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Communist to Capitalist - Eoghan Harris fights the pesky RTE provos
national | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis Wednesday March 07, 2007 01:07 by Eamon Sullen
If Mary McAleese gets "more than 40% of the vote... I'll retire, I really fucking will". He didn't - another lie.
Fresh from smearing Manus O'Riordan, Eoghan Harris turned his ire on RTE's Tom McGurk – links below. In his Sunday Independent column on March 5th Ireland's mud thrower in chief says that it "behoves McGurk to be balanced". "Failing that, he should be fair", Harris continued.
Is this the same Eoghan Harris that used to run the secret Ned Stapleton Cumann of the Worker's Party in RTE? Is this the same Eoghan Harris who told RTE reporters he was tasked with training in 1987:
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Harris hated John Waters and Eamon McCann in 1997. Today he praises them. Why? McCann criticises the provos (Sean Russell commemoration), Waters makes right wing noises (plus nods vigorously while Eoghan is talking).
Two reactionary propagandists - both Irish, both pro-British, both anti-republican. Both strayed far form their roots, Joyce physically, Harris politically.
Two persons of "powerful polemical force"
I will gladly join in the denuniciations provided I can actually find out what he wrote. The link sends me to the INDO which I do not wish to subscribe to. Any of you cut and paste cats able to bring his article on here? I suspect that like me most INDYMEDIA buffs do not subscribe to the SINDO and don't rush to read Eoghan Harris on a Sunday morn. Btw, there is more shite talked about the subject of the Workers party than almost any other. Most of its membership thought Harris was a clown. If you know anything about you will know that most of the various party factions hated the secret squirrels.
You dont have to subscribe to the indo, you can register for free.
It may have escaped your notice but Eoghan Harris has not been associated with the Workers' Party for nearly 20 years. He resigned from it after it refused to publish a document he had authored under the title "The Necessity of Social Democracy". which proposed the party abandon socialism and take the social democratic route. Since then Harris has ploughed through a plethora of candidates and parties from Mary Robinson, to Fine Gael and the Ulster Unionists. By all means attack Harris and, if you must, the Workers' Party but please do not make the deliberate 'mistake' of tarring the WP with Harris's bile since he left. The Workers' Party is a socialist republican party and has no intention of departing from that position however much others (many of whom have now abandoned their holy grail of militant nationalism for their Armani suits) would like to portray it.
Thanks for the tip Pat. I read it and was predictibly underwhelmed. It was nonsense but then again did it deserve a thread here with the implication that it was a serious assault on the left?
Cé a dúirt:
Muna bhfuil tú id Shóisialtach roimh 40 duit, níl croí agat agus
más Sóisialtach i ndiaidh 40 duit, níl cloigeann ort?
Perhaps the most outrageous proposal by Eoghan Harris (In the Magill article above - click the pages to read) is where he demands that the Labour Presidential candidate Adi Roche denounce her brother, Donal de Roiste, who was forced out of the Irish Army in 1969. De Roiste was railroaded out by superior officers. Don Mullen, author of The Dublin and Monaghan bombings, has written a book exposing this shameful episode. It was part of the establishment's hysteria in the south about the revolt of northern nationalists. DeRoiste was a victim.
So too were Adi Roche and Mary McAleese in that particular Presidential election (mentioned in the Magill article by Brenda Power). McAleese had seen it all before, being denonced as a "fucking provo" in RTE when she questioned the Workers Party/RTE coverage of the hunger strike - the hungers strikers had no support and they were all criminals anyway, said RTE.
Harris and his old RTE sidekick John Cadden ran the presidential campaign of former head of the Association of Garda Sargents and Inspectors, Derek Nally. Nally was a stalking horse for Fine Gael (though he did not know it himself), a vehicle for throwing dirt at McAleese. When it turned out that this "thick gard" (as Harris called him), had more principle than his Svengali-like managers, they departed, denouncing him from a height. The fact that Fine Gael leader John Bruton was seen meeting Harris, and that associates of Fine Gael were leaking Foreign Affairs documents to the press, intended to harm McAleese, blew up that campaign in smoke.
Harris and Cadden were especially displeased when Derek Nally revealed that he had gone to the then Justice Minister Paddy Cooney in 1975, protesting about the 'Heavy Gang', that systematically beat up republicans in Garda stations and on lonely country roads all over the state. Cooney was brought into the frame when he denied that he was warned. All in all a fiasco for Harris and Cadden. Not the sort of spin they wanted at all.
But it was a dirty trick on Adi Roche, Donal de Roiste and their family. The smear worked on her campaign.
The last political movement to encourage the denunciation of family members was the Nazis.
One final thing.
I am amused by Workers Party apologists trying to distance themselves from Harris. He wasn't alone. His activity was typical of the Workers Party all over Ireland. Current members should try and do a bit of objective research on their own history. They might be surprised. Anyway, this is not about the Workers Party - though they are suffering collateral damage, due to Harris being a typical exponent of their methods in the 1970s and 1980s. He hasn't changed, you know, on the essentials - provo bashing. It's a popular sport that draws together strange bedfellows.
(The suggestion that this is not suitable material for discussion is probably the lamest excuse for trying to make reality go way I have read in a while.)
In 1987 Eoghan Harris was tasked with 'training' would-be broadcasters in RTE.
He decided to train them to be censors and to oppose free speech. It was a logical step in RTE, where the Workers Party ran television current affairs. They were more than tolerated. Their left-wing rhetoric was a justification for persecution and repression. It suited the establishment fine, just as the same tirades jumping off the pages of the Sunday Independent do so today.
Eoghan and his pals were a 'pseudo gang' of broadcasters. The Official IRA and the UVF were pseudo gangs of paramilitaries in the North. They were given every encouragement by those who found them to be useful and sometimes dangerous idiots.
Eoghan and his pals were very proud of their achievements, which they believed in fervently.
