One more body - the murder of Guiseppe Conlon

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 3, March/April 1980

Up to Wednesday 23 January 1980 four Irish prisoners had been murdered in English jails – Michael Gaughan June 1974, Frank Stagg February 1976, Noel Jenkinson October 1976 and Sean O’Conaill October 1977. On 23 January 1980 Guiseppe Conlon became the fifth Irish prisoner to be murdered.

 

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Ireland: victory against repressive abortion laws

Women rally in Ireland for a repeal of the 8th Amendment

On 25 May Ireland went to the polls in a historic referendum on whether to repeal the 8th Amendment to the constitution, which effectively outlawed abortion. The result was a landslide 66.4% of the vote for the ‘Yes’ campaign. This is a massive victory for women, and in particular working class women, in Ireland. Rachel Francis reports.

 

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The Irish War: What is to be done in Britain

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981

hunger strikes

The hunger strike by Irish political prisoners ended on 18 December. It has become clear that the British Government secured the ending of the strike by making secret promises. Those promises have not been kept. The prisoners’ struggle to achieve recognition as political prisoners continues and as long as it does, the duty of British Communists is to express full support for that struggle and total opposition to the British state’s attempts to portray Irish freedom fighters as criminals.

The hunger strike aroused the worldwide anger of democratic and working-class forces against British imperialism. Only in Britain, where pressure could most effectively have been exerted, was there a minimal and ineffectual response. The hunger strike dramatically exposed the continuing stranglehold which a pro-imperialist leadership has on the British working-class movement. It exposed the treachery of what passes for the British left – the CP, SWP, IMG. It also shows the enormous task facing the small forces of communism in Britain.

 

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The Communist Tradition on Ireland: Part Two – Irish Labour confronts British imperialism

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981

dublin lockout 1913

The period from the end of the First International to the founding Conference of the Third (Communist) International was a decisive one for the working-class movement world-wide. In this period a fundamental change in the nature of the capitalist system took place. Capitalism entered its imperialist phase.

Imperialism and the working class

Capitalism in its relentless drive for profits has grown into a world-wide system of colonial oppression and financial domination of the overwhelming majority of the world by a small number of imperialist countries. This domination has divided the world into oppressor and oppressed nations. A handful of the imperialist countries obtain high monopoly profits out of the brutal exploitation of oppressed peoples world-wide. Out of these ‘super-profits’ imperialism is able to create and sustain a small privileged and influential layer of the working class in the imperialist countries whose conditions of life isolate it from the suffering, misery and temper of the broad mass of the working class. This privileged layer has a material interest in the continuation of imperialism, for it is the source of its economic and political privileges. These workers, a labour aristocracy, constitute the social base of opportunism in the working class. Politically this current represents the interests of the ruling class in the working-class movement. To protect its own minority interests this layer sacrifices the fundamental interests of the working class for an alliance with the ruling class – an alliance directed against the interests of the mass of the working class. Imperialism therefore not only divides the world into oppressor and oppressed nations, but also in the imperialist countries creates a split in the working-class movement between a small influential opportunist layer and the broad mass of the working class. The split was to have major implications in the international working-class movement.

 

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British opportunists and the hunger strike

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981

hunger strikes

The hunger strike by Irish political prisoners begun by 7 men in the H-Blocks on 27 October, ended on 18 December. By then 37 men and 3 women were on hunger strike for political status.

In our Editorial Statement to FRFI 7 we wrote that the hunger strike:

‘ ... has become the central issue of the Irish people’s war against British imperialism ... winning political status will be a body blow to British imperialism in Ireland and a great step forward for the Irish people.

British Communists do not hesitate to declare complete and uncompromising support for the hunger strikers. Their struggle demands the consistent mobilisation of revolutionary forces in Britain.’

 

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New perspectives on the Dublin Lockout

dublin lockout

The Dublin Lockout 1913 – New Perspectives on Class War and its Legacy – Conor McNamara and Padraig Yeates, Irish Academic Press, 2017, €24.99/€49.99

Much has already been written about the 1913 Dublin Lockout but this collection - published in 2017 and comprised of essays written up from a centenary commemoration event - contains some interesting insights.

The book starts with a handy chronology of the relevant events of 1913-14, beginning on 19 July 1913, when William Martin Murphy, the President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, called his workers to a midnight meeting to tell them that anyone belonging to the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) will be sacked.

