Archive for October, 2014

The Summary Execution of Milton Hall by US Police

Posted in Milton Hall, SUMMARY EXECUTION with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: The Free Thought Project

Saginaw, MI — The gruesome dashcam video of a summary execution of a mentally ill man by police has been released to the public this week.

The video shows six police officers, in firing squad fashion, execute mentally ill, Milton Hall, in broad daylight in a Saginaw parking lot.

Hall was several meters away from the closest police officer when the shots began. He posed very little threat to the officers as he was armed with a small pocket knife and could have easily been brought down with a taser.

Six Saginaw police officers fired 47 times at the 49-year-old Hall, striking him 11 times. Police claim Hall acted aggressively, according to then-Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael D. Thomas.

The video was obtained by the ACLU from the family of Hall. It provides a more detailed depiction of the incident that day than the original cellphone footage. 

According to the Huffington Post, the ACLU presented the police dashboard footage to representatives of the Organization of American States on Monday in an attempt to pressure the federal government to take another look at Hall’s death.

The shooting was “not only reckless, but clearly unjust, and also grossly violated Milton Hall’s human right to life,” Fancher said.

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and the FBI announced their joint decision on Feb. 25.

“After a thorough investigation, federal authorities have determined that this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to lead to a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved,” a news release stated.

What do you think? Was the force used by Saginaw police in the above video “justifiable”?

Just in case you answered yes to the above question, here is an example of police in the UK handling a man with two very large knives. Amazingly enough, no one was killed.

Kindly re-blogged courtesy of The Free Thought Project

Reject Imperialism, Reject The Poppy

Posted in Imperialism, The poppy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

A few years back, there was an article that received considerable publicity from an individual who claimed to be an Irish Republican but who also stated that they would now be wearing a British Legion poppy.  It is no-one’s right to dictate what a person can or can not wear, but we certainly can define what an Irish Republican is and it has since turned out that the individual was in fact a constitutional nationalist, rather than an Irish Republican.  Traditional Republicans and indeed Irish Republican Socialists will not be availing of the British Legion’s emblems for all too obvious reasons

In the Ireland, the poppy and the British Legion are inseparable from reactionary Unionism and British militarism.  In practice, many British Legion Clubs in the north of Ireland are often little more than Loyalist drinking shebeens.  Remembrance Day parades are in effect just another date in the Loyal Orders marching calendar, with more often than  not the standard Loyalist supremacist band leading their November militarist pageant in homage to British imperialism’s global bloody pillage, rape, slavery and murder.  Socialists of all hues should have real ideological problems remembering the wholesale slaughter and waste of lives in two World Wars and countless other imperialist campaigns, by commemorating the dead in the same spirit of jingoist militarism, that caused the tragedies of the World Wars in the first place!

Over in England, veterans of a Socialist or pacifist worldview now tend to wear a white poppy, or none at all.  Some of these veterans do attend the British Legion events in Britain, though do not march in military formation but hold their own commemorations.  Many who fought in World War Two certainly felt they were fighting Fascism, but that was arguably not the real rationale behind the conflict or indeed the causus beli .

World War One, often bizarrely described as ‘The Great War’ (it certainly was not ‘great’ for the millions of combatants or civilians who were butchered or maimed) was an obscenity to humanity which saw the triumph of militarism over the altruistic hopes for a better world, that were gaining popularity at that time, not dominated by the Great Powers but by international class unity.   No-one should be denied the right to remember their war dead, in whatever way they feel, as long as it does not cause widespread offence to the majority of people.  The tragedy and misplaced bravery of the World War One combatants is aptly summed up in the description of the working-class conscript soldiers led to certain slaughter in the world’s first mechanised war by Generals more used to fighting poorly armed colonial insurgents, as being, lions led by donkeys.  In effect, they were mere Malthusian cannon-fodder for imperialist brigands whose hands were thrust so deeply into each others’ proverbial pockets via systems of alliances, that war was an inevitable consequence, if not their prime objective.  Harry Patch, the recently deceased last surviving English soldier who fought in World War One,  aptly described imperialist wars in general and World War One specifically, by stating,

