Organisation:The Internationalists (see Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist))
Contributor:Hardial Bains
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

23rd August 2010

Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland , for making this document available to the Archive.

‘Words’ dates from close to the earliest phase of the Internationalists, the organisation that would subsequently develop into the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist). As noted here…  

When The Internationalists were first set up in Trinity College Dublin in November 1965, it was not as a fully-formed Marxist-Leninist party, but ‘as an exercise in better staff-student relations.’ This loose discussion group held meetings with titles such as “Academic Freedom” and “The Function of a University”, and continued until October 1966, when the decision was taken, presumably by Bains and his supporters, to establish a more disciplined organisation which would focus on ‘which theory we are going to follow, which motivation we should have, which class we are going to favour’ (2). Sometime towards the end of 1966 the group renamed itself the Trinity Internationalists, and began to issue a periodical entitled Words and Comment. There were at least eleven issues produced between 1966 and 1968, and Trinity’s library has at least seven of them for those privileged enough to have access. (3)

It’s a striking document which clearly is positioned within the much less formal context of a staff student discussion vehicle. From the four page essay by Hardial S. Bains on ‘The Phenomena of Time Consciousness’ to the concentration on Vietnam to the ‘Straight Facts: Radio Telefis Eireann’ it is very much of its time, although there is a telling piece on the back page about the slogan ‘Make Love Not War’ which takes that formulation to task. In some respects that and the tone of the Bains article are the only significant hints of the ideological rigour which would later be manifested in the CPI(M-L). Tied into that is a much less rhetorical use of language throughout.

A useful indication of a transitional stage in the political origins of one of our better known further left formations.

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  • By: Conor McCabe Mon, 23 Aug 2010 12:53:54


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  • By: Ciaran O'Brien Mon, 23 Aug 2010 13:40:52

    Off the point to what Conor is arguing but from Ejh’s link, it is interesting to see what Clifford is saying about Mary McAleese. In 1990 she is wrong because she is a nationalist. Today the Aubane/BICO/IPR group still hate her, but supposedly because she is pro-British and intent on reviving the Unionist memory of the Great War.

    ‘For about a year and a half, from the start of last year, I was preoccupied with a libel suit brought against me by Mary McAleese, who used to be a Trinity lecturer and an RTE presenter. She was appointed to a strategically important job in the Northern Ireland legal structure a couple of months after she lost an election in Dublin in which she campaigned for the abolition of Northern Ireland. The appointment was made in blatant disregard of the Fair Employment guidelines. I published an article to this effect in a small circulation periodical called A Belfast Magazine. She threatened the main bookshop with libel action unless it undertook never to sell the magazine again. It caved in on the instant. And she issued a libel writ against me. Having no more means now than I ever had, I had to defend myself. (No offers of support were forthcoming from ‘the Orange bourgeoisie’.)

    It took her high-powered battery of solicitors and barristers over a year, and half a dozen court appearances in which I compelled them to give substantial discovery, despite all the legal trickery they could deploy, before they faced up to the fact that I might well win at the trial, and that I would probably do her irreparable damage even if I lost. Then they settled without costs or damages, and at enormous financial cost to her.’

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  • By: ejh Mon, 23 Aug 2010 14:03:41

    He did seem to me to be very much devoted to the cause of attacking his old rivals on the left over and again life everlasting. This is quite a common syndrome but I think it’s generally disastrous for one’s intellectual development and sense of proportion, let alone one’s personality. (This is arguably no less true when one has often been right where one’s old rivals have been wrong.)

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  • By: neilcaff Mon, 23 Aug 2010 14:17:35

    “This is arguably no less true when one has often been right where one’s old rivals have been wrong.”

    Hmm not sure about that. It sounds like an excuse for a year zero mentality. If mistakes flow from a method that has been shown to produce mistakes in the past then there’s nothing wrong with criticising it. This is especially the case if a year zero mentality prevails or we have the same errors cooked up in a different presentation.

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  • By: ejh Mon, 23 Aug 2010 14:23:06

    I’m looking for the train of logic here, but I confess I’m not quite finding it.

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  • By: LeftAtTheCross Mon, 23 Aug 2010 14:24:02

    Neil, I read EJH’s comment as emphasising the negative psychological effects of basing one’s worldview entirely on a backwards-looking analysis and re-living of past battles, with the subsequent correctness or otherwise being a secondary issue. However, you’re right in you’re comment that lessons have to be learnt obviously enough, it’s just the extent of the harping on about it that I think was being commented upon.

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  • By: ejh Mon, 23 Aug 2010 14:33:44

    Put differently – I think it possible that Neil examines an unfamiliar argument by trying to spot something that he recognises and the identifying the whole as something that he knew already. I believe this is a common source of error among birdwatchers.

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  • By: neilcaff Mon, 23 Aug 2010 15:39:04

    Now now ejh, no need to be catty. I was merely making the point that if one has been proved right then the method used to arrive at that conclusion bears repeating. You claim revisiting ground again and again is destructive to ones intellectual development regardless of whether one was right or wrong. I am disagreeing.

    I took your use of the word “arguably” to mean you were open to discussing this claim but clearly you were not apologies for the misunderstanding. Perhaps “arguably” was just a sort of decorative plumage on your sentence? (spurious avian analogies, don’tcha just love ’em?)

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  • By: Starkadder Mon, 23 Aug 2010 16:48:38

    If I remember the Justine McCarthy bio, McAleese and her
    solicitor Donal Deeney took action against “A Belfast Magazine” on the grounds that McAleese claimed the BM article accused her of being a anti-Protestant bigot and unfit for her job at Queen’s University.

    It should also be pointed out that a) the BM article was very similar to an earlier piece criticising McAleese in the Sunday
    Independent, and b) the lawsuit put “A Belfast Magazine” out of

    IIRC, some other NI politician (I think it was a UUP member) allegedly threatened Athol Books’ “Workers’ Weekly” with legal action around this time, but he doesn’t seem have gone throught with it.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 23 Aug 2010 17:31:10

    Thanks a million Conor.

    In the meantime ejh while you’re waiting for that check out this from the Archive, a slightly later Red Patriot.


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  • By: ejh Mon, 23 Aug 2010 20:38:34

    What a fine thread. Ed Hayes the winner, I think.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 23 Aug 2010 20:50:53

    I like it too.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 23 Aug 2010 21:06:54

    I will say though that at this remove the original piece which was by me was way too snarky and unfair to those involved.

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  • By: ejh Tue, 24 Aug 2010 07:07:48

    It’s not clear to me how reitertation is an aid to development. Indeed, if I say it several times it seems to me that we stay exactly we we are….

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  • By: neilcaff Tue, 24 Aug 2010 09:45:17

    Well that’s a fair point.

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  • By: PJ Callan Thu, 26 Aug 2010 06:53:40

    Greta read Tommy, thanks for scanning this and making it available. Bains had a great ability to apply DM to the conditions in Ireland.

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  • By: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung Thu, 26 Aug 2010 08:57:59

    […] The Internationalists, Trinity College Dublin: Words […]

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  • By: Starkadder Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:44:09

    On the subject of Trinity and the Irish left, Kader Asmal has just passed
    away. RIP.


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  • By: WorldbyStorm Thu, 23 Jun 2011 06:37:53

    Sad to hear…

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  • By: CL Thu, 23 Jun 2011 08:55:15

    “We stand not for empire but for self-determination.”-President Obama, June 22, 2011

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