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Left Archive: Workers Party, John Lowry and Paddy Woodworth debate – Excerpt from Making Sense No. 21, March/April 1991 September 16, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. election-leaflet069.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This is an excerpt from the March/April edition of Making Sense from the Workers Party. It constitutes part of an exchange between Paddy Woodworth and John Lowry of the WP – following on from an article Woodworth wrote in the previous edition, Making Sense No.20 (see here).

In this one Lowry argues that Woodworth’s piece was ‘timely, although misleading, and at times highly inaccurate contribution to the debate on the future of the WP’. And he suggests that this was misleading because it conformed to ‘the stereotyped picture of the party painted in the columns of Magill and the Sunday Tribune – that of a secretive communist organisation with a hidden agenda’.

Lowry continues that ‘it is highly pejorative to view the WP as an integral component fo the international communist movement, pledged to an unquestioning acceptance of a Soviet model and forms of organisation. In 1989 the communist world movement collapsed so therefore the WP must accept all the implications and consequences of that, so the argument goes. That is not the history of the WP, and failure to recognise this only distorts the terms and parameters of our present necessary debate.

He states:

The WP has a different and unique history from that of the orthodox communist movement. It is one that is deeply rooted in Ireland’s revolutionary republican tradition.

And he argues that after reappraisal in the 1960s there was a decision ‘by the IRA to create a party of the working class in Ireland’. He notes that international links were forged but that ‘it was not until 1983, in fact, that the WP established formal relations with any eastern bloc party – the CPSU’. He defends democratic centralism (in part arguing that Seamus Costello sought to ‘divert the party away from its course’ and that democratic centralism ‘was accepted by the members of the party as the best means of securing their rights and wishes’).

He further takes Woodworth to task for finding fault in WP condemnations about the Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Féin, suggesting this is ‘exactly the return with which we have become so familiar from sections fo the so-called Irish left and FF, who can barely hide their ambivalence boards the Provo’.

He suggests that ‘the WP never had nor has any intention of hiding or denying its past’ and ‘it has only been the consistent and unflinching WP condemnations of the Provos which have exposed the true nature of the beast when all around us others were attempting to make excuses for them’.

He argues that the WP is ‘a modern democratic socialist party’ and ‘the idea that we are a communist party in the Soviet mould is a mistaken one’.

If anyone has the full edition and would be prepared to forward it for scanning we would be very grateful.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Left Archive: Anarchist News, Workers Solidarity Movement, October 1997 September 9, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. Anarchist News, No. 14

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This edition of Anarchist News is the second in the Archive. Produced by the WSM, as the Archive notes:

The Workers’ Solidarity Movement was established in 1984 by a number of small anarchist groups and unaligned individuals who sought to establish a national anarchist organisation. It has taken active roles in several campaigns, notably for abortion rights and against water charges in the 1990s. It publishes the paper Workers Solidarity and the magazine Irish Anarchist Review.

It engages direction with racism against both asylum seekers and Travellers and argues:

A tough anti-racist, working-class based campaign under a slogan such as ‘All different, all equal, all exploited’ is needed.

There’s also a page long history of Anarchism and Anti-Racism.

Left Archive: Sinn Féin debates Change: An Irish Mass Revolutionary Party, Gerry Foley, Intercontinental Press, February 5th, 1973 September 2, 2019

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To download the above please click on the following link. foley1.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Jim Monaghan who forwarded this to the Archive.

This short piece from Intercontinental Press joins other documents by Gerry Foley on the Republican movement(s) of the 1970s in the Archive. In this instance he examines the December 16/17the Ard Fheis in Dublin and the discussions around ‘building a revolutionary party’. It notes that this objective was stated by national organiser Seán Garland that Summer at Bodenstown.

He paints a picture of an organisation trying to move from a loose structure to a more centralised form. Foley remains pessimistic that the pace of change could be forced, but he was optimistic that it would be achieved in the end.

While revolutionists everywhere support all movements fighting against British imperialism, they cannot help but feel a special concern about this most serious attempt in Irish history to set up a mass revolutionary party. This is especially so since the chances for an effective and united struggle against imperialism hinge to a large degree on the successor this effort.

