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Left Archive: Tory Cuts, Common Misery, Common Struggle, Peter Hadden: A ‘Labour and Trade Union Group’ pamphlet, 1980. November 2, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Labour and Trade Union Group, Militant, Socialist Party.
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To download the above please click on the following link. LAB&TUGRP1980

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

This is a very useful addition to the Archive, coming from the Labour and Trade Union Group, which was the name Labour Militant organised under in Northern Ireland (due to the lack of organisation there by either the British Labour Party or the Irish Labour Party.

A piece at the end of the pamphlet notes that:

The Labour and Trade Union Group is an organisation of socialists and trade unionists spread throughout the North. Since our formation in 1974 we have been campaigning consistently for WORKERS UNITY and SOCIALIST POLICIES. We believe that the trade union movement, with 300,000 members, has the main role to plain in achieving these goals.

It also references the Youth for Socialism campaign.

The title page has two main aims:

For Workers’ Unity against the Tory Cuts.

For a Mass Party of Labour.

The contents is arranged in sections, ‘Fight the Tory Cuts’, ‘Northern Ireland Poverty’, ‘Mass Action and a Socialist Policy’, ‘For A Labour Party’ and ‘The Border’.

On this last it notes:

In reality, the struggle for socialism in Ireland, NOrth and South is one struggle. It would be impossible to conceive of a socialist Northern Ireland divided from a socialist Southern Ireland by a frail and artificial line on a map.
The reunification of the country on a socialist basis would only be an extension of the unity ins truffle of the working class, North and South. Put in this manner, not posed as a sectarian and divisive issue, the quesition of the border can be faced by Labour, North and South.

Left Archive: 1980s Socialism or Catastrophe – John Throne, ‘Militant’ Perspectives Pamphlet, Militant Tendency/Irish Labour Party, 1982 September 16, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant.


To download this file please click on the following link:MILJOHNTHRONE

This document was issued by the Militant Tendency/Irish Labour Party in the 1980s and was written by their then member John Throne. It’s an useful document because it outlines the position of Militant at that point and its perspectives on contemporary and future developments (For more on John Throne this piece written by Conor McCabe and an accompanying series of interviews with him conducted by Conor is an essential resource).

The Introduction considers matters in a clearly Irish context, encompassing the 70 years from 1916 through to the early 1980s, and in particular more recent developments.
It argues that:

The organised working class is the greatest power in society. This was demonstrated in the mass demonstrations and general strikes on the PAYE issue. This great power must be mobilised to take control of society. The commanding heights of the economy, the banks, finance houses, and all major industry must be taken out of the hands of the profiteer and speculators. Nationalisation of these decisive levers of the economy under workers’ control and workers’ management would make possible a socialist plan of production to end unemployment and homelessness, reduce the working week and raise living standards.

He also asserts that:

Only socialist can end the poverty, insecurity, violence and repression of Irish society, North and South. Only socialism can end both sectarian and poverty ridden states North and South and unite the Country. The working class has the power to bring about socialism. What is demanded is that the leaders of the labour and trade union movement must raise the banner of socialism and organise to change society.

And he says:

This means an end to the policies of trying to patch up capitalism and the policies of collaborating with big business or its political representatives. On the trade union front, national wage agreements must be rejected once and for all.

On the political front, Coalition or any type of parliamentary alliance or agreement of any kind with the big business parties of FF and FG must be rejected by Labour. Labour must put forward its own socialist policies and stand alone and fight to win support for a majority Labour government pledged to end capitalism.

The pamphlet is divided into various sections, starting with “1970s – The Labour movement is thrown back”, “Southern Ireland 1922 − 82, 60 years of capitalist failure”, “1980s political and trade union perspectives – instability, polarisation & the growth of Labour”. There’s much to reflect upon, particular in the latter two sections.

