Draft Theses on the Irish Revolution
Author:Gerry Foley
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

19th August 2013

This document consisting of draft thesis for discussion in the United Secretariat of the Fourth International in conjunction with the Revolutionary Marxist Group is an important addition to the material already in the Archive from Gerry Foley. This was, as the introductory paragraph makes clear:

…drafted to serve as the basis for a discussion in the United Secretariat on the perspectives of work of the Fourth International corrodes in Ireland. They were discussed with the comrades of the Revolutionary Marxist Group and a number of changes suggested by them were incorporated into the draft, but the full discussion in the United Secretariat, with the participation of the Irish comrades, has not yet been held.

It offers an insight into his view of the situation in Ireland in 1973 at a point where his view was that the Official IRA had

…failed to meet the challenge of the struggle. They proved unable to take advantage of the June-July 1971 crisis in Northern Ireland to break the political hegemony of the Catholic parliamentarian[s].

But he also argues that:

Although they grew relative to the Officials and absolutely as a result of the decline in the mass movement and of a general rise in nationalist feeling that the Officails failed to lead, the Provisionals themselves have also been left increasingly isolated by the demobilisation of the nationalist community.

His conclusions, at this remove, appear reasonably coherent. He argues that:

The fight in Ireland has now entered a defensive phase as a result of the demobilisation of the mass movement.


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  • By: workers republic Tue, 20 Aug 2013 12:05:52

    Thks WbS
    V. interesting,I didn’t know Mick Price was a Trot.,he wad Tom Barry’ brother in law and related to the Price Sisters. In the 30s he dried to revive the Citizen Army after the split in Congress between Connolly Socialists and Moscow-liners. ( sorry, read ” he tried to—“). Marian Price gave the oration at the Tom Barry commeration a few years ago, which has it’s signifignance.I think it sugests a disillusionment with the Stormont & St.Andrews agreements by Republicans.
    Not that I agree with Marians analysis. I don’t believe we can “create the conditions”, by the actions of the RIRA.

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  • By: workers republic Tue, 20 Aug 2013 12:44:08

    In reply to workers republic.

    I also think the split in the Civil Righs Association was a major mistake which should have been avoided. The P. D.should have stayed in and not have abandones it to the Sticks. There was a huge turnout for the first anniversary of Bloody Sunday, but that belied the position of the CRA as a potent force any more.
    Likewise the PD as a powerful broadbased radical student movement (small m) became a miniscule Trotskyist sect. What a pity, CRA and PD no longer
    vital grassroot movements. Here are lessons to be learned for the future and indeed,for the present.

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Tue, 20 Aug 2013 13:14:59

    Tom Barry married Leslie Price who was Micks sister. Politically there was little beyond that both were Republicans. Price was sympa to Trotskyism as was Norah Connolly-O’Brien. Norah corresponded with Trotsky. She and the rump of the ICA wing of Republican Congress hosted a meeting in Dublin on the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in I think 1937.The Price/Connolly-O’Brien ICA people joined the Labour Party. Price edited The Torch Newspaper during WW2 and had Trotskyists like Paddy Trench writing for it.
    In hindsight I think it would have been nigh on impossible for PD to carve out and maintain a political space once the shooting started. They forged successful fronts with the Provos down the years. Northern Resistance for a start.I think when people look at the slick politicians in the Provos now they might not remember how apolitical and anti political they were. To them politics was a dirty word. PSF (Their SF) and An Phoblacht had little or no importance. Thier only role was to cheer lead the armed campaign. A victory was expected next year, a year that kept getting out of sight.
    Even the Officials withered and they had quite a degree of support and deep roots in communities. Example ETA had successive splits and everytime the militarists were the ones who maintained their support and grew. The others including one which joined the Fourth International withered.And these ETA splits stayed supportive of the Basque national struggle and by and large had good relations with the militarists. ( Though some of the militarists attacked and killed former members).Back then I regarded the Official leadership and indeed it’s rank and file far more sophisticated and leftwing. The bitterness of their attitude to the Provos led them deeply astray and dominated everything they did. They saw everything through the prism of anti-republicanism. Throwing out not just the Provo armed struggle bathwater, but Republicanism itself.It was not just Harris.
    Gerry told me before he died he was happy with the verdict of history.

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Tue, 20 Aug 2013 13:17:17

    Sorry Ethiopia meeting was addressed by the famous Caribbean Trotskyist ( and Guardian Cricket correspondent) CLR James. Ethipoia was the last independent African state and thus had a huge importance to the colonial masses..

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  • By: workers republic Tue, 20 Aug 2013 14:26:36

    In reply to Jim Monaghan.

    Thks Jim, useful info there.Nora and OBrien left t L.P. later after it removed t Workers Republic as an objective from it’s constitution. Dr Brighid, Connolly’s eldest daughter helped IRA men , she was married to a communist. Una supported the IRA, I’m not sure which faction. Nora supperted t P. IRA and t IRSP.

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Tue, 20 Aug 2013 16:03:14

    Norah supported Costello. She did leave the Labour Party over this. Alas, she accepted a nomination to the senate from FF towards the end of her life.Two of Connollys daughters married people who were dissident communists in Britain. Roddy ended up a Labour Party hack, he was chairman for a while.

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  • By: workers republic Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:16:58

    In reply to Jim Monaghan.

    whellI think it depends what one means by “political” and “apolitical”. They werw anti parlimentary politics, abstensionist for historical reasons. but as you say Jim, they had useful fronts with Northern Resistance, Joe Cahill told me about a meeting with Bernadette Mac Aliskey and Michael Farrell and other very political people.
    They did a publicity /propaganda tour of Europe, meeting many radical figures ond organisations. Paul Sarte asked for a private meeting with them.
    when Sean O Bradaigh was editor of an Phoblacht there were articles on Thomson, and other pre-Marxist socialists. True, they weren’t Marxists, (in the usual sense, Karl Marx said he wesn’t a “Marxist”,) but then they never said they were: that does not make them apolitical.
    when Eamonn Mac Thomais was editor he had a 2page centre page spread titled the

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  • By: workers republic Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:28:50

    In reply to workers republic.

    “the REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT CARES” with pieces dealing with social issues. SINN Fein members were involver in local agitation, Pat-the -pickit Allen gave me a photo of my wife- to-be, himself and other SF members defending squatters against bailiffs.
    most importantly the IRA Council issued a statement calling for all mineral/oil resourses to be nationalised.

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