The Communist Party of Ireland
A Critical History, Epilogue by DR O'Connor Lysaght, 1976

The preceding series of lectures were completed by the summer of 1974 and delivered during the subsequent winter. In revising them in the late spring of 1976, there is little to add to them in the account of the last two years that changes qualitatively the analysis made in these pages.

The most serious change in these years occurred in January 1976, when a number of the leading cadres of the CPI, including Samuel Nolan, Joseph Deasy and several founder members of the Connolly Youth Movement, resigned from the Party in protest against an attempt to suppress dissent over its change of line in support for the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia. The dissidents have constituted themselves The Irish Marxist Society. How serious the split is, is as yet uncertain, though it must be serious enough for Nolan for one to break from the Party after a lifetime. What is quite certain is that the CPI is now firmly at one with the CPUSA and the Portuguese CP (and now against the CPGB) in giving uncritical support to the USSR. It is no longer opportunist for itself but has returned to an opportunist line for the Kremlin, a line even more directly subservient thereunto because unsupported even by the forms of international organisation. It is, thus, closer than it was to the SPI; it will be interesting to see if Moscow begins to favour the two nations dogma the better to bring the two parties together.

Two other matters of note have occurred also. In the first place, the CPI has more than made up quantitatively for its loss of old cadres by winning new ones from Sinn Féin (Gardiner Place). By and large, these tend, having rejected nationalism, to be more ardently pro-Russian, than the remaining old guard.

Secondly, the original unity of the 'United' May Day Committee has been extended programmatically to enable its participants to form a new popular front – the 'Left Alternative', with a programme of limited reforms for Irish capitalism.

All in all, Moscow and, despite the split, the CPI can feel pleased with the results of the last two years. Whether or not, on the evidence above, the Irish workers can feel thus is altogether another question.

 

 



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