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PAPE R TO THE TROOPS OUT CONF[ RENeE - RE VOLUTI ONARY cor~I:IUNI ST GROUP
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One of the major obstacles encountered by those trying to build an anti-imperialist movement in Britain is the confusion over what British strategy is. Oev~lopments such as t~, Truce1 and the ending of internment1 and'facts such as the avowed commitment of both parties to a power-sharing solution seem difficult to reconcile with the idea
that the British presence is oppressive and imperialist.
There h~ve been two kinds Gf reaction to these developments. One of these responses is to lapse into rhetoric - 'the struggle goes on' - rain or ah.i.ne , sun or snow. In a certain sense this is true .. the fundamentals of the Irish question have not changed. However9 to ignore the widly varying forms which it assumes is dangerous, for it ~Bcames inrpossible to win others to an understanding that British domination is oppressive. The daily efforts of the British press to present Oritish military power as a neutral force for democracy 8eem confirmed by the developments we have mentioned above. Unless these developments are placed in their relation to British imperialist strategy~ the ides that British domination can be progressive will dominate. But it is this idea which we must destroy if we are to win support for our cempaign. Thus rhetoric is not enoGgh - a real explanation cif British strategy must be lJiven.
The other is based on an !mmedia~e assessment of what seems to be
going on. Thus sudden developments or chance re~arks by imperialist politicians iJecome the basis of assessments of what British strategy is. And as such l:evelopments change as rapidly as the weather so do assessments of British strategy. Inevitably confusion and disorientation follows. This confusion has been greatest since the UUC strike in
1974. Tile rosumption of direct rule, the Truce? the rejection of t.he Convention Report, the ending of internment, and~ more recently the
atti tude to the UUAC s tr ike seem to run contrary to the an t i-c imper i a.l i s t argument. Th.i s has even led to the idea that 8ri tish imperialism is considering withdrawal. This interpretation has been supported by a sugges ti vs remark made by .lame s Callaghan in hi s book An Hou ~~.92-_v J..d~, published in '973. Discussing the then proposed Assembly and powersharing executive, he remarked 8S an after-thought,
I ••• , if9 by sabotage of the political structure of Northern Ir8land9 the majority deliberately contracted out, then Britain should fesl morally'free to reconsider t~e link between herself and Northern Ireland, the provision of troops to Northern Ireland an d the fin anc i a I sub s i dy to tile Provine e • • •• B ri tain c anno t be expected t~ sit patiently and bleed indefinitely if her bsst efforts face deliberate sabot~ge by the elected majority of the Province.' (p. 187)
This attituda - that unless the Ulster Loyalists accept the British
diktat9 the six counties' connection with Britain must be reconsidered - found an eello during the UWC strike in Wilson's famou~ Isponging' speech. In the subsequent Commons debat.e9 Wilson r8peated and developed th8 point, threatening oconomic blackmail - un I e s s the Loyalists t.o Le r o t.ad \ri8stminster policyv the economic subsidies which underwrote the province would be withdrawn.
Wilson's bluffing was taken at face value by many Loyalists. The
n l o sur e of the IEL factory in Bel f sst; of the Bel fast-Heyshan fe r r-Le s , the rundown of servicing cont r-ac ts in the Royal rIJavy IS ai r c r af t yard at
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Sydenham 9. the fai lure .t o ins lude Harland and Wolff or Short ! 3 in the nat.Loria.I Ls at.ttrn pj'CDQ1'3mri'le~' drlothe d:i_ :teeT r e fus al to- keep ·lhG STC f ac t cr y in Larna open all seemed to be evidence for a policy of economic withdrawal. All Unionist p~litical parties raised tho quastion~ loyalist workers sene delegates to London; Orange Lodges passed resolutions. on
the question of unemployment,
Tlles.e devo Lopmarit.s all tr---e r.ccnorni c f r cri t., combined with fj consistont refusal lly tiT3 l.eucur t;_l'-l·j'~:;:TI~IGn:: t.o oxo Lai.n its l\JorthcHn Irelan-d policies ~ have c r-e e t a d ifllil''3~30 confusion nrnonqo i, t"D left about th,../l Lrit er-ee t s of British .irnpo r i a'Li sm _:: .. +-:i11.;; f.:'csent ti_IIH;, 1':18ny or the ideas cu'rrGnt on
