IRELAND: THE KEY TO THE BRITISH REVOLUTION - David Reed
© David Reed 1984
450 pp. ISBN 0 905400 04 6
(electronic version available soon!)

This book examines the history of the Irish people's struggle for freedom, from the late 1840s to the present day. Basing itself on Marx and Engels' theoretical and practical activity on the Irish question, it examines this history in the context of the struggle for socialism and establishes that Ireland is the key to the British revolution.It shows how Lenin further developed the position laid down by Marx and Engels in the concrete context of imperialism as a world wide system. As a result of this understanding Lenin was one of the few socialists who grasped the revolutionary significance of the Easter Rising and Connolly's role in it.

The lessons drawn by Marx, engels, Connolly and Lenin from the Fenian movement, the Dublin Lock-out, the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, the Civil War and the partitioning of Ireland are used as the basis for a detailed analysis of the latest period of the Irish national revolution: 1969-1983. This forms the major part of the book and demonstrates that the Provisional Republican Movement continues the traditions of the Irish revolutionary movement of the earlier period.

The book shows that at every crucial stage of the Irish struggle for self-determination, the British working class movement has failed to make 'common cause' with the Irish people. It has proved incapapble of decisively challenging its own reactionary pro-imperialist Labour and trade union leadership. As a consequence it has not only held back the Irish national revolution but has also fatally undermined its own struggle for socialism in Britain.

Finally the book argues that new revolutionary forces have emerged in Britain which are capable of uniting with the Irish people and winning other sections of workers to an alliance with the Irish national liberation movement against British imperialism. It remains true today, as in Marx's day, that the emancipation of Ireland is the precondition for the British socialist revolution.

Reviews of Ireland: the key to the British revolution

'...a magnificent work of scholarship, some exhaustive research and documentation ...enormous merits...a great deal of valuable commentary about the past 15 years...'

Sunday Independent (Ireland)


'...very substantial, extremely thorough...full of accurate detail...every student will need to have it: the more expert the student, the greater the need.'

The Age (Melbourne, Australia)


'All who read this book will understand the historic background to the revolutionary struggle in Ireland and will realise that those who exploit workers in England are also responsible for the long war in the North of Ireland. It is an invaluable contribution towards a principled solidarity movement against our common enemy.'

Sean Mac Stiofain (Chief of Staff, Irish Republican Army 1969-1972)