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This copy of Irish Socialist from the Communist Party of Ireland, was published in May 1989. It’s a well produced document, large tabloid in size, black and white with a red masthead and running to eight pages. It was produced at a very particular time in near contemporary history, with significant changes underway in the USSR and about to occur in Europe and elsewhere with a fracturing of the post- Second World War dispensation.
As the May Day edition the focus on the front page is on ‘Socialism is the Answer’. But there is another article human rights in Britain in relation to Northern Ireland and another report on the French Communist Party condemning European integration within the European Economic Community.
The editorial notes the then upsurge in killings in the North and notes:
To a considerable extent the killings are sectarian. Loyalist gunmen shoot Catholics in an effort to intimidate the whole community; the RUC retaliates against suspected loyalists and against RUC men, UDR men and reservists but the Protestant community sees it all as just an attack on them.
Further on the editorial argues:
The Provisionals can find no political justification for the so-called armed struggle: they must bite the bullet and bring it to an end.
There are a number of reports inside the paper on the upcoming European elections and anti-EEC campaigners standing in those contests. There’s also a report on the Gibraltar killings.
A strong concentration on international affairs includes reports on Namibia, Palestine and Afghanistan.
But one of the most interesting features is a long report on the Workers’ Party Ard-Fheis which [see here for WP Presidential Address ] the Irish Socialist argues that this ‘heralded a fundamental change in Workers’ Party policy in relation to the meaning of socialism and the short-term strategy of the party’.
It notes that:
…[De Rossa] discarded party commitments to nationalising industry and, by implication at least, played down the significance of the role to be played by state industries. He developed his theme by declaring that the WP now stood for ‘enterprise and innovation, sturdy individualism, risk-taking, and competition.’ He rejected the idea that he said was commonly put against the WP that they stood for feather bedding a cosy civil service and ever burgeoning bureaucracy.
Presciently the paper suggests:
This emphasis on private enterprise and individualism clearly calls into question the state’s role in industrial development. This has been a major plank of WP policy up till now. Of course communists have argued that it was inconsistent to call for state development while working in favour of the Common Market; but whatever our differences about the EEC, the WP had a good line on the role of state industries. Will this now change? Logically it must: but the speech must have caused great internal confusion and concern. How this will express itself, time will tell.
Overall a very well produced document.