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Hands Off Ireland No1

Hands Off Ireland No1

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Published by Spin Watch
Revolutionary Communist Group, Hands off Ireland! No. 1, December 1976.

For more information see http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Revolutionary_Communist_Tendency
Revolutionary Communist Group, Hands off Ireland! No. 1, December 1976.

For more information see http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Revolutionary_Communist_Tendency

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RevolutionaryCommunistGroup
No.1
20p
'.1
havealreadyagreedthattheworkbeingdone
by
thetradeunionsisfirstrate.,..MrJackJoneswasinIrelandfast
week
speakingattheannualconferenceoftheT.G,W.U.Whathesaidtherecouldnotbebettered.ThatshowsthatthevaluedsupportthattheGovernmentandthecountrygetfromtheBritishtradeunionmovementontheIrishquestionisfirst.rate.'Merlyn
Rees,
ex-SecretaryofStateforNorthern
I.reland,
Han-
sard,
1.7.76,
col.
630.
'If
thesocialistsof
Britain
donot
recognise
anduphold
.Ireland's
Tight
to
secession....
it
lssolelybecausetheyarein
fact
imperialists,
not
socialists.
Itisridiculousto
cherish
illusions
.thatpeoplewhodo
not
fightfor"therighttoself-detennination"
of
theoppressednations,whiletheythemselves
belong
totheoppressornations,arecapableofpractisingsocialistpOlicies:
V.
I.
lenin,
CollectedWorks
Vol.21,
'p.2.94.
 
.HANDSOFFIRELAND!
NumberOne,December1976
HandsOffIrelandisabulletinoftheRevolutionaryCommunistGroup,publishedbyRCGPublicationsLtd.
Contents
2
Editorial3WhatWillBritainDoNext')
StevePalmer
6
BritishPeace-keeping-BritishTorture
Phil
Turner
7
TheDublinGovernment-PartnersinImperialism
Francis
Burke
9
PoliticalStatusforAnti-ImperialistPrisoners
HughMacGrillen
11
AddresstotheSinnFeinRallyonAugust22nd
ChrisDavies
12BritishImperialism,thePressandNorthernIreland
DanielShaw
13
LessonsofTOM
JimJohnson
15Letters
Editor:TerryMarloweEditorialBoard:TerryMarlowe,SheilaMarston,StevePalmerEditorialandBusinessAddress:49,RailtonRoad,LondonSE24
OLN.
SpecialOffer:5copiespostfree£1.00(BritainandIrelandonly)Forsingleissues,add11pforpostageorl
Op
ifoverseas
©
ReG
PublicationsLtd,WorldCopyrightDecember
J
976
2
Editorial
FormostoftheperiodduringwhichtheLabourgovernmenthasheldoffice,theBritishworkingclasshastoleratedaseriesofattacksonitsstandardoflivingandonitsrighttowork.Wagerestraint,massive
infiation,
colossalunemploymentanddrasticcutbacksinstateexpenditurehavebeenacceptedwithlittleseriousopposition.Onlyrecentlyhasanyfightbackbegun-withthemassivedemonstrationonNovember17th.However,thisdemon-strationwasdirectedonlyagainstthecutsinslateexpenditure,andnotagainsttheLabourgovernment'sin-dustrialstrategyasawhole.ofwhichthesecutsareonlyapart.Thereisnodoubtthattherulingclasswilltrytoisolatethisgrowingopposition.Oneofthemostpotentweaponsitwillemploy
will
betheargumentthatanyopposi-tiontoitsattackis'againstthenationalinterest'.
It
isarguedthatthereisa'nationalinterest'whichstandsabovetheinter-estoftheworkingclass.Theproblem,wearetold,isto'putBritainbackonitsfeet'.Inflationisblamedonthe'selfish'demandsoftheworkingclassfor'excessive'wagerises.Workersaresupposedtobe'pricingthemselvesoutofajob'.Theymustthereforeacceptwagerestraint-'inthenationalinter-est'.Andsoworkers·arepersuadedtoputasidetheirowninterests
iii
favour,oftherequirernentsofthecapitalist:system-asystemwhichbyitsvery
I
natureiscrisis-ridden.
If
theBritishworkingclassistoassertitsindependentinterestsagainstitsownrulingclass,
it
mustbeabletodefenditselfazainstthe'nationalinter-
I
est'argument.~Todothis,theworking
l
classmustrejectallideaof'national'unitywiththeBritishrulingclass.It
I
mustfighteveryatternptwhichtherul-,ingclassmakestoensnaretheworking
i
classwithnationalism.Byrejecting
I
Britishnationalism,theworkingclass.unites,notwithitsenemy-thecapital-:istclass-butwithfellowexploitedworkersinothercountries.Onlyinthiswaycanitensurethatitservesitsowninterestsandnotthoseoftherulingclass..AparticularlyvirulentexampleofreactionarynationalismisexpressedinBritain'srelationtoIreland.TheBrit-ishrulingclasshasattemptedtowinBritishworkerssupportforitsattacksontheIrishpeople,andsofarithaslargelysucceededinattractingthatsupport.The'nationalinterest'hereis
.a
cal!fornationalunityagainsttheinterestsoftheIrishpeople.Withoutfightingthewidespreadnationalchau-vinismagainsttheIrish,itwillbeimpossibletoridthemovementofthenationalismwithwhichtheBritishrul-ingclasstriestoheadoffanyattackonitsrighttorule.
If
BritishworkersaccepttherightoftheBritishrulingclasstoruletheIrish,thenhowcantheymountaseriouschallengetoitsrulehereinBritain?Theargumentsputforwardsofarinthemovement,andwidelyacceptedwithoutseriouscriticism,fallshortofwhatisneeded.Themostcommonposition,putforwardbytheleftoftheLabourPartyandbytheCommunistParty,
is
thattheBritishParliamentshouldsorttheIrishquestionoutbyintroducingaBillofRightsfortheNorthofIreland.Butthisapproachrecognisestherightofthe
British
statetorulethe
Irish
people.
It
doesnotdis-agreewithBritainrulingtheIrish;itsonlyconcernishowbesttodothis.Suchapolicycannotchallengetheideaofanationalinterest:insteaditonlydisagreesonthedetailsofwhatthatnationalinterestis.Itfailstosup-porttherightoftheIrishpeopletoself-determinationandisthereforein-capableofdefendingtheBritishwork-ingclassagainsttheattacksoftherul-ingclass.Ithasnowbecomefashionabletoarguethattheso-calledpeacemove-mentisshowingthewayforward.Thisisalsomistaken.ThedevelopmentofthepeacemovementshowsthedangersofaperspectivethatdoesnotseethefightagainstBritishimperialismasthefirststeponthewaytopeace.ThismovementfirstbeganasanoppositiontoallviolenceintheNorthandattrac-tedacertainamountofsupportonthisbasis.However,as
it
developed,thepeacemovementhadtoansweranum-berofquestions:whatistheroleoftheBritishArmy?Whyisitover-whelminglyCatholicsandRepublicanswhoaredailyharassed,shotatandimprisonedbytheBritishArmyandtheBritishState')Itwaswhenthepeacemovementansweredtheseques-tionsthatthefalsityandindeedimpos-sibilityofitsunitywasfinallyrevealed.Thereareonlytwopositionsthat-canbeadoptedinthestruggleforpeace-oppositiontoBritishimperialismorsupport(howeverqualified)forBritishimperialism.FortheCPGB,thepeacemovement
 
