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Left Archive: Starry Plough Magazine, Number 2, Irish Republican Socialist Party, 2009 May 16, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Republican Socialist Party, Uncategorized.
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SP2009

To download the above please click on the following link. STARRY PLOUGH

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

This is a very useful addition to the Archive, and many thanks to “Spáilpín” for allowing us to scan materials from his collection. There are many more documents to be posted from there, including one’s from groups and parties hitherto unrepresented in the Archive.

The text on the second page is particularly interesting in offering an outline of the rationale behind the Starry Plough itself. It notes that:

The SP magazine is the organ of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. The aim of this publication is to assist and develop republican socialists ideas as well ass to create debate. This is your magazine. We constantly require input from our supporters. If you can contribute articles, photos, drawing, information on potential bookshops or stockists or anything else that you feel will help this project then please get in touch with us.

It notes that:

The magazine is put together by a volunteer collective of activists and is paid for only by donations, subscriptions and sales. We have no corporate backing nor do we want any.

We aim to produce the SP in this format as a quarterly publication to provide a republican socialist perspective that’s not normally covered in other papers. We welcome contributions from all our readers that will further the objectives of republican socialism. Likewise we welcome all articles that will initiate discussion.

In another piece it notes:

Since our last edition we have received many messages of support for our efforts. To those that have taken the time to contact us may we offer our thanks. This magazine would be nothing without our readers, supporters, distributors and contributors.

And in terms of the content it also notes:

This edition of the Starry Plough carries many great articles, particularly our special four page supplement on the 40th anniversary of the NICRA which is the first par tot a two part series. We also carry in depth coverage of calls for an independent inquiry into the events during the 1981 hunger strike period where it is claimed that a deal was accepted by the prisoners yet rejected by the outside leadership of the Provisionals. We have coverage of ongoing fight in Mayo against Shell oil and the upcoming Lisbon vote. If anything within this magazine inspires then please get in touch and join the debate.

The publication is well produced and as can be seen above covers a lot of ground (there are also pieces on Israel/Palestine and an interview with the Independent Workers Union. Notable too is the sheer volume of web links to ‘The Movement Online’ and a piece on the ‘North American Section’s… recent convention for 2009 in Chicago’.

Left Archive: Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 1 Vol 10, Eanair (December) 1976, Irish Republican Socialist Party. January 25, 2016

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SP1 VOL 10 COVER

To download the above please click on the following link. SP JANUARY 1976

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the long term contributor Spáilpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is a further edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough – the first one was posted some months ago, produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin which precipitated the foundation of that organisation.
This edition of the Starry Plough from the IRSP is of particular interest. While the font page argues that ‘Sectarian Killings to Escalate’, and there area wide range of articles detailing the plight of prisoners in Long Kesh and prisons in England, perhaps the most important aspect from an historical point of view is the announcement of a “New Army”.

We wish to issue the following press statement on behalf of the ARmy COuncil of the National Liberation Army. The NLA saws recently formed with the aim of ending British Imperialist rule in Ireland and creating a 32 county Democratic Socialist Republic. As revolutionaries we recognise the paramount necessity for the existence of an armed Anti-Imperialist organisation, which will play an effective role in the current struggle.

We totally reject the right of Britain to interfere in Irish affairs and we are determined to resist any British imposed solution, through the use of armed force against British Occupation Forces and their allies in Ireland.

Notably it also references the feud between PIRA and the OIRA of the previous month;

We continue to oppose British Imperialism in Ireland with all the resources at our command and we call upon all sincere Republicans and Socialists to join us in the struggle. In particular we call upon members of other Anti-Imperialist organisations who are currently involved in destructive and counter revolutionary feuding to recognise the serious damage being done to the morale of the people at the very time when the Imperialists are united in their determination to impose their solution and, when there is a very grave threat of a Loyalist take-over.

A list of actions involving the NLA is then detailed from May to November of 1975.

There is also an article calling for a ‘Broad Front’ to opposed and ‘defeat British imperialism’. This argues that it ‘must include all and any radical and anti-imperialist elements within the country, not only republicans and socialists. In such a front it would be the task of Republicans and Socialists to ensure the leadership of the Broad Front would remain in the hands of the Irish working class’.