It is perhaps worth quoting extensively from the conclusion, for that encapsulates the arguments made in the preceding pages. Throne writes:

The 1980s will be the most explosive decade in human history, both nationally and internationally. The crisis in the world economic and political systems is developing to new heights and threatens mass unemployment, a return tot he conditions of the last century, and in the longer term of 15 to 20 years, the spectre of nuclear war and the destruction of the human species.

At the same time the working class is more powerful than ever before. It is far and away the greatest power in society. What is needed is the development and a correct perspective and programme in the mass organisations of the working class and the forging of a determined leadership based on clear policies of rate establishment for a socialist society nationally and internationally.

It argues that:

It will be by intervening in the struggles now opening up in society and at the same time learning the lessons of the past, that determined, clear sighted, Marxist leadership will be developed. This pamphlet is a contribution to the discussions that are now opening up in the trade unions and the Labour Party as to the way forward for the labour and trade union movement.


The period ahead offers two clear alternatives. Mass poverty, starvation and nuclear annihilation if capitalism and stalinism continue, or an end to poverty, want insecurity and the threat of war on the basis of the working class taking power and establishing a world federation of socialist states.

Left Archive: Northern Ireland Perspectives – A Militant Pamphlet, 1988 June 24, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant, Socialist Party.


To download the above document please click on the following link: MILITANT NORTHER PERSP

The text of this document is available here, but as always the idea is to present not only the text of a document but a copy of it as it was published (and also to have as wide a sampling of documentation in the Archive as is possible).

On Marxists.org it is noted that Peter Hadden wrote this and most other documents relating to Northern Ireland. Ten pages long and written in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement interestingly the Introduction focuses very strongly on the situation in Britain:

That the Tories could win a third consecutive term, despite their reactionary policies, is a searing indictment of the role of the right-wing Labour and trade union leaders over recent years. The fact that these leaders moved to the right, abandoned left and socialist policies, and distanced themselves from the struggles of the miners, print unions, Liverpool Council and others, allowed the Tories to go to the country with a significant lead in the opinion polls.
During the campaign Kinnock and his right-wing handlers singularly failed to present any socialist alternative to the Tories. They relied on slick presentation which was all form and no content. The right-wing argument that socialist ideas lose votes was definitively answered by the result. According to the right, Labour fought a brilliant campaign – yet they lost moreover in those areas where the campaign and candidate were most closely associated with the right wing Labour generally got the worst result. Bryan Gould, the party’s campaign manager, managed to produce a 8.3% swing to the Tories in his own seat.

And continues:

Compare this with the achievement of four Militant supporters who fought on a clear socialist programme: Pat Wall – 9.9% swing from the SDP in Bradford North; Dave Nellist – 5.3% swing to Labour from the Tories in Coventry SE; John Bryan – 3.6% Liberal to Labour swing in Bermondsey (overall in London there was a 0.5% swing from Labour to the Tories); and Terry Fields who produced a 12.4% swing from the Tories and almost doubled his majority in Liverpool Broadgreen.
The Tories won because of the failure of the Labour leaders and because they were able to partially disguise the real depths of the economic malaise which afflicts British capitalism. The election took place in the latter period of the current shaky boom in the world economy. Looming on the horizon is the prospect of a new recession at a certain stage. This Tory government, with its programme of further assaults on living standards and services will be confronted by huge movements of the working class.

And concludes in relation to this:

Even now, in this period of “boom” there has been an up-turn in the class struggle as workers have moved to demand their share of the fruits of economic growth. Defeated on the political front the working class will now have no choice but to turn to the industrial front.

In relation to Northern Ireland it suggests:

These struggles will leave their mark within the unions and within the Labour Party as workers attempt to push their organisations to the left. What has already taken place within the CPSA and the NCU is a harbinger of future developments within the labour movement as a whole. Despite the conflicting factor of sectarianism the same processes are at work in the North. The Anglo-Irish Agreement is less of a central issue than at the time this document was written. The opposition of the mass of Protestants to the accord has in no way abated.
But, as the Marxists predicted in advance, the Agreement in reality has proved inoperable and has not been implemented. During the first six months of 1987 the previously much vaunted Anglo-Irish Conference has met on a grand total of two occasions! Nothing of note has come from these meetings.