But pride comes before a fall and Eoghan made a fatal mistake. He committed his thoughts to paper. He believed too much. Theory and practice were to be conjoined and free speech was to be jettisoned. He opened up himself and his fellow travellers to ridicule. When it turned out that his document "Television and Terrorism", was designed to be given only a limited circulation, to some colleagues and not others, it blew the whistle on the cabal.
What was supposed to be the start of a campaign of vilification and persecution of 'hush puppy' broadcasters, turned instead into the first successful revolt in RTE against the WP element. Exposure of the document in the Sunday Tribune by Gerald Barry (who was taking a sabbatical from RTE) , and the fact that no one in their right mind was going to back it (apart from Connor Cruise O'Brien), gave courage to normally cowed RTE broadcasters. They became hush-puppies over night and voted down the stickies. Harris dramatically resigned from his trade union (the FWUI, now part of SIPTU), but then meekly and unconditionally withdrew his resignation. FWUI General Secretary, Billy Attlee, denounced Harris. Attlee stated in a letter that the union section committee in RTE had the union's full backing, against the "unwarranted attacks" from Harris, that were "damaging to the interests of the membership in RTE".
[Note: Interesting story in today's Phoenix magazine on the Sindo’s increasingly hysterical anti stamp duty campaign. Harris and ex-wife, Sindo Deputy Editor Anne Harris (engaged to Editor Aengus Fanning), are trying to sell their multi-million Euro pile in Dun Laoghaire (lavishly profiled in the Sindo property section). The campaign, if successful, will personally benefit those leading it. Is there a question of ethics here? Can Eoghan Harris spell the word? Imagine if Ray Burke lead a campaign for his own personal financial benefit. Where is the Press Council when we need it? Can complaints be retrospective?]
"Professionalism stinks" says censorship supporter Eoghan Harris
"Professionalism stinks" -censorship supporter Eoghan Harris (click to read)
can any one posting out here get me a copy of the 'television and terrorism' document mentioned above?
Meanwhile in the Dail the WP voted against renewing Section 31. Harris was in contravention of party policy.
The problem with Section 31 was that there were no votes in the Dail.
It was renewed each year by the minister without discussion in the chamber. A minimum number of TDs, I think seven, would have had to sign a motion to force a debate, and then presumably a vote. Whatever about any attempt, there were never enough TDs even to force a debate on the renewal of the censorship Order - if my memory is correct. Censorship was renewed quietly and without fuss or discussion on a yearly basis.
You are right on the other point though, person with a mighty similar name to mine, it was against his party's stated policy. Must check to see if anyone pointed that out at the time (though where to check is a good question at this stage).
As for the document 'Television and Terrorism' (previous comment), I think Eoghan Harris has said that he will give anyone a copy who asks for it. So, go ask. Better be quick though, it seems from an earlier comment that he may be moving house quite soon. It might get packed away somewhere and forgotten about.
"It may have escaped your notice but Eoghan Harris has not been associated with the Workers' Party for nearly 20 years. He resigned from it after it refused to publish a document he had authored under the title "The Necessity of Social Democracy". which proposed the party abandon socialism and take the social democratic route."
Eoghan stayed with the ever (name) changing sticks for a long time. Since he was a student in UCC, he was active, while it is not certain as to whether he was a member of the OIRA, he certainly delivered messages and speechs on behalf of the Army Council.1 Harris acted prematurely in proposing what a majority of the WP were prepared to accept in 1992, remember de Rossa won the vote at the Special Ard Fheis, he was just short of a two thirds majority.
Harris made a mistake, he thought that he could hand down a new line as had happened in the past. However de Rossa and Rabbitte knew it was too early to make such a move. They left poor Eoghan high and dry.
The document: The Necessity of Social Democracy, was published as a WP pamphlet by Eamon Smullen in February 1990. It was claimed that Smullen did this without permission and he was effectively sacked as a WP fulltimer. The document was reprinted in an abridged format in "Making Sense".2 This resulted in a small-scale split at the 1990 Ard Fheis. Leading members such as Harris, John Cadden, Gerry Gregg, Fergus Whelan, Brian Brennan, Oliver Donohoe and Jimmy Brick left the WP.
In 1992, six out of seven Workers Party TDs left to form New Agenda, which became Democratic Left on March 28.3 In January 1999, Democratic Left finally merged with the Irish Labour Party. The old Official guard remained within the Workers Party and denounced the social democratic “liquidators”.4
Tee WP had two more splits in the 1990s. The first one was political, when a number of members left to form first, the Republican Left, some of them then went on to form the Irish Socialist Network. The second one was military, when a significant number of OIRA members in Belfast and Newry left to form the Official Republican Movement (ORM) in 1998. They took with them most of the Official IRA’s weaponry and tried to take over the drinking clubs (in Belfast today the Officials control four drinking clubs; the ORM at least one). This led to a number of violent clashes between the two groups. The public face of the ORM is An Eochair, an OIRA ex-prisoners support group, funded by peace money. The ORM holds its own Easter commemoration event and releases occasional statements.
1. The Politics of Illusion, Henry Patterson.
2. Making Sense, March-April 1990. Making Sense was the WPs political journal.
3. Proinsias De Rossa, ‘The case for a new departure. Making Sense March-April 1992.
4. Sean Garland, ‘Beware of hidden agendas.’ Making Sense March-April 1992.
This blast from the past reveals a typical episode in the life of the Workers Party. Eoghan Harris was not out of step with the Workers Party, as is suggested above.
George Galloway, then a Labour MP, publicly supported a commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Dublin in 1989.
Galloway has Irish forebears from Co Longford. James Connolly, the Irish socialist and executed 1916 rebel, lived for some years in St Mary's Lane, Dundee - ''the same street where my family lived", noted Galloway. "Connolly worked in the Dundee jute factories before going off to Dublin, where he was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising '', he said.
We would expect Irish socialists to welcome such a declaration with open arms.
