Archive for January, 2015

Bloody Sunday March for Justice – 1 February 2015 Derry

Posted in Bloddy Sunday with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


Source: Bloody Sunday March For Justice Website

The march will leave Creggan shops at 2.30 pm sharp and will makes it way over the original route ending up at Guildhall Square in Derry City Centre. Guest speakers are the Reverend Osagyefo Sekou from Missouri USA and the anti-austerity, anti-water charges Dublin TD Clare Daly.

In keeping with this year’s theme of Resist! various groups and campaigns will be represented on the day in a show of solidarity and also to highlight their concerns whether it be the state of the current murder investigation into the deaths on Bloody Sunday 1972 or more recent opposition to water charges in the South, the impending impact of welfare cuts in the North or the continuing persecution of the people of Gaza or indeed the ongoing racist behaviour by US state police against black communities right across America today.

Source: Bloody Sunday March for Justice Website

There is also a full and diverse programme of events organised by the Bloody Sunday March Committee during the week leading up to Sunday’s march which can be accessed via this link!

All freedom loving people should attend the March For Justice!


The images of the 14 unarmed victims murdered on Bloody Sunday in Derry, 1972 by the British Army: Patrick (‘Paddy’) Doherty (31), Gerald Donaghey (17), John (‘Jackie’) Duddy (17), Hugh Gilmour (17), Michael Kelly (17), Michael McDaid (20), Kevin McElhinney (17), Bernard (‘Barney’) McGuigan (41), Gerald McKinney (35), William (‘Willie’) McKinney (26), William Nash (19), James (‘Jim’) Wray (22), John Young (17), John Johnston (59)


The Life and Beliefs of an Irish Working Class Patriot: Seamus Costello, 1939 – 1977

Posted in Seamus Costello with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


This project was completed  by an 18 year old student called Fergal Twomey, which is very impressive for a student of that age.  It was sent to me for consideration to publish as an article which I accepted.  All the views, terminology, sources, etc are solely the work of Fergal, (with a few very minor edits by myself).


Define and Justify:
An exposition of the life and beliefs of Seamus Costello form the central component of this project. Costello had a profound impact on the political environment of Ireland, and the reverberations of his actions have left a continuing mark. Costello was a socialist republican political figure, and a militant republican in the tradition of Tone, Pearse and Connolly.
Aim of Study/Project:
To provide a fresh and encapsulating exposition of Costello’s life, and importantly, the beliefs he lived that life for. There has been no book published yet today which focuses primarily on Costello’s life, which tackles both the personal achievements and failings of the man, as well as his crucial ideals.
Few modern accounts of The Troubles provide detailed or thorough information about a man who, taken in context, essentially embodied the intricacies of Republicanism in Ireland.  One of the reasons I chose Seamus Costello was to make good this absence in Irish Historical-Political literature. I think that a man who cared so sincerely, who organized so tirelessly, and gave so much of himself for something greater than himself, deserves more than anything else, to have his story told.

Intended Approach:
I intend to approach the story of Seamus Costello through sources which are primary, or at the very least, close to primary. I plan on using different sources for different spheres of information. For the practical activities carried out by Costello, and the terrible events leading to his death, as well as information on his early life, I seek to use ‘INLA – Deadly Divisions’ by Jack Holland and Henry McDonald. I planned to highlight aspects of his personality and intrinsic beliefs using information from interviews, and more detailed descriptions of his political impact using the Irish Republican Socialist Party Website.

How I will research this project:
• Holland, Jack and McDonald, Henry “INLA – Deadly Divisions: The Story of one of Ireland’s Most Ruthless Terrorist Organisations” Published in 1994 by Torc.
• Interview conducted with Mary McClure over a period lasting from the 3rd of January, 2014 to the 24th of March, 2014.
• Irish Republican Socialist Party website contains information on Costello: (Page Last Modified: 09 June 2010 09:11:35)

Evaluation of the Sources:
1. INLA: Deadly Divisions is a secondary source.  One of the strengths of the book is the high quality and thoroughness of its research, combined with a unique level of insight on behalf of the authors. One drawback for the purposes of my research is that the novel primarily focuses on the Irish National Liberation Army and the paramilitary aspect of the Republican Socialist movement, and the majority of the book is written about the develop of the IRSP/INLA after the death of Seamus Costello. This means only a part of the book is useful to me. In addition to this, there is a possibility of bias, as one of the authors, Henry MacDonald, is a BBC Correspondent and a former member of Sinn Fein: The Worker’s Party. This, along with charged language like ‘Terrorists’ leads me to believe that the authors may have possessed a foregone conclusion on the movement when writing the book.

