Marxist-Leninist Journal, December 1988
Organisation: Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist)
Publication: Marxist-Leninist Journal
Issue:December 1988
Type:Publication Issue
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1985

Please note:  The Irish Left Archive is provided as a non-commercial historical resource, open to all, and has reproduced this document as an accessible digital reference. Copyright remains with its original authors. If used on other sites, we would appreciate a link back and reference to The Irish Left Archive, in addition to the original creators. For re-publication, commercial, or other uses, please contact the original owners. If documents provided to The Irish Left Archive have been created for or added to other online archives, please inform us so sources can be credited.

Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

18th April 2011

Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland , for making this document available to the Archive. This document, issued by the Central Committee of the CPI (M-L)  in December 1988 is a good overview of where that party stood in the late 1980s.

It has a range of articles, from a consideration of the Anglo-Irish Agreement three years on, an analysis of Perestroika, subheaded ‘a programme and strategy for strengthening Soviet social-imperialism and a piece on Socialist Albania entitled ‘Socialism the most advanced social order’.

The introduction is clear that the publication is intended ‘to explain its political line and its analysis of national and world issues in greater detail’.

At this stage the working class and revolutionary movement in Ireland need not only the frequency of at least a weekly paper covering current events, but also more substantial treatment of the critical questions facing the movement and the people in Ireland and the world today. This is the task which the Marxist-Leninist Journal is to undertake.

It continues:

Finally, the Marxist Leninist Journal is a fighting and partisan weapon of the working class and the Irish people, not a liberal forum for debate. This does not mean wwe are not concerned with the truth or refuse to discuss issues seriously. Quite the opposite, we are concerned with the truth, but we know that the truth lies stands on the side of progress and the force of progress lies precisely with the working class, with the cause of the people.

One feature of the document, typical of many CPI (M-L) publications is the lack of reference to any party members by name. For example, in the course of a four page article on the party’s activities in 1988 - entitled ‘1988 - A Year of Advance For the Party of the Irish Working Class’ there is no mention of a single party member. This leads to a degree of detachment, even anonymity, to the text.

Consider the following:

Thus it was with the lessons of 1968 in mind that the CPI(M-L) framed its programmes of activities this year, with the priorities amongst the Party’s all-sided work being devoted to mobilising the generation of today, the youth of today who are the children of those who were the youth of the 1960s. The Party has worked to support with every means possible the task which ‘Voice of the Youth’, the Prepatory Committee, had undertaken at their Conference of December, 1987, to found the Communist Youth Union of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) in December, 1988.

This sense of anonymity is added to by the photographs in the advertisement for the party bookshop, Progressive Books on Essex Quay on the back page, which depict members of the party with their faces scratched out.

On a slight tangent the Archive would be very interested in any Red Patriots from 1978 to 1979. If anyone has copies of same and is willing to allow us to digitize them that would be very welcome. Please contact worldbystorm at the usual email address on the right hand column.

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  • By: Gerry Barnes Mon, 18 Apr 2011 07:20:11

    “We are concerned with truth” they editorialised. Pity they weren’t concerned with reality. The working class they purported to lead, represent and struggle for needs realists, not cranky ideologists who get their ideas from theoretical books.

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  • By: Stalin: The natural heir to Marx « rightwingcommunist Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:30:03

    […] mere idealism, and removes the tyranny of the enemy. So when the topic of the day is Libya, AV, or Marxist-Leninism and the Irish question, we cannot forget the original question, and its answer: do we need a state today? Yes.   […]

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  • By: Budapestkick Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:57:55

    I’d be curious to know how big the organisation was at this time and whether it was largely the same people in it that were around in the early 70s at the height of their notoriety.

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  • By: PJ CALLAN Tue, 19 Apr 2011 02:58:20

    Thanks again to Tommy for this one. I somehow missed getting a copy of this back in the day.

    The CPI(ML) was on the correct side of the Sino-Soviet split though I think the ‘soviet social imperialism’ argument was drawing a long bow. Hoxha took up some ultra-leftist positions from after the 1968 revolt in Prague. Mao and Hoxha were correct re: Khruschev’s revisionism and Hungary in ’56 but got it completely wrong by ’68. Neil Goold who at at early stage understood where Khruschev was heading made the mistake of condemning Hungary in ’56 in terms that were quasi-trotskyite.

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  • By: PJ CALLAN Tue, 19 Apr 2011 03:22:06

    The books advertised in the journal can be got as .pdf files for your Kindle / eBook reader at the Russian site –

    and further at –

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  • By: Gerry Barnes Tue, 19 Apr 2011 05:31:00

    Hoxha’s Albania was a crazy place. I listened a few times on shortwave radio to its robotic denunciations of all the revisionists. Eventually Albania denounced China and wallowed in its splendid orthodox isolation.

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  • By: PJ CALLAN Tue, 19 Apr 2011 05:42:39


    8000 Albanian Girls Work as Prostitutes in Italy

    ‘Save the Children’ reports that at least 60% of Albanians trafficked for prostitution are children. More than half are tricked into prostitution, while more than a third are abducted. Up to 90% of girls over the age of 14 no longer attend school in some rural areas due to fear of being trafficked.

    The BBC’s Brian Barron reported that One of Italy’s top anti-Mafia magistrates says Albanian gangsters are taking control of organised crime on both sides of the Adriatic.

    The most lucrative commodities are illegal immigrants.

    Everything passes via the Albanians. The road for drugs and arms and people…is in Albanian hands – Cataldo Motta, Italian anti-mafia prosecutor.

    Crazy enough for you?


