History of the early People's Democracy (1970)


The No6 edition of the British "Anarchy" magazine published in 1970 was largely given over to articles written by members of 'Peoples Democracy'. This article gives a PD view of the history of the north from 1960 to 1970 including the formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and the origins of People's Democracy.Ten years ago, Northern Ireland was a relatively quiet backwater as far as the rest of the United Kingdom was concerned. True, it had just weathered a sustained campaign (1956-62) by the IRA, but that had failed to weaken the constitutional link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In fact, the IRA campaign, which consisted of blowing up customs posts, attacking police stations, cutting down telegraph poles and booby-trapping the odd policeman, had demonstrated the "unity" of the Ulster people - the restraint of the Ulster Protestant in the face of such "terrorist provocation", and the refusal of the Ulster Catholic to support the activities of such "evil men". Some scores of these "evil men" were imprisoned (without trial, of course, but then no one really minded), and when it came to the time to release them, even the Northern Ireland Labour Party, in the shape of David Bleakley (now Minister of Community Relations - 1971 style) was prepared to forgo its usual fence-sitting act and came out against the release of the "murderous" internees.

But a cloud loomed on the horizon, Lord Brookeborough, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland since he stabbed J.M. Andrews in the back during 1943, decided to retire to a local geriatric farm. He handed over the tiller of the ship of state to one of the clever young members of the gentry, one Terence O'Neill, thus giving a kick in the teeth to the nouveau-riche upstart called Brian Faulkner.

Unfortunately, Terence didn't heed the advice given to him by his wiser predecessor and was soon to be seen visiting Roman Catholic convents and photographed shaking the hands of nuns and generally giving the impression that Roman Catholics were almost human. This, mark you, despite the fact that he had hitherto been prepared to play the dutiful Protestant and inserted such ads in the local papers as : -

"Protestant Girl required for housework.
Apply to the Hon. Mrs. Terence O'Neill
Glebe House, Ahoghill, Co. Antrim."[1]

This laxity and liberalism caused such moral degeneration that he was soon led down the slippery slope and was found guilty of inviting the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic to tea and biscuits at Stormont. This action to people who had just suffered at the hands of republican terrorists, was too much, and the rumblings of loyalist discontent were like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis. A saviour was on hand, however, a man of God, who was prepared to lead the children of Israel through the stoney desert of cross-border co-operation to the promised land of an Ulster with the British connection, British finance, and British tolerance for a colonised nation.

This saviour - Mr. Paisley, was a loud-mouthed cleric: scheming, ambitious and bigoted. He knew what his audience liked - the titillation of fornication stories from the bible, laced with modern analogies to the harlot of Rome and its political alter ego, Irish republicanism - and he was prepared to give it to them if that was to be the passport to political success.

He threatened to lead a march of outraged loyalists during the 1964 election campaign on the headquarters of the Republican Labour candidate, who had the effrontery to display the Irish tricolour in the windows of his headquarters. Since the headquarters were situated in the heart of the Catholic ghetto, the incident aided by the police who did the job for Paisely by breaking into the house with axes and removing the offending flag, led to the outbreak of the Divis Street Riots (1964). These were the first riots that Belfast had experienced for thirty years.

Paisley's political star was in the ascendancy. All he needed now was a means of showing Ulster (and the world) that he was more Unionist than the official Unionists. This opportunity came with O'Neill's attempts to transform the cruder aspects of religious discrimination into a less overt form which was more in keeping with the requirements of modern capital investment. His reformism was underlined by the emergence of the Civil Rights movements in Northern Ireland.

During the mid-sixties a group called the Campaign for Social Justice, based in Dungannon, had been assiduously collecting the numbers of Catholics employed by the local authorities and comparing this with the proportion of Catholics in the same area. [2] This they used to determine the amount of discrimination. At the same time a republican front organisation called the Wolfe Tone Society, with the backing of the Communist Party, began to discuss the social and political set-up in Northern Ireland. In 1967, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was set-up mainly as a result of the coming together of these groups. NICRA was based on the the constitution of the English National Council for Civil Liberties. It was liberal in all its attitudes, timid and afraid of confrontation - not very surprisingly when one considers the CP's influence. NICRA's main activity in these days was issuing press statements. They were given an opportunity to do rather more when, in August, 1968, they were invited to lead a march from Coalisland to Dungannon protesting against the corrupt allocation of council houses. [3] A similar march was planned for Derry in October, organised by the local Housing Action Committee. [4] Again NICRA was invited to participate. Among those who travelled from Belfast was a random grouping of Young Socialists, Anarchists, Liberals and some disaffected students.