2. I interviewed Mary McClure over Facebook on the subject of Seamus Costello from January to March, 2014.  Mary was a personal friend of Seamus Costello and a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, and as such is an invaluable primary source of information relating to Costello and the IRSP.   Mary also provided several documents relating to Costello and the political theories of the early IRSP which proved very informative.  Mary provided a personal insight into the character and personality of Costello which would not have been possible otherwise.
“I owe my allegiance to the working class.”
There are few stories in politics like that of Seamus Costello.  Born into an Ireland bitterly divided by civil strife, both class-based and national, Costello would forge a political movement by sheer willpower and tireless dedication – a movement which would leave a legacy reaching far beyond his own life.  The astounding impact of the Republican Socialist movement – formed in the Spa Hotel in Lucan by a small group of activists one fateful day, December 1974 – still reverberates throughout the current political climate of Ireland.  While others succumbed to sectarianism, Costello pushed earnestly forward.  Inspired by the writings of Connolly and Marx, driven by the sacrifice of Tone, he would link socialism and physical force republicanism in a combination never before witnessed.
Where does the story of this man’s extraordinary life begin?  Costello was born into an affluent family in Old Connaught Avenue, Bray in 1939.  Mary McClure describes his family life as different to that of Connolly,

“Seamus was a socialist because he saw the wrongs that really created the divisions in society. He saw the poverty of Ireland firstly when he was at National School. He did not grow up in that poverty. The Costelloes were what could be loosely termed middle class.”
His environment was a politically charged one and INLA: Deadly Divisions describes his introduction to Republicanism coming about as a result of him reading an account of the arrest of Cathal Goulding in an arms raid prior to the Border Campaign.  At the age of fourteen, Costello was already a staunch devotee to the tenets of militant republicanism.   The IRSP website biography of Costello references his official introduction coming at the age of 15, when he applied to join Sinn Fein after acquiring a copy of the organisation’s newspaper, ‘The United Irishman’. Costello was told to ‘come back next year’, and upon doing so, entered the ranks of the IRA.  Costello was catapulted into action in the Border Campaign of 1956 – 1962.  The Border Campaign was an ill-fated endeavour to break the British occupation in the North through attacks on RUC barracks and other British institutions. While the campaign failed in achieving its goals and resulted in the imprisonment and deaths of many republicans, most famously Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, it served the vital purpose of keeping Republicanism alive and in the minds of a new generation.
Costello became known as ‘The Boy General’, when at the young age of 17, he led the attack to burn down the Court House in Magherafelt while commanding an active service unit.  Costello was injured in an accident at a safehouse, and was shortly after arrested upon his return to Wicklow.  While interned at the Curragh, he became even more politically involved and spent much of his time in reading and contemplation. Upon his release, he took up a job as a car salesman.
Costello had an infectious charisma that left a mark on all who knew him.  It first began to manifest in his early days in the Border Campaign, with those he commanded describing him as ‘strict but radiating confidence’. INLA: Deadly Divisions describes his ‘Italianate good looks and charm’ standing to him well as a car salesmen – he even became salesman of the year.  Mary McClure when describing his magnetism said,

“His dreams became my dreams. His visions became mine. He was my inspiration.”

Costello had a profound effect on everyone he met, bringing people to action and inspiring them to strive for the future. These characteristics would serve him well in building a political movement in his home town of Bray, where he was a local councillor for many years and where he gathered a strong republican presence around him.
In Costello’s personality, there was also a strict, authoritative strain. In the words of Mary McClure,

“He expected the highest standards from his comrades and his friends and if any of us deviated from those then it was a lambasting from the man himself.”

