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Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

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  1. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Ireland’s United Left Alliance meets with EU-IMF-ECB “troika”

    I don't like this word "troika." It sounds a rather exotic and almost harmless word for a gang of genocidal criminals. And we should never forget that the IMF have promoted genocidal campaigns all over the world, from the murder of over one million Communists in Indonesia by the IMF backed Suharto régime, to the mass murders in Chile by the IMF backed Pinochet régime. I wonder if the Trots mentioned any of this when they sat down with this vermin.
  2. Ireland’s United Left Alliance meets with EU-IMF-ECB “troika” By Jordan Shilton 31 January 2012 The integration of Ireland’s pseudo-left groups into the political establishment was displayed this month, when representatives from the United Left Alliance (ULA) held discussions with the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The meeting with the notorious Troika, which is directing draconian austerity measures across Europe, came as the body made its latest visit to Ireland to oversee the €85 billion bailout extended to Dublin in November 2010. The ULA’s delegation to the meeting consisted of Richard Boyd-Barrett of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and Clair Daly of the Socialist Party (SP). They were joined by several independent members of parliament, who are courted by the ULA in its attempt to build alliances with sections of the ruling elite. Media commentators have been compelled to acknowledge that Ireland stands before a decade of austerity. The downgrade of leading euro zone member states, as well as the reduction of the credit rating of the EU’s bailout fund, has placed a serious question mark over the hope of some that Ireland could be supported by a second bailout after the current programme expires in 2013. All that the ULA could muster following its discussions with the representatives of the international financial elite was rhetorical bluster. Boyd Barrett asserted that he had “challenged” the Troika’s insistence on austerity measures, while Daly claimed to have “pointed out that the austerity policy of the past four years and the strike of private investment has destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs.” Catherine Murphy acts as the chief whip of the “technical group”—an alliance of the 5 ULA members and 11 independents in parliament. She stated that the meeting had been “useful”, as it had created the “ground rules” for future discussions. If that is the case, then the first ground rule established is that the Troika has nothing to fear from the ULA. They view it as a useful safety valve for popular opposition to the austerity policies of the major parties, and a potential future collaborator in government to defend the capitalist system against the working class. The Troika cynically advised the ULA members and independents to produce “evidence-based facts to back up arguments” for future discussions. Troika representatives will have taken note of the ULA’s collaboration with organisations and individuals openly hostile to working people. Both of its main campaigns—the call for a referendum on the recently agreed EU treaty, and the non-payment campaign opposing the newly introduced household tax of €100 per year—are being conducted with the aim of winning allies from Sinn Fein and Labour dissidents. The ULA’s role as a responsible opposition has won it praise within Ireland’s ruling elite. Boyd-Barrett was even included in a delegation of parliamentarians who visited the Bundestag for talks with German deputies on Thursday on budgetary policy in the coming years. He would have been in the company of the SWP’s and SP’s fellow thinkers, who are often leading members of Die Linke, the Left Party—an alliance of trade union bureaucrats, social democrats and Stalinists. Boyd-Barrett wants to follow in the footsteps of his German colleagues, who have been incorporated into the highest echelons of government. Christine Buchholz, for example, sits on the Defence Committee, which the Bundestag describes as a body that “always meets in closed session” and is charged with defending “the security of the country and of Germany’s allies, as well as the interests of Bundeswehr [armed forces] personnel on active service.” The value of the ULA was outlined in an Irish Times article. Harry McGee wrote that the alliance of the ULA with independents had a “cohesion that has given the two Opposition parties, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, a run for their money.” McGee dismissed any claims that the group represented a radical alternative to the current set-up. The technical group is a “disparate one, comprising some deputies who would be considered hard left to those who are centre right,” he explained. The founding of the Alliance took place in line with the need of the discredited Irish bourgeoisie for a respectable opposition, wedded above all to the trade union bureaucracy, to prevent the emergence of a revolutionary challenge to the capitalist system. It took place as the former Fianna Fáil-Green party government ironed out the final details of the current bailout at the end of 2010. Against the backdrop of the threat of state bankruptcy and the demands of the EU and IMF for the most vicious austerity programme in Irish history, the ULA was given extensive media coverage to promote the unions as the only means through which workers can conduct their struggles. With the arrival of the Troika, Boyd-Barrett issued a January 10 statement urging workers to “force our leaders to reverse the sequence of errors they have been making”. The “errors” to which he is referring, include the public sector unions’ agreement to a three-year pay freeze as part of the trade unions complicity in government austerity. The ULA has no intention of fighting for the bringing down of the Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition, let alone mounting a challenge to Irish capitalism. In its recent pre-budget submission, the ULA made no mention of Ireland’s infamously low 12.5 percent corporation tax levels and instead called for increased investment in jobs. Its solution to the current crisis was to achieve “real economic activity”—a vague formulation that is entirely compatible with the occasional appeals by the trade union leaders and others for a more industry-based economy. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jan2012/irel-j31.shtml
  3. Right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says study Children with low intelligence grow up to be prejudiced Right-wing views make the less intelligent feel 'safe' Analysis of more than 15,000 people By Rob Waugh Last updated at 8:21 PM on 2nd February 2012 Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study. Conservative politics work almost as a 'gateway' into prejudice against others, say the Canadian academics. The paper analysed large UK studies which compared childhood intelligence with political views in adulthood across more than 15,000 people. The authors claim that people with low intelligence gravitate towards right-wing views because they make them feel safe. The survey, which compared childhood intelligence with political views, is bad news for David Cameron, the Conservative Party Prime Minister but should give a lift to Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, pictured in Question Time today Crucially, people's educational level is not what determines whether they are racist or not - it's innate intelligence, according to the academics. Social status also appears to play no part. The study, published in Psychological Science, claims that right-wing ideology forms a 'pathway' for people with low reasoning ability to become prejudiced against groups such as other races and gay people. 'Cognitive abilities are critical in forming impressions of other people and in being open minded,' say the researchers. 'Individuals with lower cognitive abilities may gravitate towards more socially conservative right-wing ideologies that maintain the status quo. 'It provides a sense of order.' The study used information from two UK studies from 1958 and 1970 , where several thousand children were assessed for intelligence at age 10 and 11, and then asked political questions aged 33. The 1958 National Child Development involved 4,267 men and 4,537 women born in 1958. More... As scientists discover how to 'translate' brainwaves into words... Could a machine read your innermost thoughts? 'Individuals with lower abilities may gravitate towards right-wing ideologies that maintain the status quo. It provides a sense of order,' say the academics The British Cohort Study involved 3,412 men and 3,658 women born in 1970. It's the first time the data from these studies has been used in this way. In adulthood, the children were asked whether they agreed with statements such as, 'I wouldn't mind working with people from other races,' and 'I wouldn't mind if a family of a different race moved next door.' They were also asked whether they agreed with statements about typically right-wing and socially conservative politics such as, 'Give law breakers stiffer sentences,' and 'Schools should teach children to obey authority.' The researchers also compared their results against a 1986 American study which included tests of cognitive ability and questions assessing prejudice against homosexuals. The authors claim that there is a strong correlation between low intelligence both as a child and an adult, and right-wing politics. The authors also claim that conservative politics is part of a complex relationship that leads people to become prejudices. 'Conservative ideology represents a critical pathway through which childhood intelligence predicts racism in adulthood,' says the paper. 'In psychological terms, the relation between intelligence and prejudice may stem from the propensity of individuals with lower cognitive ability to endorse more right wing conservative ideologies because such ideologies offer a psychological sense of stability and order.' 'Clearly, however, all socially conservative people are not prejudiced, and all prejudiced persons are not conservative.' Read more: http://www.dailymail...l#ixzz1lHJhA79G
  4. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    USA: The Crisis of Capitalism by the Numbers

    September 4, 2011
  5. International Marxist Tendency USA: The Crisis of Capitalism by the Numbers Written by Socialist Appeal USA Thursday, 02 February 2012 We republish here a graph that was originally published in the New York Times, based on figures from “The State of Working America” by the Economic Policy Institute. It covers the period from 1913 to the present, with a focus on the period after 1947. This is significant because 1947 can be considered the starting point of the post-Word War II economic boom, a period during which the capitalists were extracting so much profit from the workers that they were able to throw them a few extra crumbs. The mass workers’ movements in the 1930s and the strengthening of the unions after the war had taught them a few lessons about how to try to maintain relative class peace. [open graph in new window/tab] But the “good times” ended with the 1973–75 recession. Capitalism was able to limp along for a time with the help of a massive expansion of credit and the Information Technology and housing booms (and busts). But as the Marxists have always explained, credit is a very precarious foundation on which to build an economy. By 2007 and 2008, it was clear that the fictitious “prosperity” was hanging by a thread. As this chart clearly shows, starting around 1980, worker productivity skyrocketed. But the share going to those who actually produce the wealth stagnated. Profits went way up, and so did income and wealth inequality. Today, with millions unemployed, fewer workers are creating more wealth than ever—for lower wages, in real terms, than in the 1970s. This is an absurd situation. This is not socialist “propaganda.” The numbers speak for themselves. More importantly, millions are learning about the reality of life under capitalism, not from numbers, but from bitter experience. No wonder the youth and workers have started to rise up in the U.S. and around the world. If the capitalist economy were rational, this increased productivity would be translated into more take-home pay, a reduction of the workweek, and an end to unemployment. All the work that society needs doing could be divided up rationally and everyone would be paid a living wage. Some of the surplus wealth could be invested in improving schools, housing, public transportation and infrastructure, to provide universal health care and education, and to research renewable energy and cures for diseases like AIDS and cancer. But capitalism is based on the anarchy of the market and the blind scramble for profits. The capitalists have been pocketing super-profits for decades now, and are not about to give that up without a fight. This is why the only answer the capitalists and their political parties put forward is that the working class must bear the brunt of this crisis. In their relentless quest for more, they put the futures of literally billions of people at risk. We think there is another, more rational, humane, and democratic way: socialism. Graphic credits: Bill Marsh/The New York Times. Sources: Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley; “The State of Working America” by the Economic Policy Institute; Thomas Piketty, Paris School of Economics, and Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley; Census Bureau; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Federal Reserve