Left Archive: The Starry Plough, Deire Fomahar, Irish Republican Socialist Party, 1975 November 23, 2015

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SP7

To download the above please click on the following link. SP MEAN FOMHAIR 1975

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Just to note that this edition of the SP is wrongly numbered. Both it and the subsequent edition were numbered Vol. 1 No. 7.

Many thanks to the long term contributor Spáilpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is a further edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough – the first one was posted some months ago, produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin which precipitated the foundation of that organisation.

This edition of the Starry Plough has a striking front cover asking ‘Workers to be jailed?’ in relate to ‘statutory wage ‘agreement’ threat’. It also asks are British forces ‘licensed to kill’ and argues that ‘Sectarianism’ is Britain’s brainchild. It also flags a report on ‘IRSP in Boston’.

The editorial notes that it has previously warned that ‘the government was threatening that it would introduce statutory wage agreements’. It argues that ‘workers must now clearly see that wage agreements suit the bosses’. It argues that the Trade Unions role is ‘not to help capitalism in its problems by making workers bear the brunt’.

Another article notes that the IRSP was ‘linked, along with the Provisionals, with the recently announced South Armagh Republican Action Force’ and strenuously denies the allegation arguing that ‘we reject sectarian tit for tat killings as a reaction to the current British inspired Loyalist assassination of Catholics and Nationalists’. It continues, ‘We wish also to re-iterate that we do not have a Military Wing and that incidents such as the indiscriminate killings at the Orange Hall are politically counter productive and weaken the overall anti-imperialist movement’.

Another article lays out IRSP demands including ‘abolition of all repressive legislation North and South, the immediate withdrawal of British troops, an amnesty for all those imprisoned in the anti-imperialist struggle, the immediate disarming and disbandment of the UDR, RUC and RUC reserve. Another piece muses on whether the PIRA ceasefire will end soon.

RTÉ, and the prospect of the re-broadcasting of BBC, is addressed and strongly criticised. There’s articles on the repression of women including protests outside the Institute of Public Affairs Dublin and women prisoners.

Other pieces examine the situation of the Basque country and Chile.

The last page covers a visit to the United States by Seamus Costello and Jimmy White.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 6, Mean Fomhair 1975, Irish Republican Socialist Party. October 26, 2015

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SP6

To download the above please click on the following link: SP6

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

Many thanks to the long term contributor Spáilpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is a further edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough – the first one was posted some months ago, produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin which precipitated the foundation of that organisation.

The front cover has the headline ‘Resist British Terror Troops’. The article accompanying it argues that:

Sectarianism, in the Northern Ireland context, is the brainchild of Britain and has been used successfully for the past 50 years as a means of dividing the working class. In the past six months we have witnessed the ongoing sectarian murder campaign of Catholics carried out by loyalist murder gangs acting in the direct interest of Britain.

It argues that:

The only way in which sectarianism can be eradicated forever is to end the British economic and political control in Ireland.

To this end, we are working for a unified approach to the National Liberation struggle, by way of a Broad Front of all anti-Imperialist forces. We reject tit for tat retaliatory murders of Protestants as a means of ending the loyalist sectarian murders… to combat this we call for the formation of local organised street committees, as a defence against British Army and Loyalist terror gangs.

Under the ‘What We Think’ column there is a reprint of part of a speech made by the Secretary of the IRSP at a discussion on loyalism. In it is the following:

Mr. Mac Giolla when speaking on sectarianism in the North accused the IRSP of being Ultra Leftists, and state that we were determined to take a hand in promoting Civil War in the 6 counties. We reject those unprincipled allegations…

On the question of the IRSP being Ultra-Leftists it is worth pointing out that due to the reformist nature of the Officials any Republican or Socialist organisation whose policies are more radical than theirs are castigated and branded as Ultra-Leftists.

It continues:

The attitude of the Officials on Loyalism reflects the political confusion that exists within the Officails. They are currently engaged in an exercise designed to flatter and woo the loyalist organisations in the romantic and false hope that they will ‘see the light’ and end their murder campaign, and become revolutionary socialists overnight. The position of the IRSP on the other hand is clearer and politically correct. We recognise that loyalism is pro-Imperialist and anti-working class.

Another piece asserts that:

We totally reject the allegations that the IRSP is encouraging members of the Provisional IRA to end the current ceasefire. As far as we are concerned the ceasefire affords the opportunity to the British Government to demonstrate their sincerity by withdrawing from Ireland.

