|Organisation:||Sinn Féin [Official]|
|Máirín de Burca, Eamonn Smullen|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
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Thanks to PW for forwarding the following document and for what he has written in order to contextualise it… It demonstrates trends that have been pointed out elsewhere as well as the fluidity of the situation at that point in time. In a sense this can be seen as transitional, positioned between OSF and the WP…
This edition of Teoiric is undated but almost certainly the last quarter of 1975. It’s an interesting Journal showing the Official Republican Movement on the cusp of Policy and Organisational changes that would eventually lead to what is now known as the Workers Party.
There are four articles, two by the late Eamonn Smullen, one of which ’ What is the IRSP ’ is underlined as Party policy. An article by Donal O’Neill on education which is also Party policy. Máirín de Burca writes on the history of the Irish Women’s Movement. Smullen contributes a second article on the Irish Economy which is not described as Party Policy.
Given the revelations of disputes in the Movements Leadership in ’ The Lost Revolution ’ recently in which Smullens Industrial Department is reported as ‘Contemptuous towards what it saw as Liberal, middle-class concerns regarding gender ’ the inclusion of de Burcas article could be a case of the editor ‘holding the ring ’ between different factions within the Movement.
Máirín de Burca contributes a fascinating account of the development of the Women’s movement and it’s struggles and of the personalities involved. That most of the policy demands of the Movement were eventually adopted by SFWP alongside the Economic Policy promoted by the Industrial Department this perhaps demonstrates that de Burca’s eventual resignation from the party was a pyrrhic victory for Smullen and his supporters.
Rereading the article ’ What is The IRSP’ more than 30 years on what struck me was the conviction of the Official Republican Leadership that an active counter revolution had been launched by the British and Irish establishments to derail the movements policies.
Most people on the Left are no doubt aware of the allegations that the Provisionals were created by elements close to Fianna Fail as a counter Revolutionary force from the Right. Here Smullen articulates the view that the IRSP was a counter revolutionary force on the far or ultra Left. Given the deaths and woundings in the recent conflict with the IRSP, bitterness might have been expected. Smullens approach though is clinical and focused. Seamus Costello is hardly mentioned. Smullen places the formation of the IRSP and the actions of some of it’s members, the name INLA had yet to be announced in the context of British Military policy.
’ When a Revolutionary Movement is growing in strength there are always serious efforts to disrupt it from the ‘Left’ as well as from the Right. To disrupt serious Revolutionary Movements from the Left is now the admitted strategy of Reaction, this view is expressed by Reactions Military Wing( General Kitsons Writings) who are usually less cautious in their statements than the Right Wing politicians.’
Here Smullen refers to Frank Kitson . Kitson earned his ‘spurs’, if you like, during the Mau Mau Insurgency in Kenya. He was the author of ‘Low Intensity Operations’ which advocated the use of ‘Counter Gangs’ against Insurgents. As the crisis in the North escalated in 1969 Kitson was rapidly promoted first to Colonel then to Brigadier General. Coincidentally you may think, he was given command of 39 Brigade the British Army formation that covered Belfast and much of the North. Needless to say Republicans and people on the Left were concerned that the North was being used as a testbed for these counter-insurgency tactics.
Smullen seems to be implying that the IRSP are in fact a ‘counter gang’, This is interesting as some people who supported the IRSP or the Provisionals still accuse the OIRA/WP of these activities.
Smullen then widens the context of his article in a new direction altogether to include Andre Marty of COMINTERN and International Brigades fame.
’ The French Working Class had a previous experience of this sort. Andre Marty who led the mutiny in the French Black Sea Fleet during the war of intervention against the young Soviet State….Called on the French Communist Party to seize power in 1948, such a policy would, at that time have given the French Establishment the opportunity they so badly wanted to destroy the serious Working Class opposition in France. Andre Marty was later exposed as a Political Police Agent’
So where is the connection and who is Smullen comparing with Marty? Smullen doesn’t say directly.[perhaps indicative of a concern on the part of OSF as to how the situation might pan out subsequently - wbs]
’ At the same time (1969) a serious effort was made by Ultra Left elements to infiltrate our Movement. These Ultra Left people came here from Britain and from the USA. We also had a few who were home-grown. The main efforts to infiltrate….were made in Derry, Donegal and Belfast.’
’ The Donegal effort was made mainly by a Trotskyite from the US, this person organised classes and….Factional activity inside the Movement in Derry….Several years of damaging activity against our movement was organised by a person sent to this country to do this work for the Establishment.’
Smullen is, short of naming the person, making it clear who he means. Then more.
’ Ultra Left Organisations in Britain IS (International Socialists) for example sent and for a time paid agents who came here for the express purpose of interfering in Irish Left Politics. Some of these people are without doubt agents of the British Establishment….These people are journalists by training and occupation…’
Again this comes close to actually naming people.
’ We know and anyone who has seriously examined the evidence knows that after the Ultra Left failure to capture our Movement at the 1973 Ard Feis, a plan to murder the principled Leadership of our Movement began to take shape in Ultra Left circles. The plot originated in the Derry-Donegal area.’
This was particularly interesting. The late Johnie White, one of the people in Derry-Donegal that Smullen is attacking, and who initially for a time was prominent in the IRSP in later years made much the same allegation but claimed the plot originated with the late Captain Kelly some years earlier.
So Stalinist paranoia? True, partly true or a product of its time?
‘Education and the Murder Machine ’ makes a number of interesting points. Internal Party education should of course reflect the kind of society the party wishes to create. A brutal analysis of the current education system designed to service Capitalism follows.
In retrospect the prominence given to internal education here and it’s importance anticipates the Movements transformation into a revolutionary party with a coherent Ideology.
Smullen’s contribution on Economic Policy illustrates the thinking that came to fruition some time later in the ’ Irish Industrial Revolution ‘. The development of Irelands considerable Natural Resources to provide employment is at the centre of the plans.
This has some resonance with the economic crisis in Ireland today: 35 years on. Then as now our natural wealth is given away for virtually nothing to Multi-Nationals while the Gombeen class pick up the crumbs. However it is not just a case of creating employment.
The objective aim here is to create a working class that will in the future create a Socialist Revolution in Ireland.
Finally, this points to the position that British Imperialism has been replaced by Anglo American Imperialism whose prerogatives are completely different. This approach would of course later be criticised as ’ Economist ’ and even a ’ Two Nations ’ theory.