Éirígí Showing the Way

Given the high level of interest shown in the discussion around the republican socialist party Éirígí, Michael Craig has allowed his 2010/2011 review of the party’s policy document to feature on TPQ. The document is titled From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come. In it the party outlined its plans for socialism in Ireland. Michael Craig is a socialist activist working in the Mid Ulster area and is currently organising the Union of the Unemployed. His piece initially featured in Fourthwrite Winter 2010/2011

Open any news sheet or pamphlet published by any of the well known international Marxist, revolutionary socialist parties which organise in Ireland or Britain, like the SWP, Militant/SP, WRP, etc. and it would not be surprising to find the following statement, ‘the capitalist system is a fundamentally profit-driven system which is based upon the exploitation of the working class'.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this statement right at the top of the introduction to a new policy document by the Irish socialist republican party, Éirígí.

Éirígí was formed as a campaigning group in 2006 and has since registered as a political party in the south of Ireland. The name Éirígí is an Irish translation of the word 'rise' in the context in which it was used by big Jim Larkin, when he called on the workers of Ireland to rise against their oppressors and exploiters. 'The great appear great to us only because we are on our knees; Let us rise!'

The policy document published by Éirígí last month is entitled From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come, and was put into the public domain following a debate which was hosted in Belfast by the newly formed student society, 'Republican Congress' on the issue, Is the Cure for Ireland's Ills a 32 County Socialist Republic?, in which Éirígí's Daithí Mac An Mhaistír went head to head with Eoin Ó Broin from Sinn Fein. I attended the debate and am happy to confirm that Éirígí won it, hands down!

The document is a well written, clear and lucid argument against capitalism and its systemic flaws, complete with a catalogue of statistics and examples of the inequality, poverty, oppression, death and destruction which that system has inflicted on the human race. We are also treated to a mouth watering vision of a society controlled by the people themselves, based on the philosophy of democratic socialism, including an aspiration to reclaim the common lands which were misappropriated in past centuries.

The ideas put forward in this policy document are more than just a 21st Century update of the writings of James Connolly, because Éirígí have put into practice a concept which other organisations are still struggling with, that of true participative internal democracy from the ground up. Each issue and idea has been debated at every level, honed and refined and debated again so that, in the end, the party's analysis has as near unanimity as possible.

In a statement accompanying this policy document Éirígí state that the perspective:
is not just about Éirígí taking its place in Ireland's revolutionary tradition. It is also about changing the parameters of debate in republican Ireland and beyond.
This perspective certainly leaves enough room for debate, because in some respects it is aspirational and one important issue that is absent from the document: the document is aspirational in respect of a transitional programme, i.e. 'what is to be done', and to be fair to this young organisation, no other revolutionary party has produced a coherent answer to this question in the present circumstances.

We all know that global capitalism is in a crisis which this time can only end in one of two possible outcomes, socialist transformation of the world or it's annihilation. If we are to ensure that the human race does not go up in a mushroom cloud, the working class needs now, more than ever, to unite and take power.

How can we ever hope to achieve world unity when in each country there are several different strands of revolutionaries, each one doing its own thing? In Ireland the left is growing but not in any unified way. Hampered by our own history, our revolutionary class has divided into several camps, two groups of Trotskyist socialists, the anarchists, the republican socialists, the socialist republicans, the militarist republicans, the pseudo republicans. Even if all of these groups joined forces tomorrow, they would still face the daunting task of winning the bulk of working-class away from the many shades of reaction and nationalism, green and orange, in both parts of our country.

This policy perspective gives hope to that unity as it shows that Éirígí has much in common with other internationalist socialist parties and that the 'republican left' have become confident enough in their own analysis to put socialism at the top of their agenda, and 'Socialist' in front of 'Republican' in their description!

One of the problems which divides the Trotskyist groups is that each claims to be 'The mass party of the Proletariat.' This is a danger which Éirígí needs to be mindful of. That title has yet to be won, and my own view is that when the time comes the mass party in Ireland is more likely to born out of the many now existing revolutionary parties, rather than one of these becoming dominant. Achieving unity of the revolutionary left in Ireland may require some lateral thinking, not least in the use of terminology, for example in the way we use the term 'republican'.

A revolutionary socialist who lives in a monarchy is by definition a republican, as his/her aim is not to transform society into a workers' state yet retain the monarchy. Sinn Fein, not too subtly, went from referring to their community as 'republican' in the 80's, and 'republican/ nationalist' a few years ago, to just 'nationalist' more recently, even though the ideologies represented by these terms are diametrically opposite. Perhaps part of Sinn Fein's evolution was to become more honest about which of these ideological caps fits them.

The big question not dealt with in Éirígí's policy perspective is that of the working class Protestants who consider themselves to be British. Again no other revolutionary party has offered a definitive answer to this, but it is a problem which can-not be ignored in the hope that it will just go away. More lateral thinking required perhaps, but it may be worth considering why 'the men of no property' went in the wrong direction during the half Century succeeding the revolution of 1798.

In conclusion, Éirígí's Perspective, From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come is a significant step in the right direction and a commendable contribution to the way forward for the working class in Ireland!


  1. AM-

    Its 2013 but no harm in reading something a few years old-it was
    the Eirigi Ard Fheis on Saturday-
    it was held in Dublin not on mars-
    I have still not read anything about what was said at that secret
    Ard Fheis yet-anywhere-

    The 32 csm conference was yesterday and I have read what chairman francie said-[ Have you read what he said about mobile phones-lol-they are going to take over the world with them-]-

  2. Michaelhenry,

    no there isn't harm in reading what is a few years old. Perhaps your party might ry the Proclamation sometime!

    If anybody wants to submit something about Saturday it will feature.

    Haven't been following the 32 CSM schedule.

