Socialist Party archives - material on Northern Ireland
Page started, May 12th 2004 and updated, 8th Dec. 2005

Socialist Party archives -
material on Northern Ireland

Socialist Party members have decided to go through the archives and to bring some articles to the attention of modern readers. We are proud to stand over the political lines of these articles although readers should be conscious that the political terminolgy, how we would raise slogans, etc. will have changed over the decades.
Over the years the name of our paper has varied (Militant Irish Monthly, Militant, Militant Labour, Socialist Voice, etc.), as has that of the Party, but the key point is that we've argued for a consistent line of workers' unity and socialism.

Paisley Victory - Danger for Irish Workers

Trade Union's: Mobilise Workers Against Sectarianism

Paul Jones (Derry Young Socialists)
Militant Ireland edition, May 1970, No. 5

The election of Paisley and Beattie in the Bannside and South Antrim bye-elections coming hard on the heels of the clashes at Easter indicate that Northern Ireland is in for another 'long hot' summer.

Latest articles:

In addition to these articles from our archives, John Sharpe, a comrade in the CWI, has scanned the out of print book by Peter Hadden on the national question - Troubled Times. This is now available in our publications section. Can we repeat our thanks to John Sharpe for his help.


Militant Irish Monthly, No. 47, Oct. 1976

Ulsterbus strike against hi-jacking

On September 6th over 50 Ulsterbus drivers and crews staged a protest march through Derry demanding the Right to Work in Peace and an end to the hijacking and bombings of buses in Derry. All buses were stopped for over two hours when the drivers marched 1˝ miles from their depot to the Guildhall Square. They carried placards with slogans such as 'We drive buses not bombs' and 'Let us work in peace'. read on.

Check below for new pieces on the 1974 UWC stoppage, a 1974 discussion among the British cdes on troops out, the Shoot to Kill policy in 1988, an anti sectarian strike in 1989 and our statement on the 1994 ceasefires.

Watching Big Brother - Glenn Simpson reviews 'A Matter of Trust MI5 1945-1972' by Nigel West

Militant Irish Monthly Dec 1983 - Jan. 1984, Issue 117
'A Matter of Trust' is a book that should be studied in depth by labour activists. It deals in some detail with the penetration by MI5 and the KGB of the British labour movement. It is worth examining the deep penetration of MI5 into the Communist Party after the war and their more recent work inside the labour movement. read on.

Ireland and H-Blocks - from the Bulletin, March 1981, of the British cdes. This was a discussion in late 1980 between one of the local branchs and the Executive on how to raise the demands on prison conditions. Read more here

Mass Action not Individual terror - Militant Irish Monthly, No. 77 Oct. 1979
Peter Hadden, South Belfast branch, Labour and Trade Union Group
The killing of Lord Mountbatten, among others, at Mullaghmore and the deaths of 18 soldiers near Warrenpoint have focussed attention on the campaign of individual terror being waged by the Provisional IRA. Read more here

Peacekeeping' in Northern Ireland - Ambush at Tully West, written by Kennedy Lindsay.
A review from Militant Irish Monthly, No. 83, May 1980.
It is usual when allegations are made against the British army and the police and their various under-cover agencies in Northern Ireland to hear the cry that the allegations are IRA propaganda. One of the things that sets this book apart from other publications and statements on this subject is that the author could by no stretch of the imagination be described as sympathetic to the IRA.

Militant Irish Monthly, May 1980, No. 83 - Editorial: H-Block
The inhuman conditions being inflicted on prisoners in the H-Blocks and in Armagh prison must be opposed by the Labour movement.