But not the Workers Party.
The Workers Party were promoted by Rupert Murdoch's reactionary Scottish Sun newspaper denouncing Galloway for rowing in behind a commemoration of 1916 that Sinn Fein also supported. In the warped politically sectarian world of the stickies, not too far from that of Ruth Dudley Edwards today, this meant that it was a celebration of trotskyist-fascist nationalism, and in opposition to the socialist nirvana the Workers Party were promoting.
Tomas McGiolla, the leader of the Workers Party, then wrote to Galloway. He berated Galloway for lining up with Irish republicans. Galloway treated the letter with scorn, and asked what so called socialists were doing lining up with the chief organ of British conservatism and imperialism, the Sun newspaper.
MacGiolla replied in a short letter in which he said "I thought I was writing to a person of sincerity", but he now saw that George Galloway was a "typically abusive trotskyist shit".
Galloway's final rejoinder is attached - click on it with your mouse to read.
Today, in support of British and US imperialism, Eoghan Harris continues to attack George Galloway, while the Workers Party might want to keep quiet about how it formerly supported British imperialism.
The Workers Party were pseudo socialists and the Official IRA were a pseudo gang. Eoghan Harris took their politics on the national question to its logical conclusion.
Workers Party attack George Galloway for supporting 1916 commemoration - click to read
You just about had me convinced that the WP were a bunch of f**ks then you ruined it.
Tomas McGiolla and his gorillas were spot on about Galloway. He is indeed "a shit" but they were to call him a trotskyist as thats too hard on Trotsky.
The man who made himself, and as a bonus RESPECT, the laughing stock of Ireland England Scotland and anywhere else that dreadful programme is aired.
Eoghan 'the manic depressive intellectual' Harris is an elequent con man who whores himself out to anyone stupid enough to let him.
A political prostitute, he has 'been with' FF, FG, Labour, OSF, SFWP, WP and bleats the PD line now.
SF beware, its only a matter of time until he comes a calling!
Tomas McGiolla and his Workers Party colleagues attacked Galloway, a left wing British Labour MP, because Galloway supported Irish Independence. He opposed British imperialism.
McGiolla used offensive terminology because he had no argument he could constructively put forward.
The rest of the comments are irrelevant and incoherent, and demonstrate the same sad attitude to debate as the Workers Party in 1989.
The Magill article attached above, claims that John McMicheal was, or was 'said to have been', personally responsible for the deaths of 600 catholics. McMicheal was UDA/UFF.
The Sutton index lists those organisations as responsbile for the following number of killings:
Ulster Defence Association (UDA) 112
Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) 147
(bearing in mind those figures are predominantly killings of Catholic civilians, but also include fellow loyalist paramilitaries)
If you add in loyalist killings where the responsible group isn't known you get another 251 deaths. Loyalist paramilitaries in total have killed around 1,000 persons, I think (that is from memory not Sutton).
So McMicheal would have to have killed more people than the organisations he headed, and to have been responsible for 60% of deaths caused by loyalist paramilitaries, plus McMicheal was killed by the Provos in 1987, before the rise in the number of loyalist paramilitary murders in the late 80s and early 90s, and how many of the other 40% of deaths took place after his death.
A little off the point of the thread but it does illustrate how badly wrong the 'mainstream' media can get things.
In regard to Eoghan Harris and RTE, I freely admit a lack of knowledge of what was going on at the time but does anyone else think it strange that a hard left party, ostensibly revolutionary, with an armed wing, which a few years previous was in brief combat with a neighbouring friendly state, and which was friendly to the Soviet Union, can apparently infiltrate the state broadcasting system. Like irrespective of what you think of the SFWP this does seem to be an acheviment of some note.
The Magill article makes reference to how SFWP people swung some reporting in an anti-nationalist direction, and sometimes favoured Workers Party people over Labour party people, or had WP people on the telly ostensibly as something else.
Was there a sudden switch to the left in RTE reporting in the late 70s and early 80s due to their influence? That would be the proof in the pudding, the Troubles had a potentially destablising effect on the 26 counties state as well, and there would be plenty of grounds for the state to favour media reporting which was hostile to the Provos in the 70s and 80s, quite independant of the WP.
Can someone go in to this in more detail, who were the SFWP people and what positions did they have?
Is there any record of anyone else thinking it a little odd that there was this far left cabal in the state media, Fianna Fail?, Fine Gael?, the American embassy?, IBEC?
I think there is a strong case for someone to write a lengthy article on the history of the WP. The phenonmenon needs explaining.
On a more general point in 69/70 the republican movement split, and again in 1974.
The errors of the Officials/Workers Party, which were not inconsiderable, are pretty insignificant, compared to those of the other parts of the splits.
The Workers Party were tolerated in RTE because their left wing rhetoric was a front for reactionary politics. They were petit bourgeois revolutionaries. Middle class careerists in favour of modernising the 26 county state, while not really challenging it. The only group open to sustained repression were those who campaigned on the national question on behalf of the beleaguered minority in the North. They were then censored by RTE, by Workers Party types hiding behind state censorship that they never challenged. They justified this by denouncing the victims of repression as either ultra left or ultra right. It was self-censorship that the state and station management both promoted and tolerated for as long as it served its purpose.
Ultimately, it was a Stalinist delusion that the organs of the bourgeois state could be infiltrated and manipulated from within. It led to distrust and disgust from those who were its many victims - internally and externally. If you want to go into the history, it is not a pretty sight.
it fails several important tests. the justification of the paragraphs has been computer generated & the colour quality between letter head & letter body is wrong. The heading is wrong. If you get a letter from a MP you'll notice the "Rt. Hon" in front of their name.
Next time you go to photoshop or gimp think a little bit before hand. Ask yourself what technology was available at the time you're faking. Don't do the Hitler diary thing & use the wrong ink. Don't do the Cobra July 2005 suicide bomber crap with one person airbrushed into the picture without shadow and a railing going through their body. Forgery is an art.