 

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Interview with Provisional IRA

Fight Racism! Fight imperialism! no.7 - November/December 1980

Editorial Note: The following interview was given to FRFI by members of the IRA in the border area. The interview took place in October of this year [1980].

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! is proud to publish the following interview with members of the IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY in the border areas of the Six Counties. It is our policy to open the pages of our newspaper to national liberation movements so that the British working class may hear the views of those who have steadfastly fought for democracy and freedom against British imperialism. In its reactionary and brutal war against the Irish people, British imperialism has never ceased its lying, hypocritical and reactionary propaganda campaign against the Irish Republican Army — the IRA. The working class in this country is constantly told that the men and women volunteer soldiers of the IRA are nothing but murderers and criminals. With Irish prisoners of war on Hunger Strike in the H-Blocks for Political Status this reactionary propaganda campaign will be intensified. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! will exert every effort to expose and destroy this imperialist slander campaign. The interview below shows, in their own words, the IRA Volunteers as working class militants dedicated to the fight for democracy and socialism in Ireland. It shows them as un-compromising enemies of British imperialism and of the capitalist system in Ireland as a whole. It shows the IRA Volunteers as a politically conscious vanguard of the Irish revolution for democracy and socialism. Their views on the Labour lefts such as Benn, the concern they express for the future struggles of the British working class and their solidarity with the South West African Peoples Organisation of Namibia and the African National Congress (South Africa) demonstrates an internationalism which the British working class can only be proud to associate with. The interview demonstrates, categorically and unquestionably, that the men in the H-Blocks on Hunger Strike for Political Status are captives from a national liberation army, are prisoners of war and therefore deserve and must have the full and unconditional support of the British working class.

 

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Ireland: a litany of scandal

The Fine Gael minority government, propped up by its ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with supposed opponents Fianna Fáil, threatens to survive the litany of scandal that has dogged it for over a year: illegal phone tapping; ‘misappropriation’ of EU funds; and two million – yes, two million – faked breathalyser tests, resulting in thousands of wrongful convictions for motoring offences. Yet they emerge into the New Year not entirely unscathed. New revelations in the years-old saga of corruption, cover-up and whistle-blower persecution in An Garda Siochana (the Free State police) eventually claimed the heads of a garda commissioner – Nóirín O’Sullivan – and a tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) – Frances Fitzgerald.

 

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Hands Off Ireland - H-Block: The struggle goes on

 

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 3, March/April 1980

370 men are enduring the barbarity of British imperialism in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh concentration camp. Throughout the history of British oppression in Ireland, the struggle in the prisons has been a central part of the fight for Irish freedom. Today, once again, Irish prisoners of war are fighting the British imperialist prison system.

On 1 March 1976 the right of special category status was withdrawn for all those convicted of offences after that date. Special category status was a covert recognition that Irish freedom fighters were political prisoners. It had been won by a Republican hunger strike. In March 1976 the British state began its long struggle to criminalise the Irish war of national liberation. This effort to brand Irish Republicans as criminals is a major part of British imperialism's war effort.

In September 1976 Kieran Nugent became the first man to be imprisoned under the new regulations. He refused to wear criminal uniform or do criminal work. He demanded recognition as a prisoner of war. He was given a blanket to wear. And so the struggle of the blanketmen began.

 

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The Communist Tradition on Ireland - Part 5: Revolutionary nationalism in retreat

 Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 11, July/August 1981

After the signing of the Treaty in December 1921 the small British Communist Party made it clear that, as far as it was concerned, ‘there is no Irish settlement’. In an article ‘A Fresh War in Ireland Soon’, The Communist argued:

‘The war on the British Empire is not over. It may be forced to assume other methods and disguises, but it will go on. Not till every trace of the British connection is wiped out will the Irish war of independence cease.’ (14 January 1922)

British communists then understood that the Republican struggle was not at an end. They fully supported the anti-Treaty forces. They urged Irish workers to continue the war against British imperialism. And they were critical of the Irish Labour Party’s and Transport Union’s neutrality in the face of the national struggle, arguing that they were seriously undermining the working-class cause.

 

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Interview with Sean Mac Stiofain

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 3, March/April 1980

In a recent interview with Hands Off Ireland!, Comrade Sean Mac Stiofain (former Chief-of-Staff of the Provisional IRA) made certain political points which will be of enormous interest to readers of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!. During the interview, Comrade Mac Stiofain said: ‘I only recognise one struggle, that's the revolutionary struggle against capitalism, imperialism and against racialism.' He went on to show the connection between the struggle against imperialism in Ireland, in Southern Africa and against racism in Britain. We reprint extracts from this interview below, but readers of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! are strongly urged to read the full interview in Hands Off Ireland! 10.