An attack on Socialism? - George Orwell's Animal Farm, reviewed by Michael Barry in Militant, April 1987
George Orwell's Animal Farm is on the English literature reading list for the Leaving Cert again this year. Many students studying for the course find it to be one of the new books that they actually enjoy reading in preparation for the exam. Animal Farm, a satire on the 1917 Russian Revolution and its degeneration in the 25 years that followed, is a brilliantly written and very relevant novel - little wonder that it is one of the most widely read books in the English language. Read more here...

updated by Socialist Party, October 23rd 2004





Arrival of the troops in August 1969

Trade Union's must fight internment Militant 3rd September 1971

Added May 27th Provisional IRA strategy will not defeat imperialism Militant, January 1972
Added May 31st Militant, January 1972One answer: Workers Unity

Derry - This was murder 4th Feb. 1972

Added 23rd May Review of Bloody Sunday film from 2002 [While not a very old piece, we feel this review fits into this section of our site.]

Irish Workers power only answer - Finbar Geaney, Militant, May 1972, No. 2

Widgery Report: Derry Murders Condoned Militant, May 1972 The publication of the Widgery Report has given the people of Northern Ireland yet another taste of 'impartial' British justice.

Added. May 18th Militant Irish Monthly September 1972 - Protestant Workers and the Struggle for Socialism Can the Protestant working class be won to the fight for class unity and socialism?

No power sharing - no coalition - Independent programme for Labour - Workers unite against repression by Bridget O'Toole, Coleraine Northern Ireland Labour Party, Militant Irish Monthly, Nov. 1973, issue 18

UWC strike - Trade Union Defence Force only answer to crisis Militant, 24th May 1974

Added May 23rd - Militant International Review No. 9, June 1974. Northern Ireland - the crisis deepens - Postscript on the UWC strike 10th June 1974.

After the UWC End Sectarianism: Trade Unions Must Lead
Militant Irish Monthly, June 1974, No. 25.
The recent developments in Northern Ireland have demonstrated that any 'solution' of British capitalism can have no lasting character. The Sunningdale Agreement was just a so-called solution.
Added, 16th May. Interview with Derry Shop Steward, Militant Irish Monthly June 1974.

Added 16th May. Derry Labour and Trade Union Party statement - Workers' Unity to End Sectarianism Militant Irish Monthly June 1974.

Added, 16th May. Conference of Workers Parties needed Now
Peter Hunt, Militant Irish Monthly, July-August 1974, No. 26. The creation of a 78 man 'Convention' - this is the British Government's answer to the political stalemate resulting from the downfall of the Assembly. Read more here..

After three years of internment in Northern Ireland Only workers' movement can solve the problems. Peter Hunt Militant Irish Monthly, Sept. 1974, No. 27

Our position on Ireland
Bulletin of the cdes in Britain, Nov-Dec. 1979
1974 article with a 1979 introduction written by Peter Taaffe.

We are re-publishing below an article first carried in the Bulletin in October 1974, firstly because the article is of historical interest and newer supporters should be familiarised with our position on this issue.

Secondly, the issues dealt with have re-surfaced because of the way we voted at the last [Labour] Party conference on a resolution from the sects calling for withdrawal of the troops.Read more here…..

Added 1st August '04: The Ceasefire - Guerrilla War offers no way forwardMilitant Irish Monthly No. 33, March-April 1975
The declaration by the Provisional IRA of an open ended ceasefire can but be welcomed by every activist with the Labour and Trade Union movement in Britain and Ireland.

'Terrorist' Laws - not just for republicans -

Militant Irish Monthly, Issue 33, March -April 1975


Arrest without charge. Imprisonment for up to a week without charge or trial. Deportation and detention on hearsay evidence. Extended powers of arrest and search for the police. Power to ban any organisations resting in the hands of the Home Secretary. This is the reality in present day Britain since the passing of the 'emergency' legislation on November 28th 1974. Read more here...