  3. AM-

    Some difference between the Proclamation and what the forgot about Eirigi said years back-

    Good luck about submitting something about Saturdays Ard Fheis-i cant find anything anywhere about it-I heard of secret socities in the past but this is beyond ridiculous-and did you say you would vote for them if you lived in Belfast-are they the new disappeared in louth-

  4. Michaelhenry,

    looks as if Eirigi were pretty close to the Proclamation in what they said in their statement. There was nothing in the Proclamation about administering British rule.

    As, for the Missing in Louth you would need to ask the Minister for the Disappeared. He claims to represent Louth.

  5. I have attended the Eirigi Ard Fheis a few times and has always struck is there appears to be no distinction between the leadership and the ordinary members.

    I remember going to a Sinn Fein meeting in the Ulster Hall in the period between the ceasefire and the Belfast Agreement. The hall was bunged to capacity when Adams and Mc Guinness appeared.
    They entered like Gods the adulation was surreal.
    People yelling and screaming, congratulating and reaching out to touch them as they passed through the aisles.
    I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. At this stage we didn't know we had been and were about to be sold out. But even if they had of had the invented victory what had the barman and the butcher done that allowed them to transcend all others in that hall?
    They had set themselves apart and sowed the seeds of difference ,to the extent, that people actually saw them as better than the rest of us.
    Saviours, liberators, leaders if anyone had of uttered traitors they would have been savaged.
    It was like a road show, in hindsight a freak show. The divide between their greatness and our nothingness was actually tangible.

    In that alone Eirigi provides a very different feeling between leadership and members and for me in terms of equality and socialism these people might actually practice what they preach.

  6. Nuala,

    laughed at the barman and the butcher bit.

    But that is what they did. Everything the Provos claimed to oppose they became. It was unreal.

    I am glad Mike gave us this piece as it gives a different take. And I am certain that Joseph Magee will not be annoyed in the slightest as he has merely sought to promote discussion.

    But I strongly feel given that quite a few in Eirigi were part of the authoritarian mindset that operated against dissent - in some cases to their credit they are prepared to be open about that - then any time the issue of control and authoritarianism is raised it needs a wider airing rather than being shunted off to the side. For Eirigi to prove successful it is improtant that it does not import the virus of censorship and marginalisation of critics that was so prominent in SF.

    One thing being demonstrated here is that some of those who have been targeted by the Provo thought police do not conclude that Eirigi is cut from the same cloth.

    Republicans always need to be vigilant against the censor.

  7. Reluctantly i am goin to comment here. I am a member of éirígí and think that the reaction from party members to Magee’s article has been ott. There are valid points being made. Looking at some of the reaction on facebook it is really a case of attacking the criticiser rather than responding to the critique. At the function after the Ard Fheis the only thing ‘leadership’ were interested in talking about was trying to identify the person that gave Magee the info. The identified suspects were all roundly slagged off on the basis of them having personal problems/gripes etc. Nobody was willing to talk about the points made in the article, all of which definitely identify areas where éirígí is having problems. It all reminded me of the way SF responded to criticism. It was not pretty. Why not allow people to have critical debates? Why is it ok for us to critically comment on others but not ok for them to do the same to us?
    Fair play Anthony for publishing this other article. It was written at a time when i was very optimistic about where we are going. The truth of the matter is that the two people that were the main authors of that document on socialism have left eirigi for reasons that are very much related to the issues in Magee’s article. I wasn’t at the leadership meetings where the socialism document was discussed but have heard it said a number of times that Brian Leeson questioned whether there was a need for it at all. One of the two is also the eirigi person that spoke at the debate with SF that Michael Craig refers to
    Nothing or nobody is without faults. But for those who put themselves out there as a new beginning to rubbish critique just like those there firmer comrades that they criticise so vehemently is sad and as good an indication as any that they/we will end up in the same state. Sad times

  8. A point I made on the previous Eirigi thread I think is more pertinent for this one regarding Eirigi's 'raison d'être'.

    When Eirigi was established they represented a genuine attempt to halt the ideological slide by PSF. To gain Stromont power and make the Island(S) of Ireland strategy 'sellable' accross the 32 counties the leadeship made the concious decision to opt for a liberal wishy washy mixture of equality & freedom and with it embraced a form of welfare state capitalism that is the only thing that unites the 32 counties in 2013.

    It is worth mentioning that around the same time of Eirigi's formation a website entitled 'Sinn Féin Keep Left' began publishing articles. Perhaps it was in response to the direct threat that Eirigi represented to woo those still within the party with leftist leanings. (Unfortunately SF Keep Left was stopped a while back.)

    If we are going to make real in roads to making the socialist ideals of Connolly & Larkin relevant to our political landscape then the role of the Welfare State as a 'SAFETY NET' for Capitalism must be addressed.

    Sine it's inception, Capitalism has proved to be the most culturally disruptive revolutionary force that human society has ever faced. The movement of people en masse (especially from Ireland) to forge new lives dessimated the traditional social cohesion within our communities that had existed for centuries. The people who stayed behind were left in a socio-economic limbo - hence the welfare state was born.

    Whilst we can list the benefits that it has provided to the poor, sick, elderly and young it has had also had serious adverse effects on social mobility in both Protestant & Catholic working class areas. i.e. the creation of the 'Poverty Trap'.

    Whilst the creation of the Welfare State may have been for humane reasons, it was also created as a safe guard for red in tooth and claw Capitalism against potential revolution movements.i.e by providing a quasi standard of living for the working classes.

    The Welfare State was created to save capitalism from itself, not to attack capitalism!

  9. Eirigi Has to go and do it alone.

    It doesn't need any other groups.

    If others want to come aboard then they must sign up and join Eirigi.
    Not join in eirigi protests and showing there own banners and placards, They should be holding up eirigi banners and placards.
    That's my honest opinion.

    Strength is is numbers , not with different groups with different agendas

  10. Mackers,
    Eirigi in Belfast seems to be brimming over with credible people.
    Where the problem lies, I believe is deep down Republicans are afraid to trust.
    Betrayal runs very deep and people are naturally suspicious and cynical.
    I think Eirigi might do better when Republicans learn to trust again.

