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The Republic Of Ireland- an update

August 26, 2021
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Dear comrades,

Plans to reproduce Rayner’s book The republic Of Ireland have not proceeded as quickly as I had hoped, for which I apologise.

But here is the plan:

  • I will produce high quality, searchable, scans of the book chapter by chapter and post them here in PDF format. This will be a serialisation over the next few weeks.

  • Then I will join the chapters together to create a single file which will incorporate an introduction or foreword from John McAnulty or another of the Irish comrades.

  • This file will then be formatted as a PDF and also other popular Ebook formats such as Epub or Mobi.

  • Later the text will be extracted so that it can go on the Marxist Internet Archive servers.

So, to start off, here is the first section containing the cover and publication details of the 1970 edition, the contents page and chapter 1 “The Destruction of Irish Society And The Rise Of Irish Nationalism (400-1847)

Republic Of Ireland part 1

The Beatle, The Banquet and the Bouquet

August 19, 2021
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Our friend Chris, who blogs at Globe Trotsky, has put together a very detailed post on the politics of John Lennon and his interaction with the IMG and wider left.

From his introduction:

Please go to https://globetrotsky.com/lennon/ to read the article and share it on social media.

The Market and the Multinationals…

August 18, 2021
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We are grateful to Stewart M for sending us a copy of this mid-1970s IMG Scotland pamphlet: The Market and the Multinationals which is billed as “No 2 in the series SCOTLAND, LABOUR and WORKERS POWER”

According to the pamphlet, the first in the series was:

It would be interesting to know whether there was a third and subsequent pamphlets.

Note the pamphlet gives contact addresses both for the IMG National (London) office and for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling and Central Scotland.

The back cover indicates the pamphlet was published by Aberdeen Peoples Press.

An exhibition of Aberdeen Peoples Press, with an accompanying series of (Zoom) talks is currently running. It is entitled Another world is possible: Aberdeen People’s Press and radical media in the 1970s and more details can be had via our friends at Aberdeen Protest blog.

The Corresponding Society and the Fourth International Supporters Caucus

July 17, 2021
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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fisc.jpg

CROSS POSTED from the Splits&Fusions Blog

I am reminded that it is 25 years since Arthur Scargill launched his Socialist Labour Party which was to give the Fourth International Supporters Caucus (FISC) its all too brief moment in the sun.

It is arguable that without the SLP experience FISC would have languished in total obscurity but this small grouping had an existence, in one form or another, for a substantial period beforehand.

To understand FISC and what it was you have to look at debates on the far left in the early 1990s, for and against continued entry into the Labour Party and the questions of if, how and when to orientate towards broader social movements and open parties.

For the ISG, British section of the Fourth International, these internal debates led to a number of comrades, individually or in small groups, leaving the organisation. Some of these then coalesced, around 1992, as the Corresponding Society. This was made up of former ISG supporters but was also open to other socialists from different traditions.

CS looked to developments such as Rifondazione Comunista in Italy and set itself the task of regrouping the class struggle left with a view to “re-founding of a mass party of the left”

Within the CS those who considered themselves still to be supporters of the FI, and who wanted to pursue a relationship with it, styled themselves the Fourth International Supporters Caucus and also set up an International Viewpoint Supporters Club on the basis that they would be a group selling IVP, the English language FI magazine, outside the ISG.

FISC then sought a formal relationship with the FI which was opposed by the ISG which argued, quite understandably, that the FISC comrades had placed themselves outside the official Section at different times and for varying political reasons and did not constitute a coherent group.

This interesting document is part of a Militant Labour internal bulletin reporting on discussions with the USFI. It gives an introduction to the CS and FISC, and reproduces a FISC report.

With the announcement by Arthur Scargill of his intention to break from Labour and create a new party, the CS opened up a discussion with him. When the SLP was formed the CS dissolved with most of its former members joining the SLP.

Whether FISC, or the IVP Club, continued to exist in a formal sense at this point is debatable but comrades Heron, the Sikorskis and Wood were an identifiable current within the SLP, allied to the Scargill leadership, and were commonly referred to as FISC eg in the pages of Weekly Worker.

The story of what happened next has been told before. Scargill rigged the SLP congress in 1997 with 3,000 phantom votes to outvote all opposition driving out much of the left and most critical voices. A detailed description from a WW/CPGB standpoint can be read here.

