The Next Step, No. 18
Date:15th May 1987
Organisation: Revolutionary Communist Party
Publication: The Next Step
Issue:Number 18
Collection:The British Left on Ireland
Type:Publication Issue
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: Loughgall Ambush

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

19th September 2011

This paper was issued by the Revolutionary Communist Party  in May 1987. The RCP emerged from the Revolutionary Communist Tendency [see here] which itself had emerged from the Revolutionary Communist Group [see here]. The RCP had a Trotskyist orientation - albeit this dissipated as it entered the 1990s and eventually it was disbanded and many of those involved focused on the libertarian online magazine Spiked.

As the RCP it combined an overtly Leninist line with a strong emphasis on social liberalism and stances on a variety of issues which caused considerable controversy. Like the RCT and the RCG before it, the RCP was notable for its unswerving identification with Sinn Féin and the IRA and this document has a front page story about the 8 IRA volunteers shot dead at Loughgall that year as part of an ASU commanded by Jim Lynagh. The editorial in the paper suggests:

The massacre at Loughgall was a fitting last entry in the record of the second Thatcher government. It captured the brutality and sheer bloody mindedness with which the Tories have cracked down on those who oppose their will.

The editorial maps this onto the then upcoming election, arguing that:

In the general election, we are campaigning for the candidates supporting The Red Front - a platform for working class unity (see pages 6 and 7). The Red Front is a focus for all those who demand the right to fight for the working class. It upholds our right to struggle for a decent life and for freedom from oppression. The events at Loughgall should convince us of the crying need to unite left-wing people behind the banner of The Red Front. The alternative is to support a party which unites with Thatcher in congratulating those who will kill to crush resistance to the rule of tyranny.

Inside the paper there is considerable coverage of Loughgall and the SAS shoot-to-kill policy. In a full page article on the events it states:

Nobody denies that the IRA men went out to attack the Loughgall RUC base. But the thousands of Irish men and women who marched against the killings insist that the republicans had the right to do so.

It is worth noting that there is no examination of the political position of parties in Ireland.

Other than that there are a range of articles on a varied range of topics from South Africa to AIDS to issues regarding local government in the UK. The main focus, however, is on the general election. The Red Front fielded 14 candidates, and as an article in the paper notes:

It costs £500 just to register a candidate, and then there’s the one for posters, manifestos, phone bills, meeting halls, transport, campaign offices.

In sum then a professionally produced, somewhat varied document very much of its time.


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  • By: Mark P Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:45:47

    This lot’s political journey always leaves me amused. From Provo cheerleaders to semi-libertarian right wing cranks in just a few short years.

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  • By: Chet Carter Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:59:06

    In reply to Mark P.

    Not forgetting moving onto writing columns for, that hot bed of Revolutionary Communism, the Daily Mail.

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  • By: Mark P Mon, 19 Sep 2011 16:03:15

    In reply to Chet Carter.

    To be fair, I don’t care what outlets anyone writes for. I just care what they are saying in those outlets. And in the case of the former RCP…

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  • By: Dr. X Mon, 19 Sep 2011 16:04:24

    In reply to Chet Carter.

    I think you were a bit too subtle for Comrade P, there, Chet. . .

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  • By: Chet Carter Mon, 19 Sep 2011 16:08:00

    Not a dig at Mr Higgins by the way who I am fond of. Talking about the UK edition.

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  • By: Terry McDermott Mon, 19 Sep 2011 16:12:26

    Anthony Hughes, the civilian shot dead by the SAS at Loughall didn’t make the cover.

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  • By: Gerryboy Wed, 21 Sep 2011 00:44:45

    Extrovert journalists sure get around – and get paid. Nice money if you can earn it.

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  • By: Marcus Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:15:09

    I went to a university in London in the 90s where there were twelve members of the RCP, yes twelve (there were about 40 members of the SWP). One of them was anice lad from Belfast, the rest were all very upper-class and well spoken which made me immediately suspicious. There general attitude was that they were the intellectual elite who would lead the plebs to glory. The way that they manipulated student meetings was really scary. I met one of them a few years back, he was wearing a suit and working for a bank.

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  • By: anarchaeologist Wed, 21 Sep 2011 20:49:05

    In reply to Marcus.

    I attended several RCP meetings in London in the mid to late ’80s and found quite the opposite. They were activists, not that hung up on Trotsky. Too enamoured with the Provies for my liking though. A few of them got into anarchism later on, but stayed well clear of the national question.The music wasn’t half bad either.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Wed, 21 Sep 2011 23:04:11

    In reply to anarchaeologist.

    Easterhouse… Latin Quarter?

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  • By: brendan Thu, 22 Sep 2011 07:08:50

    Radio Africa”,No Rope as long as time” quite good. Easterhouse? Aptly described as setting back the cause of international socialism by twenty years. Combining left wing politics and music well remains elusive for most. In current Ireland Jinx Lennon , imho is streets ahead in relevant musings on post and past “septic Tiger” .Playing this sunday in “Ruta” btw. ” Get the Guards”

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  • By: anarchaeologist Thu, 22 Sep 2011 08:53:25

    In reply to brendan.

    Easterhouse WBS, I didn’t realise Latin Quarter were in that bracket too. I seem to remember an RCP meeting in Dublin, perhaps in ’88? Was anybody at it? It’d be interesting to extrapolate their engagement with PSF during this period. Jinx is good too.

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  • By: LeftAtTheCross Thu, 22 Sep 2011 08:56:08

    In reply to brendan.

    +1 re. Jinx lennon.

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  • By: bagel Fri, 23 Sep 2011 20:21:59

    Don’t forget Stereolab. Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab below talking about her Living Marxism subscription. A very high recommendation in my opinion.

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