Ireland: victory against repressive abortion laws

Women rally in Ireland for a repeal of the 8th Amendment

On 25 May Ireland went to the polls in a historic referendum on whether to repeal the 8th Amendment to the constitution, which effectively outlawed abortion. The result was a landslide 66.4% of the vote for the ‘Yes’ campaign. This is a massive victory for women, and in particular working class women, in Ireland. Rachel Francis reports.

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The Irish War: What is to be done in Britain

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981

hunger strikes

The hunger strike by Irish political prisoners ended on 18 December. It has become clear that the British Government secured the ending of the strike by making secret promises. Those promises have not been kept. The prisoners’ struggle to achieve recognition as political prisoners continues and as long as it does, the duty of British Communists is to express full support for that struggle and total opposition to the British state’s attempts to portray Irish freedom fighters as criminals.

The hunger strike aroused the worldwide anger of democratic and working-class forces against British imperialism. Only in Britain, where pressure could most effectively have been exerted, was there a minimal and ineffectual response. The hunger strike dramatically exposed the continuing stranglehold which a pro-imperialist leadership has on the British working-class movement. It exposed the treachery of what passes for the British left – the CP, SWP, IMG. It also shows the enormous task facing the small forces of communism in Britain.

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The Communist Tradition on Ireland: Part Two – Irish Labour confronts British imperialism

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981

dublin lockout 1913

The period from the end of the First International to the founding Conference of the Third (Communist) International was a decisive one for the working-class movement world-wide. In this period a fundamental change in the nature of the capitalist system took place. Capitalism entered its imperialist phase.

Imperialism and the working class

Capitalism in its relentless drive for profits has grown into a world-wide system of colonial oppression and financial domination of the overwhelming majority of the world by a small number of imperialist countries. This domination has divided the world into oppressor and oppressed nations. A handful of the imperialist countries obtain high monopoly profits out of the brutal exploitation of oppressed peoples world-wide. Out of these ‘super-profits’ imperialism is able to create and sustain a small privileged and influential layer of the working class in the imperialist countries whose conditions of life isolate it from the suffering, misery and temper of the broad mass of the working class. This privileged layer has a material interest in the continuation of imperialism, for it is the source of its economic and political privileges. These workers, a labour aristocracy, constitute the social base of opportunism in the working class. Politically this current represents the interests of the ruling class in the working-class movement. To protect its own minority interests this layer sacrifices the fundamental interests of the working class for an alliance with the ruling class – an alliance directed against the interests of the mass of the working class. Imperialism therefore not only divides the world into oppressor and oppressed nations, but also in the imperialist countries creates a split in the working-class movement between a small influential opportunist layer and the broad mass of the working class. The split was to have major implications in the international working-class movement.

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British opportunists and the hunger strike

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981

hunger strikes

The hunger strike by Irish political prisoners begun by 7 men in the H-Blocks on 27 October, ended on 18 December. By then 37 men and 3 women were on hunger strike for political status.

In our Editorial Statement to FRFI 7 we wrote that the hunger strike:

‘ ... has become the central issue of the Irish people’s war against British imperialism ... winning political status will be a body blow to British imperialism in Ireland and a great step forward for the Irish people.

British Communists do not hesitate to declare complete and uncompromising support for the hunger strikers. Their struggle demands the consistent mobilisation of revolutionary forces in Britain.’

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New perspectives on the Dublin Lockout

dublin lockout

The Dublin Lockout 1913 – New Perspectives on Class War and its Legacy – Conor McNamara and Padraig Yeates, Irish Academic Press, 2017, €24.99/€49.99

Much has already been written about the 1913 Dublin Lockout but this collection - published in 2017 and comprised of essays written up from a centenary commemoration event - contains some interesting insights.

The book starts with a handy chronology of the relevant events of 1913-14, beginning on 19 July 1913, when William Martin Murphy, the President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, called his workers to a midnight meeting to tell them that anyone belonging to the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) will be sacked.

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Ireland: the key to the British revolution by David Reed

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