing this course-PH)

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40. Jolly Red Giant - June 15, 2017

Paddy – your apparent lack of knowledge of the revolutionary period in Ireland is astounding – I am actually surprised at the extent of it.

You state –
THe LP did refuse to participate in the 1918 election. and then go on a bit of a rant – yet ignored what I actually said
The leadership of the LP quite rightly rejected this approach of doing a deal with SF but incorrectly failed to provide a left political alternative to the nationalist movement in 1918.
You had initially stated that the LP refused to participate in the First Dail – which is factually incorrect.

Now – you state
The Break with The Labour Party and The Second international and the formation of the first Communist Party of Ireland in 1921 is a key part of the Irish Revolutionary Socialist Tradition to which I Adhere

This demonstrates the problem with your approach – the Labour right abandoned the SPI and left the shell remaining to Roddy Connolly and a very small ragtag bunch of followers. At its height during this period the CPI had maybe 25 activists. But the problem with the CPI was not its size – it was the utterly sectarian approach adopted by Roddy Connolly. Connolly went on a rampage through the country demanding that thousands striking workers abandon their soviets and strikes and join the anti-Treaty IRA (the same anti-Treaty IRA that was attempting to and actually suppressing strikes and soviets). As the civil war progressed into August the CPI paper became more sectarian and more of a cheerleader for the anti-Treaty IRA. The utterly sectarian approach of Roddy Connolly led to the CPI being completely ignored by and isolated from the workers movement (an approach you adhere to – an approach that led to your sect being isolated and disintegrating – and an approach you want the left to adopt today).

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41. Jolly Red Giant - June 15, 2017

Now – let’s look at a alternative approach adopted by some of the key Marxists of the period, people who worked with Connolly and adopted his methods.These key Marxists – people like Sean Dowling and Jack Hedley and others – didn’t adopt your approach of being ‘part of the leadership alliance prosecuting the war of independence’ – they adopted a class approach to the revolutionary period. In 1918 they fought of an independent class based opposition to conscription and, where they could, organised independent action separate from the nationalist movement , including far bigger demonstrations than anything SF and the Catholic Church could jointly mobilise. They drafted the revolutionary declarations adopted by MayDay marches in 1918. They built a radical, potentially revolutionary trade union organisation against the opposition of the bureaucratic leadership of O’Brien. They drafted the blueprints for the establishment of soviets in this country in the aftermath of the conscription crisis, led the most successful soviets from 1919-1921 and were the key figures in the Munster Soviets.

Were these Marxists part of the empty shell of a CPI that Roddy Connolly took over in 1921? – no – they had abandoned the SPI two years earlier in the aftermath of the Limerick Soviet. With the right-wing of the labour movement around O’Brien clearly demonstrating that they were unwilling to adopt a revolutionary approach and were accepting of the diktats of the nationalist movement, these Marxists met in Belfast a week after the Limerick Soviet to found the Revolutionary Socialist Party – a party that was based not on being ‘part of the leadership alliance prosecuting the war of independence’ but on being an independent workers organisation dedicated to building a mass independent workers movement. It immediately struck a cord with the most advanced layers of workers – in particular building a base among the Protestant shipyard workers in the aftermath of Belfast Engineering strike and regularly held meeting numbering in the hundreds in East Belfast. It was able to do this by adopting an independent class approach to the national question and to the national movement. Part of the reason for the Belfast pogrom was to cut across the development of support for the RSP in East Belfast. A week before the pogrom the RSP held a meeting in East Belfast with 400 mostly Protestant workers – and the first building to be burnt down during the pogrom was the labour hall in East Belfast where the RSP held its meetings.

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42. Jolly Red Giant - June 15, 2017

Even in the aftermath of the pogrom the RSP continued to adopt an independent class position in fighting sectarianism. Which the nationalist movement called for the Belfast boycott (in a direct attempt to whip up sectarianism), the RSP opposed the boycott and campaigned for independent class action to oppose sectarianism. The Marxist industrial organisers succeeded in getting many of the more radical branches of the ITGWU to oppose the boycott on a class basis against the diktats of O’Brien and the leadership (including the Limerick No.1 branch under the leadership of Sean Dowling that was based in the Cleeves Landsdowne plant that was the backbone of the Limerick Soviet).

Now the RSP was not without its faults – it didn’t adopt the Leninist approach of building a revolutionary party as the vanguard of the workers movement – it was influenced by syndicalism to a significant degree and with the rising sectarianism in the North and the right-wing offensive against the workers movement in the South it became moribund – but the leading figures in the RSP were to play a major role in Munster Soviets and the strike wave that engulfed the country in 1922. This is the revolutionary tradition I adhere to – not the sectarian ultra-left legacy of Roddy Connolly’s CPI.

