Irish Left Archive Focalin, Issue 9, from former supporters of People’s Democracy, c.1970s/1980s March 30, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Focalín magazine from supporters of Peoples Democracy (1970s/1980s), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
To download the above please click on the following link. FOCALIN9
Focalín (“A wee word” for the odd reader of CLR who does not understand the First Language) was an Irish political satirical magazine produced in London in the late 1970s /early 1980s. The founders of the magazine were former supporters of the early Peoples Democracy and included an outstanding cartoonist.
As with the other issue this contains cartoons, a cartoon strip, newspaper cuttings and so on. It’s certainly pitched as an in joke but there are many references to broader issues in the news.
Left Archive: Marxist Leninist Weekly, December 19th, 1985, Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) – 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Internationalists in Ireland March 23, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.
This is a fascinating document from the CPI (M-L), issued on 20th Anniversary of the foundation of the Internationalists in Ireland. This saw an Internationalist Rally of Marxist Leninist Parties to celebrate the anniversary. This combined celebration over that fact with protests against the then recently signed Anglo-Irish Agreement. Both the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and that of Canada were in attendance.
As it notes:
[The Internationalists] was the forerunner organisation which made the immortal contribution in preparing the conditions for the re-establishment of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party for the working class and people of Ireland – CI (M-L).
The advance of the genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party means the advance of the working class itself, whose sole genuine political organisation and whose true class leadership this party represents.
Later in discussing the annual demonstration by ‘Spirit of Freedom’ Committee and the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) ‘have been to expose these fascist deceptions and the total violation of the democratic rights of our single and all-Ireland nation to our unity and independent and to a call on the asses of the people to coin tune the just patriotic struggle (in ongoing resurgence over the last 16 years) and the intensity and accelerate this national liberation movement, which is spear-headed against British colonial occupation of the north, as the central task and the greatest priority of the revolutionary movement of the Irish people as a whole, led by the proletariat.
It argues that:
The call of the Party has been for today’s generation to put the seal of final victory on the self-sacrifice of the countless previous generations of patriotic martyrs by finally achieving the goal they fought for so heroically – UNITY AND FREEDOM TO THE IRSH PEOPLE!
It notes that:
The street meetings and the massive postering campaign for the demonstration attracted the attention of the masses of people and the comrades of CPI (M0L) and SPirit of Freedom engaged hundred inn discussion with a most favourable reception. At one of the meetings, the ‘Free’ State organised their Gardai to launch a vicious attack in an attempt to clear the campaign against the Anglo-Irish Agreement for the streets so as to protect the monopoly of the bourgeoisie and British imperialism on the political questions in the country.
And it suggests that:
By Saturday December 7th, a great deal of public interest had been aroused in the demonstration and the bourgeoisie had decided to temporarily abandon the tactic of open attack to suppress the campaign, and fall back, instead on the ‘wall of silence’ tactic. The ‘Spirit of Freedom’ and CPI (M-L) contingent wheeled round with banners flying to take possession of the street in front of the GPO and a large crowd of several hundred people together to participate in the meeting in the street to denounce the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921 and the current Anglo-Irish Agreement, whilst the gardai ceded to stand their distance and devote most of their resources, in the form of numerous plain clothes ‘special brand’ detectives to surveillance. Their single fitful attempt to disrupt the meeting by means of a provocation by an ‘ordinary bystander’ (i.e. plainsclothespoliceman) shouting anti-communist slanders met with total opposition from the people gathered at the GPO, and this individual having been exposed, had to absent himself instead.
For the next hour and a half, the whole of one side of O’Connnell Street was blocked for traffic, whilst representative of the ‘Spirit of Freedom Committee, the Voice of the Youth Preparatory Committee for the Communist Youth Union of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), Irish Student Movement, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (our fraternal party who sent a delegation to participate..) and the CPI(M-L) made their speeches to the large and most attentive crowd who stayed throughout the whole rally. Despite the fact that this demonstration must have been witnessed by literally thousands of people in Dublin, as well as the subsequent march to the Garden of Remembrance, back down O’Connell Street to College Green beside Trinity Colelge and the Bank of Ireland, not a single word let alone a photograph, appeared in any of the bourgeois media, in recognition of the fact that such a large political manifestation had actually taken place against the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The Rally itself was held in the Junior Common Room of Trinityc College and comprised of book stalls, a photographic exhibition ‘of the activities of the Marxist-Leninists right from the early days of the Internationalists to Saturday’s demonstration against the Anglo-Irish Agreement’ and banners ‘saluting the Party of Labour of Albania and Socialist Albania, welcoming the delegations of the fraternal Marxist-Leninists parties, hailing CPI (M-L), proletarian internationalism and Marxist-Leninism. About 120 people were in attendance.