Costello was not willing to tolerate a fool, and looked for total dedication from his friends and comrades.
Throughout the 60’s, as well as giving the speech at Bodenstown in 1966, Costello consolidated his political position in Bray and his political ideas came to full fruition. He once rounded up all the homeless in Bray and took them to the Bray council like a flying column and demanded their rights. It was these kind of grassroots guerrilla actions that endeared him to the people of his home town.  The core kernel of Costello’s ideology can be found in his speech at Bodenstown:

“The lesson of history shows that in the final analysis, 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.”

This principle would be challenged in the times to come.
In 1969, the Troubles exploded into the international consciousness. With Sinn Fein becoming more left-wing and electoral, the more traditional right-wing Catholic elements within began to chaff. The new ideology posited by the Goulding-Garland leadership advocated the liberation of the north of Ireland from British occupation through the unity of working class Protestants and Catholics against the British bourgeoisie, who sought to conquer by dividing.
The final straw came when Sinn Fein voted in overwhelming majority to end abstention – the process by which Republicans refused to take electoral seats or recognise the southern government. A contingency of members, derided as ‘The rosary bead brigade’, walked out and would form the provisional IRA.  Costello as a committed Marxist and non-sectarian remained in the fold of the Official IRA. However, fault lines would soon appear. The battle of the bogside raged and the boots of British soldiers hit the streets of Ulster’s cities.
Costello had a good rapport with the Northern elements, and the struggle was carried on by community heroes like Joe McCann. However, following McCann’s death in 1972 and a series of incidents resulting in bad publicity for the Official IRA, the Cathal-Goulding leadership saw an opportunity to enact their plan of a transformation to solely political struggle, and put forward a temporary ceasefire which would prove permanent.  A feud raged between the Provisionals and the Officials, now colloquially referred to as ‘The Stickies’. The Official IRA was now finding it was only receiving weapons and ammunitions for inter-Republican strife, and the more militant Northerners felt abandoned by the Goulding leadership and Dublin and became increasingly disillusioned.
Many Official IRA members felt that they were in effect leaving the armed struggle to the Provisionals, who didn’t have the responsibility or democratic working class political ideology to carry out the war effectively. Meanwhile in the South, Costello was attempting to win over the Army Council but was becoming increasingly marginalized. Goulding sought to oust Costello. A document was drawn up and Costello was accused of various indiscretions, and wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself,

“For the first time many of the rank and file members began to question the direction in which the movement was being led.”
In 1974, the Ard Comhairle suspended Costello as a member for 6 months, and refused to allow him to stand for election in Bray. Despite this, Costello proceeded in standing after a swell of support from across the country emerged. An extraordinary Ard Fheis was called for, to allow Costello to make his case and contest the accusations of factionalism against him. Costello went on to top the poll in Wicklow as a local election candidate. Around this time, Costello was also court martialled by the Official IRA, and was refused the opportunity to provide evidence in his defence. He was dismissed ‘in ignominy’.  During this dark period of internal struggle, Costello began to consider the dreaded option of a split and a new organisation. He began to perform raids in the collection of guns and to organize meetings of like-minded militants. Eventually the Ard Fheis came, and Costello was expelled from the organization – many of his supporters are denied entry to the meeting and were not allowed to vote.


As a result, the Irish Republican Socialist Party was founded by Costello, who wished to intertwine the national question and the class struggle.  Mass defection from Official Sinn Fein followed.  The party was also joined by the now famous Bernadette McAliskey, who further cemented the political reputation of the group. The new party was immediately attacked by the Official IRA, resulting in the deaths of three IRSP members. Sean Garland, an Official Sinn Fein leader, was badly wounded in retaliation. The Irish National Liberation Army, still in its infancy, could do little to defend itself.  Bernadette McAliskey would later resign and leave the party, talking half the Ard Chomhairle with her over the refusal to subordinate the INLA to the IRSP’s political directives.


