Patterns of Betrayal: the flight from Socialism
Organisation: The Workers' Party
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

9th November 2009

This document is essentially self-explanatory, being a retrospective analysis of the split in the Workers’ Party that led to the formation of Democratic Left. I’ve always thought it was quite admirable of them to incorporate statements by those who took the opposite side, but one might wonder as to the function of the pamphlet since it was unlikely to sway the dissenters back to the WP. That, though, clearly reflects the depth of bitterness and to an extent genuine incomprehension at the manner in which the party split.

Interesting to hear people’s thoughts on it.

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  • By: Ramzi Nohra Mon, 09 Nov 2009 16:57:02

    Actually I’ve figured it out now, you click on the name underneath the document. I have to say the main predictions of the Garland camp ring true (ie the “liquidators” will merge with the labour party).

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  • By: Ramzi Nohra Mon, 09 Nov 2009 17:00:37

    In reply to No.11.

    thanks No 11

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  • By: Mark P Mon, 09 Nov 2009 17:28:55

    In reply to Ramzi Nohra.

    As has been said before, the tragedy is that both sides were broadly correct about the other.

    The fact that all three of the central predictions made about the New Agenda crowd have come true did make me laugh when reading them I have to admit. They did indeed become social democrats (and then not even that). They did indeed drop their Northern organisation. And they did indeed merge with Labour.

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  • By: Sticky Wicket Mon, 09 Nov 2009 18:19:34

    Seeing as these De Rossa et al set about destroying something Goulding had devouted so much of his life to creating, you can imagine the ill feeling towards DL memebers particularly leading members who turned up at Cathal’s funeral.

    I was there that day and seen people telling De Rossa to leave, I thought it was proper order.

    Only ever met Cathal a few times and the last was in Prosperous after Bodenstown one yr, he did not refer to those who formed DL in glowing terms. Those who knew him best knew his attitude towards ‘the liquidators’ and they were the people who were burying him.

    If you want to welcomed at a funeral don’t go about destroying the person that died life’s work or repudiating everything they stood for as per the document posted.

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  • By: Mark P Mon, 09 Nov 2009 18:53:30

    Funerals of political figures can be a tricky business, particularly after a split.

    People who have had a parting of the ways politically may still want to show their respects, but people who stayed on the side of the deceased are likely to resent it. This issue came up in my own political tradition a few years ago when Ted Grant died.

    I see, by the way, that Kieran Allen included some, well, rather factionally charged remarks in his obituary for Chris Harman, the British SWP leader who died last week.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 09 Nov 2009 19:59:41

    I think you’re right Mark P. Tricky is the word that came to my mind. On the one hand there is the issue of respects, but the obverse is as you say that those who stayed will feel profoundly resentful. I think a cold shoulder is the best way in such cases rather than abuse. But really, what did De Rossa expect? The WP had split horribly and then to go to the funeral of someone who had stayed on board… nah… best to keep the head down. After all the rawness of emotion at any funeral is bad enough, and btw I was at Anne McGrath’s today…very sad. Really very sad. A good turn out from the left.

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  • By: Drithleóg Mon, 09 Nov 2009 20:01:37

    Goulding’s wasn’t the first funeral De Rossa was told to leave. He turned up at the funeral of Peter Kane, National Organiser of the WP in Castledermot, Co. Kildare in October 1992 and presented a wreath which was rejected, not by the WP, but by the family. You’d think he’d have learned something from that.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 09 Nov 2009 20:15:42

    Again, I can understand the impulse to reach out but that really only makes sense if you haven’t left the people already… or at least until sufficient time has passed until anger has subsided.

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  • By: Don Draper Mon, 09 Nov 2009 20:30:46

    Does it not say something about Frank and his history that he went to both Kane and Goulding’s funerals? Do you think Rabbitte or Gilmore bothered, or even thought about it?
    By the way the father of a very well known Official IRA hero died earlier this year and at his funeral in Belfast there were ORM, WP, IRSP and Provos (and ex-Provos) and they managed to be civil to each other. It costs nothing to be polite you know.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 09 Nov 2009 21:33:48

    In reply to Don Draper.

    Again, I don’t dispute the impulse on de Rossa’s part, and I couldn’t agree more about politeness, indeed the CLR tries to be a zone where people can interact from those different groups and more on a basis of respect and courtesy, but I think that one cannot ignore the depth of bitterness. There are contexts where for one reason and another it requires superhuman reserves to manager to transcend that. Look I went with DL myself for a while, but I know people from WP and from that time and the depth of hurt and anger and bitterness – and in some respects rightly so – was profound.

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Tue, 10 Nov 2009 09:06:46

    I would guess that then the WP did not ask De Rossa to oppose the extradition of Sean Garland? Or is this too consistent. The choice is either reaching out to others or being a bitter sectarian, like I suppose O’Hagan.

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  • By: Sidders Tue, 10 Nov 2009 09:42:34

    De Rossa is on record opposing the US harrasment of Garland as are numerous other former DL members

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Tue, 10 Nov 2009 12:19:44

    My point is that to treat De Rossa with blatant personal hostility and then go to him for support was not wise at least in retrospect. Politically I have no time for either him or Garland.It actually says something for De Rossa that he did not keep a grudge.

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  • By: Sticky Wicket Tue, 10 Nov 2009 13:25:35

    It is my understanding that De Rossa had attempted to go into the chapel which is tiny and the seats inside were at a premium. This sparked the confrontation and as stated maybe if he had kept his head down and out of the way nothing would of come of it.

    But like Peter Kane’s funeral he couldn’t bring himself to keeping a low profile.

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Tue, 10 Nov 2009 15:16:13

    “and as stated maybe if he had kept his head down and out of the way nothing would of come of it.”
    I would call this unwitting testimony.

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  • By: Maddog Wilson Tue, 10 Nov 2009 18:02:07

    The ‘ Irish News’ report of the funeral stated that a member of Billy Mcmillans family told De Rossa to leave. Which is fair enough. Eamon McCann wrote the ‘ Guardian’ obituary for Cathal Goulding the day after his death. He took the bull by the horns and talked of Gouldings lifes work being wrecked by a group of people who (At the time of the split) were heading for Coalition with the ‘ Button Down Blueshirts’ of Fine Gael which was true, I cant see how the subject could have been avoided. McCann is not a supporter of the WP and with some skill IMO managed to let the reader know this while expressing personal warmth towards Cathal Goulding. He hit the nail on the head.

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  • By: Starkadder Tue, 10 Nov 2009 19:57:18

    In reply to Don Draper.

    Yeah. Hanley and Millar mentioned people getting
    obituaries in “An Phoblacht” without ever getting
    mentioned that they used to be Officials…perhaps that
    will change now.

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  • By: Ceannaire Sun, 02 Feb 2014 18:21:54

    In reply to Jim Monaghan.

    In fairness he would have had less of a grudge as it wasn’t he who was left with a ruined rump party.

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