Ireland and Permanent Revolution: A Discussion 1966/7 .

Submitted by dalcassian on 1 May, 2010 - 4:19 Author: Gery Lawless/Rachel Lever/Eamonn Mc Cann/Sean Matgamna

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
d Letter to Sean Matgamna from Gery Lawlwss
e Letter to Gery Lawless from Sean Matgamna
f Letter to Sean Matgamna from gery Lawless
g Editorial in Irish Militant, Feb 1967, by Rachel and Sean Matgamna

Before the eruption of the Catholic "civil rights" movement in Northern Ireland and then the Provisional IRA's "Long War", efforts were made in the Irish Workers Group to sort out the vexed questions of Irish Revolutionary politics. The IWG was then a mainly emigre and mainly London based organisation, in which a number of more or less distinct political currents, quasi-Maoists, Republicans, incipient Guevarists, Deutscherites, Trotskyists and semi-Trotskyists uneasily co-existed, kept together by most of us being Irish outside Ireland. One of these discussions/disputes concerned whether or not Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution "applied" to Ireland.

By that time "permanent Revolution" had lost any precise meaning for most Orthodox" Trotskyisits, being used vaguely to "explain" the Stalinist revolutions, such as those in China and Cuba. These, of course, had resulted in totalitarian enslavement for the workers in those countries, those who, in Trotsky's version of the theory, would be the ruling class. In reality their "Permanent Revolution" had withered to a vague formula that rationalised for them accomodation with Third World revolutionary Stalinism and various other Third World nationalist populisms.

For the duration of the Provo War "Permanent Revolution" would serve to rationalise accomodation to the Provisional IRA: up to the Good Friday Agreement, there were always "Trotskyists", and not by any means only in Ireland, to argue that, any day now, the Provo war would "develope" into the Irish Workers' revolution. The Irish, and international Mandelites, for instance.

One side in the IWG discussion tried in advance to eliminate the confusions of the pseudo-Permanent Revolution from Irish left wing politics. We argued that PR had no "application" to Ireland, though it shed light on Irish History; that it was nonsense to see unification of the island as the "completion of the bourgeois revolution". That's what the various strands of Stalinism said, insisting that it was "ultra left" to talk about, or try to prepare for, an Irish working class revolution before this "completion". The reflex "Trotskyist" riposte to this was: "Yes, but it must be Permanent Revolution: the working class must take the lead in the "completion of the bourgeois revolution" and then go on to make an "uninterrupted" transition to the socialist revolution — not, as Stalinists tended to insist, division of the bourgeois and proletarian revolutions into rigidly seperated 'stages'."

The problem with that was that it had nothing to do with Irish realities, including the realities of Partition and the Northern Ireland state.

I mantain that looking at the real Ireland instead of scholastically matching texts with Stalinists, had merit, but what is striking rereading this little collection is how far from fully satisfactory any of it is, how badly informed we all were, how much of it on both sides was a groping by youngsters in the semi-dark — in an Irish political world where the only extant "Marxist" tradition was that of nationalist-populist Stalinism, and an international Trotskyist world where initially profound theories like "Permanent Revolution" had been reduced to political gibberish. Even so, the issues we tackled, were very important. And it isn't just a matter of recalling things long past: I'd be astonished if there aren't "Trotskyists" still who think "PR will in the future be "applicable" to Ireland. In the nature of things, they — Rayner Lysacht and John McAnulty, probably! — will now be trying to weave their fantasies around the stirrings of the Real and Continnuity IRAs.

Eamonn McCann edited the monthly IWG paper, "Irish Militamt", Gery Lawless was IWG Secretary and for practical purposes Political Editor of the paper, both based in London; Rachel Lever and myself, in Manchester, put out the IWG magazine, An Solas/Workers' Republic. The "Chinese" referred to were an organisation called the "Irish Communist Organisation", which had been in one organisation, The Irish Communist Group, with the IWG element until Autumn 1965. They were wildly dogmatic obscurantist Stalinists, advocating "the completion of the Irish Bourgeois Revolution". The Irish Militant Editorial had been mainly directed at them. They would change, but that's a different story.

