Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

“H-Block and Sectarian Civil War – Socialists Against Nationalism”- A Short Read from 1981

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Events have moved on since this pamphlet appeared. Many sections of the 1980’s Irish left, primarily from social-democratic and Stalinist streams, opposed the mass movement in favour of political status for prisoners of war locked up in the H-Blocks and Armagh Jail. People’s Democracy and Bernadette McAliskey, by contrast, advocated a polar opposite policy.

The long-term Socialists Against Nationalism (SAN) objective, deletion of Articles 2 and 3 from the Irish Constitution, was successfully achieved in a 1998 referendum on both sides of the Irish border. 21st Century Sinn Féin promotes power-sharing with the DUP. No legal end to the partition of Ireland is possible unless a majority of voters in the state called Northern Ireland vote for it. Now, as we enter the 2020’s, the partition of Ireland emerges again as a reactionary millstone crushing the neck of the Irish working class. Details tell us a lot : If we are to achieve an effective victory over a deadly virus, we need an effective all-Ireland Zero-CoVid policy – the Stormont Government is an obstacle. It was the same over abortion, when Westminster imposed a progressive policy while Stormont was suspended. The wheel of history is turning again. John Meehan January 26 2021

H-Block and Sectarian Civil War a 1981 pamphlet produced by The Socialists Against Nationalism group. H-Block and Sectarian Civil WarDownload

H-Block and Sectarian Civil War – Socialists Against Nationalism

The main player in SAN was the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), represented in Dáil Éireann by Limerick East TD Jim Kemmy, who first won a seat in the June 1981 General Election. Some years later the DSP joined the Labour Party.

In the same vein, and following the same logic, the Democratic Left party led by Proinsias de Rossa TD joined the Labour Party in 1999

An alternative policy

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