|Irish Revolutionary Forces
|An Phoblacht [IRF]
|Volume 1, Number 8
|Comments on this document
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Please note: This document was added to the archive together with An Phoblacht, Vol. 1: No. 7. The commentary refers to both.
Many thanks to Jim Lane for donating two more issues of An Phoblacht – The Republic from Irish Revolutionary Forces. It is intended to have a complete set of this important document in the Archive. It is also important to note how useful this document is in tracing – from a critical perspective, changing attitudes within Republicanism and Sinn Féin and the IRA of the period.
As always it is probably most useful to quote briefly from both editions.
The Editorial in number 7, from September argues that:
It is paradoxical that Ireland should stand without the services of a virile revolutionary movement at that time when her traditional enemy is dropping on its knees. For years Republicans have beaten their heads against barriers of steel in attempts to break loose from the despoiling grip of British imperialism. Now when that barrier is rent with decay, we stand like gaping fools, devoid apparently, of the energy or the common sense to break forth and smash the rust-eaten shackles of thraldom from our wrists.
…Irish Republicans huddle to debate this or that aspect of the colonial system in Ireland, and how best to alleviate its more adverse effects. This is no time to confuse cause and effect. This is not the time to waste energy trying to REFORM or patch up the system that has been the bane of our people. REFORM BE DAMNED! What Ireland needs is Revolution.
And it continues:
In the past the labourer, the mechanic, the farmer or his sons, the intellectual, the dockworker, the shop assistant, the engineer, all went forth to fight the cause of the middle class under the banner of so-called classless nationalism. ‘Let us not disrupt the unity of the national effort by talking about class interest or class conflict,’ was the great cry of the Irish bourgeoisie. Yes, and you can still hear their lackeys in the Republican Movement rant the same garbage. Well, we are all for UNITY. But this time let it be a unity of all the workers.
Other articles include ‘An Answer to Critics’ by Eoin MacDonaill which rebuffs assertions that An Phoblacht is ‘trying to destroy the IRA’. There’s a piece on Irish Politics and the British Crisis and a glowing review of the Bodenstown Oration given by Seamus Costello that year. There’s also a scathing analysis of the Irish Democrat (of the Connolly Association, which AP suggests is a ‘pseudo-Irish section of the British Communist Party’.
Issue Number 8 from November-December 1966, has a range of articles that include reasonably warm words about Cathal Goulding’s speech at the Sean Treacy Commemoration – however the assertion by Tony Meade that ‘there is however a new element in the willingness to use force; namely that this force will be defensive’ is strongly criticised. In tandem with this is a piece by Paddy Mac arguing that Irish Republicanism Needs Its Armed Men. There’s some fascinating content to this, for example the following which in the context of proposals for the formation of IRA ‘special groups’ and the idea of a ‘dual government’ which would ‘eventually [come] into head-on conflict [with the state]:
For my part, I view any proposal to limit or restrict the future size of the IRA, as a positive step to place that organisation in a completely subordinate position to political horse-traders at best; at worst, I think it is a step to do away with the Army altogether. An IRA composed of a few ‘specialist’ groups is an IRA easily dictated to, and readily shoved around. Regardless of whether or not the majority of the IRA men agree with our political position, the maintenance of, and a primary reliance on, a Republican Army is, to us, fundamental to the success of a liberation struggle which must be fought in the future.
There’s another piece on ‘the yahoos and political con-men, who are making so bold a bid to drag organised Republicanism into the social-democratic orbit’. Finally an article examines the concept of ‘Freedom’
A quote from the editorial will suffice:
To graft revolutionary political labour to the traditional revolutionary militarism of our people, as the woodwork combined with the mechanism and the barrel to make the effective rifle, that is our aim.
Thanks to Jim for the following table of Contents of the two documents.
No.7 An Phoblacht September 1966
- Editorial p. 2
- An Answer to Critics p. 4
- Irish politics and the British Crisis p. 6
- Bodenstown Oration p. 10
- The Neo-Parnellites – “Irish Democrat” Flies True Colours p. 11
No.8 An Phoblacht Nov. / Dec. 1966
- Editorial p. 2
- A good Speech! But: – p. 4
- Irish Republicanism Needs its Armed Men p. 5
- The Yahoos and An Phoblacht p. 7
- Freedom! What Does it Mean? p. 8