Socialist Workers’ Movement Annual Conference 1993, Conference Bulletin No. 1
Organisation: Socialist Workers' Movement
Type:Conference Report
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

2nd January 2024

This document, one of a series, outlines General Perspectives on the political situation prior to the SWM Annual Conference.

The SWM holds its Annual Conference every year at this time. Confererence is the highest body of the SWM. It is at conference that policy is decided and the Political Committee is elected.

The Annual Conference is a meeting of all members ot the SWM. Every member should make every possible effort to attend to hear and join in on the discussions and take your part in decision making.

Conference Bulletins like this are produced in the weeks leading up to Conference to prepare the discussion. Any member may have an article printed in the bulletin. Members are particularly encouraged to report their experiences of interest from their branch. Any member may submit a motion for discussion at conference and it will be circulated in a Conference Bulletin.

This bulletin contains the Political Committee’s document on General Perspectives. This looks at the state of the world internationally and at home and proposes the priorities for the year ahead. All branches should organise discussions on this theme in the next couple of weeks.

The piece on General Perspectives examines The Economic Crisis, the Political Crisis, The Left, The Irish Domestic Situation, the Tasks Ahead and Summation. The document concludes:

It’s time to change gear. The downturn of the eighties is gone. We cannot yet speak of an upturn in mass struggles, but a new mood of bitterness and anger exist and the emer­gence of large scale struggles in the not too distant future is on the agenda. The other side are in dead trouble: their economies are in crisis; they have no explanations that satisfy themselves, let alone masses of the exploited and oppressed; Imperialism is in crisis, seek­ing to re-assert it’s control in the New World Order, but divided among themselves and fearful that their interventions will end in tears. We have got the monkey of stalinism of our backs. It’s now our tum to say to the enthusiasts of the free-market “Go back to Russia!”. Larger number’s of people are pre­pared to give our politics a hearing.

Our task ahead is to continue the impetus on recruitment while consolidating and inte­grating those recruits. If we grasp the oppor­tunities we can have a party of200+ revolu­tionaries in the next year or so -something that has never existed in Ireland And grasp­ing the opportunities is exactly what our work over the next year is about.

As the Introduction notes:

Bulletin Number two will contain among other things, material on the North and reports from the branches.

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  • By: banjoagbeanjoe Mon, 01 Jan 2024 20:15:47

    “Sinn Fein in the South have become almost invisible. Ten years ago in the depths of the downturn and in the aftermath of the H Block attraction campaign. it could act as a pole of to disaffected youth, ex-Lefties etc.
    The complete failute to make gains electorally
    in the South and failure of its nationalist
    preoccupation to connect with the concerns
    of Southern workers have left it an irrelevant
    group in the Republic today. …. In the
    South Sinn Fein has disintegrated.”

    Probably a fair enough diagnosis of the state of SF in the south in 1993. What a change since then! Had SF heads by then come to the same conclusion about the “failure of its nationalist preoccupation to connect with the concerns of Southern workers”? And did they reorient to on-the-ground activism around the concerns of workers and is that how they transformed into the electoral powerhouse they are now? If so, I guess the GFA and peace and the end of the IRA campaign helped greatly, freed them up to focus on day-to-day bread and butter stuff.

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  • By: James Monaghan Mon, 01 Jan 2024 20:32:39

    In reply to banjoagbeanjoe.

    Imo the Concerned Parents gave a breakthrough in workingclass areas. To the communities blighted by drugs, SF activists in the Concerned Parents were doing something. And the fact that SF activists had tough reputations deterred the crime lords from tackling them. They recruited quite a few leftist activists as well who spearheaded this strategy.
    The end of a the armed campaign which was going nowhere began the evolution of SF.
    Two separate layers of Peoples Democracy joined as well, figuring SF’s workingclass orientation was real and should be oriented too. They joined as individuals and never appeared as more or less leftwing than the rest of SF.
    I would add that in social composition SF then was very workingclass compared to the far left competition and especially Labour. The Labour base in workingclass areas had disappeared by then. Even now on the verge of power, it is the most workingclass part in composition in both parts of Ireland.

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  • By: banjoagbeanjoe Mon, 01 Jan 2024 20:44:33

    In reply to James Monaghan.

    Somehow my memory is that the Concerned Parents Against Drugs thing was petering out by 1993. Had its heyday more in the late eighties. Maybe I’m wrong.
    And there’s certainly a study to be made there… SF-led CPAD activism got popular support for sure in the most deprived communities in Ireland, but electoral success didn’t necessarily follow, even in those communities. But what did SF do that expanded their support to the 30% of the population it has now? Maybe it didn’t have to do much… just let the mainstream parties fail completely on housing and over time SF became the only real alternative.

    Agree completely though that SF is the most working class in composition of all the parties in Ireland. In areas especially that I would describe as traditional working class – local authority estates.

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  • By: alanmyler Mon, 01 Jan 2024 22:02:36

    In reply to banjoagbeanjoe.

    “But what did SF do that expanded their support to the 30% of the population it has now?”

    There was the small matter of the Provo ceasefire. A necessary but not sufficient condition of course.

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  • By: banjoagbeanjoe Mon, 01 Jan 2024 23:13:37

    In reply to alanmyler.

    Yep, for sure.

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  • By: bumper Tue, 02 Jan 2024 00:53:50

    In reply to banjoagbeanjoe.

    CPAD was an 80s, as the crisis returned with a vengeance in the mid 90s there was COCAD (Coalition of of Communities Against Drugs), and ICON (Inner City Organisations Network). The latter emphasised increased resources to help addicts, COCAD was more CPAD mk 2 and attracted similar Garda attention, and prosecutions after the killing of Josie Dwyer in Basin St in May 1996.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 02 Jan 2024 08:02:33

    In reply to alanmyler.

    +1 Think that was a very crucial element – and then thirty odd years of work in communities etc (longer in various instances).

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