Once more the document, like others from CPI (M-L) speaks of the renunciation of “Mao Zedong Thought” ‘which had effected our party like other of the new Marxist-Leninist parties, as well as two attempts to liquidate the Party from within’. Indeed it goes further and notes in reference to ‘important assistance which our party received from the RCPB(M-L)at the time of our most serious liquidationist attack to destroy the CPI (M-L) in the period 1978-81’. Again, the Archive would be very grateful for any documents which mention those events in greater detail, or indeed any reminiscences on that topic.
As always with CPI (M-L) publications there is a clear and identifiable style. Notable is the fact all the faces in photographs have been scratched out, presumably to make identifying them more difficult.
Left Archive: Sinn Féin Today, c.1987(?), Sinn Féin March 9, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Sinn Féin, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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To download the above please click on the following link. SF TODAY
Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.
This short three page document is typewritten. It is undated, but given mention of the ‘Hillsborough Deal’ in the text it would appear to date from the late-1980s.
It suggests that:
SF has a leading role in the struggle to establish a 32 Democratic Socialist Republic. Its role is vital to achieve that goal and therefore it is just as important as the role of the volunteers engaged in armed struggle – neither can win without the other. What is this vital role that Sinn Féin has?
And it answers that question by addressing it in the context of ‘The 6 counties’, ‘The 26 counties and ‘The 32 counties’.
Notable is how it presents itself:
By its presence on the ground and in elections SF has challenged the S.D.L.P. voice as the voice representing the wishes of the nationalist people. This is of great importance in the propaganda war – and guerrilla war is really a struggle for the hearts and minds of the people – so it is vital to speak out in sport o the armed struggle.
But it also notes:
On the international level the SF electoral victories have destroyed the British strategy of criminalisation and normalisation. The Hunger Strike made this possible but without SF electoral victories the effects of the Hunger Strikes would be quickly forgotten – think back to the emotional wave that followed Bloody Sunday and how we failed to harness it.
It also suggests that ‘SF spokespersons from the 6 counties are constantly giving interviews on TV and to magazines and papers from all over the world, explaining the situation in Ireland and exposing the lies of British and Dublin propaganda about it being a sectarian conflict.’
It also argues that that ‘a no less important result of a strong SF presence on the ground in that the isolation of the IRA is made impossible’. And it suggests that ‘the presence of SF elected representatives on the Councils in the 6 Counties has effectively ended local government because of the Loyalist reaction to them’. And it further suggests that this presence destablised the British presence and ‘produced the Hillsborough Deal… [which] is an attempt to stabilise a rapidly worsening situation by drawing in the SDLP and Dublin behind the British in looking for an internal political solution… so SF has effectively destabilised the whole thing. Of course it could only have been done in the situation created and maintained by the armed struggle’.
The brief section on the 26 counties includes the following:
The net effect is to produce a more nationalist outlook even in political parties or organisations like trade unions who might have otherwise taken a Workers Party line’.
Some intriguing thoughts too on Sinn Féin in the 32 Counties, albeit truncated due to the short space afforded them.
In some respects it is an unusual document, and it is not clear if it is intended for general distribution or some internal education function. Any assistance on its provenance would be very welcome.
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To download the above please click on the following link. WOVIEWWPDOC
It’s appropriate with International Women’s Day on Sunday that we post this very welcome addition to the Archive which was donated by Áine Mannion, one of a number of documents that will be posted up over the next year, and for which many thanks.
Women’s View was a magazine produced by Sinn Féin – The Workers’ Party in the early 1980s. Designed in a news magazine format, effectively A4 in size while not full colour it did use large photographs throughout and therefore is of a piece with other publications from SFWP/WP during this period.