the Left WcClro cio'c/GJ_o[Jl;d i_fl HI 28:"lic:c pt'rioj. But we must oontinually assess Wh8~ tile inLercJts o~ Brib ~ 'f _imperialism are if we are to be
able to confront 1" •
. ~~hGt a£.~~1l?_i~~~s.!_:?...£!_~::~!,i uh imE_~j_'i~~isml
In earlier ana Ly s as (.RevCllutionary Cornmun i s t No 2, Ireland 6ri tish Labour and Hr L t i sh Irnpe r i a l Lsm ) 'nO have axp.la i ne d the basis of 8ri ti sh s tr at.e qy in tho r:Jc8nt per-iod, 8Li. tiel i capi t a I was in competi tion wi til Unionist capital. The former, with a higher level of productivity, maintained
its profits t hrcuqi ·inCT'l'l8Sifig this level of productivity. Unionist capital, by contrast, extracted its profits~ not by applying Gdvancsd machinery, :1Ut by k8eping the ~jag8s of the working class Loui , hours
long? end cundition3 bad. Tho differgnc8 that this had 00 policy is
shown by the differing attj,tude to the trade unions. Traditionally? Unionist capital huJ bson bitterly hosti18s refusing any recognition
by the S-tateo Th~1 n:::).1 Briti.s.h 8;1d foreign capital which errt e r o d cho province in the m~d-50's tocr; un op~osito attitude and succesd8d in getting 3to~mant tc rocoJnise tho Northorn Ireland Committee of the
ICTU. This is not d.i f~iC:_llt til unde r s t anc . any improvement in wor!~ers I c~ndition.s l;lClElIlt Cl. c~_rr"rt a:'lri nl='pnRite effect on Unionist capital. It therefore ~'8dA DV8r~ ~fro. t to weakan and diviBe th~ working cIbas.
Such an imp~'OVOml";'lt he·C: Li t t Lc Qifw"t on the mote advP'lced c ap i taI which set up in t ne 6 Cotll,~j88 in the mid sixties. The c o Ll.os a I productivity of this n8Ld ,,:;:)o_i tal pumpud such i'1!J"Illti ties of p r of i ts out of the lIJorf<ing class that Q fa'.) C1L!11!"~ (:'1:110 be 3~arFld to .i ric r e as e t he workGrs' living st.aridnr ds 0 en:::OUl ",gir 19 CGOfl9J.'s;---'_rn and 'industrial harmony I. The average hour l v rarru.nqs Dr m-iru ta l. WOI'ken'S as a percentage of UI< grew from 82'., Ln 'j ::::!S'1 to 91;;; IT-/ 19 ?'i 0
The s o diff8':'ing if1-i~eI'G~~t'~ of Br.i '~5_sh aru l Unionist capi t aI found their
r a f lec t i fJ n , not just ill 8. ': tit U C:c'O!'~ to L ~1C tradeu ni 0 n s ~ but also tel iar-ds Loyalism ~:nd civ~l rights, Unjonist capital supported the divisions in the working class p8ro8tuated and ossified by partition in order to prevent a unitod o~po~ition ~irDstad sgainst the collossal unemployment and appalling condi t.i oris ub ich tile IIJO-d<2.llg class lived under , It was thereforD ~itt8rlyoppo~8~ to anything which cbuld foster· that unity
in particulsr anything which would dismantle the mechanisms uf discrimination snd oppression - irected against the Catholics. The
British an~ foreign capital was not nearly so dependent upon these divisions to maintc~n Q docile wurkforce. Thus the British press at first adop ted u s yrnp a t.he ti c s t anc e to tho Civil Rights struggle. This was r~flect8d in ·confusion in-clritain a~out the role of the trbops.
Liberals could atfir3tsu[Jpod: bo t h the presence of t roop s , -and t.he struggle for civil riGh~~.
The six county stQte~3t oxists only to pr8serve privileges and discrimination, thus ma~ntaining the d~ isions in the working class.
The struggle for civil ~ights thus had to confront the statelet and dnmand its abo~it~on. This struaole necessarily led stormont to deploy its'PQ~G--miliLary fci:~C8:::: agoinst -the mir,ority~ and when these fo.ilocls to
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have t.hom backed up by British troops.
Doth British "nd Unionist capital agreed on the threat to the state represented by the stru901e of the minority. But the sectarian apparatus of the Urange state was not essential to British capital
at th~_t . .§_t.9.9g_. Thus the Bri tish state could both conduct a military
s trug,'le an d cone e de limi ted ref orms inn on-8 S8 en ti a I are 88. l\n ex amp Le of the latter was one-person/olle-vote in the sphere of local government. This did not represent the slightest materiBl concession by Jritish capital. It was the inability of Stormont to win the confidence of the minori ty c on.b.i ried wi th the Lat.t ar ' s implacable struggle which f or cod British imperialism to introduce direct rule.
