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Left Archive: ‘But Victory Sooner…’ Communist Party of Ireland, 1943 May 30, 2022

Posted by leftarchivist in Uncategorized.

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

This is a fascinating document issued by the Communist Party of Ireland in 1943. A short 16 pages long (please note that the last page in the document is the first page on the scan to the left of the front cover) it argues in the introduction that:

The recent Government crisis in Northern Ireland was one of the most sensational political events in the history of Ireland since the Government of Ireland Act established the Six County Government. It is true that Governmental changes have taken place in the past, but these have not been as the result of crises in the Unionist Party. Generally, for a change to take place
some member of the Cabinet had to die of old age or get so thoroughly disgusted with the policy of the Govern­ment that he could not stick it and resigned from the Front Bench.
It is true to state that it has been many years since the public displayed such a keen interest in the affairs of the Northern Ireland Government. The Prime Minister,
Mr. Andrews, and his closest colleagues were forced to resign their offices-practically a clean sweep of the old Cabinet-and a new Cabinet, with only two members -of the old was formed by Sir Basil Brooke. What was the reason for the change?  Will it be for the better? How should the general public look on the changes and what should be the attitude of the Labour movement to the changes? These are questions that must be answered.

And it continues:

The policy of the Communist Party .in Northern Ireland is to work for the fullest mobilisation of man and woman power and materials for the defeat of fascism,
and to struggle for the greatest possible unity of the people, and in particular the unity of the forces of Labour. Realising that the Unionist Government at Stormont, with its terrible record of misrule, incompetence and narrow-minded sectarianism, could not rally the united efforts of the people, the Communist Party campaigned and struggled to bring about changes in the Government. Laying particular emphasis on· the need for inclusion jn the Cabinet of representatives of the Trade Unions and Labour movement, the Communist Party demanded
a government that would be representative of the decisive sections of the population  – Unionist Nationalist and  Labour. 

It then assesses ‘The “Old Guard”‘, ‘The New Government”, the ‘General Election’, the ‘Importance of Northern Ireland’, ‘Government of Unity’ and ‘Labour’s Responsibility’.

In a section on Communist Aims it argues:

While claiming the right of the people of a country to be the supreme controlling force vie have no narrow nationalist views. -‘We do not hold with views which imply that a country should be-isolated from other countries. Like all progressive Irishmen of the past, we applaud action by people of other countries to bring them nearer to complete emancipation. Action that will cause the subjugation and slavery of the common people of other countries or retard. their progress we condemn and vigorously combat. It is because that we ourselves desire complete emancipation that we are interested in and desire to learn from other countries.

The booklet also notes:

The wonderful role that the Soviet Union has played -and is playing in the struggle against fascism is clear to everyone to-day. It is also clear to everyone to-day that having a STRONG Soviet Union was in the interests not alone of the people of that great country, but in the interests of the people of Britain, of Ireland, and indeed of all countries. Without a strong Soviet Union, Hitler• could not have been halted, and would by now be in­flicting the horrible tortures on the people of these isles that he has inflicted on the peoples of other countries. Had there not been a Stalingrad there would not have been the crushing defeat of the Axis in Africa. That at this moment there is throughout the democracies a feeling that we now have the measure of the Axis Powers, and also the glorious perspective of complete victory.

Note what appears to be the author’s signature and an inscription at the top of the front page.


1. Jim Monaghan - May 30, 2022

It refers to those who support strikes in a negative way. I assume Trotskyists. No reference as far as I can see to the Republican movement.

Liked by 2 people

benmadigan - May 31, 2022

Anyone know whether the NI CP was affiliated with the British or the Irish CP at the time?
If the former, that might explain the lack of references to republicans who would have been considered “insurgents”, particularly after the August 1939 Coventry bombing

Liked by 1 person

pettyburgess - May 31, 2022

At that point. the CPNI was an independent party. The CPI partitioned itself in 1941, forming a Labour Party entryist group in the South and the CPNI in the North.

This was intimately linked with the Comintern’s sudden 180 degree turn on the war. The CPNI was firmly devoted to backing the British war effort – as this pamphlet makes clear – and both Republican militancy and Southern neutrality were now undesirable.

Liked by 2 people

Jim Monaghan - May 31, 2022

They opposed the war up to the Nazi invasion. At this point their relations with Republicans changed. Vincent McDowell told me a story of a printing press they sold to the Republicans and which they refused to hand over, until persuaded.

Liked by 1 person

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