Here is the proof - the story was reported in the Irish Times soon afterwards. Can't remember exact date, check it out in the National Library.
Anyway, just go ask George Galloway.
(This latest tactic smacks of desperation, methinks)
Terry refers to Britian as "a neighbouring friendly state" There are only two people on earth who would refer to Britian as "friendly" One is Tony O'Reilly and the other is his batman Eoghan Harris. Which is Terry? There is only one person on earth who could write about loyalists killing of Catholics without using the word "murder" and that is Eoghan Harris. Ergo Terry is Eoghan Harris.Elementary dear Watson.
So did the apparent ‘Sinn Fein - the Workers Party’ infiltration of RTE and the apparent influence they had over broadcasting effect the station’s coverage of industrial disputes, or the PAYE protests, which were very big at the time (and which SFWP were heavily involved in), or things like the protests against the Reagan visit, which the Worker’s Party was also involved in.
I can see a co-incidence between the agenda of the Workers Party and the southern Establishment in regard to the North, and in regard to environmental issues (the WP was known as the political wing of the IDA), but there it ends.
What exactly was Eoghan Harris’s position and role in RTE?
Why was he openly involved in RTE and the Workers Party yet the rest of the apparent secret branch in RTE secret?
Can anyone name the journalists or other media industry personal who have Workers party pasts, who were involved in both media careers and the WP at the same time?
Why is the media now hostile to Provisional Sinn Fein, when their role in southern Irish society now, is pretty much the same I would think as that of the Workers Party in the 80s, ie a left-reformist parliamentary party?
The alleged role of the Workers Party doesn’t need to be invoked to explain why RTE reporting of the hunger strikes and troubles and that would be hostile to a Provo position.
Firstly the Provos were a threat to the state, particularly pronounced during the hunger strikes, as solidarity actions spread southward, any potential for growth in support for the Provos was a potential to draw in the South more into the Troubles. (for instance the state here showed greater propensity to repress republicans in the 40s and 50s, long before the WP)
Secondly the Provos were very good at alienating people, a lot of their military actions were pretty grim (as is the case with other parties to the conflict, but those parties did not have support in among the RTE constituency).
Hence we have simple explanations for anti-republican broadcasting with or without a political agenda, without the Workers Party.
None of the above is intended as an apologia for media reporting which downplayed state and loyalist violence, or which may have hounded particular individuals, or for Eoghan Harris.
Nor am I saying the RTE and Workers Party story is bullshit, I don’t know.
What I am saying is that for it to seem plausible, not the encrusted mythology built up perhaps around disputes between a few hacks, and sprinkled with left sectarianism, it has to be backed up with a bit more elaboration, facts, and detail. None of the above are rhetorical questions (I can name some WP people who were journalists, or ex ones who are now journalists). This all happened years ago, and needs to be fleshed out for those of us who are not au fait with the left gossip of 25 to 30 years ago, especially given the inherent implausibility of the WP infiltration of RTE thesis in the first place, as I outlined in my earlier comment. Likewise in regard to the rule about going for the simplest explanation - there are simpler explanations for the line taken by the southern Media in general. The WP-RTE story also seems to be premised on an unusual degree of sophistication on the part of the southern Establishment: “we will tolerate this lot running the state media, cause they are anti-Provo“.
So this claim about the WP and RTE needs to have a case made for it, not to be just thrown out there.
Also one of the commenters above says “The Official IRA and the UVF were pseudo gangs of paramilitaries in the North.”
Presumably referring to Frank Kitson’s famous ‘psuedo gangs’, which are ’turned’ guerrillas used to fight on the side of the state. The people who say that of the U.V.F. have some evidence to back up their interpretation, what evidence do you have to say that of the Official I.R.A.?
Anyone who wants to know more about Harris should type "Eoghan Harris" into the wikipedia search box for a good short biography of him
The letter is dated 1989 and printed from a word processor to a dot matrix printer, like the Epson FX 80 which was popular at that time (I know, I had one).
The ink ribbon tended to lose ink over time and so the lettering becomes grey.
The letterhead is preprinted and therefore blacker.
Also Rt Hon is reserved for British government ministers and their opposition shadows.
Which just goes to show that anyone can comment on Indymedia and assume an air of knowing what they are talking to spew out bollocks.
Beware of people claiming to be insiders, observers, analysts and pundits discussing these questions: they have a political agenda which they are not keen to disclose. (Compare the discussion of the SWP's weekend conference and the the thread on a Left election slate---same types spouting same "insider" crap with same political agenda.)
"(Compare the discussion of the SWP's weekend conference and the the thread on a Left election slate---same types spouting same "insider" crap with same political agenda.)"
You come on here doing exactly what you are condemning - claiming to be an insider.
What types? What crap are they spouting? What political agenda?
Explain or admit you are nothing but the same
It's all, by it's very nature, hearsay, but for what it's worth, here goes:
Alll of this should be prefaced with the phrase "It is alleged".
It is alleged that Charlie Bird was mixed up in the WP branch in RTÉ. He suffered for it, when he was photographed making a clenched fist salute, the management in RTÉ were unhappy and thought about sacking him. He got away with a warning.
It is alleged that Jenny McKeevor was sacked for allowing Martin McGuinness's voice to be heard for about 10 seconds on RTE radio. He said something like: "The RUC will only allow the coffins if the flags are removed. That's the situation at the moment". Her colleagues and bosses rounded on her, and she had no support within the frightened atmospere of the news dept.
It is alleged by Damien Kiberd that someone was hired by RTÉ who had no broadcasting experience, and was obviously an inferior candidate for the job than other applicants, but this person had been a member of the WP and was able (oddly enough) to sing from memory a Stalinist song about the Five Year Plan. Kiberd mentioned this in a Daily Ireland article, which is unfortunately not online, but I'm sure he would verify it (his allegation that is).
