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Left Archive: Red Banner, A magazine of socialist ideas, Issue 1, November 1997 March 1, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Miscellaneous.


Here’s an interesting one. Red Banner, ‘a revolutionary socialist magazine’ for those who ‘are sick of the way the world is run…. we intend to present socialist ideas to as many people as we can, and to develop and apply those ideas to the needs of the struggle for socialism today. It is our belief that struggle requires a clear understanding of its situation, of its history, of the conditions of its victory’.

Noting that ‘Capitalism every day proves itself to be incapable of resolving the basic problems facing humanity’ it also allows that ‘just as obvious… is the failure of the left, thus far, to get rid of it. There is no use denying it: there are too many on the left who see the struggle in terms of their own narrow organisational success, and not enough whose main concern is the strength and fighting consciousness of the working class. Red Banner has no illusions whatsoever that it is destined to form some revolutionary vanguard, but we are convinced that a powerful socialist movement can be built by the working classes themselves.’

And it continues…

The rainforests are in bad enough shape as it is, so we won’t be wasting paper with appeals to seek salvation in the election of nice politicians, or in the ascendancy of benevolent dictators. We stand for the workers of the world independently and self-consciously taking control.

But we wont’ be resorting to censorship and heresy hunting to put our views forward. Only those unsure of their politics need gunboats in the bay to enforce an intellectual monopoly for their product We, on the other hand, have enough confidence in the strength of revolutionary socialist politics to believe that they will win through and grow stronger in the free competition of ideas.

The contents are an eclectic mix, with contributions from Joe Conroy, Mick Doyle, Rosanna Flynn and others, including The Myth of Michael Collins by one Brian Hanley. Well worth a read. And also worth noting that it is still going strong.

Irish Left Archive: Abortion A choice for Irish Women – Irish Woman’s Right to Choose Group – June 1981 January 11, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Miscellaneous, Social Campaigns.


In a sense this is a companion piece to the Nuclear Energy pamphlet posted up here late last year (and many thanks to Jim Monaghan for forwarding it the Archive). As with that document it sits parallel to but distinct from left-wing discourse. And there are, of course, those on the left who would dissent on this issue.

There are aspects of the tone of this document that place it very much of its time, but it is hard to overestimate the socially revolutionary aspect to this. And it’s also worth noting that the document attempts to place abortion within a spectrum of issues. All told another useful addition to the Archive.

Irish Left Archive: Nuclear Ireland? by Matthew Hussey, Carole Craig, Co-op Books/Focus Ireland, 1978 November 30, 2009

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Miscellaneous.


This is a document, and many thanks to Jim Monaghan for forwarding it, that to some extent runs at a tangent to much of the Archive. But it is without question that in the mid to late 1970s campaigns and activism developed that were centered on issues beyond socialism as such or the North and foreshadowed social campaigns and the rise of the environmental movement and its political face in the Ecology Party and later the transition of that organisation to a Green Party. However, that said, the left in all its forms was involved in the campaign to prevent the arrival of commercial nuclear power on our shores. The Fianna Fáil government had produced a Green Paper on energy, ‘Energy-Ireland, Discussion Document on some Current Energy Problems and Options’.

Indeed the book is explicit in noting that it ‘looks at these opposing views [on nuclear energy] and many others – in the context of the nuclear power station now being considered for Carnsore Point in County Wexford’. Written by Dr. Matthew Hussey of Kevin St. College of Technology and Carole Craig, a journalist, the quote on the back of the pamphlet indicates the approach taken within:

Fission energy is safe only if a number of critical devices work as they should, if a number of people in key positions follow all their instructions, if there is no sabotage, no hijacking of the transports, if no reactor fuel processing plant or repository anywhere in the world is situated in a region of riots, or guerilla activity, and no revolution or war – even a ‘conventional one’ – takes place in these regions. The enormous quantities of extremely dangerous materail must not get into the hands of ignorant people or desperadoes. No acts of God can be permitted.
Hans Alfren, Nobel Laureate

Inside it deals with the science of nuclear energy, safety issues, aspects of the econmics of nuclear power and the political ramifications. it also discusses alternatives. Throughout it is illustrated by Martyn Turner cartoons and strips. It’s actually quite a snappy read and very evocative of the period within which it was produced. Odd to reflect that as recently as this last week, John Gormley was arguing that the nuclear option while not his choice was not something that he would dismiss out of hand.

On a further tangent to this topic there’s some illuminating material inside the Lost Revolution on the agonising within SFWP on the issue of nuclear technology.

The Irish Left Archive [Remembering 1969]: “A Failed Political Entity: Studies in Unionism, The Civil Rights Campaign, Discrimination and The Way Forward”, issued by the Dublin ’68 Committee, c. 1988. August 28, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Civil Rights, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Left Online Document Archive (Remembering 1969), Miscellaneous.

cover AFPE 88


I’m indebted to Jim Monaghan for forwarding this to the Archive, and at precisely the right time too. This is definitely turning into history week on the CLR, and why not. Anyhow, to some extent this doesn’t really belong in the Left Archive, since this is a document that could be argued emanates from traditional Irish nationalism. Consequently I’m posting it out of the usual sequence.

However, as an insight into how the events of 1968 and 1969 resonated long afterward in Irish political life, and for the particular analysis of the events of those years, it provides some use.

Printed in the late 1980s it draws together an eclectic mix of figures, from former Fianna Fáil Minister Kevin Boland, clearly the prime mover behind it, Vincent MacDowell, a former Vice-Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association in 1969 and others. Even the then indefatigable Ulick O’Connor makes an appearance, and there’s a snippet from Charles Haughey on p.39, but there’s little reason to get overly excited by that, it is just a snippet.

In other words this is a Fianna Fáil, or more precisely a dissident Fianna Fáil (to coin a phrase), production. Perhaps the piece of most relevance is that by Vincent MacDowell, A Failed Political Entity. It is fascinating as much for what it ignores as what it includes. Indeed I find the way it draws a line between civil rights and then nationalism/Republicanism with no clear left element to be hugely instructive. Anyway, that’s just my first impression.

Interesting to know peoples thoughts on this.

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