The 8bolition of Stormont meant that it was left to Westminster to try
to pre S8 rv (3 the s t.a t e Lo to It tr ie d todD th i 8 by rne an s 0 f rep r os sio n
an d powo r-s haring re form. Powe r= shar in 9 was do s i, gna d to d ralrJ <1 sec ti on
of the minority into support for the ststelet. It worked to tho extent that it drew the SDLP into clear colleboration with inlperialism. Out these tactics brought about their own demise, On the one hand legal reforms end power-sharing could not reverse the effects of discrinination. On the other hand~ power-sharing seemed to threaten the control of the ascendancy ovor its privileges. With its mixture of power-shsring and ropression? the British state could not win th~ su~port of the republican working class, and succeeded in provoking the majority. The prorcsal
for a Council of Ireland united Loyalist opposition in support of tho
The UWC strike came at a time whon the economic crisis of British cnpitsl was maturing. This crisis demanded attacks on the working class. In Ireland9 withdrawal would have strengthened rather than weakonod the working class. The British stato thus had to begin to make concessions to Loyalism. The first victim was the Council of Ireland, Power-sharing was put in cold storage. Since the strike, competition betwesn British and Unionist capital has been declir.ing, to be r(3place~ by converging policies wiftl regard to the f'ut.u r o of the s t.a t.e l e t ,
The economic competiti. n between British and Unionist capital is l~rgely over. This is not because the capitalists have agreed to a trucs, but bocause llritish capital penetration has gone as far as it possibly can in the presont period. British and foreign capital has virtually ceased to invest in the Six Counti8s. The numbo r of jobs c r-e a t e d ("JY ccr.rp arti e s new to the [Jorth has been in steady decline since the mid-sixties.
,New Jobs C r8a!:"~9L_~omp ar"J.,*.§2 . ..!2£.~_l'} .. £_r th Table 1
~Joo ,of jobs 4568 2304 2973' 24t.~3 19]4
370 947 705
- 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975
(Economic and Industrial Stro.te9JL!_or Northern Ireland,- Belfast9 HnSO,
The process of competition with Unionist capital has largely worked itself out. Unionist capital has been swept into the corner: the 'commending heights! of the Northern economy are now directly or indirectly under thu control of British capital. A r8cent study in 1abour ~~~2EEP1~ rEported that~
, •••• only seven of the 34 (largest manufacturing) compgnis8 at pres~nt still operating are controlled from within No~thern Ireland. In employment terms the position is that of .
tho 75,000 jobs provided by these companies in 1975 only
99600 were with companies controlled in Northern Ireland.' ('Northern Ireland - economic dependency! Lobour Research 66
2 FI~b 1977 ~ p. 36) .. --- .. --
These 27 firms thus accounted for over 40% of manufacturing omploymont.
Further indication of the d8gree of domination exercised by British and foreign capital comes from Fortni_ght's study of manufacturing end construction firms umploying more than 250 workers. Only 53 out of
141 had no Dritish or foreign directors. And even firms which aro apparently independent of foroign control are f'8quently dep8ndunt on Oritish capital for investment grants, Unionist capital hBS vnnished as an indep~ndent entity. This is not to say that thero are no Unionist capitalists? but is to make the point that they have lost ell indoporident power. Consoqueritly? and most importantly? Unionism has no indupondent st.ruriqt.h \ Oil di s ut te r 1 y dupe n den t on B'ir i ti 8 h capi tal. Thi s 10 'oj Ie: r t.hrcu I of Unionist capital is expressed in the decimation of the onC8 monolithic Unionist ~Qrty. and the increasing cooperation of the Official Unionists lui th the Bri tish state.
Thus~ whilo there may be conflict at timss between Unionism and tho British stats, tho dominance of British capital over Unionist CDpitcl is suc h th at it is the B r .i ti sh s to to whic h wi 11 de te mine wlla t s tU1tegy is implemented in future.
Lj'e hElve r cmo rkod the t in the mi d-cs Lx ties 9 th8 new 81' i tish and for8i gn c ap i tal wos loss concerned with the Lave I of wogos than luas Unionist ccpital. HOWGV8r~ the dramatic decline in the rate of profit oxperionced by British capital since the mid-sixties has nCC03Dit~tGd
an attaci< on working class living standards in an attempt to drivo wages bolow the vnlue of labour-pow~r. This has been carried through latterly in Britain by means of incomes policies policad by the TUC and the
Labour Government. These needs apply 8S much to Bri~sh capitnl operating in tho North BS in Britain, Yet incomos policy has had the effect of .incr~~~_n.g. money uiaqe s and s a l ari e s more rapidly in the ~Jorth t hnn in Britain.
