Suggested Reading For Republican Socialists




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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