  11. They need to think out ideas about uniting people.Maybe bringing the message to every town and village in ireland about the invites their going to be handing out to queenie and co to stand at the GPO in 2016.This is why sf are on the push in the south.Big geraldo taking the salute while marty and lizzie hold hands lol.

  12. Spot on Nuala. I mind when Martin won the seat in Mid Ulster he came out of the Leisure Centre in Omagh and we raised him up on our shoulders in delirium. "Someone give him a tricolour" the call went out and gubbins here handed him his. It was as though we had won our freedom there and then, we were ecstatic, the annoyance felt at the failure to get Pat Doc elected in West Tyrone despite our hard work and effort was brushed aside in a wave of euphoria. Little did we know when we headed of in a cavalcade that took in half of Tyrone that our right to that freedom had been sold long ago, reflecting back on it now the whole thing was lunacy. Blair soon rode into town on the crest of his own wave and put us all in our place.

    Just in terms of the article it was a good enough read, though how relevant it is now as Mickey says in his usual cynical way is another story. Who knows but I do agree that we don't hear enough from eirigi - for whatever reason. The party seems to have something genuine to offer but my concern, sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud, is they have constitutionally accepted the legitimacy of Leinster House rather than taking the position of returning to the republic. Also it jumped out at me that whoever wrote the article it must be said seems never to have heard of a party called Sinn Fein Poblachtach - the oldest party in this country I hasten to add.

    "The big question not dealt with in Éirígí's policy perspective is that of the working class Protestants who consider themselves to be British. Again NO OTHER REVOLUTIONARY PARTY [my emphasis] has offered a definitive answer to this, but it is a problem which can-not be ignored in the hope that it will just go away"

    A revolutionary party has indeed dealt with this issue in its policy perspective long, long ago - that party is Republican Sinn Fein who's Eire Nua and Saol Nua programmes remain to my mind the most sophisticated, fully thought-out and progressive programmes on the table. It's up to others who disagree to formulate an alternative which to my mind no-one has yet done. When it comes to the issue of republican unity surely this is the party to which we all should return? I'd be interested in how people see that from their own perspectives

  13. michaelhenry reading anything leading shinners said which is a few years old can be embarrassing for lesser shinners, if that is, there are any among you who are capable of being embarrassed...

    Lets take Adams' comment at the '86 Ard Fheis in regards to Fianna Fail. He could be referring to Sinn Fein and the NI state today...

    "Once again those who wrapped themselves in a republican mantle were not republicans. They accepted the reality of the new state and hijacked republican rhetoric for electoral purposes."

    Or Marty at the same Ard Fheis...

    "I can give a commitment on behalf of the leadership that we have absolutely no intention of going to Westminster or Stormont..."

    " They tell you that it is inevitable certainty that the war against British rule will be run down. These suggestions deliberately infer that the present leadership of Sinn Fein and the leadership of the Irish Republican Army are intent on edging the republican movement on to a constitutional path..."

  14. I rather like the socialist ideals of Eirigi. the only part that stops my joining is the republican aspect. I have been close to joining the SWP on several occassions.

  15. Also if i remember correct. Did John McCusker not get a good amount of votes for west Belfast?

  16. Maitiu,

    the SWP have some good people but there is a strong element of groupthink there along with authoritarianism. It has had a terrible time in England recently over alleagtions that it covered up rape. Its relationship with the theocrats damaged it also I think. I believe people need to reflect seriously on vanguard parties. After so many years of failure, they tend to look like an anachronism.

  17. Maitiu,

    he and Chopper put in a strong enough showing in their bid for council seats if I remember correctly.

  18. 'whoever wrote the article' read Eire Nua in the late 70's, and can't remember which version it was but is pretty sure that 'Working class' protestants were not mentioned in relation to a nine County province.

    The age of the party is hardly as relevant as it's policies and in the case of RSF it not only claims to be a vanguard but the de facto government. If we all saw it that way we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  19. Umbrella,

    thanks for the comment.

    It would be a serious backward step for the party if the issues raised in the article are accurately described, and you seem to think there is merit in them.

    The members who were previously part of the Provisional Movement should use their own experience to steer Eirigi around and away from this type of thing. If there is no acknowledgement that one major reason in the Adams line being successful is the unquestioning culture that he fostered within the movement, then the defect will only be reproduced down the bloodline.

    I think the Michael Craig article is important in that it shows the nature of thinking that is there and how it can impact on external observers.

  20. sean bres

    If one were to choose a banner to fall in behind based on adherence to principles as outlined within the Proclamation of The Republic than I don't see any objection to your proposal.
    Alas comrade, it's more common for people to follow personalities rather than principles (if it good enough for Mick Collins, it good enough for me, if Gerry and Martin say that's the way, well that's the way we go then!)
    The cult of personality eventually curtails freedom to critique or challenge the leaderships' direction.
    This seems to be evolving within Éirigí too, if reports are correct.

  21. I think it's fair to say Eire Nua deals with entire Protestant community in the North and not just working class. As for Republican Sinn Fein claiming that party is the de jure government it's the first I've heard of it. Absolutely nowhere in any policy submission by RSF has such a claim been made but if it can be shown to me I'll gladly retract

  22. Great article by the way Michael I meant to add

  23. Eire Nua may define protocols for dealing with the Unionist / Protestant community but even if loads of Protestants from a Unionist area supported such groups as Eirigi, they simply could not join nor even take part in such groups due to the very realistic threat of being shot dead or their family burnt out of the area.
    Eirigi may have no paramilitary group attached to it, but even still, nobody from my background could join it due to the above given reasons. I know a good few liberal / Socialist's from loyalist areas who feel the likes of the SWP are the only safe option to join in this country.

