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Left Archive: The Troops Must Go! Pamphlet – Socialist Workers, 1994 December 30, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. troops-out-25-years-on.pdf

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

This document from the SWP from 1994 is a short but concise overview of their perspective on the the twenty fifth anniversary of the arrival of British troops on the streets of Northern Ireland.

It notes:

At 5pm on August 14th, 1969, British troops were ordered onto the streets of Derry. The next day it was the turn of Belfast. A Whitehall spokesperson said they would be out by the weekend. A quarter of a century they are still there.

It examines the Civil Rights marches, the role of the British Army in Northern Ireland, Collusion and it has a section ‘The Army Against Workers’. It examines and criticises the role of the IRA – ‘after twenty years of armed struggle it is clear that the Provo’s campaign has won nothing for most Catholics’.

It continues to call for Troops Out and argues in its conclusion in favour of The Socialist Solution.

Left Archive: The Captive Voice / An Glór Gafa, Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter 1996 December 23, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. capt-voice-wint-1996-lr.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

As noted here with the previous edition of The Captive Voice this publication is a unique addition to the Archive. As the preface of that edition notes:

The Captive Voice/An Glór Gafa is a quarterly magazine written in its entirety by Irish Republican POWs currently being held in Ireland, England, Europe and the US. It is publish by Sinn Féin’s POW Department. Irish republicans have always recognised that resistance to British misrule does not end upon their arrest. The battles to be fought and the tactics to be employed may change but the enemy remains the same.

As the editorial notes:

The establishment of this jail journal is a tribute not only to our families, friends and comrades… but also a clear recognition that we are what we are – poetical prisoners, unbroken in our deep rooted desire for freedom.

And it continues:

The Captive Voice affords us a platform and an opportunity to present in print our views on those toupees and issues which affect daily livfe both inside and outside of the jails. The magazine contains political analyses of current national and international affairs, culture, short stories, poetry and the latest updates on prison-related campaigns and issues. Satire and humour can also be found whiting the special features, cartoons and artwork illustrations.

Interestingly the next page carries a message from the POWs which notes:

Although Britain seeks to use prisoners as political hostages, we refuse to be victims of this strategy. This is clearly illustrated by our participation in cultural struggle, as outlined by several articles in this magazine. We remain political activist, committed to fundamental constitutional change and a negotiated settlement.

The range of the articles within is very wide with reports from women prisoners, pieces on the history of internment, the RUC and the South African peace process and including one covering the visit of author Helen Lewis to Long Kesh to speak about her book ‘Time to Speak’. Lewis was from a Jewish family in Czechoslovakia and after being sent to the Terezin ghetto by the Nazi’s later was imprisoned in Auschwitz.

Left Archive: The Coffee Circle Papers – Beyond the Parish Pump: Internationalism Today, Democratic Left, 1998 December 16, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. internationalism-dl-coffee-table.pdf

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Many thanks to Catherine Murphy TD for donating this document to the Left Archive. The document has been posted as the specific chapters which can be found here. As noted previously:

This document [published on foot of a series of meetings] is unusual in respect of the Irish left in that it sought to challenge fairly directly the assumptions held by a political formation. That formation, Democratic Left, less than a decade old had recently left government after Fianna Fáil had won the 1997 General Election. It had also shed two seats from its complement of six TDs.

Twenty pages long, this chapter engages with internationalism. It covers ‘Main Issues’, those being Socialism and Internationalism, Thinking Globally, Socialism and the European Union, What role for the UN? What force for democratic Socialists.

A Paper by Philip O’Connor of the International Committee of Democratic Left encompassing the above is included as is a response from Mary Van Lieshout of Oxfam.

Then there is a Summary of discussion by Triona Dooney, of the DL Executive Committee.

There is far too much content to give anything other than a taste of the submission. O’Connor argues that ‘from the socialist point of view there has only been one major change of relevance in capitalism since World War One forcing the socialist movement to change its tactics; the emergence of the reformable state. The socialist anti-war movement collapsed in 1914 not due to ‘betrayal’ by its leaders, but because the German labour movement, the backbone fo the International, decried that if its choice was between the destruction of its advanced welfare state in favour of the primeval Russian Empire and the British aim of dividing, weakening and hence dominating Europe – it would defend its state.

