Ireland – Battlefront for Democracy
Date:1974
Organisation:Communist Party of Ireland
Author:R. Palme Dutt
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

16th January 2012

This is an interesting document issued by New Books Dublin, an imprint of the Communist Party of Ireland, which contains a reprint of an article from the CPGB publication Labour Monthly, July 1974.

R. Palme Dutt,  the author was a stalwart of the Communist Party of Great Britain, indeed could be regarded as unapologetic as regards many of the events that defined the history of that party and indeed the broader left, to the point that as late as 1968 he disagreed with the CPGB’s criticisms of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces.

Interestingly then, the document is somewhat cautious in its analysis. It suggests that:

…the deep wound of the British imposed partition through the establishment of the ultra-reactionary settler regime in Northern Ireland to dispossess the people of their land in the old tenacious strong hold of popular struggle, and maintained by British military power and financial backing, has flared to new intensity, as the old Carsonite days of over half a century ago, once again to menace the whole future of democracy alike in Ireland and Britain.

It notes:

…there is a danger that some sections of popular opinion in Britain… should fall into the trap of advocating as an alternative programme that the menace of the crisis and offensive of reaciotn in NI, created by British imperialist policy, should be left for the Irish people to settle, in place of recognising the joint responsibility of the British and Irish working people to work together for a solution in the interests of both peoples.

It references the then recent collapse of the Sunningdale Agreement and argues that:

…from the point of view of British big business interests such economic co-operation of the two parts of partitioned Ireland was desirable in relation to the aim of aligning both parties together in the Common Market.

And continues:

Thus Sunningdale was in ruins. The reality remained the military occupation and action of British imperialism in Northern Ireland, desperately attempting without success so far to find some new formula to cover the naked reality of military dictatorship.

But it is critical of ‘violence and politics’. It notes:

…in fact the main proportion of British military forces in NI is stationed in the Republican working class areas. It is true that the violence of the ultra-reactionary Tory regime in NI has led to a section of the Republican supporters (the ‘Provisionals’) breaking away from the basic programme of mass political struggle for political change, to conduct sporadic acts of violence, not he organised mass struggle for the change of a political regime, but senseless small scale acts of bomb explosions against innocent citizens, men, women and children.

And it concludes by calling for ‘Joint Action of the Irish and British Working Class for a Political Solution’ and noting resolutions of the Connolly Association calling for a ‘united republic’.

Please note that this is 12 printed pages long and due to being scanned in spreads page 12 is to the left of the front cover [i.e. The first spread, or page 1 of the PDF].

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Mon, 16 Jan 2012 14:03:26

    “…there is a danger that some sections of popular opinion in Britain… should fall into the trap of advocating as an alternative programme that the menace of the crisis and offensive of reaciotn in NI, created by British imperialist policy, should be left for the Irish people to settle, in place of recognising the joint responsibility of the British and Irish working people to work together for a solution in the interests of both peoples.”
    I wonder what was meant by this. Joint ICTU/TUC activity or what. A simple troops out would have been preferable.unless you accept that they had somewhat of a benign role.On the other extrem you had the ultraleft line of Victory to the IRA. The role of the BA was to maintain an imperialist peace at the expense of the nationalist workingclass.I wonder why Greaves did not write this as he was considered the CPGB expert on all things Irish.Dutt was an unabashed apologist of every kind of represssion in the Eastern bloc.
    I hope Tom Redmond will give his views.

    Reply on the CLR