jump to navigation

ILA Podcast #20: David Costelloe: Irish Military and Revolutionary History March 15, 2021

Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
4 comments
Direct download:
Mp3 format (53.18 MB)
Ogg format (46.66 MB)

In this episode we talk to David Costelloe. David writes on history and politics on his website Never Felt Better , and in particular has written an extensive series of articles on Irish military history entitled “Ireland’s Wars”, which spans from the earliest recorded conflicts on the island right up to the revolutionary period.

We discuss with David his background and interest in history and in writing, and what led him to create the site and write about military history, before delving in to that history itself and David’s perspective on Irish revolutionary history in particular.

The Ireland’s Wars series of articles is indexed here.


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

ILA Podcast #19: Brian Hanley: Socialist Workers’ Movement, 1980s and 90s March 1, 2021

Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
17 comments
Direct download:
Mp3 format (58.71 MB)
Ogg format (49.67 MB)

In this episode we talk to Brian Hanley about his experience of Left activism as a member of the Socialist Workers Movement (SWM) in the late 1980s and early 90s. We discuss the cultural and political influences that led him to join the SWM as a teenager in Limerick; the nature and political position of the organisation at that time; the experience of being an active member; and how the SWM changed and grew during that period.

Brian is a historian in Trinity College Dublin. We’ve spoken to him previously in that capacity on the podcast in episode 13, where we discussed The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party, which Brian co-authored.

Below are some links that might interest listeners in the context of this episode:

Brian provided a few additional clarifications to the discussion below:

Thanks again to Aonghus and Ciarán for the opportunity to do this. A couple of things struck me afterwards which maybe I wasn’t very clear on. The first one is that while the SWM in general was quite poor on Irish working class history, one big exception was a concentration on James Connolly. Bookmarks republished an edition of Labour in Irish History in 1987, with an introduction by Kieran Allen and in 1990 Kieran Allen’s own The Politics of James Connolly was published. In between public meetings on the politics of Connolly were routine. Amazing that I’d forgotten that really. One other home produced pamphlet that I recall was Goretti Horgan’s Why Irish Women must have the right to choose [see here for the 2002 reprint of this in the archive] which we sold loads of during the X Case period.

A couple of technical points, that might be lost on a ‘younger’ audience was that postering involved going out with buckets of paste and plastering up posters on anything that didn’t move. You postered until the paste or posters ran out, or you were stopped by the Guards. Generally they took the posters and your name, though I was never fined. Uniformed Guards usually couldn’t care less what the posters were about (as long as it wasn’t about them), but the Special Branch could give you more hassle.

The various trips to Marxism in London were by bus and boat, which if there was a few of you could mean a good drink on the ferry and trying to sleep until you got to Victoria. The Irish Marxism weekend was held in November at the Institute of Education in Mountjoy Square. Again it was a chance for people from across the country to get together. One year there was a football match between Dublin and a ‘rest of Ireland’ selection on one of the all-weather pitches across the road from the event. That was never repeated either because it was considered too frivolous or because we were all (with a couple of exceptions, including a current TD) fairly crap. It probably comes across anyway, but there was a high turnover of members with lots of people joining and leaving fairly consistently. On a less nostalgic note, if you were considered a dissident or critic your every failure would be pounced on, while people considered useful or loyal could get away with a lot more. I think that’s the nature of these type of parties to be honest.


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

ILA Podcast #18: Danny Morrison: Sinn Féin, An Phoblacht / Republican News, and Political and Fiction Writing February 15, 2021

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
3 comments
Direct download:
Mp3 format (52.27 MB)
Ogg format (46.49 MB)

In this episode we talk to Danny Morrison. Danny is a writer and Republican political activist from West Belfast. He was national director of publicity for Sinn Féin in the 1980s, and editor, first, of the Sinn Féin paper Republican News in Belfast, and then of An Phoblacht when the two papers were merged. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction works. He is also secretary of the Bobby Sands Trust, and was chair of the West Belfast festival, Féile an Phobail, until 2014.

Danny was spokesperson for Bobby Sands during the 1981 hunger strikes and subsequently called for a dual strategy of armed struggle and electoral politics in Sinn Féin. He was elected on an abstentionist ticket to the 1982 Northern Ireland Assembly. In 1990, he was charged and imprisoned in connection with the abduction of an IRA informer, and released in 1995. The charges were later overturned in 2008.

Danny’s books include Then the Walls Came Down, based on his prison letters, and the novels West Belfast, On The Back of the Swallow, The Wrong Man, which he later adapted as a play, and Rudi. He is also a regular reviewer and political commentator in newspapers.

We discuss Danny’s background and analysis of the political landscape during the Troubles; his work with Sinn Féin and as editor of Republican News and An Phoblacht; and his work as a writer, and how his creative work is informed by his experience and politics.

You’ll find more information on Danny’s writing and regular articles on his website at dannymorrison.com .


