Introduction: a footnote to Republican-Socialist history.
Irish Workers' Group 1967-8
[Workers' Fight and the Trotskyist Tendency of the International Socialists – now the SWP – were forerunners of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty.
The main document of the Trotskyist side in the faction fight in the Irish Workers' Group in 1967-8.
I. Vacillation and inconsistency
II. What kind of revolutionary party?
III. The record: political chameleonism
Eclecticism and nationalism
IV. The present orientation
Result of the nationalist accommodation
Accommodation to Labour too?
V. The theory of Irish exceptionalism
VI. The internal "regime"
The chameleon at home - a petty bonaparte
Centralism vs. democratic centralism
The Lawless clique and the Workers' Fight faction
VII. Whither the IWG?
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The dispute in the Irish Workers' Group was important in shaping - or mis-shaping - the available Irish left on the eve of the explosion of 1968-9 in Northern Ireland, when thousands of young people sought new revolutionary politics, and most ended up joining the Provisionals, a new version of old and indeed anachronistic militarist/Catholic-nationalist politics.
Article from Workers' Republic 19, mid-summer 1967.
This article, published in Irish Militant of January 1967, demonstrated the confusion of the Irish Workers' Group in relation to Republicanism. It was by-lined for though not written by Phil Flynn, later vice-president of Sinn Fein, a prominent trade unionist in the 26 Counties, and later a high-profile businessman.
James Connolly wrote: “Ireland occupies a position among the nations of the earth unique … in the possession of what is known as a ‘physical force party’ – a party, that is to say, whose members are united upon no one point, and agree upon no single principle, except upon the use of physical force as the sole means of settling the dispute between the people of this country and the governing power of Great Britain.
a Editorial for Irish Militant, Dec 1966, By Gery Lawless and Eamonn McCann
b Letter to Irish Militant from Sean Matgamna
c Letter to Gery Lawless from Sean Matgamna