What occurred in Derry that day - the ban on the march, the batoning of the marchers, and the subsequent police attack on the Bogside has been sufficiently well documented to require no further description here. What is worth examining in more detail is the effect those scenes had on the coachload of young workers and students who had travelled from Belfast that day, and came face to face with the reality of "law and order" in the shape of a baton cracked across the skull.

Some of the marchers were already politically active with a coherent political philosophy - some of them even carried a Committee of 100 banner on the march! - but most had never though seriously about politics or the nature of the state. The most common attitude was one of vague liberalism. The transformation of the vague liberalism into conscious libertarianism, and the widespread support which libertarian ideals received subsequently, was a phenomenon hitherto unknown in Northern Ireland.

Stunned - literally - by the police action, the group licked its collective wounds and in the bus on the way back to Belfast decided to try to get some kind of protest underway in Belfast. It was decided to hold a march in Belfast from the University to the City Hall, on the following Wednesday afternoon. Fifteen hundred people, mainly students, assembled at the University. The direct route to the City Hall let through Shaftesbury Square near Sandy Row. As such it was considered Loyalist Territory and the Reverend Paisley decided to hold a counter-demonstration to prevent the "holy ground" being taken over by "republicans, rebels, anarchists and communists".

The police fulfilled their usual function in re-routing the march away from the square. By the time the marchers arrived at the rear of the City Hall they discovered yet another police barrier in Linenhall Street. Paisley had taken over the front of the City Hall for a prayer meeting (sic). Unable to proceed further, the marchers staged a sit-down for about four hours, then marched back to the University, frustrated at their impotence to carry out a simple protest meeting due the connivance of the police with the loyalists' tactics, but determined to do something about it.

A very noisy, emotional and exhausting meeting took place and lasted until after midnight. Attempts were made by established student politicians to direct the meeting, but these were quickly stifled, for while most of those present were not politically motivated, they were quite determined that they should not be used as pawns by aspiring politicians. In doing so, they showed a healthy disregard for conventional politics and set the tone for all future developments. Bureaucracy was outlawed, organisational authority was to rest with the people, or be delegated to sub-committees with no executive powers and which were to be subject to immediate recall. A committee for co-ordinating the various activities was elected on this basis and the prime criterion for eligibility was that one should be "faceless", that is politically unknown and uninvolved. Of the ten people elected to this committee, two have achieved some degree of notoriety - Mr. Kevin Boyle and Miss Bernadette Devlin.

There followed a series of nightly meetings of interminable length, though the adrenalin-induced feverishness of the participants gave them energy enough to cope with the physical as well as the emotional demands of their involvement. At the second or third meeting a name was decided upon which would encapsulate the desires of those involved to achieve a libertarian viewpoint in contrast to the repressive nature of the state. The name selected was the People's Democracy. But while the intent of the PD at that time was to get involved and oppose the non-participation of the population which passes fore democracy, their political outlook was limited to reformism.

As an early leaflet states:- "The main goal of the movement is the achievement of civil rights, specifically our five stated demands (These were: One man-one vote; fair boundaries; houses on need; jobs on merit; repeal of the Special Powers Act.) The movement is committed also to the principle of non-violent action."

Despite the innocuous nature of these demands, in the Northern Ireland context they were revolutionary. What is more they were being made by a group which cut across the sectarian divide as well as the political fence, comprising Catholics, Protestants (and Jews and atheists), socialists, nationalists, republicans, and liberal Unionists. Because of this they achieved widespread publicity, and soon acquired a facility in controlling the media by reversing the manipulative process which usually passes for independent reportage.