Here's a Sunday Business Post article from 2003
which mentions the WP influence in RTE in passing, and has a neat explanation of how the conservatives and pseudo revolutionaries in RTE found themselves having common purpose:
"Many accounts of those days in RTE ascribe its failings to a take-over of RTE current affairs by the Workers Party, whose hysterical anti-provoism formed the backbone of RTE's system of self-censorship.
However, this is to miss the point. There was a peculiarly RTE alliance between the systems of media control originally devised by the two Joes (McCarthy and Stalin) at work. The conservative leaderships of the Irish political establishment were happy to see the republican viewpoint excluded, even if that meant the eventual if short-lived emergence of the Workers Party. The attempt by the Workers Party to control media coverage of the North was largely successful because it was in tune with a conservative fear of the consequences of permitting exposure of nationalist experience in the North. That conservative attitude continued to affect coverage long after the demise of Section 31 in January 1994 and of Workers Party influence."
Somebody very fixated by the WP all of a sudden. Hadn't realised with all the coverage that they are getting here, that they had risen from the dead. Could this be a bit of 'fraternal' spleen venting be happening because they were so close to being involved in an alliance with ex-provo cheerleaders?
The 'MAGILL' "Out of the Shadows" article (mentioned above) can be read here-
--scroll down to end of page for the beginning of the article .
Also - a 1985 'PHOENIX' article on Mr Harris can be read here -
An 'interesting' character , to put it mildly....
Eoghan Harris in happier times !
As there has been some speculation, here is the George Galloway original in full colour. Also, as a bonus, here is a copy of Tomas McGiolla's "typically sophisticated" letter to Galloway. I don't have the previous two letters in the series (or the Sun and Irish Times articles - trip to the library, anyone?). Maybe someone out there does - they were gleefully pored over in the late 1980s.
In full colour - George Galloway dismisses Workers Party support for British policy in Ireland
In black and white - WP leader's "typically sophisticated" letter
So what? Are we going to have a 'who supported the biggest despot' competition. In the red corner a cheerleader for Kim Il Song and in the green corner a cheerleader for Sadaam Hussain.
Is there any relevance to all of this? Wouldn't have anything to do with 'historians' wanting to ignore the present would it? Seems to me like a lot of ex-provo cheerleaders trying to cover their past sins. Guess what they've ran away too.
"It is alleged that Charlie Bird was mixed up in the WP branch in RTÉ. He suffered for it, when he was photographed making a clenched fist salute, the management in RTÉ were unhappy and thought about sacking him. He got away with a warning. "
I am not aware of CB ever being involved with the WP. The picture of CB giving a clenched fist salute was from the funeral of Peter Graham who was murdered in 1971, years before Bird joined RTE.
"Peter Graham was assassinated on 25 October 1971 in an internecine dispute. Among the mourners at his funeral, along with leading Republicans, were Tariq Ali of the International Marxist Group and Charlie Bird, then a member of the Young Socialists, and later a news correspondent for RTÉ television. A photograph of the funeral shows Ali and Bird giving a clenched fist salute at the grave."
SH is covering his ass but doesn't need to really coz this stuff is well known.
1. Bird was involved briefly with socialist politics and with Official SF, but never with the WP. He was not an activist within RTE.
2. Jenny McGeever most definitely was sacked because she breached Section 31 and relayed an interview with McGuinness on the news. She received NO support from Bird and the NUJ branch. For this read Bird's recent autobiography where he admits that nothing was done to protect McGeevers job. The journalists and RTE staff colluded with the censorship and enforced it. Free speech wasn't even on their agenda.
3. Dunno about the Kiberd allegation. Never heard that one before.
riddle me this? If the stickies had such a strangle hold on RTE how come the Today Tonight shows on the shady misdeeds of the WP in NI was aired? The shows were the start of the end of the WP and damaged their electorial successes significantly. I'm not saying that they didn't have influence in RTE but it has been exagerrated out of all proportions. Reading the above smacks of someting Harris would have concocted himself when he was on his "Provo Hushpuppies" rant against RTE. JM has way too much time on his hands.
Tomás Mac Giolla stepped down as President of the Workers' Party in 1988. The above letter is dated September 1989 by which time a certain P. de Rossa held that position - around the same time he wrote a certain letter to Moscow....
The answer to your riddle, which is not really a riddle, merely a question, is that Workers Party control of RTE television current affairs eventually came to an end. They overplayed their hand. Harris pushed it too far when his document was revealed in the Sunday Tribune - remember the original themes of this thread. Also, The sticks had passed their sell-by-date. A head of opposition built up in RTE, particularly from younger reporters and producers who came in during the 1980s. They found Section 31 censorship a restriction, whereas the enrenched Workers Party supporters found it a convenience. Section 31 was established when Sinn Fein was not involved in politics in the 1970s. It became an embarrassing albatross when Sinn Fein started winning elections in the 1980s.
The Workers Party had lost control of the student movement, USI, in the early 1980s.
Brendan Doris (Communist Party of Ireland – Marxist-Leninist), Alex White (League for a Workers Republic – Trotskyist, now Labour candidate) and Joe Duffy (Left wing independent, now RTE and Labour supporter) defeated the sticks in USI during the hunger strikes on a platform of support for the hunger strikers and opposition to the dead hand of Workers Party control of the organisation.
The hunger strikes exposed the nonsense of Workers Party characterisations of republicans as crypto-fascists, and exposed WP politics of neo-unionism. Young people got jobs in RTE in the 1980s (including Duffy and White), where they found the same dead hand of workers party control. Insulting people as supporters of the IRA, when they merely want to do their job, does not win friends, it makes enemies who then wait in the long grass. As the Workers Party itself imploded in the late 1980s, so too did their control and intimidation in RTE. Their radicalism was exposed as conservatism that no longer could hold back the tide of history.