Left Archive: The Irish Famine – Vasco Purser, Socialist Workers Party, c. 1995 August 26, 2019

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link. irishfamine.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This is a 28 page pamphlet written by Vasco Purser and published in the mid 1990s. It is organised into sections such as ‘Ireland Before the Famine’, ‘Free Market Capitalism’, ‘The Famine’, ‘Relief Measures’, ‘Emigration’ and ‘Resistance and Betrayal’.

The Introduction suggests that:

Some commentators, such as Kevin Myers of the Irish Times, claim the Irish famine was simply a natural disaster. Yet the whole of Ireland was then a part of the UK, the centre of the worlds wealthiest empire. This pamphlet aims to give a brief view of what happened, and to look at the response of both Government and Irish politicians to the suffering. Was it really a natural disaster caused by the failure of the potato crop? Or was the famine the result of the free market and the drive for profit?

The Conclusion argues that:

The Amin lesson to draw from the famine is nota nationalist one, but a socialist one. The right of oppressed nations to self-rule is a simple principle which all socialist support. But on its own independence does not challenge market values.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Irish Left Archive: ‘Giving Irish Trotskyism a bad name” – Revolutionary Marxist Group, January 1973 August 19, 2019

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link. rmg-name-change-1.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

https://www.clririshleftarchive.org/organisation/239/

This is a fascinating short communication from the Belfast Branch of the Revolutionary Marxist Group to the rest of the organisation over a proposal to change the name from ‘Revolutionary’ to ‘Republican Marxist Group’.

Names have been blurred out.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Left Archive: Budget 2011, 6 Billion Reasons to Join the Fight Back! Éirígí, 2011 August 5, 2019

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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 Alan Kinsella for forwarding this four page document to the Archive. This is the Éirígí leaflet on Budget 2011 and it points to the cuts in public expenditure, wealth inequality in Ireland as well as advertising a Budget Day Protest outside Leinster House.

There is a panel which compares ‘Capitalism vs. Socialism’ and contrasts ‘boom and bust economy’ with ‘stable economy’ and ‘class division’ with ‘one people without division’.

There is also information about Éirígí and appeals to readers to join the organisation.

It provides a a very specific sense of the activity around Éirígí at that point and the campaigns that it was heavily involved in.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Left Archive: ‘Leaders’ Handbook’ for Workers Party Youth, 1987 July 15, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. wpyouth-pamphlet-1987.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This ‘Leaders’ Handbook’ for Workers Party Youth dates from 1987. In a full 34 pages it covers a range of issues from ‘Where to Start’, ‘Running a Youth-Group’, ‘Financing a Youth-Group’, ‘Running a Campaign’, ‘Publicity’, ‘Speaking in Public’ and ‘Useful Addresses’ for both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The Introduction outlines the purpose of the pamphlet, noting that:

…it is to give youth officers, leaders of youth-groups and youth members in general, some ideas and practical information on setting up and running a youth-group. The task of building a progressive youth movement, involving working class youth, is one which is vital to the future our Party, our class and socialism in Ireland. We long ago recognised that young people have their own interests, needs and level of commitment, and that therefore we need a youth movement to cater for them.

And:

The ideology of Capitalism, of the ruling class is the dominant one in our society. Its values and ideas are spread throughout the educational system, and a myriad of other agencies and organisations legitimise this position in society.

It is not surprising therefore that most young people form working class areas leave school with no real understanding of the world around them. They have not got the conceptual tools to even start asking he right questions about the world, never mind come up with the right answers.

It continues:

Hopefully it is clear form these brief comments that our movement should be primarily educational, with agitation taking second place. We must seek to develop a range of activities and a style of work that will build young working class people’s confidence in themselves , get them to participate in organising things, give them the tools to assess and analyse their society and world.

It outlines the structures and orientation of such approaches:

The best term to describe the sort of youth-groups we should aim for is ‘political youth clubs’. A type of youth organisation that, unlike the traditional youth club, take the development of young people that one logical step further, into politics, into gaining control over their lives. Youth groups that deal not just with the concerns fo the individual but also the collective, and see the solution to the problems young people face in terms of collective action.

The relationship between the youth movement and the Party is a very important one. The youth movement, while it must lead its own existence, is ultimately under the political direction of the Party.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Wood Quay Occupation News July 8, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link. occupation-news-3-june-1979.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

As noted previously 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.