  24. I think the essence of Eire Nua was two-fold:

    1. to return to a 32 County form governance that existed pre-British interference

    2. and in doing so the issue of the 'Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People' imbalance would be automatically redressed in favour of the nationalist/republican minority..

  25. Fenian, said

    "Whilst the creation of the Welfare State may have been for humane reasons, it was also created as a safe guard for red in tooth and claw Capitalism against potential revolution movements.i.e by providing a quasi standard of living for the working classes.

    The Welfare State was created to save capitalism from itself, not to attack capitalism!"

    This is an hugely important piece in my opinion to the relation to any possible revolution towards the capitalist system, especially the last sentence.

    "The Welfare State was created to save capitalism from itself, not to attack capitalism!"

    In the roman empire it was simply the bread and circus technique to stifle dissent.

    However, here is an interesting question. Could the republican and Loyalist 30 years of conflict lasted if there were was no welfare state or DHSS available for anyone who was convicted of paramilitary activity? The reason why I ask is that could this become one of the measures implemented in the future to stifle dissident paramilitary activity. As Adams says they can be faced down, this is not beyond the realm of possibility if you take into consideration they way things are going here with internment without trial ect.

    I appreciate any answers to this question, as did the welfare state and DHSS create the opportunities for the troubles to be prolonged bearing in mind most of the combatants came from areas of high unemployment, disadvantages areas.

    Sean Bres,

    Maitui Connel answered the barriers and obstacles inherent with Eire Nua document and its appeal to the protestant community. I leave his statement untouched. I agree very much with what he had to say, as it is reality on the ground as wee speak. This is were the issues and problems stand, acceptance by all of the communities in the north.

    Loyalist culture could also be described as being closer to the center to far right, than any republican left in my opinion.

  26. sean bres

    You're right Sean, RSF does not claim governmental authority but it does believe that governmental authority (All-Ireland Dáil) rest's in the Army Council of The Continuity IRA.
    There is a republican theological veracity to such claims no matter how irrelevant such assertion may sound today.

    I'm not sure of the top of my head as to the exact date of provisions made, within either the first or second all-Ireland revolutionary Dáil, for granting governmental authority to the Army Council if a quorum of more than six TD's (once again open to correction to the exact number) could not be convened due to hostilities.

    Those deputies who believed that the Republic had been betrayed by the treaty of surrender in 1922 and it's authority usurped by partition continued to remain faithful to Sinn Féin and the Republic despite the 'Soldiers of Destiny's' embrace of the constitutional path. When the surviving members of the Dáil's numbers fell below the allotted quorum they ceded all-Ireland governmental authority to the Army Council in 1938.
    Commandant Tom Maguire (South Mayo Brigade, Irish Republic Army) was one of those TD's. In 1969 he legitimised The Provisional IRA.
    However in a 1986 statement, he rejected "the legitimacy of an Army Council styling itself the Council of the Irish Republican Army which lends support to any person or organisation styling itself as Sinn Féin and prepared to enter the partitionist parliament of Leinster House."
    In 1987, Maguire described the "Continuity Executive" as the "lawful Executive of the Irish Republican Army."

    Ruairí Ó'Brádaigh's biography of Tom Maguire 'Dilseach' was published in 1997.


  27. Loyalist culture could also be described as being closer to the center to far right, than any republican left in my opinion.

    Or republican right. The republican right being S/F, RSF, F/F or even F/G. The republican right seems to be not mentioned much, I always thought Republican S/F were from that tradition, very catholic, conservative, and hierarchy of class based. I might be wrong, I am only reading up on the issue.

  28. In my view the conflict between the two communities here is ultimately both a symptom of and is prolonged by the presence of the British government in the North and will not be properly resolved until the British leave our country. For sure it has its own internal dynamic but the root of the problem and what ultimately sustains it is Britain and its sovereign claim over a part of Ireland.

    One thing for sure is that this conflict we're talking about has not been nor will it be resolved through the current political process, which indeed can be argued perpetuates the underlying conflict both through its promotion of a sectarian approach to politics and its acceptance of the British sovereign claim as normal or satisfactory. The dynamics within the Northern Ireland state make a sectarian approach to politics a necessity - it's either that or armed conflict. But any sincere notion of a 'shared future' internal to the six-counties is surely a pipe-dream. I don't think it's possible under any partitionist arrangement because it does not tackle the root cause of the conflict and thus conflict is only contained and/or managed rather than resolved. This is best described as the absence of violence rather than peace.

    It's my belief that Britain exploits and manipulates the relationship between the two communities in order to maintain its presence here. What hope have we of any genuine reconciliation while this remains the case? Indeed as Mattieu and James suggest this state of affairs suits others too as it allows them to remain in control. But were a post-withdrawal scenario ever to materialise then surely Eire Nua at that point would prove the most capable, realistic and indeed the fairest option for moving relationships forward in the interests of a workable peace as it is a solution that considers the existence of the Protestant/British community - who cannot be wished away - within such a post-withdrawal context. If nothing else it's a starting point.

    I think Eire Nua does make a genuine effort to address the issue of the Protestant community but as the lads have indicated the problem may be as much about the source of the policy over and above the detail contained within it. As a stand-alone document though it still seems to me the only one on the table that realistically accounts for the presence of the Protestant-British community in the context of a sovereign 32-county Irish republic. As I say it's up to others to outline their policy of what a united Ireland would look like but I suppose it's up to them how they choose, if they do so at all, to approach the issue of the Unionist community

  29. Sean, said

    "I think Eire Nua does make a genuine effort to address the issue of the Protestant community but as the lads have indicated the problem may be as much about the source of the policy over and above the detail contained within it".

    This a very fair point. Sure you know how it works here, political policies from what I have seen, seem nearly identical to their supposed rival parties. Ie S/F and the SDLP policies, they may have differing branding, different spokesmen, but with very much the same electoral points scoring statements. Most of it doublespeak as I may add as well.

