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P. 1
Hands Off Ireland! RCG Dec 1976 No1

Hands Off Ireland! RCG Dec 1976 No1

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Hands Off Ireland! RCG Dec 1976 No1
Hands Off Ireland! RCG Dec 1976 No1

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RevolutionaryCommunistGroup
No.1
20p
'Ihavealreadyagreedthattheworkbeingdonebythetradeunionsisfirstrate....MrJackJoneswasinIrelandlastweekspeakingattheannualconferenceoftheT.G.W.U.Whathesaidtherecouldnotbebettered.ThatshowsthatthevaluedsupportthattheGovernmentandthecountrygetfromtheBritishtradeunionmovementontheIrishquestionisfirstrate:MerlynRees,ex-SecretaryofStateforNorthernIreland,
Han-sard,
1.7.76,col.630.'~fthesocialistsofBritaindonotrecogniseandupholdIreland'srighttosecession,...itissolelybecausetheyareinfact,imperialists,notsocialists.Itisridiculous.tocherishillusionsthatpeoplewhodo
not
fightforlitherighttoself-detennination"ofthe'oppressednations,whiletheythemselvesbelongtotheoppressornations,arecapableofpractisingsocialistpolicies.'V.
I.
Lenin,
CollectedWorks
Vol.2',p.294.
 
·HANDSOFFIRELAND!
NumberOne,December1976
HandsOffIrelandisabulletinoftheRevolutionaryCommunistGroup,publishedbyRCGPublicationsLtd.
Contents
2
Editorial
3'
WhatWillBritainDoNext?
StevePalmer
6
BritishPeace-keeping-BritishTorture
PhilTurner
7
TheDublinGovernment-PartnersinImperialism
FrancisBurke
9
PoliticalStatusforAnti-ImperialistPrisoners
HughMacGrillen
11
AddresstotheSinnFeinRallyonAugust22nd
ChrisDavies
12
BritishImperialism,thePressandNorthernIreland
DanielShaw
13
LessonsofTOM
JimJohnson
15
Letters
Editor:TerryMarloweEditorialBoard:TerryMarlowe,SheilaMarston,StevePalmerEditorialandBusinessAddress:49,RailtonRoad,LondonSE24
OLN.
SpecialOffer:5
copies
postfree
£
1.00(BritainandIrelandonly)Forsingleissues,addIIpforpostageorl
Op
ifoverseas
©
RCGPublicationsLtd,WorldCopyrightDecember1976
2
Editorial
FormostoftheperiodduringwhichtheLabourgovernmenthasheldoffice,theBritishworkingclasshastoleratedaseriesofattacksonitsstandardoflivingandonitsrighttowork.Wagerestraint,massiveinflation,colossalunemploymentanddrasticcutbacksinstateexpenditurehavebeenacceptedwithlittleserious
oppositionvOnly
recentlyhasanyfightbackbegun-withthemassivedemonstrationonNovember17th.However,thisdemon-strationwasdirectedonlyagainstthecutsinstateexpenditure,andnotagainsttheLabourgovernment'sin-dustrialstrategyasawhole,ofwhichthesecutsareonlyapart.Thereisnodoubtthattherulingclasswilltrytoisolatethisgrowingopposition.Oneofthemostpotentweaponsitwillemploywillbetheargumentthatanyopposi-tiontoitsattackis'againstthenationalinterest'.Itisarguedthatthereisa'nationalinterest'whichstandsabovetheinter-estoftheworkingclass.Theproblem,.wearetold,isto'putBritainbackonitsfeet'.Inflationisblamedonthe'selfish'demandsoftheworkingclassfor'excessive'wagerises.Workersaresupposedtobe'pricingthemselvesoutofajob'.Theymustthereforeacceptwagerestraint-'inthenationalinter-est'.Andsoworkersarepersuadedtoputasidetheirowninterests
in
favour!oftherequirementsofthecapitalist
I
system-asystemwhichbyitsvery
I
natureiscrisis-ridden.
If
theBritishworkingclassistoassertitsindependentinterestsagainstitsownrulingclass,itmustbeabletodefenditselfagainstthe'nationalinter-
I
est'argument.Todothis,theworking
I
classmustrejectallideaof'national':unitywiththeBritishrulingclass.
It
I
mustfighteveryattemptwhichtherul-
I
ingclassmakestoensnaretheworkingclasswithnationalism.ByrejectingBritishnationalism,theworkingclassunites,notwithitsenemy-thecapital-Iistclass-butwithfellowexploitedworkersinothercountries..Onlyinthiswaycanitensurethatitservesitsowninterestsandnotthoseoftherulingclass..Aparticularlyvirulentexampleof.reactionarynationalismisexpressedinBritain'srelationtoIreland.TheBrit-ishrulingclasshasattempted·towinBritishworkerssupportfOTitsattacksontheIrishpeople,andsofarithaslargelysucceededinattractingthatsupport.The'nationalinterest'hereis.acallfornationalunityagainsttheinterestsoftheIrishpeople.Withoutfightingthewidespreadnationalchau-vinismagainsttheIrish,itwillbeimpossibletoridthemovementofthenationalismwithwhichtheBritishrul-ingclasstriestoheadoffanyattackonitsrighttorule.
If
BritishworkersaccepttherightoftheBritishrulingclasstoruletheIrish,thenhowcantheymountaseriouschallengetoitsrulehereinBritain?Theargumentsputforwardsofarinthemovement,andwidelyacceptedwithoutseriouscriticism,fallshortofwhatisneeded.Themostcommonposition,putforwardbytheleftoftheLabourPartyandbytheCommunistParty,isthattheBritishParliamentshouldsorttheIrishquestionoutbyintroducingaBillofRightsfortheNorthofIreland.Butthisapproachrecognisestherightofthe
British
statetorulethe
Irish
people.Itdoesnotdis-agreewithBritainrulingtheIrish;itsonlyconcernishowbesttodothis.Suchapolicycannotchallengetheideaofanationalinterest:insteaditonlydisagreesonthedetailsofwhatthatnationalinterestis.Itfailstosup-porttherightoftheIrishpeopletoself-determinationandisthereforein-capableofdefendingtheBritishwork-ingclassagainsttheattacksoftherul-ingclass.Ithasnowbecomefashionabletoarguethattheso-calledpeacemove-mentisshowingthewayforward.This'isalsomistaken.ThedevelopmentofthepeacemovementshowsthedangersofaperspectivethatdoesnotseethefightagainstBritishimperialismasthefirststepon·thewaytopeace.ThismovementfirstbeganasanoppositiontoallviolenceintheNorthandattrac-tedacertainamountofsupportonthisbasis.However,asitdeveloped,thepeacemovementhadtoansweranum-berofquestions:whatistheroleoftheBritishArmy?Whyisitover-whelminglyCatholicsandRepublicanswhoaredailyharassed,shotatandimprisonedbytheBritishArmyandtheBritishState?Itwaswhenthepeacemovementansweredtheseques-tionsthatthefalsityandindeedimpos-sibilityofitsunitywasfinallyrevealed.Thereareonlytwopositionsthat-canbeadoptedinthestrugglefor'peace-oppositiontoBritishimperialism.orsupport(howeverqualified)forBritishimperialism..FortheCPGB,thepeacemovement
 
