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Left Archive: Objective Idealism is Fascism – A denunciation of Northrop Frye’s “Literary Criticism” – Internationalists (CPI (M-L) precursor) c.1969 July 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive, The Internationalists.


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

This is an unusual document issued by the Internationalists, the precursor group of the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist). In 35 pages it critically examines theories of knowledge and literary theory and literary interpretation. In a preface under the heading ‘Ideological Forum’ it argues that:

There are two most general, wide-spread, and universal lines prevalent in the world about the role of the intellectual in society. one line treats intellectuals as experts in society and bribes them in accordance with their merit. This policy is supported by the imperialists, modern Soviet Revisionists, various liberal bourgeois, and the counter revolutionary Trotskyists. In opposition to this, the second line considers intellectuals as an essential part of society without divorcing them from the masses; they are one with the masses, and are fully integrated with the struggle for production, class struggle and scientific experimentation. Here they are not a privileged class and work wholly for the masses. This line is called mass-line.

The mass-line is followed in the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Albania. The vast masses are conducting the Great Cultural Revolution to make sure that the expert line does not rise again. The mass-line builds initiative of the mass and liberates them from the bureaucracy of the experts; the expert line deprives people of their initiative and puts their destiny in the hands of experts who cannot be held responsible for their crimes against the masses.

The following reference is of interest:

The expert-line, coming from [the Cultural Congress] Havana, the counter-revolutionary line, advocates what in essence is the old, moribund, bankrupt and bourgeois line, and is supported by intellectuals like Noam Chomsky.

The main body of the text is concerned with Professor Northrop Frye, then of the University of Toronto. Frye was a very significant voice in 20th century criticism, and the document is unstinting in its criticism of him:

Professor Northrop Frye … is a well-known reactionary and idealist, the fascist aspect of whose scholarship needs to be laid bare. Who is a fascist intellectual? Fascism springs from a person’s social and intellectual attitudes and it is essential to go into its genesis. When idealists talk of fascism they usually refer to the murderous crusades carried out asa result of social, political or religious dogmas: they picture dismembered bodies and recall all kinds of physical killing and persecution. idealist historians suggests that all fox sudden somebody, some class of people, or some society went berserk and started kiling people. This isa simplistic definition of fascism, a comfortable rationalisation which ignores the reality of the human situation.

Do people become murderers all of a sudden? No. The moment people believe something without undertaking the act-of-finding out they are manifesting a fascist tendency; to accept without questioning the premise involved in a statement, an analysis or a concept is to create the basis of fascism. Cold war slogans operate precisely in this manner. Beliefs devoid of experiential validity and made up of the accumulate prejudices of the society give rise to over fascism. Northrop Frye is a fascist for he bases his literary criticism on the Bible and the Great Chain of Being, on idealist philosophy and clerical obscurantism without undertaking the act-of-finding out.

And the introduction concludes:

To understand the world one must want to change it, not mentally but through mass struggles.

There is considerably more, far too much for a short overview like this, but all told this is an interesting and unusual document.

Left Archive: Special Election Bulletin, Trinity College Dublin: Democratic Student Front [CPI M-L] 1973 October 24, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive, The Internationalists.

To download the above please click on the following link: CPIMLTCD70s2

Many thanks to Tommy Graham for donating this to the Archive.

This document is a little unusual in respect to much of the Archive, being an election bulletin issued by the Democratic Student Front [established by the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist)] for elections to the Student Representative Council in Trinity College Dublin. The DSF was founded in April 1973 in order to contest those elections.

As it notes:

‘Everyone at the meeting was serious and optimistic about his new development in the progressive struggles of Trinity Students’.

This document presents the Draft Programme of the DSF which as the headline notes ‘Develops the Experience of The Internationalists’ Student Manifesto of 1968′. The use of language is particularly interesting. It argues the introduction that ‘Every clique in power in the SRC, from the Matthewsclique in 1968 which shamelessly collaborated and prostrated itself in front of the authorities and gave theme very encouragement in their plans to mislead and deceive the students, to the present pseudo-progressive Giles-Stephenson clique who have done the same’.

As regards the Draft Programme, this starts with the statement that:|

1. Trinity College is an anti-student, anti-people institution, and always has been.

Through its entire 382 year history, the Trinity College Authorities have done everything to support, first British colonialism, and now neocolonialism, backed mainly by British and US imperialism, nurture fascism and racism, and oppose the just struggles of the people of IReland and the world for emancipation from these evils. It trains the students to be small and big time lackey’s of imperialism. It has consistently developed the university as a breeding ground for colonialist and neocolonialist theories and has become renowned in the world for training colonial and neocolonial agents to execute these policies on behalf of British and US imperialism. It also encourages the use of the college as a platform for all pro-imperialist ideologues and politicians. It enthusiastically promotes and encourages all the research and scientific ‘development’ which can be used against the world’s people, and suppresses all the academic work which can serve the people.

Later it argues that:

All the 31 sets of SRC leaders have lauded it over the masses of the students and refused to be accountable for their actions to anyone. They have treated the organization as their own private property, and refused to admit that the masses of students have any role to play.