1969 - 'Civil Rights' movement needed socialist programme - By Peter Taaffe, Militant Irish Monthly, no 35, July-Aug 1975

Workers oppose sectarian killings - 1976 The Better Life for All Campaign
Derry Trades Council demands Union Action
At a well-attended meeting of Derry Trades Council in September a discussion took place on the Women's Peace Movement. Most delegates who spoke agreed that the women had shown tremendous courage in speaking out against the violence in the north. It was pointed out by one delegate that the women should resist any attempts by the politicians to take control of the movement. Read this piece from Militant Irish Monthly, No. 47, October 1976

Militant Irish Monthly, No. 47, Oct. 1976
Ulsterbus strike against hi-jacking
On September 6th over 50 Ulsterbus drivers and crews staged a protest march through Derry demanding the Right to Work in Peace and an end to the hijacking and bombings of buses in Derry. All buses were stopped for over two hours when the drivers marched 1˝ miles from their depot to the Guildhall Square. They carried placards with slogans such as 'We drive buses not bombs' and 'Let us work in peace'. read on.

Militant Irish Monthly, No. 50, Feb. 1977

Editorial: The Peace Movement
The Peace Movement has covered a lot of ground since last August when it began. At that time there were memorable mass marches and allies of ten, twenty and even thirty thousand people. Nothing could diminish the significance of this coming into the streets in such vast numbers of the working people of Belfast and other areas. No one could detract from the magnificent spectacle of working class men and women from all parts of Belfast and Northern Ireland descending on the Shankill Road and marching to Woodvale Park. That demonstration laid flat for a short period the barriers which had stood between the people of the Shankill and the Falls. This was a genuine movement of ordinary people determined to stamp out the scourge of sectarianism.

Added 22nd May 1977 UUAC stoppage -defeated by the workers
Bennett Report - Police Torture exposed
Peter Hadden in Militant Irish Monthly, April 1979
Police doctor, Robert Irwin’s statement that he had recorded no less than 150 cases of injuries inflicted on prisoners during police interrogation has served to expose the methods used by the police in Castlereagh, Geogh and other police barracks in Northern Ireland.

Added 22nd May An early statement of our position on the H Block protests, 1979

Mass Action not Individual terror - Militant Irish Monthly, No. 77 Oct. 1979
Peter Hadden, South Belfast branch, Labour and Trade Union Group
The killing of Lord Mountbatten, among others, at Mullaghmore and the deaths of 18 soldiers near Warrenpoint have focussed attention on the campaign of individual terror being waged by the Provisional IRA. Read more here

Added Sept. 14th Militant Irish Monthly, May 1980, No. 83 - Editorial: H-Block
The inhuman conditions being inflicted on prisoners in the H-Blocks and in Armagh prison must be opposed by the Labour movement.

added. Sept. 18th:
Peacekeeping' in Northern Ireland - Ambush at Tully West, written by Kennedy Lindsay.
A review from Militant Irish Monthly, No. 83, May 1980.
It is usual when allegations are made against the British army and the police and their various under-cover agencies in Northern Ireland to hear the cry that the allegations are IRA propaganda. One of the things that sets this book apart from other publications and statements on this subject is that the author could by no stretch of the imagination be described as sympathetic to the IRA.

Ireland and H-Blocks - from the Bulletin, March 1981, of the British cdes. This was a discussion in late 1980 between one of the local branchs and the Executive on how to raise the demands on prison conditions. Read more here

Added 22nd May H-Block crisis – Tories to blame - Peter Hadden, Militant Irish Monthly July-August 1981

Northern Ireland - For Workers' Unity and Socialism by Peter Hadden in Inqaba Ya Basebenzi, journal of the Marxist Workers' Tendency of the African National Congress, No. 5, January 1982.

The 1982 General strike to support the NHS

Militant Irish Monthly, November 1983, No. 116
The use of supergrasses in Northern Ireland is now being taken up by some sections of the trade union movement. Only the trade union movement can take up such issues in a non-sectarian way, and from the standpoint of defending the common class interests of all workers. Read the article.

Guerrilla warfare - no alternative to mass struggle

Peter Hadden in Militant Irish Monthly, No. 116, Nov. 1983
The time of surprise attack, of revolutions carried through by small conscious minorities at the head of the unconscious mass is passed. Where it is a question of a complete transformation of the social organisation, the masses themselves must also be in it, must themselves already have grasped what is at stake, what they are going in for, body and soul. The history of the last fifty years has taught us that."
Frederick Engels from the introduction to Marx's pamphlet, The Class Struggle in France 1895
With huge areas of the world poised on the brink of revolution, the workers' movement internationally is forced again and again to the question - how can we best fight the system? Many have turned to the methods of guerillaism and individual terrorism. Marxists, on the other hand, believe that these methods pose grave dangers.Read on.