_f\_v.£E'pSL~1:i9...:l,;!_r]ti8[ninqs of Male r1anual Workers (r~orthern I ro10n( as % of UK T8ble 2
1961 1966 1970 1975
81 .7 86.4 89.3 95.6
In addition, transport and fuel prices have ris8n more rapidly in the North than in Britain. The CSI has rGcognisBd thct exploitation of Northorn workers has not been os lucrative 3S in eorlier yBcrs. In 8. repor t p r;J[lnrl~d for Re8s 9 it was argued t ho t CSI mumbe r cornp an.i.o s \Jere suffering. In its own squalid and evnsive language. the ruport says:
'!'Ji t.hou t axcup t i on all drew a t t.arrt i nn to the f ac ts that the advDnt8gos of operating in Northern Ireland which had previously obtoined had been eroded over the years.
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I Wage r a ts s are now muc h mo r·8 _ 'comp ar-ab Ls to those in G r8 at Britain than i~ former years: power is very much more BXPGnS~ve
·thon in Gvoot Britnih and oth~rEuropbon co~htriu§; trcnspurt
r e t o s hC'VD now bucc.mu " -s i qn i f'I c crrt o Lomorrt in monuf oc t.ur i nq costs' end, C c r t o.i n i:I f the 'edvbnto.gos in tho .. ino!,..ls t r i a l, }'uL.~t;lons fi.:ld nr~ at risk following the imposition' of tha provisions o~ _3
thu Employment Prot,_;cticn Act. - l'<'. i
If t:lOrl~ is no edvont cqo to be qai.ne d by investing in Northern IrJI~nd~ invostors will put their money 818awhote~1
(JE.~.Q .. I~mc~, 7 Jun.G 1976)
At 0. 3ritish Institute of Management seminar9 held in Belfast last May; Sir Desmond Lorrimer - a prcminent Northern capitalist - Dnd Sir fred Coth8rwood~ director of John Laing, 'were certain that Q solution to tho North's political problems must come beforo its economic problems could be tackled effeciively.' Sir Desmond was indifferent as to the precise form of the solution:
lOur oconomic survival and our political SUI'vivpl arB so interdependent that we cannot discuss one without reference to the other. The prerequisite to economic survival in this province is firm and decisive government giving rise to politic2l stability. bhethor
it is by direct rula or devolv8d government is jmmcterial.'
Ori s h Times ~ 1.1 ~12 Y 1976)
Till! appro3ch is thoroughly pragmatic~ support for whoever deliv8rs the goods.
To reap the 'advantages' of 'operating' in the North io to incro8sc the profits to b~ pumped out of the working class - means that British copitol will move increasingly towards the troditional standpoint taken by Uni 0 ni s t c np i tal. That stan dpo i n t has bo en to Wl, aken_ thu wo i-k i n 9 class by decpenin99 fortifying and then playing on the_divisions in
the Northorn working class. The last decade has S88n Unionist capitol bacome cornpLe t.e I y subordinates to sri t i ah capital) whi Le 8ri tish cuo i tal h~s beun driven by the current crisis~ towards the sarno political standpoint c s Unionist capital - tho ws·11·-tri8d rne thods of the Orang8
s to t e , This turn wi 11 no t be sudden and dramati c ~ it wi 11 bo p r ep ar-n d
for in Britain and Iruland. In pArt the process has begun. The UWC strike ropresented a decisive turning point in the British ruling class attompt
to grapple wi th the Irish que s t i cn , Policy since then r-ap r e s orrt s 0
cluar rotroat from the superficial attempts to 'd8mocratiser thu irroformable statelet. All references to an 'Irish dimension' wuro
immedi a t.e l'y d roppo d. All plans for power-she.,r ing we 1'8 put to on"
side. William Craig suddanly discovered liberalism~ consisting of 0
plan for voluntary Coalition which would have put the SOLP firmly
under the t l iumb of the Loyalis t ma j o r-L ty~ it would have gi ven tilG form
of poWo~·sh8ring to the traditional content of loyalist rule.
Repression ngcinst the minority is being stopped up: no-one st,ould be fooled IJy tim ending of internmenb part of its r-o l o has baen t"'.kon over by generous accusations of conspiracy. Pblitical status for POWs has bean endod, Reson has promised to incr88s8 the numbor of army units residant in tho North9 to incr8Dso the role of tho RUC~ and to provide now equipment for the UDR.