  6. Obama publicly embraces drone killings 2 February 2012 President Obama on Monday issued a public defense of the murderous drone campaign that the US began against Pakistan in 2004 and sharply escalated after he entered the White House. The US government has generally maintained a policy of not commenting on the drone attacks. They are directed by the CIA and are considered to be covert operations, despite the fact that the Pakistani people have no doubts about who is raining death upon them, and details of the campaign have been widely reported in the press. Administration officials dismissed expressions of concern that Obama’s public comments represented a security breach and insisted that it was no unintentional slip-up by the president. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that Obama sought a forum to publicly embrace the drone killings. The Google-sponsored “online town hall” where he made his remarks reportedly received some 130,000 questions from the public out of which just six, including the one on the drone attacks, were selected. “I want to make sure people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” Obama said in response to the question. “For the most part, they’ve been very precise, precision strikes against al-Qaeda and their affiliates.” He added, “This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists, who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases and so on.” The killings were “judicious,” Obama argued, and the ability to execute a “pinpoint strike” furthered “respect [for] the sovereignty of other countries.” The president’s response was constructed entirely out of lies and distortions. The reality is that in Pakistan, a country with which the US is not at war, the unmanned Predator drones have killed nearly 2,700 people. A recent study prepared by the Brookings Institution concluded that, far from the precision assassinations portrayed by Obama, the strikes have claimed the lives of 10 civilians for every armed combatant. In other words, thousands of impoverished Pakistani villagers, men, women and children alike, have been slaughtered in this sinister form of remote-control warfare. A more conservative estimate released by the London-based non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism last August counted—based on confirmed media reports—168 children slain in drone attacks. No “huge number” for Obama. The claim that the CIA is targeting Al-Qaeda operatives bent on attacking US targets is just another example of Washington invoking a purported terrorist threat to terrorize the American people into accepting criminal aggression. The vast majority of the “militants” killed in the drone campaign are rank-and-file fighters bent not on attacking targets in the US, but rather driving the US occupation army out of neighboring Afghanistan. Why did Obama go public with his defense of this killing campaign? It may have provided a means of exerting further pressure on the Pakistani government. Islamabad has been complicit in the attacks, only recently denying the CIA permission to launch drones from the country’s air bases because of a series of US provocations and the visceral hostility of the Pakistani people. On a more fundamental level, however, Obama’s remarks are intended for domestic consumption. It is part of a broader move by the administration to publicly endorse and thereby justify and normalize the criminal actions carried out by the US military-intelligence apparatus. Last December, Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, enshrining in US law the illegal, extra-constitutional practice of condemning to indefinite military detention both citizens and non-citizens alike, without charges or trials and on the sole say-so of the White House. Newsweek’s Daniel Klaidman reported last week that the Obama administration is planning to have Attorney General Eric Holder deliver a speech advancing the pseudo-legal rationale for the drone missile assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born US citizen killed last September in Yemen. This will entail the public assertion of the president’s power to order the extrajudicial execution of American citizens, without providing any evidence, much less proving it in a court of law. With all of these actions, the Obama administration is erecting the institutional framework of a police state. He does so without fear of alienating his real “base”—Wall Street, the military-intelligence complex and sections of the affluent middle class, which once postured as liberals or even “lefts,” but are now prepared to accept reactionary and repressive measures that go far beyond those carried out even by the Bush administration. The political shift by this layer is bound up with the unprecedented social gulf separating them from the overwhelming majority of working people and the growing signs of a resurgence of class struggle. The defense of democratic rights and the struggle against war are today inseparably bound up with the struggle for social equality. They can be carried forward only through the independent political mobilization of the working class on the basis of a socialist program. Bill Van Auken http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/feb2012/pers-f02.shtml
  7. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    The Century of the Self

    Some very deep insights into the structure of the society we live in today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyPzGUsYyKM&feature=player_embedded
  8. A website has now been launched in conjunction with the campaign to secure the release of Political Hostage Martin Corey, it can be found at: http://www.releasemartincorey.com/ There is a petition to sign on the website and would thank you in advance if you could sign it, The website will be updated regularly and you will find an up to date list of protests and events
  9. Tepco Drills a Hole in Fukushima Reactor … Finds that Nuclear Fuel Has Gone Missing Posted on January 19, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog Cold Shutdown … or Escape of Hot Fuel? I noted last month in connection with Tepco’s announcement of “cold shutdown” of the Fukushima reactors: If the reactors are “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out. *** The New York Times pointed out last month: A former nuclear engineer with three decades of experience at a major engineering firm … who has worked at all three nuclear power complexes operated by Tokyo Electric [said] “If the fuel is still inside the reactor core, that’s one thing” …. But if the fuel has been dispersed more widely, then we are far from any stable shutdown.” Indeed, if the center of the reactors are in fact relatively “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out of the containment vessels and escaped into areas where it can do damage to the environment. After drilling a hole in the containment vessel of Fukushima reactor 2, Tepco cannot find the fuel. As AP notes: The steam-blurred photos taken by remote control Thursday found none of the reactor’s melted fuel …. The photos also showed inner wall of the container heavily deteriorated after 10 months of exposure to high temperature and humidity, Matsumoto said. TEPCO workers inserted the endoscope — an industrial version of the kind of endoscope doctors use — through a hole in the beaker-shaped container at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant’s No. 2 reactor …. The probe failed to find the water surface, which indicate the water sits at lower-than-expected levels inside the primary containment vessel and questions the accuracy of the current water monitors, Matsumoto said.[/indent] And while cold shutdown means that the water inside the reactors is below the boiling point, CNN reports: Massive steam and water drops made it difficult to get a clear vision…. Given that steam forms when water boils, this is an indication that the reactor is not in cold shutdown. Asahi Shimbun reports: Tadahiro Katsuta, associate professor of nuclear engineering at Meiji University, said: “While an inside look was provided much sooner than I expected, it is still too early to rest assured. The water level is lower than estimated, so there is the possibility that the melted fuel that fell to the bottom of the vessel is not being adequately covered by water.” The Daily Yomiuri notes that even Tepco has gone from 100% confident that water was covering the fuel to saying it is “quite unlikely” that there is any problem: Drops of water fall like rain in the video, which was shot using an industrial endoscope. The drops were apparently the result of vapor–created by the heat from melted nuclear fuel–that cooled inside the upper part of the reactor containment vessel. *** “It’s quite unlikely nuclear fuel was exposed, as liquid from condensation is dripping down,” a TEPCO official said. Mainchi points out that reactors 1 and 3 are probably in no better shape: The fuel inside the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors is believed to have melted through the pressure vessels and been accumulating in the outer primary containers after the Fukushima plant lost its key functions to cool the reactors in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year.
