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Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland , for donating this document to the Archive. Apologies for the size of the PDF [19mbs].
This document from Sinn Féin is perhaps most notable for the way in which it emulates the style of then-contemporary current affairs magazines like Magill. The overall layout is near-identical. In general terms it is a lavish production, with 60 pages. It contains cartoons, a six page report on an IRA training camp, and the contents is divided into various subjects from ‘Features’, ‘The Armed Struggle’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Book Reviews’ and ‘Foreign Affairs’.
The subject matter within each subject area is broad-ranging. An article by Paddy Bolger examines the strategies possible in the ‘Free State’. The issue of censorship is addressed by Bernadette Quinn. There is a clear identification with liberation struggles, ranging from feminism to anti-imperialism. Eibhlin Ni Gabhann considers womens groups in Belfast and Dublin. And Margaret Ward, who wrote Unmanageable Revolutionaries, expands upon the necessity for Republicans ‘to develop a non-elitist attitude of support for the feminist movement as an integral part of the liberation struggle’. This anti-imperialist approach is exemplified by an article on the West Bank with eye-witness account of the camp at Dheisheh.
The leading ‘Viewpoint’ article considers the 26 counties ‘A state but not a nation’ and argues that ‘the relation of a closed confessional state - in direct negation of all the principles of republicanism - has played a very significant role in turning the 26-county state inwards on itself’. It continues that the 26 counties ‘does however lack an essential ingredient for totally solidifying that stability - the ability to portray itself as something more than an apparently independent state, in short - to portray itself as a nation’.
It is an interesting thesis which is expanded upon further. ‘… The distinctive culture - a keystone of any nation - including the Irish language, is deliberately neglected and allowed to wither. Instead an alien mish-mash of mid-Atlantic culture is imported.’
‘Equally, social values of the most conservative type, in keeping not with the historical spirit of the people, but rather with the objectives of the economic system, are sued as shackles to development. And economically, following the logic of this inability to create a truncated nation, the solutions are not sought within the state itself in the development of resources, but are sought from outside in attempts to attract multinationals or to beg from Brussels.’
And notably it suggests that…
Politically, all of this trend can easily be seen in the most recent developments. The so-called abortion referendum - which ignored the social problems surrounding abortion - was a reflex action of a long socially-repressed people, which in its underlining of the confessional state could not have caused any great dismay to the Free State upholders of partition, whatever their public position on that issue. That issue, as the question of divorce now is, was deliberately put into a fallacious context of ‘concession to the Northern Protestants’ rather than an examination of an actual social problem in the Free State, with the inevitable partitionist result’.
It continues later with the argument that:
In pursuing a strategy in the 26 counties, SF, which is a revolutionary party, therefore has to consider two major aspects. First.. It has to retain its republican analysis of partition as the major block to the development of a nation which can achieve political, economic, social and cultural justice. It therefore has to campaign against the present negations of that justice and attempt to build a revolutionary awareness of cultural pride and development… Secondly it has to communicate with the audience it wishes to reach in a way which that audience can, in today’s context, trust and understand. The proposition then that, somehow, republicans are bent on plunging the 26 counties into an armed revolution must be totally scotched. And the habit of republicans of isolating themselves in their political campaigning must be reversed.
And it concludes with the following:
The republican view of the elected institutions is not an excuse to stand aside from the political discussion altogether.
All told another fascinating addition to the Archive.