He also argues that ‘The UN is a vaguely useful forum, and it is worth constantly trying to reform it and its instruments. It is certainly not the ‘international community’ and is a parody of ‘world government’. Too much should not be expected of it. Remember it was created not to maintain peace but to subject world development to the total control of the small group of empires and powers which had ‘won’ the Second World War.

He continues that:

Blanket human rights do not exist though they are a worthy aspiration. The issue of child labour is a classic case in point and should be approached on a case-by-case basis. A similar situation is that of China and its attempt to modernise without facing the chaos that is destroying Russia.

Van Lieshout strongly disagrees with O’Connor’s analysis in a number of areas – for example ‘I have difficulty with Philip’s promotion of ‘cultural relativism’ on the issue of human rights. She also argues he ‘grossly underestimates the damage wreaked by conflict’ and that there is an ‘absence of an appreciation of the scale of the crisis of poverty which grips the world today’.

The discussion was wide-ranging and this was one thought…

Existing international institution such as IMF and G7 are not controllable by progressive forces; alternatives have to be developed but first we need a clear understanding of what we wish them to do.

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.

Left Archive: Left Archive: Public Housing on Public Land! Irish Section of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), October 2019 December 9, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. scan0002-3.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature for forwarding this to the Archive.

This document is of particular use since it can be used to open a new section of the Archive for future documents from the Irish Section of the CWI which is another group that has emerged from the Socialist Party this year, like RISE (who are already in the Archive).

The leaflet notes the current housing crisis and argues that this is ‘the fault of Ireland’s capitalist class and their political lackeys in the Dáil’. It notes the council house building programme of the 1970s and calls for a renewed programme like that. It strongly attacks racism and argues that ‘We need a revolution to overthrow the current corrupt system’. And it also invites readers to join the Irish Section of the CWI.

For an outline of the events that led to this point from the perspective of the Irish Section here is the statement from them this Autumn.

STATEMENT ON THE REFOUNDING OF THE IRISH SECTION OF THE COMMITTEE FOR A WORKERS INTERNATIONAL (CWI).

Drogheda,

20 October 2019

By

Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) IRELAND

BACKGROUND

The Irish section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) was refounded at a conference on Sunday 20th October.

In refounding the Irish section of the CWI we base ourselves on the principles embodied in the first four congresses of the Communist International, the world conferences of the fourth International and the documents, programme and methods of the CWI since it was established in 1974.

At a time when capitalism has self-evidently exhausted its productive capacity on a global scale, cannot meet the needs of the majority of humanity and threatens the total rupture of humanity’s interrelationship with nature, we reaffirm the CWI’s Trotskyist orientation towards the working class as the agent of revolutionary change.

MILITANT SOCIALISM

Those who participated in the refounding conference have either been expelled from, or left, the Socialist Party in recent weeks.

We have refounded the CWI in Ireland because of our opposition to the break by the current Socialist Party leadership from the policies, programme and democratic methods that have been a hallmark of the CWI for five decades.

Underlining this departure was the decision of the leadership to support the breakaway grouping from the CWI in August of this year. We refused to join this new international grouping, known as World Socialist Alternative (WSA), and remain committed members of the Committee for a Workers’ International.

At a Special Conference of the Socialist Party on 21/22 September a motion was passed, aimed at us, which said: “Membership of another international other than the CWI [WSA] is in contradiction to membership of the SP [Socialist Party]” This ultimatum means that unless we joined the WSA and left the CWI we could not remain members of the Socialist Party.

ORIGINS OF THE SPLIT

The conference followed a year-long debate inside the Socialist Party and the CWI that exposed a growing chasm of irreconcilable political differences.

The use of undemocratic methods of a serious nature against internal opponents by the Socialist Party leadership triggered a profound crisis within Ireland and the CWI internationally. These actions represented a fundamental breach with democratic centralist practice.

September’s special conference, and the run-up to it, was a travesty of democratic procedure and debate. We regret that the undemocratic methods that triggered this crisis were decisively endorsed by a majority of the delegates at that conference.

We note that Paul Murphy TD and a number of other long standing comrades have since decided to leave the Socialist Party to form a new organisation. Unfortunately, this new organisation, Rise, also represents an opportunist break from a consistent Marxist policy and programme and does not offer a way forward for the working class and young people.