  10. ANALYSING THE IRA's ARMED CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BRITISH NEO-COLONIALIST INFRASTRUCTURE Sabotage! The Origins, Development and Impact of the IRA's Infrastructural Bombing Campaigns 1939-1997 Author: Tony Craig Published in: Intelligence and National Security, Volume 25, Issue 3 June 2010 [Thanks Afro-Asia Report] http://sonsofmalcolm...earch/label/IRA Abstract At various moments in the twentieth century the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in its various incarnations have used the tactic of infrastructural bombing, notably in their 1939 attacks in England on electricity pylons and in the summer of 1971 in Northern Ireland on its electrical distribution network. In 1996 the British Security Service (MI5) foiled an attack by the IRA aimed at causing a total electrical blackout of the greater London area, a plan that would have seen major disruption in the capital for many weeks or months. Using recently declassified material this paper seeks to re-evaluate the impact of these IRA infrastructural sabotage campaigns that have until now either been ignored or judged to have been derisory or incongruous failures. This paper demonstrates the historical development of this tactic from both the IRA's perspective, and that of those who were tasked with hindering it, highlighting the devastating potential of such tactics in the future. While the Irish Republican Army (IRA) used attacks on electricity distribution infrastructure throughout the Northern Ireland Troubles, two particular examples will be highlighted in this paper. The first, a short campaign in the summer of 1971 against the 275kw main lines that circled the province almost completely cut Belfast's electricity supply. A second, in 1996, was an attempt by the IRA to do a similar job in London, cutting the lines at key points around the M25 that, had it not been foiled, would have had a profound and crippling effect on the capital's electricity supply for many weeks. The attacks would have followed a series of high-profile attacks on Britain that had included the massive 10 February Docklands bomb (that had ended the IRA's 1994 ceasefire) and the 15 June Manchester city centre truck-bomb attack on the Arndale centre. However, just as 1996 did not mark the first time that the IRA had attempted to move its bombing campaign to Britain, so too was it not the first time that Irish Republicans had attempted to attack the electricity infrastructure in an attempt to damage confidence and instil public antagonism against its government. An IRA bombing campaign that ran throughout 1939 had begun with attempts to do just this as well, and, as in 1996, to do so without large amounts of bloodshed. The 1939 campaign has of course largely been forgotten due to the impact of the Luftwaffe's follow-up after 1940. However, it was a serious attempt by a terrorist organization to achieve their political ambitions through the tactical use of violence. This is not always apparent in the literature and, while the failed 1996 attempts were, at the time, eulogized by the British press for their professionalism,1 this is curiously not usually the case with the 1939 campaign. The S-Plan and the 1939 England Campaign Friday, in the evening, the landlady shouted up the stairs: 'Oh my God, oh Jesus, oh Sacred Heart, Boy, there's two gentlemen to see you.' I knew by the screeches of her that these gentlemen were not calling to enquire about my health, or to know if I'd had a good trip. I grabbed my suitcase, containing Pot. Chlorate, Sulph Ac, gelignite, detonators, electrical and ignition, and the rest of my Sinn Feacutein conjuror's outfit, and carried it to the window. Then the gentlemen arrived. A young one, with a blonde, Herrenvolk head and a BBC accent shouted, 'I say, greb him, the bestud.'2 The opening lines of Brendan Behan's Borstal Boy have, since the 1950s, coloured views toward the IRA's 1939 bombing campaign in Britain. Carried out by young, idealistic, though hopelessly inept volunteers with little training and no backup, once they left Ireland they were easy prey for the British police and arrested - in Behan's case - within hours of getting off the boat. Leaving Behan aside, however, the statistics of the 1939 campaign are quite startling by today's standards. There were 61 separate bombing incidents in England in the first four months of 1939, and over 150 that year - equating to a bomb in or around a major British city every other day in 1939.3 Despite the intensity of the 1939 campaign few historians have given it more than a cursory glance. Richard English gave 1939 less than three pages4 and Eunan O'Halpin's recent work5 devotes even less than this to a topic that cannot have failed to have fuelled British animosity toward Ireland in the early war years. Only Paul McMahon, in his recent work6 has provided a worthy historical analysis of the documents now available from 1939, however he does so exclusively from the point of view of British Intelligence and their burgeoning cooperation with their new Irish equivalents immediately before the war, neither of which, McMahon admits, had more than a very limited role with regard to the IRA in 1939. The 1939 campaign was, however, important for its own reasons. First, it demonstrated that violent Irish republicanism had not gone away and remained focused on pushing Britain toward a full political and military withdrawal from Ireland. Second, they showed that they were prepared to consider new tactics and strategies for the fulfilment of their unchanged aim. Third, they specifically set out to avoid gratuitous collateral damage to civilian life and lives, and expressed an aversion to this both in Britain and Ireland (though this aspiration itself was to be challenged on the very first day of the campaign when attacks in Manchester resulted in the death of one man, killed after a bomb exploded inside a manhole on Princess Street).7 While Behan's portrayal of his young self may or may not be characteristic of the IRA's 1939 volunteers, certainly in Borstal Boy he correctly portrays the attitude engendered in the British public as a result of the IRA's campaign: Outside as we got in the car, a few people shouted: 'String the bastard up. Fughing Irish shit-'ouse.' It was an Orange district, but I think some of them were Liverpool-Irish, trying to prove their solidarity with the loyal stock.8 The planning for the campaign Behan, and hundreds of others, took part in began in the autumn of 1938. As Neville Chamberlain met Adolf Hitler in Munich, the IRA's Seamus O'Donovan began work on a plan to attack Britain - and specifically England - using a formulated and measured form of terrorism he described as the 'S-Plan'. Short for Sabotage, the S-Plan foresaw a campaign of Terrorism with a small 't', foregoing public violence and bloodshed, by deliberately attacking targets the public would neither see nor hear but all the same would affect their everyday lives in a way that would attune them better to the propaganda efforts essential to the success of the campaign. The bombings were initially to be timed to coincide with the renewed fear of war with Germany, and the Chamberlain government's perceived weakness toward Ireland (having just returned the Treaty Ports of Cobh, Berehaven and Lough Swilly to the Irish 'Free State'9 government). O'Donovan's S-plan had the support of the IRA's Chief of Staff, Sean Russell, and the head of the US based fund raising group Clan na Gael, Sean McGarrity10 and in November of 1938 the IRA began recalling activists based in England for training in Ireland with a view to beginning in the following month. O'Donovan took charge of the training as well, holding sessions at Killiney Castle, in an affluent suburb of Dublin. In fact, O'Donovan was the perfect originator of the S-Plan; he was a trained industrial chemist and had served as Michael Collins' 'Director of Chemicals' (i.e. explosives) in the War of Independence.11 After the Civil War he had joined the Irish Free State's Electricity Supply Board, and had spent more than 10 years working for the rural electrification of the country as a civil engineer.12 This experience gave O'Donovan insight into many different types of engineering, and his papers include instructions on how to disable locomotive engines and destroy bridges without the use of explosives.13 O'Donovan was also in contact with Nazi Germany, and met with the Abwehr on three occasions in 1939. In 1940 O'Donovan was to aid among others the German agent Ernst Weber-Drohl before being interned by the Irish government in 1941. O'Donovan's real contribution however was his insight into the disruptive effect damage to electricity distribution lines would have on England's cities. O'Donovan believed that Northern Ireland could be reunited with the South if public opinion in England alone could be changed. O'Donovan wrote: The issue is complete national independence … which must be fought out between the IRA, representing the Irish Nation, and the British. This effort must have the dignity of a National Struggle and must not allow itself to be reduced to a local squabble as between the IRA and the Free State Government or between the IRA and the Northern Government, for the control of either part of the country … Civil War must be avoided at all costs.14 O'Donovan's S-Plan thus represented a working-out of the means with which the Britain could be attacked without the need for the establishment of vulnerable supply lines from Ireland. In papers marked, 'IRA Aims' O'Donovan made it clear that IRA units, once present, would be left on their own to carry out their missions, 'There will be no transport of materials from this country to England.'15 Thus the targets in the plan were restricted to the public infrastructure surrounding the cities of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. Most specifically electricity pylons, telegraph and telephone cables, post boxes and government offices, the object was to make life uncomfortable, to inconvenience ordinary people with the bombing campaign, while at the same time, dazzling them with a parallel propaganda campaign. The S-Plan ruled out attacks against vulnerable public amenities such as water and gas - specifically the pollution of public water supplies were ruled out because, 'apart altogether from ethical considerations, the Hague Convention representing civilized international opinion and agreement condemns all such actions and we should be doing Ireland and our cause infinite harm by adopting any such means.'16 This principal applied generally to moving trains, where sabotage could take place at night, or at electrical junction boxes.17 The S-Plan categorically stated that rolling passenger trains themselves would also not be targeted. The campaign was delayed however by the death of the IRA's Officer Commanding England - killed by his own bomb at a border post on the Tyrone-Donegal border18 and, while McGarrity in New York declared that the first bombs had exploded in December 1938, in fact it took until 12 January 1939 for the ultimatum signalling the start of actions to be sent to the Home Secretary and the bombing did not begin until the 16 January. Within three days, 14 separate attacks had been made against power stations, pylons and cables in and around London, Manchester and Birmingham. The police response was swift and measured. Metropolitan Police Special Branch (the Met) called for the immediate arrest of the usual suspects. This was followed by the successful conviction of 18 in London, 10 in Manchester and three in Birmingham in the two weeks following the initial explosions.19 These arrests represented 40% of IRA members in these cities and 25% of the total number of IRA members resident in Britain at the time; certainly a satisfactory figure for a short month's work.20 With these arrests came a copy of the S-Plan itself and the Home Office informed all the public utility companies of the situation and advised them to upgrade their security. With these two measures the IRA were forced to diversify their tactics prematurely. They had not caused the severe disruption to the electricity supplies of any city targeted and began instead targeting tube stations, canals, post offices, bridges and telephone inspection boxes. With their resident IRA groups gone, the volunteers being sent from Ireland had no opportunities to store or stockpile materials and often used contacts they met within the Irish community itself, or took risks and stored their explosives in their own digs and bed-sits, much of which was quickly sniffed out by the keen-noses of England's landladies. The tactical sprawl enforced by the sudden clampdown by the Met meant that the IRA campaign could no longer have any coherent effect. And, while in April a conference of Chief Constables, sought additional powers of arrest and detention from the Home Office, by this stage the campaign had already become little more than one of petty vandalism and arson. In March, noting the lack of attacks made against armaments firms and the armed forces Vernon Kell of MI5 refused to be drawn into investigating 'these gangsters', noting that the Security Service 'has had nothing whatever to do with this illegal organisation for over twenty years.'21 The campaign continued intermittently however throughout the summer of 1939 and in August a bicycle carrying a bomb exploded in Birmingham killing five bystanders. The arrest, conviction and execution of two men linked with the bomb's manufacture aroused ill-feeling in Ireland and among the Irish in the United States. Clan na Gael used the Sacco and Vanzetti model of protest in their attempts to save Peter Barnes and James McCormack22 and Time magazine even covered their execution.23 While this created something of a breeze of publicity for the IRA in early 1940, the world's attention had at this stage moved onto bigger things. The Birmingham bomb was an exceptional case, and most incidents after March 1939 involved the use of small incendiaries against post boxes and the release of tear-gas in cinemas.24 The campaign ended in early 1940 when two bombs exploded on London's Oxford Street, injuring more than 20 bystanders. Arguably these two bombs - the last of the S-Plan campaign were designed only as protests against the