An Ghrian Dhearg, No. 1
Date:2020
Organisation: Irish Socialist Republicans
Publication: An Ghrian Dhearg
Issue:Number 1
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

19th December 2022

Many thanks to Mal who forwarded this document to the Archive.

This is a particularly interesting document from Irish Socialist Republicans which appears to be linked to the same group as Anti-Imperialism Ireland and the Revolutionary Housing League who are also in the Archive. If this could be confirmed that would be very helpful in organising their materials in the Archive.

This document is avowedly Maoist in ideological orientation and seeks to shape a convergence between socialist republicanism and Maoism.

For example, the editorial argues that:

Socialist Republicanism, as the application of Marxism to the conditions of Ireland, has always taken the most correct ideas from international socialism as inspiration. Just as we can see a sequence from Marx to Lenin to Mao, in Ireland we can see the continuity from Connolly to mellows to Costello and Lynagh, to the countless socialist republicans that have searched for a coherent strategy that will provide a path out of the nightmares thrown up by imperialism.

And the contents includes articles on Maoism and Irish Republicanism, The Spectre Haunting Loughall, The Revolutionary Contributions of Vladimir Lenin, Nepal: The Withering on the Vine, the Revolutionary Contributions of Joseph Stalin and The Revolutionary Contributions of Mao Zedong.

Of particular interest are the pieces on Maoism and Irish Republicanism and the Spectre Hauting Loughall. In both an effort is made to link manifestations of Irish Republicanism to Maoism.

For example, it asserts that ‘In preparation for the IRA’s border campaign from 1956-1962, the key architect of the campaign, Sean Cronin, an IRA Chief of Staff, paid particular attention to Chairman Mao’s military writings and strategy as well as studying the examples of Guerrilla Warfare in Ireland, most notably from 1919-1923’

It continues: ‘While military sound, his error was in not realising the importance of the political aspects of Mao’s teachings for Revolution, and their interrelated nature of military actions, focusing instead almost exclusively on. the military elements of revolution.’

The article then suggests that:

This weakness was later criticised by then IRA Volunteer Seamus Costello… he would later play a key role in advancing the struggle for National Liberation in Ireland. 

Later it suggests that “Through this study [in prison of the ‘writings of Mao’ and the ‘Vietnamese Revolution’] Costello became convinced that only a People’s War with the active political support and involvement of the Irish Working Class could achieve victory in the struggle for National Liberation and Socialism in Ireland.”

The piece suggests that Costello went to Paris to ask the Chinese Embassy there for assistance from the Communist Party of China. And this it suggests is important because ‘it suggest that Costello and sections fo the Republican Movement were aware of the two line struggle in the International Communist Movement and were consciously rejecting the ‘peaceful coexistence’ advocated by Moscow and were adopting an anti-revisionist position’. It is clear from this action that Costello and his supporters were looking to Chairman Mao and the CPC as the leaders of the word revolution. This is further supported by events following the establishment of the IRSM in 1974 when Costello deride the ‘stickies’ for being counter revolutionary, revisionist and pro-Moscow… evidence of the inspiration from Maoism can also be seen from he first name chosen by Costello for the new revolutionary army established in 1974 to continue to wage revolutionary armed struggle. The Army was called the People’s Liberation Army and later became the Irish National Liberation Army.’

The piece also suggests that those around Jim Lynagh, Séamus McElwaine and Patrick Kelly in PIRA comprised a ‘Maoist Republican Cadre’ which ’caused considerable fear both within the Provisional Leadership, the Colonial office in the Six Counties and particularly with the corridors of power in Whitehall and Westminster.’

It notes that:

In 2017, a generation after the systematic assassination of the Maoist Revolutionary IRA leaders in the border region and the compromise of. the reformist Belfast leadership of the Provisional Movement, Irish Socialist Republicans (ISR) was established as a revolutionary organisation upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a third and higher stage of Marxism and the shining path to Revolution in Ireland. 


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  • By: benmadigan Tue, 20 Dec 2022 21:21:57

    In reply to Michael Carley.

    Love that if it’s true Michael. Even if it’s not it still raised a smile!

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  • By: Michael Carley Tue, 20 Dec 2022 21:53:55

    Reply on the CLR

  • By: NollaigOJ Thu, 22 Dec 2022 15:43:37

    A “two line struggle”?!
    I want to support line3:

    “..Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
    Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
    Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
    A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
    But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
    When once destroyed, can never be supplied…”

    Clearly Oliver Goldsmith was Ireland’s first Maoist!

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  • By: banjoagbeanjoe Fri, 23 Dec 2022 09:47:30

    In reply to NollaigOJ.

    For some reason WordPress won’t let me like comments anymore. So…I like this one.

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  • By: roddy Fri, 23 Dec 2022 10:20:37

    In reply to banjoagbeanjoe.

    For some reason I have never been able to like comments on this site for the entire time I have been on it.When I press the “like” button nothing happens.

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  • By: Colm B Fri, 23 Dec 2022 10:46:04

    In reply to roddy.

    Me too, when I press Like it takes me to a sign-in thingmy for WordPress.

    Do you think it’s discrimination against lefties of a mature age?

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  • By: yourcousin Fri, 23 Dec 2022 11:04:26

    In reply to Colm B.

    Honestly since I just “liked” all three comments with a push of a button I’m going with “operator error” 🤣

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  • By: Dr Nightdub Fri, 23 Dec 2022 12:03:27

    In reply to Colm B.

    I usen’t be able to like posts here either, but then I set up my own blog in WordPress and once I’m logged in, hey presto.

    And if WBS doesn’t mind me doing a little free advertising, it’s https://thebelfastpogrom.com/

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Fri, 23 Dec 2022 12:05:43

    In reply to Dr Nightdub.