 

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The Great Escape! – Review of Out of the Maze

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 89 September 1989

h blocks

Out of the Maze by Derek Dunne. Gill and Macmillan, 170pp., £5.95, 1988.

Out of the Maze is the story of how the IRA pulled off the impossible. Like the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic, the Maze/Long Kesh prison was built of watertight compartments. Each of the 8 H-blocks a prison within a prison, beyond the blocks a further two sealed compounds, a double ‘airlock’ main gate stood between the prisoners and the countryside beyond.

 

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Full abortion rights for women in Ireland - Éirígí statement

The RCG is happy to reproduce a statement by Éirígí on abortion rights in Ireland:

Gerry Adam's Ard Fheis statement that women 'deserve and are entitled to be trusted' is flatly contradicted by his party's position on abortion rights.

Sinn Féin is now in favour of a repeal of the 8th amendment and the introduction of abortion in limited circumstances including rape, abuse and situations where there is a threat to the health or life of the woman, but critically they refuse to support 'abortion on request'.

 

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Ireland: Devil’s deal

ireland devils deal

The £1bn Tory deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) cast a sharp light on splits in the British ruling class and compelled those moving against the current administration to feign shock at the politics of a party with whom they have shared the Commons benches since 1971. To Labour’s Shaun Woodward the deal was simply ‘reprehensible’. We remember that at the time of Westminster’s last hung parliament in 2010, Woodward – then shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – drew up Labour’s own ‘economic package’ to coax the DUP into coalition. This time around, as Labour politicians lined up to express their newfound outrage at aspects of the DUP’s politics, claims surfaced in the press that they themselves were in discussion with DUP negotiators – heaping further pressure on Theresa May’s ‘team’ to concede on key Unionist demands.

The DUP intends to play the space between government and opposition, sidling up to Labour as necessary to increase its leverage over government. Its alliance with May remains fruitful for as long as her government’s ability to win key votes in Parliament remains precarious. Of course, this suits Labour too, making closer ties with the DUP an attractive prospect. And so off went Labour’s Owen Smith to join in with Orange Order festivities in Belfast – the new shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland celebrating loyalist supremacy on the Twelfth. Truly reprehensible.

 

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The DUP and Ireland

DUP

A speech given by Nicki Jameson at a London RCG meeting on 28 June

After failing to secure an overall majority, the Conservatives have been negotiating with the DUP and have finally done a deal to secure the votes of its ten MPs on key questions. This deal will provide £1bn for state sector spending in the north of Ireland.

Everyone in Britain outside of Tory HQ is bristling with indignation of one sort or another. Regional governments in Scotland and Wales, which are already a poor relation, subsidy-wise compared to the north of Ireland, are incandescent; while Labour supporters point out that the DUP seems to have had no problem locating that magic money tree that Corbyn was ridiculed by Amber Rudd for relying on. Outraged commentators are asking if ‘cash for votes’ is legal (which it clearly is!) and, ever since the negotiations started, supporters of Corbyn have been going on about the hypocrisy of the government talking to the DUP - which has clear links to loyalist paramilitaries - while having made propaganda out of Corbyn’s earlier support for Sinn Fein, the IRA and Irish republicanism.

Much has been made in the press of the DUP’s reactionary politics – its stances against abortion and gay rights, and in favour of creationist education. But relatively little has been said about why the DUP exists at all. Why indeed the little statelet of ‘Northern Ireland’, which has been propped up by subsidies from Westminster for many a year, exists.

 

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Ireland: reaction north and south of the border

apple billions protest tax
The Irish government assisted Apple to appeal against a decision by the European Commission to order the company to pay €13bn in taxes to the Irish states.

Ireland: caught in the crossfire

On 17 May Enda Kenny announced his long-awaited retirement as leader of Fine Gael – the right-wing party that heads the ruling coalition in the Twenty-Six Counties. Having wanted to get rid of him from time immemorial, his party and the Irish media now praise his ‘extraordinary leadership’ in tackling ‘the Brexit issue’, elbowing his way into the great chambers of Brussels and securing his nation a prominent place at the negotiating table. Ireland has indeed found its way to the table – not as a ‘player’, but as a Brexit bargaining chip. Today’s ‘Irish question’ sits between the exit bill and citizens’ rights – ‘progress’ on all three being an EU precondition for commencing trade talks with Britain. As rivalry sharpens between the major imperialist powers, Ireland – chained to foreign capital – finds itself caught in the crossfire.