representedthefirstrealattemptsincelthecivilrightsmovementtouniteCatholicsandProtestantsonanon-isectarianbasis.Letuslookatthe'leadersofthismovement.CiaranMc-:Keownhasopenlysupportedinform-:ingagainstpeopleengagedinRepubli-:canactivities;MaireadCorriganison
paid
leavefromGuinessofNorthernIreland'inordertocarryoutherwork'.(whatunionmilitantreceivessuchhelpfulcooperation?);andBettyWil-liamsandMaireadCorriganhave
isaid:
'Wedonotequatetheviciousanddeter-minedterrorismoftheRepublicanandLoyalistparamilitaryorganisationswiththoseoccasionalinstanceswhenmembersofthesecurityforcesmayhavesteppedbeyondtheruleoflaw.
Our
attitudetothesecurityforcesisthis;Wefullysupporttheruleoflaw,anduntiltheNorthernIrishcommunitythemselvesevolvetheirownnewcom-munityconstitutionsandformofgovern-ment,thentheRUeandtheothersecurityforcesaretheonlylegitimateupholdersoftheruleoflaw.'
(Morning
Star,
14.!O.76.)
i
Themoreclearlythispositionisputforward,themoredividedthepeacemovementmustbecome.TheCatholicsectionoftheworkingclasscannot.andwillnot,supportamovementwhichsupportstheroleoftheRUCandoftheBritishArmyinNorthernIreland.NorcantheLoyalistssupportamovementwhichdoes.
not
supporttheRUCandtheBritishArmy.Amovementwhichcandefendtheinter-estsoftheIrishworkingclasscanonly
be
builtonananti-imperialistbasis.Anything'shortofthisisnotonlyutopianbutmustalsoendupinthe,imperialistcamp.
I
'Thereisavitaldifferencebetweenthepeaceoftheoppressorandthepeaceoftheoppressed.Tocallforpeacewithouttakingsidesonwhatkindofpeaceisnecessarycanonlyhelpthejoppressor-theBritishrulingclass-towinpeace
attheexpense
of
theIrishpeople.
Nothingcouldbemoredivisivethantosupportamovementwhichisplayingintothehandsoftherulingclass.Thepeacemovementcanonly'bringunityfortheoppressors-ofthoseinBritainandtheNorthofIrelandwhowantthepeopleofIrelandtoacceptthecontinuedruleofBritain.ThisisthereasonwhytheBritishGovernmentallowedthepeacemove-menttouseTrafalgarSquareforitsdemonstrationonNovember27th-thefirsttimethatademonstrationonNorthernIrelandhasbeenallowedthereforfouryears.Morethanthis.therealcharacterofthepeacemove-Imentwasshownbythewayits
Iol-:
lowerssang'songsofpeace'whilepolicearrestedthoseinTrafalga~'.SquarehandingoutleafletsorholdInglupbannersopposingthe'PeacePeo-'pIe'.NowondertheNorthernIrelandofficeiswatchingthemovementwith'interestandscarcelyconcealedenthu-siasm'
(IrishTimes22.11.76).
Thekindofmovementwhichisneeded.bothtosupportthestruggleofthe'IrishpeopleandtofreetheBritish'workingclassfromthedeadweightof,chauvinismwhichtiesittoitsrulingclass.is
amovementdirectedagainst,theBritishdominationofIreland,call-ingfortheimmediatewithdrawaloftroops.
Wehavespeltouttheneedforthisinourpamphlet
Ireland:British,LabourandBritishImperialism.
TheBritishlefthassofarfailedtobuildsuchamovement.despitethelonghis-toryofstruggleoftheIrishpeoplefortheirfreedomfromBritishrule.I
HandsOffIreland
seekstolaythe'politicalbasisforananti-imperialistmovementintheBritishworkingclassbyforgingtheclarityandprogrammerequiredtodefendtheinterestsofBritishandIrishworkers.Weurgeyoutowriteyourviewsonthearticles,intheBulletin.oranyotheraspectofthestruggleforIrish