And that:

Moreover the British government has been at pains to appease the Unionists. The Anglo-Irish Agreement is no longer presented as an historic breakthrough or as the basis for the final solution of the Irish question. Northern Ireland Tory spokesmen now talk of the Agreement remaining in place until something better can be negotiated. Again, as the Marxists predicted at the outset, far from concessions, the pact has produced increased repression in the Catholic areas. Loughgall not Hillsborough is the watchword of the present policy of the ruling class. Despite the opening of the talks between the Unionists and government any way out of the current political impasse is as far away as ever. It cannot be too often emphasized that no solution is possible on a capitalist basis.
Even given the relative downturn in the level of sectarian violence the situation remains explosive. The breakdown of talks, the loyalist assassination campaign and the deliberately provocative escalation of the Provos’ campaign are all factors which could flip the scales in the direction of renewed sectarian bloodletting.

On a more positive note it argues that:

Nonetheless the mood of the mass of workers, Catholic and Protestant is not at present in favour of sectarian conflict. As sectarian issues have receded class issues have come to the fore. As in Britain the period immediately before and after the election has seen a sharp up-turn in the class struggle, significant strikes – by civil servants, teachers, Telecom workers, in the shipyard, in Shorts, the meat plants and in other workplaces – have taken place.
Even bigger movements of the working class and of the youth are likely in the short term, but certain at some stage in the life of this government. So, paradoxically, the election defeat in Britain can act as a powerful spur to the industrial movement of the working class in the North.

And continues:

Just as the sectarian reaction of the past eighteen months unfolded in an uneven manner, so the development of the class movement will be likewise uneven. But excluding major developments which can throw things back, the most likely general line of development will be to the left.
In this context the previous perspectives of the Marxists, temporarily cut across by the Anglo-Irish Agreement, for a transformation and re-transformation of the unions and the creation of a Labour Party at a certain stage, will tend to be borne out.
The analysis and programme of Militant have been graphically confirmed and re-confirmed by recent events. Only on the basis of the socialist ideas we put forward can there be a way out for the working class. We have proved our ability to retain and develop these ideas under unfavourable conditions. Now events are beginning to move in our favour. The challenge now is to seize the opportunities which will present themselves and develop Marxism into a mass force among the working class.

The main bulk of the document goes into greater detail, not least in an analysis as to the rationale behind the Anglo-Irish Agreement which suggests that:

Thatcher’s handling of the 1981 hunger strikes won her government a pyrrhic victory. The prisoners were defeated but at the cost of the alienation of the Catholic population. Thatcher’s unnecessary, and, from a bourgeois point of view, stupid intransigence provided Sinn Fein with its electoral base. The hold, even the existence, of the SDLP was threatened.
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was an attempt to put this right by isolating the Provos and boosting the SDLP. On every count it has been a gross miscalculation. Trying to correct one mistake the ruling class have merely compounded it with another. The problem of the minority remains unresolved but is now added to by the even bigger problem of the majority.
The roots of this miscalculation lie in the government’s false estimation of the Protestant reaction to the accord. Thatcher’s original conception that the mass of Protestants would come to see the Agreement as no threat to them lies in ruins. Because of the ham-fisted manner of its introduction and because it appears to go further than it does, it has aroused such a fierce Protestant opposition that the entire thing is and will remain completely inoperable.

