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Left Archive: What is Britain Doing to Ireland – A leaflet from the Labour Committee on Ireland c.1985 June 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Labour Committee on Ireland.
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LCCOVER

To download the above document please click on the following link: LC DOC GO

To got the Irish Left Archive site please click here.

This short document from c. 1985 outlines the views of the Labour Committee on Ireland, whose honorary presidents were Ken Livingstone and Joan Maynard MP. it asks ‘Why Trade Union members should concern themselves about Ireland’. And in answer it points to those killed and injured by plastic and rubber bullets and those ‘shot on sight by the Army and RUC’.

It notes ‘unemployment has been at ‘Thatcherite’ levels in Ireland for generations. But Catholics bear the brunt, although Protestants are losing their jobs too’.

It links repressive policies in Northern Ireland with similar approaches in Britain and argues the cost of the ‘British Presence in Ireland isn’t keeping the peace’.

‘So why are the Irish fighting?’ it asks and suggests that ‘the worst housing in Western Europe’ and a divided working class was part of the reason. But it continues by contending that ‘The Main Division in Ireland is not Protestant/Catholic’ but partition itself.

It also quotes Irish Trade Union members on the issue of partition, and reprints almost in full the Irish Trades Unionists for Irish Unity and Independence founding statement (also available in the Archive here).

Left Archive: Final Agenda For the Twenty Third National Conference of the Labour Party Young Socialists (British Labour Party) – Ireland Section, April 1984 October 4, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant, Young Socialists.
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Please click on the following link for the download: LYPS

With thanks to neilcaff for forwarding this to the Archive, a useful document which gives an insight into how the issue of Ireland was perceived by sections of the UK left. As has been noted here… the Labour Party Young Socialists were…

…the youth section of the British Labour Party, and was effectively a part of the Militant Tendency within the Labour Party during most of the late 1960s and 1970s and through to the 1980s.

But as neilcaff also notes this was not an exclusively Militant environment.

this [was] a debate by people aged 16-23. Also I think it should be emphasised that this was conference of young people of 2,000 elected delegates. So while the Militant Tendency did have the predominant influence at the conference it by no means totally dominated it either.

Certainly the use of language which uses a number of terms in some motions interchangeably, most notably Republican and Catholic, appear drawn from a wide variety of stances, reflecting the different views on the matter on the left in Britain during this period.

From this remove one of the most striking proposals is for the establishment of a ‘trade union organised workers defence committee to protect working class homes against sectarian and state violence’, a policy that had been characteristic of Militant thinking on Ireland both long before this and well after.

It’s also notable that some of the motions argue that ‘the only way forward for Northern Irish workers in the formation of a Labour Party based on the Trade Union Movement with socialist policies, and sees the importance of the British Labour movement in the achievement of this aim’.

The status of Sinn Féin and the IRA is subject to sharply varying viewpoints. Sunderland North LPYS suggests that: ‘Individual terrorism is incapable of inflicting defeat on the armed force of the police and military… Conference also deplores the stance of those groups in and around the Labour movement, who liaised with self-confessed Nationalist Parties while ignoring the achievements of the TU movement and YS….Conference also deplores the stance of those groups in and around the Labour movement, who hand the bosses’ kept press a gift to use against the Labour movement by association with terrorist groups.’

Manchester Central LPYS (p.59) while criticising ‘the overall strategy of the Republican Movement’ argues that ‘The Republican Movement has mass support, the election of Gerry Adams in the general election proves this. This support shows that they are not individual terrorists. The Republican prisoners are prisoners of war and should be treated as such.’

Horsey and Wood Green LPYS also takes emollient stance as regards Sinn Féin, arguing that ‘as Socialists we have a duty to defend the right of Sinn Fein to organise publicly and to defend anti-imperialist militants that are harrassed and imprisoned due to their opposition to the British presence’.

Overall a very useful addition to the Archive. More documentation like this indicative of the approach of various political parties on this discursive policy discussion level would be very welcome to add to various Clárs already in the Archive.

Left Archive: Labour Party Young Socialists (UK), c. 1974. August 2, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in British Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant, Young Socialists.
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LPYS

Many thanks to Jim Monaghan for this document. Originating with the Labour Party Young Socialists and dating from the early 1970s this document is notable because the LPYS, the youth section of the British Labour Party, was effectively a part of the Militant Tendency within the Labour Party during most of the late 1960s and 1970s and through to the 1980s. The document itself was issued by the LPYS Irish Campaign Committee and deals with the conflict in Ireland. But a brief perusal of this short four page text would, from the policy positions adopted centre it within Militant thinking on the issue.

Under the headline “Workers Unity – only way forward!” it gives an analysis of the situation that welcomes ‘the Provisional Ceasefire”. It continues that the LPYS…

‘from the beginning of the Provisional Campaign have argued that a guerilla campaign in N.Ireland would lead only to defeat and demoralisation. Any organisation that turns away from the road of the mass struggle and the involvement of the workers in their own liberation, courts disaster and defeat. Particularly in N.Ireladn where the working class was already divided on a sectarian basis, a guerilla campaign coming from one side of that religious divide could only further deepen that divide”.

The stated aims of the LPYS Irish Campaign are:

• An end to the Tory Bi-Partisan Approach: For Socialist Policies and support for the Irish organisations of Labur.
• For a Trade Union Defence Force to defend all Areas, Catholic and Protestant, from sectarian attacks and to defend workers while going to and while at work.
• Withdraw the Troops
• End Internment and all repressive legislation
• Release all political prisoners in Ireland and Britain
• Trade Union rights for the Armed Forces
• For a Conference of Workers Organisation from Ireland and Britain to forge unity in Action against the common enemy of capitalism

The rest of the document deals with Unemployment – North and South, Housing in Northern Ireland “The Worst Housing Crisis in Europe” and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

It concludes the main article with the slogan…

“For a Socialist Ireland linked to a Socialist Britain!”

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