self-determina-
tion.Tobuildananti-imperialistmovement.theideasintheBulletinmustreachawideaudience.Youcancontributetothisbysellinganddis-tributing
Hands
Off
Ireland
inyourtradeunionbranch.atlocallabourmovementmeetings.andanyother.politicalmeetingsyouattend.Sincethearticlesforthisissuewerewritten.somemembersof,theRCGhavebeenexpelledforrefusingtoworkunderthedisciplineofthegroupandforrefusingtocarryoutitspoli-cies.WehavedecidedtoprintinthisBulletinarticleswrittenbysomeoftheexpelled'members.Wedothisbe-causetheircontributionsweredevel-opedaspartoftheoverallperspectiveoftheRCG'sworkontheIrishques-tion.TerryMarlowe.December]976.
What
vvill
Br~_n
do
next?
WhataretheLabourgovernment'sin-tentions'towardsIreland?Whatthegovernment'spolicyistodayandinthefutureisasunclearasitwasinFebru-ary1974.'Alltheeventssincethen-theUlsterWorkersCouncilgeneralstrike.theconveningofaConstitu-.tionalConvention.itsfailure.thecease-fire.theemergence'ofthe'PeacePeople'-allhavebeenaccompaniedbyadeafeningsilencefromgovernmentspokesmenaboutLabourpolicyinten-tions.Allplanningandcommitmentto'suchdefiniteobjectivesasinternalre-formofthenorth.ortotheestablish-mentofapower-sharingExecutive.seemtohavebeendroppedinfavourofaday-to-dayresponsetodevelop-ments.TherecentassassinationoftheBritishambassadortosouthernIrelandbroughtforthlittleresponsefromtheBritishgovernment.Whatliesbehindthis.'softly-softly'approachoftheLabourgovernment?Areitspresentpoliciesasaimlessastheyappear.andwhatwillitdointhefuture?WhatattitudeisintheinterestsoftheBritishworkingcl~ss?
...I
PresentBritishpolicy
does
havesomeclearsenseofdirection.Ithasbeentryingtoproducesomeformof'solu-tion'whichhasatleastthefacadeofcatholicsandprotestants'sharingpower'.Atthesametimeithastriedto.refuteall_accusationsofBritishinter-ference,fromLoyalistsandrepubli-cans.byavoidinganyopendeclarationofitsplans.
It
hasachievedthisbydanglingenticingbutinvisiblecarrots.andbywieldingequallyinvisiblebutnolesspainfulsticksatthevarioussectionsofsocietyinthenorthofIre-land.Northernpoliticiansarebeingtemptedwithjuicyprospects
if
theyproduceasuperficially'democratic'formof'power-sharing'.TheBritishgovern-menthopesthattheirmore'extreme'policieswill
be
ignoredbytheircon-stituents.TheLoyalistsectionoftheworkingclass-whichformedthebackboneoftheUWCstrike-issufferingunern-ploymentonaseriousscaleforthefirsttimesincetheSecondWorldWar.TheBritishgovernmenthastriedtotakeadvantageofthisby'blackmailing'theLoyalistswithsuggestionsthatamore
I
cooperativeattitudecanbetradedforjobs.Althoughtheclosureofnorthernfactoriesandtheresultingloss.ofem-ploymentareclearlytheproductofthecrisisofBritishcapitalism.thegovern-.mentfrasbeenmarkedlyreluctantto,savethejobsofworkersinstrongly]Loyalistareas:Onthe~therside.therepublican
sec-]
tionoftheworkingclassisbein~encouragedtorejectthestrugglefor.freedomfromBritishdominationin[

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