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Irish Left Archive: Bloody Sunday Poster, Revolutionary Marxist Group, c.1972? January 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.
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From the RMG.

Many thanks to Alan of Irish Election Literature for forwarding this to the Archive.

Left Archive: Irish Nationalism & British Imperialism – Robert Dorn, Revolutionary Marxist Group, 1973 April 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: RMG

This document published by the Revolutionary Marxist Group, and written under Raynor Lysaght’s pseudonym, Robert Dorn in 1973. 55 pages long no overview can hope to do justice to the contents, but it is possible to pick out some elements that offer a representative view of the document. In essence it is a riposte to the British & Irish Communist Organisation and in particular the ‘Two Nations’ theory.

It starts under the heading ‘Communism and the National Question’

The workers’ struggle to achieve the lass less stateless society is worldwide. It cannot be limited within the boundaries of any one state or among the people of any ethnic group. Communism, Scientific Socialism, Marxism or Bolshevik-Leninism as it is variously know, recognises this. Accordingly those who adhere to it operate to an international strategy and within an international organisation: The Fourth International.

If the nation developed from the same processes as did the working class, the two phenomena’s claims are not identical. On the one hand, the nation includes all class within itself itself, once it has been formed. On the other hand, its demands can be and often are in blatant opposition to those of the other nations, setting worker against worker.

It continues:

Nationalism, then, cannot be reconciled with internationalism and is not to be confused with it.

In general… the Communists are in support of the democratic claims of oppressed nations, whether to independence, to am more equitable drawing of boundaries, to the ending of oppression of their culture or to the abatement of any other specific abuse. Beyond that Communists cannot go: once the national claims step over the objective border surrounding the nation concerned, the oppressed nation has become itself an oppressor. Marx and Engels supported the German people’s right to a united state. But when the German capitalists added to their new empire by seizing the French territories of Alsace and Eastern Lorraine, these Communist leaders denounced those they had supported critically the previous day.

There’s a fascinating overview of various concepts of nationalism, including the Two Nations concept, ‘A “British” Nation’ and so on.

There are two Appendices; Communist on the Nation and Documents on the Left Opposition (Y.S.) and R.M.G. on the Irish National Question.

It concludes:

Take over British Factories.Strike to hold them for the workers. Fight to protect them for the workers. End sectarian laws – North and South. Work with our overseas comrades for a classless stateless society.

Left Archive: Draft Theses on the Irish Revolution, Gerry Foley, 1973 August 19, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group, United Secretariat of the Fourth International.


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

This document consisting of draft thesis for discussion in the United Secretariat of the Fourth International in conjunction with the Revolutionary Marxist Group is an important addition to the material already in the Archive from Gerry Foley. This was, as the introductory paragraph makes clear:

…drafted to serve as the basis for a discussion in the United Secretariat on the perspectives of work of the Fourth International corrodes in Ireland. They were discussed with the comrades of the Revolutionary Marxist Group and a number of changes suggested by them were incorporated into the draft, but the full discussion in the United Secretariat, with the participation of the Irish comrades, has not yet been held.

It offers an insight into his view of the situation in Ireland in 1973 at a point where his view was that the Official IRA had

…failed to meet the challenge of the struggle. they proved unable to take advantage of the June-July 1971 crisis in Northern Ireland to break the political hegemony of the Catholic parliamentarian[s].

But he also argues that:

Although they grew relative to the Officials and absolutely as a result of the decline in the mass movement and of a general rise in nationalist feeling that the Officails failed to lead, the Provisionals themselves have also been left increasingly isolated by the demobilisation of the nationalist community.

His conclusions, at this remove, appear reasonably coherent. He argues that:

The fight in Ireland has now entered a defensive phase as a result of the demobilisation of the mass movement.

Left Archive: Socialist Republic (incorporating The Plough), Paper of the Revolutionary Marxist Group No. 1 c.1975 July 16, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.

To download the above document please click on the following link: SOCREPRMG1

Many thanks to Jim Monaghan for donating this to the Archive.

As noted previously the Revolutionary Marxist Group was a Trotskyist group in Ireland in the 1970s. With members drawn from an array of groups including the League for a Workers Republic and the Young Socialists it coalesced with similarly minded grouping in Belfast in 1972 to form the RMG. As the wiki page notes the RMG ‘rejected the Éire Nua plan’ put forward by PSF at that time. It later became the Movement for a Socialist Republic and later merged with People’s Democracy. And tellingly the title Socialist Republic was later adopted by People’s Democracy in the late 1970s.