These develupmunts form no part of ooherent 8xpress8d Labour polioy - tl18y ar~ tho necessary consequences of prRgmatit. att8mpts to maintain British ru18. It is on the right, in and around the Tory perty th~t the most cohurcnt r-ov i s i on of ruling 0128s policy is bding unde rt.ckon ,
At lust yoar's warm wulcomo. remarks on the
Tory Conferenc89 the Official Unionists wero ~iv8n a very Airey NanvB hos b88n conspicuous by distinctly hawkish Irish qUGstion;
I Thur-n must be a change in s acu r i ty tactics. The Army and the locol sGcurity Por~Gs must be relBas~d,from their presunt low profile and go on t~8 offensive •••• ,
(NLJ~oso p! th8'World~ 15 August 1976)
Since he wrotG these words he has dBvelop8~ this point, 'calling for special 8nti-~u8rrilla.units.St8Bdily, Conservative policy has moved away from tho !bilateralism1' of power-sharing to a much cleaTor law
an d or de r po s.i ti on. The mo s t C ohe r an t an d dov as t:' ti ng c ri ti qu (j 0 f th8 pragmatic libernlism of thl: Labuur and ~ p n r ti cu.l ar Ly Tory prir-t Le s , This has hAd its offett, ahd is reflected in The Riqht Approach; A ~3t8~n.t~. of_. Cons_erv2ti vu oims i urh i ch c omp Le t o l y over throws -p-i-8viooLis Tory policy, and insist~ on treating tMs 'Northern Ireland Problem'
as simply a problem of law ~nd order.
Those d8velopments within the lory p~rty are not of ac~dcmic interest.
Tho gov8rnmunt· which will emerge from the forthcoming gdnet31 electi8n' \:Jill be To r y, I ts political programme is convorgingwi th that of tho Loyalists, os our analysis of the cur~ent needs of British c8pitol predicts. Th8 new government will bring with it a conscious programme
to at.t.ack tll'~ minority· and to strengthon divisions in tho workinQ c Las.s , Tho dithering and indiffsronce characteristic of th~ recent liberal period will b8 swept away. The timing of the manoeuvre cannot bs rr8dictcd, but it is c Le o r that British c op i tal is not going to ollow us t_o .rnr.ko nny, rurther mistakes. This is thu lest opportunity which W8 will havs' .
for a consid8rnblo poriod of timo to build a movement in Britain 0ppoBing 131'i t i sh dom.i ric t i ort , I t is an opportuni ty which must net be W'i3t8c1~' arid we must oppose any attempt to rush'h8sdlong into erDcting 2 nuw
movemont without having l~ornt tho mistak~s 6f the old.
Our Tasks in Britain
~ ~ ,~ --~.
nn anti.·implriolist movement th2t will dovelop as 0 r~nl forcs in Britain, must b8 bOSGd in the working class. What intorsst docs this c Lo s s hilvu in rndntnining the Union? Absolute-ly none ..,. unlike tlK~ Critish bourgooisie whose profits and rule or2 at stoke. Tho dofnot of Lmpr, r i . o.l i sm in I r e Land is di r8C tl y in thu .i n t.e r e s t.e of \hu O:r.i. t i ah working closs - thB most politically advhnced section of this closs 1,lUSt be uor» to form t.he solid co r e of thB 8nti-impsFif11ist movnrnnn t ,
An anti .. oii:lperialist movurnent , to. bo auc c e s s f'u I in -Lb~ aim of tot.ol' withdr~wol, ~ust presont a rool threat to tho rulG o~ copitol.
Prot8st d88onstr8tions, petitions9 mb0tingsv though USGful for building up a c crnp a.i rjn , c anno t in ·th8mselv8s force the; Govdrnf'1ent to tCl:';C s t op s 890i ns t tho' into co s ts 0 f til8 bu u rquo.i 8i8. Bu t if we ar-c t.o l k i 11 rJ "i'JOu t
G b Lo ck ado aw.: blocking ac t i ori by Tr ada Unionists c.gainst arms end troops being shippc!d to Lr o Land ; or of strike ac t i.nn in protest at the ~rmy's rr~suncu. th8 Govo1'Mmont is foced with a different situotion oltognthor. It then hos to wHigh up which is 6 worso threat: a wove
of s t ruqr Lo tc unite Lr o Lend in t.hewako of the troops' dep nr t.ur-o ,
l'.li til all tild potential t.hat has for a struggle 21J8inst the cnp i t a l is t ~~ystum i t suI f 9 or the continued ao c La l and p:oli t i.c a l Lns t ab i Ii ty .i n Aritoinl moru strikes, more chollGngo to 'law and order19 mora disruptLm of the; economy. Tho firs t port of thi s paper sho'.JfOd wiwt tho :31'i t i sb hourgeoisio hOB to do in Lr e Land -- thd only thing:~hA
can s~lc.;kG it frorn th8t path is 8 de t.e rm i ne d movement b3S2d _.ip_ .1:~l.S) _
_9_r i tis.h~ _IIJO 1'~ :j._n 9- c 10 s s •
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Why then h~B the working class not token up the anti-imperialist strugglo? ~hDt holds it back from recognising that its interosts do not stop at defonding jobs and woges~ but also lie with the Irish people's struggle for self-determination? The major obstacle is the chauvinism that runs in different forms through whole sections of the movemont.
