|Contributor:||Seán Garland, Seamus Lynch, Tomás MacGiolla, Proinsias De Rossa|
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This document provides a sense of the image the Workers’ Party sought to project internationally during the 1980s, particularly – but not exclusively – in Europe. It came on foot of significant gains by the Party in the 1987 General Election where it increased its representation to four TDs and a sense that the party was in the process of making even greater gains.
The battle for alternative socialist policies in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland received a major boost in general elections held in both areas this year, with substantial gains being recorded by WP candidates.
It notes the four TDs and that ‘in a number of constituencies the WP increased its vote substantially setting the scene for further gains at the next general election’.
The election results confirmed a further slide in support for the Labour Party and gave a crushing blow to the sectarian murder and terror policies of Provisional Sinn Féin, whose vote slumped by up to 50 per cent in many constituencies ending up with just 1.8% of the national vote. The Communist Party of Ireland ran five candidates winning only 725 votes, .005% of the national vote.
Since the election the WP has established itself as the leading voice on the Irish Left. The party has proposed talks with Labour for co-operation on social and economic issues, but these were not responded to positively.
Following the election WP President Tomás Mac Giolla pointed out the basis has now been set for a clear development of Left-Right politics in Ireland, something which the conservative parties with the collusion of Labour, had striven to avoid in the past.
‘For the WP the task of building a strong and militant Left Alternative in Ireland, in cooperation with other workers’ communist and socialist parties throughout Europe, is a vital task in winning state power for the Irish working class’.
It also discusses ‘Northern Election Gains’, arguing that it ‘significantly boosted its vote in NI… increasing its total to just under 20,000’. This is suggests ‘showed a reduction in support of rate policies of bigotry and abstention, with the votes of both the Unions parties and Provisional Sinn Féin declining considerably’.
Inside it has an article on the murder of WP supporter Thomas Emmanuel Wilson by the Provisional IRA. And in the course of that it argues:
The WP position on terrorism has been absolutely clear for a long time: we call for its elimination. For this is not an isolated incident. No one is safe: these gangsters have bombed cafes, public houses, slaughtered men and women indiscriminately. And we insist that to label people as ‘police agents’ is a gross distortion of reality.
Other articles discuss the ‘SDLP – Washington connection’, and mentions the Irish Republican Club of North America which ‘opposes secret US funding of the SDLP’. They call for ANC recognition as the ‘authentic representative voice of the majority of South Africans’ and there’s a photograph on page four of MacGiolla and Kader Asmal at a rally in Dublin meeting ANC representative Reg September.
It takes Ken Livingstone’s ‘ignorance’ on the North to task on the same page. There’s also news about a 1916 commemoration in Belfast. Another piece by Sean Garland discusses the WP as a vanguard party and there is a long pieces on Nicaragua.
As noted above, the direction of this is explicitly oriented towards an international audience, and in particular one that, for want of a better term, would be part of orthodox communism and those elements on the left that would orient towards that.