The Socialist Future: Programme of the Socialist Party of Ireland
Organisation: Socialist Party of Ireland [1970]
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

7th April 2014

This is a useful pamphlet from the SPI (not to be confused with the contemporary Socialist Party) from 1974 which in 30 or so pages engages with the programme of the party. It underlines the identification of the SPI with the ‘socialist countries’ and in particular the USSR. It outlines the objectives of the party and offers a programme for a ‘democratic anti-monopoly government’. It restates its position on the ’national question’ and outlines the nature of the ‘socialist revolution’ and ‘socialist democracy’.

It notes in the Introduction that:

Today, fourteen countries have completed he first stage [the overthrow of the rule of the exploiters and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat]… The USSR, which was the first country to embark on the road to socialism, has completed the second stage;the construction of a socialist society] and has entered the stage of building full communism [the classless society of true justice and equality].

It also notes that:

It is the task of Irish workers to establish the new society in our own country. The way to do this is indicated int he programme of the SPI, presented here. Developed by collective thinking, firmly based on Marxism-Leninism, and approved by the national congress of our party, this programme sets out of views on the need for socialism in Ireland and the ways and means of making it a reality.

In an overview of the Irish political left it mentions only the Irish Labour Party, the SDLP and the Communist Party of Ireland, which it notes ‘although called the Communist Party of Ireland, in fact has few if any of the characteristic that have come to be associated with organisations of that name: dependence on the working class, loyalty to the philosophy of scientific socialism, defence of the socialist world, firmness in the face of hostile propaganda and internal discipline and unity of action’.

In relation to the national question it argues that:

The objective result of the existence of Sinn Féin (both varieties) is to frighten away the northern working class from taking part in any political activity other than ‘emending’ what they imagine to be their ‘country’.

It argues that:

There is no doubt that the ultimate settlement of the national question will involve the coming together of the two areas into a single workers’ state, established by agreement by the organised and united working class.

It is, in a sense, unusual in that it offers a fairly clear outline of the sort of society the SPI envisages.

For example in relation to ‘socialist democracy’ it argues:

Depending on the situation existing at the time of the winning of power by the working class, parties representing classes other than the workers might remain in existence for some time. The experience of a number of socialist countries in Europe indicates that other parties – representing, for example, small farmers and handicraftsmen, and possibly parties of the workers which do not subscribe to the Marxist philosophy of the advanced workers’ party – can participate in the construction of socialism, on the understanding that they would not cherish any illusions about restoring capitalism, or having a share in state power equal to or greater than that of the socialist workers.

Learning from the countries of established socialism, the working class will organise an electoral system suited to the new form of society. No parties supporting capitalism, and no candidates advocating a return to capitalism, will be allowed. General election candidates ail be selected by mass meetings of working people, convened by electoral commissions. The electoral commissions in each area will be made up of representatives of the democratic organisations of the people: the workers’ party, trade unions, and cultural, scientific and sporting organisation, and prospective candidates will be nominated by these organisations.

Overall a fascinating document and worthy addition to the Archive.

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Socialist Party of Ireland [1970] in the archive


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