The Anglo-Irish Accord and It's [sic] Irrelevance for the Working Class
Organisation: World Socialist Party
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Subjects: Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1985

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

30th May 2011

Many thanks to the SPGB  for the donation of this document to the Archive.

Issued by the World Socialist Party [Ireland], a successor to the Socialist Party of Ireland  and as a part of the World Socialist Movement a fraternal organisation to the Socialist Party of Great Britain, this document is of a piece with those posted to the Archive in the last fortnight from Sinn Féin and the Workers’ Party both of which engage with the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The preface outlines the broad analysis.

The present pamphlet is in no way intended as a definitive statement of the WSP’s views on patriotism or nationalism. That is, our refutation and utter rejection of the assertion that patriotic or nationalistic aspirations and ideas can in any way be reconciled with the interests of the working class.

It continues:

Because it treats of a specific subject - the Anglo-Irish Accord - the interests of conciseness dictated that the pamphlet could only touch upon some of the major questions which the twin concepts of patriotism and nationalism bring into focus. It does not, for example, attempt an in-depth analysis of the role of governments, the co-ercive essence of the state, the use to which various national assemblies can be put, or the vital question of international conflict and war. Indeed, in relation to such issues we would be sympathetic to the opinion that the pamphlet possibly raises more questions than it attempts to answer.

In the Introduction the pamphlet argues that:

[The Accord] wants working people to SEE things differently. It wants working people who follow Unionism to feel that NI’s place is more secure within the UK and it hopes to persuade working people who identify with Irish nationalism that things will change for the better. It also argues that the Agreement does not ‘say anything to you about your problem as a member of the working class’. And it suggests that the difference between the Border Campaign and the armed struggle of the late 1960s and after was that unlike the former which dealt with an ‘abstract notion of a 32-county Ireland’ the ‘PIRA emerged out of a struggle for ‘civil rights’, a struggle based on the wholly mistaken idea that their RELIGION and not their CLASS position in society was the cause of their poverty, their unemployment, their slum housing and other miseries.

Later it proposes that:

…the sight of working people marching in ranks behind a Union Jack or an Irish tricolour, listening to some vicious politician telling them to stay divided and separated, and to let flags, banners, slogans and the fabricated fictions of historical events take precedence over the reality of poverty and deprivation that restricts and damages their lives must be tragic beyond belief!

The Accord does not try to expose these lunacies. Given that Thatcher and FitzGerald serve the same capitalist interest that helped to fabricate and promote the fictions, it would be naive to expect them to try.

It concludes on the point that:

…the sole purpose between the AIA is to simplify and cheapen the security burden of the capitalist class; to create illusions about individual dignity and ‘cultural identity’ that might lower the tribal temperature and allow our masters the most economic ‘law and order’ they require to facilitate their exploitation of us.

Another useful addition to the Archive.

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  • By: mr pedantic Mon, 30 May 2011 08:01:40

    AHHHH!!!! The possessive is NOT a contraction!!!!!

    It’s a silly point to raise I know but Jesus it drives me mad.

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  • By: que Mon, 30 May 2011 08:54:29

    Maybe they were referring to IT (information Technology’s relevance)?

    A bit uncharitable but the World Socialist Party (Ireland) might equally have been noted as irrelevant for the working class.

    This is my point of pedantry – the myopia some groups have in assessing whether they are themselves proving to have any relevance or connection with the working class – causing saying you do doesnt make it so.

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  • By: que Mon, 30 May 2011 09:03:36

    On the topic at hand. I think its a pity that they had to so clearly define a position on nationalism/patriotism etc at the start.
    I know its a pamphlet but that signals a broadcastr rather than a discussion.
    On the point of the strugle I am not convinced that people thought in terms of my religion is the reason why I am discriminated. I’d suspect that national querstion played an issue when they tried to ratinoalise the discrimination.
    I think by taking such a firm stance on partiotism/nationalism that they backed themselves into a corner whereby it would only, could only, ever be interpreted in class terms.
    I find that a bit disappointing because I think there was more than class involved, and is more than class involved.
    As such then any analysis that aimed at seeking to define it in class terms alone was likely to be analysis that was independent of the circumstances.
    No matter what the same conclusion would be drawn.

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  • By: crocodile Mon, 30 May 2011 11:33:25

    In reply to mr pedantic.

    Might be the apostrophe Obama was looking for.

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  • By: que Mon, 30 May 2011 15:04:45

    In reply to crocodile.


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  • By: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung Tue, 31 May 2011 09:06:37

    […] World Socialist Party [Ireland]: The Anglo-Irish Accord and it’s Irrelevance for the Working Class […]

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  • By: NMcC Fri, 03 Jun 2011 17:34:57

    In reply to crocodile.

    As the person responsible for that howler, I can only plead pressure of production (ie typesetting – before the days of widespread computer usage – and printing under the nose of my boss!

    It’s (see, I DO know when to use an apostrophe) nothing really. When I was on the editorial committee of our sister publication, the Socialist Standard, and responsible for its (see, again!) typesetting and layout, I once, singlehandedly, moved Mexico into South America.

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  • By: Darren Mon, 03 Dec 2012 14:28:48

    I thought this might be of interest for your left archive project:

    (Sorry. I looked for a contact address to contact you direct, but it’s early and I’ve not ingested enough caffeine yet.)


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