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Left Archive: Ireland – Past, Present and Future, The Socialist Party of Great Britain and World Socialist Party of Ireland, 1983 February 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Socialist Party of Great Britain, World Socialist Party.


To download the above file please click on the following link: WSPI 1983

Many thanks to the SPGB for forwarding this very interesting document to the Archive.

This document, issued by the SPGB was published in 1983. It joins other documents from the SPGB, the Socialist Party of Ireland (1940s onwards) and the World Socialist Party of Ireland already in the Archive. The contents is broad-ranging offering an overview of ‘The Origins of Sectarianism’, ‘The Roots of Nationalism’, ‘Partition and the Consequences’, ‘Civil Rights and Political Violence’ and ‘Socialism’.

In the introduction, signed by the Socialist Party of Great Britain, it notes that:

It is commonplace to read news reports of killings on the streets of Ulster. The media present the bombs and the barricades, the internment camps and the rubber bullets as unfortunate hiccups which can be overcome by sensible politicians applying their thoughtful solutions.

But there can be no solution to ‘The Irish Problem’ as long as it is regarded as such. There is nothing particularly Irish about it. The poverty which forms the material basis of discrimination and fratricidal strife is inevitable in the framework of the present social system – capitalism.

But while the basic problems are the same throughout the world (even in the so-called ‘communist’ countries where capitalism functions through the medium of the State), the contradictions of the system manifest themselves differently and in varying degrees of viciousness according to historical, political and economic conditions obtaining in different areas.

It is to capitalism then, as it developed in the historical circumstances peculiar to Ireland, that we must look for an explanation of the problems of today.

In a later paragraph it argues that:

The demands of civil rights movement amounted to no more than an insistence that the miseries of capitalism – its inadequacies in housing, job and education – be distributed among the working class without regard to their religion – as if other factors bearing on selection and rejection for these things were not also discriminatory.


The politics of Unionism and Republicanism have become meaningless in terms of the interests of the now largely unified capitalist class; and certainly, neither Unionism nor Republicanism – despite the latter’s flirting with the vocabulary of Socialism – have anything to offer the working class. It is because Unionism, the Border and Ulster are no more than a source of irritation to capitalism – the issues involved having no logic in class terms – that more effective moves for a solution of the Northern Ireland problem have not emerged.

Left Archive: The Anglo-Irish Accord and it’s Irrelevance for the Working Class, World Socialist Party [Ireland], 1986 May 30, 2011

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

To download the above file please click on following link:WSP ANGLO IRISH

Many thanks to the SPGB for the donation of this document to the Archive.

Issued by the World Socialist Party [Ireland], a successor to the Socialist Party of Ireland and as a part of the World Socialist Movement a fraternal organisation to the Socialist Party of Great Britain, this document is of a piece with those posted to the Archive in the last fortnight from Sinn Féin and the Workers’ Party both of which engage with the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The preface outlines the broad analysis.

The present pamphlet is in no way intended as a definitive statement of the WSP’s views on patriotism or nationalism. That is, our refutation and utter rejection of the assertion that patriotic or nationalistic aspirations and ideas can in any way be reconciled with the interests of the working class.

It continues:

Because it treats of a specific subject – the Anglo-Irish Accord – the interests of conciseness dictated that the pamphlet could only touch upon some of the major questions which the twin concepts of patriotism and nationalism bring into focus. It does not, for example, attempt an in-depth analysis of the role of governments, the co-ercive essence of the state, the use to which various national assemblies can be put, or the vital question of international conflict and war.

Indeed, in relation to such issues we would be sympathetic to the opinion that the pamphlet possibly raises more questions than it attempts to answer.

In the Introduction the pamphlet argues that:

[The Accord] wants working people to SEE things differently. It wants working people who follow Unionism to feel that NI’s place is more secure within the UK and it hopes to persuade working people who identify with Irish nationalism that things will change for the better.

It also argues that the Agreement does not ‘say anything to you about your problem as a member of the working class’. And it suggests that the difference between the Border Campaign and the armed struggle of the late 1960s and after was that unlike the former which dealt with an ‘abstract notion of a 32-county Ireland’ the ‘PIRA emerged out of a struggle for ‘civil rights’, a struggle based on the wholly mistaken idea that their RELIGION and not their CLASS position in society was the cause of their poverty, their unemployment, their slum housing and other miseries.

Later it proposes that:

…the sight of working people marching in ranks behind a Union Jack or an Irish tricolour, listening to some vicious politician telling them to stay divided and separated, and to let flags, banners, slogans and the fabricated fictions of historical events take precedence over the reality of poverty and deprivation that restricts and damages their lives must be tragic beyond belief!

The Accord does not try to expose these lunacies. Given that Thatcher and FitzGerald serve the same capitalist interest that helped to fabricate and promote the fictions, it would be naive to expect them to try.

It concludes on the point that:

…the sole purpose between the AIA is to simplify and cheapen the security burden of the capitalist class; to create illusions about individual dignity and ‘cultural identity’ that might lower the tribal temperature and allow our masters the most economic ‘law and order’ they require to facilitate their exploitation of us.

Another useful addition to the Archive.

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