Irish history

Rendezvous in Northern Ireland?

Published on: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 14:16

In a hugely symbolic moment on 27 June, during a royal visit to Northern Ireland to mark her jubilee, the former commander of the IRA shook hands with the Queen.

The man who commanded the force responsible for, amongst other things, the death of the Queen’s cousin Lord Mountbatten, exchanged a handshake with the woman whose armed forces murdered 14 innocent civil rights marchers in his hometown of Derry. This was, all proportions guarded, a real life instance of David Low’s famous cartoon “Rendezvous” in which Hitler (“the bloody assassin of the workers”) greets Stalin as “the scum of the

An Irish Trotskyist Programme for Irish Unity (1948)

Published on: Thu, 12/04/2012 - 02:22

This leaflet was produced by the Irish Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Socialist Party in 1948. A section of the Cannon-Pablo-Mandel Fourth International, the RSP had adopted the politics of the Workers Party USA, the Shachtman organisation. The “coalition” referred to is the Dublin government formed after the the February 1948 election in the 26 Counties by Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talmhan and the National Labour Party. It replaced De Valera's Fianna Fail, which had been in office since 1932.


Fine Gael takes hostages

Would Fine Gael, the party of the

An open letter on Brexit to Irish people in Britain

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:40
Author

Sean Matgamna

Brexit means the xenophobic and reactionary unravelling of the European unity that has taken many decades to knit together.

And for Ireland, Brexit threatens nothing less than the catastrophe of a new partition.

Isn’t it time that the Irish population of Britain raised a collective voice against Brexit?

There are 430,000 Irish immigrants in Britain, and millions of people of recent Irish descent. Yet there has been no outcry from this potential power in British politics against the wrong being done to Ireland by Britain.

In Britain Brexit has led to the creation of a government under a buffoon

The Irish border and Brexit

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 09:56
Author

Micheál MacEoin

One crucial aspect of Brexit, the impact on the Irish (or, rather, British-Irish) Border, was comprehensively ignored in the British media during the 2016 referendum campaign itself.

It is fitting, then, that it has threatened to unravel the whole Brexit process, in the form of the “backstop”, a set of guarantees against the imposition of a hard border which have been written into the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.

The flipside of that fact is that Johnson’s drive for a “no deal” Brexit, if it succeeds, will mean in effect a new partition of Ireland, a reversal of the slow

A poundshop Lloyd George?

Published on: Wed, 18/09/2019 - 11:19
Author

Colin Foster

“Principles mean nothing to him — never have. His mind doesn’t work that way.

“It’s both his strength and his weakness”.

That was how the Tory politician Arthur Balfour described David Lloyd George, prime minister 1916-22, a leading government minister 1906-16, and a dominant figure in Liberal Party politics for most of the first half of the 20th century.

A minister who worked with Lloyd George saw him as having an “absolute contempt for detail” but a strange capacity to improvise and “pick up the essential details of a question by conversation”.

A biographer described him as “always in a

When Tories threatened civil war

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 10:34
Author

Rhodri Evans

“There are things stronger than parliamentary majorities”, said the Tory party leader.

That was Andrew Bonar Law, leader of the Tory opposition, speaking about Irish Home Rule in July 1912.

He added: “We shall not be guided by the considerations or bound by the restraints which would influence us in a normal constitutional struggle…

“I can imagine no length of resistance to which Ulster can go in which I should not be prepared to support them”.

He accused the Liberal government of “lighting the fires of civil war”, or, in other words, declared himself ready to use the fires of civil war

Corbyn in the 1980s

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 08:51
Author

Sean Matgamna

The Times of 6 July 2019 ran an article by Dominic Kennedy, "Corbyn's hard-left blueprint revealed", attacking Jeremy Corbyn for his links in the 1980s with Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity. Sean Matgamna, editor of Socialist Organiser in the period described, talked to Solidarity.



We have serious political differences with Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

But Corbyn has the record of an honorable, serious left-winger, who - unlike many others who had some association with Socialist Organiser in the 1980s - did not change his coat in the years of Blair's New Labour

Marxism and Irish politics

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 12:54
Author

Micheál MacEoin

In November 2018, the longtime Irish-based Trotskyist Rayner Lysaght debated with Sean Matgamna, a founding member of Workers’ Liberty, on Marxist perspectives on Irish history and the Irish revolution.

Such debates, between divergent theoretical traditions, are rare. They are even more rare in Britain on the particular topic of the Irish Question, despite the prospect of a post-Brexit hard border in Ireland.

Much debate centred around the applicability of Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution to Ireland. Lysaght argued that Ireland is still an “unfinished capitalist entity”, its

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