There’s a very broad range of articles in the magazine and it is notable for a lack of focus on the party – although as it notes on the inside page it is:
Published quarterly by the National Women’s Committee of Sinn Féin The Worker’s Party.
It also contains an article on the SFWP campaign for Divorce.
The contents includes pieces on Chilean Refugees in Ireland, Family Planning Services – A World Survey, Women and Sexuality: A feminist analysis of the Midnight Court, Women in Trade Unions and Positive Action, a report from the UN International Women’s Conference, a ‘Thumbs down for Belfast Women’s Aid’ and ‘Galway’s Big Mistake’. Contributors include Maura McInerney, Mairin de Burca, Patricia Redlich and Hilary Rock. There are book and television reviews, regular columns and news from abroad and Ireland.
Congratulations are given to Inez McCormack, who it notes ‘is the first woman to be lectd to the Executive of the ICTU’ and as it notes ‘roll on the day when the election of women to such positions will cease to be a two-day wonder’. It also notes that men were now allowed to join the previously ‘all-female Irish Women Workers’ Union’.
It notes that ‘there are no equal rights for Northern Ireland’ in relation to abortion; that in a survey of Family Planning clinics only in Ireland and Bolivia were they illegal and it notes that ‘awareness is growing that among the hazards of work for women is the persistent problem of sexual harassment’. The column ‘A Woman’s Work’ by Maire Leydon offers an insight into working conditions in West Germany for women in ‘traditional female employmetns such as small, light goods factor(ies)’ and notes:
Work began at 6 am and continued until 2 pm with a 20 minute break in the eight hours! Frequently threw as compulsory overtime and this ended at 5 pm; Because of the exploitative nature of the owners, there was no extra pay for such work. The security of immigrant workers’ employment is always precarious and the owners often intimidated the workers through this means.
Other pieces reference how Ireland had ‘declined to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’ adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979.
Left Archive: The Maynooth Model: Building a new relationship between the Labour Party and the Communities we live in – Maynooth Branch, Labour Party, c. 1987 February 23, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. MAYNOOTH DOC LP
‘…in co-operation with trade unionists, ensured that if the Council cut off people’s water for non-payment, they were re-connected with the day’ is but one interesting quote from the above document.
Many thanks to a regular reader for scanning and forwarding this remarkable document to the Archive. In eight pages it sets out a plan for engaging communities by the Labour Party. Published by the Maynooth Branch it takes lessons it believes are relevant from the experience of that branch and attempts to apply them to the broader Labour Party.
It is quite an elaborate production with cartoons (possibly sourced from Private Eye), photographs and images of the cover of documents issued by Maynooth Labour Party.
The document is divided into short sections, including; The Maynooth Branch, Beginning at the Beginning, Recruitment, Working in the Neighbourhoods and so on. It emphasises ‘Community Participation’, which includes involvement in Community Councils and Charity Walks. Interestingly it also highlights ‘Community Participation III: The Anti-Charges Campaign’:
When Kildare County Council established local service charges on water and refuse collection, this provided the Branch an opportunity to mobilise people around concrete political goals.
The Branch set up the ‘Maynooth Residents Against the Charges’ inviting all residents to an initial meeting to set up a Co-ordinating Committee.
And it notes that ‘in co-operation with trade unionists, ensured that if the Council cut off people’s water for non-payment, they were re-connected with the day’.
And that section has the following:
Whether it is long-term or ad hoc campaigns (e.g. anti-extradition referenda, a Land Tax campaign), that’s where Labour should be.
It is interesting to reflect upon how approaches like this laid a broader sentiment in regard to charges on water and refuse collection.
The leaflet concludes by noting:
Let us be clear: our socialist p;politics is not about people consuming our press statements, leaflets and public meetings bloke a better brand of soap. It is not about offering people some far-off better future. It is about intervening today in their lives – whether in the community, the workplace, the schools and hospitals – struggling with them to resolve their everyday problems. It is about getting people to participate in organising against their own oppression and for their own freedom. In this way, people will join with us to create a socialist future, every step of the way.
Left Archive: Republican Bulletin/Iris Na Poblachta: Historic Sinn Féin Declaration, Samhain – November 1986, Republican Sinn Féin February 16, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics.
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To download the above please click on the following link. RSF SAOIRSE 1986
Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.
