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Left Archive: Case for the Formation of a Republican Socialist Party – precursor of the Official Republican Movement, late 1990s September 13, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Official Republican Movement (1990s/2000s), Republican Left/later ORM.

This document can be downloaded by clicking on the following link: REP LEFT

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this and the accompanying overview of the document.

This internal document was a proposal on the future of the ‘Official Republican Movement’ (ex members and supporters of the Workers Party) at the ORM conference attended by over 120 members in the Ulster Peoples College 1999. Calling for the launch of a new political party to be titled ‘Republican Left’, the motion was one of two on the table and, should it be available, it would be worthwhile putting up for some context as its alternative, as I recollect the formation of a ‘society’.

The document looks to be the work of a committee as it is a little ‘choppy’ and goes into tremendous detail in some areas and skims others. The proposal document is quiet long, 7 sections, starting with an introduction that places it firmly as a ‘tactical’ way forward for the ORM and begs delegates to listen to both arguments as both “are by comrades genuinely committed to our organisation.” Then, as with all internal republican debates, it harks back to the past to give some historical justification for its core rationale.

In this case the starting point is the ‘failed’ 50’s campaign is the starting point followed by a cramming of the 1970’s and 1980’s Official/WP transformation, essentially stating that within this process the baby was thrown out with the political bathwater particularly the WP analysis of Irish Nationalist aspiration (counter productive and reactionary) and British Nationalism (must be understood and respected) rather than the rejection of all nationalisms for socialist unity of the working class.

More interesting is the point mooted that the split in the Workers Party was basically a split in the leadership without much involvement from the general membership. It backs up this assertion with a breakdown of the various ‘factions’ and names some ‘leading lights’ associated.

After that, in a section about the political bankruptcy of the WP, it asserts that the WP lost the working class in the Republic when it refused to engage with the Concerned Parents Against Drugs campaign and was openly hostile to it. The document rounds off returning to the introduction putting forward a case for a Socialist Republican Party.

The proposal/document was endorsed at the meeting by over two thirds of the attendees. However, it was noticeable that few of the ORM ‘Leadership’ supported it (possibly only two or three of the eighteen). After the Conference they shelved the proposal as “the time wasn’t right” failed to rebrand as Republican Left and, instead, implemented the alternative proposal.

JJ McGarrity (Jnr)

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