Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Building An Ireland Solidarity Movement

First Published: Class Struggle, October 1982
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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The current stage of the war between the oppressed Irish people and British imperialism is in its 13th year. This war has seen a steady stream of brutalities directed against the Irish people, including 13 unarmed civilians murdered on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972, the murder of 14 people (7 of them children) by plastic bullets, and the blinding and maiming of numerous of others, plus the brutal murder of 10 hunger strikers last year. The British state has established concentration camps where it has interned people without trial, or sent them via no-jury courts. And there is the daily misery, harassment and oppression that is a part of foreign rule.

Throughout this period the Irish people have fought back courageously, but with very little support from the British working class movement. Indeed, the Labour and Trade Union leaderships have been bitter enemies of the Irish people. Attempts to build an Ireland Solidarity Movement have tended to degenerate into liberal pressure groups trying to make the ruling class be “more reasonable”, rather than militant anti-1mperialist organisations that direct their work to the real friends of the Irish people in this country, the working class and the oppressed.


Over the last year, the North and South London Irish solidarity Committees have found that widespread support exists amongst the working class for the struggle of the Irish people. Many thousands have signed a petition calling for self-determination for the Irish people and the immediate withdrawal of British troops. Successful public meetings, street meetings and demonstrations have been held.


The struggle in Ireland is of vital significance for the British working class. Karl Marx pointed out long ago,

After occupying myself with this Irish question for many years I have come to the conclusion that the decisive blow against the English ruling class...cannot be delivered in England but only in Ireland. (Emphasis in originals)

Firstly, the struggle of the Irish people undermines the main enemy of the British working class, the British imperialists. The national liberation movements of the oppressed nations are the main force in the world fighting against exploitation and oppression. And the Irish people’s struggle brings that advanced form of revolutionary struggle – people’s war – right into the heart of Western Europe where it holds a dagger to the throat of the British ruling class. Every day the heroic struggle of the Irish people and their Republican leadership gives a powerful 1esson to the British working class on how to fight British imperialism: a lesson that is already clearly being learnt by the most oppressed sections of the working class, in particular the youth led by the black youth.

The North and South London Irish Solidarity Committees have been meeting success in their work precisely because they direct themselves to those oppressed sections of the working class who see the British state and the British ruling class as their enemy, and who take heart from defeats inflicted on that enemy.


Building on that success, and noting that principled solidarity committees are springing up around the country, the two Committees are calling a one­day National Conference on “Building an Irish Solidarity Movement” on Saturday, 20th November. It has already received a number of sponsor ships, including those of the Revolutionary Communist League, Revolutionary Communist Group, Wolfe Tone Cummann of Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru MP Daffyd Ellis Thomas,Irish POW Gerry McLochlainn, Glasgow Irish Freedom Action Committee, South London Troop Out Movement, Bradford Irish Solidarity Committee, Tyneside Action Committee on Ireland and Mosquito Press. Speakers will include relatives of Irish prisoners of war, Alastair Logan, solicitor for Irish prisoners of war, and David Reed, author of “The Communist Tradition on Ireland”. There will be sessions on solidarity with the Irish Revolution, Prisoners, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Police Harassement and Democratic Rights. There will be opportunities for different points of view in the solidarity movement to be debated, and for local reports. The Conference Organisers expect it to be a major step on the road to building a principled solidarity movement in Britain, which is in itself a vital step in building a revolutionary working class movement.

The Conference is from 9.15-5.30 at Caxton House, Archway, London N.l9. Delegate’s fee is £2.50 or £1 for unwaged. For further details please contact: NLISC, BM Box 4835, London WClN 3XX.