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  • By: PJ CALLAN Tue, 19 Apr 2011 05:50:52

    Re: the Sino Albanian split – Albania didnt ‘denounce’ the PRC, it published a veiled criticism of the basic policy orientation of China – especially the so-called ‘Three World Theory’ developed by Mao Tse Tung in a 1977 article called – ‘The Theory and Practice of Revolution’

    A summary of the article is here –

    The Albanians were right on this one.

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  • By: Earl Williams Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:08:06

    The governing party in Ethiopia, the Ethopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, a coalition of regional parties, is dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. The TPLF is, apparently, still controlled by an inner party, the Marxist Leninist League of Tigray, which was staunchly Hoxhaist up until 1991.

    No particular reason for posting this, just to say that they haven’t gone away you know. . . and that the human rights situation in Ethiopia is pretty much what you’d expect in a Hoxhaist dominated polity.

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  • By: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung Tue, 19 Apr 2011 08:40:55

    […] * Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI(ML): Marxist-Leninist Journal – Organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxi… […]

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  • By: Gerry Barnes Wed, 20 Apr 2011 04:51:38

    The craziness of Albania today – drug- and woman-trafficking and all – is not a ‘result’ of the collapse of Hoxha’s crazy regime. The rampant poverty in contemporary Albania is a continuation of the poverty that Hoxha reigned over. This time it is mafia-style gangsters who run the show. Then it was crazy ideologues who ruled the roost and isolated Albania from the real world.

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  • By: PJ Callan Thu, 21 Apr 2011 11:49:34

    Even people hostile to communism recognise that the situation in Albania is much worse now that under socialism.

    The position of women and cultural minorities within a society is a measure of it’s success or failure.

    Take one article among many – ‘Albanian Women after Socialism and the Balkan War’ by the anti-communist author Marina Calloni who talks about the “communist dictatorship” of Enver Hoxha’s time but goes on to say –

    “Women are
    becoming more and more excluded from the labour market because of both economic and
    cultural reasons, ranging from the increasing unemployment to the rebirth of traditional
    patriarchal mentality”

    “Yet, beside the appearances of a “macho” power, where men control economic and
    political sectors and decision-making roles, post-communist masculinity is in a state of crisis.
    Men are disoriented and the answer to their work frustrations and post-war traumas is often
    domestic violence (Calloni, 2000 a), self-destruction through alcohol, illegal business and trafficking in human beings.”

    “Among these, Albania scores one of the lowest places in the classification due to its
    socio-economic conditions. Part of this is also due to the fact that Albania, governed by Enver
    Hoxa until his death in 1985, has long been a very isolated and poor country. Here, people did
    not have the possibility to move, as the citizens of other socialist republics did, within the
    borders of the allied socialist countries. Albania was the most segregated and “archaic”
    communist country. Under communism Albania remained thus a strong patriarchal society in
    the private sphere as well as in the political hierarchy (Becker, 1983).”

    “During communism there was an attempt at the modernisation of Albanian society and
    of women’s conditions. It initiated with the dictatorship of Enver Hoxa, who introduced legal
    equality for women and the formal possibility to become active in all sectors of work and
    society. This simply meant that, even though during Communism women were induced to
    participate in public life, nevertheless strong traditional impositions regulated daily life.
    Communism helped women in terms of economic occupation and political representation, but
    not in terms of symmetrical gender relations.
    This aspect became very evident shortly after the fall of communism, when women lost
    formal protections and new laws were not yet promoted by a democratic parliament. This split
    between norms and reality still exists, beside the approval of a democratic constitution in 1998
    and the ratification of international norms, like the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms
    of Discrimination against Women. Women’s human rights are not jet fully respected
    (Corbanese, 2000) and in many cases the feudal law of the Kanun (Donert 1999) is still
    practised mainly in Northern Albania.”

    Quoting a UNDP report the author writes –

    ““One of the main gender concerns in Albania today seems to be the missing link
    between de jure and de facto equality with regards to access to employment, business and
    credit institutions, health and social services. Albanian law prohibits gender discrimination and
    job segregation in public and private employment, but despite this prohibition and despite the
    high level of women education, also in traditional male-dominated areas, employment
    opportunities for women are still very few and badly remunerated. Furthermore, the intensive
    involvement of women in the labour force during the communist regime was not accompanied
    by changes in the division of labour in the family. (…) Paradoxically the emergence of a more
    democratic society and the growth of civil society have led not to greater participation in
    decision making but in greater exclusion from public life and women’s political participation”
    (UNDP, 1999, 6-7).

    Clearly this author is making the point that the “craziness of Albania today – drug- and woman-trafficking and all” is a DIRECT RESULT of the collapse of socialism.

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  • By: LeftAtTheCross Thu, 21 Apr 2011 11:56:32

    In reply to PJ Callan.

    “Clearly this author is making the point that the “craziness of Albania today – drug- and woman-trafficking and all” is a DIRECT RESULT of the collapse of socialism”

    The Right use a counter argument that society was so f***ed up by socialism that societal norms have been destroyed to the extent that barbarism results upon removal of state repression. It’s cobblers of course but unfortunately it has “traction” as they say.

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  • By: Earl Williams Thu, 21 Apr 2011 12:38:24

    Didn’t the rural clan structure reappear almost overnight after 1991 in Albania? That would suggest that their socialism never had deep roots in the society at all.

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  • By: PJ Callan Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:22:08

    True ‘LeftAtTheCross’, I suppose the left would counter argue that capitalism allows ‘societal norms’ within the heartlands of the neo-colonial centres of power, the rest i.e. the dark skinned folk get the basket case capitalism to contend with.

    Old traditions Earl, hard to uproot, especially when a state collapses under external pressure and reverts to something equating to a state of nature.

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