Watching Big Brother - Glenn Simpson reviews 'A Matter of Trust MI5 1945-1972' by Nigel West

Militant Irish Monthly Dec 1983 - Jan. 1984, Issue 117
'A Matter of Trust' is a book that should be studied in depth by labour activists. It deals in some detail with the penetration by MI5 and the KGB of the British labour movement. It is worth examining the deep penetration of MI5 into the Communist Party after the war and their more recent work inside the labour movement. Read on.

Trade Unions must oppose supergrasses - Militant Irish Monthly Editorial Board statementMilitant Irish Monthly, March 1984, No. 119
The system of conviction on the basis of the evidence of paid supergrasses practiced by the British government in the North has not a shred of credibility left. Huge sums have been given to bribe people to give evidence which is then the sole basis for convictions. So far the state has refused to supply courts the details of these financial inducements. Read more here

Bulletin of Marxist Studies, Vol. 1. No 3, Spring 1985

Northern Ireland: Marxism and the State - Harry Peters This article was written for the Bulletin of Marxist Studies, a journal produced by Militant suporters in Britain, and as such forms a part of our political heritage. This document is an excellent example of how Marxists should approach issues like the state, in a transistional manner. June 2004.
"The state, as Engels put it, can in the last analysis be reduced to 'armed bodies of men acting in defence of private property'. This understanding is fundamental to Marxism and helps to draw a line of division between the camps of reformism and revolution.A state did not exist in all societies. When there were no classes there was no necessity for a separate body of administrators and agents of coercion to maintain class exploitation."Read the article.

Completed 20th May 2004 The Anglo-Irish Agreement - A Warning to Labour - Peter Hadden, Militant International Review, Spring 1986, No. 31. this is the full text of this long document.

Added 27th May 2004 Tories reach an impasse Peter Hadden, Militant International Review. Summer 1988, No. 37.
The signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement two and a half years ago was triumphed as an 'historic breakthrough' by the capitalist press.

The sects and the Anglo-Irish Agreement
Howard Clarke writing in the Bulletin of Marxist Studies, Vol. 1 No 5, Spring 1986. This journal was produced by CWI members in Britain
The Anglo-Irish Agreement has demonstrated once again the complete confusion of the sects on the question of Northern Ireland. Their reaction has provided yet another illustration of how far it is possible to stray from a class position without the guiding compass of Marxism.

Added August 27th 2004:1968 - Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement - Peter Hadden, Militant October 1988
On October 5th 1968 a few hundred demonstrators gathered in Duke Street on Derry's Waterside to march for Civil Rights.Read the article.

Militant Irish Monthly, October 1988, No. 135
Gibraltar Inquest:- SAS ‘shoot to kill’ is now legal
By a South Belfast Young Socialist
The inquest into the deaths of the three IRA members in Gibraltar has been a whitewash. .Read the article.

Mid Ulster strike against sectarianism
Ciaran Mulholland, Chairman, Mid-Ulster Trades Council (personal capacity), Militant, April 1989
Workers in the Mid-Ulster area took strike action on Thursday 9th March (1989) against the wave of sectarian killings in the area.

Read more here…..

Stop the plastic bullet killings Robert Eaves, East Belfast Labour and Trade Union Group, Militant, September 1989
In the early hours of Wednesday, 9th August, Seamus Duffy, a 15-year-old schoolboy from North Belfast, was shot and killed by a plastic bullet. His death brought the total number killed by rubber and plastic bullets since the early 1970s to 17.