representedthefirst
real
attemptsincelthecivilrightsmovementtouniteCatholicsandProtestantsonanon-:sectarianbasis.Letuslook
'atthe
leadersofthismovement.CiaranMc-'Keownhasopenlysupportedinform-ingagainstpeopleengagedinRepubli-:canactivities;MaireadCorrigan
is
on
paid
leavefrom
Guinessof
NorthernIreland'inordertocarryoutherwork'(whatunionmilitantreceivessuchhelpful
cooperation''):
andBettyWil-liamsandMaireadCorriganhave
isaid:
'Wedonotequatetheviciousanddeter-minedterrorism
of
theRepublicanandLoyalistparamilitaryorganisationswiththoseoccasionalinstanceswhenmembers
of
thesecurityforcesmayhavesteppedbeyondtheruleoflaw.Curattitudetothesecurityforcesisthis:Wefullysupporttheruleof
law,
anduntiltheNorthernIrishcommunitythemselvesevolvetheirownnewcom-munityconstitutionsandformofgovern-ment,thentheRUC·andtheothersecurityforcesaretheonlylegitimateupholdersoftheruleofJaw.'
(MorningStar,14.10.76,)
Themoreclearlythispositionisputforward.
the
moredividedthepeacemovementmustbecome.
The
Catholic
section
at
theworkingclasscannot.and
willnot,
support
a
movementwhichsupportstherole
of
the
Rue
and
of
the
BritishArmyinNorthernIreland.NorcantheLoyalistssupport
a
movementwhichdoes
not
supportthe
RUe
andtheBritishArmy.
A
movementwhichcandefendtheinter-estsoftheirishworkingclasscanonlybebuiltonananti-imperialistbasis.Anythingshortofthis
is
notonlyutopianbutmustalsoend
lip
inthe.imperialistcamp.Thereisavitaldifferencebetweenthepeaceoftheoppressorandthepeaceoftheoppressed.Tocallforpeacewithouttakingsideson
what
kindofpeaceisnecessarycanonlyhelpthe.oppressor-theBritishrulingclass-.towinpeace
attheexpenseofthelrishpeople.
Nothingcouldbemoredivisivethantosupportamovementwhichisplayingintothehandsoftheruling,class.Thepeacemovementcanonlybringunityfortheoppressors-ofthoseinBritainandtheNorthofIrelandwhowantthepeopleofIrelandtoacceptthecontinuedruleofBritain.Thisisthereason
why
theBritishGovernmentallowedthepeacemove-menttouseTrafalgarSquareforitsdemonstrationonNovember27th-thefirsttime.thatademonstrationonNorthernIrelandhasbeenallowedthereforfouryears.Morethanthis,therearcharacterofthepeacemove-mentwasshownbythewayitsfol-:lowerssang'songsofpeace'whilepolicearrested.thoseinTrafalgarSquarehandingoutleafletsorholdingupbannersopposingthe'Peace
Peo-'
ple'.
NowondertheNorthernIrelandofficeiswatchingthemovement
with
'interestand
scarcely
concealedenthu-siasm'
(IrishTimes
22.11.76).
Thekind
of
movementwhich
is
needed,both
to
support
the
struggle
of
theIrishpeopleandtofreetheBritishworkingclassfromthedeadweight
of
chauvinismwhichties
it
toitsrulingclass,
isamovementdirectedagainsttheBritishdominationofIreland,call-ing[ortheimmediatewithdrawal
oi
troops.
Wehavespelt
alit
theneed
for
thisinourpamphlet
Ireland:BritishLabourandBritishImperialism.
TheBritishlefthas
sofar
failedtobuildsuchamovement,despitethelonghis-
toryof
struggle
of
theIrishpeoplefortheirfreedom
fromBritish
rule.
HandsOffIreland
seeks
toJaythepoliticalbasisforan
anti-imperialist
movementintheBritishworkingclass
by
forgingtheclarityandprogrammerequiredtodefendtheinterestsofBritishandIrishworkers.Weurgeyou