In its most outright form it becomes the politics of the National Front. The wove or 'Irish jokes' that has swept the country shows tho
pernicious way anti-Irish feeling is ~inforced. But chauvinism elso takes on 2nother form which we can see expressed in the conceptions dominating the Left of the movement: that the British state should change its
polici8s and begin to rule the six counties 'humanelyi and lprogrBssiv~lyl.
The cone op tion t.ha t imps ri ali s t opp rl'l ssi on is an Ell te rna ti VB the t the , 5tato can.choose to apply or to roject, is most coh8rently 8xprossod by the Communist Party. At t.ho same time it is 3. vi2w t ha t is sh;'I'orJ implicitly by th8 great majority of the Trade Union movement, and
of cour eo IJ' t.ho -Tribune group in the Labour Party. It goes t.o qe t ho r with the idoo that Parliament can adopt policies if it so choosos? that will salvo the crisis of capitnlism in the interests of the working closs. Somohow there arG no fundamental contrDdic~ions within c8pit~lism that drive it into crisis; there is no essential driving force behind imperialism that forces the bourgeoisie to se~k tho maximum siloro of profits and leads relentlessly to the oppras8ion of notiun81iti2s~ and to wars between rival imperialist powers. No, on the contrary. it ell qomes down to a question of the policies n particular GOVGrnment chooses to adopt. And so the British" Gov8rnmont1 if it was 18.,-twing enough? could choos~ to inv8st h8Bvily in t~o ~orth9 p ar t i cu l c r I y in labour-intensi va pro jGC t s, t.hus creating jobs? prosperity and an end to discrimination.
This standpoint is not only on apology for imperialism! since it argUDs for tho further domination of Irelond by the British st~te
houeve r I i .um-ine l y!. I t is also a standpoint that undermines the" s t ruqqLn of tho working class in d~fEnce of its jobs and living standards. in 0
po r.i od when these ore uride r se'l.18ro attack. The bourgeoLisie cnnnot solve this crisis without attacking the working class h8re and in tho North! cuttin9 stat8 spending9 driving down wages and creating a massive poul
of unemployod. It cannot choose of its own accord any policy in
I ro 1 and at: 18 I' t hon that 0 f crus hing the 0 rgani s ati errs f i gh ting J_mperialism and thus 'pacifying' tho 6 Counties. By claiming thGt the working clcss and the capitalist st~te can hove D common approach: B
p~th to everyonels liking? whore the crisis is solved and the intureats of the working class are maintainedv the CP and the Labour 'luftsl
10 Old the wo r[.;i n g c las s in to t hu arms of the bour quo i s i e. Thn
influence of tho CP in this prOC888 cannot be overestimated. Lot us
not forgot th3t the TUC for sevoral years has unanimously accllptod thu
I Bill of Rights! strategy.
As lana CD thosu sections of the labour movoment believe a change of policy is possible! they can only regnrd those calling for 'Tronps
Out Now' ~s i~patient edventurists. As long as they bolieVB that the ontagonisll between Protestants end Catholics cen be overcnmuby oruefina jobs and disarming 'the men of violence'! they will 80e us as dangorous lultraleftsl w8nting to force the troops to leave boforG tilis process has been carried thrcugh.