executions of Barnes and McCormack. Upon hearing the explosions while drinking in a bar on Edgware Road two former members of the Irish police had shouted 'Up the IRA! and 'Up the Republic!' and were quickly arrested.25 Until now, historians have been content to conclude that the 1939 England campaign was yet another example of the Fenian activist tradition that has periodically bubbled to the surface since 1798.26 This, and the fact that the campaign was an unmitigated disaster for the IRA. Both of these arguments are correct in their conceptions. A republican lineage can be drawn from the 1939 campaign back to 1916 as well forward to the Provisional IRA of the early 1970s. So too can O'Donovan's own judgment that the campaign 'brought nothing but harm to Ireland and the IRA'27 be justified by the losses of man-power and momentum caused by so many IRA volunteers being imprisoned in both British and Irish jails during the Second World War - a direct result of the bombing campaign. One can even go further, however, and say that the campaign, while easily mopped up by the British police, still resulted in the cornerstone of British counter-terrorist legislation in the June 1939 Prevention of Violence Act introduced by Home Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare.28 This Act, though it was to expire in 1953, was the direct ancestor of the 1973 Prevention of Terrorism Act and arguably all proceeding counter-terror legislation in the UK, thus it had a major impact on how Britain has dealt with terrorism right up to the present day. Certainly the British government did not, at the time, treat the 1939 campaign with the same lack of interest as historians now. Significant steps were taken by the British in this time to improve security around perceived IRA targets and, beside the warnings given to the electricity companies, guards were reinforced around Downing Street and Chequers.29 At Westminster, all the public galleries were closed by the Speaker despite being informed that, 'orders had been issued to these terrorists to avoid taking of human life.'30 A final outcome of the 1939 campaign was in the British public's perception of the Irish in Britain, illustrated earlier by Brendan Behan (who was arrested in the weeks following the Birmingham bomb). It seems that, by veering off O'Donovan's original primary targets and moving on instead to targets of opportunity like left-luggage offices, tube stations or cinemas, the campaign began to have exactly the opposite effect desired, bringing to the fore again old anti-Irish and anti-Catholic feeling in parts of England that had not died out. In fact, British anti-Irish prejudice was far more commonplace than one might assume; in a children's book of poems published in 1925 for example was still the verse: The Irish child can dance a jig, And share its pillow with a pig, And where we ask for pie or meat, The pratie he is glad to eat.31 Immediately following the start of the 1939 campaign there was a resurgence of supposed Catholic oaths as evidence of conspiracy. One contemporary note of a 'Hiberian [sic] Oath founded by Rory O'Moore 1565'32 was typically worded; 'I will wade knee-deep in Orangemen's blood, and do as King James did'33 and vowing 'I will think it no sin to kill and massacre a Protestant whenever the opportunity serves.'34 This particular publication met with the Home Secretary's personal response in the midst of the S-Plan campaign that, 'As a matter of fact I had seen it before. It has been circulated on various occasions in recent years.'35 The destruction and deaths being caused by the IRA in Britain was not going to be conducive to ending Partition in the way O'Donovan had planned so long as British opinion continued to view Irish Republicanism as Catholic conspiracy. Thus we can see that O'Donovan's S-plan was not the plan that was carried out in England in 1939, and the main focus of the plan - electrical infrastructure -was abandoned due to the arrest of key figures early in the campaign. The first wave of attacks had not caused the major blackouts and industrial disruption they had set out to achieve, was indeed met with a swift and devastating response by Special Branch that was disheartening for those who remained, and thus forced a premature re-think as to the S-Plan's effectiveness. Recent research has pointed out that 'The IRA's British units did not refer to the S-Plan, rather they improvised with the available explosives and lowered their sights accordingly … it did not create a situation that would force the British to negotiate'.36 This aspect is not apparent in some of the older literature dealing with the 1939 campaign that, as recently as 1970, believed the main primary targets to be 'obvious military targets, communications centres, BBC transmitters, aerodromes, bridges and military installations'37 and has led to some confusion over the objectives of the S-Plan in the first place. Richard English, for example remarked 'it is unclear precisely how the IRA anticipated that it would produce the desired result.'38 In fact the plan was far more subtle than Coogan suggested back in 1970. O'Donovan had planned to disengage the people and the economy from the government temporarily in order to allow the propaganda message to get through. The government, losing its hold over its own people would quickly move to negotiate directly with the IRA rather than be embarrassed further. Propaganda would be used in combination with infrastructural bombing (and later some general mayhem) to force Britain to cancel its union with Northern Ireland by force, not of arms, but by removing its ability to govern effectively. But still, the assumption was that Britain's hand could be forced through the use of coercive violence in Britain - and of course this was also a plan that would fail for the Luftwaffe too in little over a year's time. This may have been a tall order, but in many instances the basic assumptions were correct. However, there was no propaganda campaign in Britain aimed at educating the British public as to the goals of the IRA's campaign (even had they been prepared to listen), and Sean Russell left Ireland for the United States in April where his attempted disruption of King George VI's visit earned him a spell in US custody before he travelled to Germany via Italy in 1940 to seek the assistance of the Nazis (he died in July 1941 on a German U-Boat on its way to Galway). Russell, therefore, was not playing the S-Plan out in any way close to what O'Donovan (who had himself visited Nazi Germany) had made clear. Though this would not be the last time that the IRA would try out this tactic and, when used again with the right balance of other forms of disorder, infrastructural bombing could bring a government quite quickly to a state of breakdown. Northern Ireland 1971 The IRA split in December 1969 created two different factions with very different ideas as to the types of operations an IRA should perform. While the 'Officials', became a primarily defensive force, the 'Provisionals' under RuairiacuteOacute Braacutedaigh, sought to go on the offensive as quickly as possible and use attacks against British forces that now included the British Army, to demonstrate the colonial position of Northern Ireland. This tactic, the Provisionals hoped, would snowball their support base, forcing the British Army to identify the Provisional IRA (PIRA) as their primary enemy and move them away from operations designed to keep Protestants and Catholics apart and into a counter-productive, counter-insurgency mode.39 The problem was that it had been the Provisionals and not the Officials who had been the splinter group in late 1969 and the unevenness of the split meant that most of what remained of the guns, experience and know-how remained on the side of the Officials and, as the Provisionals were predominantly a Northern movement, on the wrong side of the border. Thus, as northern Provisionals in early 1970 lacked manpower, expertise and arms, they were forced to improvise with tactics and materials very early on. Sniper attacks and erratic fire from Thompson guns on British troops became the hallmark of the early Provisional IRA and it took them over a year and 100 such attacks to kill their first British soldier.40 But these public attacks masked the training in bomb making that was going on behind the scenes, and a reversion to the type of infrastructural bombing seen in the 1939 S-Plan. Arguably it was loyalists and not republicans who fired the first shots of the infrastructural campaign in the early Troubles. In April 1969 the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) temporarily crippled Belfast's water supply and the ensuing political fall-out resulted in the resignation of Terence O'Neill as Northern Ireland Prime Minister. It was not, however, apparent at the time that these attacks had come from loyalists rather than republicans and, while tactically well executed, they were one-off operations and not part of a concerted campaign (which arguably came later with the largely successful Ulster Workers' Council Strike of 1974). The Provisional IRA soon followed the UVF's tactics, initially bombing electricity pylons sporadically in late 1969 and then stopping quite quickly and moving onto other targets of perceived higher political value, burning public buildings, shops, etc and keeping the security forces spread out. With a mounting campaign the IRA returned to infrastructural bombing in the summer of 1971 and within weeks had virtually crippled Northern Ireland's electricity supply in an offensive that continued despite the introduction of internment without trial on 8 August 1971. Historians have thus far failed to describe the attacks on Northern Ireland's electricity infrastructure in the summer of 1971 as a concerted campaign.41 Indeed, excepting the statistical data, histories of this time mostly ignore this aspect of the early Troubles, preferring to deal with the urban guerrilla war that made headlines at the time and breaking the IRA's actions into two parts - against urban military and urban economic targets.42 Richard English's work on the IRA, for example when dealing with 1971, focuses mostly on the seething rage felt by many young Catholics that drove them into the Provisionals and in turn drove the Provisionals to become more fiercely anti-Army.43Bishop and Mallie, while they mention an explosion at a substation which killed the man planting the bomb,44 make no attempt to highlight the idea that this might have been part of any concerted or separate sphere of IRA action. Even Thomas Hennessey's otherwise comprehensive new work on The Evolution of the Troubles makes note only of a bomb in early 1970 outside the Belfast Corporation Electricity Club (one the PIRA's first ever bombs) and an April 1971 callous attack on the Electricity Board's head office in Belfast, which injured many young female office staff.45 However, attacks on infrastructure were neither the classic military or economic targets (typified by fire-bombs in city centre shops and businesses which were designed to take security force pressure away from Catholic areas). Infrastructural attacks had both different modus operandi (using high-explosives as opposed to incendiaries) as well as a different operational goal - to further undermine the Northern Ireland government. Thus Ed Moloney also misses out on any reference to a 1971 infrastructural campaign when he writes, 'the targets were not just military and police bases but increasingly included government and commercial premises.'46 Infrastructural attacks were key as well - as, by the summer of 1971 - this was one of the only areas that the Stormont government continued to act without British interference.47 The fact that no mention is made in any recent research to attacks made against electricity pylons or substations in the weeks before or after internment, is astonishing considering the impact these attacks had on Northern Ireland government thinking at the time. From May to November 1971 there were at least 13 successful attacks on the main electricity distribution system of Northern Ireland. Reports of pylon and transformer attacks are made in The Times on 21 May, 19 June, 13 July, 1 August, 13 September and 7 November, the Northern Ireland government mention additional attacks in June 1971 at Hannahstown and one south of the border severing the North-South interconnector in July. Additionally, on 8 August the