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Left Archive: Leaflet Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1982 October 17, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. cnd-go

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Many thanks to Jim Monaghan for forwarding this to the Archive.

This is the first document from the Irish Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament and we would welcome any other contributions from that source. Primarily it publicises a March for Survival on June 5th 1982.
It also outlines ways in which people can help the campaign, including joining CND, getting unions to affiliate to CND, lobby in support of resolutions on disarmament, attending CND events, contributing to CND funds and so on. Particularly noticeable is the way in which it frames the issue in relation to workers.

Left Archive: NICRA Poster, c.1974 and leaflet October 3, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
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nicra-poster-1974Many thanks to Bobcat for forwarding the following to the Archive.

To download the leaflet please click here.

We believe the date of the NICRA poster is 1974 but a more accurate dating would be much appreciated. The leaflet which gives instructions should one be harassed notes the passing of the Emergency Provisions Act at Westminster which was in 1973.

Some further aspects of interest include the mention of a ‘census’ by the British Army. There is also a seven point outline as to what those arrested under the EPA should do.

An Teoiric – Theoretical Journal of the Republican Movement (Official Sinn Féin), No 1, Summer 1971. September 26, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. teoiric-am-1971
Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Aine Mannion for forwarding this to the Archive. This 24 page long pamphlet issued in 1971 contains three major pieces – one on ‘Revolutionary Objectives: Strategy and Tactics’, another ‘Leirmheas as ‘Damnaithe an Domahin’ le Frantz Fanon and a third on Imperialism and the Struggle for Irish Freedom. There’s another shorter piece on ‘What Should NICRA Do?’

While noting on the last page that ‘The views contained in this bulletin are not necessarily those of the Republican Movement. They are to form the basis of discussions with the movement on important issues’, the introduction argues that:

In recent decades republicans have had little regard for theory, they were interested mainly in direct action. The great strength of the Republican Movement has always been its willingness to act against the enemies of the Irish people.

For decades it has demonstrated its dedication and willingness to expend all its forces in the struggle against British military occupation of our country. When the struggle was extend some years ago to the social and economic forces oppressing the Irish people the RM displayed the same energy and deviation as it had done against military oppression. No time was spent theorising, problems were isolated and met head-on. A new refreshing force had come on the scene with ‘action’ as its watch word and the various socialist groups who had evolved correct theories but never acted on them were forced from their back rooms on to the streets.

It continues;

The weakness of the RM has always been its apparent unwillingness or inability to explain its actions or the need for action either to the public or even to its own members. Furthermore there have been many occasions when Republicans took wrong action or took the right action at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons.


It has been obvious for some time that some theoretical work was necessary particularly int eh field of analysis and assessment. it is apparent even in the purely military context that an analysis of the motivation of the enemy is necessary. This was particularly evident in the past few months in Belfast when there was substantial evidence that it was the desire of the British Army to promote conflict.

‘Teoiric’ is a modest effort to fill a gap in contemporary republican thinking. It does not propose to indulge in sterile theorising but in practical analysis and assessment which will be designed to lead to correct action.

And it concludes that:

The activist who scorns theory is like the rifleman who scorns the sights. He can make a lot of noise without even hitting his target.

Left Archive: Gralton, No. 7, April/May, 1983 September 12, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. GRALTON 7

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Jim Lane for donating this and other copies of Gralton to the Left Archive. It is intended to reproduce these every month or so for the next year and a half and thereby have a full run of them online (except for number 6. We would be very grateful for a scan of same).

As noted previously Gralton magazine ran for ten issues from 1982 to 1983. It took it’s name from James Gralton, “the only person to have been deported from the 26 counties for political activity”.

This edition examines the topic of Workers and the Law with a long piece from Des Derwin on the topic of ‘worker-state confrontations’. It also considers the history of Jim Gralton in a long article. There’s a piece on the ‘revolutionary aspirations’ of the Socialist Labour Party and the history of that organisation, again by Des Derwin.

There’s a report on the Anti-Amendment Campaign and on the first ICTU Women’s Conference, held in February of that year.

Also notably there’s a piece from Dublin Gay Collective on the murder of Declan Flynn in Fairview Park – the anniversary of which was last Saturday, and the fact those who committed the murder received suspended sentences.