In some respects this is a foundational document of Republican Sinn Féin outlining their declaration that while the:
‘majority of delegates to the 82nd Ard-Fheis of Sinn Féin have today voted to allow their elected representatives to recognise the 26-County Parliament at Leinster House and take part in its administration: and,
Whereas such a decision conflicts with the two fundamental principles on which the organisation is based and which are enshrined in the Constitution of Sinn Féin, vis.
“(a) That the allegiance of Irishmen and Irishwomen is due to the Sovereign Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916.
(b) That the sovereignty and unity of the Republic are inalienable and non-judicible’
We, Irish Republicans who wish to uphold the basic Republican position enshrined in the SInn Féin Constitution until today and meeting in public session declare as follows:
We renew our allegiance to the Sovereign Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916 and which was endorsed by the morality of the people of Ireland, acting as a unit, in 1918.
This is dated, 2nd of November, 1986.
The document continues by offering ‘A Portrait of Ireland’, and notes that:
The Ireland of 1986 is best by many social problems. Most of us are aware of this. We know there is material and cultural deprivation and that unemployment is at record levels, both North and South.
Those who would wish to change a lot of things in Irish society cannot plan a way ahead without first taking a hard look and making a realistic assessment of how and where we are now and how we got here. Never was the need for a radical alternative more necessary than today.
It recommends and quotes from a number of documents including Ireland: A Sociological Profile from the IPA, and perhaps more surprisingly, a paper ‘Class, Clientelism and the Political Process in The Republican of Ireland; by Ellen Hazelkorn of DIT (who was associated with the WP during this period).
There is a short piece from an editorial in the Longford Leader on ‘A Man of Honour’ noting the recent SF split, and the foundation of RSF which includes:
Martin McGuinness and his friends who wanted to end the boycott of the Dáil tried to convince their colleagues that he new proposal was not a sell out on the principles of SF up to that point. It was of course a total sellout… but in their lust for power another sellout here or there means little to Gerry Adams and his cronies’.
And it contrasts that with what it regards as ‘the one man to emerge from the SF debacle with his honour intact was Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.
There are reports on Cumann na mBan’s unwillingness to support the removal of abstentionism, a progress report on the Organising Committee and a further account of the manner in which ‘those who wished to defend the Republican position moved with speed’ at the 82nd Ard-Fheis. It also notes expressions of support from various figures in the US, including Michael Flannery.
An important addition to the Archive.
Left Archive: Sinn Féin Policy Document, c.1994 February 9, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above please click on the following link. SF POLICY DOC
Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.
This document from Sinn Féin which undated appears to have been produced around 1994 – given that it mentions both the 1992 abortion referendum and calls for the introduction ‘of divorce in the 26 counties’. 25 pages long it outlines SF policy across all areas including Women, Economy,Prisoners – Political Hostages, the European Community and so on.
It notes in the introduction that:
The prerequisite for a lasting peace in Ireland is the existence of democracy. Without democracy there can be no settlement, no economic stability, no end to injustice or part ion. The denial of national democracy creates the donations for conflict, perpetuates injustice and division and deprives the Irish people, North and South, of a free and open society in which economic prosperity and social equality can be achieved.
It argues that:
The primary task facing the Irish people today is the resolution to he national question and the establishment of an Irish democracy in which the Irish people as awhile can decide their future.
SF’s pursuit of peace through dialogue, discussion and debate, in private and in public, with a range of groups and individuals across the political and religious spectrum have borne fruit in the current national and international concentration on the issue of peace in Ireland. Most significant of all has been the dialogue between our president Gerry Adams and the SDLP leader John Hume.
In April 1992, as a result of their discussions, they issued a joint statement which accepted that the most pressing issue facing the people of Ireland and Britain today is the question of lasting peace and how it can best be achieved. The statement accepted that ‘an internal settlement is not a solution’ and that ‘the Irish people as a whole have a right to national self-determination’.
Given its publication at a pivotal time in relation to political developments on the island of Ireland this is provides a clear insight into developments in the thinking of that party.
The Coffee Circle Papers (Papers and responses from the series of political forums organised during 1998 by Democratic Left): Paper 4 – Equality and Difference February 2, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Democratic Left, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. EQUALITY SECTION DL
Many thanks to Catherine Murphy TD for donating this document to the Left Archive. Due to its length it will be posted up in individual sections over the next twelve months.