IRA managed to cripple Ballylumford's B-station, crucial to Belfast's electricity supply, particularly when faced with attacks being made to the main distribution lines south that linked Belfast to the province's only other major power station at Coolkeeragh and the, already damaged, North-South interconnector. Though most of these attacks failed to make any headlines, the Northern Ireland government nevertheless took them very seriously. A Ministry of Commerce memo for the Cabinet commented, 'While the Ballylumford B station remains out of service the whole electricity system of NI is at very serious risk.'48 On 23 August, there was the attack on the electricity board's headquarters, on 29 August, in another calculated attack, unreported in the British press, the IRA cut the three lines between Ballylumford A and Belfast; this was followed by an attack on the main Coolkeeragh line through Co Tyrone as well as other attacks on spur lines in the south of the Province. For the Northern Ireland Government the repercussions were very serious. The Minister A.C. Brooke: We are in a position that any further sabotage could break the integrated electricity system and we should be dependent on the engineers to get power from whatever generating stations through whatever lines are available. … we may find ourselves at any time having to make power cuts. We may also have to consider whether we should be ready to declare a state of emergency.49 [image deleted] The IRA seemed not to have realized how close they had come to crippling the Northern Ireland government, and after early September, the attacks subsided quite dramatically. Such was the knife edge on which supply was now balanced it was estimated that just a few more cuts in the supply lines would have cut off the entire eastern area of the province for between an estimated two and 14 days.50 For Sir Ken Bloomfield, Assistant Cabinet Secretary at the time in Stormont, 'it was rather to our surprise that the thing died out. It was almost as if it had been the brain child of somebody or another and that somebody disappeared from the scene.'51 In fact, it is not certain why the IRA ceased their attacks - whether through arrest, or an inability to determine exactly how close these tactics were bringing them to their initial goal of bringing down Stormont by creating 'the perception of chaos and ungovernability.'52 Certainly, command structures within the Provisional IRA in 1971 were more fluid than they were later and it was still then possible for the campaign to have been conducted without the explicit backing of the Army Council. Thus, when one or more of the middle-ranking leaders were arrested, the entire project collapsed. Of course all this took place within the context of the introduction of Internment, which must have played a key role. Introduced on 8 August 1971, Internment resulted in a massive increase in republican activity on all fronts as a knee-jerk, guttural reaction to the perceived repression of Catholics, and arguably this short campaign was deemed to be a part of this. The Northern Ireland government however saw the campaign as a cold, calculated attempt to usurp their governance, through the crippling of essential infrastructure. When looking at where and when the attacks were made, it is clear that, in this case, the Northern Ireland government had escaped by the narrowest of margins, using the minor and spur lines to divert supply. In their own words: A serious threat was posed to the electricity supply by IRA sabotage of the highest merit [at Ballylumford]… in August 1971, which was followed by a two month campaign against the transmission system. Supply was not affected by this largely because it took place when the demand for electricity was seasonally low.53 So narrow the margins in August 1971 that one of the first priorities of the British government upon imposing Direct Rule was the investigation of contingencies in case of further IRA sabotage campaigns.54 It is unclear whether those responsible for the 'skilled sabotage'55 particularly in August and September 1971 were ever caught or convicted. Research from the IRA's perspective does not suggest there was any great mastermind behind the campaign or any clear link to insider knowledge.56 One of a number of possibilities is one John James Quigley a 30 year old electrician and IRA bomber imprisoned in October 1971 for the 21 May bombing of an electricity substation and a later July attack on a branch of BHS57 but the IRA used a number of electricians as bomb-makers, any one of which, with the necessary experience, could have masterminded the plan. What is certain is that the attacks led directly to the abandonment of the North-South interconnector in 1972, the abandonment of plans for a Northern Ireland nuclear power station earmarked for the southern shores of Lough Neagh or at St John's Point near Ardglass, Co Down58 and the acceptance of the need for an additional, large conventional power station to ensure the security of supply to Belfast.59 Thus, in real terms, 1971 represents the most successful IRA infrastructural campaign, one that seriously shook the Stormont government's grip on power, although not the last and certainly not the most ambitious of the IRA's infrastructural campaigns. London 1996 Although after 1971 and indeed throughout the Troubles the IRA used sporadic bomb attacks on electricity pylons and substations to spread the security forces as widely possible, not until 1996 did they return to the idea of launching a concerted campaign again, this time, not against Northern Ireland, but, like in 1939, London was to be the target. Like in 1971, the campaign seems to have been designed as a short sharp shock mixing a variety of different tactics but with the centre-piece being attacks on London's electricity infrastructure, just like in 1939. Several Active Service Units were involved in Britain at the time and their operations included theLike in 1971, the campaign seems to have been designed as a short sharp shock mixing a variety of different tactics but with the centre-piece being attacks on London's electricity infrastructure, just like in 1939. Several Active Service Units were involved in Britain at the time and their operations included the February 1996 Docklands bomb and the June 1996 Manchester truck bomb - which at over 3,000 lbs was the largest IRA bomb ever detonated in Britain. The Docklands bomb had a huge impact on the way in which the capital was policed. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon warned Londoners, 'We do our very best to minimise the risk of terrorism, but we can only ever minimise it, you can never in a large, open, democratic city guarantee that there will never be a terrorist incident.'60 Nevertheless, the so-called 'Ring of Steel' placed around the city of London in the wake of the Bishopsgate bomb in 1993, was reinstated within hours and a similar system was announced for the Isle of Dogs within weeks of the Docklands bomb.61 Minimizing the risk of further IRA actions in the capital was, by 1996, also the responsibility of MI5 who had been given responsibility for countering IRA operations in Britain in 1992 following the IRA's near miss on Downing Street's Cabinet Room during the Gulf War in 1991. MI5, while it had overall responsibility for 'terrorism' generally, when it came to Northern Ireland, it had only overall responsibility for loyalist activity outside the province, and Republican activity outside the UK. It was traditionally the London Metropolitan Police Special Branch who had the lead role when it came to the IRA in Britain.62 Within months of the Dockland's bomb, two IRA Active Service Units had been arrested in the capital, using MI5 led investigations. One had been planning a repeat of the Manchester bombing in London, the other an S-Plan style concerted attack on London's electricity infrastructure. The sabotage group, a five or six man Active Service Unit was brought together in Ireland at the start of the summer of 1996 and given a fairly detailed plan for the operation they were to carry out. The group consisted of experienced IRA men some with long and fairly distinguished IRA careers. Gerard Hanratty, for example, had been an IRA member since 1979, and alleged in court that while in prison for a separate offence he had been in contact on behalf of the IRA with Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.John Crawley was another member of the group with a long career in the IRA. A former US Marine, Crawley had been an instructor in explosives at Quantico before joining the IRA in the early 1980s and in 1984 participating in the Valhalla/Marita Ann IRA gun-running plot between Boston and Kerry, intercepted by the Irish Navy using intelligence from the FBI and SIS. Crawley was sentenced to 10 years by an Irish court.63 Donal Gannon was also in the group, he was the bomb maker suspected to have been involved in the earlier Manchester attack. The group was understandably described by one police officer as 'the A-team', and by another as, 'some of the most important and experienced players they have sent over here for some years.'64 Conscious of the increased security in London following the Docklands bomb the group had moved quietly into London on false passports, rented houses without outgoing telephone lines, and lived only in areas they could blend in unnoticed. They were shown initial plans and carried out dry-runs of the attacks in Ireland, taking elaborate precautions to ensure they were not followed.65 But further reconnaissance was required, and the group, while in London, borrowed the Electricity Supply Handbook from Battersea Library - removing from it the map of the National Grid - and conducted additional dry-runs against the six targeted facilities themselves. Unbeknownst to the group their actions had already made them open to MI5 and Metropolitan Police Special Branch surveillance and they were already being tracked down and followed. Peter Rose and David Williams suggested during the trial that MI5 were alerted exactly because the IRA had chosen such an experienced team well known among the IRA and its Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) informants alike. When they disappeared from their usual locations, British Intelligence got wind that something major was being planned.66 MI5 acted quickly to mount what became one the largest surveillance operations of its history, involving 300 detectives and agents under the name Operation Airlines.67 The carefully chosen locations for the bomb attacks were six electricity switching stations located around the greater London area, roughly encircling the M25.68 According to the prosecution, the group planned to plant 37 devices in total, each packed with 2.5kg of Semtex, that, had they exploded, would have blacked out London completely for two days, and led to further disruption for an additional 35. Obviously this would have caused major disruption for Londoners, and possibly chaotic scenes creating an energy crisis on a national scale. Politically the timing was also perfect, the Major government was not popular (hovering at between 25% and 33% in opinion polls throughout the year)69 and this would have been a distinct challenge to its authority. Hanratty, the leader of the group, claimed the boxes were to be filled with icing sugar rather than Semtex, though he did not deny the plan was to disrupt electricity supplies and embarrass the government. Whether explosives were present or not, the plot would have had roughly the same effect, closing off substations for many hours while bomb-disposal teams dealt with the numerous suspect devices. In his defence, Hanratty argued, 'If the IRA was capable of closing down London without going into London, it made the Ring of Steel null and void.'70 Certainly no explosives were actually found in the group's possession. The group were sentenced to 35 years each, the judge considering the dangers posed by electricity shortages to the thousands of sick and infirm living in the capital and those who would have died in accidents caused by the blackout told them 'You'll find no mercy here!'71 In many ways the 1996 operation, despite its interception by Britain's security services, showed a practical and professional approach to IRA operations planning that had been missing in both the idealistic approach of the 1939 and the seemingly accidental approach of 1971; the 1996 campaign in Britain (that included