It is however notable how pessimistic the tone is at times:

Paisley and more particularly the “young Turks” within the DUP have been permitted to move centre stage. Future mass loyalist reaction, should it develop, would crystallise around such people. It would encompass hardliners in both Unionist parties, groups like the Ulster Clubs, the UDR ranks, and in its ultimate stages, the RUC also. The loyalist paramilitaries would be brought into tow of such a movement providing its physical force battalions.
Reaction has not reached such a stage. So the “armies” formed by Paisley retain, even now, an evanescent character, yet they are not to be dismissed. Such forces are a quite serious threat in the short term. Actions such as the sealing off of villages could precipitate pogroms. Were the Anglo-Irish Agreement to be implemented these forces could swell and become a vehicle for armed reaction. They give a glimpse of what will happen in the long term if the labour movement does not provide a socialist way out for the mass of Protestant and Catholic workers.

In sum a most interesting document in relation to the views of Militant during this particular period.

Irish Left Archive: Northern Ireland – For Workers’ Unity: A reply to the Workers’ Association Pamphlet [BICO] “What’s wrong with Ulster Trade Unionism”, Militant, c. 1974 December 13, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British and Irish Communist Organisation (BICO), Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant.

To download the document please click on the following link: MIL BINDER

This document, written by Peter Hadden of Militant, is a fascinating reply to a Workers’ Association Pamphlet. As it notes, in the original WA leaflet there was a proposal to establish an Ulster Trade Union Congress ‘seperate from the ICTU and the British TUC.

It states:

This pamphlet is a reply to one such group [proposing a UTUC]…

It also notes…

The WA have an identical position to that of another group, the British and Irish Communist Organisation. No differences appear betwen the material of these groups. Therefore this pamphlet treats them as identical. One section deals with the broader ideas of these tendencies and the implications of these idea.

It continues:

… this work is not intended merely as an answer to the B&ICO and WA. Sectarianism in NI Has had a shattering effect on the Labour Movement. The Ulster TUC proposal can only serve to worsen this effect. However, just to discard this idea is not enough. It is necessary to work out the ways and means by which flash can be once again put on the Northern Irish TU movement. In rejecting the totally false theories and proposals of the WA, this pamphlet seeks also to provide a positive alternative – a set of class ideas and demands around which the might of Organsed Labour could be brought to the fore.

One aspect that is very interesting is how hostile Militant is to B&ICO/WA.

It argues that:

The aim of the [WA] pamphlet is not to improve the structure of the trade unions in NI, as has been suggested by some, but is to smear the leadership of the TU Movement as ‘republican’ and thereby help discredit them.

It continues:

Many of the pamphlet’s arguments are hair raising indeed! The leaders of the NIC are tried and convicted of the above ‘offence’ on ‘grounds’ which only serve to expose the lack of any class understanding on the part of the Workers Association. The NIC committed such ‘republican’ crimes as refusing to participate in the jubilee celebrations to mark the fifty years of the Northern Ireland state. After fifty years of unemployment and low wages for many of their members what were the trade unions supposed to celebrate? But this action was a symptom of a much more heinous crime! The NIC actually back the demand for civil rights in NI!

And it goes on to say…

Civil Rights, according to the WA was ‘promoted by the republican movement with the objective of weakening internal and international support for the NI Admistration prior to its overthrow’ (P.4). Why socialists should support and defend the rotten tory state and administration in NI we are not told.

Consider the following:

From the erudite thinkers who penned this pamphlet we learn little new about N.I. history. More accurately we find re-invoked the lies and myths about the nature of the N.I. state which for too long the Unionist hierarchy were able to spread. The Civil Rights movement slashed through the web of unionist mythology with facts. Now we find the spider of B&IC and the WA busily at work with its theoretical needle attempting to repair the damage.

There’s far too much material of considerable interest to do justice in a brief introduction such as this. Fortunately the document is highly readable and well worth the effort.

Here are some Workers Association leaflets already in the Archive. The analysis in the Militant document provides a fascinating overview of its own position in regard to Northern Ireland at this point in time. It also perhaps explains later perceptions of B&ICO.

By the way, I can’t recall who, if anyone, sent this to the Archive. Drop me a line and I’ll credit you.

