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Reds na hÉireann May 26, 2023

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

If you didn’t catch it, ‘Reds na hÉireann’ is on the TG4 Player now. I thought it was very good with some wonderful archive footage of all sorts, from communist meetings to commemorations, election campaigning and more. Good to see the Far Left covered in a documentary like this.

It’s available to watch here

The trailer…


1. roddy - May 27, 2023

TG4 is very good at this.It tends to cover stories RTE would never go near.I have also noticed it’s Sunday evening news programme covering small Tan war commemorations around the country.No wonder the Cruiser and his ilk opposed TG4 getting off the ground.

Liked by 1 person

Sarah - May 27, 2023

Talking of the Cruiser, Stokes books in the Georges Street Arcade have a load of books from Cruise’s library, a large proportion of the books are on Israel and Edmund Burke.

Liked by 2 people

Fergal - May 28, 2023

Too true, Roddy… it’s probably the most appropriate definition of good tv … showing stuff that you can’t/won’t see on any other channel!


2. banjoagbeanjoe - May 27, 2023

A good watch.
Two things:
The FTS graffiti on a Belfast street 🙂
The footage of the CPI (ML) candidate in the Monaghan bye-election but the programme didn’t point out that the maoists were different to the people the programme was about.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - May 27, 2023

Yes saw that last!

Liked by 1 person

3. John Goodwillie - May 28, 2023

As well as the Monaghan by-election, there was a CPIML banner elsewhere in the programme. I put it down to sheer political ignorance by a producer.

I felt that the programme would have been improved by differentiating more clearly between those who left after Czechoslovakia and those who stayed to the bitter end – or longer, some of them are still CPI members as far as I know.

I feel sadness that such good people – many of whom I have met over the years – could not see the shakiness of the foundations that they put such trust in.

Liked by 1 person

Alibaba - May 29, 2023

Spot on John.

Even those members who left CPI after Czechoslovakia — and who are politically active to this very day — expressed dismay at the cessation of the Soviet Union. This makes me think, does the history of class struggle and experiences count for nothing with such people who are so steadfast and energetic in their commitments? Because failure to disown the errors of the past discredits socialism in the eyes of so many.


alanmyler - May 29, 2023

But there’s a difference of perspective here. There’s a spectrum of opinion on the importance of disowning errors. There are some who are somewhat purist or puritanical, and some who are somewhat pragmatic and accepting that all systems make errors and it’s all a matter of the relative pros and cons. I don’t think differences of opinion on the Left over the rights and wrongs of Kronstadt in 1921, Barcelona in 1937, or Prague in 1968 are necessarily the biggest obstacles facing all of us on the Left in connecting to ordinary people out there. There really aren’t that many people who care a whole lot about this stuff.


Alibaba - May 29, 2023

Fair enough about all the cases you mentioned. But today there are many people we want to relate to, especially students and young workers, who campaign vigorously on leftist issues. They look to the old Soviet Union (and by extension Marxism and revolutionary politics) and think no thank you very much. It doesn’t help that some regret the end of the Soviet Union. We need to send out the message that it doesn’t have to be that way and we can work in solidarity to change the world for the better.


alanmyler - May 29, 2023

But some of us do genuinely believe that the Soviet Union and the wider 20th century experiment of “actually existing socialism” was on balance a positive step on the long journey towards a better future, warts and all. Many parts of it not so much, and sometimes one step forwards and two steps back of course, but even those retrograde steps did have a logic within the the grand scheme of things. Again it’s a spectrum of opinion. Personally I would wonder about the psychological well being of someone who might make a case for justifying say the Khmer Rouge and all of that. I get it that someone else might feel the same way about the period of agricultural collectivisation in the 30s in the Soviet Union, while others could make a case for justifying it because of the need to industrialise and so on, and what was really the viable alternative in the circumstances of the time, and so on and so on. I take your point obviously that the future doesn’t have to be the same as the past, and that the next and future experiments in actually existing socialism in the 21st century and beyond may look very very different to what came before. And may well make their own errors which in time will be regretted by some. That’s the nature of experiments. But I think it would be sort of disingenuous to pretend that one experiment was sufficient and that the lessons learned now give us a coherent strategy for attaining a more perfect form of future socialism. Anyone who is going to come to grips with the idea that capitalism can be replaced really needs to digest the reality that capitalism will never give itself up voluntarily and that the ensuing dynamic of confrontation will create circumstances where it’s very likely to get ugly, uncomfortable, far from ideal, compromising, and so on, for quite a period of time while that struggle is on-going and the new begins to emerge from the corpse of the old. I think that’s actually the hardest hurdle facing the Left, to be able to have a conversation about that with people without alienating them.


Alibaba - May 29, 2023

The 1917 Russian revolution was an enormous step forward and in an unprecedented way. Yes, it led to positive developments both inside and outside the Soviet Union. But it went wrong and with devastatingly bad effects. It is arguably the case that this was caused originally by the extremely difficult objective circumstances faced and by the political responses made.

Nonetheless, extensive damage was done to revolutionary politics in the twentieth century as a direct result of Stalinism. And don’t get me going on China. I think there is no doubt that nowadays all this causes distrust of the far left and hinders cooperation with the broad spectrum of radicals in fighting the common enemy – capitalism. Dealing with this reality is a way forward for the Left. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that.


4. Jamie G - June 6, 2023

Producer here! The reason this footage made it into the the programme was it showed quite well the general crowd reaction to greater communist politics in Ireland at the time.

Not to underestimate the good people of Monaghan in 1973, but the differences between the CPI and the CPI-ML would be apparent to quite the niche audience. They are all “Reds” in this respect; and the clip we used here encapsulated the sentiment of our interviewees perfectly.

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