File spoon-archives/marxism-general.archive/marxism-general_1996/96-12-01.070, message 32

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 96 20:08:45    
Subject: M-G: Ireland: The Promise of Socialism

Ireland: The Promise of Socialism -  A Socialist Democracy 

This 138 page book is a very ambitious project from the small group of
Irish comrades who constitute the remnants of the once mighty Peoples
Democracy who were so influential at the beginnings of the present
'Troubles' 28 years ago or  so.Politically they have come a long way
too, having embraced Trotskyism and become the Irish section of the
USFI in the early 80s. However a very serious process of
self-assessment began in the last few years with the obvious shift to
the right by Sinn Fein and the falsification of the perspective of the
left wing of Republicanism  developing in the direction of Trotskyism
under pressure of the unfolding objective process of revolution. This
was never going to happen and it is to the comrades' credit that they
independently came to this conclusion and ceased politically
tail-ending Republicanism, as opposed to the parent USFI leadership
who enthusiastically supported peace- processes everywhere. See for
instance the excruciatingly embarrassing articles in International
Viewpoint on why they were correct to support the Israel/Palestine
Oslo accords at the beginning but it did not quite work out like they
thought! On the vexed  question what happened to 'actually existing
socialism' the comrades take a radically different line to the USFI
centre. They recognise that the brutality of the suppression of the
working classes in East Germany, Hungary and Poland had a severe
adverse effect on the class consciousness of the workers;  'When the
bureaucracy fell under the economic and political offensive of
imperialism the working class was no longer organised independently
and able to intervene to impose its own solution'. (P. 9) Whilst
recognising a major defeat - as opposed to the USFI, the LRCI and
Workers Press who continue to hail the great revolutionary upsurges -
nevertheless it 'is a crisis and not a death rattle' (P. 10) of the
workers' movement. The comrades avoid saying whether these states are
capitalist ones now but that is the inevitable conclusion from their
analysis. On Maastricht again they avoid falling into the trap of
either supporting it or opposing it on the bosses terms but clearly;
'The whole Maastricht process designed to create and strengthen a
European imperialism must be rejected' (P. 25) 'Just as capitalist
have their plan to create a European imperialism so the workers must
have theirs to create a Socialist United States of Europe'. (P. 26) On
the national question the theory of Permanent Revolution is expounded
in popular language to relate to today's conditions (in general great
care is taken in the book to write in a popular style and avoid
excessive Trotsky-speak).  Indeed this is their real political
contribution to Marxism when they sought to re-arm themselves
theoretically when they existed as the Irish Committee for a Marxist
Programme after they dissolved PD.  It is worth quoting from this
section at length to show the point: 'The struggle against the
northern state will inevitably link with the struggle in the south. It
is fruitless to speculate on the precise way that they will combine.
We can say that for either state to be destroyed a struggle against
both is necessary.  As the majority of the working class exists in the
south  it is vital for socialists to understand the dynamic through
which southern workers will develop a revolutionary consciousness.
This will not come through simple solidarity with the northern
struggle, although this will be necessary, but primarily through their
own struggles within which the raising of transitional demands can
point the way to the necessity for workers to take control not only of
their workplace but also of the state and their country. Through this
the rotten and undemocratic nature of the present Irish state will be
revealed and so will its ultimate dependence on imperialism,
especially British, which, as in every other previous revolution
everywhere in the world, will attempt to intervene to save it. Only in
this situation can southern workers fully appreciate the link between
their own struggle and that in the north.Only in this process of
combining the struggle for democracy with that for socialism, and not
limiting it solely to the north, is there any hope of defeating
imperialism and of winning Protestant workers.' (P. 59) Lastly on the
question of the International : 'We know that building a mass
revolutionary international will be an immensely difficult and
protracted task. The organisation to which we belong, the Fourth
International, set up by Leon Trotsky in 1938 is by no means perfect.
However we are committed to it for as long as it continues to provide
the best framework from which to fight for the mass revolutionary
international that is necessary to achieve socialism around the world.
 There is no more principled and worthwhile task - join us in it!' (P.
138) That is a sensible and principled position - it contains a
political judgement that they will stay where they are until something
better comes along - the re-built Fourth International with anti-peace
process leaders?

 Ireland: The Promise of   Socialism by Joe Craig,
John McAnulty, Paul Flannigan A Socialist Democracy Publication  stlg5

Available from SD, PO Box 40, Belfast BT11 9DL or from Socialist
Outlook  PO Box 1109, London NW4 2UU		

     --- from list ---


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005