Seamus Costello was a devoted Marxist. He fought tirelessly for Dublin’s poor, for Bray’s poor, for the masses of people all over Ireland who were reduced to poverty by a state which should have provided for them and who had no voice to stand up for them. It was thus the loss of Ireland’s working people, when on a sad day in October, 1977, Costello was shot dead by a bandit in his car in the North Stand Road, Dublin. His murderer, Official IRA member Jim Flynn, was said to have acted on his own, having seen Costello many times parked in the street, reading a newspaper. Jim Flynn would later fatally meet justice only a few metres from where Costello had died, in 1982.
At the time of his death, Costello had been trying to negotiate a broad front between Provisional Sinn Fein, the Communist Party of Ireland and the Irish Republican Socialist Party.  His funeral was attended by Ruadhri O’Bradaigh, Michael O’Riordan and many other giants of Irish politics. His oration was given by Nora Connolly O’Brien, daughter of James Connolly, who stated,
“Of all the politicians and political people with whom I have had conversations, and whom I have had conversations, and who called themselves followers of Connolly, he was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.”



By Fergal Twomey

Zionist campaign against Leila Khaled in South Africa

Posted in PFLP with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced the Zionist campaign against Comrade Leila Khaled, Palestinian national figure and member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and her visit to South Africa, noting that these attacks only confirm the correctness of the Front’s commitment to resistance and of Leila Khaled’s struggle.

The PFLP noted that this political and media attack on Khaled and the Palestinian resistance was launched in response to the tour taking place early next month in nine cities in South Africa. It is an extension of earlier Zionist attempts to block her participation in demonstrations, lectures and meetings in various cities around the world and an ongoing Zionist campaign to silence Palestinian revolutionary voices.

The Zionist occupation has seen that South Africa and its own struggle against settler colonialism and apartheid has inspired heavy losses on a political and economic level and that the South African movement has played a major role in revealing the criminal and racist face of Israel to the world.

The Front noted that no one has forgotten that the Zionist state supported the racist system of apartheid in South Africa at the same time that the Palestinian people supported the struggles of their brothers and sisters in the African National Congress until their victory over the apartheid regime.

The Front expressed on its own behalf and that of the Palestinian people its salutes and greetings for the South African people and social movements, and the supporters of the Palestinian people who took the initiative to invite Comrade Leila Khaled, particularly BDS South Africa, whose boycott campaign has been growing with great resonance. This movement succeeded in mobilizing hundreds of thousands to take to the streets against the assault on Gaza and formed a real force to pressure the occupation politically and economically in South Africa.

The Front criticized the silence of the Palestinian embassy in South Africa on this Zionist campaign. Comrade Leila Khaled is a member of the Palestinian National Council and it is the responsibility of the embassy to condemn these kinds of attacks on a member of the PNC.

Exclusive Interview with American Filmmaker and Screenwriter David Dinning

Posted in 'The Troubles, Alex McGuigan, Anti Fascism, Ardoyne, Belfast, Human Rights, Internationalism, Racism, RUC/PSNI, Sectarianism, Supremacist Parades, UVF with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


Today this site  has the pleasure of  featuring an interview with Chicago-based Filmmaker, Screenwriter and published author, David Dinning.  David has been a frequent visitor to Ireland, has an in depth knowledge of it’s history and the contemporary political situation.  His forthcoming documentary, with the working title ‘The North’, focuses significantly on the supremacism of the Loyal Orders, their historical role as a bulwark against working-class solidarity and Ireland’s struggle for independence.  David’s forthcoming documentary also examines the Loyal Orders’ contemporary role in forcing their militaristic marches through Irish Catholic areas, where they cause maximum offence to residents, such as in Ardoyne, where their supremacist parading has been accompanied by serious violence in many previous years.  ‘The North’ furthermore examines the Northern Irelands Civil Rights Association’s mild demands for universal franchise and an end to Gerrymandering in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, ideologically based on the non-violent doctrine of Dr Martin Luther King Junior’s campaign for equality for Black people in the USA, yet they were met with police riots and eventually the Bloody Sunday Massacre in 1972 that saw 14 peaceful protesters murdered in cold blood, with scores seriously injured by the British Parachute Regiment using live rounds.

the north 01

Alex:  Just starting from scratch, can you introduce yourself telling readers where you are from, a little about yourself and explaining your mode of journalism/writing/production/directing?

David: My name is David Dinning. I live in Chicago. I started writing late in life. I use the three act structure whether it’s a book or screenplay. Documentary modes can be broken down into six types, seven if you use a mix of modes. The six are; Poetic, Expository, Observational, Participatory, Reflexive, and Performance. I use a mix mode of story telling. To me documentary film is an important way of depicting things as they are, exposing a great lie or an injustice, to look behind the curtain. They can and do have a point of view.

