Teoiric, No. 10
Organisation: Sinn Féin The Workers' Party
Publication: Teoiric
Issue:Number 10
Autumn 1980
Contributors: Info
Francie Donnelly, Ellen Hazelkorn, Henry Patterson, Joe Sherlock, Eamonn Smullen
Type:Publication Issue
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: Wolfe Tone

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

28th January 2008

Seeing as the last Left Archive piece  has inspired a lively and - I think - illuminating debate about the legacy and policies of OSF/WP it is probably suitable to have a Workers’ Party piece this week. Fear not, there’s a host of other material out there. If you’re concerned that it’s too WP oriented, well, send other material to our email address. But, for the moment we’ll work with what we’ve got.

So, here, in all its glory is Teoiric, the Theoretical and Discussion Journal of SFWP. It’s an interesting document with a broad array of articles framed within the iconic image of the 1980s, the mushroom cloud.

Inside we see an array of familiar names, from the indefatigable Henry Patterson discussing Loyalism with, shall we say, a slightly BICO esque twist to his thoughts, a fascinating article on Terrorism and the Bourgeoisie which has a very telling introduction. Eamonn Smullen is here to discuss “Intellectuals and the Working Class” and we also have an article about the then contemporary issue of Poland.

The dual article on Honouring Wolfe Tone provides an interesting apologia for why SFWP wasn’t promoting a return to Stormont rule… Read it and judge for yourselves.

In a way it’s a tad predictable but it’s literate, well produced and locks straight into a discourse that would be continued in the Workers’ Party days where an alignment with currently existing Marxism was very much the order of the day. And the design is very much of a piece with Making Sense which was to come later.

Mind you, reading Comment at the front of the journal it’s hard not to see a further resonance with today…

1980 has been a great year for war-mongers. Events in Afghanistan and Iran have been exploited to the full by the enemies of detente….

History shifts forward in repetitive movements, doesn’t it? If the resolution is a bit low please tell me.

More from Teoiric

Teoiric in the archive


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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 28 Jan 2008 21:47:43

    Bad typesetting I’d guess…

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  • By: CL Mon, 28 Jan 2008 23:01:05

    My recollection of the IIR is that it condemned the Irish (Catholic) bourgeoisie for its failure to industrialize and welcomed U.S. monopoly capital as it strengthened the Irish working class, praising Whitaker and the effort to attract foreign capital. And all this was argued from a ‘historical materialist scientific socialist’ standpoint. (or maybe one could say that they were premature neolibs?)
    Also I seem to remember that Mick O’Riordan attacked it from an anti-imperialist standpoint.

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  • By: Garibaldy Mon, 28 Jan 2008 23:26:14

    The IIR was a strange document, and as I’ve said before a discussion document and not a policy document. Parts of it were bang on, other parts less so. It seems to me that to argue that the Irish bourgeoisie were happy to chug along with earnings from the professional and rural sectors rather than risk investing in industry was correct. As for the argument that international capital might have an OBJECTIVELY progressive role to play in hastening the creation of a stronger industrial proletariat, it makes sense but didn’t necessarily work out that way. And not just in Ireland. Although the argument does remind me of Kruschev’s famous remark that he had worked for (and this will be an inexact quote) Belgian, British Frech and Russian capitalists, and understood capitalism quite well. The Russian proletariat was to a large extent in foreign owned businesses, so there was something of a precedent.

    As for O’Riordan, a lot of that was genuine opposition. But some of it was annoyance at being usurped in the eyes of the USSR et al, and possibly a reflection of tensions within his own party, which was coming to the end of a fairly close working relationship with SFWP on some issues and beginning to shift towards trying to ride on the coatails of nationalism instead, especially in the south.

    On the punctuation point. In the north, it was Republican Clubs/The Workers’ Party. I also visualised it as having a colon rather than a slash.

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  • By: Pete Tue, 29 Jan 2008 00:18:12

    Copies of the IIR are still available from WP Hill Street – call in for one, ring before hand would be best. Intrest doc but bares many hall marks of the heap of shite that wrote a large part of it.

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  • By: CL Tue, 29 Jan 2008 11:28:46

    IIR seems akin BICO’s Bill Warren’s notion of imperialism as a progressive force. Much like Hitchen’s and the neo-cons on Iraq.