Harris did the decent (and inevitable) thing and become a radical conservative, instead of a conservative radical. He decamped from where he was not wanted, and initially embraced the world of Rupert Murdoch in the Sunday Times, before finding a home in the bosom of Tony (sorry, Sir Anthony) O’Reilly. He continued to oppose the provos, except this time in the name of reactionary instead of revolutionary politics. He still has a propaganda vehicle, a newspaper that shares his prejudices and that, unlike RTE, has no level of public accountability.
As for the Workers Party, last week it got 975 votes across the North, whereas Sinn Fein, got 180,573. Sinn Fein is the second biggest party in the North, whereas the Workers Party is possibly the second smallest. The Workers Party as a whole received less votes than Eamonn McCann in Derry. That is some achievement for a party that once claimed to represent the Irish working class and said it was challenging for state power.
Where did it all go wrong? Look at their methods in USI, in RTE and in the working class areas of Belfast, Derry and Newry and you get your answer. The politics of manipulation, political sectarianism and opportunism will only get you so far when you lose sight of your political roots.
There endeth the lesson (for us all).
Theres a good entry in wikipedia about Eoghan Harris.
You are making your comments on a website which itself does not permit ANY criticism of its editorial policy and which will instantly remove same. Do you not feel daft protesting about anyone else on such a site? Protest about Indymedia Ireland's policy of permitting anonymous comment and refusing to allow criticism of themselves. That might help.
Fionntan O Ciarain outlines a strong critique of the WP. I still don't think his time line matches actual events when he infers that the WP were a spent force before the Today Tonight expose. If my dates are correct their gradual demise started after the programmes. As for their alleged 'control' of RTE being toppled by the young turks, I have no recollection of this being written about anywhere and I dont recall a huge departure of staff from RTE bar Harris and one other.
Within the WP there were, believe it or not, differing views of section 31. The WP never publically supported it although they never campaigned against it. I suppose you could draw a similarity between say the SF campaigning on prisoners in the 1980's and their indifference to "dissident" republican prisoners now. The WP were never too concerned about anything that impacted on the provo's.
But all that has been written above about the WP could now be written about SF. Intolerance of views contrary to the line, intimidation of political enemies, their stranglehold on community organisations in the North, etc.
My non WP friends used to taunt me for the regular WP press statements suggesting that people should contact the RUC about crimes. Adams now says contact the PSNI (the RUC's new name)
Give new SF a year or two in Government in the North and see what label "dissident" republicans who are only 'guilty' of continuing the provo tradition. Could it be that the WP never successfully excorcised the republican gene?
"Within the WP there were, believe it or not, differing views of section 31. The WP never publically supported it although they never campaigned against it."
Thats not true. De Rossa & MacGiolla both supported it in public and in the Dail. They also supported extradition.
In 1982, Cathal Goulding gave a wide ranging interview to the Irish Times. In it he supported Internment, Extradition, the use of Supergrasses and Section 31. No one from the WP disagreed with this either in letters to the times or in WP publications. Cathal Goulding was a member of the WP Ard Chomhairle at the time so it is reasonable to presume he was spouting WP policy (especially as no one from the WP contradicted him).
It would be a help if posters refrained from posting that 'so and so did an interview at some unspecified date in 1982 in which he said blah blah blah...'. Why not go to the effort of getting the date and quoting directly? It would hep advance the discussion. If someone said something in Leinster House, it is on the web. Check it, provide the link, and quote directly.
SF are not at all like WP were in the 1970s and 1980s. WP had a particular style all of their own that was due to the fact that hey claimed but did not have significant mass support. SF has genuine mass support. Many of the votes WP claimed in the north were stolen from abstaining republicans. No one (in power) cared back then, as WP were not a threat to the status quo. When SF started standing and won genuine mass support, all the propaganda started about impersonation. Strange.
When it was written that the WP had a 'stranglehold' over community organisations, examples could be given. During the hunger strikes republicans went around all of the residents and community organisations that the WP controlled for years, and simply asked for meetings to be held. They were, and republicans were elected to lead them.
"SF are not at all like WP were in the 1970s and 1980s. WP had a particular style all of their own that was due to the fact that hey claimed but did not have significant mass support. SF has genuine mass support. Many of the votes WP claimed in the north were stolen from abstaining republicans. No one (in power) cared back then, as WP were not a threat to the status quo. When SF started standing and won genuine mass support, all the propaganda started about impersonation. Strange."
So the provo's had mass support in the 70's. How about using your own yardstick? Back this statement up with evidence. You say, The WP stole votes from abstaining republicans. Oh please do explain.
If the 'power' didn't care back then, what about all the research on the arms trial and the setting up of the provos. Is that all wrong?
The provos won their mass support after the Downing Street declaration, on their road to peace. What we have now is a more sophisticated sticky model.
It is estimated that about 15,000 republicans went through the prison system in the North. Many thousands more nationalists were arrested and in one way or another abused by the security apparatus of the state.
Do the math.
If this represents a proportion of the membership of the IRA, then at all times it was a highly significant organisation. The list of actions that the IRA engaged in across the North on a daily basis, together with the far higher number that would have been aborted through security concerns, again indicates a highly significant organsation in population terms - and in the mass support necessary to keep it going. An organisation unrepresentative of large numbers of the nationalist population would have defeated, easily. It is not really a remarkable observation.
The large numbers attending republican marches, funerals and commemorations also indicates a very large organisation with a large support base. Of course, the republicans did not attempt to turn this to political advantage during the 1970s, and this ultimately was mistake. It allowed the SDLP to claim to represent the nationalist population as a whole, though their percentage vote indicted otherwise (if anyone had cared to look). It also prevented the development of republican politics in the South, a crucial mistake that permitted the political marginalisation of republicanism, and the temporary rise of the Workers Party.
A concentration on armed struggle alone was not going to make political progress beyond a certain point, and in fact just became an end in itself.
