Ireland's Permanent Revolution

Ireland's Permanent Revolution

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By Chris Bambery

It is always 'the Irish problem'.

For the British government it is 'a military problem' - and has been since troops were sent into Northern Ireland in 1969. For the IRA it's 'a British problem' or the problem is 'partition'. For Ian Paisley and the Unionists, of course, it's a religious problem, 'Papist murderers'.

For the Catholics of the North the problem is discrimination, which makes them three times more likely to be unemployed than their fellow Protestant workers.

For Protestant workers this isn't a problem - though they too have a higher rate of unemployment than anywhere else in Britain. For workers in the South, the problem 'doesn't really affect them' - except that it does, since Ireland as a whole has the lowest standard of living in Europe.

For the press, which takes a superficial view, the problem is 'one of violence'. Those who look just below the surface see the violence as a symptom of discrimination and injustice.

In nearly 20 years of brutal unrest, none of these viewpoints has found any solution. What is the real Irish problem?

This book shows that the discrimination and injustice is itself but a symptom of something deeper. Underlying and causing the division between Protestant and Catholic, between North and South, is a deeper divide, in the words of the Irish socialist James Connolly that between 'the master class and the working class'.

Re-examining 'the Irish problem' from this perspective, this book argues for the socialist solution, that 'the Irish working class must emancipate itself, and in emancipating itself it must, perforce, free its own country.'