Neutrality is discussed and there’s an interview with Brendan Ryan who had recently been elected to the Seanad for a second time as an independent.

Left Archive: Wood Quay Documents 2 September 5, 2016

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To download the above and other documents please click on the following links.

CITY NEWS: To download please click here.

LIST OF CANDIDATES 1: To download please click here.

LIST OF CANDIDATES 2: To download please click here.

POSTCARD: To download please click here.

STICKER: To download please click here.

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the family of Leo Swan for forwarding these documents to the Left Archive. Over the Summer we will post up further related documents.

As noted in the first post in this series last month, the Wood Quay protests of 1978 and 1979 were not explicitly left-wing, however in the materials used to promote the protests and occupation there was an appeal to trade unionists and others. Individuals later prominent in the Labour Party and other groups were involved.

This posting includes includes the electoral materials relating to the campaign amongst other documents. There was, from these documents, a very clear effort to identify potential allies as well as those hostile to the campaign and to apply political pressure to them.

The first is a publication entitled City News which was issued early in 1979 and published ‘in associating with the Living City Group’. This included information on those who had voted for and against preservation the site. The contents though was considerably more wide-ranging and included information on Corporation redevelopment in Summerhill, transportation plans in Dublin, Art for the People and City Centre Hospitals. The publication is scathing about plans for ‘meeting the basic needs of the area’ in terms of housing. It also contains some useful statistics from a survey by the Prisoners Rights Organisation.

The second and third documents are lists of candidates for Local Elections in the Dublin Area in June 1979 – the month the site was occupied – and indicates those who are known to be either favourable or not to the campaigns goals. The fourth is a postcard issued during the local election that shows those who can be voted for and against. As can be seen at that stage the list of the former was yet to be formulated. The fifth is a sticker for the campaign.

Left Archive: The Struggle for Political Status by the H-Block & Armagh Prisoners is a Just and Heroic Struggle by Revolutionary Irish Patriots, National Executive of the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), 1981 August 22, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. CPIML HUNGER STRIKES DOC

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This twelve page pamphlet was published in support of prisoners in H-Block and Armagh Prisons and their five demands during the hunger strikes. These being:

1 The right to wear their own clothes, instead of prison uniform.
2 The right to use their time on vocational, craft or cultural education and activity, instead of prison work.
3 The right to free association with fellow political prisoners.
4 The right to one otter, one parcel and one visit per week.
5 Restoration of remission of sentence lost through their protest.

It notes that in the 1970s the British government conceded ‘special category status’ – ‘this amounted to an admission by British imperialism that these patriots were, indeed, political prisoners or prisoners of war’.

But it notes that just four years later that category was abolished. It outlines the course of the situation from there and argues that:

The Irish people are not going to forget that these 6 patriots were allowed to die despite the overwhelming justice of their demand.

It continues that:

In Ireland itself the heroism of the hunger strikers is inspiring more and more to take up revolutionary political activity.

The document also outlines those who it considers allies and opponents of the struggle. It argues that ‘The question of tactics is a question for the Irish people’ and concludes that ‘The Long Term Solution is a United Socialist and Secular Ireland’.

Left Archive: Socialist Republic, Paper of Peoples’ Democracy, Volume 4, No. 7, Peoples’ Democracy, August 1981 August 8, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. AP 1970

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

Many thanks to the persons who scanned and forwarded these documents.

This edition is posted up on the 35th anniversary of publication. A twelve page document it encompasses a significant range of materials – but perhaps inevitably it is the hunger strikes protest which is focused on most. August 1981 was the month the last of the ten hunger strikers died – Michael Devine of the INLA.

The main article on the front page argues that:

The H-Block campaign has laid the foundation for turning back the British offensive and building a mass movement which can go on to demolish all aspects of British imperialism in Ireland. But such a movement is facing grave dangers over the next few weeks.

The hunger strikers are under pressure to call off their protest. The Coalition, the media, some of the relatives and the Catholic hierarchy have all urged an end to the H Block sacrifice. With so many of our prisoners dead and Thatcher still intransigent it is inevitable that the voices of despair and capitulation will be raised. PD would emphasise that the prisoners are the ones to come to the final decision – we will be guided by THEIR wishes. Mass sympathy still exists for the prisoners. With this solid foundation the National H Block Armagh Committee can still turn the situation around.

