|Organisation:||Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist)|
|Issue:||Volume 6, Nos. 3-4|
|Collection:||The Hunger Strikes|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
|Subjects:||Hunger Strikes, 1981|
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Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of ‘History Ireland’ , for this donation.
This addition to the Archive actually comprises of two documents. The first is a neatly presented and reworked Red Patriot which was restarted after an hiatus of two years or so as the Organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist). The second is a lengthy Communiqué of the Central Committee of the CPI (M-L) on the Occasion of the Party’s 12 Anniversary.
Both provide useful insights into the nature of the CPI (M-L) at this point in time, a period where it had shifted from support for Mao Zedong Thought, which had characterised its position during the 1970s, to support for the Party of Labour of Albania.
Red Patriot contains a varied selection of articles, leading with commemorations of the H-Block hunger strikes, one year on from the deaths of the hunger strikers. The article notes that “No one who fights for Irish freedom can be called a criminal!” and that:
…the immediate cause for which Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty and Thomas McElwee and the other martyrs fought - the prisoners five demands - have still not been fully achieved; the patriotic prisoners of the H-Blocks, as well as Armagh, Crumlin Road, and not forgetting the Irish prisoners subjected to inhuman conditions in jails in Britain : - all these are still fighting in various ways for the recognition of their rights to be treated as political prisoner, out of their just refusal to be treated as criminals.
This strong identification with national struggle continues throughout. A short ‘Report: Recent H-Block Commemoration’ notes:
… The events of this commemoration serve to illustrate the role of the Irish bourgeoisie and the Free State apparatus, gardai etc., as national traitors and native sell-outs to British imperialism.
The Editorial is written beside the slogans ‘Bolshevise the Party! Disseminate the Marxist-Leninist Line! Prepare the Conditions for Revolution!’
It notes the publication of the Communiqué and continues:
The restatement of CPI(ML)’s Marxist Leninist political line and the thorough repudiation and public condemnation of the revisionists, who came up internally to try to destroy our Party over the last three years or so, open up great prospects for CPI (ML) to advance its work and influence over the next period.
It also argues that:
The existence of the genuine Communist Party of the working class, based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, is the most crucial subjective factor in developing the conditions for revolution, when it comes, is carried through to a successful conclusion…
Other pieces deal with the struggle in Palestine, health workers in Northern Ireland ‘alongside their class brothers and sister in Britain’ and information on the Second International Sports and Cultural Festival Britain 1982. Included on the list of events are performances of Cornelius Cardew’s Instrumental Compositions and a Memorial Competition for Musical Composition. There is a page devoted to the Centenary of the birth of Georgi Dimitrov. Also included are a number of Albanian centred reports.
This latter feature is part of the shift in the ideological positioning of the CPI(M-L) where, as noted in the Communiqué:
The work of the Party was a great achievement, made in the teeth of complex and adverse conditions — attacks by British imperialism and the Irish bourgeoisie and their state powers, as well as from the social-democrats and the revisionists, not least from Chinese revisionism. It was this last achievement which stood the Party in great stead and ensured that CPI(M-L) has been able to overcome both the adverse effects of Maoism and the concerted attempts by revisionist cliques amongst the former leaders of the CPI(M-L) to subvert and liquidate our Party over the last three years or so, and turn CPI(M-L) into yet another revisionist Party, to wipe out once again the essential Marxist-Leninist headquarters of the Irish working class.
It mentions the repudiation of “Mao Zedong Thought” which it traces back to the historic Report of the Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Albania of Comrade Enver Hoxha to the Seventh Congress of the PLA, in November 1976. It notes that
…our party militantly denounced the Chinese revisionists as a new aggressive social-imperialist power, when China launched its perfidious and hostile attack on the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania and the PLA, by cutting off all internationalist aide and all trade with socialist Albania in July 1978. Our Party denounced the origins of Chinese revisionism in the anti-Marxist theory of “Mao Zedong Thought” in September 1979.
It also refers to internal struggles where ‘former leading cadres of our Party… Formed revisionist factions which both colluded and contended with one another, and which attempted to use the opportunity of the repudiation of ‘Mao Zedong Thought’ as a Trojan horse to smuggle revisionism into the heart of the Party, so as to eliminate everything revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist which had been established in CPI(M-L) since its foundation, on the hoax that this was ‘carrying through the repudiation of Maoism and its effects on CPI(M-L).’ And…
In this struggle, the Central Committee has had the particular, important assistance of our fraternal parties, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), as well as the profound inspiration of the growing strength and unity of the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement and the heroic example of the struggle of the Party of Labour of Albania, headed by Comrade Enver Hoxha, against revisionism — against the Titoites, Kruschevites, Maoists, Eurocommunists etc. Which were brilliantly summed up in Comrade Enver Hoxha’s Books — ‘Imperialism and the Revolution’, ‘Reflections on China’, ‘The Kruschevites’ etc.
The account of the struggles within the CPI(M-L) references the British and Irish Communist Organisation, the Socialist Party of Ireland and others. There is particularly interesting reference to:
The promotion of revisionist lines to conciliate and collaborate with the revisionists, social-democrats and opportunists, and in general, with the labour aristocracy controlling the trade unions, under the hoax that this was ‘repudiating the main error of CPI(M-L)’s past under the Maoist influence, ‘left sectarianism’ which became a trend in articles on the workers’ struggles in ‘Red Patriot’ during 1979, in particular for a short time support for the slogan of the labour aristocracy in the campaign against the burden of PAYE income tax, ‘Tax the Greedy, not the Needy’ which had been developed by the revisionist so-called ‘Sinn Féin the Workers’ Party’.
It would be useful to see copies of Red Patriot from that period. Obviously at this remove it is difficult to assess the accuracy of the charges, but what is striking is how the influence of those other formations, and perhaps as importantly the concepts they promoted, impinged, even rhetorically, on the CPI(M-L). This is not to overstate that dynamic or that influence, but simply to note that on the further left it existed to some limited extent both as a pole of attraction and repulsion.
Also outlined are the ‘Basic Principles and Programme of the CPI(M-L).
All in all a useful addition to the Archive which clarifies the self-perception of CPI(M-L) as it entered the 1980s.