“War is organised murder and nothing else…… It was not worth it, it was not worth one let alone all the millions”

Unfortunately, similar imperialist adventures, that the British Legion are commemorating each year in November, are still sadly being continued globally in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in contemporary times, as make no mistake about it, war is a multi-Billion Dollar industry making the rich even richer and depleting a portion of what they would see as the ‘surplus population.’ Furthermore, Britain has yet to become the land fit for heroes, as the Beveridge generation hoped. Many of today’s war veterans are still living in poverty, dreading fuel bills, depending on meagre benefits while the rich just keep on getting richer.  Vindicating Henry Joy McCracken’s observation that,

“the rich will always betray the poor!”

Bloody Sunday

If the truth be told, in the vast majority of the country, Ireland is not ready for commemorations which showcase the British Army and all it’s imperialist trappings.  It would be as unacceptable and insensitive as permitting the same imperialist power to hold  pageants praising their military jingoism in the Indian city of Amritsar where they were responsible for the massacre at the Golden temple of the Sikh religion.  These militaristic pageants effectively honour the same British Army that along with countless outrages it committed in Ireland, massacred 14 Irish civilians in Derry in 1972 as they were peacefully marching for civil rights.  The British Legion’s Remembrance Day ceremonies honouring the British army leave a bad taste in the mouth when Irish citizens remember that it was the same regiments they honour who dragged thousands of Irish men and women from their homes to intern, torture and imprison them in concentration camps and who still illegally occupy 6 counties in the north of the country.  The reasons for not wearing pro-British imperialist symbols like the British Legion’s poppy is over 800 years old and there is no discernable appetite from Irish citizens to look favourably upon them.


Alex McGuigan

Notes on Ta Power

Posted in Alex McGuigan, Ta Power, Ta Power Document with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars



Firstly to explain how the Ta Power document came about, we need to outline a little about Thomas ‘Ta’ Power’s background and his political journey.  At the age of 33, he was assassinated by the IPLO along with John O’Reilly, at the Rossnaree Hotel outside Drogheda. Ironically, he and O’Reilly had gone to the hotel to reach an agreement with the IPLO.   Hailing from from Friendly Street in the Markets area of south Belfast, Ta Power had originally been in the Official IRA but joined the INLA in 1975 while a prisoner in the Cages of  Long Kesh.  Noted for having later spent the longest time on remand (4 years and 4 months) on the word of ‘Supergrass’ Harry Kirkpatrick, he was also held on the evidence of five different Supergrasses, and had just been released from Crumlin Road prison a short time before he was killed.Thomas Power was widely regarded as a theorist and thinker within republican circles and was highly respected within his community and among Republicans belonging to different movements.

The Ta Power document is part history and part analysis on the Republican Socialist Movement.  He also pulls few punches in his analysis and it can be argued he was so bruntly fearless in his critique that he wanted to radicalise the movement into multi-faceted revolutionary political action.

Part one of the document is a broad history of the IRSM, which was formed out of the Official Republican movement in 1974.  In 1969, Power argued that Costello saw the Officials at the time of the ‘split’ as possessing ‘the best possible conditions existing for the development of a revolution movement.” However after the state-sanctioned killing of the militant, Joe McCann, a respected OIRA Volunteer, in 1972 and the ceasefire which followed, Costello stated that should have left the Official Republican movement there and then, instead of trying to work inside the officials and try and change them.  Power believed correctly that Costello hated splits. Costello believed that they led to demoralisation, acrimony and possible feuds. This was not only prophetic in Costello’s analysis but also in Power’s!  Both assassinations, following their respective parting of the ways from former comrades were much to the severe determent of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.  Seamus Costello formed the IRSP and the INLA at a conference at the Spa Hotel, Lucan in 1974.  Power then points out his analysis as to the difference between the various Republican movements of the time, which are reproduced here:

  • The OFFICIAL’S approach to the national question was basically that it couldn’t be resolved until the Protestant and the Catholic working class “united”, that the six counties could be democratised, that a bill of rights was needed etc.  This position ruled out the national liberation struggle, it ignored the fundamentally sectarian nature of the six county state-let and how the Brits through this maintained their rule and influence over the entire country.
  • PROVISIONALS: At this time they still had a one-sided concentration on the national question, they were still controlled by the old traditional leadership which advocated a “federal solution” which Adams was later to refer to as “a sop to Loyalists.” They concentrated on the military effort to the exclusion of revolutionary socialist politics throughout Ireland. They maintained their abstention position. Costello criticised the Provisional’s for their “elitist and conspiratorial approach” which was no substitute for the development of a peoples struggle.
  • Irish Republican Socialist Party:  Most of the following are the direct words of Seamus Costello, upon outlining the programme of the IRSP, (a) ”we must make no secret of the fact that we are a revolutionary socialist party, prepared to give leadership on the streets as well as in the elected chambers, and that we are out for a socialist republic.”  (b) “Part of that struggle for a Socialist Republic entails resolving the national liberation struggle and ending British imperialist intervention. We stand for the unity of the anti-imperialist struggle and class struggle.”   (c) “What are the vital social issues of the day? Along with the national question there exist many strands to the anti-imperialist struggle. To hold the national question above all others is to isolate oneself from the people and result in inevitable defeat. We must involve ourselves and the masses in issues, which affect them: political agitation, propaganda etc should not be confined to the six counties.”

Costello On Abstentionism 

  • There is no parliamentary road to socialism, but elected members should use such chambers as a platform for the pursuit of our policies and for achieving publicity for them, but members elected to parliament etc would have to be active in politics outside parliament, i.e. extra parliamentary and agitationary politics on the streets.
  • We see both parliamentary institutions in Ireland as institutions that have to be abolished if we are to make progress towards establishing a socialist republic.
  • When we say we are not an abstention party, we mean we are not a party, in principle, committed to abstention. But there are circumstances and conditions under which it might be desirable at any particular point in time to abstain from parliament, and if we felt it was tactically desirable then we would do so.

Ultimate Goals

  • To end imperialist rule in Ireland and establish a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic with the working class in control of the means of production, distribution and exchange.


  • The Broad Front: This advocates the maximum degree of Anti-imperialist unity. We recognise the absolute necessity of securing a constitutional solution to the present crisis, which will allow the Irish working class the freedom to pursue their interests as a class in the context of the development of normal class polities.  In our view, the first step in securing a constitutional solution, which meets this requirement, must be for Britain to concede the right of the Irish people to exercise total sovereignty over their own affairs. This objective can only be achieved through the creation of a united struggle on the part of all Anti-imperialist Organisations. We would therefore support the formation of an Irish anti-imperialist front composed of delegates from affiliated organisations who support the agreed political programme of the front.  The primary objective of the front would be to mobilise the maximum degree of support for its declared objectives throughout Ireland. The front should clearly be seen as the LEADERSHIP OF A MASS MOVEMENT against all forms of imperialist control and interference in Ireland.

The Broad front should have sufficient support and assistance from its affiliated organisations to enable it to open a head office with a full time staff. We propose the following political demands as the basis on which an Irish anti-imperialist front should organise:

  1. That Britain must renounce all claims to sovereignty over any part of Ireland or its coastal waters.
  2. That Britain must immediately disband and disarm the UDR, RUC and RUC Reserve and withdraw all troops from Ireland.
  3. That the British and 26 County Governments must immediately release all political prisoners and grant a general amnesty for all offences arising from the current conflict.
  4. That Britain must agree to compensate all that have suffered as a result of imperialist violence and exploitation in Ireland.
  5. Recognising that no country can be free and independent while it permits imperialist domination of its economic life, the anti-imperialist front, will oppose all forms of imperialist control over wealth and resources.
  6. The front rejects a federal solution and the continued existence of two separates in the 6 and 26 counties as a denial of the right of the Irish people to sovereignty and recognises that the only alternative as being the creation of a 32 democratic republic with a secular constitution.
  7. That the front demands the convening of an all Ireland constitutional conference representative of all shades of political opinion in Ireland for the purpose of discussing a democratic and secular constitution would become effective immediately following a total British military and political withdrawal from Ireland.