 

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Ireland: no return to the status quo?

2 March 2017 saw elections held to the Northern Ireland Assembly for the second time in ten months – this time around the result was quite different. Turnout overall was up almost 10% compared with May 2016 and was highest in Nationalist areas. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was returned as the largest party – but only just. Sinn Fein’s total of first preference votes leapt by 34.5%. It finished with 27 seats to the DUP’s 28 – just over 1,000 votes separated the two. It has been hailed as the Nationalists’ greatest electoral performance in the history of the statelet – and the Unionists’ worst. Mike Nesbitt resigned as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) before the full count was even in. DUP veterans Lord Morrow and Nelson McCausland lost their seats. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called it a ‘watershed election’; the notion of perpetual Unionist majority ‘demolished’. His party has since climbed in the opinion polls in the south, overtaking Fine Gael. Talk abounds of border polls, ‘joint authority’ over the North by London and Dublin and ‘special status’ in a post-Brexit European Union.

 

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Ireland ‘power-sharing’ executive collapses

March 2017 will see elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly held for the second time in ten months. On 9 January, amid the latest crisis to engulf Britain’s political institutions in the North of Ireland, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness resigned as Deputy First Minister, thus collapsing Stormont’s ‘power-sharing’ Executive. His party had seven days to re-nominate for the post, or else trigger a return to the polls. First Minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster warned any election campaign would be ‘brutal’. Sinn Fein declined to nominate a replacement and, on 16 January, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire called a snap election.

Cash-for-ash

Sinn Fein’s decision to force an election was precipitated by public reaction to the ‘cash-for-ash’ corruption scandal – a story that broke in February 2016 but erupted in December with further revelations. The First Minister was personally implicated. With the ensuing drip-drip of allegation and revelation, the sheer arrogance with which Foster and her cabal in the DUP passed the buck garnered widespread revulsion.

 

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Questions of History

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 75 - February 1988

David Reed reviews Questions of History by Irish Republican Prisoners of War

The defeat of the hunger strike in 1981 was a severe setback for the Republican Movement. While initially, in the wake of the heroic sacrifice of the prisoners, certain political gains were made especially on the electoral front, the last few years have not seen any significant political advances by the revolutionary forces in Ireland.

The greater emphasis on electoral work and the decision to reject abstentionism in elections to the Dail has not led to the gains clearly expected. The work around 'economic and social' issues has not yet produced any substantial results. The revolutionary forces in Ireland have been unable to halt the growing collaboration between British imperialism and the puppet governments in the Twenty Six Counties. Finally, on the military level, the stalemate which has existed for some time between the IRA and the British and loyalist security forces remains.

 

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In Memoriam - Michael Holden

Michael Holden

In Memoriam - Michael Holden

The RCG pays tribute to Michael Holden, who died recently while on holiday in Ireland. Michael was a lifelong Republican activist, who campaigned tirelessly for the freedom of Irish POWs and against the criminalisation of the struggle for Irish freedom. Our comrades have known and respected his contribution since the 1970s and 1980s, when he supported our publication Hands Off Ireland! and attended the founding conference of the Irish Solidarity Movement. A month before his death FRFI supporters stood with Michael and his wife Kathleen on a demonstration outside Downing Street, calling for freedom for imprisoned Republican Tony Taylor, organised by the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group, of which Michael had been chair since its foundation in 2009. We send condolences to Kathleen and to all Michael’s friends and comrades.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 253 October/November 2016

 

Brexit and Ireland: Loyalism is racism – and these racists have guns

‘...the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party and that word unionist is very important to me.’ – Theresa May, in her first speech as Prime Minister.

On 23 June eligible citizens of northeast Ireland – as subjects of imperialism’s ‘United Kingdom’ – were called upon to cast their vote in Britain’s referendum on EU membership. Many stayed at home. Of those who went to the polls, 56% voted to Remain. The Remainers had, however, expected a considerably larger margin of victory. Patrick Casey reports.

Turnout was lowest in nationalist areas – below 49% in West Belfast. The nationalist working class had nothing to gain from either outcome on offer. But the Catholic middle class did go to the polls – and they plumped for Remain. They know all too well that their hard won ‘security’ – read privilege – is anything but secure; their position in the sectarian statelet is always precarious. Any threat of instability horrifies them and they opted for the status quo. Sinn Fein’s support for a Remain vote was a reflection of this. Rule Britannia?