There are articles on Women’s Liberation, and the Miami Showband murders. Considerable space is afforded to an examination of the ‘continuing Loyalist assassination campaign’ with a table of figures of those killed between February 10th and May 31st 1975. A section called Connolly’s Corner is ‘intended to give our readers an opportunity to read some snippets from various writings by James Connolly’. There’s a large article on Portugal’s Fascist Terror. There’s also an analysis of a Teoiric (OSF theoretical magazine) critique of the IRSP.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 5, Lúnasa 1975, Irish Republican Socialist Party. September 21, 2015

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SP5

To download the above please click on the following link. SP5 1975 GO

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the long term contributor Spáilpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is a further edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough – the first one was posted some months ago, produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin which precipitated the foundation of that organisation.

The front cover has the headline ‘End Repression Now’. Inside the Eagarfhocal reflects upon repression and notes that while ‘in the 6 counties, the repression is clearly visible…in the 26 co’s the repression is not as clearly visible but never the less it still exists. The puppet regime was established to protect Britain’s interests and almost every move it makes further entrenches Britain’s interests in Ireland.

It argues that ‘on a social and economic level, the Irish people are suffering from unemployment, emigration, low wages, rising prices, housing which is not fit for animals etc…on a cultural level the Irish people are being deprived of their culture. the Irish language faces extinction as more and more repressive measures are aimed at it by the Blue Shirts of Fine Gael and the Conor Cruises of the Labour Party. In particular, the granting of open broadcasting rights to the BBC must be opposed’.

An interesting snippet in the Bits & Pieces column notes that:

Members of the IRSP in conjunction with member sod the RMG and PD leafleted all churches in Limerick last month calling for a boycott of an SDLP collection.

There is a piece on the British Orange Link and a report on the ‘hunger strike victory’ in Long Kesh where political status was accepted. Of particular interest is the mention of repression in the South where it reports that 11 members of the IRSP ‘were arrested over a period of a week’. It quotes Seamus Costello as saying that:

The government was trying to give the impression that the IRSP was involved in some way in the Sallins murder and booming. The IRSP reiterates that its as in no way involved and condemns the incident.

It continues:

It was an obvious attempt by Cooney to give the impression to member of the Official Republican Movement that the IRSP was involved in the attempt to blow up a train carrying OSF supporters to Bodenstown and as such recreate friction between obit organisations at a time when delicate negotiations are taking place.

There’s also a report from Bodenstown which includes extracts from the speech by Seamus Costello. This includes:

Of course the support of the loyalist working-class is essential if we are to have a socialist republic, however their support in the struggle must be sought on the basis of a principled explanation of the correct relationship between the national and the class question.

And:

The divisions which have existed in the anti-imperialist forces are a luxury which we can no longer afford… we can see no evidence that Britain is ready to withdraw.

Other articles include an overview of a ‘European Tour’ by IRSP members and a piece asserting that the CIA used Garret Fitzgerald.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 4, Iul 1975, Irish Republican Socialist Party. August 3, 2015

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SP4

To download the above please click on the following link. SP IRSP 4 1975

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Spailpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is the fourth edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough – and part of a sequential release of them given that they were produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin and also deal with the dispute between the two organisations subsequent to that.

The front cover has the headline ‘Unite Now! against british imperialism and loyalist fascism’. The accompanying article argues that:

We are so used to hearing about sectarian assassinations that it goes in one ear and out the other. As the sectarian attacks initially took place in dribs and drags, coupled with our acceptance of such attacks as part of Belfast life, we do not see that the Loyalists have escalated their war against the Natoinalist population. It is part of the strategy for the Loyalist take-over which is not too far away. In this article we show how the British Army collaborates with Loyalist murder gangs, and actually participated in them themselves and that they will, for political reasons, accept the imminent take over. The pogroms which would follow such a take-over would make the battle of the Bogside and the ’69 Belfast pogrom look like a picnic.

The editorial calls for the ‘immediate and total withdrawal of British military, political, economic and cultural presence from Ireland, ending internment and releasing all political prisoners from Irish and English jails’.

There are reports on a picket of the Irish Labour Party by the IRSP over the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Bill. Another on redundancies for Ringsend workers. The centre section is taken up by a piece on the refusal of ‘industrialists to pay workers the 16th round of the National Wage agreement’ and another on internment. There are other pieces on the Basque country and Women in the Irish Struggle by Stella Makowski of the National Executive of the IRSP.