These were the primary differences between the IRSP, Officials, and the Provisional’s when Seamus Costello launched the party in December 1974.
Ta Power finished Part one on the death and subsequent loss to the IRSM of Seamus Costello. Here he quotes people who knew Costello and the various political roles Costello had been involved in at the time of his death. This demonstrates the severe blow his death was to the movement. This came basically as the movement was gathering pace.

  • “Seamus was the greatest follower of my father’s teachings in this generation and I hope that his example shall be followed and that his vision for Ireland will be realised in this generation” — Nora Connolly O’Brien.
  • “Seamus was the most sincere man I ever had the pleasure to know” — Father Piaras O Duill.
  • “Without a doubt he was the greatest threat to the capitalist establishment since James Connolly” — Sean Doyle.
  • “Seamus spoke for the IRSP and give a scintillating display of good humour, history, politics and hard facts. No one who listened to his three hours in the afternoon, and by unanimous demand, two hours repeat in the evening, now doubts that they will either have to shoot him or jail him or get out of his way, but they certainly won’t stop him! Costello, the revolutionary, Marxist socialist whose ambition is a secular, pluralist united socialist republic won’t go away until he gets it” — Dr Noel Browne.

From 1964 – 1974, Seamus Costello  held the positions of Adjutant General, Chief of staff and director of operations in the Official IRA and the positions of vice president of Official Sinn Fein.
From 1974 to his death on the 5th of October 1977 he held the position of Chief of staff and director of operations in INLA.
At the time of his assassination he was a member of the following bodies: Wicklow County Council, Co Wicklow Committee of Agriculture, General Council of Committees of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Development Committee, Bray Urban District Council, Bray branch of ITGWU, Bray and District Trade Union Council, of which he was president between 1976-1977, the Historical Society, and chairman of the IRSP.

Ta Power: Marxist Revolutionary

Ta Power was a committed Marxist. He quotes Costello on a number of occasions and points out that his phrase, “I owe my allegiance to the working class” as an example for all comrades to emulate. He also points out that “we must also present our vision of what revolutionary socialist state means. When we say our programme that we want to establish a 32 county socialist state with the working class in control of the means of production, distribution and exchange we must be able to decipher it for the working class to understand what it means.” That is paramount comrades, which basic economic ideology has to be understood by all comrades.Ta Power embraces the notion of a broad front, but it must be lead by the working class.

Analysis of Part Two of The Ta Power Document

In part two, Ta Power discusses, using both historical analysis of the years 1974-1981, in various parts and it’s relevance of the movement. He uses a number of contradictions,  most prominent of which is the problems associated with a party/army movement and the predominance of group ‘B’ over group ‘A’. This is a prolonged debate, in which he is fearlessly open and somewhat scathing of the culture then prevalent within the movement. It is deeply argued that his analysis is spot on here
He states that group ‘A’ by its very nature is “democratic, open structures, working openly, have its own priorities, tasks etc” where as group ‘B’ suffers from, “undemocratic, closed structures, working secretly, have its own priorities, tasks, etc.”  Ta Power is particularly scathing when the dominance of group ‘B’ is over group ‘A.’  He goes into detail of the various outcomes that can arise. Ta is scathing of the macho image of group ‘B’ in particularly in the periods of 1979-1981 and again from 1982-87.

