1970s >> 1970 >> no-786-february-1970

Party News: Irish Partition Discussed

Following a lecture on Ireland on 13th August, Westminster branch members discussed Partition with members of the Irish Communist Organisation, a Maoist group.

The ICO argued that Irish workers should support the abolition of Partition (i.e. the incorporation of Northern Ireland into an all-Ireland Republic) as this would, they thought, remove the cause of the sectarian division of the working class of the Irish Nation.

Party members replied that the Border was irrelevant from a working class point of view since its removal would not solve any working class problem: it would just be a change of masters for the workers of Northern Ireland just as independence for the 26 counties in 1922 was for the workers of the South.

Socialists in Ireland should keep off the Anti-Partition bandwagon and campaign for Socialism. Members also challenged the ICO on their concept of “the Irish Nation”, saying that like all so-called nations this was a myth. The nation was a capitalist idea that originated with their rise to political power in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Propertied groups used a common history and culture as a device to get their workers first to help them to power and then to submit to their rule. Marx had long ago pointed out that the workers had no country. This was the socialist position.