Tellingly, in light of the concentration on the feud in the previous edition there is no mention of that at all in this edition and only passing mention of the OIRA in relation to activities unearthed by that group of the British security forces.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 3, Meitheamh 1975, Irish Republican Socialist Party. July 6, 2015

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SP3 cover

To download the above please click on the following link. SP3

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Spailpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is the third edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough from the 1970s – and part of a sequential release of them given that they were produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin and also deal with the dispute between the two organisations subsequent to that.

The front cover has the headline ‘Official IRA Terror to End?’.

Inside the Eagarfhocal asks ‘Feud or Fascism’ when it outlines a series of murders of IRSP members in Belfast.

Is the campaign of torture, intimidation and murder, that the Official IRA have carried out against the IRSP over? To date it has claimed five deaths and countless injuries.

Secret intermediaries have been accepted by the OIRA and IRSP. The OIRA have agreed that there will be no more shooting at IRSP members. There has been relative quite in Belfast in the last week, scene of most of the kidnappings and shootings. The secret intermediary has met separately with both he IRSP and the Official IRA and will continue to do so until direct joint meeting can be arranged.

It asserts:

The IRSP since its inception as a Party, in December 1974, has demanded that the OIRA allow them to organise as a political party. Two of their members have been murdered and scores kidnapped tortured and shot. An assassination attempt was made on the IRSP Chairman, Seamus Costello, in Wexford recently. The IRSP accepted 9 different intermediaries in the past but the OIRA only accepted one of these, Senator Michael Mullen. HOwever, his efforts failed when the OIRA refused to talk to the IRSP.

The decision by the OIRA to accept a mediator must be seen as a restyle of the call made by Tomás Mac Giolla recently for an end to the conflict. This call by Mac Giola came with the full consent of the national leadership of the Republican Movement. Why was this call not made last December? Five lives could have been saved and the whole working class movement would not have been damaged by the conflict, as it undoubtedly has. However the statement by Tomas Mac Giolla in Newry recently that the IRSP is engaged in, or supports sectarian assassinations would be either substantiated or withdrawn. the IRSP is on record as condemning such murders. SUch unfounded allegations are inconsistent with Mac Giolla’s claim to be seeking reconciliation.

Other pieces include an editorial arguing the ‘North must oppose the EEC’, another on a 10 year old shot at during ‘the present conflict’, an appeal to boycott the then forthcoming Convention Election in Northern Ireland and further reports from the extended IRSP Ard Fheis.

There’s an interesting overview of the truce between the Provisional IRA and the British government of that year as well as some analysis of the genesis of PIRA which argues that ‘the Republican Movement… could not have split.. without the widespread support of substantial sections of the Northern minority’. There’s also photographs from IRSP members in Long Kesh on May 1st. A photograph of IRSP members in Dun Laoghaire suggests that there is a ‘growth of IRSP’ in that town. There’s part of a continuing series on Capital in Crisis and an article on ‘Portugal – Another Chile’.

One small piece on the last page notes;

The IRSP is now a registered political party. This should convince all that we are a genuine political party and will refute allegations made in the past that were were a mere ‘splinter’ group from the Official Republican movement.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 2, Bealtaine 1975, Irish Republican Socialist Party. June 8, 2015

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SPNO2

To download the above please click on the following link. SP 2 VOL 1 MAY 1975

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Spailpín who forwarded this to the Archive. This is the second edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough – the first one was posted last month, produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin which precipitated the foundation of that organisation.

The front cover has the headline ‘Break The Connection: Fight for a national liberation and a Socialist Republic!’.

Inside the Eagarfhocal asks ‘Feud or Fascism’ when it outlines a series of murders of IRSP members in Belfast. It argues that:

Previously IRSP members were, in the main, members of an organisation which often won the admiration of the Irish people by exposing and opposing such issues as the corruption of the northern state, the robbery of our mineral wealth, the shocking housing problem in our cities; and so forth. These members were acceptable then, to the Officials’ leadership, and indeed, many were to the forefront in the struggle of the working class.