SOCIALIST PROGRAMME

In our view the key division is rooted in the party leadership no longer being prepared to argue consistently for a socialist programme.

Increasingly there has been a tendency to advocate only piecemeal reforms to the capitalist system. There was a failure to explain the need for the working class and a socialist government to publicly own and control the main industries and banks and run them democratically as part of a socialist plan.

In the 2018 Repeal referendum – during which we enthusiastically campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote – the main leaflets produced by the leadership failed to link the fight for abortion rights to the need for free and universal healthcare, state-provided free childcare and a living wage for working class women.

This tendency to reflect back existing views in society and not use elections and campaigns to raise the need for decisive socialist change was challenged by us throughout the debate.

Wider disagreements which became apparent during the debate included the leadership’s failure to take a clear socialist stance in opposition to the neo-liberal European Union, the threat of a hard border in Ireland, and their increasingly imbalanced position in regard to the National Question.

IDENTITY POLITICS

The Socialist Party leadership has also adapted to ‘Identity Politics’, which recklessly promotes differences and enhances ‘separatism’ within the working class and middle layers. In essence, this meant giving up on our long-standing policy that all forms of oppression should be confronted through the unity of the working class and all oppressed groups fighting together to end capitalism.

The recent 2019 European election campaign for Dublin saw the party put forward in its main poster the slogan of a “Socialist Feminist Voice for Europe”. The effect of this was to limit the appeal of the campaign and this contributed to a collapse in the vote compared to previous Euro elections.

Solidarity also, unfortunately, lost a majority of its council seats in the last local elections. This was, in large part, the reflection of a loss of confidence in the Socialist Party by working class communities.

It is our position that the leadership of the Socialist Party, over a number of years, turned from the working class and ceased to affirm its centrality as the only force in society capable of defeating capitalism. This represents a decisive and dangerous break from Trotskyism and Marxism.

TRADE UNIONS

The turn from the working class was most clearly demonstrated by the absence of consistent work by the Party in the South in the trade unions over a number of years.

Again, this was in complete contrast to the practice and policy of our Party and the CWI over previous decades. We have always defended the idea that the organised working class are the agents of history through which socialist change will be achieved. To us, it is self-evident that socialists must be active in the mass organisations of the working class, fighting for them to become fully democratic, combative unions.

And yet this principle was abandoned by the party leadership and their supporters. A large number of trade union activists who are members of the Socialist Party also made clear their opposition to the leadership during the debate and have since left the party. This includes the majority of Socialist Party members who hold elected positions within the workers’ movement.

The conclusions we drew, with regret, were that the Socialist Party leadership in Ireland has broken from the methods and policy upon which our movement was built. They have moved in an opportunist and rightward direction away from Marxism. They are moving towards ideas that offer no way forward for the working class and young people who seek a way out of the destructive future offered by capitalism.

We remain committed to building a serious Marxist organisation, orientated towards youth and the working class, in Ireland and internationally. In so doing, we recognise the need to work with others, in a principled manner, including our former comrades.

We will continue campaigning on that proud heritage – begun in earnest in Derry during the civil rights struggle, fifty years ago – for working class unity and socialism, North and South. We will be affiliated to the Committee for a Workers’ International, as we have been since its formation in 1974, and will continue that work going forward.

We appeal to those interested in discussing with us to contact us at:

cwi.ireland@yahoo.com

Left Archive: Official Republicans Meet in Dublin: A Step Forward for the Irish Vanguard, Gerry Foley, Intercontinental Press, January 22, 1973 November 25, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. foley2.pdf

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Thanks to Jim Monaghan for forwarding this to the Archive.

This short piece adds to the collection of articles and publications written by Gerry Foley. In this one he discusses the Official Republican convention in December 1972 in Dublin. He writes:

Irish republicanism is unique. It is a traditional movement that continues the age-old struggle against the social relations introduced by the conquest of Ireland, a fight so ancient that its motivations are more instinctive than conscious. It combines bits and pieces of contradictory philosophies and outlooks whose implications have never been developed in a consistent way.

And he notes the 800 delegates and visitors at the convention in the Mansion House. He suggests that the outlook was more ‘international’ and the ‘sale of political literature… seemed to have been expanded’ with books by American Trotskyists, including his own.