Anyway, there is no evidence that republicanism in the North was anything other than a very large current of opinion supporting a large organisation, after the attempted pogroms of August 1969, the Falls Curfew of 1970, Internment in 1971 and Bloody Sunday in 1972. At various times opponents attempted to insinuate that the IRA was simply a small band of evil criminals. This was just badly conceived propaganda, since such a group would have disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
Is your FOC phonetic. Do you know anything about the Falls curfew or for that matter any other 60/70's history? Who told you about this? The same source as everything else you use to comment on. Or did you read about it on some provo website? Obviously you weren't alive for it.
If you want to use your own markers for debating, I would suggest that you look at your earlier tips. Do some research. I would suggest that you look at all the electoral websites for the North. Elections might not be the best benchmark for analysing popular struggle but as it's the one that modern day provo's use, it's worth checking. The Hunger Strikes elections changed provo strategy and after that it was elections all the way. That's when they reached a mass critical mass. But not before then.
Check out the Eoghan Harris entry in wikipedia
It is estimated that about 15,000 republicans went through the prison system in the North. Many thousands more nationalists were arrested and in one way or another abused by the security apparatus of the state......Do the math....... If this represents a proportion of the membership of the IRA, then at all times it was a highly significant organisation.
This is exactly the sort of crap that pisses me off. FOC makes the stupid assumption that either all "republican" prisoners were Provos or that the Provos were the only republican prisoners. He also assumes that these then provo prisoners all voted SF - they didn't. (check the Blanket for some of their names). The fact is that SF now are a nationalist party not republican, not socialist republican and never socialist. They are the new SDLP without the D.
BTW check the SF vote in the north in the 50's. Not much different to today.
Thanks to new revisionist for adding so much to the discussion. Whatever about my alleged lack of knowledge, new-revisionist's is non existent. As for his powers of deduction, is he seriously suggesting that republicanism in the North was not a mass organisation before it reached what he terms "critical mass" (whatever that is)?
New revisionist, or should that be neo-revisionist, sounds like a version the old revisionism to me.
For example, if new revisionist is not aware of the extent of impersonation by the Workers Party in the 1970s up to 1981, I suggest that he asks some of their electoral opponents from those days. It was a very impressive operation in Belfast, carried out, as you would expect, with military precision and also openly. The same Workers Party members moved from polling booth to polling booth impersonating abstaining republicans. When the tour was over, it would start again. The term 'vote early and often' was inadequate to describe it. It was vote early, at elevenses, before lunch, afterwards, during the afternoon, before and after dinner and late into the evening. You could call it mass impersonation, expect that the WP didnt have the mass membership to carry it off - the amount reflected the limited size of their organisation. The RUC never payed a blind bit of notice. Unionists could not care less and no one payed any attention to the SDLP anyway. Once republicans startled voting, the game was up and the WP vote collapsed. People did not switch their vote, they just started using it.
But then you would have to have been there to know about it. It was not written about because, unlike with Sinn Fein, it was not on the media's agenda until WP no longer mattered and was a spent force. It became a useful way of undermining the socialism the WP said it believed in so fervently.
Of course FOC the Provos became the masters of impersonation in the north and probably in the south too. I've seen them in action in Belfast around the Falls area - black taxis going from one polling booth to the other with the same people. They spend the previous week collecting postal ballots from people who couldn't be bothered or checking to see who's away on hols so they can use their vote. You have a bee in your bonnet about the Workers' Party. If they're so irrelevant as you seem to believe why waste your energy on them.
The WP seem to be an item on this thread. I didn't introduce it. They are an example of what happens to people whose political lives are consumed by attacking Sinn Fein. It is a road going nowhere fast.
A main feature is a failure to deal with political reality and an escape into political fantasy land in which any straw is grasped, especially propaganda provided by the mainstream media.
Here is an example:
"This is exactly the sort of crap that pisses me off. FOC makes the stupid assumption that either all "republican" prisoners were Provos or that the Provos were the only republican prisoners. He also assumes that these then provo prisoners all voted SF - they didn't. (check the Blanket for some of their names)."
The vast majority of the prisoners were indeed 'provos', as you call them. The small minority (nothing necessarily wrong with being in the minority) of ex prisoners, including many ex INLA prisoners, who took out an ad in the Irish News against Sinn Fein before the election, had next to nil political impact. The reason is that they, unlike the prisoners during the conflict, do not represent a mass organisation.
If the previous contributor doesn't think popular support is an issue in politics then he really is clueless. It is living, as I said above, in fantasy land. You would make more headway if you actually did something positive, rather than, as with the WP (sorry to bring them up again), spending your time wittering on about how 'the provos' messed it all up for you. Just like the WP (again, my apologies) , you can't even bear to call them by their actual name. Read Eoghan Harris. He will makes sense of it all for you. You are united by a common enemy.
"If the previous contributor doesn't think popular support is an issue in politics then he really is clueless."
And the party with the most popular support is the DUP. And Sinn Fein will be supporting the nomination of the Big Man as First Minister. Isn't it great what popular support can lead to.
Being unpopular. Clearly your preferred option. Be happy. keep at it. You will soon be aiming for the WP target: under a thousands votes across the North.
The 'big man' is reluctant to take the job you mention. Like you (and the WP) he has reservations about Sinn Fein. Amazing how one party, the main party of the national majority (the local minority) in the North, can unite so much opposition, albeit mostly from unionists, but also from a tiny rag taggle on the nationalist side. It would make some people sit up and take stock.
Eoghan Harris’s paranoia about any criticism of the Sunday Independent continues unabated. In ‘Harris world’ no one is allowed to criticize his boss’s newspaper.
Northern Ireland - just like living in Liveline
Harris ties in attacks on his former foes in RTE. Not content with an economic monopoly in the Sunday newspaper market, Harris wants a talk monopoly as well. Having attacked Tom McGurk on the Sunday Show, he turns his attention to Joe Duffy on Liveline.
