Republican Education: What We Need to Know to Win
Date:1981 c.
Organisation: Sinn Féin
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

5th May 2014

This is an interesting document from Provisional Sinn Féin which notes that:

Education in SF is a key feature of our current strategy. The success of our challenge to establishment power structures depends on our members becoming competent activists moving forward with a clear and up to date analysis of the situation and equipped with all the necessary skills – in organising, leadership and communication – to make things happen in the community.

It continues with an outline of means by which activists can command the rhetorical high ground as a means of extending their influence. And it also gives an insight into the education of new members of SF. For example it notes that:

All new members must complete an introductory course before being admitted to full membership of SF. It is the responsibility of the education officer to provide necessary background on the following:-

  1. Security. Political security – what is it; legal rights and how to deal with harassment by crown forces or gardai; how to behave if arrested.
  2. National Aims of SF.
  3. Social and economic policies of SF.
  4. Structures and organisation of SF.
  5. Constitution and rules.
  6. Brief History of SF.

It notes that in relation to the latter ‘distribute Freedom Struggle leaflet after presentation’ (FS was actually a banned document through the 1970s and onwards. There is a copy waiting to be posted up in the Archive in the future).

It also notes the value of continuing education, ‘[organising] a series of events for our membership (internal SF debates, public lectures, films, videos, speakers, etc) designed to provoke discussion, re-examination and analysis of our situation, and the strategies we’ve developed to deal with it.

And it notes the scope for ‘panel(s) of guest speakers taking a topic, for example, Gerry Adams and Des Wilson on Republcianism and Socialism, or perhaps the SDLLP, SF and the Church and an academic on Crime within the Community, defining issues and working towards solutions.

Tellingly it also suggests that ‘use a bit of imagination in organising such events, don’t think they always have to be overtly sponsored by SF or focus on a republican issue. Your aim should be to crate a public forum where issues vital to republican interests can be raised and the republican viewpoint presented.

It concludes with five points ‘for successful confrontation with your political opponents’.

  1. Know your opponents’ position
  2. Know your opponents’ weakness
  3. Know your own position
  4. Know your own weakness
  5. Muster support

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