The PD advanced from being a simple protest group to the role of militant campaigners for civil rights. Their flair for publicity demonstrated their recognition of the importance of communications. Tourist posters with "Come to Ulster" slogans had the word "fascist" inserted in the appropriate place. Post-cards advertising the beauties of Ulster were over-printed with pictures of slums and figures for unemployed. A sit-in was staged at the Stormont Parliament on United Nations Human Rights Day. A similar sit-in at the City Hall was followed by police violence and an attempt to snarl up the evening rush-hour traffic. Various attempts were made to march to the City Hall via Shaftesbury Square to demonstrate the right of peaceful procession, but on each occasion the way was blocked by police cordons who were only too willing to accept the analysis of Mr. William Craig to the effect that the PD was "disloyal" and therefore could not march through "loyalist" territory.

However the PD was moving towards a deeper and more fundamental analysis of the Northern Ireland problem and its own role in it. Marches, it was decided, were fine for publicity, but a more positive educational polcy was needed. "The PIP" (Play to Inform the People) was an attempt to start a dialogue on civil rights among the the people, of all types and classes, to point out the injustice existing on all sides in Northern Ireland. To hammer this point home - that injustice is not confined to Unionist controlled areas - we chose Newry as a start. Successful public meetings were held. However, when we continued the PIP campaign in Armagh and Dungannon, physical violence was used against us and the meeting either harassed or broken up.

Behind the statement lies the fact that, confronted with an opposition group which was not Catholic, and which indeed was prepared to attack Catholic corruption as well as Unionist chicanery, the NI Government reacted in the only manner it knew how, by stirring up violently sectarian feelings among loyalists by claiming that the centres of towns were being taken over by Anarchists and troublemakers, who were Catholics in disguise, and who wised to destroy the fabric of society. Having succeeded in engineering violence, the government then made its gesture. Terence O'Neill made his "Ulster at the Cross-roads" speech, which was remarkable from his other speeches only in that it contained more nauseating platitudes and homilies to the paragraph than usual.

Some civil rights groups were taken in by this and arranged a truce with the government. This was particularly true in Derry where the conservative influence of John Hume, later MP, was making itself felt in the Citizen's Action Committee. The PD refused to participate in this truce and said that O'Neill's 5-point reform package was an attempt to gull the people and delay reform. However a march in Belfast - to Stormont - on December 14 was cancelled. This was due to two factors: (a) the liberal Unionists and "moderates" believed that with O'Neill's assurances, the civil rights movement was now unnecessary and should disband: and (b) more importantly, the open nature of the PD organisation, where anyone who attended a meeting was automatically a member and entitled to vote, meant that the movement was subject to being flooded by people hostile to its aims who would use their votes to distort the policy decisions being taken.

This is precisely what occurred over the December 14 march. The University Unionist Club "the Cuckoo Club" managed to pack the meeting with their supporters and on a close vote, the march was called off. At a later meeting however, a further march was arranged, this time covering the 75 miles from Belfast to Derry. The story of that march, the continual harassment, the police partiality, culminating in the highly organised ambushes at Burntollet and Irish Street, has already been told (in "Burntollet by Egan and McCormick), but its effects had massive reverberation. O'Neill who castigated the marchers and ignored their attackers, was shown to be a sham. Within his own party there was a rebellion because he was "soft on civil rights". [5] So he called an election.

Elections in Northern Ireland are usually so predictable that no one pays much attention to them. Fought along sectarian lines, it merely requires one to know the religious affiliation of any constituency to be able to predict the result. Because of this most constituencies were never contested prior to 1969. Terence O'Neill, PM, had never had to fight an election in all his twenty-one years in parliament. But this time, there was something different. The PD decided to put up candidates.

The decision was reached only after much soul-searching. How, it was asked, could the PD ask people to vote for them to put them into parliament when they had been denouncing parliament as a sham and a farce, and politicians as corrupt place-seekers? The dilemma was a genuine one, and not only for the anarchists within the PD. But the PD was not seeking power, nor even parliamentary representation. They recognised however, that for most people, elections are a time when they consider politics and politicians, if only superficially. With their eye on the publicity and the communications opportunity offered by free television time and postal deliveries, they put forward eight candidates. They stressed at their meetings and in their pamphlets that they were not out to merely win seats.

"In the turmoil of the election campaign it is important that we do not forget that, for the Peoples' Democracy, fighting the election is only one of many tactics".