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.
Due to the length of this document it has been broken up into sections, and is being posted non-sequentially over the next year or so.
This chapter engages with the issue of Equality and Difference and is based on discussions held in Mao’s Café on International Women’s Day, 1988. There are two contributors, Kathleen Lynch of the Equality Studies Centre and a response by Orlagh O’Farrell, Lawyer and expert in equality law.
The summation is made by Deirdre O’Connell, a member of Democratic Left Women’s Committee.
The section includes two poems, one by Rita Ann Higgins and the other by Robin Morgan which were read by Ann Clune on the day of the discussions.
The papers are of considerable interest, the submission by Lynch particularly so as she offers an overview of the very term ‘Equality’. In it she argues strongly that distributive models of justice and equality are not sufficient, that it necessitates the inclusion of difference models. She also outlines concepts of ‘basic equality’, ‘liberal views of equality’, ‘focus on Juristic Forms of Equality’, ‘Women and Liberalism’ and the question as to whether ‘Radical Egalitarians have Answers?’. In this latter section she engages with various mechanisms for ‘realising equality of conditions’, many positioned in Marxism.
She concludes by suggesting that:
Equal rights of access and participation are crucial, but they may be meaningless when one finds one is allowed to participate or succeed only in lower paid ends of the labour market, or in the political work that more powerful people will not do. Hierarchies and patriarchies of wealth and power must be addressed to give substantive meaning to respect for difference’.
The response by Orlagh O’Farrell takes a different approach and focuses on two main areas. ‘The first one is that the response of men to women’s fight for equality needs to be looked at, as you really can’t get past a certain point in terms of arguing for equality without looking for a response from men. That point has now come’. Secondly she argues ‘we need to work on how to take account of the needs and situation of different groups of women. How can they be recognised and accommodated in the same political movement’. On the first she argues for a ‘kind of transition to power sharing between women and men’. For the second she argues that ‘I don’t see why specific policies cannot be designed within the broad umbrella – for unemployed women, for women in rural areas, for disabled women, for women travellers, lesbian women, for migrant women and for older women’. And she continues that ‘as a passport to economic independence for women, work is the key and work, I mean work in the formal economy, as been improving over the last number of years. It is no secret that many of these new jobs are precarious low-paid jobs.’
The summary of the discussion by Deirdre O’Connell briefly attempts to synthesise the thoughts of both contributors and notes that:
Other issues discussed were the mainstreaming of rights issues. Media major institution of ideology. Political resonance of language and other general issues of the question of democracy and equality. Relative advantage was also mentioned, to date liberal policies have advantaged the advantaged e.g. in relation to public transport.
Left Archive: Northern Policy Statement – Adopted by Annual Conference, Wexford 1972, The Labour Party January 26, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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Many thanks to Peter Mooney for donating this document to the Archive – one of many from his collection that are being reproduced here.
This document, published in 1972 by the Labour Party outlines their approach to Northern Ireland. It states on page 2 that:
The establishment of an all-Ireland Socialist Republic is the fundamental objective of the Labour Party. National Unity, is therefore, a basic objective of the party. As stated in the Party Constitution, the Labour Party affirms that the national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and territorial seas; and it accepts as part of its immediate programme the work of securing social justice and equal opportunities of fall citizens in accordance with the declaration of Democratic Principles embodied in the Proclamation of Easter 1916.
It also argues that:
Whereas other political parties in the Republic aim solely at territorial unity, the Labour Party goes further and aims at the creation of a socialist society in Ireland and the uniting of the Irish people as complementary objectives.
It also as one of its Principle’s posits that:
The Labour Party is convinced that peace and better understanding between the communities is a necessary precondition of rate achievement of both socialism and eventual unity. It therefore repudiates unequivocally any attempt to achieve a United Ireland, ‘socialist’ or otherwise, by force of arms.
And intriguingly it also argues that:
The Labour Party differs from the other forces and national a parties engaged in the struggle for national independence in that it is a democratic as well as a socialist party, totally committed to democratic methods. For that reason it rejects any attempts at usurping by violence the democratic parliamentary processes which are based on the authority of the Irish people.
There is much more, including support for a Bill of Rights and calls for the removal of security from the Stormont Government.