Congress '86, No. 1
Date:1986
Organisation:League of Communist Republicans
Publication:Congress '86
Issue:Number 1
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

11th September 2017

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this document to the Archive which joins a later edition as part of the collection from the League of Communist Republicans. This group, established in H-Block, was arguably one of the most interesting groups to emerge on the left during the 1980s. As noted previously in the Archive:

The League of Communist Republicans were a split from the Provisional IRA in the 1980s. This came on foot of the end of abstention by Sinn Féin in 1986 with a mass resignation of some IRA prisoners in the H-Blocks, amongst them were a smaller number who combined later that year as the League of Communist Republicans. They positioned themselves as supportive of the USSR and of the concept of a ‘vanguard party’.

This provenance is pointed to on the second page where one can read:

This message has been written by a group of prisoners in jails in the 6 co’s and represents a major new contribution to the struggles and debates within the Irish working class. As Communists the positions expressed here by the contributors are offered in a comradely and honest form. It is the wish of all revolutionaries that their work be taken seriously. Read on then in the spirit of the magazine and decide the issues for yourselves.

The lead article argues that:

For far too long the cause of labour and the cause of Ireland have looked upon each other with suspicion. Why one notable exception, the concept of unifying, both have failed. On occasions failure has been due to the lack of will y enter or both sides. At other times short sighted political sectarianism has caused a breakdown. And yet another method of attempting to combine both in one party has merely married the reformist elements of both. In this latter case a multitude of contradictions has meant inevitable recriminations which fueled splits. In Ireland Socialism and Fenianism are not mutually antagonistic forces. They share certain limited common objectives.

And it continues by explicitly calling for the refounding of the Republican Congress.

Another article calls for the building of a vanguard party. And it asserts that:

A Vanguard Party aims to become a popular party, not a populist one. There is a vast difference. Where the populist party draw the applause (and by extension the votes) of a majority if it is to survive, the Vanguard seeks to mobilise the masses into a movement for the masses self liberation. For the Populist party power is in itself victory. For the Leninist Vanguard Victory is unimaginable without the workers taking power.

Another article of political sectarianism suggests that lessons can be learned from both the Old Fenian Movement and the Civil Rights Movement and points to ‘its strength [lying] in that it allowed different groups to co-operate on mutual interests’.

Other articles examine Dialectical Materialism, the Common Agricultural Policy (from a very critical perspective), Banks, Nationalisation & Default and ‘Sinn Fein Philosophy: Revolutionary or Reformist? This argues that ‘the time has come when the unhappy marriage between republican and revolutionary socialists must be terminated. We must put our faith in the most creative class, the working class and the broad masses. We must set about the task of building a revolutionary party. A party built on Marxist/Leninist theory’.

More from Congress '86

Congress '86, No. 5

Congress '86, No. 5 (1988)

League of Communist Republicans

Congress '86 in the archive


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