His snooty justification for us treating his politically paranoid views seriously is “my licence fee pays [Joe] Duffy to present an RTE programme which has provided a platform for attacks on the Sunday Independent”. Harris thinks that broadcasters sit around plotting “attacks” on his beloved organ.
Why is Harris so touchy, so fragile, that he cannot bear any criticism of the biggest selling Sunday newspaper?
After attempting to divide public service RTE from its commercial rivals – public service bad, commercial broadcasting good – Harris, as usual, contradicts himself.
”Not that Newstalk gives us a soft ride. Harry McGee complains about the Sunday Independent ‘banging on about stamp duty’ - which shows how far his fingers are from the public pulse….
Morning Ireland finally faces a political fact that Harry McGee failed to face last Sunday: that stamp duty is not simply something the Sunday Independent ‘bangs on about’.”
Ah, Stamp Duty, the main point in the Sunday Independent’s political programme.
Is the Sunday Independent is ‘banging on’ about it – see the attached front pages from the paper over the past number of weeks. The pictures speak for themselves, and tell a different story from Harris’s words (again, as usual).
Harris finger points as usual, and then goes all ominous - he decides to “ration” his remarks. He plays the predictable ‘P’ for Provo card in his tedious tirade:
RTE's Sunday Show comes out of its comatose state only to chase some Sunday Independent hare and seldom truly reviews the papers. Not so most RTE radio programmes, where attacks on the Sunday Independent are actively encouraged. Cathal Goan, as editor-in-chief of RTE, should ask himself if there is some animus behind these attacks…..
Later that evening, listening to a tape of Liveline, I reflect that sooner rather than later Cathal Goan is going to be dropped in the deep stuff by Liveline. Meanwhile, I am going to ration my remarks.
Last year [!!] Joe Duffy let Eddie Gallagher, a convicted terrorist, attack a senior executive of this newspaper at some length on Liveline. [!!!] Neither Cathal Goan nor any senior radio executive expressed regret for that abuse of the national broadcasting system. [!!!!] But I daresay Duffy noted the silence and decided he could carry on regardless.
Let me summarise the current situation. Joe Duffy works for RTE. This provides him with a national profile, which is presumably why the Mail on Sunday pays him to write a tepid weekly column. Accordingly, my licence fee pays Duffy to present an RTE programme which has provided a platform for attacks on the Sunday Independent - a commercial rival of the paper for which Duffy writes.
Has Cathal Goan no comment to make about Duffy's conflict of interest ?
Harris insinuates that Duffy broadcasts on behalf of the Mail on Sunday. Another piece of dirt thrown in without evidence on the basis of the well-known political maxim: “Just get the son of bitch to deny it”. The allegation adds further brownie points from the boss, an attack on the Sunday Independent’s main commercial rival.
Once a Stalinist….
Harris selects Joe Duffy, who was not a fan of Harris’s Workers Party cabal in RTE in the 1980s, and fingers him for his boss. The purpose: to make Duffy (and others) wary of allowing any criticism of the Sunday Independent, and to get back at one of those who opposed Harris in the 1980s.
Those reluctant to get into a bare-knuckle fight with the reactionary censors in the Sunday Independent rationalise that Harris should not be taken seriously because he is a political buffoon.
But he is a buffoon with a platform, where opposition is censored. He writes in a powerful newspaper with huge financial (and therefore political) resources, that isolates its victims and aims to make those that are generally opposed to these bullying tactics afraid to comment.
The only publications that sometimes openly criticise the Sunday Independent and its owner Tony (‘Sir Anthony’) O’Reilly, Phoenix Magazine, and Village Magazine, are regularly pilloried. One reason for this attention is because these are the only publications that systematically bring up the mysterious payment to disgraced and corrupt politician, Ray Burke, by Independent Newspapers subsidiary, Rennicks. Also, they report and comment on such events as the fiasco of the Sunday Independent’s report of the death of Liam Lawlor in Moscow – where the facts typically played second fiddle to lurid lying headlines about teenage prostitutes.
The Sunday Independent likes to soften up potential opposition, and they know how to do it. They are old hands. They, Eoghan and Anne Harris, are Stalinists in the boss’s movement.
Where is the RTE Prime Time investigation into the financial and political relationship between Ray Burke and Independent Newspapers? For years, RTE never investigated the role of the Workers Party. Eventually they did and Harris decamped. When will RTE look at Independent newspapers? The Independent won’t examine itself. That is the role of public service broadcasting. That is why we pay our license fee, to hear the criticism of powerful financial organizations that attempt to intimidate critics.
(Gene Kerrigan and other real journalists in the Sunday Independent, are exempt from this criticism, though keeping their job prohibits them from acting like real journalists when it comes to commenting on the role of Tony O’Reilly in Irish politics and Irish journalism. That's life in a monopoly media market.)
18 March: Stamp duty campaign going nowhere for 'Capitalist Boss' newspaper
11 March: Housing 'Apocalypse' - global warming can take a back seat
4 March: Yet another housing hysteria story hits the front page
25 Feb: Civilistion ends as we know it - scare them early and often
Another unjusified atttack on 'Sir' Anthony's organ from the Phoenix (click on the images to make them bigger)
Theres an eoghan harris biography in wikipedia.check it out
I deliberately make a decision not to buy the Irish Independent/Sunday Indepednet. Is there any particular reason why Mr. Sullen feels he must bombard me with it here on this site?
We must sometimes consult stuff we disagree with, if only to confirm the correctness of our original decision, but also to understand how the brains of fhe unwary are being stuffed with rubbish, the better to expose and to combat it.
Political humour at his exspence
Harris finds his natural home? I'm sure he had a hand in drafting this. LoL
I see Harris was among the signatories of an Easter proclamation:
Would Eoghan Harris care to comment about the Trade Union CORRUPTION that took place in Belfast.
If he does - far from shooting fish in a barrel he may be shooting himself in the FOOT.