Ireland

The republication of Alan Woods’ Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution, which has been out of print since 2005, could not have come at a more appropriate time. The British ruling class has just buried a monarch whose reign was synonymous with the long-term ‘managed decline’ of British imperialism. Today, the decay of British imperialism has reached a new, convulsive stage. The Union is fraying at the seams, and the national question is reemerging with renewed force, in Scotland and in the North of Ireland. ...

The Ulster loyalist celebrations known as ‘The Twelfth,’ celebrated every 12 July in the North of Ireland, commemorate the victory of William of Orange over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. They are used to whip up sectarian tensions by specifically anti-catholic groups such as the Orange Order, who amongst other things promote the myth that the Williamites’ victory was fought to “overthrow the Pope and popery.” This was recognised for the falsehood it is by the great Irish socialist and revolutionary James Connolly, who understood the pernicious role sectarianism played and continues to play in dividing the workers of Ireland. We republish his thoughts on ‘The Twelfth’

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This summer marks a century since the outbreak of civil war in Ireland, when fighting began between supporters of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and those demanding a sovereign Irish Republic. Today, the struggle for a Socialist United Ireland continues.

Sinn Féin has emerged as the first party in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections. With a remarkable 29% of the first preference votes to the DUP’s 21.3%, the gap was even wider than predicted. Within hours of the polls closing, #UnitedIreland was trending on Twitter. This is another devastating blow to the prestige of British imperialism and another tear in the fraying fabric of the so-called ‘United Kingdom’.

On Wednesday 9 February, climate activists Orla Murphy and Zac Lumley, will appear at the District Court in Dublin to face serious criminal damage charges, for which they could face up to a year in prison. The ‘crime’ they are accused of committing? Peacefully protesting against the inaction of the Irish government in the face of climate change by painting the words “No More Empty Promises” on the front of a government building. In the case of Zac Lumley, a supporter of the Irish Marxists (IMT Ireland), he is accused of merely live-streaming the protest.

50 years ago today, soldiers of the British paratroop regiment opened fire on a peaceful civil rights march in the North of Ireland. 13 people were killed immediately, and a 14th victim died later as a result of his injuries. For half a century, the British state has covered up this atrocity, a crime for which no one has yet paid.

50 years ago, on Sunday 30 January 1972, the British Army opened fire on a peaceful civil rights march in Derry in the North of Ireland. 14 innocent people were killed in an atrocity. For decades, the British ruling class attempted to cover up the atrocity. When British troops were sent into Ireland in 1969, some mistakenly believed they were there to bring peace.

The Tory government is on a collision course with the European Union over the question of trade and the North of Ireland. The capitalists on both sides are losing control of the situation. An explosive cocktail is being prepared.

As the world toboggans towards an environmental catastrophe created by the capitalist system, how is Ireland – one of Europe’s most polluting nations – responding to the crisis? By using state repression against young environmental activists. We say: protest is not a crime! Drop the charges against climate activists!

In the course of scarcely a month, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has begun imploding in spectacular fashion. Arlene Foster – the DUP leader and First Minister at Stormont who survived the RHI scandal, the collapse of Stormont in 2017, and the introduction of Northern Ireland Protocol earlier this year – has finally and unceremoniously been booted out. The straw that broke the camel’s back? Her opposition to gay conversion therapy.

One hundred years ago, on 3 May 1921, the partition of Ireland became law in the British parliament. As the Marxist revolutionary, James Connolly, had predicted, partition created “a carnival of reaction both North and South”. It took years of terror, pogroms and bloodshed to establish what the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, James Craig, termed a “Protestant state for a Protestant people”. In the South, the newly established Free State was baptised in the blood of the Republicans who resisted the Treaty and partition.

Over the past week, the North of Ireland has seen its worst rioting in years, ostensibly over the Northern Ireland Protocol signed by the Westminster government with the EU. The threat of loyalist violence has been in the air for months as tensions have ratcheted up since the Protocol came into effect in January.

COVID restrictions are set to loosen up in the North of Ireland – part of a cynical attempt by politicians to use the pandemic for sectarian ends. Workers in both communities need a united socialist struggle to end this chaos and crisis.

This year has been an extraordinary one in Irish politics. The dominant political parties – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – were dealt a terrible blow in February’s election, so much so that the parties which could once command 80 percent in the polls have been reduced to a combined first-preference vote of 43 percent. The prevailing mood of the election was a demand for change and an end to their duopoly on power. Among the many parties calling for “change” in the election were the Green Party. However, in a craven move, the leadership of the Greens

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IMTV held an interview with Paul Murphy, TD (MP) for Dublin South West in the Irish Dáil (parliament), in which we discussed the coronavirus and the political crisis unfolding in Ireland. If you missed it, you can catch the recording here on marxist.com!

The shock result of the Irish general elections, which put Sinn Féin on top in terms of votes, has sent the Irish ruling class into a panic. No matter what road they take, the next period will be one of great political turbulence.