It notes the political situation.

The by election in Fermanagh/South Tyrone and the possibility of one in the South must be used to show that mass support still exists for the prisoners. Active supporters who are prepared to create uproar in Westminster and Leinster House should be put forward. They must be prepared to take their seats in order to use them as a platform for the prisoners’ case and as a weapon against the hack politicians.

But it is also fair to note that the scope of the articles is wide. One on the front page asks “Congress Sell Out??” criticising the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for apparently settling for the National Wage Agreement. Another is entitled ‘Plastic Bullets Slammed’.

A long article inside notes how ‘Bottom Dog unites Limerick anti-imperialists’ – discussing the impact of the Bottom Dog workers paper, edited by Joe Harrington, a member of PD. Another couple of pieces critique Jim Kemmy and Socialists Against Nationalism. Another looks at the riots in Britain during this period and asks ‘what lies behind this new combativity among British youth?’.

In relation to H-Block in addition to further articles on the issue it calls for a ‘United H-Block Candidate’ in Fermanagh. But there’s a further line in a piece on the ‘Republican Movement’ that notes;

The leadership of the campaign [H-Block] is, of course, the Republican Movement; it is one of the ironies of history that the Republicans, who have for so many years been arguing against PD in a debate about ‘Mass Action versus Militarism’ should know find themselves at the head of a mass campaign based loosely on the PD model.

The fact that an organisation based on belief in the supremacy of military struggle should lead a mass campaign is, of course, a source of problems.

PD does not believe that these problems are insurmountable inside a united campaign.

But it does criticise ‘political sectarianism in the Republican Movement’ and calls for ‘a campaign which gives democratic representation to the political parties, the action committees, the trade union and factory committees as well as cultural and sporting bodies, women and youth will be able to draw on a wealth of experience in formulating a strategy for victory.

There is much else including Socialism and Nationalism: the Legacy of Connolly, criticism of SFWP for Joe Sherlock TD not voting against the then Coalition budget, which argues that this flows from ‘the very logic of the SFWP programme. The essence of this programme is a denial of the relevance of the national question’. Michael Farrell offers a recollection of August 1969, Sue Jackson writes on the Programme to Unify the Womens Movement and there is an article on ‘How Coalition Deceives Women’ and another on Feminist Anti-Imperialism – A Double Sided Task. A report on the ‘banning of a Gay Society in UCC’makes common cause with Gay people.

On international matters there are reports on Cuba, Iran and Poland.

Left Archive Collection: Abortion and reproductive rights August 1, 2016

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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We recently collated documents relating to abortion and reproductive rights in the archive into a new collection. The accompanying text is reposted below. You can view the list of documents in the collection on the Irish Left Archive website.

This collection presents some of the documents and articles in the archive relating to reproductive rights campaigns through the years. While abortion is often the most prominent of these issues, for much of the time period covered by the archive, access to contraception and information were equally salient.

It is not intended to provide a complete historical outline of reproductive rights issues in Ireland, but to highlight the coverage of these issues in the archive. Materials are grouped chronologically below, and direct links provided to the relevant page in the document PDF.


While this collection is limited to the current contents of the archive, it is worth drawing attention to two publications from feminist groups, despite our limited examples. The archive currently contains only a single issue of each, but the prominence of reproductive rights in the charters of both groups is noteworthy.

Banshee, from Irish Women United (IWU), includes the IWU charter from 1975, which includes a demand for:

Free Legal Contraception:

  1. State financed birth-control clinics
  2. The right [t]o a free, legal and safe abortion.

Banshee, No. 7, p. 16

The Belfast Women’s Collective (formed in 1977), similarly places access to contraception and abortion prominently in its aims, within a context of control of one’s own body and sexuality.

We are fighting for the right to control our own bodies … to determine our own sexuality and to control our own fertility through access to safe contraception and abortion facilities.

Women’s Action, Vol. 2, No. 3, p. 2

An article from Banshee is reproduced in The Bottom Dog from 1976 (see page 8) on a then proposed contraception bill, which provides some perspective on the reproductive rights context of the period. It points to the need for an integrated approach to reproductive rights, addressing not just the sale of medication, but information and education.

