International Affairs Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 1
Organisation: Communist Party of Great Britain
Publication: International Affairs Bulletin
Issue:Volume 3, Number 1
May/June 1968
Collection:The British Left on Ireland
Type:Publication Issue
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

9th July 2012

This is an interesting and quite long bulletin. One of a series issued regularly by the Communist Party of Great Britain it sought to engage in some detail with political activity in parts various internationally.

This edition is of obvious interest focusing as it does entirely on Ireland. In eighteen pages it covers the history of Ireland, dates of interest from Modern Ireland, considers the nature of the Republic, examines political parties and trade unions and also analyses Northern Ireland.

There is also a classification of capital which considers the Republic in the following terms:

(A) Infrastructure of state industries: electricity, public roads and rail services, Post Office, turf (equivalent of coal in British economy), sugar, parts of banking, insurance and shipping. (B) Old established industries connected with former ascendency families, once important but now largely brought up by British monopolies. (C) British (and to a lesser degree U.S., Canadian, West German and Japanese) monopoly investments. British exceeds all others together many times over. Oil, banking, and insurance milling (Ranks), mining, light engineering (branches of foreign concerns) and increasingly marketing. (D) Numerous, very small, mostly family firms.

The over view of the political parties notes that:

Fianna Fail… traditionally based on state aid to native industry. Protection through tariffs and state-sector infrastructure…Over past ten years the great penetration of British foreign capital has produced branches of monopoly in which local Irish capital participates. Thus FF now speaks for the larger native capitalists with foreign connections. Large banking and merchange houses who used to give funds to FG now give them to FF. Fine Gael… a type of superficial radicalism has appeared, designed to appeal to workers an others with just grievances against FF. Labour… a British-type LP with trade union affiliations… the party has no strong constituency organisation, nor any firm philosophy or politics.. Sinn Féin… Still tied by rigid traditions derived from stands taken in the counter revolutionary years… SF has of late moved sharply left and has adopted a united Irish ‘socialist republic’ as its objective. Irish Workers’ Party… the outlook of the IWP is increasingly permeating the outlook of Labour Left and the Republican movement.

And it concludes:

Splinter Groups There are a number of small splinter groups of a variously leftist orientation. They have little influence, and come and go.

Interestingly in relation to Northern Ireland it argues that:

The main political parties are the Unionist Party, the N.I.L.P., the Communist Party, and the Republican Party (illegal), Gerard Fitt M.P., being elected in effect as a result of an anti-Unionist coalition which is supported by many Protestant voters.

It’s also useful to note some of the key points that it refers to in the historical time line early in the document:

Summer 1967: Labour Party in Dublin proposes to re-insert socialism in its programme. National Council of Labour for all Ireland under discussion. December 1967: Sinn Fein (Republicans) insert socialism in their programme. Developing unity of Workers’ Party , Sinn Fein and left Labour on housing agitations.

In relation to SF it notes further: ‘It is strongly against the Common Market, and increasingly reflects the interests of the petit-bourgeoisie and small independent capitalists, but has support from many workers on the grounds that ending partition will greatly increase employment possibilities’.

In essence this was the view from the UK CPGB - and from a point towards the end of the 1960s, and it is telling both how it contextualises activity within a range of groups and their orientation and how critical the view of SF is.

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