This document, issue number 1 of Socialist Republic, paper of the Revolutionary Marxist Group, is a 12 page magazine format production. As noted on the second page

During 1974 we succeeded in stabilising production of THE PLOUGH as a monthly. We improved our coverage of all fields of revolutionary struggle, and in particular our analysis of the strategy of British imperialism and the tasks freaking revolutionaries in Ireland.
Although THE PLOUGH became better known and gained a wider readership, we have for some time felt that the name had little resonance in the working class. Also, the rise in paper and printing costs meant either raising the price or adopting a new format for the paper.

The contents is varied encompassing news on union organisation against redundancies in Limerick, an analysis of Loyalist assassinations in Belfast – which argues that this is a precursor to a loyalist take-over, reflection on the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill in the South and a critical piece on the role of the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland entitled ‘Shepherd versus Flock’.

The centre page article argues that the SDLP has capitulated to Loyalism.

It notes:

The SDLP has accepted that the Northern Ireland Convention will lead to the re-establishment of a loyalist dominated administration in the North. This has forced the party on to a course of intensified capitulation to Loyalism.

The dilemma of the northern catholic middle class is reflected in the strains and tensions within and around the SDLP…
…The crisis facing catholic middle class politicians in the North springs from the strength of Loyalism as expressed both in electoral and mass action forms which have sent the North on to a path to the restoration of the loyalist forces as the policeman for Britain in the six counties.

And it concludes:

The nature of any formations emerging from the middle-class political re-alignment re-emphasise that there can be no alternative to working class leadership to carry forward the struggle against Imperialism and the restoration of loyalist supremacy. This perspectives highlights a number of tasks of rthe revolutionary movement. The strategy of the SDLP must be combatted and the trend towards fragmentation aided. There must be no credibility given to illusions that cooperation with loyalist organisations can in anyway benefit the anti-unionist working class.

Also included on page 8 are a programme of demands. These include:

Self-determination for Ireland
For the abolition of partition.
For the separation of Church and State.
Against all forms of wage restraint.
No unemployment.
No redundancies.
For the Independence of the Trade Union movement.

Notable also is the strong emphasis on rights of access to contraception and publicity for ‘ad hoc grouping’ Irish Women United whose charter included ‘women and the law, the right to control one’s own body, the family, women in education, the needs of working women and the idea of special women’s centres’. Part of the ultimate goal of IWU was to build towards a new women’s movement in Ireland. Also worth noting is the article on a meeting in Birmingham where ‘a representative’ of the RMG extended ‘revolutionary greetings…to those fighting for free abortion on demand in Britain’.

Perhaps surprisingly the only reference to the situation outside of Ireland and Britain is a piece on the ‘death of Francoism’.

Other documents in the Archive from the RMG include this and this and we have quite a number of other documents scanned and ready to post up.

Left Archive: Marxist Review, Theoretical Journal of the Revolutionary Marxist Group, No.3, Spring 1973 July 19, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.


This document, very kindly donated to the Archive by Mark P and the Socialist Party, is of particular interest. We’ve already considered some material from the Revolutionary Marxist Group, but this expands upon their analysis and during a period of particular change on the further left on the island.

Just to briefly refresh memories, the Revolutionary Marxist Group was, as previously noted:

…an intriguing Trotskyist formation on the Irish left from the 1970s. Never very large it consisted of former members the League for a Workers Republic and Young Socialists.

The contents of this particular document is broad ranging, with essays on ‘The Leninist theory of Party Organisation’ by James Conway, ‘Connolly and the Revolutionary Party’ by D.R O’Connor Lysaght, ‘Class Consciousness and the Leninist Party’ by Ernest Mandel and ‘Once More – Trotsky on Ireland’ by James Conway.

Each is of specific interest in providing a sense of the discussions within the RMG and it’s position as regard other formations. The first engages with the issue of discipline, democracy, factions and so on within the context of the Leninist model of party organisation.

The second considers issues of Connolly and the revolutionary party in conjunction with a critique of the analyses of the British and Irish Communist Organisation.

The third is a reprint of an Ernest Mandel speech while the fourth also engages in part with BICO and the ICO.

Apologies for the quality of the scans. The original was printed in red ink and is very faint in parts.

The Left Archive: The Prospects Before Us – Revolutionary Marxist Group, 1970s January 17, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.


The Revolutionary Marxist Group is an intriguing Trotskyist formation on the Irish left from the 1970s. Never very large it consisted of former members the League for a Workers Republic and Young Socialists, according to Wiki. Some of our regular contributors will, no doubt, add detail to this picture.