 Alex:  You are obviously extremely well acquainted with Irish History and contemporary Irish politics, can you tell our readers where this knowledge and interest originated and was nurtured from?

 David:  As a kid I spent my summers on my grandfather’s farm in Kentucky. The small town nearby was settled by Scots Irish families from Derry in the 18th century. One year at a family funeral I learned from my cousin that my great great … grandfather was the Grand Sheriff of Derry between 1699-1701. She gave me a book on the Siege of Derry. I started to read more. I wanted to know more. I went back to the death of Queen Elizabeth, then forward in time. I spent a lot of time on the Siege of Derry and that time period, then went forward through the 1798 rebellion and beyond. I became hooked. I read everything I could get my hands on. It also tied into a screenplay I was writing at the time. I’ve made eight trips to Ireland since 2009. It was then after my first stay in Derry that I decided to make the Documentary.

 Alex:  The last time we met was two years ago on the 12th of July, when we had a cup of coffee before you travelled to Ardoyne to cover the Orange supremacist violence, following the Parades  Commission ruling that the Orange Order could not march via Ardoyne on their return journey on the ’12th’. Can you describe the violence that you witnessed, did it originate from the Orange Order, their bands and supporters?

 David:  I have never felt hate like that in my life. I arrived in Ardoyne early that morning on the 12th. At eight in the morning the Loyalists were foaming at the mouth. It was unbelievable. After they passed on by I followed then for a while then went to St. Patrick’s Church and watched and filmed. It was clear to me, and I’m sure anyone else who has followed the Marches that the Loyalists get a extra boost, an energy charge when they approach or pass by Catholic neighborhoods. There is this need to get a shot in, whether it’s playing the famine song, or other sectarian songs, to revealing sectarian banners, to having their followers look for a reason to attack anyone who gets in their way.  Later that day I made my way back to Ardoyne. The residents of Ardoyne gathered in force to protect their neighborhood from the drunken hoards. Gerry Kelly did a great job of reassuring the residents that the police would keep the Loyalists from their neighborhood. All of the violence that I witnessed came from the Loyalists. What followed was several nights of violence. I walked back to the bus station that night for Derry, and that image of Belfast as a ghost town still resonates in my mind: trash everywhere, everything closed up. This is no way for people to live. Everything stops for the Orange Order version of THE HUNGER GAMES.

 Alex:  Can you, as a North American, see the supremacist linkage between the likes of the ‘Loyal Orders’ and for instance, supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan?

 David:  Yes, that’s a fair comparison. The difference being that in America groups like the KKK are shunned by the rest of society. In Northern Ireland they are not. The 30,000 members of the Orange Order have a hold on Northern Ireland. Power and wealth accumulated over time, the not so hidden hand.

Alex:  Many political commentators view allowing Loyalist supremacist parades to march through Catholic/Nationalist/Republican areas as the equivalent in the USA of, for instance, permitting White supremacist groups to march through the likes of the Rampart area (MacArthur Park, Echo Park etc) of Los Angeles or the Watts area of south LA. Would the federal government ever consider permitting such provocative parades?

David:  I don’t think there would be a police force or army in world that could protect the KKK if they tried to march in Watts or the South Side of Chicago. In 1977 the National Socialist Party of America tried to march through Skokie, Illinois. In the predominately Jewish community, one in six residents was a Holocaust survivor. The NSPA march was be to held on June 25, 1978 though the march never materialized. About 20 or so Nazis congregated for only ten minutes, and throngs of Jewish and other groups drowning out their voices. Parades in America don’t incite riots. If they did, that group would never be allowed to do so again, and the cost of the liability insurance alone would make it unattainable.

 Alex:  Could you explain to our readers how important the conflicting European power blocks of the 17th Century played in forming the today’s sectarian divisions, identities and how in reality the Williamite campaign was contrary to the Ireland/religious-centred potted-histories that many within Orangeism hold dear? I’m sure that you have heard of the painting that once hung in the old Stormont parliament showing the Pope blessing the Williamite forces, that was quickly ‘archived’ once the Unionist ruling junta finally figured out it’s significance?