The collection brings together documents related to the campaign. Many thanks to the family of Leo Swan for forwarding these documents to the Left Archive.

This edition of Wood Quay News is arguably slightly better produced than previous ones. Dating from June 1979 it includes photographs and a banner.

It outlines the occupation and the injunctions taken out against nine of those on the site. Broadly speaking it is optimistic about the future noting the visit of the newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin, William Cumiskey, to the site. There is even a ‘Plan for Wood Quay’ that details an education centre, housing, restaurant and so on.

The front page article details the occupation and argues that ‘it was a protest for the rights of democracy against the inertia of bureaucracy, for the wishes of the citizens of Dublin against the wishes of the Corporation. These wishes were clearly shown by the voters during the protest… a new Council, pro-Wood Quay has been elected.’

And it argues that ‘this twenty-day protest both in its personalities, execution and success was unprecedented. Although the Supreme Court has found against the protestors, Wood Quay will be saved’.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Irish Left Archive: Workers Party General Secretary’s Report 1987 July 1, 2019

Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. workers-party-sec-gen-report-1987.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

As with other General Secretary’s Reports from the Workers’ Party this document covers a broad range of areas relating to the development and activity of the party. There are short pieces detail attendance at meetings of party bodies, an outline of party activity in the Dáil and then areas of interest or activity by party committees. So one will read an Environment & Local Government Committee Report, the Finance Committee, Health and Social Services Committee and so on.

There are some interesting aspects discussed. The Finance Committee Report notes in passing ‘In NI we are faced with a situation where the law does not allow for political parties gaining a permit for any sort of public collection. This obviously creates difficulties and places restrains on the ability of the local organisation to generate funds fo the party. While most areas have surmounted this difficulty, we would call for a greater effort from those constituencies outside of Belfast in the fund raising efforts for the Party Centre’.

The issue of ‘Associate Membership’ is described as a positive ‘half-way house to full membership. These supporters must be invited to all events’. Mention is made in the National Youth Committee Report that ‘the class structure of the student population [at third level] has changed and the small number of working class students are being squeezed out. However, we have still made progress and have recruited new members to the party and become active in many smaller colleges as well as the large universities’. The National Women’s Committee Report notes that ‘ we would like to be confident that all branches are convinced of the necessity to develop and adapt flexible methods of organisation to allow us to tap the receiver of commitment and talent amongst women. Though it is a matter for concern that some branches have a very low percentage of women members, there are many areas however where the ratio of women members has levelled out in recent years and it is a fact that women share a fair proportion of responsible positions within. The local organisation’.

The General Secretary’s Report argues that:

Few would now deny that the Workers’ Party has established itself as the party fo the Irish working class, particularly coming after the results of the recent general election in the Republic and the steady growth and activity of the Party in Northern Ireland.

And it concludes:

Given the immense task the Party has to accomplish it is essential that we use our time and resources to the maximum possible advantage. Very often, as we all know too well, time spent at many meetings at all levels of the Party could be more profitably spent if the meetings were better organised and properly structured.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Left Archive: Socialist Labour Party: Trade Union and Unemployed Workers Group, resolutions for Conference, 1978 June 24, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. slp-tuuwg-iwg-tend-1978.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Jim Monaghan for forwarding this to the Archive

This month we intend to post up documents from the Socialist Labour Party which existed in the late 1970s and was a serious attempt to construct a further left platform party.

This latest addition is a short document from the Socialist Labour Party includes resolutions from the Trade Union and Unemployed Workers Group and a covering letter from the steering committee which includes some names familiar from the Irish left.

The letter notes that ‘two resolutions were deferred to a later date’ and announces a half day conference of the Group on the theme of ‘Trade Union Democracy and the Rank and File’.

It asks that ‘all trade unionists and unemployed members ensure that their names and union-membership are registered with the General-Secretary so that the Group can contact them’ and asks branches to send ‘information about strikes, disputes and issues affecting their unions so that the industrial and unemployed activity of Party members can be coordinated’.

The resolutions cover a wide range of areas – from those calling on the commission of a publication of ‘an easy to read, popular and cheap pamphlet on ‘Fighting for the Right to Work’ to the structure of the TU&UWG itself and calls for a minimum wage and 35 hour week.

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 are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

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