This little collection was first produced as a 'background' internal pamphlet in the International Socialists, early in 1969, when we were all trying to come to terms with events after the RUC attack on the Civil Rights march in Derry the previous October. By that stage all four of us were in different ways "in" IS. The typing in the IS pamphlet is very bad, messing up the text and destroying the punctuation. I have here tidied things up a little.

Sean Matgamna
March 2009

Editorial in Irish Militant, Dec 1966.

The major point of confusion in the Irish Lefc to-day centres on the national question and its relationship to the struggle for socialism.

The Marxist analysis of the relationship of capitalist and socialist revolutio~s in the modern world was first suggested by ~arx in reference to the German rovolution of 1848$ and then in this century was ~'lly developed by Leon Trotsky. That analysis tis called 'The Theory of Permanent Revolution'

As expressed by Marx and Trots~y, the 'Theory of Permanent Revolution' can be summerise in these terms.....

The countries such as Ireland which begin their economic development after the initial fl-ourishing of capitalism in the major nations of `Testern Europe doso under radically - different conditiond than their predecessors. In these countries the bourgeoisie is much weaker than it was in destern Europe, because it is at a vast competitive disadvantage against the capitalists of the advanced countries, a disadvantage multiplied b~J foreign political rule in the case of direct colonies. At the same time, the proletariat is much stronger than its 17th and l8th century forebears, for the simple reason that it is based on modern largs scale industry, to the extent that industry exists at all.

The class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie existed in embryo even in the English Revolution9 and played a significant role in the greater French Revolution, But~in modern times its impOrtanGeis so much greater that for the bourgeoisie the decisive political emotion is fear of the working class. Moreover, economically, the bourgeoisie of a backward oountry is most intimately linked both to the old landowning class and to the foreign ~olonial power. For these reasons the bourgeoisie and its parties are incapable of carrying through bourgoois-democratic revolution.

But the fight against the landlords and imperialism is a matter of supreme importance for the whole people and particularly the peasants and workersI The peasantry, because of its dispersion and backwardness, oannot lead this struggleO Only the working olass in the urban centres can carry it through to victory. Lt thn^eane tinQ bbe leading role of the proletariat in the struggle for tbourgeois-democract'c' measures is combined with a struggle for its own class interests against its mvn class enemy the native bourgeoisie. The conquest power by the working olass is simultaneously$ culmination of the old 'bourgeois-demooratic' struggle and the decisive act in the class contlict betl~een capitalists and horkers. Once in power the proletariat proceeds 'to :~rest by degrees, all oapital form the hands of the bourgeoisie'. It does this merely in its own class interest, but also because in to6day's - world,fast economic development is possible only on the basis of nationalisation and economic planning.

Thus the 'bourgeois-democratic' revolution grows quickly and continously into the soialist revolution. It is a permanent revolutionin the full sense of the word, uninterrupted ly any period of capitalist ruleO It is permanent above all in the sense that the success of a pooialist revolution in a backward country, lacking the major technical, material and cultural productive forces re~uired for the establishment of socialism, can be secured only through the extension of the revolution uninterruptedly until it triumphs also im the advanced capitalist countries. As long as it remains isolated in a hostile capitalist world, a socialist revolution in a backward oountry is prey to the two perils of counter-revolution and interna1 degeneration.

Letter to Irish Militant from Sean Matgamna (unpublished)

Dear Comrade,

Your December editorial briefly outlined the Theory of Permanent Revolution of Marx and Trotsky. Without this theory modern history is incomprehensible - neither the fact that the Russian Revolution took place in a backward country, nor the logic of the unfolding colonial revolution, including that of China. This theory is a development of the Marxist laws of combined and uneven development, which shed a flood of light on the course of Irish history, entangled as it is at all points with that of Britain.

Clearly your intention was to brush away the mental cobwebs and nonsenae of those who deny that the next step forward for Ireland can only be workers' power.

Approaching the question from an idealist, normative, scholastic conception of reality, these people take the common Menshevik/stalinist stand, that a regime nearer to the classical model bourgeois state has yet to be established in Ireland as a result of the 'bourgeois democratic revolution'. Supra-historical soholastics, they take the position that conditions will only beoome right for workers' power after their ideal 'bourgeois democratic' regime is realised - and this in a world where even feudal and semi-feudal countries like China, Vietnam and Yugoslovia - not to mention Russia in 1917 - have shown that such bourgeois developments are things of the past.

Like the Kautskyite scholastics who refused a birth certificate to Bolshevik Russia because it had been born outside their expectations, they refuse to see that Ireland is a bourgeois society, i.e. two bourgeois states, peculiarly deformed by history and the relationship with England — bourgeois though still, even in the Republic, economically dominated and exploited. Partition makes the country more vulnerable, but even without it, economic domination would still flourish on the basis of the normal bourgeois market relationships - the power of the big and the weakness of the small. Only the international socialist revolution can transform this - in the last analysis ~ and even if an Irish Workers' State were established first [in advance of the socialist revolution in Western Europe and elsewhere] - and that is not the 'bourgeois democratic revolution'.

The law of combined and uneven development is the Marxist tool for understanding Irish history and the curve of future development. I believe this is what your editorial meant to imply: that the next step in Ireland could only be workers' power. But you confined yourself to an abstract outline of the 'Theory of Permanent Revolution', merely intimating that it answers the professional confusionists in general [and on Ireland in particular] - without spelling it out. But it must be spelled out, because your editorial can be misinterpreted. When you talk of there being no period of capitalist rule this is correct for the Theory - but apply it to Ireland and it appears to say that the bourgeoisie don't hold power yet. To deny that the capitalists have direct power in Ireland, even if they in turn are not their own masters, would be absurd, and I'm sure that was not your intention.

As an analysis of [social] forces and a proletarian perspective of action for feudal and semi-feudal countries, the 'Theory of Permanent Revolution' does not apply literally to Ireland. In your rebuttal of the Stalino-Menshevik rubbish which has caused so much damage in countries like Indonesia where the 'Permanent Revolution' could apply - given revolutionary workers' parties - you make far too many concessions to their mechanical application of Maoist theories to Ireland.

That Ireland is NOT a model bourgeois state is undeniable, as is the fact that it has not got all the attributes of capitalism's first-born, nor, for that matter, their economic weight. But only the socialist revolution will end the underprivileged position of Ireland and similar countries under Capitalism. In so far as your editorial meant to assert this as the next step for Ireland I agree, wholeheartedly.

Sean Matgamna.

Letter to Gerry Lawless from Sean Maigamna. Dec 1966.

Dear Gerry,

I raised the question of the implications of the editorial with you. I feel we should clear up any misunderstandings that might arise out of it. The real trouble with it is that it is a very good outline, an absolute reply to the Chinese [the Irish Maoists] for ocuntries like Indonesia where tho Theory of Permanent Revolution' could apply given revolutionary worker's parties - but it just doesn't in my opinion apply to Ireland. As I understmod it, it's an analysis of the forces in feudal and semi-feudal countries in their relations with world economy, and politically a perspective of action by the prolatariat, recessarily led by their revolutionary parties (it's the abdication of responsibility by the C.P.'s who were alloted the role of leadership in. Trotsky's 1928 conceptions that have made for divergencies in many countries... but that is a big subject...). But it does not apply to Ireland, though of course the Marxist conception of combined and uneven development on the basis of which Trotsky worked out the 'Theory of Permanant Revolution, are invaluable in explaining Irish history, past and future... Perhaps you won't agree? Anyway I have written a letter on the editorial of I.M., which might form the basis for a discussion if the comrades and yourself don't agree. Incidentally I have gone to quite a lot of trouble to phrase it as diplomatically as possible.


Sean Matgamna

Letter to Sean Matgamna form Gery Lawless.
I have just received your letter today, I can agree (with some misgivings):wlththe main point of your letter in as far as it anplys to ths 26 CO, but cannot for the life of me, see how you oan believa that the 6Co. is a mornal bourgeois State - be clsar, the next step is worker's Power north and south, on that we are lO%o agreed but not the classification of Northern Ireland as a normal bourgeois state

I agree you have phrased it very diplomatically and as we don't agree the next step is to see what we oan do about it.
We could: 1) Delete reference to Northern Ireland (until we have a discussion) — a. by letter, b, on the Editorial Board, c,in An Solas, and then publish as a letter.
2) Rewerite (deleting reference to Northern Ireland.) as an editorial and jointly present same to EB as an editorial.

Gery Lawless.

Letter to Gery Lawless from Sean Matgamna

Dear Gerry,

Your letter arrived Friday so there was no possibility of a reply in time for the meeting in London. I don't really understand your objections to the letter, so we had better discues it in detail. The letter was less than specific on many points and possibly I sacrificed clarity to diplomacy.

You say you cannot understand how I believe that the six counties ia a normal bourgeois state. But where have I written that? The letter specifically talks of Ireland's two states, peculiarly deformed by history and the relationship with England. Is that the same as saying that the six counties is a "normaI bourgeois state"? But what I do clearly say is that Ireland as a whole, though mutilated, is still bourgeois.

Analyse it. Do the bourgeoisie in both parts have social power? Are the relations of produotion bourgeois or not? It's obvious, surely, that though the power of Imperialism overshadows them, even the Imperialist domination is on the basis of bourgeois relations? More and more old fashioned colonialism has given way almost everywhere to reliance by the Imperialists on their giant economic strength. This is clearly the trend in Ireland. All that is blatantly obvious.

Do the bourgeoisie hold state power then? Yes, but again it is relative and their state power is curtailed to an extent by British Imperialism; and of course direct imperialist force aided the Northern bourgeoisie in setting up their seperatc house, in closer 'allianoe' with England than the Southern bourgeoisie wanted. This is particularly true on the keeping of sufficient netionalist people and territory within the six counties to make it viable. Alright: the state power of the bourgeoisie is very much at the whim of the British, and the setup is not what the southern bourgeoisie would descrite as an ideal bourgeois state — but the direot power denied the Southern bourgeoisie is in the hands of the Northern bourgeoisie, acting as a subdivision of the UK bourgeoisie. There are conflicts of interest on some questions between the Northern bourgeoisie and the other sections of their class in the rest of the UK — but no clear-out antagonism exists.

The letter says clearly that the capitalists have power in Ireland — eren if they in turn are not their own masters. (But then the Stalinists argue that even the British bourgocisie are not really their own masters any more, which underlines how relative it is.) You disagree wiith that formulation? Then you must tell me who has power in Northern Ireland, if the bourgeoisie —as a section of the UK bourgeoisie — do not. Nobody is denying the role of Imperialism or the peculiarities of N.I., nor the need to describe these features in any characterisation. But I disagree that these things place in question the bourgeois nature of Ireland.

The partition of Ireland arose from a deep split in the bourgeoisie, linking up with the aims and needs of imperialism. The N.I. bourgeoisie, organised as a regional division of G.B., at the moment have a large amount of autonomy. (how much Imperialist arms contributes to the acquiesence of the Southern bourgeoisie in this situation is debatable... Their own peculiarities enter the picture too, as you well know...) There is, of course absolute economic subordinatiion of N.I. — but this is also true of the rest of the country, leading to the present snuggling up to the U.K. [The Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement, 1965.]

Are the Northern bourgeoisie held against their will? The situation boils down to a split in the Bourgeoisie, one seotion maintaining a closer relation than the other with Inperialisn; Imperialism in turn stage-managing the affair. The bourgeois split allowed them a direot intervention. But let me repeat that this does not alter the bourgeois nature ofthe set-up — real, histori¢ally oonditioned bourgeois, as opposed to some ideal one from the textbooks. I am not denying that it is an appalling mess, but you should not deny it is a Bourgeois mess.

These, North and South, are the only Irish bourgeoisie we wilI get. If you want to call
the Northern bourgeoisie 'traitors' go ahead, but they are the Irish bourgeoisie, they and their
Southern cousins who are only a shade different. Ireland's bourgeoisie are in power, deformed,
crawling, divided as they are, getting what relations they can with GB, as the divided sections
do: there can be no other bourgeoisie.

Even reunification under capitalism will make little difference to that. The only important effect would be to clear up the issues with which the Orange and Green tories have occupied the minds of the proletariet for decades (as Connolly in1914 foretold).

Our job must be to explain to the workers of Ireland that these are the bourgeois regimes, weak, rotten at birth and unable even to unify the nation, as they are. It
ls in the interests of the Cliffordites with their perspeotive and their hope for the future
bourgeoisie to shun the pityable sight of the craven Irish bourgeoisie and promise that a newer and better breed of 'national bourgeoisie' is expected on the five o'clock train from Pekin — but it is not in our interest.

I believe you accept the theory of degenerated and deformed workers states. And yet Russia,
which has had up to ten million slave labourers at various times, is a thousand times more
remote from a normal workers state than is Ireland, North or South, removed trom the classic
model of a bourgeois state. But, once again, the letter mentioned that Ireland didn't have all the attributes of Capitalism's more favoured.

What happened with the December editorial is this, as I see it: feeling the need to take up the Stalinist confusion because of its implications for the future, its denial of the Workers' Republic as the next step, you reached out for the theory that refutes that sort of 'stages' nonsence in backward oountries where a reasonable 'case' can be made out for it... ie. the Theory of Permanent Revolutlon. In doing that you unintentionally made all sorts of lmplied concessions to their assumptions about Ireland and wound up arguing on their ground within their terms of reference, without pointing out the gross, scholastic non-Marxist nature of their mechanical application of Chinese theories to Ireland.

This is what I object to. It isn't enough to take up the issues as they raise them, a piece at a time, without analyising their basic mistake, their non-Marxist soholasticism and idealism.

I think I've said that I think the ghost of Clifford was never properly exorocised from the Group. To go over the Stalinist/Trotskyist history is not enough to root out the essential approach or to teach people to avoid adopting the same stance even when opposing the grosser pieces of Stalinism.

The Permanent Revolution is an analysis of the classes and forces in 'feudal' and semi-feudal countries, and a proletarian perspective of action (depending on revolutionary parties of the working class arising and playing a posilve role — which is why so muoh of the current colonial revolution seems to refute the theory of Trotsky — ie. as Trotsky formulatad it as opposed to the way the 'Pabloite' epigones have garbled it so as to forget the proletariat). These forces, classes and so on, are just not the same in Ireland.

The Permanent Revolution is an analysis of the classes and forces in "feudal" and semi-feudal countries, and a proletarian perspective of action (depending on revolutionary parties of the working class arising and playing a positive role — which is why so much of the current colonial revolution seems to refute the theory of Trotsky — i.e. as Trotsky formulated it as opposed to the way the "Pabloite" epigones have garbled it so as to forget the proletariat). These forces, classes and so on, are just not the same in Ireland.

In using the theory to reply to the Stalinists you made far too many implied concessions to their madness. You engaged in a scholastic matching of texts with them, without reference to reality. But reference to reality is the real killing test for these people.

I think there is a real need for a short internal document analysing the idealist scholasticism of the Clittordites: not matching texts with them but showing their divorcement from reality, Clifford's stuff reminds me of the talk of people who are insane; it has a strong internal logic, but has no relation to anything in the real world.

The SLL, in high-handedly ignoring the national question and the minority question in NI, is wrong, but at least they are right to understand the bourgeois nature of the set-up. But then I don't see how anyone can question either the bourgeois character of the whole of Ireland or the very obvious limitations and deformities, and the historically conditioned weakness of Irish capitalism. I always took it for granted.
Who rules Scotland and Wales? The argument that there must be a free, independent, unified national state before the bourgeois rule... leads to declaring these countries non-bourgeois! It is not predetermined that every nation will manage a free national state this side of socialism. What about the future for Ireland? The gross deformation, the relationship to Britain and perhaps later as a weaker fish in the EEC [European Union] will continue until the workers take power. Within this framework, there is a very strong possibility of reunification, by agreement, evolution.

If the capitalist system continues stable in this period of link-ups of all sorts, there is just no really serious explosive material in Ireland that could lead to a revolutionary reunification in conflict with Imperialism — i.e. a reunification as such; the working class will not rise against the border, alone. When they move it will be for their own direct aims. If, while a semblance of the present division remains, there is a revolutionary upsurge, the main component will be the proletariat. And, following from that, if the upsurge leads to a reunification under the bourgeoisie, the realisation of the "ideal" bourgeois revolution, then that will be a counter-revolution against the working-class (like the "completion" of the bourgeois revolution in Germany 1918).

Our political existence must aim at the prevention of such a bourgeois "revolution", and we can only do that by preparing a serious proletarian force — educating it against both Stalinist and bourgeois chauvinist influences and confusions.

There is of course a point at which this stages theory of the Stalinists can link up with the existing ideas on national independence of people moving towards us and derail them, prevent them from understanding that the struggle is international, the working class, even if it has inherited the fight for Irish Freedom, is also an international class, part of that class which has inherited the fight for freedom throughout the world. This whole matter of insisting on a perfection of bourgeois stages and states was introduced by the Stalinists in the 20s, and has functioned as one of many excuses for not fighting for workers' power.

This business of questioning the bourgeois, deformed bourgeois, character of Ireland is injected into the revolutionary movement from the Stalinist cesspool, in my opinion. The demand for an absolutely clear-out independence and a perfect bourgeois state has played a reactionary role in many countries. In pre-Hitler Germany, for example [when the Stalinists turned their agitation to focus on liberating Germany from the Versailles Treaty]; and the Stalinists are always pandering to British nationalism in favour of British independence from America! The abstract, normative, non-Marxist Stalinists raise this quastion for their own ends and only terrible soholastics like the Cliffordites could raise this seriosly. At least we agree that the talk of a coming bourgeois "Democratio Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry" is daft (it has never existed anywhere at all).

This you know. But ue would be well advised to clear away the ground from under this sort of confusion by showing just what a pityable specimen the bourgeoisie make of their power. You say: Irish nationalism is not the same as British nationalism. Yes — but for the proletariat all nationalism is a degree of blindness.

As for my letter: if you can write that I say that N.I. is a mormal bourgeois stato, then you should re-read it. Also the letter, rightly or wrongly, discusses at some length the soholastic approach which denies the bourgeois state recognition because it is deformed — you should at 1east take up the argument instead of announcing your disagreement and no more. Busy or not it is impossible to discuss without... disoussion.

What to do about the disagreement? It's too late for the next issue of Irish Militant, so there is time to discuss it. 1) re-read the letter to the editor. 2) reply to thc noints here. If you really take up what the letter said, as opposed to jumping to unwarrented conclusions that I'm saying N.I. is a 'normal bourgeois state', then I think you will find there is no difference (unless of course ysu seriousty want to maintain that N.I. is not bourgeois!)

In that event I will have no objection to amending the letter so as to spell out the 'deformations'. Or we can do as you say and make up an editorial. That would be useful — to try and sum up the experience of the struggle in the past, the evolution going on, the proletarian class struggle as the present basis of the strugle for progress — stresing the international character of this struggle; above all putting the national struggle in perspective as one element, and one that will recede in importance with the evolution of the present bourgeois/imperialist set-up and to the degree that the proletariat steps forward as a class conscious truly independent force.

If you feel there is still disagreement then we can have a discussion —I would sey, at first in a short internal bulletin. In that event, reply letting me know in detail what your position is.



Letter to Sean Matgamna from Gerry Lawless.

Dear Sean,

I'm atraid I must bow the knee. As clarified by your second letter we are in completa agreement. This is genuine. I don't know how I made the mistake but somehow I got the idea that you were claimint that Northern Ireland was a normal bourgeois state. I think you should combine both letters into a draft editorial. Send them down by next Thursday in time for the editorial board meeting and I will present them.

Gerry Lawless.

Partition has dominated Irish politics for decades, disrupting the }abour movement and in Connolly's forecast, making "division (of the workers) more intense and confusion of ideas and parties more confounded."

The cause is clear: a division in the Irish bourgeoisie, originating in economic diffeirence, led to a split which was then manipulated by Briffsh Imperialism, according to its pracffce of divide and rule. The northern secffon, having a measure of political autonomy, kept close links with this Imperialism, the southern secffon being dominated economically according to the logic of moderD imperialism.

In maintaining its closer links with Britain, the northern capitalists were aided by Britisn troops, who also assist in holding sufflcient people to make the state viable. Despite mis, talk of " Briffsb occupied Ireland " obscures the identity of the real Imperialist garrison in Ireland—the northern Ireland bourgeoisie. The elivision prevented the accomplishment of one major task of the traditional bourgeois revoluffon—national unification. Ho,wever, if history and tlhe relationship with Eng}and make the two statelets peculiarly deformcd, they are nevertheless undeniably bwrgeois, as a glanc at the social organisation and relaffons of producffon makes obvious.

Denying this fact, certain people use the incompletencss of capitalist Ireland to, cloak their refusal to strugglc for workers' power. Stalinists of one variety insist that since the capitalists have not yet played out the traditional role, they must still be considered progressive and supported. Others, deploring the present specimen~ of capitalist rulers, sit on the their backsides awaiting the arrival of a better breed of " national bourgeoisie " on the five o'clock train from Peking.

We who fight for the workers' international republic know that the present Irish capitalists are the only ones we~ll get. Calling them traitors is useless: they are not traitors to their class, the only spherc in which real loyalty, as opposed to demagogic talk of " loyalty," counts. But if we also are to'be loyal to our class, we must put partition in its proper perspective, and recognise that it wi11 be ended in one of two ways.

(1) By an upsurge of the workers, the only revolutionary fo,rce in Ireland today. But whien they move decisively, it will be primarily for their own aims; against the bosses, Green an~l Orange, rather than against the border as such, which in 40 and more years has proved incapable of evoking a revolotionary movement strong enough to remove it. National unification will be taken care of in passing, as an incidental to the job of expropriating the capitalists and linking up with the international working class

(2) By an agreement of the northern and southem capitalists with Imperialism. This might be from fear of a proletarian revolution or, if they are given time, the product of the present coming together of the European capitalists, in EEC etc. In either case, those who see onb the border will be disarmed—but those armed with the Bolshevik programme wiU continue to fight.

There was a Marxist axiom that big reforms were usually the product of the bourgeoisie's fear of revolution, and therefore that weak-kneed reformists undermined their own aims. There is an analogy here. The Stalinist believers in the bourgeoisie as the future uniiiers prevent the workers coming forward with their own full programme, and thereby prevent the revolutionary solution of the national question. With the IRA and Sinn Fein, exclusive concentration on one issue has cut them off from the explosive material that could achieve their declared aims the socialist proletariat.

We feel that revolutionary Marxists in Ireland have no option but to attempt the diflicult task of combining the ruthless determinaffon of a Rosa Luxembourg not to be derailed from the socialist revolution by nationalist consideraffons and the sensiffvity of a Lenin to the feelings of a nation on which a sharp consciousness of its own identity has been indelibly printed by centuries of oppression. In preventing the bourgeoisie from exploiffng this ;national consciousness to subordinate the Irish masses to itself, we must counterpoise for Irish workers their heritage as part of a world class, inheriffng the fiFht for global freedom as part of the international working class.

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