 David:  First and foremost, William of Orange was concerned with one thing – saving the Dutch Republic from France. When the Immortal Seven invited William to take the throne he knew with England’s support he could defeat France. William landed in England to find that James had run away. James while at the head of a 25,000 man army, was afflicted with serious nose bleeding. He saw it as a bad omen and left the field of battle for London, then France. That was the Glorious Revolution. Only the English can turn a man running away and turn that into a Glorious Revolution. There was nothing glorious about it and it wasn’t a revolution. Later James would be forced to Ireland to do battle with William while the Sun King set out for the prize – the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Nederlands. James would leave every battle he was at and would flee Ireland for the comforts of France. I suppose that is glorious too. William of Orange, the Pope and Catholic Spain would go on to defeat France. After William of Orange’s death Queen Ann took the throne and with her the 1704 test act. Prohibiting Presbyterians and other protestant religions from worshipping freely, it also banned them from public and civil office. Hundreds of thousands of Presbyterians would flee Ireland for a new land where religious freedom would become the corner stone of its constitution.  What Loyalist call the Glorious Revolution had shown its true colors: Anglican Domination. For the next hundred years after the Siege of Derry and the war in Ireland there would be no parades, no marching bands, no Orange Order. It’s wasn’t until after the 1798 rebellion that the Orange Order turned William of Orange into the man that saved the Protestant Religion from the Pope and used that to fuel sectarian hatred. One other important fact: James II never tried to install Catholicism in the three Kingdoms. What he tired to do was introduce religious freedom in England. But that does little to fan the flames of sectarianism. That is why the painting ‘Tea at Trianon’ was damaged when the boys in Orange found out about it. It is a painting of the Pope blessing William of Orange and was hanging in the Belfast Parliament Building. In 1933 Unionist MP John Nixon led a gang of Loyalist into the building where they slashed the painting with a knife and threw crimson paint over the image of the Pope. The painting was taken down and sent away for restoration. It wasn’t seen again until 2007. The rosary beads were taken out. Keeping the myth alive is important to the Orange Order and the sectarian cause. The first part of that question would take volumes.

Alex:  Unfortunately I missed seeing you around the ’12th’ this year as I was on holiday and then suffered a bereavement, but do you think that the relatively peaceful end in 2014 to the return journey of the Orange Order preventing them from trampling through Ardoyne due to it’s second prohibition by the Parades Commission, will become the norm, something similar to the token protests that now are a constant on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown?

 David:  Last year did surprise me. I don’t think the peaceful end will continue; it’s not in their nature. I hope I’m wrong. The Orange Order is not use to being told “no”. There is a rise in race hate crimes in Northern Ireland – a by product of the Order’s Hunger Games. That will continue, and they have now set their sights on the Gay and Lesbian community with their conscience clause to equality legislation. At some point in time one would think it’s time to move on and leave a three hundred year old war in the past. Stop looking for reasons to hate. But that circle of hate keeps growing.

 Alex:  I’m sure that you have heard of the so-called Twaddell ‘Peace-camp’ which has been a permanent fixture close to the Ardoyne interface, that has been perhaps more aptly described by Ardoyne residents as a ‘hate-camp’ manned by Loyalists belonging to various organisations. Do you think the fact that apparently it costs multiple thousands of pounds in policing costs per week alone to monitor the Twaddell camp, is in any way a strong hand, to use the poker analogy, in persuading the Parades Commission in 2015 to renege on it’s past two year’s prohibition of the Orange Order returning from the ’12th’ via Ardoyne?

 David:  No, that should have nothing do with any Parades Commission decision. With this new Stormont House Agreement, they may not be around anymore. I’ve read that more that a few times. I talk about that in the documentary. At some point you would think that the police would end it, or maybe just ignore them until they go away is the right thing. It all boils down to one thing: the Orange Order’s refusal to allow democracy to dictate anything to them. They are above the law. They are the Ascendancy.

 Alex:  I know that you had been producing a documentary on the North of Ireland, at what stage is it’s production at and was it aimed at a North American audience? I’ve seen rough-cuts and it would definitely be a solid educational resource.