"We are contesting seats, not to joion the carpet-baggers and place-seekers, but because it offers an excellent chance to put our ideas to the people and keep the demand for civil rights in the limelight. For us democracy is a continuous struggle by the people, not just marking a ballot paper every four or five years.

"People's Democracy must become more and more concerned with special issues, on housing ... on jobs ... factory closures ... trade unions. The main idea to push home is that we must depend on the power of the people and put no trust in Stormont".

Already the differences between PD policy and that of NiCRA were becoming apparent. The PD was beginning to recognise that there was more, much more, in civil rights than the mere passing of voting laws or anti-discrimination legislation. The realisation of the need for economic and social issues to be raised as well indicated the development and change from being a liberal civil rights movement to a socialist one. The election manifesto included the following points: -

  1. An end to repressive legislation. Repeal of the Special Powers Act. The disbanding of the Ulster Special Constabulary.
  2. The declaration of a housing emergency. A crash housing programme. All vacant housing accommodation to be requisitioned. The cancellation of the Housing Trust debts to the Central Banks, to allow the Trust to build more houses.
  3. A centrally drawn up points system, based only on need for allocation of houses, with a central board of appeal. The drafting of a housing list open to inspection by the public. An end to social and religious discrimination in housing.
  4. Immediate state investment in industry to provide full employment and halt emigration. A massive injection of capital by the government to set up industries under workers control in those state-owned factories vacated by those fly-by-night private industrialists.
  5. We recognise the right of parents to determine the kind of education they want their children to have. We want the transfer of responsibility for all educational functions to a democratically elected central government. The grouping together of schools, both state and voluntary - starting with secondary and technical colleges - into a comprehensive system integrated on a social and religious basis involving parents, students and teachers in the government of such schools. Cast iron guarantees that there will be no discrimination in the appointment of staff and that there will be no political indoctrination in education.
  6. We oppose the existing agricultural policy of the government which involves the clearing of large numbers of farmers from the land in the west and south of the province. We want employment for all members of the rural community in their own area. We feel that the situation in which a few people control huge estates while many others barely exist on very small holdings is unjust. We suggest that these huge estates are broken up and used to form cooperative farms for those small-holders willing to move into them.
  7. We are making our demands for civil rights in Northern Ireland. We recognise the right of the people of Northern Ireland to determine their own political future. The border is not the issue. Civil Rights is. Many of our demands in the North are equally relevant in the South and we support those who are working for full civil rights there and elsewhere.

This manifesto can be faulted on many counts; and it has been by those who claim that it demonstrates PD is not Marxist or Socialist, or Republican, or libertarian. But in February, 1969, the PD itself did not claim to be anything specific, other than a militant civil rights organisation. Already though, the need to look beyond the narrow limits imposed by civil rights activity was making itself felt. True, there was as yet no recognition of the roles played by capitalism and imperialism in Ireland, North or South; but the election manifesto quoted above, shows a searching and groping for solutions to to the economic, social and political problems which made Northern Ireland a bigot's dream and a libertarian socialist's nightmare. They show as well a desire to extend the same freedom which existed their own organisation to the society at large, and to give people control over their own lives in industry through a system of workers control, in education and agriculture. The implications, or methods of implementation, had not been thought through, but the libertarian concepts central to a restructured society in which people controlled their own lives were pushing through.

The major flaw, if flaw it be, was in the final point which stated that the struggle was confined to Northern Ireland, and that the border was not an issue. This point was seized upon by some politically sectarian leftist groups which even now, more than two years later, use it as proof of PD's pro-imperialist stance! The criticism would be valid if the PD, at that stage in its development, had claimed to be a revolutionary socialist organisation. It did not so declare itself until October 1969. In February, its membership, while steeped in political activity since the previous October, tended to a adopt a militant stance and then find political justification later. But on the border issue, they were aware that the Unionist government, divided against itself, and under pressure from Paisley on the right, would attempt to reunite their all-class Protestant alliance by revealing the danger to the constitution and to the border. Consequently there was an attempt to bend over backwards in order to placate the Protestant worker and assure him that he was not being inveigled into exchanging "the blue skies of freedom for the greys mists of an Irish Republic", that, in fact, the PD programme was designed to benefit all workers and not merely those on one or other side of the political divide.