 

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Airbrushing partition out of politics - 1916 – Ireland’s revolutionary tradition

1916 – Ireland’s revolutionary tradition

Kieran Allen, Pluto Press 2016, 222pp, £12.99

This book, by a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party in the 26 Counties, is a completely dishonest account of Irish revolutionary struggles since the 19th century. Dishonest, because the purpose in writing it is never made explicit. Worse, in that the author, a self-proclaimed Marxist, does not mention let alone analyse any of Marx’s and Engel’s copious writings on Ireland. He therefore avoids the need to assess the classic standpoint on the revolutionary significance of the struggle by oppressed nations for national liberation. Indeed, reading the book, one would not know that either of the founders of Marxism had ever written a single word on Ireland, let alone led a struggle within the British working class in support of Irish revolutionaries in prison.

 

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Farcical manoeuvres follow Irish elections

The last three months have seen two elections, two pro-austerity coalitions entering government and two ‘oppositions’ formed in Ireland. Significant protest votes were recorded on both sides of the British-imposed partition, but overall the island-wide carnival of reaction rolls on.

26 Counties – the coalition that isn’t

In the elections to the Free State Dail on 26 February, notwithstanding a partial Fianna Fail recovery, the three traditional parties of government (Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Irish Labour Party) registered a combined vote share of just 56% – as opposed to 73% five years earlier on a higher turnout. Popular opposition, especially in the form of the campaign against water charges, has played a major role and the election result represents a rejection of the Leinster House/Troika austerity regime.

 

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Free Irish political prisoners!

The Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group based in London is a non-aligned pressure group. Over the years we have picketed the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Irish Embassy to highlight the violence and human rights abuses meted out by the Northern Irish Prison Service (NIPS) and its counterpart in the Free State. 

NIPS uses segregation as a means of punishment which has led to dirty protests to demand the removal of prisoners into the Republican wing of Maghaberry.  Prisoners have faced 23-hour lock down, and restrictions on food and medical care, punishments similar to those used in the 1980s.  Political prisoners such as Colin Duffy have been pinned onto to the ground and forcibly had prison uniform put on them

 

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Women in the Easter Rising

Irish women workers

‘The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

‘Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.’ - Proclamation of the Irish Republic, 24 April 1916.

An estimated 280 women participated actively in the Easter Rising on the side of the revolutionary nationalists, performing all kinds of tasks: they fought as soldiers, provided medical care, transported supplies and delivered vital communications be­tween outposts. In the main they were members of either Cumann na mBan, the Republican women’s military organisation which had been formed in 1914 and subsequently became part of the Irish Volunteers, or of the Irish Citizen Army, which was formed after the 1913 Dublin Lock-Out. 77 women were captured when the rebels surrendered on 29 April and were taken – either directly, or after being held elsewhere – to Dublin’s Richmond Bar­racks. Here the majority of insurgents, both male and female, were processed, before being released or imprisoned elsewhere, either in Ireland or England.

 

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Extract from - Ireland the key to the British revolution

Chapter VI - Irish Revolution

The First Imperialist War gave revolutionaries in Ireland the opportunity they had been waiting for. England’s difficulty was again Ireland’s opportunity to free itself once and for all from the stranglehold of its brutal oppressor, British imperialism. By taking decisive action in this period, the Irish national movement could begin the process which would destroy British imperialism and lay the basis for the socialist revolution in Europe.

The revolutionary socialist James Connolly had fully grasped the importance of this opportunity for the Irish working class. He became one of the driving forces advocating an armed insurrection. He prepared the Irish Citizen Army for such an eventuality. In January 1916, after secret meetings with members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, he became part of the Military Council preparing detailed plans for an armed uprising on Easter Sunday 23 April 1916.

