National Sections of the L5I:

History

Labours first taste of power: Bosses of workers government

Part four of a history of the Labour Party Read more...

Israel – an oppressor settler state

Zionism, as a colonial settler movement during the first part of the 20th century, had to be strategically allied to one imperialist power or another. Not only did these powers provide the funds for settlement but more importantly they controlled the Middle East. British imperialism was hegemonic there from 1918 until 1947-53 when it was supplanted by the USA. Read more...

Chapter 1: Apprenticeship to Marxism

In 1889 when James Connolly was recruited to socialism in Edinburgh, both Marxist and non-Marxist trends were represented in the newly formed Scottish Socialist Federation (SSF) to which he adhered. Read more...

Chaper 2: The Irish populist dimension

But the palm of honour for the clearest exposition of the doctrine of revolution, social and political, must be given to James Fintan Lalor, of Tenakill, Queen’s County. Read more...

Chapter 3: Labour and nation in Irish history

Connolly’s general conception of Irish history gave full expression to his hybrid of Marxism and populism. This emerges in a number of distinct themes, centrally the collapsing together of the “nation” and the working class. Starting from the view that pre-Norman Ireland was a communal and democratic Irish nation he goes on to portray all resistance to Norman and English conquests as revolts of labour against the “alien”system of private property. Inevitably this leads him to deny any historically progressive role to the bourgeoisie in Ireland. His major historical work, Labour in Irish History, so often claimed by the Irish left as a Marxist classic, emerges under closer scrutiny as a bold, creative but essentially un-Marxist presentation of Irish history. Read more...

Chapter 4: The Irish bourgeois revolution

Nations are the creation of a the bourgeois epoch.

In the Communist Manifesto we find their emergence described as follows:

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected, provinces with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of taxation, become lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class interest, one frontier and one customs tariff. (Communist Manifesto, Progress, Moscow, 1969, p.48). Read more...

Chapter 5: Fighting shy of religion

Little serious attention has been paid by Marxists to Connolly’s analysis of religion, and in particular to his attitude to the Catholic Church in Irish society. Read more...

Chapter 6: James Connolly and women’s liberation

While no discussion of the struggle for women’s emancipation in Ireland seems complete without quoting Connolly’s work, rarely has any attempt been made to evaluate his contribution and thought on th Read more...

Chapter 7: The Protestant working class

Critical scholarship on Connolly’s attempts to grapple with the nature and roots of Loyalist ideology has failed to pursue the very obvious shortcomings of his analyses. The work of Bew, Patterson, Morgan etc., while correctly locating Connolly’s weaknesses in his failure to understand the unique features of social and economic development in Ulster, do so from a position hostile to the traditions and method of classical Marxism. Nowhere among whose who claim that tradition in Ireland has there been any attempt to draw upon the rich lessons of Bolshevism and the Third International on questions of imperialism. Read more...

Chapter 8: The party and the working class

The whole history of revolutionary communism is bound up with the struggle for an effective relationship between the party of the socialist revolutionaries and the mass of the working class. For Marx and Engels, for Lenin, for Trotsky and for each of the Internationals this issue of party and class has been central to political struggle with rival socialist currents. Read more...