This urho l e Ldao Lnq.i c a l, app r o ach is the major obstacle in the path of on 8nti-il~pcrialist movement. We c3nnot get round it unless we hove cunvineud s0ctions of tho labour movement that this whole approach ~s wrong. And until these aGctions are convinced an anti-imperialist ITIOv8w:Jnt o f any signific.:mce is out of the quns t i on ,
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The major prrt of the work of the Revolutionary Communist Group hos iJ80n B struggle against those misconceptions, with those in the lnbour movement who :?!G thinking about poli tical que s t Loris , We hcvo ao en
the neod to provide 8 continual flow of information about what is rually happan i nq in Lr e Lend and indG2d to I rish prisoners in 8ri t.Lsn prisons ~ since tho bourgeois media do not ksup anyorie informed, We also SGe ths need to Qxplain whEt British strategy is and why, time and again?
using tho duvolopments in the situotion to drive home the central ~oint: theru con bo no futute fDr tha Irish working class 3S long os Oritish dorai.na t i on r-omad ns , Our continual propaganda has been to fc,_'c'.~ thoSL' who ~ c Lces-c.cnsc i ous to S88 that thu 8ri tish working class must fight British imp8riClIism 2nd must support tho right of the Irish to s~lf-determination~ if their own struggle for socialism is to succeed.
If these politically advanc8d suctions of the movomont are wun to an :)nti~im:lori8Iist s t cndpo Ln t , they con begin to win widor andwidor support. Dacaus;., Lhoy ar e the people who can take the argumonts into t he i r
everyday work si tuation - into the Trad8 Unions and among thos", t ho y
work bJi th , orul g8t a hao r i riq , lJ.ie c anno t do t ho t dirac tl y, but t:ldY C~Jn.
Thsro is no u2SY road to building a mass movement - not today in
Brita~n on the Irish issuo. Thore is no solid cora of anti-imooriclists in the labour movement. That solid corD is what is nuudsd, fully understanding thQ str-uggliJ a9~inst impo inlism. Around that politicGl nucleus will dovelor the moss movemant~ responding to their ~rgumunts ond joining with them in politicor action.
No movornorit con bu built simply through good publicity. Wu r.rus t k8UP in mind th~t to win thousands to a domo or to hold 0 r~lly for moru
~han simply mumb8rs of Left organisations (albeit with their 'Tr2de Union' hats on), wo hove first to win 2 politic21 bottle of ide2s. BuilJinQ nn nnti-impericlist campaign on Iroland cennot U3e the s8m~ m8thods os csmpoigns on Ch.i Lo ~ or Portugal las t Y88r I-~""ubortion two yuars 8g0. Thu Irish strugglo docs not arouso spontaneous feelings of ~ynp~thy ~nd solid~rity with tho libor8tion, forc~s~ nor of outrage at th0 plight cf PGlitic~l p~isonurs and victims of Army r8pr2ssion. Thore is no gut fowling of
class soliderity on this issu8 to build on. That soliderity con only be
buil t up through poli tical o r-qurnerrt r8v8oling whot lios behind til'~
unfolding of British strotugy.
Cle.::::rly iuhn t \!JO n:re proposing me ens 0 long pur Lod of cnns i s t.orrt work beforu Weo; c an onv.i s aqe 0 movement of significant size deve Lop i nc , l';hen we orguud th i s in the post in the TOr11 c omr-r-dus W8rG ho r r i. F i.ud at tho id88 01' such n long procoss. They sow th~ urgency of gutting tho troops out; our methods war0 -S8sn ns too slow? os holding back tho potentir,l movenmnt. til at cou 1 d be 0 r qan i s 2 d. Of co ur se we kn ow th21 t thu i SSU 8
is on urg8nt on8. Every month thu troops remain in Iralond9 the Loyalist forcus ere strengthened further. But the TOM of tel' 3 yuors of following othur courses, trying to t~ke shortur, routes to build tho movement, is now back to Square 1. No signi;icont forcDs h2VU beun
won to tho ~ovument in 3 yuars. Tho shortcuts h~ve turned into blind alleys and Iud nowhere. W8 cannot woste anymore time with non-existent shortcuts. ThGrs is too much et stnke For the British mOVLlm8nt to hu ~Jr\Jn 9 09Gin•
The RCG hOB concsntrat8d on dirocting anti-imperialist propaganda to p~liticolJy advanced workors. The [PGB has (] decisive influ8nc8 ovor -thesa uo rke r s ~ W8 t he r e f o r e trent 8S a priority t hrs strugglo . 'gainst the [PIS 'sulution'9 and trke every opportunity we con tu dubota t~is with them in public. For GX8mpio tho RCG attendod Dnd spoke ct almost overy m(l ·ting of the Gordon MC~8nnnn ond Michoel O'Riordan tour?
· 1'.' •
dcsignod to roise support for the Better Life For All Campaign. Similarly WG have consistently r2ised the qU8stion of tho [PIS policy on Ireland contained in the new dr2ft of the 'British Rood to Socialism', ond forced CP members tr try to def8nd it.