This snapshot of a movement at a time of expansion and optimism is striking. He quotes the treasurers report mentioning, ‘plans for the building [Dublin HQ] includ[ing] a modern walk-around bookshop, new offices for the United Irishman and SF Secretariat. A Library room… a room for press conferences, and Cumainn meetings’.

He also suggests that ‘in the area of political analysis important progress has been registered in breaking with conceptions that proved one-sided or overly rigid in the past’.

He notes that ‘condemnations of the ‘Provisional Alliance’ have ‘become almost a ritual in OSF’ and ‘serve no rational purpose’. And he points to this being ‘essentially moralistic, metaphysical absolutism’ which ‘weakens the militant nationalist current in general’ and ‘poison discussions and introduced an atmosphere of dogmatism and suspicion. In particular, blaming all the defeats of the past year on the Provisionals is unpleasantly reminiscent of the Stalinist practices of looking for traitors when things go wrong. A more materialistic analysis would be to analyse objectively the factors that enabled the Provisionals to grow and to play the ‘disastrous’ role Mac Giolla ascribes to them, especially the errors of the Official movement that contributed to the growth of the rival grouping’.

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.

Left Archive: Wake Up, Act Now – Extinction Rebellion, Autumn 2019 November 11, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. xr-2019.pdf

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Many thanks to Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature for forwarding this document to the Archive. A short leaflet produced and distributed by Extinction Rebellion during recent demonstrations – one slight caveat, this may have been produced by XR in the UK, but is not badged as such and the tone is generalised rather than location specific.

In twelve pages it covers considerable ground under various headings ‘Truth Now’, ‘Change Now’, ‘The Time is Now’ and ‘Everybody Now’.

All of us, the ones we love and every other living thing on our planet, are threatened by the climate and ecological emergency. Extinction Rebellion are trying to prevent this and you can help. We need everybody to take action – right now.

And it warns:

Societal collapse
The combined escalation of all these issues puts societies under threat. In the words of David Attenborough: “the collapse of our civilisations is on the horizon”.
For many people across the world these problems are already a reality. Even in the rich world, we face imminent and growing danger. We a re the last generation who can act to fight this crisis – it’s now or never.

It paints a picture of environmental collapse and argues that:

We’re not simply acting in our own interests, we’re acting for all humanity and future generations. We act out of love for our planet and all life on it and we appeal to you to join with us. We need everybody now.

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.

Left Archive: Workers and the Celtic Tiger – Why Partnership Doesn’t Pay, Kieran Allen, Socialist Workers Party, 1999 November 4, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. workers-and-the-celtic-tiger.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

Published in 1999 by the Socialist Workers Party and written by Kieran Allen, it engages with the position of workers during the Celtic Tiger years. Carolan Duggan, shop steward and Vice President of SIPTU writes in the Introduction that while big business sings the parses of the Celtic Tiger:

It is a very different story for workers. Politicians say that we should be grateful for the jobs and the new buzz. However, employers should be grateful to us because it is our labour that has created this boom – even though we are seeing little of it.

And:

One statistic tells the whole story. In 1987 when Charles Haughey first agreed the Programme for National Recovery with the top union leaders, the same of the national economy going to profits, interests and dividends was 31%. The share going to wages, pensions and social security – in other words the working class – was 69%. Ten years later this has changed. The share of the national cake going to unearned income has increased to 41%. The share going to working people has decreased to 59%.

In a series of short chapters the document engages with Pay: How Workers Have Lost Out, Tax Cuts Galore, Business Unionism or Fighting Unions? And Why the Union leaders Love Partnership amongst others. It concludes:

The lords of poverty who run this system are tightly organised. They have their press, their army, their politicians who are bought. If we are to win our side has to be equally organised into a party that can move as one to defeat the employers and their system.

Left Archive: Pre-Budget Statement by United Left Alliance – 2013 October 28, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. ula-budget.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature for this document.

This statement, issued by the United Left Alliance in 2013 has a broad scope, seeking to critique previous budgets by successive governments of the state and offer an alternative. It covers areas such as the ‘debt’, the USC, a wealth tax and a Financial Transactions Tax in various sections.