Militant, November 1989, Editorial Statement Free the 'Birmingham Six'

Militant November 1989 - Victims of Capitalist Justice: The Guildford 4, Maguire 7 and Danny McNamee

Workers' Action to halt bigots - Nipsa Anti-Sectarian conference Lucy Simpson, Militant, November 1989

NIPSA: Bureaucracy stiffle the Anti-Sectarian Conference - Carmel Gates, Nipsa Broad Left Militant Dec 1989 - January 1990

1989 Press witch-hunt - A few days before the conference of the DHSS section of the public service union, NIPSA, Sunday Life, (12/11/89) carried a scare mongering article on Militant - "Militant Tendency 'assault on NIPSA'."

Added, June 7th - Provisionals: Lessons after 20 years
Lucy Simpson, Militant, Dec 1989-Jan 1990.Twenty years ago this winter saw the birth of the Provisional IRA. They emerged in the aftermath of the upheavals in the North in 1968-9.

Added 23rd May 2004 1690 - 'Derry, Aughrim and the Boyne' - Aidan Campbell, Derry Young Socialists, Militant, July-August 1990
Three hundred years ago William of Orange defeated James II at the Battle of the Boyne. The outcome of the war between William III and James II has led to centuries of struggle and bloody conflict in Ireland, which continues to today.

Added May 23rd - Militant, July-August 1990 - Ciaran Molloy, ATGWU Fermanagh Brooke's talks stalled - socialist solution needed

Added August 13th 2004: Over the Bridge - Part of working class culture - Marc Mulholland, Militant, November 1990
This month sees the return to the stage of one of the most controversial plays in the history of Northern Ireland. The same elements which outrages the ruling class in the late 1950s, makes it of great interest today. The story of labour versus sectarianism in the Harland and Wolff shipyard reflects and now is, a part of the working class culture in the North.

Added June 12th:Birmingham 6: Nightmare Ends, by Ciaran Mulholland, Militant, 23rd March 1991
"I don't believe they are intelligent or honest enough to spell the word 'justice', let alone dispense it. They're rotten!"Added June 26th: Workers Unity in Action! - Workers can end the killings
A compilation of 9 reports and articles dealing with the mass protests organised in Mid-Ulster (on January 21st) and in Belfast on Feb. 4th and 7th against the upsurge in sectarian killings which saw the murders at Teebane and Sean Graham's bookies.

Added June 12th: Postal Workers fight sectarian threats - Militant Labour September 1993

Added May 23rd - Militant Labour, October 1993 - Manus Maguire, Belfast - Hume-Adams Talks
The joint statement by John Hume, the SDLP leader, and Gerry Adams, the President of Sinn Fein, on 25 September has received an avalanche of press coverage.
Should fascists be allowed free speech? Mick Barry - Youth against Racism in Cork wrote this piece in Militant, October 1993. The visit of Nazi historian David Irving to Ireland raises the issue of how to combat fascism.
"Fight the bigots....and the Tories" - Editorial and reports in Militant Labour, Nov-Dec 1993

Ireland - the national question
Reprinted from the International Information Bulletin No. 17, 28th Sept. 1993
The oppression of nations and national minorities, sectarianism, bigotry and ethnic conflict are a product of capitalism and imperialism. Of the 94-recorded wars between 1945 and 1988, 69 were intra-state conflicts. These conflicts left 30 million dead and created an estimated 29 million refugees. Read the rest of this August 1993 discussion article

Fight the bigots....and the Tories Editorial in Militant Labour, Nov-Dec 1993. The Chiefs of the Northern Ireland Committee of the ICTU named 18 November as the 'community day for unifying peace', with a two-hour stoppage, one-minute silence, rallies in twelve centres and a fanfare of factory horns and church bells across the North. But after one of the worst episodes of sectarian carnage in recent history, people are asking: Is this enough?

Added 11th June: Film Review:In the name of the Father - Ciaran Molloy, Militant Labour, January 1994
In The Name of the Father is one of the most powerful and emotive films for many years.

Statement on the ceasefire in Northern Ireland
Reprinted from the International Information Bulletin of the CWI, No 22, October 1994.
The IRA's decision to call off its military campaign is a brilliant confirmation of the perspectives worked out by our organisation.




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