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

ILA Podcast #16: Laura Broxson: National Animal Rights Association (NARA) January 18, 2021

Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
8 comments
Direct download:
Mp3 format (40.55 MB)
Ogg format (34.03 MB)

In this episode we talk to Laura Broxson. Laura is an activist focused on animal rights and founder of the National Animal Rights Association (NARA). NARA is a non-hierarchical organisation, taking a radical animal rights and vegan perspective. We’ll discuss how Laura came to activism and founding NARA; the anti-fur and hare-coursing campaigns in which she’s been involved; different methods of campaigning, from street protest to legislative change; cooperation and interaction with Left parties and organisations; and how Laura integrates animal rights campaigning in a wider anti-fascist, anti-capitalist and Left perspective.

For more information on the National Animal Rights Association, you can visit their website at naracampaigns.org .


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

The French Revolution and the Irish Struggle, lecture by Seán Ó Brádaigh, Longford Branch, National Graves Association and RSF, 1989 November 9, 2020

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
add a comment

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This short document printed by the Longford Branch of the National Graves Association reprints a lecture given by Seán Ó Brádaigh in Dublin on 21st January, 1989, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the first Dáil and explores links between ‘Irish and French Republicans – ‘Partners in Revolution’ 200 Years Ago’.

The last two pages of the document contains a short piece entitled ‘Start Talking About Irish Republicanism’ (STAIR) which argues that: ‘The present death, bloodshed and suffering being endured by the people of the six occupied counties can be trrced to the partition of our country by Britain’ and exhorts people to join STAIR which it describes as a ‘sub-committee of the Dublin Comhairle Ceantair, Sinn Féin Poblachtach’.

The conclusion is particularly notable:

As Irish Republicans we are all in the tradition of Tone and the United Irishmen. That tradition was born of an Irish separatism which was given a new direction and new lease of life by the inspiration of the events of 1789 in France. The generous ideas of the First French Republic born in blood 200 years ago, are part of an inheritance which has inspired very generation of Irish people since then and inspires us today.

And:

We are children of Ireland, but we are also, as Irish Republicans ‘infants de la patria’ because the school of Irish Republicanism is a Franco-Irish school and we have all been there. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity are noble ideal which still inspire us and for which we still struggle, both North and South of the British-created border.

Please note: We accept scanned files in good faith. However if files have been posted for or to other online archives previously we would appreciate if we could be informed of that. We are keen to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

ILA Podcast #14: John Goodwillie: Young Socialists, Socialist Labour Alliance, SWM, Socialist Labour Party, Gralton magazine and the Green Party November 2, 2020

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
9 comments
Direct download:
Mp3 format (52.36 MB)
Ogg format (44.01 MB)

In this episode we talk to John Goodwillie. John is a long-time political activist, who has been involved in a number of progressive parties and organisations. He was a member of Labour in the 1960s and belonged to the Young Socialists, Socialist Labour Action Group and subsequent Socialist Labour Alliance. He was involved with the Socialist Workers’ Movement (SWM) in the 1970s, and joined the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) when the SWM merged with that party as a tendency, and remained on the National Executive until the SLP’s dissolution.

John was on the editorial board of Gralton magazine. He has also participated in a number of campaign groups, including the Dublin Clean Seas Group, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) – on the executive of which John served in various roles – and the National Lesbian and Gay Federation. Since 1990 he has been a member of the Green Party, and was the party’s candidate in Dublin South Central for Dáil and local elections through the 1990s. He has been involved in policy formation and served as Secretary of the Party’s Policy Council.

We discuss the history of Irish Left organisations since the 1960s and John’s own political trajectory: from Labour in the 1960s, through organisations seeking to form a party of the Left. We also discuss Gralton magazine and John’s political activity in the 1980s and in the Greens since 1990.

John created a ‘family tree of the left’ diagram, which provided an overview of the splits, merges and relationships between organisations on the Irish Left, printed in Gralton in 1983. It was an online copy of this which inspired the creation of the Timeline of the Irish Left on our own website – John’s diagram gave us a starting basis for it, and we are indebted to John both for that and for subsequent suggestions and corrections to the initial version.

The Gralton Family Tree of the Left, by John Goodwillie. From Gralton magazine, 1983. (Image from DublinOpinion.com)
The Gralton Family Tree of the Left, by John Goodwillie. From Gralton magazine, 1983. (Image from DublinOpinion.com)

Some materials in the archive may be of interest to listeners in the context of the discussion.

From the fourth issue of The Worker, the aims of the Socialist Workers’ Movement (SWM):

SWM - What we stand for

The Fintan Lalor branch of the Labour party mentioned in the podcast was expelled in 1971. Listeners may be interested in this article from Labour News Bulletin announcing the expulsion:

Labour News Bulletin, July 1971, on the dissolution of the Fintan Lalor branch and expulsion of Paddy Healy for membership of the Socialist Labour Alliance.
Labour News Bulletin, July 1971, on the dissolution of the Fintan Lalor branch and expulsion of Paddy Healy for membership of the Socialist Labour Alliance.

Gralton magazine was published in 1982-83. This is the first issue of the magazine: Gralton, No. 1 .


