|Irish Revolutionary Forces
|An Phoblacht [IRF]
|Volume 1, Number 3
|Comments on this document
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Please note: Issues 3 and 4 of An Phoblacht were added to the Irish Left Archive on the Cedar Lounge Revolution together, with the following commentary.
It is hoped to bring you the full run of An Phoblacht’s, published by the Irish Revolutionary Forces, the Cork based republican socialist group composed in the main of former members of the IRA, over the next year with editions being posted up on a regular basis.
These editions are of considerable interest and the indexes are attached, however, in order to get a sense of them a number of quotes from their editorials will suffice. The editorial in No. 3 is written in the context of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis and it takes to task the ‘economists’ within SF. These it suggests:
…consider it practical to salvage our chaotic economic position by developing a co-operative system of land management in areas of low yield; and by encouraging the growth of credit unions and by establishing a state banning system so as to make available cheap credit for both industrial and agricultural development.
It further criticises ‘Tom Gill, President of Sinn Féin’ for misquoting Connolly by replacing ‘state ownership’ with ‘co-operative control’. And it argues that what SF is advocating at this point is similar to that of Horace Punkett. It continues with the contention that:
The trouble with Sinn Féin is that its leaders have in some degree come to appreciate the capitalist content of their organisation’s economic policies that were inherited from Griffith. They have a vague idea that these are bad; but they actually do not know yet why this is so. On the other hand, they view socialism through bourgeoise spectacles, so that they find it difficult to accept the economic tenets of socialism as an alternative to their aid policies. Still, they cannot condemn socialism outright: obviously it has achieved a lot of good in many areas. Hence the perplexity which Mr. Gill endeavours to solve by saying “Communism… as it has manifested itself in many countries… is not an ideology which would commend itself to the Irish people.’ The ambiguity of this statement is apparent. Is he issuing a blanket condemnation of communism? Or, is he merely condemning that which manifests itself in many socialists countries, as distinct from all socialist countries? Frankly we don’t know.
It concludes by suggesting that:
Words are easy enough to employ: and safer by far than deeds. If Sinn Féin truly desires to embark on a revolutionary road, then let us see some action in that direction. Let them dispense with the flowery phrases and proceed with the work in a pragmatic and honest fashion. When that day appears, this little paper will have done its work. It will then be silent.
In many respects issue number 4 continues this line of thought. It argues that:
Ireland requires the services of an active revolutionary movement if our people are to survive as a self-respecting community with complete control over its own destiny. Unfortunately no such movement exists today.
It argues that: “the main problem with presently functioning Republican organisations, is that they abound in the making of a large volume of incoherent noises, without giving any thought whatever to the substance of revolutionary action itself.”
For instance, Republican Leaders will talk their heads off on the subject of the I.R.A. Fighting for Irish Freedom, when they appear at some commemoration or other. But they make no provisions for such a struggle: and from private conversations with them, it becomes very apparent that they haven’t a clue as to how such a war is to be waged, and they show no desire to find out.
Also to hear some of them ranting about their new found toy, ‘the economic resistance campaign’ one could easily be mislead into the belief that their economic policies, if ever put into effect, would mean a new and dynamic era for the Irish people.
It suggests that:
The Men of 1916, whom the parasites are now preparing to commemorate, sacrificed their all to rescue the people from the debasing effects of parliamentary opiumism. It was a big price to pay for national salvation, as many an Irish revolutionary has since come to realise; and it will be tenfold greater if we of this generation do not stand squarely behind our responsibilities. The men of 1916 had to do what was necessary, regardless of what was possible, in order to keep the Irish Revolution on the right track. Today, we can still chart our course between the necessary and the possible. But the time is running out, and that juncture is fast approaching where such manoeuvrability is once more denied us. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT WE CALL FOR ACTION NOW.
No. 3 An Phoblacht January 1966
Editorial P. 2
The Editor’s Post Bag P. 5
The Second Act of Union ! P. 7
Sinn Fein and the Labour Party P. 11
The Need for Revolutionary Leadership P. 12
A Primer on Revolt. Part 1 P. 13
A Voice from the Past P. 16
No. 4 An Phoblacht March 1966
Editorial P. 2
The IRA Programme of 1933 P. 4
Beware ! Politicans on the March P. 6
Treachery by Union Bureaucrats P. 7
The Free State Regime P. 8
A Primer on Revolt. Part 1 continued P. 9