The following year the FISC found themselves out of the SLP and, it seems, went in different ways. At least one, Wood, joined the Socialist Democracy Group and was later active in the Socialist Alliance remaining close to the Socialist Resistance project and the FI section.

Brian Heron , Carolyn Sikorski and Patrick Sikorski do not appear to have joined or formed another group but continued to be active in various campaigns.

Any further information would be welcomed.

CORRESPONDING SOCIETY & FISC Archive

Addendum- we have just found some material relating to campaigns and events the CS were involved with.

Four page leaflet Unshackle The Unions Campaign

Draft letter and artwork for a Modern Politics of Socialism Conference

Conor Cruise O’Brien and Rayner Lysaght…

July 10, 2021
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In 1970 Red Mole published a profile of Conor Cruise O’Brien.

Tariq Ali writes “I commissioned Rayner to write this profile. We published it in The Red Mole on 1-15 October 1970. O’Brien asked for space to reply. He got it. Then Rayner wrote a reply to the reply.

Would be worth digging up and publishing as a pamphlet.

Talking about digging, I remember going to speak at an RMG cadre school in Dublin in the early 70’s. Rayner arrived in a raincoat and wellies carrying a hefty spade and announced he had come as a ‘grave-digger of capitalism.’

Rayner’s profile can be found here: Red Mole v1 no10

The reply from O’Brien with Rayner’s response is on the letters page (page 4) of Red Mole v1 no13

In addition, Niall Meehan has sent us this pamphlet by Rayner:

End of A Liberal: The Literary Politics of Conor Cruise O’Brien

The Republic Of Ireland

July 6, 2021
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Rayner Lysaght’s long out of print book The Republic of Ireland has been cited by a number of comrades as an important work.

It is a 250+ page small paperback and my copy is labelled property of the Londonderry Co. Education Committee.

I would like to scan this book and have it transcribed to go up on the Marxist Internet Archive where it can become part of a larger collection of Rayner’s work.

I am currently seeking a quote for the OCR and re-typing work.

Any comrades willing to grubstake this project with a small donation would be very welcome!

Rayner O’Connor Lysaght Presente!

July 3, 2021
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Our friend and comrade Rayner Lysaght has died.

Rayner Lysaght at the Frank Conroy Commemoration, 2013

We reproduce an obituary from Socialist Democracy- Ireland.

Rayner O’Connor Lysaght Presente!

2 July 2021

Rayner Lysaght passed away today after a period of illness. His illness went largely unnoticed in the socialist meliu in which he spent his life. Yet he was a central figure in the foundation of the 60s “New Left” reimagining of a socialism in Ireland beyond the Communist Party.

In part this is because the movement that he helped to found, with its full-throated commitment to rebellion and revolution, seen by the state as an existential threat, would be foreign to many of today’s activists.

In a very short time he, and his comrade Peter Graham, helped build the Irish Workers Group and the British International Marxist Group as sections of the Fourth International, publish the iconic Red Mole journal, and was associated with the Saor Eire group.

That period in Rayner’s life ended with the assassination of Peter Graham in 1971. FI leaders from across Europe rallied around his grave to sing the Internationale. No-one was ever charged with his killing.

Rayner Lysaght behind Charlie Bird and to the left of Tariq Ali

at the funeral of Peter Graham, 1971.

Rayner went on to establish himself as a leading writer of Irish working-class history, rediscovering and reapplying the analysis of James Connolly following a long period of counterrevolution with his 1971 book The Republic of Ireland.

However, he had one major fault. He was someone who lived in the mind and was totally unsuited to dealing with the business of publishing and of working with academia.  As a result, much of his work was stolen by academics and then refuted by them in a later wave of revisionism without him receiving the recognition that is usually extended in these fields.

How many remember D R O’Connor Lysaght and his early researches and writings on the Irish working class, the Irish Citizen Army and his rediscovery of the history of the Limerick Soviet? These issues live on, stripped of their revolutionary content by an elite that wants to remember the IRA and the Black and Tans as equality deserving of commemoration.

In later years he received some recognition through the Irish Labour History Society and through the trade unions for publications on the development of the trade union movement in Ireland and he republished privately theoretical socialist works from Ireland and Europe.  A major achievement in anyone else’s life, the publication of Trotsky’s transitional programme As Gaeilge (An Tidirchlar), was a mere footnote in his.