He also states that every time there was an attempt to shift power from ‘B’ to ‘A’, this has led to failure. Perhaps he is being prophetic here, indeed it was a result of a split and power struggle within the movement that led him to being assassinated fighting the very problems he tried to overcome. Indeed again in 1996 another acrimonious split led to the death of Gino Gallagher who was also attempting to implement Ta Power’s recommendations.
Ta Power argues that a common bond should exist. He also rightly argues that that 1981 Hunger Strike was about brave Volunteers dying so that political recognition of our prisoners was restored and that it would thwart any attempt to criminalise our struggle.
“Our movement played a full and committed role in the history of this period – on the streets, the IRSP mobilised in support of the prisoners, and in the prisons our members stood steadfast and firm. Three of our movement’s finest volunteers, Pasty O Hara, Kevin Lynch and Mickey Devine lost their lives on hunger strike.”
Ta then questions why after the Hunger Strike, why the movement didn’t reach its full potential. To this he noted two short words: INTERNAL TURMOIL
He looks at the B/A relationship and decided that the wrong people took control, were in power and there was a predominance of B over A. Ta argued for proper structure and placed a ten point strategy which he argues is extremely important for the movement to implement. The ten point structure is as follows:
1: Politics in command
2: Internal democracy
3: Absolute legitimacy
4: Collective Leadership
5: Central authority
6: Coherency
7: Accountability
8: Discipline
9: Efficiency
10: Effectiveness
Ta Power argues that there has to be coherence and discipline for the 10 point structure to work, any failures will result in each aspect being affected. Furthermore Ta continues to argue that our politics should be in control, the main concern, not the army. Ta argues that Costello wanted to grow the Party, but others deemed resources be ploughed into the army. Ta cites that as the first contradiction. This led to “loss of coherency and the formation of “power blocks” and factions, loss of politics, the political ideals which make us, as a movement are not being addressed.
Power states in his second contradictions that the party is entrusted with “building a revolutionary class conscious party with a revolutionary programme for development. However, in order for this to be achieved, finances, resources time and above all revolutionary mature leadership (The AC) which understood the importance of such, a party was required.
Ta Power goes on and states that the army stifled political development of the Party and firmly believes that without the proper political vehicle no revolution can be won.

The Third contradiction is that between 1974-1977, there was no collective leadership, Power Blocks, Macho man image, all of which points to early predominance of B over A, particularly within the Belfast leadership. Politically astute leadership is required, class consciousness and education within the movement is paramount. If division and power blocks continue that can (and did) lead to disaster, it was a prophetic for Ta Power.
It is argued that Ta Power wanted an armed struggle with soldiers who were politically aware and conscious and politicians who understood the need for armed conflict against the imperialists and capitalists. “Every Solider a politician, every politician a soldier.”
In conclusion, at every stage of the history of the IRSM, Ta argued that COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP is extremely important. In all areas of the movement it has to be a democratic collective leadership has to initiate work and consciousness amongst the membership. To conclude, Ta Advocated
(1) Politics in command: A over B
(2) Principle of Collective Leadership (no one man shows)
(3) Stability (ending of factions)
This will then lead to a structure that will see the ten point theory being implemented.
How does that relate to recent developments? Well firstly, recently the movement has decided to involve itself in purely political action. The dominance is now in the court of A so to speak. The movement is still some way away from achieving the ten point structure but the right direction is being pursued.

Would Ta have welcomed the 2009 decision for group ‘B’ to leave centre stage, given the very different political climate of contemporary times?  This is hard to analyse or answer, as Ta Power is sadly not around to offer his advice and consultation.  Ta Power was no pacifist but as a revolutionary he would no doubt have been  adaptable to contemporary conditions for modes of struggle.  It could be argued that the revolutionary political road that the IRSM is currently travelling is in keeping with Ta Power’s credo of ‘politics in command’ with ‘every soldier a politician and every politician a soldier’ that he stridently advocated is closer than ever to being realised. Ta Power would certainly have advocated and supported the revolutionary education of party members and the continued fight on behalf of the working class.. He was a proud and brave INLA Volunteer, a great theoretician and political thinker. It would be a fitting tribute to him if we implement his ideals as best as we can.

To quote Ta Power, at the conclusion of his essay written 27 years ago:

“If we have achieved even part of that success, then the effort has been worthwhile.”


Boycott Topaz Fuel Stations!

Posted in Anti Water Campaign, Boycott Topaz, Dublin IRSP, IRSP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: IRSP Átha Cliath Facebook Page

A spokesperson for IRSP Átha Cliath stated on the 19th of October that:

“The Irish republican socialist party began its Boycott Topaz campaign which billionaire and capitalist Denis O’Brian added to his capitalist portfolio. The Topaz Group was purchased by Mr O’Brien using his Kendrick Investments Ltd, an Isle of Man company.  Denis O’Brien company GMC/Sierra are the main contractors for the installation of water meters in Ireland, many people simply don’t understand that by pumping their hard earned wages through Topaz garages for their daily fuel they are funding the very same companies that they are protesting against daily.