If the leadership had decided to allow open and free discussion within the Republican Movement, to solve the policy differences that arose from 1970 onwards, probably there would be no IRSP today. But, instead, over period of two years, the leadership carried out a successful with hunt of the opposition to such an extent that only 15 votes were cast against the leadership at its last ardfheis. There was no option for the remaining dissenters but to form a new party.

Still the Officials came after IRSP members and associates to jackboot them into submission and final disbandment. While their typewriters clicked out angry words against British imperialism and its terror troops, their fists and boots tortured IRSP members while their guns gored, crippled and maimed them.

The Officials will not talk to the IRSP although the IRSP has accepted nine different intermediaries, have stood down members in Belfast, demanded a temporary ceasefire of its recent protectors and even offered one national executive member a s hostage to show their goodwill. They will not allow the IRSP the right to form a separate party and let the working class an history judge who is correct.

It concludes:

Even now we would be quite prepared to work with the Officials on any issue which would help to make national liberation and socialism a fact for the Irish working class, rather than hopeful but long term dream.

Articles inside include a piece on Internment which notes that ‘[PIRA] ceasefire or no ceasefire, Internment is here to stay and will continue despite the fact that batches of the internees are being released in dribs and drabs’. There is a report from the ‘First IRSP Ard Fheis which notes that 1000 delegates attended and that ‘visitors, some of them representing other revolutionary groups from at home and abroad, were also present’. It reports that on a discussion on Internal Democracy and Democratic Centralism ‘an amended resolution was overwhelmingly accepted by conference… which permits full freedom for discussion and debate within the party and for maximum unity in action outside the party’. It did however reject factions in the party. It also noted that delegates accepted that the struggle against foreign imperialism and native capitalism is one struggle. Also mentioned was the centrality of equal rights for women.

A long excerpt from Seamus Costello’s chairman’s speech is given. Interestingly it includes the following:

In doing this we recognise quite clearly that the struggle for National Liberation must reach a successful conclusion before we can establish a Socialist Republic.

There is also a piece entitled ‘Who Shot McMillan?’ which suggests that the murder of Liam [Billy] McMillan ‘a member of the Ard Comhairle of Sinn Féin was the work of an ‘agent provocateur’ said Seamus Costello, chairman of the I.R.S.P.’ and that ‘the shooting is particularly sinister in view of the fact that the dispute between the IRSP and the Officials is almost at an end.’

It continues:

Mr. Jim McCorry, a member of the National Executive of the IRSP said his organisation was in no way involved in the kiling. He had checked with all branches in the city.

Other pieces include an overview of ‘A Victory that shook the World’ that focuses on the victory of the NLF in Vietnam (and has a passing mention of  the offensive by the Khmer Rouge in neighbouring Cambodia) and an account of how the ‘party zooms ahead in south Derry’.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Number 1, Aibrean 1975, Irish Republican Socialist Party. May 18, 2015

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SP11975
To download the above please click on the following link. IRSP SP 1 AIBREAN 1975

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Spailpín who forwarded this to the Archive.

Many thanks to the long term contributor who forwarded this to the Archive. This is the first edition of the IRSP newspaper, the Starry Plough, produced in the aftermath of the split from Official Sinn Féin which precipitated the foundation of that organisation.

The Archive has acquired, and is promised, a range of publications from that year and will post them up across the next sixth monnts in order to offer as full a picture as possible of the events that took place then. Any further materials that are relevant to the Archive in relation to this would be very gratefully accepted – currently we are missing some United Irishman from earlier that year.

On the front page under the heading I.R.S.P. – the Way Forward is an outline of the formation of the IRSP ‘at a meeting held in Dublin on Sunday, December 8th 1974… attended by approximately 80 delegates from Belfast, Armagh, Co. Derry, Derry City, Donegal, Wicklow, Cork, Clare, Dublin, Limerick and Tipperary’.

It notes that ‘It was unanimously agreed that the object of the Party would be to ‘End Imperialist Rule in Ireland and Establish a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic, with the Working Class in control of the Means of Production, Distribution and Exchange’.

It further outlines the policies of the IRSP in relation to North and South.

Inside it includes a piece with ‘members outlining their reasons for [resigning from Sinn Féin (Gardiner Place)’ and another that notes ‘West German Group Backs I.R.S.P.’

It reports from the first public meeting of the organisation in Dublin in February where ‘Seamus Costello told the meting that the development of class politics in Ireland – which would bring an end to the sectarian murder campaign in the North – could only be achieved by the ending of British interference in Ireland’. Bernadette McAliskey is quoted as saying that the ‘I.R.S.P. was an attempt to create a revolutionary socialist alternative to 800 years of failure’.

