Irish Nationalism and British Imperialism, by Robert Dorn (DR O'Connor Lysaght), 1973

Communism and the National Question

The Debate on the Irish National Question

Appendix I: Communists on the Nation

Appendix II: Documents of the Left Opposition (YS) and RMG on the Irish National Question

British Army – Out! Capitalists – Out!
Document D

The Derry murders of 30th January have caused agitation in the Republic of Ireland. This is nothing new. What is new is that this agitation is at last taking a working-class form.

The Revolutionary Marxist Group welcomes this. It does not waste time regretting that workers are leaving factories for non--economic motives. It leaves such despair to the Social Democrats and to the sectarians. On the contrary it has always insisted that if the Irish Worker – North and South – is to achieve economic and social freedom in the immediate future, this will grow over from the struggle for the political freedom and unity of this nation. At the same time, it has stressed constantly that the national struggle will only be brought to success if it is fought within the struggle for the Workers' Republic and, eventually, for the classless, stateless society.

The latest crime of the British Army cannot be isolated. It comes immediately after An Taoiseach has justified his reputation as ‘Union Jack, the Bosses’ Hack’ by signing the Treaty of Rome. Under Capitalism any Irish Government would have had to do the same.

Irish capitalism is based on gombeenism, and hothouse and mushroom industry. It cannot break with the British market even when reminded that its own market is valuable to Britain. It has to accept any terms that Britain is willing to sign to enter Europe. Its Government has to remain passive when those whom it claims as its subjects are massacred by a foreign army on territory it claims as its own.

So, as in Tone's time, so today! – the cause of the Irish nation depends on those of no property. Any such will help the national cause only if they ignore the demands of the boss-class that they sacrifice their own interests to the good of all classes in the country. The Irish boss-class is a 5th Column in the national struggle. The Irish worker will help his country by helping himself.

Now – after all too long a wait! – the pre-revolutionary situation in Northern Ireland is causing spontaneous anti-capitalist activity from the workers in the Republic. Workers are striking in British-owned factory after British-owned factory. This tendency will solve nothing unless it is deepened and expanded. Let the workers return to their factories and take them for their own co-operatives, their own Soviets. Many good Republicans did this in the War of Independence (If they don't take them over now, they'll be forced into redundancy later), now let the job be finished! Let the workers elsewhere down tools in a general strike in solidarity with this action! At the same time, let a Citizens' Army be set up to protect this action and the action of the workers in the north-east. And this activity must be secular. Both wings of the Republican Movement and the ICTU as leaders of the economic and national struggles must make firm statements in favour of secular education, and against the sectarian-ism of many laws – north and south. This will help to reduce the hostility of the Ulster Protestant minority whose fears of ‘Rome Rule’ are all too understandable when one looks at the diseased society that 50 years of partition has created in the twenty-six counties. Finally, let the workers of Ireland look to the workers of the world – not excluding those of Britain, of whom 20,000 marched last October in support of Ireland's freedom. Eventually our struggle is theirs!

Take over British Factories.

Strike to hold them for the Workers.

Fight to Protect them for the Workers.

End Sectarian Laws – North and South.

Work with our Overseas Comrades for a Classless, Stateless Society.


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