Ireland

On February 23 three comrades of the International Marxist Tendency attended the Republican Socialist Youth Movement's (RSYM) winter day school in Belfast. Jim Daly, Sean McGowan and Bernadette McAliskey spoke on various aspects on the question of Republicanism and Socialism and the role of the working class. Francesco Merli spoke on Venezuela. There was keen interest in the ideas of Marxism and the school bodes well for the development of the RSYM. A HOV speaker also took part in this year’s Connolly Festival on February 22 and 23, while Labour Youth organized another talk on Venezuela in...

The second edition of Alan Woods' book on Ireland, Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution, has just come out, the first edition having sold out. It is now available again to order from Wellred Books.

Over 150 years ago Ireland lost a staggering 13% of its population to death by disease and starvation. How could it be that Britain, which was still the richest and most powerful country in the world, could not prevent this horrific death toll? The answer is simple ‑ the British ruling-classes did not want to minimize the death toll, on the contrary, they welcomed it!

We are publishing here an interesting piece on the Irish trade unions by Peter Black, an active member of the TGWU (now fused with Amicus to form “Unite”) and the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Trade union membership is growing in Ireland, as is the militancy of the working class and Socialist Republicans, in the tradition of James Connolly, can play an important role in providing the militant leadership the Irish workers deserve.

Last week an important dispute flared up at the Dublin Bus company over new work schedules. Although the strike was called off today, the present article, written last week, gives an idea of the militant mood that exists among Dublin's bus workers.

A Basque Marxist was on a speaking tour of the North of Ireland at the end of October. He spoke to audiences in Belfast, Strabane and Derry mainly composed of republican socialists, but not only. There was keen interest in seeing how the experience of the Basque situation could be applied to the North of Ireland, and vice versa. We make available here a report, originally published in The Plough, the journal of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Last week the Executive in the North of Ireland presented its budget. It has been presented as a budget that will create jobs, improve services and reduce poverty. A closer look reveals tax concessions and incentives for the bosses and cuts in jobs and social spending and increased taxation for the workers. They are preparing social turmoil in the future.

Michael Collins was a great Irish revolutionary and nationalist who more than any one person may be considered to have created modern Ireland. His political tragedy, like other well-meaning nationalists in the age of imperialism was to attempt the impossible; to try to achieve meaningful national independence, in Ireland's case uniting both Catholics and Protestants, without breaking free from the binds of capitalism.

A Speech delivered in Barcelona Wednesday August 1st 2007 to a gathering of Marxists from around the world by Gerry Ruddy, a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

Some disturbing events have been taking place in the south of Ireland, where two IRSP members have been arrested and are being held under the notorious “section 30”. This is clearly a case of political victimisation and should be condemned by all socialists.

As Gerry Ruddy explains, “The issue of the national question in Ireland is at heart a class question. The division of the country into two separate states has encouraged sectarianism, seriously dividing the working class and allowing the continued exploitation of all workers.” This while in the recent period the IRSP in the South of Ireland has come under attack from political policing.

In spite of its social and economic policies – and the corruption scandals - the ruling Fianna Fáil party held its ground in the recent Irish elections. This can be understood on the basis of the prolonged economic boom and the lack of a credible genuine left alternative.

The armed struggle is over. Class struggle is the only option. Those who ignore the class question and stand alone on their “republican principles” stand condemned to remain in splendid isolation. We now live in different times and the old certainties now no longer hold. We all on the left need to forget our petty differences and become relevant to the lives of the working classes in Ireland while keeping alive our vision of socialism.

The power-sharing executive involving Sinn Fein, the DUP and others, that should emerge from last week’s elections to Stormont, will be called on to apply the anti-working class policies dictated from London. Socialist Republicans now face the task of offering a class alternative.