1970s >> 1977 >> no-870-february-1977
Ireland: The World Socialist Party Carries On!
Whether we operate as a party is, in the circumstances in which we do actually function, difficult to state. How does a party such as ours operate in circumstances in which overt activity could bring dire retribution at the hands of any of the three factions of thugs — IRA, Loyalists, or British Army/Police (the latter functioning under the euphemism “security forces”)? All we can do is use personal contact: explain ceaselessly, tirelessly, frustratingly — sometimes even dangerously — that capitalism creates the material conditions in which all this can happen. Ironically, people as individuals are prepared now, more than heretofore, to listen, and (perhaps good for the future) the struggle here often highlights the correctness of our attitudes. But bitterness, hate and blind emotions combine against reason and, as I say, they have the guns and the bombs and they make telephone calls.
As you will know, our premises at Pim Street, Belfast, were severely damaged in an arson attack — directed solely against our shabby little office. It was a victory for something; but we counter-attacked with hardboard and asphalt and continued to hold meetings there every Tuesday evening — you can imagine our mixed emotions when we thought we heard a foot on the stairs! Next we had a visit — fortunately, perhaps, in our absence — from the “security forces”. Lacking a key, they smashed in the door and made a military-medal-deserving attack on our few pathetic chairs and our display of back numbers. A group of the same worthies later met three of us leaving the place and, resisting our efforts at conversion, attacked the weakest of us — my eighteen-year-old daughter. The Provo heroes gave our room the coup-de-grace and ended our heroics with a bomb on an adjoining property.
Left without an address, we are still looking for a suitable place here. The job is rendered more difficult than usual by the fact that on top of the previous considerations like rent and accessibility and willingness to lease to Socialists, we now have as our primary concern the question of security in an area in which contacts from either side of our infamous “divide” will not feel threatened. That, here, is a tall order indeed . . .
(The above is extracted from a letter to the General Secretary of the SPGB by the Secretary of the WSP of Ireland. All comrades here send their warmest fraternal greetings to those who are keeping the struggle for Socialism alive in such conditions.)