The ‘Troubles’ – 1968-98

Child victim of Plastic Bullets

Child victim of Plastic Bullets

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The writings of James Connolly

The Relevance of James Connolly Today

Ireland – The Historical Background

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The ‘Troubles’ – 1968-98

On this page I intend to post documents that have been produced since ‘The Troubles’ began again 1968 after just over 10 years of relative quiet in Northern Ireland. They come from a variety of sources, almost all pro-Republican, and I hope it will help to provide background material for those who seek to understand what has happened in the island that ‘has for long been half free, Six counties still under John Bull’s tyranny’.

The Struggle in Ireland, Special Paper, Revolutionary Socialist Students Federation, 1st May 1969, 8 pages.

Irish Liberation Press, Volume 1, Edition 1, 1970, 12 pages.

‘We cannot conceive of a free Ireland with a subject working class; we cannot conceive of a subject working class with a free Ireland.’ James Connolly

British Imperialism Out of Ireland!, Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), London, 1971, 14 pages.

Report on Special Powers Act of Northern Ireland, originally published 1936, reprinted 1972 by the National Council for Civil Liberties, London, 40 pages.

In the 1970s the IRA Speaks, Repsol pamphlet No. 3, Republican Education Publications, Dublin, 1973.

‘One of the most comprehensive statements released over the past decade on the aims, objectives and methods of the Irish republican Army.’

Sinn Fein, The Workers’ Party, Sectarianism Kills Workers, Birmingham, 1970s?, 4 pages.

The Aims and Objectives of Sinn Fein The Workers’ Party in the early 1970s.

Ireland – One Nation, Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), London, 1974, 16 pages.

Nuacht Naisiunta, 4th March 1974, Sinn Fein, Dublin, 1975, 4 pages.

The Littlejohn Memorandum, The true story of British and Irish Espionage Services active in Ireland to-day, Clann na hEireann, London, 1975, 20 pages.

The true story of British and Irish espionage services active in Ireland during the 1970s.

Culture and Revolution in Ireland, Eoin O Murchu, Repsol pamphlet No. 2, Republican Education Department, Dublin, 1971, 32 pages.

This paper was prepared for a series of educational conferences organised by the leadership of the Republican Movement. It does not pretend to be a final, definitive statement of the relation between culture and revolution. It is, however, an attempt to initiate discussion on this subject which has so largely been ignored by revolutionary thinkers in Ireland.

Death on the Streets of Derry, Tony Gifford QC, National Council for Civil Liberties, London, 1982, 28 pages.

This pamphlet focuses on 2 incidents in Derry in April 1981 when three young men lost their lives. On April 15 Paul Whitters (aged 15) was shot in the head by a plastic bullet and died 10 days later. On April 19th, Easter Sunday, Gary English (19) and James brown (18) were run over and killed by a Land Rover driven by a Lance Corporal in the British Army.

What Happened in Derry, Eamonn McCann, Socialist Worker, London, 1972, 16 pages.

A Trotskyite pamphlet about ‘Bloody Sunday’ (January 30th 1972) but useful in that it was written very soon after the event and therefore contains useful historical information.

The H Blocks, An indictment of British prison policy in the North of Ireland, Information on Ireland, Nottingham, 1981, 32 pages.

The British Government’s attempt to criminalise Republican activists.

They Shoot Children, The use of rubber and plastic bullets in the North of Ireland, Information on Ireland, Nottingham, 1982, 40 pages.

The use of rubber and plastic bullets by the British Army in Northern Ireland and the casualties suffered by the people in the Republican areas.

Plastic Bullets, Plastic Government, Deaths and Injuries by Plastic Bullets, Aug 1981 – Oct 1982, Denis Faul and Raymond Murray, International Tribunal, Belfast, 1982, 68 pages.

More information on the devastating effects of the use of ‘non-lethal’ plastic and rubber bullets against the Republican population of Northern Ireland.

The British Media and Ireland, Truth – the first casualty, Campaign for Free Speech on Ireland, London, 198?, 56 pages.