The editorial argues that the new organisation ‘is not an organisation intent on fragmenting further the anti-imperialist or socialist forces in Ireland’.

There is a long interview with Seamus Costello in the paper and listings of Easter Commemorations. There is also mention of International Woman’s Year and an Easter Statement from the National Executive I.R.S.P.

Left Archive: Starry Plough, Magazine of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Easter 2007 November 24, 2014

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SP2007COVER

To download the above please click on the following link. SP2007

Click here to go the Left Archive.

This is a very useful addition to the Archive, and many thanks to “Spáilpín” for allowing us to scan materials from his collection. There are many more documents to be posted from there, including one’s from groups and parties hitherto unrepresented in the Archive.

This document goes some way towards filling the gap in the Archive in relation to materials from the Irish Republican Socialist Party in the 1990s and 2000s. Printed in 2007 as a 91st Anniversary of the Easter Rising Commemorative Edition, this A4 32 page document covers a broad range of issues. These include Shannon Airport, an analysis of the then recent Election, Political Prisoners, North Belfast Housing, Reformism and Policing and Marx and Ireland Today.

With such a varied content it is perhaps best to focus primarily on the editorial which focuses on the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. Through the use of copious quotation from political and media sources it notes that by 2006 even the Irish Times ‘the leading newspaper in Ireland’ had declared that the GFA/BA was not working and ‘maybe the inescapable conclusion is that it is never going to work’. It notes the efforts by the London government in particular to keep the process alive. And it also notes that:

For the Provisional leadership the most contentious issue in the St. Andrews Agreement is the pledge to support the PSNI, MI5 and court system. On 28 January 2007, a SF are Fheis made a ‘historic’ decision to support the PSN and the criminal justice system; appoint party representatives to the Policing Board and District Policing Partnership Boards; and actively encourage everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice institutions.

It notes that the ‘deal between SF and the DUP on May 8th is no guarantee of a positive outcome and, even if there is a deal to share power on that day, there is no guarantee that it will last.’.

And it points to ‘fundamental contradictions’ in that for republicans ‘the Agreement is not a deal; it is part of a process’ whereas for Unionists ‘the Agreement is a settlement’. And the editorial appears to implicitly agree with the concluding line that ‘there remains a split in the interpretation of the Agreement by the two communities which is fundamental enough to bring it down’.

There are many aspects of the magazine that are of interest, including the announcement that the Ard Comhairle of the IRSP has supported the establishment of a media department to address ‘problems’ in relation to the publication of the Starry Plough and ensure that there are four issues published each year ‘to make sure the IRSP political message gets to the heart of working class communities across the island’.

There are also pieces on IRSP protests against RUC/PSNI in West Belfast and from the Republican Socialist Youth Movement. There’s an interesting analysis of the elections which notes that:

There was little joy for anti-policing candidates or indeed candidates form the left. Below we print their votes. It makes sorry reading.

There is the first and second part of a series on ‘Understanding the Irish Peace Process’ and ‘The Belfast Agreement and After’ by Xabier Jiminez and Liam O Ruairc

John Martin writes on the last page of the magazine that:

For the IRSP the alternative is very clearly set out not only in the writings of great socialist republicans and Marxists like James Connolly but in the radical writings of many Marxists. It is certainly not by trying to restart a war against Imperialism. That is the road to despair and defeat. Those who either argue for or try to carry on armed struggle at this time are no friends of the Irish working class.

Nor is the way forward helped by trying to recreate the Provisionals agenda only with ‘true republicans’in the leadership. The failure of Provo strategy was not leadership based but policy based. And it is only politics and for us that is class politics that will transform this island.

The alternative is to build a revolutionary based movement prepared to fight elections in all parts of the island, lead mass struggles, win support in the trade unions and energised the youth to see the relevance of socialist ideas and rescue republicanism from its identification with ‘catholic’ politics.

There are no short cuts. The way forward may be difficult and there are many obstacles not least our own inhibitions and lack of political education. But if we remain principled, flexible and do the work of winning the working class to socialist ideas and policies then we gradually turn this period of downturn in the overall struggle into the beginning of a new upsurge in mass struggle.

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