As noted, much of Rayner’s work has fallen out of favour. That’s because the whole idea of working-class independence, of a Workers’ Republic, has fallen out of favour in a world constrained by a pallid reformism.

Yet Rayner was right. His opponents were wrong. The promises of peace, justice and prosperity have come to naught. The reformist current is on the ebb. The tide of revolution will swell again.
 

No Life Like It- A tribute to Ernie Tate

June 14, 2021
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From The Socialist Project in Canada comes this recording of a meeting in tribute to Ernie Tate.

An internationalist tribute to the life, activism and legacy of Ernie Tate (1934-2021).

Ernie Tate believed capitalism is a cruel and unjust system that has to be changed. Ernie was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1934 and emigrated to Canada in 1955. As a Marxist, union activist and revolutionary, Ernie spent his life working to achieve that in organizing against the war in Vietnam, in union struggles at Toronto Hydro, for protecting universal healthcare and living wages, and much else. Ernie, along with Tariq Ali, was a leading organizer of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in Britain, worked for Bertrand Russell’s International War Crimes Tribunal and was a founding member of the International Marxist Group in Britain. In 2014, Ernie published a memoir of his life on the far left in Canada and Great Britain called Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s. This two volume memoir is an important resource for anyone interested in a gritty account of mid-20th century revolutionary movements. It has been a source of information for the 2020-2021 Undercover Policing Inquiry hearings, taking place in England, in which the illegal and immoral activities of police agents in infiltrating the left have been laid bare.

This online event is a reflection upon and celebration of Ernie’s life, activism and legacy with many of his comrades and friends from around the world, including: Tariq Ali and Phil Hearse (England), Richie Venton (Scotland), Barry Sheppard and Suzanne Weiss (USA), Pam Frache, Judy Rebick, Carolyn Egan, Sam Gindin, Bryan Palmer, Rob Fairley, and John Riddell (Canada), and Patrick Bond (South Africa).

0:00 Intro w/ James Clark
2:22 Welcome w/ Jess Mackenzie
6:24 Ernie Tate on Socialist Method (video clip from 2014 book launch of Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s)
9:24 Bryan Palmer
18:44 Judy Rebick
24:07 Tariq Ali
40:43 Marush Connor and Cliff Connor
46:22 Phil Hearse
1:02:31 Carolyn Egan
1:08:51 Barry Sheppard
1:18:39 Peter Boyle
1:21:03 Patrick Bond
1:24:24 Richie Venton
1:33:34 Suzanne Weiss and John Riddell
1:39:17 Spring Socialist Network Tribute
1:45:20 Sam Gindin
1:52:28 Rob Fairley
2:01:50 Pam Frache
2:08:37 Ian Burchall tribute to Ernie Tate read by James Clark
2:09:57 Norman Traub tribute to Ernie Tate read by James Clark
2:11:31 Linda Loew
2:14:40 Slide show of photos and words of Ernie Tate
2:18:50 Concluding remarks of solidarity, love and gratitude by James Clark
2:21:52 “The Internationale” by Erin Saoirse, Angela and Amelia

Check out Ernie’s articles and special pamphlet about Ernie’s union work: Class Politics at Work.

Organized by Socialist Project (https://socialistproject.ca/), Spring (https://springmag.ca/), Centre for Social Justice (https://www.socialjustice.org/), and w/support of Socialist Resistance (https://socialistresistance.org/), Green Left Weekly (https://www.greenleft.org.au/), Socialist Viewpoint (http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/)

Moderated by James Clark. Video recorded and edited by Tanner Mirrlees.

The Irish Citizen

June 4, 2021
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In a recent post about the Irish Solidarity Campaign, which the IMG was centrally involved in, I commented:

“It is not clear whether there was a national Irish Solidarity Campaign bulletin or other materials.”

Well, it turns out the ISC actually had a national newspaper, the Irish Citizen (presumably a nod to People’s Democracy’s Free/Unfree Citizen), which ran for several issues.

We have vol2 no1 (1973, I believe), a four page tabloid the centre pages of which contain the ISC’s draft manifesto and vol2 no2 which is 8 pages.

Can any readers tell us more?

Saor Eire: The Unfinished Revolution

June 2, 2021
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Our friend Michael Healy has published a new magazine on the history of the Saor Eire group which may be of interest to our readers.

He introduces it in this short video:

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