    You could possibly see in years to come someone from the British and Irish establishment, taking the Eire Nua document and rebranding it with suttle differences, this seems to be the norm, then giving it a some religious label or title like st Andrews, or good Friday and roll it out to the masses. Old wine in new bottles, policy doesn't really change that much here at all. The issue as you say maybe where does it come from what source, as in the loyalist culture anything republican or association with could sign your death warrant.

    I am glad I was not born into the protestant community or live in it. It seems so much more restrictive, prohibitive, censored, inflexible, hierarchy based in class than the catholic side, at the moment I might add. This is temporary as the middle class catholics are in hot pursuit to equalize this, in my opinion.

    Then again I broke free from that fear, guilt and repression of the catholic church a long, long time ago. Maybe the catholics are and this is where we are at...

  30. Sean Bres,
    I often think of that night and think of Adams standing on the stage bleating on about humbleness like a modern stage Euriah Heep.
    Adams had every right to be humble, because as everyone eagerly awaited the rhetoric from both himself and Mc Guinness the selling out process was already underway.

  31. It is also very interesting to note that Republican parties who have stayed true to " real Republicanism " have never advanced at all. Yet SF has gone the entire way while those who never evolved are held back and classed as dissidents. I think that is one of the many reasons why the likes of the PUP and UPRG suffered for so many years.

  32. Sean
    I'm pretty much in agreement with your analysis. We're in a bind not of our making. The Imperial Coloniser's 'plantation' policies, to enforce the indigenous population's control/subservience is the essential problem.
    Any policy/regime change which does not recognise this core dynamic is doomed for failure. It's like applying sticking plaster to a deep wound, it has the shape and form of a useful intervention in the immediacy but little real benefit in the longer run. The first imperative is for the coloniser to make a time-bound declaration of withdrawal. I see this as somewhat like 'bigger brother syndrome' i.e. the behaviour of the street or school-room bully being determined by the presence of his 'big brother'. Once the big-brother has left the school or the town the 'bully' finds he has to temper his excessive behaviour.
    Only when the British make that declaration can the Unionist/Loyalist community make realistic evaluation of their options.
    The reactionaries within that community can reasonably be expected to opt for a fight. However the level of commitment to UDI (Universal Declaration Of Independence) is questionable and will be proportionate to the wishes of the ascendency classes. In discussion between loyalists, Protestant clergy and Republican Leaders in the 70's the loyalists did indicate a preference for UDI in the event of a declared withdrawal but did favour the federalist proposition contained within Eire Nua if that (UDI) were not realistic and achievable.

    I like you Sean am open to hearing other realistic and achievable proposals that can break this bind not of our making.

    Adams called Eire Nua a sop to Unionists in his undermining and purge of O'Connell, O'Bradaigh et al.(He also labelled them 'middle-class' Republicans James). And if I remember correctly Táin Bó in a recent thread pointed out that the purge of O'Connell, O'Bradaigh et al was because he (Adams)knew that element of the movement had back-bone and would have been a constant source of challenge to his leadership. So as time marches on and things become clearer I don't believe the source of Eire Nua will be so contentious.

    It will be a testimony to the radical thinking of those revolutionaries in times to come.

  33. I find in the Loyalist community a huge lack of understanding as to what Irish Republicanism actually is. As a child growing up, we heard fenian this, kill all taigs and so forth. Yet nobody knew what it meant. There was no history handed down or educational material given out to show the political context of both sides. It was Chinese whispers in a sectarian format. You just hated taigs and that was it. No reason and no logic. However that was my generation in the late 80's through the 90's when I was a teenager. So I did not suffer through the most serious trouble that my parents lived through.
    I remember a group of young girls on the bus, perhaps back in 2004 and they were talking about having westlife sing at their wedding. One of them shouted out " I'd not have them near my wedding, sure their taigs from Ireland ".
    This level of hatred is just there and on both sides of the division. I hate using that word, division. We are the same here but we are kept apart and I believe that is on purpose.
    There is no shared future whilst we remain within the political system we have now. It is just not workable in this country. If we remain British, there will always be Republicans and if we always have Republicans we will always have Loyalists and it just goes round in circles. It is sectarian tail chasing.
    I remember my first day at integrated school at 11 years old. That was when I fully realised that Catholics were exactly the same as me and their parents had the exact same worries in life as mine.

  34. Perhaps we shoulder some of the blame ourselves Nuala for encouraging them, it's not as if they told us to cheer - we did so wholeheartedly, well at least I did. As Mackers has stated many times in the past we were supposed to be the most politicised outfit in Western Europe when as it turns out we were actually the most naive.

    In terms of your comment James thanks for the response. I'd be interested to know what you think of the rest of the analysis I offered - in terms of the causes of conflict and whether they and the polarised relations between the communities here can ever be fully addressed in an arrangement that maintains partition and the British sovereign claim

  35. Part 2
    That's not even mentioning the protestant community. Loyalism is much, much, simplier to understand, it is inherently sectarian. Simple. and its people have been conditioned to hate the word republican, and to some extent catholic, through ignorance, perception and folk lore. This tribal shite is pretty deep.

    How can you convince the protestants of ulster to join the republic, its sworn enemy on the policy of the Eire Nua document presented by republicans.

    People today imagine joining the south right now, as it would be fool hardy bearing in mind the economic situation of the country, austerity measures and the politicans in the dail calling the shots.

    Any rational, reasonable thinking man and women could find this hard to disagree with giving the outcome it could have on your "quality of life". This suits the protestant/loyalist script at the minute.

    When I was younger, I used to hear "Free Ireland", break the connection with Britain and all our troubles will go. Utterly romantic, nationalism, I mean where was the proof of this statement, I have never seen it.

    But then you have the unionist marching to stay within Britain, which is utterly romantic nonsence as well.

    I am certainly not that naïve anymore to believe this, look at the Irish system of goverence. It is a carbon copy of the British, right down to its court system.

    Who am I to say which side is right, as your birthplace or which family your born into never gave you chance, to choose like the majority of the people here today.