1980s and The Eighth Amendment

The early 1980s saw prominent anti- and pro-choice campaigns, leading to the 1983 referendum, which added a right to life of the unborn into the Irish constitution.

From 1980, an edition of Women’s View (published by Sinn Féin The Workers’ Party) notes the formation of the Women’s Right to Choose group in Dublin (Women’s View, No. 3. 1980. P. 5). It also includes a brief mention of the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement’s opposition to a UK abortion amendment act proposed by John Corrie MP, which sought to restrict the 1967 Abortion Act (see p.4). A short article on enforced sterilisation of native American women also demonstrates the wider international context of reproductive rights campaigns (see p.26).

From 1981, Abortion: A Choice for Irish Women sets out the case in favour of abortion from the Irish Women’s Right to Choose Group. This document addresses the context and arguments around abortion in Ireland, but also takes a practical approach of explaining and demystifying abortion with an assessment of the risks and first-hand accounts. It also includes practical appendices on methods of contraception and relevant contacts.

Also from 1981, Abortion Ireland, a report from Sinn Féin’s Department of Women’s Affairs, seeks to present the causes and context which lead to a need for abortion, in light of Sinn Féin’s anti-abortion policy. It quotes Sinn Féin’s policy document, Women in the New Ireland, which states:

There is a need to face up to the problem of abortion no matter what individual opinions are. We do not judge women who have had abortion but recognise that it is an indictment of society that so many women should feel the need to avail of abortion. We are opposed to the attitudes and forces in society that impel women to have abortions. We are totally opposed to abortion. Abortion Ireland, p. 2

Gralton magazine, which was published from 1982-3, includes on-going coverage of the abortion issue. The second issue features a cover image of a pro-life march, and includes an article from Goretti Horgan for the Women’s Right to Choose Group on the upcoming abortion amendment (Gralton, No. 2, June/July 1982, p.12). Issue three includes another article from Horgan, “The Abortion Referendum: Where the Left stands”, as well as an anti-amendment campaign progress report from Mary Gordon (Gralton, No. 3, Aug/Sep 1982, p.4-5). Issues four and five also provide further coverage.

The archive also includes a number of other publications from the period which address the amendment. Issue 10 of Church and State, published by Athol Books, includes an editorial entitled “A Roman Catholic Amendment” (Church & State, No. 10, 1982, p.3). Socialist Republic, from People’s Democracy, includes an article on the anti-amendment campaign, “A Chance to Re-organise” (Socialist Republic, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1983, p.5). The League for a Socialist Republic’s publication, Workers’ Republic, also includes a short article, “Amendment Can Be Defeated” (Workers’ Republic, No. 96, 1983, p.2).

The X Case and subsequent referendums

The X case judgement in 1992, which led to the establishment of the right to abortion information and the right to travel in subsequent referendums, as well as attempts to roll back the judgement, brought the abortion issue back to prominence.

From 1992, a leaflet headlined “Before you make up your mind…” from the Socialist Workers’ Party sought to set out the case for abortion to school students to counter the expectation that the catholic anti-abortion movement (such as the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC)) would mobilise in schools.

Sinn Féin’s policy document (from circa 1994) calls on the government to properly legislate for the 1992 referendums, and states that the party “accepts the need for abortion where a woman’s life is at risk or in grave danger, and in cases of rape or child sexual abuse” (Sinn Féin policy document, c.1994. p. 14).

From the Socialist Party, “Women & Socialist Politics”, from 1998, sets out their pro-choice position and calls for provision of abortion at least under the limited circumstances permitted by the X case judgement. The archive contains a further article from 1998, published in Red Banner and written by Rosanna Flynn, entitled “It hasn’t gone away, you know: The fight for abortion rights” (Red Banner, No. 2, 1998, p.26).

Finally, the first edition of Spartacist Ireland from 2002 includes an article on abortion in the context of the defeat of the 25th amendment referendum which sought to roll back the X case judgement (Spartacist Ireland, No. 1, 2002, p.20).

Opposition to abortion

While the further left has generally taken a pro-choice position on access to abortion, the documents in the archive do also contain dissenting voices on the issue.