The work of tho RCG is now c~ntrGd around the production of a rugular bulletin e Hands Off Ir.,Gl.;'3nd. The bulletin aims t.o provide up-to-dnta news coverago and Bolitical 2nalysis. It encourages articles and lotters from thos6_ who!~H~Pgfght of the Irish peoplo to s81f-detsrminotion. ~n
this way wu will provide a forum for argument about the 'solution' to
the I ri sh qur.s t.Lon _. not as a liberal cxchanqe of Ldous 9 but rs :J
strugglo to convince those tnking the Irish question seriously of thu anti-imperialist standpointv and the proctical consoquonces of that stnndroint.
Th8 stross on propoganda work is in no way 0 passive oppr02ch. It
is 8 matter of developing and using the nrguments nSGded to convinco suctions of the working class of on anti-imperialist standpoint - 8nd
qo i.nq out ~"\nd convincing them? consistently and f'o r cuf u Ll y , IJe 8e8
tllis rogll18r Bulletin 8S tho main method of creating the politic81 conditions nucBssary for on anti-imperialist movoment to develop.
This pope r hos exp.La.i ru.d why tho RCG dOGS not believe another TOI"I cun bo built at present. It hos also uxplained tho work we hov8 boon doing and will continuo to do to Icy the bosis fur 0 rssl movoment that gets tho troops withdr~wn. We suppdrt any initiativ8 that guts people thinking 2nd tryin~ to understand the Irish issue~ and thot con hulp thuffi sue what nsuds to be donu in Britain. The Conforenc~ planned fer
July~ with nn agonda that includes a surious 8ssessment of British strntogy today, ~nd on attempt to account for the d~gcn8rction of TON~ is onu such initi8tivo~ and W8 have givun that Conference our full support •. po l i tic21ly uld finonciolly.
If anc~ 'T~I' is setup from that cunf8r8ncB~ tho ReG will keep in
closu cuntoct with it. We give full support to any worthwhilu initictivGs it may unctur t oko , We. hopu that the new I TOI"I' will L'ct in tho SCJrf18 way ~ Hupporting other organisations' initiotivos. For 8xamp18 Sinn Fein and tho PAC rscuntly held 0 series of pickets outside Wormwood Scrubs nnd
tho Homo Office to protest at tho trootmont of Irish pris rio r s , rh.rnnntli nq politicol st~~us. The rosponsG of the Grit.ish Left was 0 disgrace.
Those pickets could hove been rno ru than ton times the s i.z e :~i!lply if Q fraction of tho London members of British left groups hod attGndGd,
This sort of coope£otion and active support for anti-imperialist
Lru t i at Lvus is e s s errt i a L, andth8 neG will continue to giv8c,his priority.
Similarly ,H~2n,sI~Off Lr e Land is by no means count.arpos ad to thrJ nuw 'TOM'. It is open to all contributors. Thu Bulletin is also ov~iluble for publicising m8~tings and athol' events on the qUBstion of Irolnnd.
Just ~s thu RCG 8ells pamphlets and journals of other organisations, if they ore putting over 3 cloor cnti-imperialist position9 so wo colI on
o t he r c'Jmr"clc)S to sell Hands Off I rrJland and I reland ~ 8ri tish Lc:IJcJ_l!.r_ nnd
L~2:'i tiLs!_1..J0P:~~~'inlism for the same re8son.- The ru is no pLacu for suc t ar Lcru arn in thd movumunt. Any group that puts its own interests boforu thu
f uridnrnon t c L interests of tho working c Le s s movement 8S ;::: wholo . end in t.h i s cose thu noud tD convince th8 working clcss to support the Irish poop18's right to ru18 themsulves) simply undermin8s the anti-impsrialist struggle.
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The RCG tilorufore calls on ell o r-qarri s a t Loris supporting thE) tllJO demands of the old Tori to actively support 8ach other on any ini ti'lti,VD c Le ar Ly oncompcsBud by thoSG domonds, whether or not th8y orB involved in
8 new 'Troop s Ou trio V8m8 n t 1 • Thu Rce p I c dgo sits own DC ti va SUP!=l a rt -fa r al L such onti··imperiolist initiatives.
n8vnlutionoI'Y Communist Group 5th Jun l1 1 'J 77
@ RCG Pub Lf.c ut.Loris Ltd. v 49 R8ilton ROOJd 9 London, 5E24 OLN. June 1 (]77
., HANDS OFF IRELAND! *
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" movurncnt thut supports its own bOlJrgcoisi!J's
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~ -movumunt to be built i~ tho British working clnss9
-,,- bQ30d on t hc rocognition of t.hc Irish pccp Le t s right
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