Join us every Saturday at 12 at the Topaz garages. Will will inform every body on our social media the location of the garages we intend to protest at each week. All groups and political activists welcome as well as political material.”

See IRSP Átha Cliath Facebook Page  for further announcements!


Denis O’Brien – Robber Baron

Denis O’Brien is listed in the Forbes Magazine ‘Rich list’ as number 283 of the world’s richest Billionaires.  As of today,3.55pm, 25/10/2014, his Real Time Net Worth is  $5.1 Billion!  O’Brien who describes himself as ‘the son of an activist’ says he ‘tries to operate on an 80%-business, 20%-philanthropy ethic’ .“We’re not robber barons,” he says. “We never want to be seen as someone that rips off countries.”  Obviously the citizens of Ireland and elsewhere would strongly disagree with his glowing self-description which, to put it mildly is BULLSHIT!  

Robber Baron Denis O’Brien – Arch Capitalist Exploiter and the world’s 283’rd richest person worth $5.1 Billion!

















To quote the very apt words of the the late, great Seamus Costello, co-founder of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement:

“in the long term, the lessons of history show that the robber baron must be disestablished by the same methods that he used to enrich himself and retain his ill-gotten gains, namely, force of arms. To this end we must organise, train and maintain a disciplined armed force which will always be available to strike at the opportune moment”.


The Armalite Rifle and Irish Republicanism

Posted in Armalite Rifle with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

The Armalite rifle, a civilian version of the then US military’s general issue M16 assault rifle ,  became synonymous with Irish Republicanism from 1970 onwards.  Prior to the introduction of the AR15 Armalite rifle into the IRAs arsenal of weapons, the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, had been the weapon most closely associated with the Irish Republican guerrilla fighter.  Irish Republican Ballads have been written about the Armalite, it appeared in artwork as an image of resistance and was famously incorporated into the Provisionals twin-track approach, courtesy of Danny Morrison, along with the Ballot-box, as a metaphor for the Provisionals’ Armed Struggle.

Danny Morrison, in duffle coat, who coined the phrase ‘Armalite & Ballot Box’

Prior to the arrival of the Armalite AR-15 in the 1970’s, Irish Republicans were increasingly out-gunned by their opponents in the British Army and the RUC.  Republicans were relying on old favourites, such as the Thompson Sub-machine gun, which was cumbersome, using heavy .45 ACP rounds, was fairly inaccurate and difficult to control on select fire. Their aging stock of American Garand M1 rifles and old Lee Enfield .303 rifles, were ill-suited for modern urban guerrilla warfare.  Prior to the introduction of the Ar-15, M1 Carbines were arguably the IRA rifle best suited to the urban theatre of war they increasingly found themselves fighting in.

The Irish Republican guerrillas heavily armed opposition in the British Army, in the 1970’s, were using the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR), based on the Belgian FN, as their general issue rifle.  British regiments also used Sterling L2A3 Sub-machine gun (until it’s phasing out in 1988), also  Light Machine Guns, such as the Bren and General Purpose machine gun (Gimpy) and sniper rifles based on the Lee Enfield, often referred to as the ‘jungle carbine’.   The many undercover or Special forces regiments, such as the MRF and SAS who were engaging the IRA in the early 1970’s were using a variety of weapons, including pump-action combat shotguns, Ingram Sub-machine pistols, Sterling SMG’s, a variety of captured weapons and by the late 1970’s, were armed with many variants of the AR-15 itself.  Their allies in the RUC were also armed with Sterling SMGs. The RUC’s principle long arm in the pre, and very early 1970’s were Lee Enfield Rifles, which were quickly replaced by variants of the M1 Carbine and by the 1980s, Ruger Mini 14 carbines, later followed by a variety of Heckler and Koch made weapons.