bombs at Canary Wharf, Hammersmith Bridge, the Arndale Centre in Manchester) arguably demonstrated the maturity and discipline of the Provisional IRA as a group by the late 1990s. As while due to the critical nature of electricity in the 1990s as opposed to the 1930s, their attacks would have caused far greater disruption to ordinary life, so too did they realize that in and of itself, such bomb attacks, timed between the 1994 and 1997 ceasefires, were not designed any longer to rid Ireland of the British occupation overnight. The 1996 attacks must be seen as part of a process and thus we see continuity in the development of the S-Plan mixed with a lowering of ambitions as to its possible political effect. The IRA, while they had undoubtedly planned their 1996 attacks while technically on ceasefire, were also planning their next ceasefire (enacted 19 July 1997) while carrying out their 1996 attacks.72 Conclusions While attacks against infrastructure are not the monopoly of the IRA - not even in these islands - their use by Irish republicans since 1939 shows remarkably little change in their modus operandi. While their substance might not have changed, their proficiency in tactical planning did. Irish republicans often express great interest in their own past, often justifying their very existence by the blood sacrifice made by previous generations. Learning from, and being conscious of both their mistakes and their successes in the past is crucial to understanding not only how such a sophisticated plot could come together in 1996, but also in understanding the movement of the IRA away from violence. It is doubtful that the IRA's Army Council in 1996 knew precisely how close their infrastructural campaign had come to success in 1971 (although at this stage, contingencies for the collapse of Stormont and its replacement by Direct Rule along the lines established in March 1972 were already clearly defined)73 but they had also become far more realistic in their ambitions for any campaign mounted in Britain and no longer expected these attacks to magically reunite Northern Ireland harmoniously within some new Republic as in 1939 and 1971. By 1996, bombs in Britain were about political pressure both within the republican movement itself (between the Army Council and Sinn Feacutein) and externally between the Major government (its majority hinging on the votes of Unionist MPs) and broader Irish nationalism. In both cases they were timely reminders of the cold ability of the IRA in the 1990s, a professionalism clearly juxtaposed by the amateurish image of the young Brendan Behan being arrested off the Liverpool boat with suitcase full of dynamite. Despite this, as with Behan, the 1996 IRA unit were captured and arrested before being able to carry out their planned attacks. The increased technical ability of the IRA was therefore being at least matched by that of British Intelligence and Special Branch for them to have staved off so decisively the IRA's own 'A-Team'. While the IRA have never been the only guerrilla movement to have used sabotage, their avoidance of casualties on a truly mass scale do separate them categorically from groups both preceding and subsequent who have actively targeted civilians to a much greater extent than Provisional IRA ever did. Tellingly for the post-9/11 world, in O'Donovan's S-Plan, besides the ban on poisoning of public water supplies, so too prohibited were attacks on the fire services, 'for humanitarian reasons' and against flying aircraft, lest 'delay action [bombs] … occur during flight'74 options that Al Qaeda, for example, have never ruled out. NOTES 1'They were known as the A-Team, the most powerful squad of IRA bombers ever assembled.' Peter Rose and David Williams, 'Blackout Bombers sent down for 210 "years" ', Daily Mail, 3 July 1997. 2Brendan Behan, Borstal Boy (London: Hutchinson 1958) p.11. 3Does not include non-bombing incidents. Does include explosives that failed to go off. Statistics taken from 'List of places in connection with vulnerable undertakings etc. where outrages have occurred' (1939), Home Office (HO) 144/21357, The National Archives of the UK, Kew (hereinafter TNA). 43 of 450, Richard English, Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (London: Pan Macmillan 2004) pp.60-2. 5O'Halpin understandably gives ample treatment to German influence on the IRA in this time. Eunan O'Halpin, Spying on Ireland: British Intelligence and Irish Neutrality during the Second World War (Oxford: University Press 2008) pp.40-1. 6Paul McMahon, British Spies and Irish rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland 1916-45 (Woodbridge: Boydell 2008) pp.262-75. 7The incident included bombs down electrical manholes at Hilton Street, Whitworth Street and Mosley Street, HO 144/21357, TNA. 8Brendan Behan, Borstal Boy, p.13. 9The Irish Free State was established in 1922 under the terms of the Anglo-Irish treaty, until 1937 when De Valera's constitution renamed the state Eacuteire. While the legal and constitutional status changed again in 1948 to the Republic of Ireland, the IRA, having consistently rejected the authority of the Irish state since 1921, continued to use the term 'Free State' derisorily. 10Sean Cronin, The McGarrity Papers (Tralee: Anvil 1972). 11Uinseann MacEoin, The IRA in the Twilight Years 1923-48 (Dublin: Argenta, 1997). 12Tim Pat Coogan, The IRA (London: Pall Mall, 1970) p.123. 13'Demolition of bridges without explosives - instructions', James L. O'Donovan, Papers related to the IRA, 1930s and 40s, MS 21,155, Folder 5, National Library of Ireland, Manuscripts Department. 14'IRA Aims', Folder 4, Ibid. 15Ibid. 16London Metropolitan Police captured 'S-Plan', p.8, HO 144/21357, TNA. 17'This form of attack [against the rail network] is most desirable since it can inflict no personal injury'; Ibid. 11. 18'Two Killed in Irish Explosion', The Times, 30 November 1938. 19Memo for Sir Norman Kendall (Chief Constable) from New Scotland Yard Special Branch, 13 April 1939, HO 144/21357, TNA. 20Figures based on 1936, not counting IRA non-residents sent over for specific operations. Sean Cronin, The McGarrity Papers, p.166. 21Kell to Alexander Maxwell (HO), 9 March 1939, HO 144/21357, TNA. 22Peter Barnes and James McCormack (aka James Richards) in memoriam pamphlets contained in HO 45/25550, TNA. 23'Ultimate Cause', Time Magazine, 19 February 1940, <http://www.time.com/...,763505,00.html> (accessed 11 November 2008). 24Notably the IRA used women for the operations against cinemas. Tim Pat Coogan, The IRA, p.127. 25One senior police officer commented, 'the two drunken Irish wasters … ought to be sent back to Ireland.' Minute Sheet, MEMO 3/1303, TNA. 26Richard English, Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (London: Pan Macmillan 2004) p.61. 27Stephan Enno, Spies in Ireland (London: McDonald 1963) p.38. 28An act that would eventually evolve into the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1974, and more recently the Terrorism Act 2006. 29Enhanced protective security measures for Chequers and Downing Street during the IRA's 1939 campaign are described in MEPO 3/1908 and MEPO 3/1910, TNA. 30Metropolitan Police Commissioner, note of meeting with House of Commons Speaker (E.A. Fitzroy), 4 February 1939, MEPO 3/1909, TNA. 31John Archer Jackson, The Irish in Britain (London: Routledge 1963) p.157. 32'Hiberian Oath', enclosure to letter, Lord Ampthill to Samuel Hoare, 13 May 1939, HO 144/21357, TNA. 33Ibid. A Home Office reader of a very similar text that appeared in 1928, noted at this point in pencil, 'He ran away, I thought!' 34Ibid. 35Samuel Hoare to Lord Ampthill, 16 May 1939, HO 144/21357, TNA. 36Gary McGladdery, The Provisional IRA in England (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 2006) p.45. 37Tim Pat Coogan, The IRA, p.123. 38Richard English, Armed Struggle, p.61. 39Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA (London: Allan Lane 2002) p.100. 40Gunner Curtis, killed by a single bullet from a Thompson gun, 6 February 1971. Thomas Hennessey, The Evolution of the Troubles 1970-72 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 2007) p.66. 41There is no mention of the IRA's bomb attacks on Northern Ireland's electricity network in the following works, Richard English, Armed Struggle; J. Bowyer Bell, IRA Tactics and Targets (Dublin: Poolbeg 1997); Martin Dillon, 25 Years of Terror: the IRA's War Against the British (London: Bantam 1996); Tim Pat Coogan, The IRA (revised edition, Glasgow: Fontana 1987); and J Bowyer Bell, The Irish Troubles: A Generation of Violence (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan 1993). 42Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA, p.100, and M.L.R. Smith, Fighting for Ireland: The Military Strategy of the Irish Republican Movement (London: Routledge 1995) p.96. 43Richard English, Armed Struggle, p.137. 44Patrick Bishop and Eamonn Mallie, The Provisional IRA (London: Heinemann 1987) p.138. 45Hennessey, The Evolution of the Troubles 1970-72, p.210. 46Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA, p.100. 47Anthony Craig, Intergovernmental Relations between Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland 1966-1974 (unpublished PhD Thesis, Cambridge 2008) pp.162, 184. 48Memo on Electricity situation marked SECRET, 23 August 1971, Com 58/3/1, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (hereinafter PRONI). 49A. C. Brooke (Perm Sec) Min Commerce NI Memo to Cabinet, 1 September 1971, CAB 9F/227/3, PRONI. 50A.C. Brooke (Perm Sec) Min Commerce NI Memo to Cabinet, 1 September 1971, CAB 9F/227/3, PRONI. 51Author interview, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, former Assistant Secretary to the NI Cabinet, 26 February 2008. 52M.L.R Smith, Fighting for Ireland, p.98. 53Memo on Public Utility Contingencies, Electricity Sabotage, (c.) January 1972, Com 58/3/1, PRONI. 54Memo J.A.G. Whitlaw, 'Electricity Emergency Planning: Experience of March 27 and 28' 1972, Ibid. 55Memo on Electricity situation marked SECRET, 23 August 1971. Com 58/3/1, PRONI. 56Gerry Kelly had a very junior position as a 17 year old in the Belfast Corporation Electricity Department. Although in August 1971 Kelly was arrested in the Republic for possession of 'Fianna weapons', <http://www.anphoblac...ws/detail/22590>. Interview with Gerry Kelly in An Phoblacht, 20 December 2007. 57'Mr Faulkner fails to gain full party support at meeting', The Times, 9 October 1971. 58Cabinet Minutes 24 November 1970, 'The St John's Point site should be acquired as soon as the need for nuclear plant can be determined; it is expected that this can be done in 1971.' CAB 9F/227/3, PRONI. 59NI Government Information Service, press release, 'New power station announced. Kilroot, Co Antrim, Oil Fired, 12,000MW to be commissioned 1978', 6 September 1971. Ibid. 60Docklands bomb ends IRA ceasefire, BBC News, 10 February 1996, <http://news.bbc.co.u...sid_2539000/253\ 9265.stm> (accessed 11 November 2008). 61'Ring of Steel clangs back in to position', The Times, 11 February 1996; 'Ring of steel will be built to protect the Isle of Dogs', The Times, 11 March 1996. 62Stella Rimmington, Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director General of MI5 (London: Hutchinson 2001) p.218. 63'Terrorists jailed for Marita Ann Arms Cache', The Times, 12 December 1984. 64'IRA blitz on gas and water plants foiled', The Times, 16 July 1997. 65'IRA man tells court how unit set up London base', The Times, 4 June 1997. 66Peter Rose and David Williams, 'Blackout Bombers sent down for 210 years'. 67Tony Geraghty, The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict between the IRA and British Intelligence (London: Harper Collins 1998) p.240. 68Ibid. Canterbury-North, West Weybridge, Amersham Main, Waltham Cross, Elstree and Rayleigh. 69MORI Poll Archive, all published opinion polls, 1996, <http://www.ipos-mori...ll.aspx?oItemId\ =2450&view=wide=1996> (accessed 16 June 2010). 70Ibid. 71Ibid. (Although all of the group were released by 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement.) Tony Geraghty, The Irish War, p.240. 72For Richard English, citing a statement in An Phoblacht, 27 March 1997, 'The IRA were prepared to face their responsibilities "in facilitating a process aimed at securing a lasting resolution" to the conflict', Richard English, Armed Struggle, p.293. 73Anthony Craig, Intergovernmental Relations between Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland 1966-1974, pp.207-9.