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43. Jolly Red Giant - June 15, 2017

You quoted from Halligan’s book (not a book in any real sense – an ideological attack on the history and traditions of the labour party during the revolutionary period). You use his quote One indispensable contribution by LABOUR to the creation of Irish democracy was its participation in the 1922 General Election, which thereby LEGITIMISED THE CREATION OF THE IRISH FREE STATE as the basis for your formulation that the workers mvoement should have been ‘part of the leadership alliance fighting the war of independence’ .

Of course Halligan is utterly wrong in his assertion in this quote – it bears absolutely no reality to the political situation on the ground in 1922. The 1922 election was fought against a backdrop of an attempt by both wings of the nationalist movement to cobble together an agreement designed to sideline the workers movement, against a backdrop of a major strike wave sweeping the country, predominantly (but not exclusively) among farm labourers and against a backdrop of the Munster Soviets that were facing suppression by both the anti-Treaty and pro-Treaty sides in the civil war. The election of 17 of the 18 LP candidates who stood in 1922 (and the 18th failed to be elected by 13 votes) was a reflection of the massive class struggle being undertaken at the time by the workers movement.
Many of the LP TDs elected were strike leaders – the two LP TDs elected in Waterford (John Butler and Nicholas Phelan) were strike leaders of the farm labourers (and the ITGWU industrial organiser was James Baird a Protestant strike leader in 1919 who had been driven from his job and home during the pogrom) – the same was the situation in Cork and Kildare.

It is clear that if the LP had run candidates in all constituencies (they ran in 13 out of 28 constituencies and would have won more than 1 seat in several if they had run two candidates) – the could have been the second largest, if not the largest party in the 3rd Dail and it would have enormously raised the expectations of the working class and the revolutionary potential of the period. But O’Brien and Johnson consciously limited the LP intervention in the 1922 election as much as he could. Following the election O’Brien engaged in what was probably the greatest betrayal of workers of the period by booting all the striking farm labourers out of the ITGWU which led to the strikes collapsing. Coupled with the suppression of the Munster Soviets by both sides in the civil war, these events led to the greatest defeat of the workers movement in the history of this island. In the 1923 election many of the strike leaders from 1922 didn’t stand for election in 1923 and the LP was firmly in the grip of the right-wing.

So Halligan is wrong in his assertion about the role of the LP after the 1922 election – he could have made a valid argument about the post-1923 Dail composition, but not 1922. And you are wrong in using his arguments to dictate your approach to the 1922 election and the massive strike wave of the period.

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44. Jolly Red Giant - June 15, 2017

Last point – you state

Driving the British armed forces out of Ireland was a key task to open the way to the Workers Republic.

I disagree – in my opinion the key task of the period was the building of a mass revolutionary party capable of leading the workers movement to political, social and economic emancipation. That the leaders of the ILPTUC were right-wing social democratic in outlook and played a counter-revolutionary role there is no doubt – although I would suggest that your assertion that they were pro-imperialist is a step too far (at least during this period). The defeat of British Imperialism was not and could not be a possibility through the nationalist movement or through the labour movement being ‘part of the leadership alliance prosecuting the war of independence’ – the defeat of British Imperialism could only have come about through the independent class action of the Irish working class fighting not just for national liberation, but for social and economic emancipation as well. If it had confined itself to being ‘part of the leadership alliance’ with the nationalist movement then it would have inevitably gone down to defeat as the nationalist movement would have represented the class interests of the Irish capitalist class and worked in cahoots with British Imperialism to defeat the class aspirations of the Irish working class of this period.

Your approach to the revolutionary period is as false now as it would have been then (the same false approach as Roddy Connolly) – and you are arguing for the same wrong approach today – and approach based not on socialism, not on Marxism but on left-republicanism.

Sorry about the multiple posts – but I was limited in the size that I could post and this required a comprehensive reply (maybe some will find it useful and informative).

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45. Paddy Healy - June 19, 2017

I have taken some days to consider the views of the Socialist Party as expressed by JRG

I think it is of the utmost seriousness that socialist activists are being given highly erroneous views that could seriously damage the fight for the socialist revolution in Ireland and the UK

In particular(1) the rejection of the Connolly position of demanding the unconditional unity and Sovereignty of Ireland and a British withdrawal as an indispensable part of a revolutionary programme for Irish Socialists and (2) the failure of the sister organisations of the IrishSocialist Party in the UK to call for the withdrawal of British imperialism from Ireland.