There’s also a text version of this available here, but perhaps the printed version of a document gives a better sense of both itself and the time.

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.

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.


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!”

The Left Archive: Divide and Rule – Labour and the Partition of Ireland, Peter Hadden, Militant, 1980 May 11, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics, Militant, Socialist Party, Uncategorized.


It seems perhaps appropriate given the sad loss of Peter Hadden of the Socialist Party last week that we might mark that with a Left Archive piece which we had intended to run later in the Summer.

This document, published by Militant in 1980, which if I recall correctly was donated by Jim Monaghan – for which many thanks, provides a good insight into the style and approach of Peter Hadden in his work, research and analysis.

The document itself engages with a very particular historical moment in the development of the left on the island of Ireland during the 1910s and more broadly with the issue of partition and the role of Labour.

Irish Left History Project: Irish Militant Tendency, 1972 to c.1989 October 2, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Open History Project, Militant.



It’s remarkable how short the entry for Irish Militant Tendency is on wiki. Here it is…

Irish Militant Tendency was the Irish section of the Committee for a Workers International in the 1970s and 1980s when it practiced entryism in the Irish Labour Party. After being expelled from Labour the group formed Irish Militant Labour, which became what is now the Socialist Party.

Well, yes. But that hardly gets to the root of the matter. How big was it, how many members and so on and so forth. John Goodwillie, in Gralton detailed it as follows:

Militant – formed in 1972 with close links with the British Militant. It has provided a Trotskyist wing in the Labour Party in the republic,and in the North in the Northern Ireland Labour Party and more recently the Labour and Trade Union (co-ordinating) group.

The history is, of course, a bit more complex than that. Militant did not spring fully formed into the Irish left body politic. It had a pedigree all its own. Militant Tendency developed from the Revolutionary Socialist League which was founded in the UK by Ted Grant amongst others and was in part a successor of the original Militant Group of the late 1930s. The RSL organised within the British Labour Party on an avowedly Trotskyist platform, indeed it was initially a section of the Fourth International, but in the 1970s was one of those behind the Committee for a Workers’ International. This life within a larger party was to characterise it throughout its time as Militant Tendency, so-called due to the newspaper Militant first published by the RSL in the mid 1960s, until the ‘open turn’ in the early 1990s. As the newspaper achieved greater prominence the name RSL was superseded by Militant Tendency.

And perhaps it’s unsurprising that as in Britain so in Ireland where it was to be found, as noted by Goodwillie, as a coherent grouping within the Irish Labour Party from 1972. I’ve never been a member of that latter party so I can only imagine how exotic MT must have appeared within Labour (although on reflection any party which could encompass Conor Cruise O’Brien and Stephen Coughlan can reasonably be termed pretty exotic in its own right).

However this coherence brought its own problems as it marked it out as readily identifiable. And while it is true that the British Labour Party was no stranger to groups organising within it Militant Tendency was pretty explicit in its affiliation to overtly Marxist-Leninist forms… indeed there’s something wryly amusing about the wiki entry on the party which notes that:

At its mass rallies in the 1980s the Militant displayed two huge banners at each side of the stage, one showing Marx and Engels, and the other showing Lenin and Trotsky, and never disavowed the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky.[53]

These things are clues. As with the turn against Militant Tendency in Britain during the 1980s by a leadership (and in fairness large sections of a party membership) keen to exhibit its political machismo and impose greater control so a similar albeit lower key dynamic played out in Ireland. Dick Spring was lauded in some quarters for acting against Militant. Still, I was surprised to discover that Militant members were part of the Labour Party right into the early 1990s. My memory was that they’d mostly left by the late 1980s.

Following the explusions there was the relatively brief existence of Irish Militant Labour and then subsequently the formation of the Socialist Party – a path not dissimilar to that travelled by the Militant Tendency in the UK. I’m reposting the issue of Militant from the Left Archive where other copies can be found here and here.