  11. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    British Massacre in Ballymurphy 1971

    The Ballymurphy massacre http://sonsofmalcolm.blogspot.com/search/label/IRA Two months ago, the British government finally came clean on the murder of fourteen innocents on Bloody Sunday in 1972. But the same regiment had already committed a massacre of eleven unarmed civilians on the streets of West Belfast just six months earlier.Iin this exclusive series of reports for Sons of Malcolm* John Teggart, whose father was amongst them, tells Dan Glazebrook about the families’ ongoing campaign for justice. “The soldier with the handgun walked up to Noel Philips, who was lying on the field wounded, and executed him, with a bullet behind each ear.” “If your loved ones are murdered by the state it’s an uphill struggle. You have to almost prove what happened before you even get any investigation.” “If Ballymurphy had been dealt with, Bloody Sunday could never have happened.” August 9th 1971 Internment – indefinite imprisonment without trial – was reintroduced into the North of Ireland for the first time in ten years, on August 9th 1971 at 4am. 340 people were dragged out of their houses across the Greater Ballymurphy area of West Belfast, around one third of whom would be released some weeks later with horrific stories of the beatings and torture they experienced whilst in detention. Many of the others remained incarcerated for years without trial. Hundreds of homes were wrecked in the process, as the entire community were effectively terrorised by the British army. Later that day, as the full horror of what had just taken place began to sink in, loyalists from the neighbouring Springmartin estate began to form into a crowd to taunt their nationalist neighbours across the road in Springfield Park, shouting slogans such as “where’s your daddy?”. Across the road, a nationalist crowd began to form in response. The local friar, Hugh Mullen, called both the RUC and the army to ask for their help in de-escalating the rising tensions, but his requests were ignored. John Teggart picks up the story: “The crowd in Springmartin, as the night went on, grew into about maybe 400 loyalists. They had been stoning the houses that back onto Springfield Park and a lot of anxiety was building up. At the top end, most of the houses were getting wrecked and stoned, so people had moved out of their houses to the lower end of the Park. A man named Bobby Clarke went into a house there which already had thirty or forty people in it. He suggested moving out of the area altogether because there were mainly women and children in the house. He decided to take the babies first, so he went out on his own across the field with an eighteen-month old baby, and brought her over to Moyard Park. As he was returning a soldier from the parachute regiment shot him in the back. Friar Hugh Mullen then phoned the army and told them there was a wounded man on the field and asked their soldiers to stop shooting. He then left the house and, waving a white cloth, went out onto the field to issue the last rites to Bobby. Bobby said he wasn’t dying, so Friar Mullen went back towards his house to phone the ambulance, still waving the white cloth. That was when he was shot. A young man named Frank Quinn then ran onto the field to help, and met a barrage of bullets. He did a heroic act helping his neighbours and he was shot in the back of the head. At the same time as this was going on, my daddy and several other people were down the road near the army barracks. All of a sudden the Paratoopers came out of the main gates of the barracks and started firing at anybody, anybody at all. A young man called Noel Philips was wounded in the hand and the backside. He fell and screamed out. A woman named Mrs Connolly went to help but when she got to him she was shot in the face. The whole left hand side of her face was taken off with the force of the bullet. She walked about the field saying repeatedly ‘I can’t see, I can’t see’. My daddy was wounded in the leg initially according to eyewitness accounts. He was then shot fourteen times whilst he lay out in the open, from a distance of less than fifty yards. Whilst this was going on, they were still shooting in the field. There were children playing in the bottom of the field and they were shot at as well. They shot an eleven year old boy in the groin. The soldiers then came out of the barracks in a Saracen [armoured truck] and onto the field. Two soldiers got out, one with an SLR, one with a handgun. The one with the handgun walked up to Noel Philips, who was lying on the field wounded, and executed him, with a bullet behind each ear. I can say these things with confidence because we have seen the coroners’ reports, we have seen the autopsy, and there was a 9mm bullet in him from a Browning pistol. This is from experts. And our eyewitness accounts back this up. Then there was Joan Connolly. One of the soldiers went round the side of the house and claimed later that he found a woman who was obviously dead. But from inside the house there were three sisters who said that Mrs Connolly had been walking around repeatedly saying ‘I can’t see’. It was later found out that she wasn’t shot once, she was shot four times: in the belly, in the shoulder and the thigh, as well as in the face. The other soldier grabbed a man called Gerald Russell from where he was injured behind a pillar and trailed him about the footpath and just started shooting him at point blank range with the rifle. He was shot four times. Then they started piling the bodies into the Saracen, both dead and wounded. Joseph Murphy, who had been shot in the leg, was taken in and repeatedly beaten. He died a week later. Because the injuries he received during the beating were so bad, he couldn’t be operated on. He died from gangrene. The whole of his body was completely black from where he was bruised and he told his wife on his death bed that they shot rubber bullets into his wound as well. Davy Callaghan, an ex-Navy man, was also taken out of the Saracen. There was a gauntlet of paratroopers waiting for him. He was taken out and held on the ground whilst they took it in turns to kick him severely between his legs. He ended up in hospital with a cage round his lower body. Gerald Russell was taken into the room, where he was beaten repeatedly and hit with rifle butts. They actually put the rifle muzzle into one of his wounds and picked him up with it. They then jumped off the bed repeatedly onto him. This was a man wounded four times. He said while he was there, there was a naked man, thrown onto the floor beside him. He says this man was obviously dead or dying. We believe it was Danny Taggart, my daddy. He said what they did to him, bouncing off the beds, they did to my daddy as well exactly the same. The dead and the wounded were both beaten. Six people in the space of around half an hour or an hour were murdered by the paratroopers.” August 10th “But the brutality did not stop there. After internment and all that brutality - people being shot, the local priest being shot - barricades went up in every area. At one of these barricades, there was a tree that had been cut down and put in the middle of the road. One of the soldiers arrived in a digger to try to dismantle the barricade. There was rioting and people stoning him trying to stop him. A lot of eyewitness accounts all sum up that the soldier then swung open his door and shot through the barricade hitting Eddie Doherty in the back. He died almost instantly.” August 11th “By 6am on 11th August there were 600 paratroopers in the area. People started banging bin lids to alert the area that the soldiers were coming in again. Joseph Corr came out of his home and John Laverty, one of two brothers, had also gone out. A statement we have from soldier B, 1 Para is that he shot both men. One died that night and one died in the coming weeks. From that moment on, the soldiers just went through the whole estate kicking people’s doors down. Fifty seven people were arrested. They went from street to street shooting and brutalising people. The paratroopers were repeatedly beating people, standing on their throats, and hitting them with rifle butts. Sheer mayhem. They were shooting repeatedly at the community centre, where a youth club was going on. Youth leader Pat McCarthy put a white flag on the end of a stick, came out of the centre, and was shot in the hand, with blood pouring from his hand. But he had provisions, he knew where the barricades were through the area, and he knew there weren’t any provisions getting through. So he decided he would load up a crate and push it through the area, shouting ‘milk for babies’. He didn’t get very far before he met two paratroopers. One grabbed him, the other kicked his crate over. After that Pat McCarthy suffered a massive heart attack. The local people of the area said they tried to get to him to give him aid, but the paras wouldn’t let him. He died almost instantly.” Further down the road, not 300 yards away, a joiner named John McKerr was fixing the locks in Corpus Christi church. A funeral was taking place, so he took a break to let the funeral go through. “He wasn’t fifty yards from the church gates when he was shot in the head. After that, the paratroopers were on the scene immediately trying to take the body. It was only the heroic actions of the local people that stopped them; one in particular stood in front of them and said : ‘If you going to shoot me, shoot me now but you’re not taking that man whilst his life blood’s running out of him. You’ve already shot a priest so you don’t care who you shoot but I’m not leaving here until that man’s in the ambulance.’ That’s the story of the massacre but it is bigger than that. Of the whole 57 who were arrested, only Terry Laverty and with the young lad he was with were charged with riotous behaviour. That was to cover up John’s death [Terry’s brother], to make it look like a riot situation when in fact it was an invasion of 600 paratroopers into the estate of Ballymurphy two days after shooting six people.” The aftermath The deaths, as had been the case after four killings during the Falls Curfew the previous year, were never properly investigated. Military police interviewed their colleagues in the days that followed, and those statements were taken at face value by the RUC (the police) and used for their one-page reports on each of the deaths. Those killed were all said to be gunmen, killed by the paratroopers in self-defence or caught in the ‘crossfire’. “From their interviews there are total discrepancies. My daddy’s injuries were almost all on his side. Your not shooting a gunman if he’s almost pointing the opposite way. They said that Mrs Connolly [a 45 year old mother of eight] was a superwoman: that after dropping her gun, she jumped over their heads with a submachine gun and starting firing again. They said she used at least two firearms to shoot them.” In a pattern that was then starting to become depressingly familiar to nationalists in the North, those reports were then reported as fact in the media. Nor has the official story of events been changed to this day. “The only way it’s going to change is through the likes of what we’re doing with the campaign. Because otherwise, this is what young people will be reading as history, in the newspaper reports of the day: that my father was a gunman, that Mrs Connolly was a gunwoman, that all these victims were gunmen and women. That’s what we need to change, and we have the evidence to prove it.” The campaign “Our goal is an independent international investigation, independent from the state. We want them to investigate all the circumstances around all the killings. And from that, we want a statement of innocence that all these people were innocent, just like Bloody Sunday. The evidence is there that this was murder, this was a war crime. There were 14 people killed less than six months later in Bloody Sunday by the same soldiers, the same regiment – 1 para. If Ballymurphy had been dealt with, Bloody Sunday could never have happened. If any sort of investigation had been carried out in Ballymurphy five or six months previous, Bloody Sunday couldn’t have taken place. The hierarchy of the MoD knew exactly what the paras were capable of after that. The local authorities in Derry didn’t want the paras involved, but General Ford pursued and pushed for them to go in that day. One of the paras in Bloody Sunday, 027, says that when they were briefed the night before, they were told ‘we want some kills tomorrow’. So it was known what they were capable of, they knew what their jobs were when they went in and we have hard evidence of this. So far this year has been very good for us. In May the leader of Sinn Fein sent a public letter to the families fully supporting our call for an independent investigation. He also took us to the European parliament and held events there to highlight what we were doing. We had the leader of the SDLP also writing a letter publicly supporting all our demands. The Saville Report said that the Ballymurphy massacre has to be addressed. We also spoke to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Dail. The support this year is snowballing. We are meeting the British Secretary of State in September and we will use that as a stepping stone to meet the British Prime Minister. Having the Catholic church involved is another big step for us. After a series of meetings with Bishop Donald O Connor and Bishop Treanor they came up with some archives that hadn’t been seen before – including a report and witness statements. One of those reports says that you could indict the paratroopers in Springmartin for shooting dead Frank Quinn.” The Saville Enquiry may well have encouraged the church to reveal its evidence. For years, the church had kept quiet on the grounds that saying anything could be portrayed as somehow ‘taking sides’ in the conflict. The Saville report, however, by accepting that the Paratroopers were indeed involved in the murder of innocents, broke the taboo. The Ballymurphy families hope that it will pave the way for an investigation into what happened to their loved ones also: “You have to remember that Bloody Sunday wasn’t an isolated incident. They had already killed eleven people in Ballymurphy before going on to kill fourteen in Derry. They then went on to kill five people: three teenagers, the father of the boy shot in the field the previous year and another Catholic priest. This was in May, less than a year later, in the same area just yards from where John McKerr was murdered near the church. And it didn’t stop there, it went on. It didn’t matter whether you were Catholic or Protestant; they went on to the Shankill Road in September 1972 and shot dead Robert McGuinea and Robert Johnston. It