|Organisation:||Connolly Youth Movement|
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John O’Neill (of the Irish Socialist Network ) writes about a further addition to the Left Archive. Forward – Is the somewhat erratic publication of the Connolly Youth Movement, youth section of the Communist Party of Ireland. I joined SFWP in 1980. By then the WP and the CPI had ended any joint work or cooperation so as a member of the Irish Democratic Youth Movement (SFWP youth) I had little or no exposure to the CYM.
The CYM had a membership that always appeared to me to be a lot older than IDYM members back then. They always had a significant presence at any demonstration I attended in my youth particularly Anti Apartheid demos or May Day celebrations.
‘Forward’ is pretty well produced for the ‘dark days’ of Getstetner duplicating machines that were the bane of my life, requiring a stencil to be cut on a manual typewriter then placed on the drum of the Gestetner and printed, usually by the turning of a handle, one copy per rotation for one side of the document. A tiresome process not made any easier by the truly noxious smell of the ink it used.
This edition of Forward that I date 1972 by the reference to the national wage agreement being “due to expire in June ’72” (page eight) but it could be from 1971.
The surprising and depressing thing is that the issues for the left contained in Forward remain largely the same today or even worse with the exception of unemployment. NGO’s are still producing reports highlighting the poverty and the Government is still shelving them. The Herald is still sensationalising social problems to sell their rag.
Granted we have moved away from Industrial schools but I read only yesterday in the CPI’s ‘Socialist Voice’ that the late Dermot Kinlen Inspector of Prisons in his Annual Report (2004/05) was damning of our Prison system stating “It was clear that the Minister was merely using St. Patrick’s… as a warehouse for young people who learnt the finer points of criminality in St. Patrick’s which almost certainly guaranteed their progression into the ‘university’ of Mountjoy.” So there’s not much sign of progress or commitment to rehabilitation there after 30 years.
The Crannac Factory takeover similar to the recent book binders occupation in Wicklow and the National Wage Agreements, now called Partnerships, continue to neuter the any radicalism within the Trade Union movement.
‘Forward’ reflects the norms of the time, probably written by party members IMO not very appealing to its target group – young people – but I don’t recall any left wing youth publications that ever were, then or now.