|Organisation:||Labour Party Young Socialists|
|Collection:||The British Left on Ireland|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
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The Labour Party Young Socialists were, as noted here,
The Labour Party Young Socialists (LPYS) was the name of the youth section of the British Labour Party from 1965 until 1993. The LPYS was the most successful of the youth sections of the Labour Party in the post war period, at one point having nearly 600 branches and attendances at its national conference of nearly 2000 in the mid-1980s, publishing a monthly newspaper Socialist Youth, during which time it was under the leadership of the Militant tendency.
This twelve page document was as noted on the front cover:
Prepared by the National Committee of the Labour Party Young Socialists, without consultation with the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. It was adopted at a meeting of the National Committee of the Labour Party Young Socialists on the 19th of December, 1970, for presentation to the Young Socialists National Conference to be held in Skegness, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10th, 11th and 12th April, 1971.
This document is intended to provide a basis for discussion and is not a statement of Labour Party policy.
In the introduction it argues:
The events in Northern Ireland of the past two years have rudely forced the Tories skeleton from its cupboard. Quite rightly described as the ‘worst political slum in Europe’ the state of NI has been ruled for 50 years by a regime based on gerrymandered election, deliberately fostered religious sectarian hatreds with all the consequent discrimination and brutal terror. Even now, after mass uprisings in Derry and parts of Belfast, many elementary democratic rights are still denied. For example: one man – one vote is not universal and multiple property votes still exist.
It notes the ‘mass uprising of the Catholic population of Derry in 1969’ and how ‘the mass movements which have developed in recent years are not only the result of sectarian violence and oppressions… throughout the show of Ireland, the economic and social changes of the past twenty years have brought about an entirely new situation whereby the new generations are not prepared to be trampled on in the same old way.’
And it argues that, having noted increased rates of strikes in the South and the fracturing the unionist political structures:
The possibilities which now exist for the working class movement in Ireland both North and South developing along class lines, with socialist ideas to break the old sectarian divisions, are great. The opportunities for the socialist movement, and in particular among the youth, are tremendous.
There are various sections which cover the broad history, examine Partition, The State of Northern Ireland, Changed Situation, Civil Rights and so on. It claims that ‘in parts of East Belfast, joint Catholic and Protestant street committees were set up to protect the area from hooligan attacks and to maintain the peace, with the working class residents organising patrols’.
That said mention of paramilitaries is surprisingly scant:
Those advocating the purely military road, without the involvement of the mass of the workers are trying to substitute themselves for the forces of the workers as a whole moving towards the socialists transformation of society.
On the other hand, the motives of the leadership of the right wing of the republican movement are not so honest. The ‘Provisionals’ who split away from the mainstream because of the newly-developed ‘socialist’ leanings of the Sinn Fein, quite clearly aim to ‘solve’ the situation by proving so much chaos that either the Irish army or the United Nationals will be forced to intervene and ‘unite’ the country. Many of the recent sectarian attacks on protestant working class areas can be laid at their door.