The Ripening of Time, No. 4
Date:1976
Organisation:Ripening of Time Collective
Publication:The Ripening of Time
Issue:Number 4
July-August-Sept. 1976
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

11th October 2010

Conor McCabe, sometimes of this parish, has an excellent series of posts on the Ripening of Time here  and here  at Dublin Opinion and the Irish Left Review (There is also a very useful DCTV programme on the Ripening of Time collective that is a helpful addition to the history of this area that can be found in the above links on Dublin Opinion). These are also linked to a number of issues of the periodical. I have had an issue not in that collection scanned in for the best part of a year now, and I’m adding it to the Archive simply in order that we have a representative sample of RT in the Archive (and to provide a counterpoint to the later Revolutionary Struggle material which you can find here ), but in the meantime the analysis of the Ripening of Time and the editions that Conor has posted up on the web are essential for those interested in this area.

As regards this edition, the fourth entitled The Capitalist State, three aspects are most striking. First is the seriousness of the exercise. In each article there is a strong engagement with the given topic.

Secondly is the identification, albeit with some slight distance, with Maoism and the fraternal thoughts about the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) - although worth noting that it also references the Revolutionary Communist Group. Indeed the introductory ‘To the Reader’ section notes that:

The recent death of Mao Tse-Tung, revolutionary leader of the Chinese people, urged us to pay tribute to the glorious struggle of the chinese people; in the article ‘The Long March to Socialist’ we attempt to study some lessons of the Chinese revolution in its transition to socialism. While not providing a blue-print for struggle and social revolution, the lessons of China for Ireland are great in showing the importance of applying Marxism-Leninism to specific concrete conditions, the need to understand clearly the class forces in society and the classes involved in the struggle for socialism, and within the socialist society itself.

Thirdly the range of topics covered is wide from an analysis of capitalism that explicitly seeks to develop a sense of how the Irish state can be positioned within broader theoretical frameworks to discussions on productive and unproductive labour in the context of Marx. The Ripening of Time was intended at least in part as a theoretical platform and this edition strongly reflects that (worth noting in passing the caricature of de Valera on the cover with the words Free State half obscured in the background).

One short quotation from the Introduction will also serve to demonstrate a sense of the time within which it was produced.

They have declared a State of Emergency. They are preparing ‘convenient palces’ for an inconvenient opposition. State violence and repression, the desperate manoeuvres of a weak ruling class, weak not through any lack of armoury, prisons, detention centres, juvenile institutions, mental hospitals, or under any immediate threat from a politically organised and powerful working class; but economically, politically and ideologically dominated and dependent and suffering from the acute contradictions of a prolonged and worsening world-wide crisis of capitalism.

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  • By: John O'Neill Mon, 11 Oct 2010 08:26:35

    Fantastic cover!

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  • By: Jerryboy Mon, 11 Oct 2010 11:33:22

    “…the glorious struggle of the chinese people…”
    and “…lessons of the Chinese revolution in its transition to socialism…”

    Hmm…it never made that transition to socialism, as can be observed in today’s ‘capitalist roadism’. The Great Leap Forward 1958-62 which resulted in 30 million deaths through starvation and disease certainly showed that the Chinese revolution did not provide “…a blue-print for struggle and social revolution.”

    Did the scientific analytic jargon of Ripening of Time get in the way of seeing Mao’s revolution for what is actually was?

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  • By: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linke « Entdinglichung Thu, 14 Oct 2010 08:40:46

    […] * The Ripening of Time, No. 4, The Capitalist State, 1976 […]

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