    Not at all that’s great – I think liking posts you have to click to the left

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  • By: Liberius Fri, 23 Dec 2022 12:54:15

    In reply to banjoagbeanjoe.

    Your name Joe will appear as a clickable hyperlink if you’re logged in to a WordPress/Gravatar account, if not then you weren’t logged in when you made the comment, WordPress will only allow you to like comments if using a logged in account as otherwise it wouldn’t be able to identify you. Arguably there should be anonymous liking without an account but unfortunately that’s not how Automattic Inc have designed it.

    You’ll note I never like comments, I can’t be arsed to logged in.

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  • By: banjoagbeanjoe Fri, 23 Dec 2022 19:43:11

    In reply to Liberius.

    Thanks Liberius. I must have accidentally unlogged myself in so because I used to be able to like a post just by clicking like. Not now though. It’s backwards I’m going.

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  • By: yourcousin Sat, 24 Dec 2022 16:44:29

    In reply to Liberius.

    Kudos to Liberius to actually offer helpful advice while I was just being sarcastic.

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  • By: Red Menace Tue, 27 Dec 2022 20:29:59

    This comment section is a real think-tank. Is this how Irish lefties spend their days, wittering on about nothing, trying to be funny through snidey comments and desperately avoiding actually doing anything?

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 27 Dec 2022 20:54:04

    In reply to Red Menace.

    As far as I’m aware most everyone on this thread is politically involved on some level or another, whether in parties or groups or independently doing what they can for a range of people, so the idea that people are ‘desperately avoiding actually doing anything’ is wide of the mark. In any case in a society where so many people use social media for down time it’s an odd complaint to take a bosses line that discussion online is somehow a diversion from work or whatever whether political or otherwise.

    I think the problem is that this is such an unusual framing of Irish left and republican history as to come across semi-detached from the area, however sincere the opinions of those who have produced it.

    But there’s a deeper point, people can and do many things simultaneously. Some will offer snide critiques, others not so much, but if an organisation puts out materials no-one should expect those materials to be treated unquestioningly or as holy writ. Particularly when the claims made are in the view of many here are unusual. And it’s precisely because most people on here are or have been politically active in groups that all this reads so unusually.

    I knew Tony Gregory and my read from him on Costello could not be further from the idea that Costello was a Maoist. But I also knew people who loathed Costello and their view was, because it served their purpose, that he was next best thing to a Trotskyist, with no hint of Maoism either and if it had been correct that he was it would have served their purpose even better and they’d have been shouting it from the rooftops. The only reasonable conclusion is that Costello and the IRSP were not Maoists.

    But even on its own terms it doesn’t offer a persuasive argument. Why if there was an identification with Maoism was the PLA name dropped for the INLA and in a very short period of time? Why not take on other Maoist aspects of organisation and ideology? Yet they didn’t. Or re Jim Lynagh, what actual proof is there that other than a rather vague rhetoric about Tet (which simply didn’t line up with the actual Tet offensive in Vietnam) that there was any Maoist influence at all? One can actually see a much more obvious adherence to Irish War of Independence thinking (which would have failed miserably in the mid 1980s).

    Taking the people who produced the above, around their actions around housing I’ve nothing but respect, that said personally I think the document takes a very unusual reading of Irish left history and one which, to be honest, is deeply and profoundly incorrect on some basic points – not in relation to its ideology (which is entirely its own business) but rather in the way the document attempts to rope in people who could not be seriously described as Maoists (and have not been by the by in histories of them hitherto). Now my attitude is that I can still respect people who hold attitudes or approaches that are incorrect but I or anyone has the right to offer a critique of them.

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  • By: entdinglichung Tue, 27 Dec 2022 21:20:46

    In reply to WorldbyStorm.

    think it was mentioned in “The Lost Revolution” that the SWM was seriously thinking of joining the IRSP around 74, they wouldn’t have done it when they would have sensed strong traces of Maoism

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 27 Dec 2022 22:35:51

    In reply to entdinglichung.

    +1

    Or Bernadette McAliksey.

    It also makes not a whit of sense in the context of OSF – talking about this with someone who would know better than I their rad was of all in OSF it was Eoin OMurchu and some around him who were most closely interested in it who were v hostile to Costello and all of whom decamped to the orthodoxy of the Moscow oriented CPI. In any case Goulding also made approaches to Beijing with Costello but somehow he’s not included in the Maoist family. Then again he and Costello and the rest made a number of representations to other states.

    This has a bit more detail.

    Click to access mao-ira.pdf

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  • By: Colm B Wed, 28 Dec 2022 12:17:58

    In reply to Red Menace.

    Redmouse, Im afraid it takes years training to be able to post a sarcastic comment on a blog and engage in activism at the same time.

    I think I’ve just about got the basics but no doubt if I follow your shining light I will eventually master it.

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  • By: roddy Wed, 28 Dec 2022 18:02:21

    By the time I think up a good sarcastic comment ,I have forgotten the subject that I wanted to be sarcastic about.

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  • By: Soandso Mon, 02 Jan 2023 21:23:41

    In reply to WorldbyStorm.

    That Jim Lynagh was inspired by Maoist military strategy was reported in the media at the time and mentioned also in Toby Harnden’s Bandit Country.

    Also, it’s hard not to notice that all the commentary is about the first article. Could it be nobody bothered to read anything else? Surely not!

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 02 Jan 2023 21:38:59

    In reply to Soandso.

    But saying he was inspired (to what extent, given we also read from accounts he used flying column and other terms drawn from our own history?) is completely different to being a Maoist let alone supposedly having a Maoist cadre in PIRA.

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