Brendan Hughes












The late Brendan Hughes is credited with introducing the Armalite rifle into Irish Republican arsenals.  According to his memoirs, published in the book Voices From The Grave, Brendan Hughes saw a brochure for the Armalite and instantly recognized that it would be a weapon ideally suited for the urban guerrilla warfare that the IRA found themselves fighting in 1970’s Belfast especially.  According to the late Brendan Hughes:

“it must have been late 1970, a seaman came off the QE2 with this booklet. It was about this weapon called the Armalite – the AR-15. It folded, it could be dumped in water, and we were fascinated by this weapon. The Ar-15 came in first and then the AR-18, the 18 had the folding butt. We all fell in love with this weapon.”

Hughes personally travelled to the USA, ironically on the orders of Belfast Brigade OC, Gerry Adams, to specifically acquire AR15s from Noraid supporters, circumventing the usual weapons procurement procedures, which were controlled by the Dublin centred GHQ.  According to Hughes, Dublin based GHQ figures had still been requesting aging battle rifles such as the Garand Mi and it’s smaller ‘cousin’ the M1 Carbine, contrary to Belfast’s requirements.  The late Joe Cahill had even sent word to Noraid in the USA that Hughes was to be sent home but he remained adamant that he was not returning, without first acquiring Ar-15s!

The first batch of AR-15s, around twenty seven of them, acquired legitimately in the USA from licensed gun-shops, arrived back in Belfast via Southampton docks, courtesy of the QE2.  As Brendan Hughes recalled:

“The Armalites made all the difference, not just in the Lower Falls, but in Belfast, and I loved them.  I loved the Armalite.  They were so compact, so easy to fire, so easy to maintain, not like the old rifles like the Garand, the .303 – they had to be oiled all the time.  Armalites were much easier to handle.”

By the end of the 1970’s, the Armalite had become the Irish Republican weapon of choice.   Graffiti appeared on gable walls of working class Republican ghettos proclaiming, with some justification:

“God created the Irish. The Armalite made us equal!”

It is easy to see how well suited to urban guerrilla warfare and popular the various Ar-15 models became with Irish Republicans.  The Armalite weighed as little as 5lbs but had a cyclic rate of up to 800 rounds per minute, had a muzzle velocity of 3,200 ft/second and an effective range of 600 yards.  There was little training or maintenance required with the Armalite, making it the perfect urban guerrilla weapon, which could be readily concealed by virtue of a collapsible butt and a barrel length of less than 15 inches, in some models.

  The AK Overtakes The Armalite?

THe INLA with an Ak rifle (also a handgun and a Ruger Carbine)

By the late 1980’s, Kalashnikov assault rifle variants, with their distinctive banana magazine more or less overtook the Armalite, as the weapon most closely associated with Irish Republican guerrillas.  This was no doubt due to the large stocks of Kalashnikov type rifles arriving in Ireland courtesy, of Libya which made the AK a near de facto Provisional IRA standard issue rifle.  The Kalashnikov also had a worldwide mystique as the weapon of choice for Leftist guerrilla armies, combined with it’s Eastern Bloc lineage.

Increasingly, Irish Republican propaganda footage featured armed volunteers brandishing AK47 type rifles and the Kalashnikov arguably replaced the Armalite as a symbol of resistance, especially on political wall murals in Republican areas.  It is debatable whether the Kalashnikov type rifles were a better weapon compared to the Armalite, but what is beyond debate is that there certainly appeared to be a lot more of them!

In conclusion, the Armalite rifle played a significant role in Irish Republican resistance,  propaganda and folklore.  No other symbolism, apart from perhaps the Phoenix, was so closely associated with the nascent 1970’s Provisionals, as the Armalite rifle.  A Technological Determinist approach could very well argue that the Armalite played it’s part in shaping and perhaps even prolonging the early guerrilla conflict in the North of Ireland. However, what is without doubt is that the Armalite rifle was a formidable weapon in the hands of Republican activists and was without doubt the perfect implement, in the close quarters, largely urban guerrilla warfare of the 1970’s and beyond.

