© Liam O’Ruairc , 2001 ©
The copyright of this book belongs to Liam O’Ruairc and cannot be republished in whole or in part without the author’s permission
Following the 1986 Sinn Fein Ard Fheis where it was decided to end the policy of abstentionism, between 80 and 100 Provisional Republican prisoners in Long Kesh resigned from theorganisation. The process was taken informally. That was approximately 20% of the movement, which had then over 400 prisoners. This wave of resignation was limited to Long Kesh; as no similar movement took place in Portlaoise. Those who resigned did it for all sorts of reasons. “There was no unified block among those who resigned” explained a former prisoner1 who had then resigned; before rejoiningthe Provisionals later. A great number of those who resigned simply retired from political activity (because they were tired of it), others later applied to rejoin the Provisionals, and only two prisoners switched their allegiance to Republican Sinn Fein. In this context, in November 1986, a number of those prisoners who had resigned formed the “League of Communist Republicans”2. Those prisonershad been an internal prison opposition since the early 1980s; after the Hunger Strikes. They had developed an orthodox Marxist-Leninist line, and saw dangerous conservative consequences in Sinn Fein’s electoral interventions. The prisoners also had doubts about the utility of the IRA’s armed campaign. Both the electoralism and the armed campaign led away from mass struggle. The dropping ofabstentionism appeared to them as the irrefutable proof that the Provisional Republican Movement was going irreversibly to the right; and thus left the movement. ( those aspects will be examined later) The two main figures behind the LCR were Tommy McKearney and Pat Mullin3; both from county Tyrone. They were the main theoreticians who developed the ideas of the group as well as its principal organisers.In 1985, the then Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA, Ivor Bell, had been excluded from the organisation after failing to oppose the Adams line. If the Chief of Staff had failed, there was no way the prisoners could succeed in reforming the movement from within. No existing organisation was suitable, so there was an objective need to set up a new one. It was called “League” as opposed to“Party” or “Group” because it was a flexible term. Tommy McKearney wrote its programme. “WE STAND FOR: 1. An independent Sovereign Republic of All Ireland. 2. A Revolutionary Democratic Government, under the control of the Workers and the Small Farmers. 3. Administration of the State to be under the supervision of a National Assembly which practices Direct Participatory Democracy, ie deputies are subjectto recall. THE STATE MUST GUARANTEE ITS CITIZENS:
Anthony McIntyre, Interview with Author, Belfast, Sunday 2 September 2001 Almost all of the information included in this chapter was given by Tommy McKearney to the author in an interview on Saturday 11 August 2001 in Monaghan. The pamphlet From Long Kesh to a Socialist Ireland also gives some background. 3 Pat Mullin died in 2001. SeeFourthwrite, Issue 6, Summer 2001
Work at an acceptable wage. A home suitable to the citizen’s needs. An education to the highest level compatible with the citizen’s ability. Full and comprehensive healthcare. Social Rights including: Divorce Contraception and abortion Separation of Church and State Meaningful equality between the sexes. To allow the Workers’ and Small Farmers’ Stateexercise control, it is imperative that the commanding heights of the economy, Finance, Trade, Industry, Production and Communication, be brought under the Democratic control of the Revolutionary Democratic Workers’ and Small Farmers’ Republic.4 “ • • • • • He sent it as a “comm” to other comrades he knew in other blocks. The people he sent it to were friends, or acquaintances of his, that he knew...