David:  It’s just about done, just music rights is left and a little fine tuning. It’s called THE NORTH. It is aimed at an American audience – to let Americans know what is going on in Northern Ireland and to do that you have to know where it’s been.

 Alex:  Finally, David, it has been a pleasure interviewing you and I hope to meet up again soon, you are certainly a counter to the propaganda emanating from certain quarters that North Americans have little understanding of the complexities of Ireland’s history and politics. As a parting shot (forgive the pun) from your experience do you think that any real lasting peace has been established?

David:  I don’t know. I would hope so. The Good Friday Agreement stopped the killing but stagnation has set in; there is no movement forward on the ideas of that agreement. That seems to be by design. Stagnation can lead to friction and friction can lead to violence.

Alex:  Go raibh mile maith agat, David, mo chara!  No doubt we will meet again soon..

lol kkk

the north 02

The Revolutionary Party versus Economist Socialism

Posted in Economism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


Economism in the socialist context is a revisionism of Marxism and the path to creeping reformism. The basic doctrine of economist socialism is to restrict or limit the proletariat to, at best, trade union consciousness without the need for a revolutionary party.  Lenin identified this tendency among the nascent international socialist movement in pre-Socialist revolutionary times.  The Economists saw trade union demands, for instance, for better working conditions, better wages etc as a means to an end with no revolutionary political program.

We see contemporary examples of this tendency in the European social-democratic parties, Fabianism and especially the iron fist of Capitalism clothed in the metaphorical soft glove of ‘social democracy’ in the Scandinavian countries’ regimes which are used as bulwarks against real revolutionary socialist parties’ growth and during the Cold War, the best way to win workers away from the great threat to them from the USSR to the East.

Historically Eduard Bernstein was the influential chief ideologue of this counter-revolutionary tendency who used his past friendship with the co-founder of scientific socialism, Friedrich Engels, to sell his brand of pseudo-Marxism.  This reformist tendency in contemporary times can be seen in the likes of the British Labour party, the SDP in Germany and other social democratic parties aligned to what is misleadingly referred to as the ‘Socialist International’ which is the rump of what was known as the ‘2nd International’ (it even includes the SDLP in it’s ‘tendency’) that revolutionary socialists left well over a century ago as hopelessly reformist.

In 1901, Lenin demolished the reformist/economism of Bernstein et al and can be read in ‘What is to be done: Burning Questions of our Movement’ in which he critiqued this revisionism of Marxism, that advocated the end to revolutionary socialist parties and their replacement by parties of mere social reform, not to mention embracing bourgeois institutions.  As Lenin stated:

“This fear of criticism displayed by the advocates of freedom of criticism cannot be attributed solely to craftiness (although, on occasion, no doubt craftiness is brought into play: it would be improvident to expose the young and as yet frail shoots of the new trend. to attacks by opponents). No, the majority of the Economists look with sincere resentment (as by the very nature of Economism they must) upon all theoretical controversies, factional disagreements, broad political questions, plans for organising revolutionaries, etc. “Leave all that to the people abroad!” said a fairly consistent Economist to me one day, thereby expressing a very widespread (and again purely trade-unionist) view; our concern is the working-class movement, the workers, organisations here, in our localities; all the rest is merely the invention of doctrinaires, “the overrating of ideology”, as the authors of the letter, published in Iskra, No. 12, expressed it, in unison with Rabocheye Dyelo, No. 10.”

Of course, in the contemporary context with Capitalism’s cyclic dynamic creating the most vicious, draconian offensives against the working-class, militant trade unionism is progressive and much needed as one of the only mass organisations of the proletariat.  However, one must be cognisant of trade unions’ limitations for real change.  For a lasting freedom from austerity, a revolutionary party with clear political aims can be the only vehicle for the creation of a Socialist Republic in Ireland and in other countries.

Workers of all lands unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win!



Alex McGuigan

¡Ya basta! Venceremos 2015!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


“The guerrilla band is an armed nucleus, the fighting vanguard of the people. It draws its great force from the mass of the people themselves…….I knew that the moment the great governing spirit strikes the blow to divide all humanity into just two opposing factions, I would be on the side of the common people………………………….After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming a famous or making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people.”

(Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara)


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