to
writeyourviewsonthearticlesintheBulletin,oranyotheraspectof
I
thestrugglefor
Irish
self·determina··tion,Tobuildananti-imperialistmovement,theideasintheBulletinmustreachawideaudience.Youcancontribute
tothis
by
seilinganddis-tributing
Hands
Off
Ireland
inyourtradeunionbranch,atlocallabourmovementmeetings,andanyotherpoliticalmeetingsyouattend.Sincethearticlesforthisissuewerewritten,somemembers
of
the
ReG
havebeenexpelledforrefusingtoworkunderthedisciplineofthegroupandforrefusingtocarry
out
itspoli-cies.WehavedecidedtoprintinthisBulletinarticleswrittenbysomeoftheexpelled'membersWedothisbe-causetheircontributionsweredevel-opedaspartoftheoverallperspective
of
the
ReG's
workontheIrishques-tion.TerryMarlowe.December1976.
What
\Nill
Britain
do
next?
WhataretbeLabourgovernment'sin-tentionstowardsIreland?Whatthegovernment'spolicyistodayandinthefutureisas
unclear
asit
was
inFebru-ary1974.'Alltheeventssincethen-theUlsterWorkersCouncilgeneralstrike,theconveningofaConstitu-tionalConvention.itsfailure,thecease-fire,theemergence''ofthe'PeacePeople'-allha
ve
beenaccompanied
by
adeafeningsilencefromgovernmentspokesmenaboutLabourpolicyinten-lions.Allplanningandcommitmenttosuchdefiniteobjectivesasinternalre-formofthenorth.ortotheestablish-ment
ofa
power-sharingExecutive.seemto
havebeen
droppedinfavourofaday-to-dayresponse
10
develop-ments.TherecentassassinationoftheBritishambassadortosouthernIrelandbroughtforthlittleresponsefromtheBritishgovernment.Whatliesbehindthis'softly-softly'approachoftheLabourgovernment?Areitspresentpoliciesasaimlessastheyappear,andwhatwill
it
dointhefuture?Whatattitudeis
in
theinterestsoftheBritishworkingcI~ss?PresentBritishpolicy
does
havesomeclearsenseofdirection.Ithasbeentryingtoproducesomeformof'solu-tion'whichhasatleastthefacadeof
catholics
andprotestants'sharingpower'.Atthesametimeithastriedto.refuteallaccusationsofBritishinter-
------------------------
-
ferencc,fromLoyalistsandrepubli-cans,
by
avoidinganyopendeclarationofitsplans.
It
hasachievedthis
by
danglingenticingbutinvisiblecarrots,and
by
wieldingequallyinvisiblebutnolesspainfulsticksatthevarioussectionsofsocietyinthenorthofIre-land.Northernpoliticiansarebeingtemptedwithjuicyprospects
if
theyproduceasuperficially'democratic'
form
of'power-sharing'.TheBritishgovern-menthopesthattheirmore'extreme'policies
will
beignored
by
their
con-stituents,TheLoyalistsectionoftheworkingclass-whichformedthebackboneofthe
uwe
strike-issufferingunem-
ployment
onaseriousscaleforthefirsttimesincetheSecondWorldWar.TheBritishgovernmenthastriedtotakeadvantageofthis
by
'blackmailing'theLoyalistswithsuggestionsthatamore.cooperativeattitudecanbetraded
tor
jobs.Althoughtheclosureofnorthernfactoriesandtheresultinglossofem-ploymentareclearlytheproductofthecrisisofBritishcapitalism,thegovern-menthasbeenmarkedlyreluctantto,savethejobsofworkersinstrongly'Loyalist.areas;Ontheotherside.therepublicansecortionoftheworkingclassisbein~encouragedtorejectthestruggle
forl
freedomfromBritishdomination
iO!.
3

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