“When we look at most Irish socialist republican groups historically, the primary error has generally been left deviation, manifesting as single minded militarism and commandism. When republican organisations have sought to correct these errors they’ve tended to swing sharply in the other direction abandoning any militancy and radicalism and adopting a host of right opportunism errors, particularly tailism, economism and electoralism.” – The Mass Line and Ireland. An Ghrian Dhearg (Issue 2 2021)
The argument of the Irish Socialist Republicans acknowledges that the revolutionary armed struggle undertaken since 1968 was not a protracted peoples’ war, it was a protracted guerrilla campaign and a war of the people, particularly the people in British occupied Ireland. However,
with the signing of the Good Friday Treaty of Surrender between British Imperialism and a revisionist former section of the Republican Movement, many people in Ireland were tricked into believing that the national question in Ireland had been solved. This was because that treaty split the Republican Movement, with the revisionist section claiming there was now a peaceful road to National Liberation and also led to a significant reduction in the revolutionary Armed Struggle in Ireland.
Subjects of an earlier post, Red and Green , an Irish Maoist Bloom?, the Irish Socialist Republicans (ISR) active in Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland (AIA) and based in an MLM perspective, engaging in open polemics, are lining up on current events around the world. Whilst the immediate perspective stresses
the need for Socialist Republicans to build an Anti Imperialist Broad Front as the vehicle for a successful struggle for National Liberation and Socialist Revolution
It is time for the International Communist Movement to unite behind People’s War and to constitute or reconstitute militarised Communist organisations to launch and lead them…. This is the universal truth that must be grasped and taken up by the International Communist Movement and implemented in all countries in accordance with the specific conditions of each country and of each revolution.
The position is laid out in the second edition of An Ghrian Dhearg (Autumn 2021) in the article “On the Universal Validity of Protracted People’s War: the Irish experience of revolutionary war establishes the proof” that argued in part that:
“While the Revolutionary Armed Struggle was able to develop base areas in rural counties such as South Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone, more importantly, through armed struggle revolutionary base areas were established in the urban centres, particularly in Belfast and Derry, the two key cities in British occupied Ireland. The establishment of such base areas proves the universal applicability of PPW to all countries, in accordance with the specific conditions.
These revolutionary base areas in the urban centres were established in the Working Class ghettos of Belfast and Derry, where the revolutionary army could operate openly by relying on the people and with their support, vast areas of working class Belfast and Derry became no-go areas for British Imperialism.
With regard to the Irish experience of revolutionary violence, the above quote from Chairman Gonzalo is more important than might be first realised. Chairman Gonzalo, from his deep understanding of Proletarian Revolutionary Science, accurately predicted that through the waging of revolutionary armed struggle, revolutionaries would ‘sum up lessons from their errors, as they are doing, they’ll advance, grasp Marxism- Leninism-Maoism, and form Parties and wage people’s war in accordance with the socialist character of their revolution and in accordance with their specific conditions
This grasping of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and a reappraising of the Irish Revolutionary Armed Struggle took place in Ireland at the height of the revolutionary violence. During the 1980s, while Chairman Gonzalo was first synthesising Marxism-Leninism-Maoism through the leading of the People’s War in Peru, IRA prisoners in British prisons in Ireland and Britain were taking up, studying and beginning to apply the teaching of Chairman Mao to the specific conditions of Ireland.
An important group of IRA commanders, operating mainly in the border areas, but with support from the guerrilla fighters in other areas, began to apply the military teachings of Chairman Mao and began to develop a strategy of moving revolutionary violence in Ireland from revolutionary armed struggle to PPW. This group of IRA cadre came to the conclusion that for their strategy to be successful, it would necessitate a break from the reformist leadership of the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein, and to establish new organisations to lead a People’s War.
These IRA cadre began to implement the move towards People’s War from around 1986, particularly in the border region but there was support in the urban bases too. The guerrilla warfare tactics chosen successfully drove British Crow forces from the countryside and towns into the barracks in bigger towns and cities. Both the reformist leadership of Sinn Fein and the British Imperialist government realised the threat posed by the PPW to their plans for a ‘peace process’ and British Imperialism moved to systematically assassinate the IRA Cadre between 1986-1988.
Despite the assassination of these cadre, the revolutionary armed struggle in Ireland continued at a height unknown in other European countries right into the 1990s when the reformist leadership of Sinn Fein entered into a pacification process in partnership with British Imperialism, which resulted in a major bend in the road for the revolutionary armed struggle. Yet despite this, British imperialism has still been unable to crush the national liberation struggle and revolutionary armed actions continue to this day, though at a much lower ebb.
On investigation of the Irish experience of revolutionary violence, even a brief investigation, such as the one above, it can be comprehensively established that PPW is the universally applicable
Proletarian Military Line.
A PPW in an industrial country can take the form of the revolutionary armed struggle in Ireland, establishing base areas in the urban working class communities and encircling the centres of power from there. Under this form of PPW, applied to the specific conditions of an industrial country, the urban war is primary and will be supported by rural base areas, instead of war in the countryside being primary as is the case in under-developed countries.
To conclude, a final note on the Irish experience of revolutionary violence. The revolutionary armed struggle in Ireland has continued to be unsuccessful because it is not a PPW. The armed struggle has continued to fail because it is not led by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism or a Militarised Communist Party of the new type, waging a People’s War for the seizure of Power.
For the war for national liberation and socialist revolution in Ireland to be successful, it must be led by a militarised revolutionary organisation of the new type, one that upholds MLM and organises and mobilises the masses through People’s War.
Only then will Ireland’s long revolutionary struggle be successful.”
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