  36. Part 1
    Sean Bres,

    I welcome your opinion and your analysis about the main contributor to the conflict and division here in the North is the British government.

    In my opinion, there are many stakeholders other than the British. They simply cannot be blamed in totality.

    Do you really believe if the British left Ireland the two communities will somehow see commonsence and start to leave together in a more cosy relationship?

    I really cannot see it. The lowest common demoninator about the conflict at best is demographic, tribal, religious and class separation of the communities.

    I could rant here about the divisive exploitative nature of British "divide and rule" colonialism and capitalism and how only a socialist solution would bring about an Island of totally equals, but the major stumbing block is simple.

    Both communities through various conditioning institutions seem to be opposed to either forming an long term internal solution (Partition) or opting for all Ireland long term solution.

    Hence we stuck in perpetual sectarian limbo as you see today.

    This has been made much more complicated with the new identity of citizens in Northern Ireland relating TO themselves as being Northern Irish seeming happy enough with the good Friday agreement and the situation how it stands, ie partition. This maybe be for numerous reason, economic, social, psychological.

    I know many, many, catholics some even associated with S/F and SDLP who are totally confused by the term "what is republicanism".

    Giving the fact that you have many groupings for example OIRA and the PIRA both claiming to be the sole republican tradition claiming the other bastardised the name of what is republicanism basic line of "Unity of catholic, protestant and dissentor". Both groups in my opinion have a case, but that is another issue. From whatever standpoint you sit.

  37. I agree with a lot of that, the Irish system of governance is indeed but a transplanted version of Britain's - so much so that Dublin Castle, once the seat of the English Viceroy or the like is now the residence of the Taoiseach as far as I'm aware. It goes back to the Connolly quote of merely taking down a flag - "England will still rule you through her..." don't recall it exactly but the gist being they may have ceded a degree of political control, within a system that doesn't threaten their interests it must be added, but where it matters the British are still in control. The measure of independence granted Ireland was merely enough to stave off something that might get out of and go beyond their control.

    I'm rambling a bit and struggling to be concise (long old day when you're up at 6 in the morn lol) but the point of the matter for me is we need a genuine measure of independence - particularly when it comes to economic sovereignty. We need to be in control of our own sovereign destinies. Ireland has the physical resources and the skills-base to be among the most competitive nations in the world, the problem is we do not have real independence in either the north or the south or a government who will make this a policy priority. No their priorities are satisfying the demands of the international money-markets in which the British are a key player. That's what I'm for - independence. The socialist analysis would not be my main concern, although I think an independent Ireland will obviously work for the interests of its people rather than international capital.

    This system as it stands, the status quo across the 32, is sustained through partition. Partition disrupts the development of the Irish nation-state, in fact it has stalled it totally. Partition is what allows the British and their allies to remain in control of Ireland and sectarianism is what props up partition. Divide a people and they're easily ruled, they've been at it for centuries. The British are still manipulating Ireland, in conjunction yes with the agents of foreign capital, but aren't they the same thing? Those who rule from the City of London are the same imperial masters who sit in the Elysee Palace, in the White House. They all perpetuate the same matrix of control and seek to stem true independent development that might escape that control.

    Half of that probably doesn't make sense, hopefully I can come back to this on another occasion! thanks for coming back anyway, it's all food for thought

  38. I agree with most of what James has said, and find a lot of common ground in the contributions from Henry Joy, Sean and Maitiu.
    It's hard to find anything worthy in loyalist culture, except that a small element would feel an affinity towards the politics of the Labour movement in Britain. This is the only part of their ideology which has nothing to do with imperialism.
    As others have pointed out working class protestants do not know what republicanism really is and this is not helped by the fact that neither do many working class catholics. Part of the strategy for dividing our class is to muddy the term republicanism with nationalism, every mainstream political party has done this, not least Sinn fein.
    National self-determination without the socialism is just nationalism.

    'If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the SOCIALIST Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.'

    The socialist analysis must be our main concern, and cannot be put on the back boiler. The stage-ist theory has been proved incorrect, surely it's time to give Connolly's theory a chance. It seems to me that we kept the bath water after 1916, and that the baby died in Kilmainham Gaol.

    Sean Bres has touched on the influence of international capital in controlling Ireland's affairs, but concludes that this is ultimately British. Marty and Peter presided over the opening of an office of the New York stock exchange in Belfast last year, Shannon Airport is being used as a refuelling depot for U.S. warplanes and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are stealing our natural resourses. Imperialism in Ireland is most definitely not just British as it was in 1913.
    How can we free ourselves if we don't understand who is keeping us in chains?

  39. Sean Bres,

    ignorance of economics has always been one of my characteristics (like maths) But from what little I do grasp I don't see how any country gains economic independence in today's world of economic interdependence, which is undepineed by a structure of domination. I listen to people talk about socialism all the time but their grasp of economics seems little better than my own. It leads to socialism sounding better from an ethical point of view but when it comes to the economics and practical application I never feel able to argue the merits. That is where I thought Eoin O Broin had the edge in the debate referred to above.

  40. Anthony,

    You're not alone. Sure the finance Minister up on the Hill use to teach economics and he doesn't know the first thing about it.

  41. I never seen the debate referred to but Eoin's definitely a smart lad, when I seen that comment earlier I thought to myself it must have been a good man to best him in an argument about economics. Many's a day I skipped a tutorial to fly-poster the Falls Road with Disband the RUC posters with the lad, sound fella and for sure he knows his stuff.

    In terms of not knowing much about economics Tony I'd say all we really need to know is who controls the money supply - that's the key to controlling a country and its economy. "Give me control of a nations money supply, and I care not who makes it’s laws" (Amschel Rothschild). We need to exert our independence from this international financial system which holds small nations like Ireland in a form of slavery through the debt mechanism - this is very evident in the South at the moment where Kenny and the gombeen class are told to what parts of the economy they can direct available resources. They have no control at all.