By Alex McGuigan

Belfast IRSP Join with Today’s Anti-Austerity March in the City

Posted in A Pay Rise For All, Anti-Austerity, ICTU, Ireland, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSM, IRSP, Solidarity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: IRSP News 18/10/2014



The Irish Republican Socialist Party in the Belfast joined with over a thousand fellow Socialists and Trades Unionists at a Congress organised rally against austerity measures at Writers’ Square in the city before marching through the city centre, around City Hall then finishing off at Donegal Street.  The very positive march was well received by the general public in Belfast City Centre on a busy shopping day.  The only minor incident was when right-wing Loyalist ‘flag protesters’ from the safety of the gated grounds of City Hall shouted sectarian comments at the march in general and the IRSP in particular.  However, they were roundly ignored by all.  Needless to say none of the pro-establishment parties or their ginger groups, who are facilitating and rubber stamping cuts and austerity measures, saw fit to join with the organised working-class today..

It is a goes without saying that the IRSP whose politics are anti-capitalist, pro-working-class and anti-imperialist will continue to fight against Westminster’s, Stormont’s and Leinster House’s draconian offensives against ordinary working people.  The IRSP concurs with Republican Socialism’s ideological forefather, James Connolly, when he stated over a century ago, words that are are as applicable in today’s unequal society,that,

“Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class”


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Saoirse go deo!

By Alex McGuigan

Suggested Reading For Republican Socialists

Posted in Irish Republican Socialism, Reading list with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars




By Alex McGuigan

When choosing a reading list, let’s remember we all aren’t academics, in fact few of us are, we don’t need to use ‘big words’ when a more familiar one will do.  James Connolly (although an accomplished Marxist theorist) used the this approach and if it was good enough a method for Connolly it will certainly suit us!  The process of learning should not be to spout theory and talk down to people from some academic Ivory Tower, nothing will alienate ordinary people more than that elitist approach!  The aim of learning should be to achieve what Marx and subsequent Marxists’ described as Praxis.  Praxis is the combination of theory and practice and it’s achievement is the tried and tested recipe for great socialist activists.   For instance, the author and others have been taught at University by accomplished ‘academic Marxists’ whose knowledge on the subject was second to none but  that’s exactly what it was, an academic subject.  I hope I am not being too harsh by stating that it is unlikely that they ever stood at a picket line, a protest, campaigned on working class issues or ever lifted a stone (or anything else) in defence of the working class or their community!


A famous revolutionary educationalist called Paulo Freire, rubbished accepted methods of teaching as a ‘banking method’ of education, In his famous book ‘The Pedagogy of the Oppressed’,  He basically stated that none of us are ’empty vessels’ no matter what our educational status or lack of it is, we all equally bring something to the table through our life experiences.  We all have something to contribute through our life experiences and we learn from each other through the facilitation of communal education, rather by learning by rote, like we did with, eg, our 10 times tables!


The list below of 15 titles and sources is far from exhaustive but will give anyone interested in Irish Republican Socialism a basic grounding in the ideas that have become known as ‘Republican Socialism’ whose basic premise is that the class struggle both domestically and internationally in conjunction with the struggle for national liberation are one and the same, as our goal is a 32 county Worker’s Republic, not a Gombeen state like the 26 counties with the 6 counties grafted on to it.  We are international Socialists, not narrow nationalists:

  1. Marx For Beginners by Rius
  2. Lenin For Beginners by Richard Appignansi
  3. Ireland For Beginners by Phil Evans and Eileen Pollock
  4. The Ta Power Document
  5. The Life and Times of James Connolly by C. Desmond Greaves
  6. The James Connolly Archive
  7. Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution by Alan Woods
  8. James Connolly’s Collected Works edited by Michael O’Riordan
  9. Background and General History of the IRSM
  10. Blood in my Eye by George Jackson
  11. Combat Liberalism by Mao Tse Tung
  12. Seamus Costello Archive
  13. The War of The Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare by Richard Taber
  14. Smashing H Block by F. Stuart Ross
  15. Guerrilla Warfare by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara



As stated above, the reading list is far from exhaustive or indeed comprehensive but it is a starting point for those willing to learn.  It would be unrealistic to expect anyone to read these titles in quick succession, they are merely suggestions.  Again to quote Paulo Freire on the process of learning, it can be the means to not just personal liberation but liberation on a wider scale:

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it!” – Karl Marx

alex on km tomb


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