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

Left Archive: Red & Black Revolution, Issue 14 – 2008, Workers Solidarity Movement November 2, 2020

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
2 comments

To download the above please click on the following link. redblack-rev-no-14-2008.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

This document is here on the WSM website, but we like to have at least one sample of a publication from an organisation, party or formation in the Archive, even if hosted elsewhere, in order to build a representative sample of their output. We scanned this in (and many thanks to SM for donating a copy for same and the WSM for letting us repost it).

This twenty two page document dating from 2008 is one of a series of this particular publication. It is, as is usual with WSM related materials, designed and printed to a good quality. There is a range of articles contained within including an interview with Larry Wheelock, an assessment of Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction, a piece entitled ‘How free can you be if you can’t even control your own body?’ and a book review.

The publication notes that:

Like most publications of the Left, Red and Black Revolution is not a profit making venture. It exists in order to spread ideas and contribute to the process of changing the world.

And it suggests that readers, if they would like to help, could subscribe, or take copies of the issue to see, and that they are ‘always looking for bookshops or stalls that will see this magazine on a commercial basis’. Notably it gives permission to revolutionary publications to reprint articles.

There’s also a piece on the history of the Workers Solidarity Movement.

Please note: If files have been posted for or to other online archives previously we would appreciate if we could be informed of that. We always wish to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

ILA Podcast #13: Brian Hanley: The Lost Revolution – The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party October 26, 2020

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
31 comments
Direct download:
Mp3 format (52.32 MB)
Ogg format (45.39 MB)

In this episode we talk to historian Brian Hanley about The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party, the book which he co-authored with Scott Millar, published in 2009. We discuss the history of Official Republicanism from the move to the Left in the 1960s up to the contemporary, and how Brian and Scott went about researching and writing the history of that movement.

Brian Hanley is Assistant Professor in Twentieth Century Irish History in the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin. His other books include The IRA, 1926-1936 (2002), A Documentary History of the IRA, 1916-2005 (2010) and The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland, 1968-79: boiling volcano? (2018).

The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party is published by Penguin .


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

ILA Podcast #12: Informal Archives, From Print to Digital, Local Government, and Left Organisations October 19, 2020

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
add a comment
Direct download:
Mp3 format (31.32 MB)
Ogg format (28.06 MB)

We’ve been very lucky in the podcast so far to have had guests from a range of political activity, including elected representatives; campaigners, organisers and activists; and people involved in archiving political material.

In this episode we discuss clips from each of those guests to illustrate four themes that have come up so far: the role of informal archives; the shift from print to digital publication, and consequently digital organising; the benefits and the limitations of local government seats; and the nature and diversity of Left organisations.

Thanks to everyone who has listened so far! We’ve more guests lined up in the coming weeks.


If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

Left Archive: Hands off Seán Russell, leaflet, Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland, 2020 October 19, 2020

Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
11 comments

To download the above please click on the following link.

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

This document is from a relatively newly formed group, Anti-Imperialist Action, Ireland. A panel on the reverse side notes:

Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland is an All-Ireland Socialist Republican mass-organisation dedicated to combat and resist British, EU and US imperialism on the island of Ireland. AIA owes its allegiance to the All-Ireland People’s Republic; Proclaimed in Arms in Dublin 1916 and established on January 21st 1919.

Campaigning since 2017, AIA is building a People’s Resistance and bring all progressive forces into a united front against fascism, capitalism and imperialism. As a revolutionary socialist republican organisation, AIA continues in the best traditions of Irish Republicanism and the International Communist movement. As an All-Ireland body the organisation has coistí, events and actions across the country. If there’s isn’t a coiste in your area get in touch and form one!

The leaflet argues:

There will be few in the Fairview area that are not aware that recently the Sean Russell Monument in Fairview Park, had once again been defaced. Painted with the colours of an LGBTQ flag, it has certainly confused republicans given that Russell and his comrades were not known for the targeting of homosexuals. The use then of a form of the Gay Pride colours in the attack is nonsensical, displaying the apparent ignorance of the perpetrators who do not speak on behalf of the LGBTQ community. The reality is that this stunt has provided a useful gift to the right and far-right in Ireland that seeks influence through dividing the working classes and questions remain over whether it were these forces that are responsible. Supporting this suspicion is the fact that the rainbow flag in question was painted upside down.

And:

Taking their cue from Varadkar, members of Ireland’s disparate fascist movement have, in recent months, been posing at monuments to Ireland’s patriot dead for photo opportunities to put up on social media.

And it continues:

The Sean Russell monument after all, is one that is dedicated to the IRA in the dark days of the 30s and 40s and requires some respect. Naturally then, Irish Republicans will not allow the current crop of Irish fascists to claim our monuments or our patriot dead, or indeed to associate themselves with the revolutionary struggle for national liberation and an All­ Ireland Socialist Republic. It was the Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur who once warned, “It’s got to be one of the most basic principles of living: always decide who your enemies are for yourself, and never let your enemies choose your enemies for you. “

The leaflet is particularly notable for appearing during the pandemic when many forms of political expression and activity have been curtailed.


Any other documents issued by AIA are very welcome. Their website is here.

%d bloggers like this: