1948: Irish Trotskyists call for a united Ireland with autonomy for the Protestant northeast

Submitted by AWL on 25 October, 2014 - 5:37

The leaflet below was produced by the Revolutionary Socialist Party of Ireland in 1948. The RSP was a Trotskyist group, the Irish section of the official Fourth International at the time, formed by a merger of previous small groups in early 1944, and having about 20 members.

The RSP briefly published a weekly newspaper, the Workers’ Republic, but it ran out of money after six issues, and circulated literature from the British and US Trotskyists.

In the arguments among Trotskyists in the 1940s over Stalinism, they sided with Max Shachtman and the Workers’ Party of the USA.

The RSP collapsed in the difficult conditions of the late 1940s, but a former member, Matt Merrigan, was prominent in the Irish labour movement. The “coalition” referred to is the Dublin government formed after the February 1948 election in the 26 Counties, in which the Irish Labour Party joined as junior partners to Fine Gael.

Labour must withdraw from the Coalition!

An Emergency Conference of the branches must be called to repudiate the leaders and demand their withdrawal. If on being directed to withdraw, they refuse — expulsion must follow.

Full support must be given to this policy by Northern Ireland Labour. The workers’ interests can be defend only against all capitalist parties.

An all-Ireland conference should be called, giving representation and voice to all working-class tendencies, for the formulation of a programme linking the fight against partition with the anti-capitalist struggle.

1. Complete political independence from Britain. Transfer of the Westminster powers to a United Dail.

2. A wide degree of Protestant autonomy in Northern Ireland.

3. Restore all civil liberties. Full religious freedom and tolerance. No clerical intrusion into politics!

4. Solidarity with all peoples oppressed by British imperialism, Russia, or any other power. No secret commitments to Anglo-American imperialism.

5. Workers’ Control in industry.

6. Finance housing and full employment at the expense of profits and rents.

• Other documents of the RSP available are a two-part survey of Northern Ireland by Bob Armstrong in the magazine of the British RCP, Workers’ International News, in 1945, and an article on James Connolly from 1947. The “Theses of the Irish Trotskyists” in Fourth International (New York), in the 1940s, were extracted from the WIN articles.

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