Across the Lines

The PD election campaign succeeded in uniting Catholic and Protestant more than ever before, and in the most unusual circumstances. The PD tactic of opposing usually uncontested Nationalist as well as Unionist seats had a traumatic effect on the green and orange tories. In Fermanagh, where there are three constituencies - two Unionist and one Nationalist - the PD stood in all three areas. On polling day, in South Fermanagh the local Orange Order Lodges ferried their members to cast their votes on behalf of the aged Nationalist MP Carron, while in the neighbouring Unionist-held constituencies, the reverse was the case with the local Hibernians turning out in force to support the Unionists against the "red menace" (sic).

There were many other examples of unity in favour of PD, with old republicans sharing polling booth duties with young Protestants. This was further shown in the results themselves where PD candidates did remarkably well. In fact one of them, Fergus Woods, almost did too well in South Down. On the first count, he was elected by nearly 200 votes. There was consternation, not least among the PD workers on the count. On a recount it was decided to add several spoiled votes to the tally of Keogh, the incumbent MP, and so he held on to his seat, to the relief of the PD. In South Derry, the Minister of Agriculture, Major James Chichester-Clark, defeated Bernadette Devlin by 9,000 votes to 6,000, while in Bannside the Prime Minister won on a minority vote against Ian Paisley and Michael Farrell. [6]

Back to the Streets

Having used the election as a means of putting their policies across to the people, the PD prepared to carry out their election promise and return to the streets at once to protest against the Public Order Amendment Bill. This was an addition to the arsenal of repressive legislation, and opposition to it by the PD indicated that the path they had started on was to be mainly political. The Civil Rights Association and the various Citizens Action Committees decided not to hold any protests since this would be likely to cause trouble and lead to violence. The PD went ahead and organised sit down protests in six centres - since sit-downs were made illegal in the Bill. Thus the difference between the "political" PD and the "non-political" CRA became more apparent. The chief architects of this politicising of the movement were Michael Farrel, Eamonn McCann and Cyril Toman, who were responsible for developing the lines of socialist thought à la Marx and Connolly, and John McGuffin who ensured that these lines should not be too narrowly drawn and that the libertarian idealism of the early PD should not be lost in a welter of factional disputes and bureaucracy. Marx and Connolly were read and referred to, but not treated in the hushed reverence of holy ikons which is common, on the left. Even "good old Trotters" was spoken of with complete irreverence. Stalin occupied a place close to Sir Edward Carson, Sir James Craig, William of Orange and William Craig.

Throughout the spring and early summer of 1969, the PD continued its programme of politicising the civil rights movement, not only by its agitation on repressive legislation, but by attacks on those conservative elements in NICRA who tried to maintain that civil rights was non-political, and that jobs and housing had nothing to do with it.

A considerable advance in its political outlook occurred between February and Easter when the PD decided to have a march from Belfast to Dublin. This was significant on several counts. It represented a break with the constitutionalism of the election period. It was the first time since 1921 that anyone had attempted to break through the partition mentality which afflicted the Irish people - even the republicans to some extent. Above all it was an indication that the PD opposed the superficial but widespread belief among Catholics that all would be well if only the tricolour were flying over Belfast City Hall. It was an acceptance of the fact that the same problems existed in the "Free" State as existed in the Six Counties, and therefore an agreement with the oft-repeated Protestant allegation that life in the South was a vicious circle of low wages, unemployment, bad housing and emigration caused by low unemployment benefits, the lot compounded by the interference of the Roman Catholic Church in political life.

For these reasons the PD marched south, crossing the border displaying banned books - by Henry Miller and Edna O'Brien!! - in opposition to the South's censorship laws. The march whose route from Belfast to the border had been banned by the Unionist Government, had been swollen by large contingents of revolutionary socialists and anarchist comrades from Britain.

Organisationally, the march was poorly planned, and this led to some tensions and an occasional flaring temper. But politically the march was very important, insofar as it foreshadowed the absolute dominance of socialist thought within the PD. Not that there had been a "take-over" by the socialists from the liberal and uncommitted mass of the organisation, but rather that when confronted with the full range of social, political and economic problems which burgeoned in Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, the socialists - including the libertarian and anarchist groupings - were the only ones who had a coherent and rational analysis of the situation and who could propose solutions which coincided with the anti-bureaucratic outlook of the membership of the left, and to the point where they accepted as part of PD policy, the establishment of a 32-county Workers' and Small Farmers' Republic.

