The Plough, Vol. 2, No. 19
Organisation: Revolutionary Marxist Group
Publication: The Plough
Issue:Volume 2, Number 19
Contributors: Info
Rory MacNeill, Jan McLean, Betty Purcell
Type:Publication Issue
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

12th December 2022

As noted before The Revolutionary Marxist Group was formed in Ireland by former members of the League for a Workers Republic and Young Socialists. In 1976 it was renamed the Movement for a Socialist Republic, and ultimately merged with People’s Democracy in 1978.

This is the first edition of the Plough to be added to the Archive and it is of particular interest for a number of reasons. It gives an account of the first Irish Republican Socialist Party conference which it argues:

The Convention Elections

The decision of the I.R.S.P. Conference to abstain from taking part in the Convention Elections was an unfortunate one. The main reason given for this abstentionist position was that the Convention was simply a ploy by British imperialism to maintain its control over Ireland and to contest would simply be “to give substance to an illusion as an alternative to confronting reality”. But the process of handing over power to the Loyalists is no illusion! It is very real indeed and unless it is resisted it will have disastrous consequences for the Irish revolution. One of the best ways of preparing the Catholic working class to face this threat is to take part in the elections and to use them as an opportunity for the collaborationist policies of the S.D.L.P. and the reformist republicanism of the Officials.

Many delegates were in favour of this but felt that the organisation was in too weak a position and that their members would face attack from the Officials if they were to participate in the elections. This may be true but as against this participating in the elections would win the l.R.S.P. new members and strengthen them in areas where they are weak. It would also expose the slander campaign being waged against the I.R.S.P. by the Officials and their liberal allies in the media. It would show to all that the I.R.S.P. is not a grouping of “gangsters, malcontents etc.” but a revolutionary organisation with serious politics. It is clear from the scant coverage given to the conference in the media that the I.R.S.P. will have a hard fight to win this recognition.

There are pieces on Fianna Fáil’s ‘New Republicanism’ and the ‘Campaign to defend women political prisoners’. It also examine the then recent Convention elections in Northern Ireland and the results for the SDLP and the Officials. There’s also a piece on Trinity College Dublin students union activities.

The headline article also argues that:

Since the Convention Election; and its predictable result, the machinery of the Loyalist takeover has moved relentlessly on. We have seen the rise in assassinations of catholics, increased harrassment and the ‘No Surrender’ and ‘Back to Stormont’ speeches from Loyalist leaders. We know what the next step must mean for the anti-Unionist population, any resistance to the return of Stormont and the R.U.C. will be met with the most brutal pogroms that the catholic community has yet suffered in this phase of the struggle.

Some sections of the commumty in the North have begun to realise this, and to make preparations for their defense. But a key factor in the strength of the defense, will be , as it always has been, the reaction among the working class in the 26 counties and the position that the southern government will take up.

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