The Executive Summary notes:

The ULA proposes a socialist alternative to the budget proposals of the government and the other parties in the Dáil. We say that those who are responsible for the crisis should pay for it, not those who are the social and economic victims – the ordinary working people of Ireland.

And:

We propose to take the burden of the crisis off working people, improve their lives and revive the Irish economy. This can only be done by taking the decision-making of the banks and finance houses out of the hands of management whose only goal is profit; and embarking on a major public investment program. If the current investment rate of 10% of GDP (EU average is 18.5%) continues, Ireland will become an economic backwater with impoverishment for generations and run down public services. Only a reversal of current policies can stop that.

And:

As part of democratic public control of the banks, mortgages should be written down. There should be increased lending to domestic small business. The state however, must invest in public infrastructure including schools, hospitals, water, public transport, energy and state-built housing. The privatisation of state-owned enterprises and utilities must stop; our natural resources must be nationalised and the public service cuts of recent years reversed.

The document is 34 pages long and it concludes:

In putting forward these proposals, the ULA is attempting to show that contrary to the repeated claims of government, the ‘Troika’ and economic “experts” the resources do exist to provide an alternative to the policies of austerity, cut-backs and privatisation.
However, such alternative policies cannot be implemented and will not be successful without a radical challenge by the people of this country and the people’s of Europe to an economic system that prioritises profit over people.
In offering these alternative economic proposals, the ULA pledges itself to expend every effort to play its part in building a Europe-wide and international movement of workers, the unemployed, young people and pensioners to challenge the failed doctrine of austerity and private profit.

Irish Left Archive: Reclaim the Republic – Éirígí, 2006 October 21, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. reclaim_republic_campaign.pdf

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Many thanks to Alan Kinsella of IEL for this, a document from 2006 which engages with the 1916 Proclamation and asks:

So in 2006, do we the people have ownership of Ireland?
Has Britain withdrawn from our country?
Are all the children of the nation cherished equally, or do those with money and power get preferential treatment?
What is the unfinished business to be completed before the Republic envisioned in the Proclamation can be established?

It encourages citizens to display it ‘with Pride’ and that it should be hang in ‘every home, workplace and school in the country’. And it notes that Éirígí are distributing poster sized copies.

The leaflet also notes that:

éirígí is a Dublin based Socialist Republican campaigns group. We believe that a genuine all Ireland Republic can only be brought about by implementing the political programme set out in the 1916 Proclamation. This requires an end to the British occupation of part of our national territory and the creation of a society based on the fundamental principles of liberty, justice and equality for all citizens.

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.

Left Archive: Revolution in Italy, Irish Socialist Network, 2000s October 14, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. pcipamphlet.pdf0

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature for this document. Produced by the Irish Socialist Network is a little different to many posted here. It seeks to examine the social and political changes that took place in Italy between 1943 and 1948. If anyone knows what the date of publication was we’d be very grateful.

It argues that ‘Although not as well known, the abortive revolution of these years can be compared with the upheavals of the Russian revolution or the Spanish Civil War. The ultimate defeat of the Italian movement can still tell us a lot about the failure of the socialist movement in the twentieth century – and how we can avoid repeating that failure.’

And:

The resistance to fascism in Italy was spearheaded by the parties of the Left, above all the Italian Communist Party (PCI). The Mussolini regime began to crumble in March 1943 when factory workers in the northern cities took
part in a strike wave that mobilised 100,000 workers. Nothing of the sort had ever been seen in a fascist state.

It considers various aspects including the way in which the PCI and Palmiro Togliatti placed national liberation and the destruction of fascism ahead of revolution – and argues that while this dovetailed with the Soviet analysis ‘Having witnessed shattering defeats for the Left in Italy, Germany and Spain, the PCI leader was extremely cautious and averse to risk-taking of any sort.
He was unwilling to sanction any moves to challenge the Italian social structure as long as the country was under Allied occupation, fearing that the PCI would be driven underground once again.’

There is an outline of how ‘the old order’ fought back, including the rise of the Christian Democrats. It also considers the manner in which a mass party was built, arguing act by 1947 when the PCI had two million members it had achieved that status. But it also critiques the PCI for not supporting land occupations and in so doing losing an opportunity to establish a base in the South.

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.

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