If you don’t know what is happening in Ireland you must have been watching British television, listening to British radio and reading the British press.

Ireland, Voices for Withdrawal, Information on Ireland, London, 1980?, 69 pages.

‘The moment the very name of Ireland is mentioned, the English seem to bid adieu to common feeling, common prudence and common sense, and to act with the barbarity of tyrants and the fatuity of idiots.’ Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

British Soldiers Speak Out on Ireland, Information on Ireland, London, 1980?, 32 pages.

In India and in Ireland

He’s held the people down,

While the robber English Gentlemen

Took pound and penny and crown

Belfast Bulletin No 8, The Churches in Ireland, Belfast Workers’ Research Unit, Belfast, Spring 1980, 64 pages.

Ireland, North and South, is one of the most religious countries in the world – perhaps the most religious country in the Western Christian world. And not only is it religious, but its own peculiar forms of Catholicism and Protestantism are among the most insular, fundamentalist and reactionary in existence.

Belfast Bulletin No 10, The Law in Northern Ireland, Belfast Workers’ Research Unit, Belfast, Spring 1982, 88 pages.

‘The law is the embodiment of the interests of various groups in society, the most influential one by far being the ruling class. Other groups in society, such as the working class, can struggle and have struggled against the powerful …. But the struggle of such groups to protect and advance their interests is a difficult and constant one.’

Cormac Strikes Back, Resistance cartoons from the North of Ireland, Information on Ireland, London, 1982, 116 pages.

The struggle for independence in Northern Ireland depicted in cartoons.

The Writings of Bobby Sands, Sein Fein, Dublin, 1981, 40 pages.

A collection of prison writings by H-block hunger striker Bobby Sands, IRA Volunteer and Westminster MP, with an introduction by fellow Republican Gerry Adams.

Falls Memories, Gerry Adams, Brandon, Dingle, 1982, 156 pages.

More on Ireland

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

The Writings of James Connolly

James Connolly - Irish Citizen's Army

James Connolly – Irish Citizen’s Army

More on Ireland

The Relevance of James Connolly Today

The ‘Troubles’ – 1968-98

Ireland – The Historical Background

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

The Writings of James Connolly

James Connolly was, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest Irish Republican and Socialist leader – but he was born in Edinburgh. Not too much of a surprise when you realise that due to the conditions under which Irish workers were forced to live under the rule of the British that running away was preferable to staying and fighting. Connolly’s parents left, he returned to take the fight to the British Imperialists.

Unlike most of the leaders that preceded him, and most that have come since, he understood that the only way that the Irish would be truly free was when the working class and peasantry took control of their own country, and not allowing Irish exploiters to take the place of the British variety. His adoption of the ideas of Marxism make him stand out in Irish Republican history. He realised that national liberation for the majority meant nothing if it did not come, at the same time, with their freedom from capitalist exploitation.

He also understood that if they remained unarmed the working class would always face defeat from a ‘armed to the teeth’ occupation force. One of his most important achievements was the formation of the Irish Citizen’s Army, an armed (although initially not with fire arms) and organised group of men who defended workers in the 1913 Great Dublin Lock Out. It was from this organisation that the Irish Republican Army (the IRA) evolved – though too often without the same ideological basis.

James Connolly also stands as one of the few who realised that the war of the capitalists, that sent millions to the slaughter fields of the First World War, was yet another ‘game’ of capitalism and imperialism and which true working class leaders should shun like the plague. Although the so-called working class leaders and parties of the Second Socialist International, had declared that they would not call upon their respective working classes to fight in an imperialist war (in The Stuttgart Resolution of 1907 and The Balse Manifesto of 1912) they almost all adopted nationalistic and jingoistic stances once war was declared in 1914 – including the British Labour Party. The two international leaders who stood on principal at this moment of decision were Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (who later led the Russian working class and peasantry to victory in the 1917 October Revolution) and James Connolly.