The following is of interest too:

16. The DSF candidates will put an immediate end to all corruption, graft, bribery, privileges, nepotism and free under-the-table handouts in the SRC and SRC-supported activities. The DSF candidates will put an immediate end to all squandering of student money through carelessness, laziness, indifference, opportunism and adventurism. The DSF candidates will resolutely oppose, and mobilize, the students against, any attempts by careerists, opportunists and budding bureaucrats to use the SRC to lord it over the masses of students, build their careers, or make personal gains.


19. The DSF candidates will abolish all arbitrary rules and regulations in the SRC affairs, they will guarantee all students (who are not openly racist, fascist or imperialist) equal access to all their facilities (duplicating etc.).

All in all it’s a polemical, well produced, document that clearly carries its message and perhaps illustrates how the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) was able to maintain a continuing presence in Trinity subsequently and is a useful addition to the Left Archive CPI (M-L) materials.

Left Archive: ‘Words’ from the Trinity Internationalists (later the CPI(M-L), c.1967 August 23, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive, The Internationalists.

To access downloadable PDF please click on the following link: INT’L WORDS

Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland, for making this document available to the Archive.

‘Words’ dates from close to the earliest phase of the Internationalists, the organisation that would subsequently develop into the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist). As noted here…

When The Internationalists were first set up in Trinity College Dublin in November 1965, it was not as a fully-formed Marxist-Leninist party, but ‘as an exercise in better staff-student relations.’

This loose discussion group held meetings with titles such as “Academic Freedom” and “The Function of a University”, and continued until October 1966, when the decision was taken, presumably by Bains and his supporters, to establish a more disciplined organisation which would focus on ‘which theory we are going to follow, which motivation we should have, which class we are going to favour’ (2).

Sometime towards the end of 1966 the group renamed itself the Trinity Internationalists, and began to issue a periodical entitled Words and Comment. There were at least eleven issues produced between 1966 and 1968, and Trinity’s library has at least seven of them for those privileged enough to have access. (3)

It’s a striking document which clearly is positioned within the much less formal context of a staff student discussion vehicle. From the four page essay by Hardial S. Bains on ‘The Phenomena of Time Consciousness’ to the concentration on Vietnam to the ‘Straight Facts: Radio Telefis Eireann’ it is very much of its time, although there is a telling piece on the back page about the slogan ‘Make Love Not War’ which takes that formulation to task. In some respects that and the tone of the Bains article are the only significant hints of the ideological rigour which would later be manifested in the CPI(M-L). Tied into that is a much less rhetorical use of language throughout.

A useful indication of a transitional stage in the political origins of one of our better known further left formations.

The Left Archive: “Mastering Bolshevism” Pamphlet from the Internationalists, 1968 July 21, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive, The Internationalists.


The term Stalinist is bandied around a fair old bit in further left political circles, sometimes correctly, sometimes not. But for an example of a truly ‘Stalinist’ document one need not look further than this, a reprint by the Internationalists of “Mastering Bolshevism” by Stalin.

The Internationalists, who when they grew a bit older became the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist) [of which more here] were founded by Hardial Bains who – it must be admitted – worked prodigiously to promote Maoism as an aspect of Marxist-Leninism, then when that failed the test during the Sino-Albanian split went with Hoxha and Albania.
That such an exotic bloom should flower, albeit temporarily and in a very limited way, in Ireland is testament to Bains who apparently studied in Trinity College Dublin in the mid-1960s.

The political purpose of the Internationalists is evident in the quote on the cover from Stalin himself:

Trotksyism has ceased to be a political trend in the working class… it has changed from the political trend which it was seven or eight years ago into a frantic and unprincipled gang of wreckers, diversionists, spies and murderers acting on the instruction of the intelligence services of foreign states…(1937)

The then contemporary nuance is explained in a preface on the inside cover which argues that:

… the target of attack is modern Soviet Revisionism, the ‘revisionist’ parties in the imperialist countries and elsewhere, trotskyism [note the lower case ‘t’], ‘Castroism’ and various other shades of liberal bourgeoisie ideologies vying for influence in the revolutionary ranks, e.g.. ‘new left ideology’.

[To which the only answer might be that if this pamphlet is agin them then I’m for those new leftists and revisionists.] But during this period the ‘new left’ and attendant supporters was in the ascendant and this sort of gesture was presumably necessary by their lights.

That said the small issue as to whether Stalin’s (unbelievably repetitious) ruminations on Trotsky et al had any bearing at all on how socialism of whatever form should be progressed in Ireland in the 1960s seems to have escaped those who published and distributed this pamphlet.

The advert on the second last page promoting “Necessity for Change Progressive Books and Periodicals”, or plain old Progressive Books as we knew it later is interesting [although perhaps not quite as interesting as the question of how such a small group could afford a bookshop… now that’s what I call dedication]. The term “Necessity for Change” came from a conference Bains had organised to found Marxist-Leninist parties, but it’s indicative of the propensity for sloganeering, something that carried on into the CPI (ML).

A small note: Oddly enough this is the only piece of material I’ve ever had any qualms in putting up due to the author of the content. But it’s an archive and reflective of the times, ideas and people involved…

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