The Irish People, Vol. 2, No. 35
Date:6th September 1974
Organisation:Sinn Féin [Official]
Publication:The Irish People
Issue:Volume 2, Number 35
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

3rd December 2007

Okay, another anonymous donation (and again we’re very grateful for it). And this one provides an interesting contrast with the copy of the United Irishman from some weeks back. For here is an Irish People, august paper of Official Sinn Féin, from 1973. (Apologies about the file size. This is about 10mb’s).

By now the ceasefire was bedded in. The IRSP and PLA/INLA were some months into the future. And we see a document that on the one hand - with the emphasis on industrial struggle, playgrounds and ‘threats to aged tenants’ was not disimilar to the IPs I used to hawk around Dublin North East in the 1980s - while on the other hand was quite radically different. Note the mention of NICRA etc, the front cover story about the Littlejohns. There is a whiff of the cold war about it… although intriguingly little or nothing about the rest of the world bar a curious little comparison between Qutar and Ireland as regards oil rights… And the editorial about Enoch Powell who at that point had just joined the Ulster Unionists, while entirely correct, speaks of another world.

There is still a reflexive Republicanism in some of the pieces. Note the mention of Lord Mountbatten. And the ‘Screw’s cause prison unrest’ article would hardly find it’s way into a party political paper today.

A central ideology is hard to distinguish. Certainly there is nothing of the tedious verbiage of BICO or other formations on the further left… And a final point. Essentially no mention of OSF within these pages. Just the Republican Clubs.

Anyhow, here it is…

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  • By: Garibaldy Mon, 03 Dec 2007 18:27:31

    You’re right there’s no central theoretical theme threaded through it all, but was that its job? But you wouldn’t mistake its politics for anything but hard left, surely? The stuff about the Brits is just showing off how good information was, and at this distance seems almost childish, but may have been to try and head off the impending split by assuring people of militancy.

    Very true, and suprising, about the Republicans Clubs/southern balance. I guess the southern stuff was just cast as Trade Unions doing stuff rather than the party. But weird.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 04 Dec 2007 07:00:27

    To be honest it reminds me nothing so much as more recent AP/RNs. The same mix of left politics and Republicanism with no clear theoretical core.

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  • By: Garibaldy Tue, 04 Dec 2007 10:42:44

    I don’t read that particular publication, so I’ll take your word for it 🙂

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  • By: Starkadder Tue, 04 Dec 2007 20:11:37

    A pretty interesting, if unfocused, publication.Ironically,
    Lord Mountbatten would be killed by the other branch of
    SF/IRA.
    Are there
    any books which focus on the history of Official Sinn Fein and the
    Workers Party?

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 04 Dec 2007 20:25:18

    Garibaldy, it’s genuinely worth a look.

    Starkadder, I’m fairly sure there is one out next year that will be of some interest to us all…

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  • By: Starkadder Tue, 04 Dec 2007 20:29:57

    Okay, WBS.. Do you know who is writing or publishing it?

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Tue, 04 Dec 2007 20:33:55

    Scott Millar and Dr. Brian Hanley of NUI Maynooth. Not sure of the publisher. I would anticipate that this site is whetting the appetite for all things WP amongst the rest of the further left…

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  • By: Starkadder Tue, 04 Dec 2007 20:49:43

    Thanks WBS. I’ll keep an eye out for it next year.

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  • By: Garibaldy Tue, 04 Dec 2007 21:31:25

    It’s being published by Penguin Ireland I think, which published Henry McDonald’s autobiography too.

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  • By: Garibaldy Tue, 04 Dec 2007 21:32:34

    Oh yeah, and on that other publication, actions speak louder than words. Compare the workers in struggle page (assuming it’s still there to the experience of the classroom assistants).

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  • By: Joe Wed, 05 Dec 2007 10:33:51

    That book has been a long time coming. Can’t help thinking it will be a disappointment. How can they write a “history” when they haven’t even interviewed me?!!

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  • By: Redking Wed, 05 Dec 2007 12:06:35

    There is a book available -“Official Irish Republicanism 1962 -1972”-it’s full of very useful material as the author- Sean Swan is I think, a WP member and has had fairly unprecendented access to ard choirle , coiste seasta minutes etc from the WP archives. He’s also spoken to a lot of “confidential sources”. Worth a look but available via the internet only.

    Good old Tom MacGiolla is also I hear writing his tuppence worth which I’m looking forward to more than that the Millar/Hanley tome.

    Joe -why don’t you put your experiences up on the internet? – your posts here on the WP have always been very interesting (to me anyway!)

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  • By: Joe Wed, 05 Dec 2007 13:20:32

    Redking comrade. I suppose I could put my experiences of the WP up on the internet. I guess I was just an ordinary member who did his best like a lot. That included a lot of campaigning for His Honour Judge McCartan… hero of the working class. But I guess everyone you meet along the way is a story in themselves. WBS and me will get together one of the days to reminisce…
    I’m hopeful that the Millar/Hanley book will resonate – that there’ll be a lot in it that will ring bells for me and you and the likes of us. How many were there around the country? Must have been thousands in the heyday. And all over the place now in terms of politics and lack of same.

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  • By: John O'Neill Wed, 05 Dec 2007 13:51:40

    I’m quietly confident that the Hanley/Millar book will be fairly objective and I know that the WP have assisted them in giving access to documentsand interviews etc. Having said that I think it will be critical.

    I don’t think I could bring myself to read wee Henry’s book. Since he got his Observer job he deserves the nickname wee Hitchens.

    I read Sean Swans book and it was interesting (published by Lulu.com) although I couldn’t make out what his angle was, either he was saying that WP attempts to merge socialism with traditional republicanism was incompatable or that the WP veered away from republicanism under the influence of ‘elements’ the CPI (a negative, in his opinion). others might have some thoughts if they have read it.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Wed, 05 Dec 2007 17:59:29

    Joe, you’re more than welcome to put your thoughts here if you want to… John, I’d tend to agree. I think it should be good. I really liked Deadly Divisions – with obvious caveats, but yes, H has gone to a strange neo-conservative place…

    I’ll have to check out the Sean Swan book.

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  • By: splinteredsunrise Thu, 06 Dec 2007 17:08:05

    I read the Sean Swan book a little while ago but haven’t got round to writing about it. I’m a bit unclear about his thesis, but it really is a goldmine of info.

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  • By: The Left Archive: “Advance” from the Socialist Party of Ireland, 1977 « The Cedar Lounge Revolution Mon, 31 Dec 2007 10:27:33

    […] But perhaps there is another reason. In fairness it seems like a better read that the Irish People posted up in the Archive earlier in the year. But then, the cynic in me also suggests that that […]

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  • By: irishelectionliterature Fri, 22 Jul 2011 14:03:56

    I was recently given a copy of ‘The Irish People’ from 1973. It has only four pages (with no page numbers), would it have normally had 8 pages?.
    (In other words am I missing a part of it)

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  • By: Tawdy Sun, 07 Aug 2011 17:05:38

    It was in it`s early stages so four pages would be about right for the time

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  • By: THATS NOT MY NAMA! Sun, 07 Aug 2011 17:23:05

    Apparently the Andersontown News was set up as a community paper with the proceeds of the track ‘Men Behind the Wire’. Can anyone confirm or deny? With the anniversary of internment approaching is there any possibility of getting an early copy uploaded?

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