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  • By: Justin Tue, 29 Jan 2008 13:39:49

    The editor of this issue of Teoric was Des O’Hagan. He recently gave a speech on Republicanism and it’s online at http://workerspartyireland.net/id117.html

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  • By: Redking Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:55:48

    Thanks for the link, Justin-good speech by Dessie on the nature of republicanism and struggle. Relevant to discussions on a lot of recent threads here.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 29 Jan 2008 20:16:13

    Yeah, great link. And as Redking notes, very relevant…

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  • By: Justin Wed, 30 Jan 2008 08:39:08

    While we’re on the subject of theoretical journals, Cedar Lounge Revolutionaries might be interested to know that the entire back catalogue of Marxism Today, journal of the Euro wing of the then CPGB, is online at http://www.amielandmelburn.org.uk/collections/mt/index_frame.htm

    In introducing the archive, Matin Jacques, former MT editor, modestly asserts that, “it is no exaggeration to say that Marxism Today was easily the most influential political magazine in Britain between 1978 and 1991. Its influence had many aspects. Not least was the element of surprise. People expected a magazine of this title to be leaden, boring and predictable. It most certainly was not.”

    Sorry, Martin, but for this reader it most certainly was. Living Marxism, mostly juvenile, always contrarian and eventually libertarian bonkers (aka Spiked), was always more crack than the staid, pre-bliarite MT. Anyway, there it is online in all its glory.

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  • By: John O'Neill Wed, 30 Jan 2008 11:43:50

    The IIR has been referred to by a number of posters here as a “Discussion Document”. I my fair few years in the WP I never recall it being discussed despite a second edition being published. I don’t recall any alternative policy document to the IIR either!

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:03:42

    I saw it in passing, but I had to ask. It was never part of the general currency of the party…although I once heard Pat McCartan make favourable reference to it at a public meeting…

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  • By: CL Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:25:53

    So what was the WP position on Irish economic development?

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  • By: Garibaldy Wed, 30 Jan 2008 21:21:37

    There were a number of more specific propoals published, about the farming industry, banks etc. But generally, and unsurprisingly, increased state involvement and investment.

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  • By: Joe Thu, 31 Jan 2008 09:59:31

    But WP was also very definitely pro-multinational – certainly in my time in it, late 80s. I recall a very embarrassing incident at an Ard Fheis when some off-message branch proposed a motion that the Party should oppose multi-nationals coming in. It actually was passed on the nod by a sleeping conference before someone spotted it, standing orders had to be suspended, De Rossa got up and opposed it and the sleeping conference unanimously supported him.
    Embarrassing not least cos I’d invited an ex-Mili acquaintance along in the hope that he might join. He saw the Party in action in all its glory and didn’t!

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  • By: CL Thu, 31 Jan 2008 17:03:00

    Maybe De Rossa was somewhat prescient. In all the brouhaha about Ireland’s connection to England, and about the importance of the EU, one fact is overlooked: economically Ireland is more connected to the U.S. than to either of the other two. Perhaps its time to develop some formal political links to the U.S?.


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  • By: WorldbyStorm Thu, 31 Jan 2008 18:08:21

    That’s true Joe, do you recall what Ard Fheis it was?

    CL… hmmm… I bow to no-one in my affection for the US, but… formal political links? What sort and why?

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  • By: CL Thu, 31 Jan 2008 21:04:44

    Ireland as the 51st state. The partition question solved. No longer any state support for religious schools, the beginning of the end for sectarianism, the benefits of the Bill of Rights-not least the right to privacy and a woman’s control of her own body, These are just immediate thoughts, plus two senators from the united State of Ireland perhaps holding the balance of power in the U.S Senate-the most powerful legislative body in the world. Not to make a vulgar ‘base/superstructure type of argument, but as Ireland is more economically tied to the U.S than to either Britain or the EU why not have the benefits of political ties also? (I make these suggestions partially tongue-in-cheek)
    Further question: Did the WP also have a periodical called ‘Eolas’? or was that some other group?

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  • By: Joe Fri, 01 Feb 2008 09:52:06

    CL, I don’t remember any periodical called Eolas.
    WBS, I’d say that was the 1988 Ard Fheis give or take a year!

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  • By: John O'Neill Fri, 01 Feb 2008 11:14:43

    Joe I am almost sure that ‘Eolas’ was an “International Affairs Dept” publication edited by Sean O’Cionnaith. It was an annual publication that was sent out around the world but I don’t think it was circulated to the membership bar a few put into the WP Bookshop.

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  • By: CL Fri, 01 Feb 2008 14:57:39

    Thanks John. I thought i did remember it.

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