    Michael I agree that imperialist influence over Ireland is not restricted to Britain, its root is in the wider imperialist order that permeates and rules the world over. But Britain still plays a massive part in it as far as I'm aware with America yes as the lead. Those behind the throne in America are the same as those in Britain, France and the Vatican to name a few and all have an interest in preventing Ireland charting an independent path - for fear of a bad example as someone sId recently. I think that when you break away from the BIS banking system and set up your own institutions and money supply, entering international markets on your own terms (as Venezuela is currently on the path to doing), when you set up an economy that serves the interests of the people, in effect you have socialism without all the advanced theory

  42. Mike,

    that much I did gather - about not being alone! I used to watch Gerry Adams try to bluff his way when it would have been much better to have someone else make the case. There is nothing wrong with simply saying 'I don't know.'

  43. Sean,

    Daithi on the night made a fine case but it didn't cut the mustard for me. The audience was not sympathetic to Eoin (although they were very respectful of his right to contribute) but his contribution left me thinking he would reach a wider audience than Daithi did.

    As for who controls the money supply, while I love the simplicity of it, it doesn't work for me when it comes to the complex. If you ever get a chance to talk to Tommy Gorman ask him about the IRA lecture on socialism and sausages! Once you have stopped rolling about the floor laughing you will probably see the point I am trying to make. While it does not reflect on what you say it is a funny story all the same.

  44. Socialism and sausages eh! Who wrote that one? Could only have been Bangers... And Mash

  45. Has anyone ever seriously considered taking money/economcs out of the equation when thinking about socialism? Money is simply an incentive.

    What do you need money for? The technology to send a man to the moon is already there, to build cars, houses, treat sick people etc. The knowledge is already in place. What is needed is a 'new' incentive.

    It was only a few weeks ago that the USA went on standby because there wasn't enough green backs to go around. But this rock we live on still turned.

    There is no reason (except greed) that we can't have free health, education, housing, gas & electricty etc..

    I'm still on a steep learning curve but the minute (IMO) you mix economics with socialism you are playing straight into a capitist agenda.

    As organised rage said, the minute you scratch the suface most 'leftist' groups all want the same thing. But people being people let egos & personalities get in the way. Does it really matter who takes credit as long as the job/objective is done?

  46. Frankie,

    I guess they don't call it political economy for nothing. It seems to me that once we separate the economy from socialism we are back to the utopianism of pre-marxist ideas - Saint Simon and the like. I think economics and socialism are as inseparable as capitalism and economics are. Socialism, in any Marxist sense, is about the economic structuring of society.

  47. AM,
    I Thought Tommy Gorman was a socialist? , his son certainly defines himself as one.

    I am in hot pursuit of reading economics from a socialist point of view to add my understanding. I therefore will not pretend to bluff my way through.

    However there is no reason under any system that people should not have a decent wage, housing, healthcare, education system.

    But, then we wouldn't have the "haves and the have nots".

    Socialist ethics and morality on housing, education, housing, food, water, environmental sustainability sit easy with me.

    This is were I agree with Michael, "The socialist analysis must be our main concern, and cannot be put on the back boiler".
    and "National self-determination without the socialism is just nationalism".

    To go without it on level pegging, like S/F basically have and RSF, could lead a lot of people with who are more inclined to be from a left perspective being fooled again. In the words of the "who, We wont be fooled again"

    Economics may have been complicated in order for the masses not to get a grip on, Henry ford quoted something if I recall in relation to this.

    The capitalist system is simply debt pushed back generation after generation. If it were business it would be bankrupt eons ago, The safety valve at the minute is China, look how much the west owes china.

    If the USA were not shit scared of china they would have invaded, blockaded them and stole their debt back.

    Coming out of recession basically means some of the restriction on borrowing to personal/commercial entites has been lifted, mainly from the middle, to lower middle and working classes.

    I do not see socialism as utopian at all, I basically see that statement as some sort of right wing media spin.

    As far as I see it I personally would rather be exploited in a socialist system than a capitalist system.

    Now, I could change my opinion, but I cannot see why at the minute being realistic about the whole situation without bringing in any dogma or slogans from yesterday.

  48. James,

    Tommy is a socialist. He just tells a really funny tale.

    Economics may have been complicated in order for the masses not to get a grip on

    From Marx as well. capital Volume was considered by many in its first set of chapters to be incomprehensible.

    I do not see socialism as utopian

    Have you never read a Marxist critique of utopian socialism?

  49. James we should be wary of equating RSF's position on the economy with that of Sinn Fein. The party is committed to organising along the cooperative model, something I'd be keen on myself. RSF has the complete range of politics in my view and is a party worth a closer look at

  50. Sean Bres,

    if that is true of RSF then some explaining needs to be done about their lack of relevance. There is a serious disconnect there that many in RSF are aware of but seem unable to put right.

  51. Agreed wholeheartedly. Part of the problem for RSF in my view is a propensity of many in the ranks to lecture down at people rather than engage with them as equals, what you've identified previously as a theocratic strain in the party. It's something that needs addressed if the party is to make progress no doubt. Perhaps part of the problem is they felt when their analysis was borne out they would reap the political dividend but instead much of that prospective support has went to other groups who disassociated from the Provisionals in more recent times. I still believe the positions the party has worked out are apt solutions to the various ills afflicting our society and not only that they are realistically achievable

  52. A.M.

    As sean bres has pointed out RSF are an essentially socialist and republican movement.

    As to why their lack of relevance? Maybe they don't attract the careerist type politicos because their ethical abstentionist position limits careerist types' power lust?
    Or maybe they just don't play the populist and opportunistic game of bending to every change in direction of the way the wind blows?
    Whatever the reason those women and men deserve credit for their efforts in maintaining a principled stand in their adherence to republican ideals.