Despite this seeming understanding of revolutionary reality of the early part of the 20th century Connolly ended up in the futile and doomed to failure Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. Whereas Lenin had learnt from the past Connolly still had aspects of Blanqui‘s (the 19th century French revolutionary) ‘small group who will stir the rest of the population’ mentality. They were isolated by the much more organised British Imperialist forces, even at a time when they were involved in the biggest war (at that time) in world history on the other side of the English Channel. In less than a week the uprising was crushed and 12 days later Connolly was shot by firing squad by the vengeful British.

In a chair!

Connolly had been wounded in the ankle and was unable to stand so the arrogant British provided him with a seat so he wouldn’t be inconvenienced. This attitude that the British displayed in Ireland, that they had displayed another part of the world before and since, angered the Irish working class and although the Rising was not the most astute of political moves it did result in a realisation that the British had only total contempt for the Irish and their sensibilities.

This was immortalised in a verse of the 1957 song by Dominic Behan, the Patriot Game

They told me how Connolly was shot in his chair,
His wounds from the fighting all bloody and bare.
His fine body twisted, all battered and lame
They soon made me part of the patriot game.

It’s unfortunate that revolutionary movements around the world have since made similar mistakes in ensuring the success of a proletarian revolution, perhaps most notably the idea of the ‘foco’ followed by Che Guevara in Bolivia in the late 1960s.

Nonetheless Connolly left a legacy in his writings that could be useful for revolutionaries in Ireland and other parts of the world. For that reason as many as possible are reproduced here.

Erin’s Hope – the end and the means, and The New Evangel, with an introduction by Joseph Deasy, New Book Publications, Dublin, 1968, 44 pages.

Erin’s Hope is Connolly’s first published pamphlet and is a strong exposition of the Socialist case published in 1897.

The New Evangel is a collection of short essays published in 1901.

The axe to the root and Old Wine in New Bottles, Repsol pamphlet No. 14, Republican Education Publications, Dublin, 1973?, 52 pages.

The Axe to the Root and Old Wine in New Bottles are two articles where Connolly stresses the need for solidarity, militancy and organisation in the work of Trade Unions in the class struggle.

Labour in Irish History, New Books Publications, Dublin, 1967, 180 pages.

Labour in Irish History is not an academic tract but is based upon well researched facts. Here Connolly passionately argues that for the Irish working class to know where they are going in the future they should be aware of their past.

Socialism Made Easy, Labour party Publications, Dublin, 1972, 64 pages.

Contains two articles:

Workshop Talks takes the form of statements made by a typical sceptical worker and Connolly’s refutations.

In Political Action of Labour argues for the necessity of industrial and political unity in any trade union or class struggle.

The Re-Conquest of Ireland, New Books Publications, Dublin, 1968, 92 pages.

The Re-Conquest of Ireland develops the ideas of Labour in Irish History showing that the domination of Ireland by imperialism was political, economic and social.

Workshop Talks, The Meaning of Socialism, Repsol pamphlet No. 1, Republican Education Publications, Dublin, 1973?, 32 pages.

Workshop Talks takes the form of statements made by a typical sceptical worker and Connolly’s refutations.

Revolutionary Warfare, New Books Publications, Dublin, 1968, 44 pages.

In Revolutionary Warfare Connolly analyses insurrections, revolutions and uprisings in the previous 150 years, or so, with the argument that the Irish Citizen’s Army should develop from a defensive to an offensive force of the working class.

Labour Nationality and Religion, New Books Publications, Dublin, 1969, 68 pages.

Being a discussion of the Lenten Discourses against Socialism delivered by Father Kane, S.J., in Gardiner Street Church, Dublin, 1910.

The James Connolly Songbook, Cork Workers’ Club, Cork, 1973?, 38 pages.

‘No revolutionary movement is complete without its poetical expression. If such a movement has caught hold of the imagination of the masses, they will seek a vent in song for aspirations, the fears and hopes, the loves and hatreds engendered by the struggle.’ James Connolly.

More on Ireland

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