So, the question arises, what precisely was the genesis of Militant within Irish Labour? How large was Militant during this period? Did its membership numbers ebb and flow? When was the final breach? Who were the leading lights and did they continue into the Socialist Party (the issue above has articles from Peter Hadden, Alex Wood of Coleraine Labour Party, Peter Taafe – National Secretary of MT UK, John Throne – also of ITGWU, and Finn Geaney – obviously many of these names are well known)? What would be the defining documents published by Irish Militant other than their newspaper? How influential was Militant within the Labour Party? And so on. All information gratefully received.

The Irish Left Archive: Militant Irish Monthly, Issue No.3, June 1972 April 13, 2009

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant, Socialist Party.



Under the heading “Introducing the Irish Monthly” this four page broadsheet is confusingly numbered as No. 3 and introduced as ‘the first issue of the MILITANT Irish Monthly”. It continues:

The great success of the MILITANT Irish Editions made it absolutely clear that there was a real demand for a paper which put forward a clear and consistent Marxist view of the bloody events in Ireland.

This speaks of a concentration on the events in the North which is exemplified by the photograph of the Vanguard March at Craigavon Bridge, an inside photograph of Craig and Enoch Powell in full Orange regalia and accompanying articles on the situation including an highly critical overview of the Northern Ireland Labour Party. Note the main headline: North and South: Fight Orange and Green Tories with: Class Action.

An article calls for the ‘creation of an armed TU defence force to fight sectarianism coupled to a socialist programme for the nationalisation of the banks, insurance companies and major monopolies’ in order to ‘side-step’ the ‘possibility of a protracted civil war’.

As ever with Militant it is a clear and well produced document.

This text and these files are a resource for use freely by anyone who wants to for whatever purpose – that’s the whole point of the Archive (well that and the discussions). But if you do happen to use them we’d really appreciate if you mentioned that you found them at the Irish Left Online Document Archive…

The Left Archive: “Militant”, 1979 May 6, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Militant.


This issue of Militant from October 1979 provides an interesting contrast with the previous one posted in the Archive. The concentration on economic issues is more marked. Granted the previous issue which appeared in 1972 was specifically a special Irish edition, but the tone is significantly different. The conflict had, of course, become entrenched. Many players had left the field, and perhaps the sense that there might be rapid (or revolutionary) change had finally dissipated.

That said it is a little jarring to read an editorial about the British Labour Party conference. That this was close to the heart of the ‘Marxists’ (aka Militant) is undeniable. But, it indicates a certain focus unlike, arguably, any other formation on the Irish left during this period. That it is followed by a further editorial about Sile De Valera is only odd if one doesn’t recognise it for the full frontal attack on Fianna Fáil. That said, there is a certain quaintness about the language which talks of ‘cynical attempt to pretend to young people who desire to change society, that Fianna Fáil represents their interests). The ‘young’ people. Always something of a disappointment…

Joe Higgins writes about the traditions of Labour in Cork. We read about the Pope, and how ‘the money spent on [his visit to Ireland] is a pittance in relation to the overall wealth of the Vatican’. We learn that polling in the North indicated a reservoir of support for an ‘intervention’ by the Labour movement and hostility towards the traditional parties – who almost inconceivably some thirty years later remain dominant. Who would have guessed? A crisis in the USA, ‘Mass Politics, Not Individual Terror’ on the North, a letter about the unionisation of McDonalds, and bevy of Letters on union matters… It’s strange how nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. And, of course, no mention of another rival on the left, Official Sinn Féin,. Indeed no mention of any other left forces beyond Labour and the Trade Unions.

As ever with Militant it is worth noting the strong visual presentation of the paper. There is a professionalism here (although in fairness to OSF, they were pretty good at that too) and the paper is used to push a coherent and consistent message. One may question some of those messages, although not their sincerity. Impressive.

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