    But there again it depends on how you measure relevance. As an egalitarian republican socialist I don't see any other grouping or party as having any greater relevance or realist possibilities in advancing Irish republican socialism.
    Do you?

  53. Henry JoY,

    The purpose of being in the game is to make what you believe relevant and to influence people. If you fail in that you risk ending up as a cult. RSF haven’t managed to persuade or influence to any substantial degree and their ideas are even less materially relevant today than in the day when they had a serious influence within the Provos and were pushing what was arguably the most realistic republican model for addressing unionism (despite its shortcomings.

    A seemingly insurmountable problem for them today is that for many (even those who subscribe to republicanism) RSF seem to resemble a religious sect more than a serious political movement. I voted for their candidate in one of the elections a few years ago while realising it was a wasted effort.
    How that might be overcome I have no idea. I don’t see anybody around with the intellect and charm of Ruairi O’Bradaigh.

    In my view there is no group pushing forward in any meaningful way. But then I don’t think republicanism as we knew it has a serious future.

  54. I like you Anthony don't currently have any idea how they surmount those challenges and indeed with regards to Ruairi
    'Ní beidh a leithéid ann arís'.

    That said what's the alternative? Acceptance of the dreary drudge of sectarian squabbles, participation in the organised farces presented by the current political 'masters'?

    Now people don't have to agree with everything I say, (indeed they don't have to agree with anything I say), but maybe the best one can do is hold on to oneself with as much dignity and integrity as can be mustered in such maelstroms?

    And if that be the case, I think the women and men of RSF for the greater part have managed to do so with more consistency than most.

    Though on the other hand maybe you're right A.M. and if for you,
    the mess IS over,
    then go in peace!

  55. HenryJoY,

    I have written elsewhere about republicanism not being the answer to the question of partition although I have followed with interest some of your comments to Maitiu and guess that you will be alone for a long time to come. Not that it is so terrible because I happen to think you made sense.

    The RSF people can be like the people who hold firm to the Latin Mass. Devout and devoted to what they believe in but the purpose of being involved in politics is to make your ideas relevant.

    The mess might be over but I can never seem to escape it.

  56. Ah yes Anthony, withdrawal at times perhaps, but 'no exit'!

    But what if those crazy f**ks (folks) reciting the latin mass do hold a key for potentially unlocking us from the dreary drudgery of sectarian squabbling? What then?

    (Can you link or reference to your writings on alternatives answers to partition)


  57. HenryJoY,

    it would be all the sadder if they do have the key and fail to convince anybody of it.

    I suppose the same could be said re scientologists, Fred Phelps and his religious followers, or the Trots of the Spartacus League: they might have something the rest of us cannot see but unless they manage to persuade people the value of what they claim to have is seriously diminished.

  58. Have you never read a Marxist critique of utopian socialism?

    No but I will. What is your take on it.

  59. Mames,

    according to the Marxist critique the utopians had no real understanding of the role of class conflict as the motor of history. Marxists did not claim that socialism was a utopian goal but that the utopian socialists had a utopiam means of bringing it about. There are some comparsions that can be drawn between Marx's critique of utopian socialists and Lenin's critique of Left Wing Communism.

  60. It's not a case of it would be all the sadder IF they have the key, Republican Sinn Fein HAS the key. Perhaps part of the problem is that others want to go make their own. As I said earlier they have an advanced and fully thought-out political analysis with the policies to back it up - all of them highly considered and framed within the context of democratic republicanism, internationalism and the wider anti-imperialist struggle. Their stuff is absolutely solid. The problem as you identify clearly Anthony is they have trouble getting their message across. Part of the reasoning for that is the party has been marginalised and indeed vilified in many quarters. Why? Probably because of what it has to offer if only it could break the glass ceiling. I like you voted for Joe O'Neill in 2007 when he stood in West Tyrone, he fared poorly. But would I do so again? Every day of the week. Republican Sinn Fein has a lot to offer, if for no other reason than its political analysis. As an organisation it has clear problems as you've indicated but in terms of raw policy it's all there - the key is in the door if we'd only turn it

  61. Sean bres..

    Why don't RSF the Societies, RNU etc talk about what they think on mainstream media? Their message/s would reach a wider audience and dispel SF's claim to republicanism..

    Is it simply due to they aren't invited..? From reading what marginalised republicans have to say on blogs like this, they seem to know what they are talking about.

  62. Sean Bres,

    eternal optimism. Not for me - don't have the temperament for it. No point in having a key if you are determined to let nobody else in to the house!! I am sure I could run Russia if only the bloody Russians would listen to me and defer to my judgement!! Facetious I know but it all sort of runs over my head these days. Once anything resembles a religion I bolt for the nearest exit. Geting ready for a full day's bourbon boozing tomorrow. We have a Thanksgiving house party. I just thank the fact that there is bourbon! The rest of it sort of goes over my head too.

  63. Is it real Bourbon from Bourbon county..? Does that mean you'll you sick of sight of turkey before Xmas???

  64. Real or not it is getting guzzled tomorrow. Just taking a rum at the minute to loosen me up!!

  65. You're some boy! Some day I'll have to join ye for a glass though I heard you townie's can drink none lol. Thanksgiving eh, good to see Carrie keeping up the tradition. Spent a few years in New York when I was younger and it was always an excuse for us Irish to go on the rampage on our day off round the bars in Woodlawn.

    As for being the eternal optimist others on Facebook would slate my politics as entirely negative, just this morning I was told by a learned colleague of our very own Michael Henry that my "monologues are not debate they are vicious personal attacks on good republican people laced with your own very particular brand of 'logic'". Not especially nice to hear but you take it on the chin. I've never got into the business of mounting personal attacks mind you, that's just how those we criticise respond to criticism - often forgetting the fact they once criticised others like the SDLP over the things we charge them with today.

    In terms of the future and the discussion we were having there yeah, I think we need to start letting people in. We need to be more open for those who might have an interest in helping out or getting involved - something I don't think republican has necessarily been in the past