In the wider context, the political situation in Northern Ireland was hotting up. There was another armed police attack on the Bogside at the end of April during which the RUC broke into the home of Sammy Devenney, batoned his family and himself, inflicting injuries from which he died. Intermittent violence broke out in other areas, Dungiven, Coalisland, and the Ardoyne and Falls areas of Belfast, as the police used intimidatory attacks on the people, against demonstrations, or just out of bloody-mindedness.

On July 12 Orange marches were held, and the usual sectarian speeches made. Major Chichester-Clark, speaking at Moneymore made a violent attack on the People's Democracy in "making a full-time profession of protest". Serious rioting in Derry, Lugan, Dungiven, and Belfast. In Dungiven a man died of head injuries after a police baton charge.

On July 26 the PD planned to hold a march in Fermanagh to highlight the way in which the county was gerrymandered, the high unemployment and emigration from the area. The march and all meetings of the PD in Fermanagh were banned. On the day in question, before any meeting was held, individual members of PD, carrying placards, and walking down the street fifty yards apart were arrested. One of those arrested carried a blank placard. Shortly afterwards, a meeting and sit-down took place at which 53 people including women and children were arrested. At a special court held during that night the women and children were granted bail and the 37 men were remanded in custody.

The cumulative effect of all these incidents rendered inevitable the violence which erupted in Derry during the Apprentice Boys' march on August 12, and which quickly spread elsewhere, notably to Belfast, where police Shoreland armoured cars and Ferret scouts with heaving Browning machine guns led combined RUC, "B" Special and extremist Protestant attacks on the Catholic ghettoes of Falls, Ardoyne and Ballymacarrett. In Derry and Belfast these areas were barricaded off against such attacks and became known as Free Derry and Free Belfast.

These "free" areas were bought at great cost - the deaths of at least eight people, the destruction by petrol bombing of 500 working-class homes and the intimidation and eviction of at least another 1,000 families. Further it was bought at the cost of direct intervention by the British army.

The Barrel of whose Gun?

This created problems for the PD and the left in general. Balanced against their desire to see and end to people being shot down in the streets was their knowledge that in the long term the presence of the military could only make the situation worse. This was shown in leaflets which were issued in Derry and in Belfast. In Derry the opening sentence of the broadsheet stated, "The Arrival of British troops on the streets of Derry is a defeat for the RUC: but it is not a victory for us." [7] The Belfast leaflet asked: "Why have the British Government put troops into Northern Ireland?" and answered that the military were here "to hold the ring while Chichester-Clark tries to liberalise the Unionist Government", and explained how peace and reform in Northern Ireland was to the benefit of British capital at this time, just as sectarianism had been useful in the past.

The "troubles" of August 1969, also saw the end of PD policy of total non-violence, and the adoption of the philosophy of self defence. But while the main burden of defence fell on the republicans during the 13th, 14th and 15th, it was after that the PD came into a position of dominance, mainly due to its capacity for control and communications, propaganda and the media. Radio Free Belfast and Radio Free Derry were established and run mainly by PD. The main policy of the stations was to damp down sectarianism, attack the corruption of local Green and Orange politicians, and put forward a solution in terms of a united working-class combining to overthrow those who had manipulated them and set them at each other's throat. A daily newspaper, "Citizen Press", was put out in Belfast. "Barricade Bulletin", written mainly by Eamonn McCann, was put out in Derry. All these things were done in close co-operation with the local republicans until the ideological gurus were dispatched from Dublin HQ to lay down the "right line" to the local units. It seemed that the local people, in their eagerness to fight against the armed wing of the Unionist Government, had forgotten about the need to adhere closely to the stages theory of historical development. [8] Therefore their attempts to overthrow the reactionary Unionist regime were "adventurist", since they were missing out the very important stage of the "bourgeois revolution". So with the advent of Stalinist directives, the PD, finding its movement circumscribed, once again asserted its own independence by establishing its own newspaper - a weekly called "Free Citizen" - which is still running.

