|Organisation:||Communist Party of Ireland|
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This history of the Communist Party of Ireland is a large magazine-like document, some 66 pages long. Black and white throughout in a series of essays and a longer Outline History it offers an overview of the development of the Communist Party of Ireland in its various incarnations on the island of ireland.
The essays include ones on Sean Murray, Jim Gralton. It also has an outline of the ‘Onslaught on Castlecomer Miners’ in the 1930s, another on how the ‘Ballyfermot Co-Op Falls Foul of Reaction’ in the 1950s, and ‘Belfast’s October, 1932’. It also has pieces on ‘Unemployed Struggles: 1920s to 1950s’ and the ’Spanish Civil War – 1936-1938’.
One interesting aspect of the text is the way in which the different organisational structures north and south are treated. For example, it is not made entirely clear that the Communist Party recombined into one party in the late 1960s or when the Irish Workers League became the Irish Workers’ Party, although in the text reference is made at one point to a speech by Sean Murray given in Moscow on behalf of Irish communists in 1960 where he says: I speak on behalf of the Irish Workers League, which functions in the Republic of Ireland, and on behalf of the Communist Party, which functions in Northern Ireland.
The existence of our two Marxist organisations arises from the partition of Ireland into two States.
Guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism, we elect to make joint statements on the important questions which which this great gathering of Communists from all parts of the world is concerned.
The Border Campaign in the late 1950s is treated as follows:
Between 1956 and 1962 there had been the cross-Border raids organised by the I.R.A. int he course of which some I.R.A. mean and R.U.C. constables were killed and wounded, as well as a number of Republicans were captured and got long terms of imprisonment. Both the C.P. in the North and the Irish Workers’ Party expressed disagreement with the forms of struggle used by the I.R.A. stating that they would not bring nearer the aim of a united Ireland, but would in fact harden the support of the Ulster Unionist overlords. The I.R.A. leadership called off the campaign in 1962 and in time it was acknowledged that the 1956-62 campaign had not been helpful in promoting success for the national aim.
There is considerable detail of a variety of events in which Communists on the island participated and at least some sense of the broader socio-economic and political dynamics at work which shaped the parties during this period. In sum a fascinating document.
EMC of the CPOI adds a couple of thoughts on the document and those who produced it.
…on the whole it was the work of Sean Nolan. He was born and reared in Marlborough St., and remembered coming a across a street meeting at which James Connolly was the speaker. He joined the Communist movement in the mid 1920′s and was a central figure in the re-establishment of the CPI in 1934.
He was a pivotal figure in coordinating and keeping in contact with communists scattered around the country as well as those who emigrated to Britain etc. He was also secretary of the Spanish Aid Committee and the Release Frank Ryan Committee. He established the first Connolly House that was attacked and burned down he ran a book club from it disseminating Connolly’s writings, as well as materials about the Soviet Union. He established New Books in Pearse Street, then Parliament Street, then final in the current venue. He was a beautiful, gentle thoughtful comrade. It was a great honour to have worked along side him.