This a fascinating document, written by the pseudonymous “Robert Dorn”, that attempts in a number of chapters to provide a rationale (perhaps retrospectively) for the political position of the RMG and potential alternatives. In the course of engaging with that there’s some good analysis in here of Republicanism and Irish politics.

This ideology makes only fitful pretence to the Socialism claimed as the ideal by the movements in Britain and Europe. Here, of course, we refer to militant Republicanism (Gardiner Place and Kevin St.). At a later stage of development, we will have to face up to a further fact: that the form of Republicanism that exercises most hegemony over the workers is, still, neither that of Gardiner Place nor that of Kevin Street, but the pretender of Upper Mount Street; the Fianna Fáil cuckoo. The extreme vagueness of Republicanism [sic] precepts (basically: ‘Break the connections with England and you’ll be all alright’) enabled this situation to come about. the victory of the ‘Yes’ vote in the recent referendum exposed the limitations of militant ‘Separatism’ and the creed could give no reason such a vote was incompatible with their basic views.

And the mention of certain groups places this within a clear historic timeline.

The circumstances that have made for the predominance of Republican ideology in the Irish working class have prevented any sort of serious opposition from being counterposed to it. The Irish Labour Party developed from a rigorous application of a syndicalist economist interpretation of certain aspects of the teachings of James Connolly inevitably becoming an expression of petty bourgeois Social Democracy. Such an ideology only has its staying power in the metropolitan state of imperialism. Basically, Irish Social Democracy accepts that ireland is another such state. This is at loggerheads with the facts. It has cut off the I.L.P. from any permanent claim on Republicans and has left it to depend entirely on imperialism’s ability to industrialise Ireland: and ability, as we are seeing, of only limited range. The development of an apparent ‘Tribunite’ tendency around the Liaison Committee of the left is not based on an internal ‘Tribunite’ base, but on the influx of debased Trotskyists and Stalinists.

There are also harsh words for the Communist Party of Ireland…

But, of course, there is a further complication. Real Communists might have been able to survive and develop better than the vanguard with which (until recently) the Irish working class has been lumbered. The history of Irish Stalinism includes 1 1/2 liquidations of its party. The first (1923) was to accomodate to the Syndicalist, Larking. The second (1941) (in the Twenty-Six Counties only) was aimed to overcome the embarrassment that would be given to the USSR by its allied party supporting the war effort of Russia’s ally and Ireland’s oppressor.

There’s also some background to Trotskyism in Ireland.

A more certain Trotskyist strain was already developed. This was amongst certain of [Michael] Price’s followers but also amongst members of Fianna Éireann who were disillusioned with the lack of politics of the Republican leadership…After the War, these formed a short-lived Revolutionary Socialist Party of Ireland which constituted to the only Irish section fo the Fourth international to date. This never grew beyond twenty. It was liquidated early in 1950…

Later many of them were to be prominent around Noel Browne, during his last period of organisational independence. However, by this time, they had lost most of their original revolutionary fervour. They did not try to create a proper Bolshevik Party out of Noel Browne’s National Progressive Democrats…

A complaint – however sardonic – one doesn’t hear every day.

The document also deals with the RMG itself and clearly delineates its ideological position:

In January 1972, we broke finally with the LWG and its YS. In February we held our founding Conference. Since then, we have been guided by three main lines, as defined by the faction fight, as much as anything.

(1) A general agreement with Comrade Ernest Mandel’s analysis of the developing crisis in world capitalism. (Though, in detail, a disagreement with his delineation of the qualitative change from Imperialism to neo-capitalism) and a resultant support for the Fourth International.

(2) The general view that the main propaganda field is on the national issue.

(3) Affiliation to the SLA.

The weakness is, that except for the first and Comrade MacGregor’s bluepring for action in Northern Ireland, nothing much has been done to spell out this (in itself correct) strategy.

There’s a most interesting analysis of the prospects for entryism to either Official or Provisional Sinn Féin where one of the reasons not to try the former is..

…it’s traditional activism harnessed to the policies of its leadership means that real entry work will entail activity, not alone time wasting, but of an actively counter-revolutionary nature. Trotskyist entrists will have to agitate for a ‘Northern Irish Bill of Rights’ and to sell the United Irishman with its libellous attacks on our politics. (This is more than was expected of Troskyists in the Labour Party). In the case of Kevin Street, there is always the pitfall of its undoubtedly Fascist (Fennell) wing and that it will distort the course of the struggle.

There are many names already familiar to those who have studied this topic over the years, and it’s written in a readable and in places highly entertaining style. Well worth considering.

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