They also decided to break away from the Queen's University, to lose the student image and establish branches in various centres throughout Northern Ireland. In so doing, they transformed themselves from being a loose organised group into a political movement with a clearly defined political philosophy. In the 18 months since then they have proved not only their determination, dedication and staying power, but also they have had not forgotten the ideals which sustained the early PD; opposition to injustice, destruction of political privilege and the establishment of social conditions whereby people would be in a position to control their own lives and their own localities.

J. Quinn.


"Disturbances in Northern Ireland" (Cameron Report).
"Struggle in the North" by M. Farrell.
"The Great Eel Robbery" by M. Farrell
"Free Citizen"
"Northern Star"
"The Sins Of Our Fathers" by Owen Dudley Edwards.
"La Rumeur Irlandaise" by J.P. Carasso
"Burntollett" by Egan and McCormick


1. O'Neill's "Protestant Girl" ad appeared in the "Belfast Telegraph" in November, 1959.
2. Statistics from "Eye Witness in Northern Ireland" pamphlet by A. Corrigan, 1970


  Protestant Catholic
Population Ratio 60,521 73,395
County Surveyors Department 8 0
Clerical Staff 22 0
Engineering Department 15 3
Motor Taxation Department 11 0
County Library 22 1
County Hall, Rate Collectors and Clerks 10 0
Cleaning Staff 5 0
Superannuated Staff 17 2
Medical, Health and Welfare Officers 37 3
Nursing Officers and Health Visitors 17 11
Specialised Staff 6 1
Midwives and Reliefs 69 30
County Education Officers 69 1
TOTAL 300 52


  Protestant Catholic
Salaried Employees 45 3
Manual Workers 52 2
TOTAL 97 5

52% of the population is Catholic

  Protestant Catholic
TOTAL 338 32


  Protestant Catholic
TOTAL 289 11

3. Dungannon Rural District Council had one of the worst housing records in Northern Ireland, and its allocation of those houses was invariably discriminatory. However, they even then overreached themselves when they allocated a new three-bedroomed house to a 19-year-old unmarried girl. This at a time when many families in the area were living in hovels, or split up and living with in-laws. The fact that the girl allocated the house happened to be the secretary to solicitor Brian McRoberts, Unionist candidate for West Belfast was, of course, coincidental. A homeless family squatted in the house, Local MP, Currie, informed the media, and went along in time to be televised.

4. Derry March (October 5, 1968) against unemployment and bad housing. Those involved: Derry Housing Action Committee, Derry Unemployed Action Committee.

5. Government opposition to the Belfast/Derry march, Nathaniel Minford, junior member of the Cabinet, MP for Antrim, made several speeches in the two weeks preceding the march. At one he said: "This march is a conspiracy of anarchists and republicans whose clearly defined aim is the destruction of our Protestant heritage, our constitution and our country. They must not be permitted to trample on the rights of the majority. The must be opposed." The day before the march began he appealed to "Beezer" Porter, the Minister for Home Affairs, to cancel it, stating categorically that it had aroused much opposition in his constituency and he personally supported those loyalists who were prepared to make a stand anarchy. If the march was permitted to go ahead - "There would be bloodshed".

6. Vote at the Bannside election (February, 1969):- Capt. T. O'Neill 7,745 Rev. I. Paisley 6,331 M. Farrell 2,310 Poll: 78.7% Maj: 1,414 This was the first election that O'Neill had fought since entering parliament in 1948.

7. The "Derry Broadsheet" was turned out by various groups, mainly individual members of the Derry Labour Party, Cyril Toman and myself. "No Victory For Us" one was the first of these and was written by Eamonn McCann. The others came out daily and were duplicated sheets.

8. "Stages Theory" Well beloved by our CP brethren. It is basically a mechanistic application of the concept of historical development and progression, i.e., from feudalism, capitalism, socialism, anarchism. The CP and many republicans here believe that Marx stated that in general one has a bourgeois revolution, and therefore we must first fight for the establishment of a bourgeois state, and once that has been achieved, go on to struggle for socialism. We reject this entirely, considering that 1916 was the bourgeois revolution, culminating in the 1921 Treaty. In any case it is not our job to do the fighting on behalf of the bourgeoisie, to put them in power and then see them use that power to crush any libertarian movement which opposed them.

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