A podcast looking at Left politics in Ireland from the Irish Left Archive.
We talk to activists, writers, historians, politicians and others involved in Left organisations and movements about their experiences of participating in Left parties and campaigns; Left publications and political documents they’ve been involved in; and the history and development of progressive politics in Ireland. We also look at the role of the Irish Left Archive and similar informal projects.
The podcast is hosted by Ciarán Swan and Aonghus Storey.
In this episode, we’re joined by Charles Tuba to discuss Seán Swan’s book, Official Irish Republicanism, 1962 to 1972, and the issues it raises around changing views of Republicanism, and the period leading to and following the Republican split in 1969. The book was published in 2007, and listeners who haven’t read it will find a chapter available for free on the CAIN website.Episode 25
In this episode we talk to Allan Armstrong. Allan has been an activist on the Left in Scotland since the late 1960s. He was a member of the International Socialists (later the Socialist Workers’ Party) during the 1970s and was a convenor of Scottish Rank & File Teachers, leaving the SWP when it sought to dissolve the latter group. As a part of the Red Republicans, he was involved in the foundation of the Scottish Socialist Alliance, which became the Scottish Socialist Party. Within the SSP, he was part of the Republican Communist Network, which disaffiliated from the SSP in 2012. With the RCN, Allan is active in the Radical Independence Campaign, and the recently formed Republican Socialist Platform.Episode 24
In this episode we talk to Lynda Walker. Lynda has been a political activist in Belfast since moving there from her native Sheffield in 1969. She is a long-standing member of the Communist Party of Ireland, and served as National Chairperson of the party from 2006 to 2017. She was active in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, and was instrumental in founding the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement in 1975 and the establishment of Belfast Women’s Centre. Lynda is also an active Trade Unionist, on Belfast Trades Council, and represented ICTU as a Commissioner in the Equal Opportunities Commission. In the 1990s she was a founding member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, and stood as a candidate. In 2010 she helped form Reclaim the Agenda, a women’s organisation committed to radical change.Episode 23
In this episode we talk to Terry Dunne. As an activist, Terry has been involved in anarchist groups, and the anti-war, environmental and social justice movements. Terry has a PhD in sociology and an interest in the historical sociology of social movements. He has written particularly on agrarian social movements, and his work has been published in journals such as Saothar, Critical Historical Studies and Rural History. Terry also writes and hosts the Peelers and Sheep: Rebel Tales from the Land podcast.Episode 22
In this episode we talk to Ciara Galvin. Ciara is a Labour party councillor in Kildare for the Celbridge Local Electoral Area. She has been a member of Labour since 2010, and was involved in Labour Youth, serving as Trade Union Co-ordinator. She was elected to Kildare County Council in the 2019 local elections. Outside her local council role, Ciara works for SIPTU in the Workers’ Rights Centre.Episode 21
In this episode we talk to David Costelloe. David writes on history and politics on his website Never Felt Better, and in particular has written an extensive series of articles on Irish military history entitled “Ireland’s Wars”, which spans from the earliest recorded conflicts on the island right up to the revolutionary period.Episode 20
In this episode we talk to Brian Hanley about his experience of Left activism as a member of the Socialist Workers Movement (SWM) in the late 1980s and early 90s. We discuss the cultural and political influences that led him to join the SWM as a teenager in Limerick; the nature and political position of the organisation at that time; the experience of being an active member; and how the SWM changed and grew during that period.Episode 19
In this episode we talk to Danny Morrison. Danny is a writer and Republican political activist from West Belfast. He was national director of publicity for Sinn Féin in the 1980s, and editor, first, of the Sinn Féin paper Republican News in Belfast, and then of An Phoblacht when the two papers were merged. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction works. He is also secretary of the Bobby Sands Trust, and was chair of the West Belfast festival, Féile an Phobail, until 2014.Episode 18
In this episode we talk to Sarah Clancy. Sarah is a poet and activist from Galway, and currently based in Clare. Her published collections include Stacey and the Mechanical Bull in 2011, Thanks for Nothing, Hippies in 2012, and The Truth and Other Stories in 2014. Sarah has often performed her work both at literary and at political events.Episode 17
In this episode we talk to Laura Broxson. Laura is an activist focused on animal rights and founder of the National Animal Rights Association (NARA). NARA is a non-hierarchical organisation, taking a radical animal rights and vegan perspective. We’ll discuss how Laura came to activism and founding NARA; the anti-fur and hare-coursing campaigns in which she’s been involved; different methods of campaigning, from street protest to legislative change; cooperation and interaction with Left parties and organisations; and how Laura integrates animal rights campaigning in a wider anti-fascist, anti-capitalist and Left perspective.Episode 16