Sinn Féin’s opposition to abortion in 1981 has been noted above, as has their support for legislation for the X case and provision of abortion in limited cases in 1994. Internal dissent on the issue is evident in the Clár agus Rúin from their 1986 Ard Fheis (see the proposals under ‘Women’, p. 45), with varying emphases proposed from recognition of the necessity of abortion to outright opposition.

An edition of The Other View from 2000 provides an interesting contrast in two articles on abortion. Dawn Purvis surveys attitudes to abortion in Northern Ireland, noting the prominence of religious attitudes in determining the issue for many, and arguing that public attitudes demonstrate a majority in favour of abortion provision in at least some limited cases. Noting the lack of common ground when the issue is presented from contrasting religious and secular positions, The Other View also presents a pro-life argument, but from a secular, feminist position, from ‘Feminists for Life’.

Hopefully the documents included here provide a useful look at the issues of abortion and reproductive rights on the left in Ireland. We are conscious of gaps in our coverage, and the collection will be updated as relevant documents are added. As ever, if any readers have relevant materials they can provide for inclusion in the archive, we would be very grateful.

Left Archive: Reminiscences of the Connolly Association by C. Desmond Greaves, 1978 August 1, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. CONNOLLY ASSOCIATION FILE.

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to David Convery and John Cunningham of the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class for the following document to the Archive. This 20 page pamphlet was published by the Connolly Association and written by C. Desmond Greaves in 1978.

In it Greaves offers an overview of the history of the Connolly Association. In the Introduction he notes that:

I would not wish to offer this little work as more than it i. Its composition arose for the following circumstances. For several years now a distinguished Dublin academic has been working on a definitive history of the organisation. it became clear that it could not possibly be ready in time for the fortieth anniversary of the Association’s foundation. Rather late in the day we asked fi he would write a pamphlet. Again it was clear that it could not be ready in time.


Obviously when time was so short I could not possibly attempt a potted history of the Association. But as a member since 1941, and on its executive council courteously since then, I have many memories. I formed a rough scheme and wrote my reminiscences. But thought it desirable to prefix a brief account of the organisation which preceded the Connolly Association.

He continues:

No attempt is made to assess the achievement of the Association, though I would say that it played an important part in winning for James Connolly’s work the recognition it now enjoyed.

The document is divided into four chapters, Origins, Early Days, Readjustment and Civil Rights. There is much of interest, the first chapter looks at the experience of Irish and political movements associated with them in Britain from the 19th century on. In the last chapter there is mention of the split in Republicanism and it touches on what life was like for the Irish in Britain in the 1970s.

All told a very interesting – if admittedly partisan, as Greaves notes in the Introduction – account.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Magazine, Number 3, Irish Republican Socialist Party, 2009 July 25, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. SP 3

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this document to the archive. It is a further addition to the Archive from this source.

There are a wide range of articles in the magazine including a number of articles on the ‘Occupy’ movement. Another piece asks what happened to the concept of ‘Cradle to the Grave care by the state. There is a reprint of a short essay by James Connolly on Socialism and Irish Nationalism.

Under the heading ‘Looking back at our history’ is an article entitled ‘Learning from Seamus Costello’. This notes that ‘Costello states that the IRSP are ‘a revolutionary socialist party’ whose objectives are ‘a revolutionary socialist state in Ireland’ leaving no doubt whatsoever about the party’s Marxist orientation. He is by no means an isolationist and state state that he regards the Irish Republcian Socialist Movement’s struggle for a democratic Socialist Republic ‘as part of the worldwide struggle for the emancipation of working class people’.

It notes that ‘he clearly sees engagement in liberal democracy as a means to an end, with a view to destroying ‘the confidence of the people in these institutions’ not propping them up or conferring legitimacy on them.

Interestingly the article argues that ‘Costello’s ‘broad front’ has been left open to various interpretations, to a certain extent, though we are able to see unequivocally what it is definitely not, i.e. namely not a pan-Nationalist type front. When Costello was proposing broad front politics in the 1970s the Republican Movement had already split along generally left-right lines, yet both movements ostensibly shared the same goal of a Socialist Republic’.

Other pieces of interest include an article on Máirtín Ó Cadhain, another criticising selective education and organising the unemployed and an intriguing piece on ‘Republican Unity’.

One interesting aspect of the publication are the footers which highlight ‘A world of injustice’ with accounts of inequality and exploitation.

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