I intend to urgentgly complete a pamphlet on the issue
The material posted by JRG on CLR provides a very clear expression of these erroneous views and facilitates a thorough rebuttal
I am greatful to CLR for allowing the discussion to develop to this stage. I will take it that JRG is expressing the views of the SP for the purpose of my pamphlet unless the SP contradicts him in public.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 19, 2017

So – after days of ‘consideration’ – you dismiss my views as ‘erroneous’ – yet produce no evidence for this assertion – instead you will go off and write a pamphlet.

Well be my guest – the evidence I have provided stands up to scrutiny.

Here is some stuff that might give you an insight –

http://socialistparty.ie/2013/07/new-book-let-us-rise/

http://socialistparty.ie/buy-book-irelands-lost-revolution/

And if you don’t want to pay the money – this much older one will get you started – complements of Irish Left Archive

http://www.clririshleftarchive.org/document/374/

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oconnorlysaght - June 20, 2017

Having been out of the country for a while, I come back to find CLR involved in an important historico-political polemic. Is this a private row between ‘Jack’ Healy and the mighty giant, or can anyone enter?
Firstly, I would like to congratulate our our large red cheerful friend on adding to our knowledge about the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Quite honestly (and I am not alone in this), I have been under the impression that the RSP ended after being decapitated during the summer of 1919 by a court action in which the judge was the notorious Alan Bell (later executed by the IRA). Certainly when he was released from jail, O’Hagan (Hedley) worked politically in the SPI with his comrade Dowling, making good propaganda and occupying Knocklong creamery. Perhaps JRG could give us his refs?
On the other hand, what strikes me is the fact that neither party to the debate has mentioned the resolution of the Comintern’s Second (1920) Congress which directed affiliates to work with revolutionary nationalists against imperialism on Lenin’s specific direction. Perhaps Lenin was wrong; he didn’t claim infallibility for himself, and, in those days, the movement made mistakes that helped Djugashvili take power. Indeed the said Djugashvili rendered the 1920 resolution more profound by formulating his four class block with disastrous results particularly in China. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to know where today’s Marxists stand.
Apart from that, my problem with attacking the principle of Connolly’s block with republicans in 1916 is that it is too close to the strategy of Tom Johnson, accepted by revolutionaries like Sean Dowling, after the Rising to stay out of the national struggle save on specific vexed issues (conscription, mass hunger strike, etc.,) and build the essentially TU organisation. This was wrong firstly because it gave credibility to the republicans’ claim that they could achieve an independent united Ireland (they could not, as we know). Secondly, at a time when state power in Ireland was in question, such a strategy fudged the issue and created the illusion of a reformist possibility of a working class state power breaking an ill-defined capitalist state power simply be weight of numbers. In turn, this would allow Johnson to point out accurately that the numbers were not strong enough and (the non-sequitur) that that capitalist state power would have to be accepted for the time being.
In conclusion, I would remark on the fact that JRG denounces Connolly’s revolutionary alliance with republicans against imperialists, despite having supported a cause spearheaded by imperialists of a developed state against the undeveloped imperial state of the EU. No doubt, he will plead that his motives were quite different from those of Farrago et al,, but then Connolly’s socio-economic vision was not that of Sean McDiarmada.

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46. roddy - June 19, 2017

Paddy ,to save you the bother.SP = neo unionist!

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Jolly Red Giant - June 19, 2017

Tell me again roddy – Who was it that did a deal with British Imperialism that institutionalised sectarianism so they could hop into bed with the DUP?

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47. roddy - June 19, 2017

As far as the (U) SP are concerned even any mention of Irish unity is considered “sectarian” if you don’t mind.I’ll take your mentioning “British imperialism” seriously when I see any of your no hoper election candidates utter the said words or if I read them in any of your newspapers orsee them referenced by your place men who have gained union positions by your entryism.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 20, 2017

been there roddy – you were caught with your pants down peddling urban myths about the Socialist Party when I linked to Socialist Party stuff over the years.

No matter the hue and cry – SF and shinners like yourself are sectarian nationalists who do deals with Imperialism and participate in government with bigoted loyalist religious fundamentalists imposing austerity and depriving women of the right to control their own fertility.

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48. roddy - June 20, 2017

Aye “over the years” in obscure internal documents that the loyalists whose arses you lick never see.

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yourcousin - June 20, 2017

Dude, civility.

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