Republican reformism with an abstract socialist veneer – letter to the CPI

January 26, 2016


The following letter was sent to the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) on 3rd January as part of an exchange of emails on the nature of Right2Change (R2C) and Sinn Féin. Eugene McC did not answer my initial question on whether their support to R2C also involved electoral support to Sinn Féin but instead referred me to their recent major programmatic statement “A Democratic Programme for the Twenty-First Century” as evidence that they are far more revolutionary than their choice of bloc partners would indicate. My critique of that document is reproduced below.

Dear Eugene,
Thank you for your reply. I am a supporter of the International Bolshevik Tendency and earlier this year I attended a series of political discussions in Cork organised by the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM), the youth section of the CPI. These discussions led to the exchange on Facebook with a CYM comrade who warned that Right2Change…

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Cork anti-water charges protest 23 January 2016

January 26, 2016

Right2Water electoralism – no pretence any more

January 8, 2016


Everyone involved in the anti-water charges movement in Ireland will have noticed the plans of Right2Water to launch some kind of electoral bloc (based on a “Platform for Renewal” that will be decided at a conference on 1st & 2nd May) for the upcoming elections.

I can’t help but remember the indignation and denials which greeted the analysis of myself and others about the electoralism driving Right2Water as expressed in their “2015 – The Year We Change Ireland” statement. (…/12/31/2303/)

It seems I was spot on after-all….

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Defend the Jobstown protesters!

November 17, 2015


Those arrested for their participation in the protest against Tánaiste Joan Burton in Jobstown last November, including Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) TD Paul Murphy, are now officially going to trial (Irish Times 2 November, most of them facing a potential life sentence for the charge of “false imprisonment”.

It is to be hoped that no jury will decide that delaying Joan Burton in her car for around 3 hours could possibly amount to “false imprisonment” and likewise that the charges of “violent disorder” some are also facing will be thrown out.

Opposing this outrageous attack on the right to protest would seem a fairly straightforward issue for the anti-water charges movement and the wider workers’ movement. However I worry that this elementary solidarity will be neglected in the face of the recent vitriol being heaped on the AAA over their refusal to guarantee support to a government involving any…

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Spoil Your Ballot! Fake Trotskyists & Social Democrats in Canadian Election

November 10, 2015


First published –

The following is an edited excerpt from a presentation on Marxist electoral tactics given by an IBT supporter at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, on 25 September 2015.

In Canada, the parliamentary election on 19 October might possibly produce the first-ever NDP [New Democratic Party] federal government. The reasons for this opening for Canada’s reformist labor party are well known. The Conservative government has been tarred by the Senate corruption scandal, opposition to Bill C51 [draconian security state legislation], the Syrian refugee crisis resulting from imperialist intervention, an economic recession and growing popular sentiment that it is time to be rid of Stephen Harper. All of this has helped the NDP, as has the apparent inability of the Bloc Québécois (once again under Gilles Duceppe) to bolster the sagging sovereigntist movement and win back its former supporters who have gone over to the NDP. Until…

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Proletarian Internationalism and the Struggle against Fortress Europe

October 19, 2015


First published on the web –

Defend refugees against terror and deportation!
Smash racist and fascist mobilizations!

Translation of “Proletarischer Internationalismus und der Kampf gegen die Festung Europa,” first published in German in September 2015

The recent wave of racist violence against refugee shelters and the increase in right-wing anti-refugee mobilizations across Germany require a response by revolutionaries. That police in Heidenau in Saxony stood idly by as a racist mob went on the rampage for days, and only exercised their monopoly of force when anti-racist activists began to demonstrate, says a lot about the role of the capitalist state and police. Revolutionaries have no faith that the capitalist state will protect refugees against witch hunts, harassment and pogroms. The proposals to segregate refugees along ethnic lines made by Bodo Ramelow, Left Party premier of Thuringia, after rioting in overcrowded accommodation, demonstrate the impotence of the Left Party in…

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Anti-DPRK Crowd All but Admits They’re Frauds

October 15, 2015

A writer feature in the UK Guardian asks the question: “Why do North Korean defector testimonies so often fall apart?” Its author Jiyoung Song notes that the inconsistencies behind the defector testimonies from the DPRK are most likely due to the fact they’re purchased for cash. According to Song, “[a] government official from the South Korean ministry of

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America Doesn’t Have a Gun Problem, Guns Have an America Problem

August 2, 2015

So long as capitalism exists we will always have the gun control debate. On one side the liberals say we must lose our guns because they kill people. On the other we have the conservatives saying they need their guns to protect themselves. As Marxists we understand that the reality of the situation

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Correcting a pseudo-Marxist on use of the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”

July 10, 2015


The July 2 issue of the British leftist paper Weekly Worker included an article by Jack Conrad (central leader of the CPGB) “Truth, not myths, serve our cause” with a sub-head “Why do comrades on the left insist on repeating evident falsehoods about Lenin and the Bolsheviks, not least when it comes to 1917?” (

There is much in this article that I believe is, lets say, a creative interpretation of history but one issue stood out in particular – Conrad’s defence of the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry” as being a guide for the Bolsheviks right up to and including the October revolution.

I replied as follows in a letter published in the July 9 issue of WW (

Jack Conrad ends his meandering piece, ‘Truth, not myths, serve our cause’ (July 2), claiming Lenin’s continuity of political perspective in 1917, as follows:

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A Marxist response to the Right2Water “Policy Principles”

May 19, 2015


Trade unions in Right2Water have called for submissions on their document “Policy Principles for a Progressive Irish Government”, expected to be adopted by the full Right2Work organisation at a conference on 13 June. It is likely that this will form the minimal basis for calling for votes to candidates in the upcoming general election and perhaps a platform for community activist candidates standing under the Right2Water umbrella.

While it contains many abstractly supportable demands around the right not only to water, but to employment, housing, healthcare and education, the document is clearly designed to remain within the existing capitalist framework, as shown by the requests that submissions:

“Put forward principles that can create unity among all progressive organisations and individuals and building the widest possible coalition for change.

“Promote principles that will promote policies that are radical, popular and deliverable.”

Given the involvement of Sinn Féin in Right2Water…

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