 

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1916–2016 Easter Rising

In 1984 the RCG published Ireland: the key to the British revolution the British revolution by David Reed. This book drew together the political lessons the RCG had learned about imperialism, national liberation and opportunism, through a decade of campaigning in solidarity with the Irish struggle. An understanding of the struggle in Ireland against British imperialism has been central to shaping the anti-imperialist politics of the RCG. Through our work we discovered that Marx and Engels had changed their position on Ireland, in recognition of changed circumstances. They concluded that the conditions for the victory of the English working class necessitated that they make common cause with the oppressed in Ireland – that Ireland was the key to the British revolution, not the other way around. This opened the route to our study of Lenin's Imperialism: the highest stage of capitalism and our understanding that the division of the world into oppressed and oppressor nations has a direct impact on the class structure of the working class in the imperialist heartland – resulting in a labour aristocracy with a material interest in the imperialist system. As a result we began to break with the major inherited prejudice of Eurocentric Trotskyism – that the working class in the advanced capitalist countries would lead the revolution against capitalism. We understood that support for the right of nations to self-determination is the condition for the liberation of the working class as a whole. This has since informed our politics, with the RCG playing a significant role in campaigns against apartheid in South Africa, and in solidarity with Palestine and Kurdistan. For this reason, we mark the 100th anniversary of the heroic 1916 Easter Rising by dedicating four pages of this issue of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! to the political lessons of the Rising, by republishing a section of Ireland: the key to the British revolution. The full text of the book is now available online on our website.

 

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Special Category – the long war of Irish prisoners in England

Special Category – The IRA in English prisons, Volume 1 1968-1978, and Volume 2 1978-1985 by Ruan O’Donnell, Irish Academic Press, 2012 and 2015

Hands Off Ireland The RCG played a central role in solidarity with Irish prisoners

From Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa to Bobby Sands, much has been written by and about Irish political prisoners, their sufferings at the hands of the British state and their steadfast resistance. In these two books, which are the first of what will be a four-volume set, Irish academic Ruan O’Donnell offers an original and valuable contribution to this body of research.

Special Category chronicles in detail the struggles of Irish Republican (and in particular IRA) prisoners held within prisons in England during the time known to the British media as ‘the Troubles’, to the British Army as ‘Operation Banner’ and to the IRA itself as ‘The Long War’. The books are based on material drawn from over 70 interviews with ex-prisoners, their relatives, lawyers and supporters, alongside copious documentation with which O’Donnell has been entrusted by the former prisoners – their letters, diaries, accounts and other documentation. There is also an extensive bibliography. Sources for Volume 2 include Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) and Hands Off Ireland! (HOI – published by the RCG from 1976 to 1979) and archives of correspondence between comrades then active in our organisation and Irish prisoners of war (POWs).

 

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Iris review of 'Ireland: the key to the British Revolution' and RCG reply

The review and reply below relate to our book 'Ireland: the key to the British Revolution' by David Reed (Larkin Publications, 1984). (18/02/16)

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 52 - September 1985

Iris review

Iris is a Sinn Fein quarterly publication. The review below was written by G McAteer

Writing to Frederick Engels in December 1869, Karl Marx commented that 'deeper study' of the Irish question had convinced him that 'the English working class will never accomplish anything before it has got rid of Ireland. The lever must be applied in Ireland. That is why the Irish question is so important for the social movement in general.'

In so writing, Marx was echoing his earlier sentiments that 'a nation which enslaves another cannot itself be free.' It's a view which David Reed believes to be as relevant today as it was when Marx put pen to paper, and it is that view which forms the kernel of the argument in Ireland: the key to the British revolution. Based on a series of no less than seventeen articles originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (the paper of the Revolutionary Communist Group in Britain), this hefty volume examines the history of the Irish struggle from the 1840s to the present, concentrating however on the current phase from 1968 to 1983.

 

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Ireland: Another Stormont crisis

On 12 August former IRA volunteer Kevin McGuigan was shot dead outside his home in the Short Strand, East Belfast. Arrests followed, as did a press conference at Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) headquarters on 20 August. There, Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes told reporters that the PSNI suspected the killing was a revenge attack for the fatal shooting earlier this year of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison, a prominent republican. He went on to say he believed members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army had been involved – words then echoed by the Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton. Cue gasps of horror from the loyalist establishment: a decade since decommissioning and the Provisional IRA still exists? Who knew about this? Well, the PSNI for one. The British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, said she did too. Spurred on by further arrests of high-profile republicans, including Sinn Féin’s northern chairperson Bobby Storey, the loyalists at Stormont have lost no time in transforming a long-running political impasse into a hastily-manufactured political crisis. PATRICK CASEY reports.

 

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Fighting against water charges in Ireland

The battle against the implementation of water charges continues across the 26 Counties, although the story is no longer on the front pages of the mainstream media as it was in November and December 2014. 40% of households have still not completed the self-registration forms which the government sent to every household in the country in what can only have been a fit of blind optimism.

 

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Ireland: the key to the British revolution by David Reed

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