Irish Workers' Group 1967-8

Liam Daltun: Stocking up on theory

Submitted by martin on 28 March, 2017 - 9:38 Author: Liam Daltun

Introduction by Sean Matgamna

Another day

The document we reprint here, Liam Daltun's account in a letter to Sean Matgamna of events in the Irish Communist Group, deals with an important episode in the history of the Irish left.

The ICG, set up in 1964, was a foredoomed experiment in building an organisation involving both Trotskyists and Chinese-oriented "revolutionary" Stalinists.

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James Connolly: Home Rule and the Gaelic Revival

Submitted by Matthew on 11 May, 2016 - 3:15 Author: Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

Connolly's period in Dublin coincided with the period of the Gaelic Revival, and the rediscovery (and re-invention) of Ireland's historical, literary and cultural past. It also led to a deepening of Connolly's understanding of Irish history and the Irish national question, establishing some themes which, in various form, would be present throughout his political life.

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“Unite the workers and bury the religious hatreds”

Submitted by Matthew on 4 February, 2016 - 11:24 Author: Michael Johnson

At Workers’ Liberty 2015 summer school, Ideas For Freedom, Michael Johnson summarised on the history of the far left in Northern Ireland. Here we publish his presentation. Marc Mulholland’s speech in the same session was published in Solidarity 386.

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The far left in Northern Ireland

Submitted by Matthew on 2 December, 2015 - 11:31 Author: Marc Mulholland

Marc Mulholland is a historian working at Oxford University, and the author of books including “Northern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction”. He spoke at the Workers’ Liberty 2015 summer school, Ideas For Freedom, on the history of the far left in Northern Ireland.

Trotskyism in the early 1960s in Northern Ireland is interesting and unusual, in that it was most prominent amongst the Protestant working-class.

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The Frank Keane Defence Committee, 1970

Submitted by dalcassian on 27 June, 2014 - 9:18

Introduction: a footnote to Republican-Socialist history.


Submitted by Roe. on Fri, 25/07/2014 - 15:34

The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project published your Frank Keane Defence Committee article on the blog.Have bean gathering interviews from former Saor Eire members and the left Republican's from this period.In addition gathering photographs of events and people like Peter Graham,Liam Daltun and Mairin Keegan.If Sean you could do an interview about this time it would be much appreciated.

Submitted by dalcassian on Fri, 01/08/2014 - 17:53

In reply to by Roe.

O k. You realise that, even though I felt a responsibility to solidarise with them against the state, and had strong personal ties to Peter Graham and Liam Daltun, I was highly critical of what Saor Eire was doing? Looking back, I am not less critical now... Even according to the Guevarist theory to which some in Saor Eire subscribed, urban guerrilla war did not make political sense in a stable bourgeois democracy, such as the 26 counties. That would come out in any interview. But ok, I'll talk to you about it.

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Irish Emigré Trotskyism in the mid-1960s: Notes by a Participant

Submitted by dalcassian on 5 April, 2014 - 4:26

[Workers' Fight and the Trotskyist Tendency of the International Socialists – now the SWP – were forerunners of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty. This is only an outline account, part of a longer article “AWL’s record on Ireland”.]

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Trotskyism or Chameleonism? The Irish Workers Group (1965-68)

Submitted by martin on 1 April, 2012 - 9:30

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?
Organisational politics
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
And exclusiveness
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?
[Notes, 2012]

Click here to download as pdf.
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.

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