didn’t matter if you were a man, woman, child, innocent… You would think that every murder should be investigated. But if your loved ones are murdered by the state it’s an uphill struggle. You have to almost prove what happened before you even get any investigation, and that’s the struggle we’re involved in at the moment.” Please join the Ballymurphy families’ campaign for justice at www.ballymurphymassacre.com ============================= * Introduction to this series: I went to Belfast this summer because as an aspiring community activist, socialist and anti-imperialist, I am aware that there are precious few parties in the West that have successfully mobilised working class communities along these lines, and in my view, Sinn Fein is one of those precious few. I am also painfully aware that unless we in such communities here start organising and fighting for our rights, we are shortly going to be plunged into poverty and degradation on a scale unprecedented since the Second World War. I wanted to know how Sinn Fein are responding to the crisis, and to see their form of community politics in action to learn whatever lessons could be of use to those organising in Britain. At the same time I wanted to discuss and publicise the ongoing struggle for justice of those who lost relatives to Britain’s brutal colonial war in Ireland, a war still greatly misrepresented in Britain, including amongst those on the left. So it was with all this in mind that I began organising (or rather mobilising my friends and comrades to organise;)) my visit to West Belfast: Alex lent me a video camera and Sukant (from Sons of Malcolm) put me in touch with several people there, including Benat, who was essential in providing me with the contacts necessary to make a success of the project. I was greatly inspired and moved by the many courageous and hardworking individuals I met there, people like Robert McClenaghan, Jennifer McCann, Barry McColgan, Charlene O Hara, Danny Morrison, Harry Connolly, Michael Culbert, Ciaran de Baroid, Eoin O’Broin, Gerry Adams, Eamann Keenan, Cathal O’ Murchu and John Teggart, (not all of whom are SF members), true representatives of their communities all of them. It was amazing to see the level of self-organisation in the community around the Falls Rd and estates like Ballymurphy and Twinbrook, though none of those I met were complacent or underestimated the problems that exist there. If we are serious about mobilising our communities for the problems ahead, we are going to need the same level of honesty and commitment I saw in Ireland. I really feel honoured to have had the chance to witness this honesty and commitment first hand. Dan Glazebrook
  12. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith

    ‘Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith’ Dé Céadaoin, 4 Eanáir 2012 Katie McGreal Tosóidh an tsraith nua ‘Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith’ amárach ar TG4 ag 10.30in. Is sraith faisnéise faoi sheisear ban a raibh páirt lárnach acu san IRA í. Breathnaíonn na cláir ar an éifeacht agus an tionchar a bhí ag a gcuid gníomhaíochtaí ar na coimhlintí i dTuaisceart éireann agus ar pholaitíocht an Deiscirt. Faightear dearcadh leithleach ar na 40 bliain atá díreach imithe trí shúile na mban seo, Rose Dugdale, Josephine Hayden, Pamela Kane, Martina Anderson, Roseleen Walsh agus Roseleen McCorley. Insíonn siad a scéal féin agus is féidir an stair, a ndearnamar dearmad uirthi nó a raibh bainte amach as stair oifigiúil na dTrioblóidí faoi mhná agus an ról a bhí acu, a fheiceáil. Tá sé chlár sa tsraith agus díríonn gach clár ar bhean amháin. Feicimid an turas ar thóg siad agus faigheann muid amach na fáthanna gur bheartaigh siad páirt a ghlacadh san IRA. Tá ábhar cartlainne le feiceáil sna cláir a chuireann cúrsaí polaitíochta i gcomhthéacs don lucht féachana. Is ó theaghlach Sasanach, uaslathach í Rose Dugdale ach dhiúltaigh sí airgead a muintire agus thug sí neart cabhrach do dhaoine bochta. Faoin am ar bhog sí go Béal Feirste go luath sna 70aidí, bhí sí ag iarraidh deireadh a chur leis an gcaipitleachas agus bhí sí ina ball d’aonad gníomhach den IRA. Bhí suim ag Josephine Hayden i saol na gCaitliceach ó Thuaidh nuair a chuala sí faoi mháirseálacha na nOráisteach nuair a bhí sí óg. ó shin, chaith sí ceithre bliana go leith i bpríosún agus dhiúltaigh sí é a fhágáil go luath faoi Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta. Is as teaghlach poblachtach í Pamela Kane ó thuaisceart Bhaile átha Cliath ach, ba as Tír Eoghain a hathair. Ceann de na rudaí a rinne sí ná dreapadh anuas an crann teilifíse atá ag RTé nuair nár thug siad cead d’iarrthóirí Shinn Féin aon rud a chraoladh de bharr chinsireacht an stáit. Is ball de Chumann na mBan í Martina Anderson. D’fhás sí aníos i rith na gcíréibeacha agus na dtrioblóidí agus bhí páirt ag a muintir iontu. I ndiaidh roinnt ama a chaitheamh sa phríosún, ghlac sí ballraíocht i Sinn Féin agus faoi láthair is í an LeasChéad-Aire Sóisearach i Stormont í. Is as teaghlach Poblachtach í Roseleen Walsh agus ba ghnách léi páirt a ghlacadh i ngluaiseacht na bPoblachtach. Bhí sí ina bhall de Shinn Féin agus bhí páirt lárnach aici sa phróiseas síochána. Faigh Gaelscéal na seachtaine seo chun tuilleadh a léamh. http://www.gaelsceal.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1321:mna-an-ira-dearcadh-ar-leith&catid=8:beatha&Itemid=294
  13. The late economist, and former farmer, Raymond Crotty wrote in 1988: Property in land I now percieved to be hardly less socially inequitable than property in man, or slavery, which Aristotle described as "the first, the best and most useful form of property." Indeed, some might deem property in land to be more heinously anti-social. One recalls, for example, that while a million Irish people starved to death during the 1840s so as to maintain or increase the profit from Irish land, the negro slaves of the United States of America, without any augmentation from the slave trade which by then had been stopped, were increasing in numbers by 2.5% annually. This was possibly the highest rate of population growth in the world at the time. Indubitably many starving, rack-rented Irish peasants, if given the choice, would have opted for slavery rather than to be the victims of property in Irish land. Raymond Crotty, A Radical Response. We cannot leave the structure of farming as it is in Ireland today. We see that farmers now get two thirds of their income from hand outs paid for by the urban worker. So its clear that the current structure of farming is uneconomical and can only be sustained by putting a massive burden on urban workers. Farm collectivisation has a bad name, but, in reality, this is what the EU has being trying to do for a long time, i.e. to push out the small and middle sized farmer in favour of the large ranch. The only trouble with this system is that it puts incredible and unmerited wealth in the private hands of the rancher. Larry Goodman, for example, collects a single hand out every year of half a million euro - just for owning so much land. It makes much more sense to run these large farms/ranches as state farms, with workers doing a 40 hour shift, like any other worker. As I say, all Irish farms are massively subsidised already by the taxpayer. Even if the state farms were no more profitable, or even a good bit less profitable, it would still mean a massive saving for the population in general, as land for roads, schools, homes, hospitals, etc. would already be in state hands, so no addition fee would have to be paid. This would make an enormous change to the very structure of Irish society, as increases in productivity in the workforce would no longer be converted into higher land prices - as happened over the last ten years, and during all times of prosperity over the last several hundred years. Instead of increased productivity being swallowed up by land price inflation, it could instead be put into building up a native Irish industry that would lessen our junky like dependence on the multi-nationals. Its this retardation of Irish industry that is the real cost of leaving the land in the hands of about 3% of the population.
  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6aZt9qFU-A
  15. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Dixons Advertising for Slaves

    Dixons are now seeking Full-Time General Operatives and Driver Assistants to work Shift work for NO Pay. Yes the State will pay and just think of the valuable experience you'll get lifting washing machines onto the back of a truck: http://www.irishjobs.ie/Jobs/Work-Placement-in-Customer-Service-6678286.aspx
  16. Republican group Óglaigh na hÉireann says it is behind the bomb which was planted inside the car of a serving soldier in north Belfast. British army bomb experts removed the viable device from the car during a security operation in the Black Dam Court area off the Ligoneil Road on Thursday afternoon. In a statement made to security journalist Brian Rowan, Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed the booby trap device was placed under a seat in the vehicle and was connected to the seat buckle. "Belfast Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann claim responsibility for the bomb attack on a serving British Soldier in Ligoneil", the statement reads. "Our Volunteers got inside the car and placed the explosive device under the seat with a trap wire running to the seat buckle," the statement added. Residents were evacuated from their homes after the suspicious object was found in the car. A controlled explosion was carried out on the bomb, which has been taken away for further examination. The Unionist response has been predictable: North Belfast DUP memeber, William Humphrey, has condemned those responsible for the attack. "It is disgraceful and utterly appalling, in this day and age, that there are those who are prepared to intimidate and kill to advance their own criminal purposes and warped political ideology," he said. "They must be given no hiding place and I would urge anyone who can help the police to bring them to justice to pass on whatever information or suspicions they may have," he said. Residents have been allowed to return to their homes after the security operation ended on Thursday evening. © UTV News
  17. Election Fraud Galvanizes Russian Opposition, Communist Party 20 Years After Soviet Union's Collapse Stephen Cohen interview - democracynow.org - 12.30.11 - JRL 2012-1 Allegations of widespread fraud in the recent elections that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party a parliamentary majority have galvanized massive street protests in opposition to the Russian political establishment. This comes on the 20th anniversary of the breakup of the Soviet Union. "The reason that the people who control the financial oligarchy in Russia don't want free elections is they know that if they had free elections to a parliament, the people would vote for candidates pledging to confiscate their property," which was privatized in the 1990s, says Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University. He notes, "though these elections were not free and fair, they were the freest and fairest in 15 years," and that members of the country's middle class make up the bulk of the protesters. Cohen also argues the American media has failed to report on the resurgence of the Communist Party, supported mainly by working-class voters in Russia's vast provinces, which could challenge Putin in the 2012 presidential race and force a runoff election. JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, 2011 will be remembered as a year of uprisings and mass protests, from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. The countries are too many to name: Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Greece, Spain, Britain, Chile and the United States, and the list goes on. We turn now to look at Russia, which in recent weeks has seen its largest street protests since the fall of the Soviet Union. Hundreds of members of the country's opposition gathered today in Moscow to support the jailed head of Russia's Left Front opposition movement. Protesters lacked police approval for the rally and presented it as a meeting with members of the Russian Duma, or lower house of parliament. This is Ilya Ponomarev, a lawmaker from the opposition Just Russia party. ILYA PONOMAREV: [translated] People gathered here share various political views. They are not only from the political left, but also are liberals and people who are not interested in politics but who are indignant of the situation. We gather here now to discuss what we can do to make it so that there are no political prisoners in our country. JUAN GONZALEZ: Many of the protesters believe there was widespread fraud in the elections earlier this month that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party a majority in the lower house of parliament. Some have demanded a review of the disputed results. AMY GOODMAN: Putin has rejected their calls, even as the country has seen its largest protests in decades. On Saturday, more than 100,000 protesters gathered in Moscow. Opposition leader and former chess champion Garry Kasparov claims the controversial elections have galvanized opposition to the Russian political establishment. GARRY KASPAROV: [translated] This is the first time that the people have felt that they are strong. It seems to me that this is a psychological change. There is not the feeling anymore that there are a few of us and many of them. Now we have many. I believe that these people who came out, they are active, successful people. They need to use the internet not only for preparing for these types of events and to organize themselves, but also to propose an alternative to the people in power, that power which is corrupt and incapable of solving the country's problems. AMY GOODMAN: Still, Prime Minister Putin says he plans to run for president in 2012 and has promised free and fair elections. All of this comes on the 20th anniversary of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Well, to discuss all of this, we're joined by Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University, author of numerous books on Russia and the Soviet Union. His most recent book is called Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. His latest article, "The Soviet Union's Afterlife," appears in the new issue of The Nation. Welcome to Democracy Now! STEPHEN COHEN: Thank you. Thanks. AMY GOODMAN: Professor Cohen, talk about what's happening now in Russia. How significant are these mass protests? STEPHEN COHEN: They're very significant. But the problem is, is that the significance is obscured and skewed by the American media narrative of it all. It's hard for me. I'm a professor by profession, and it startles me sometimes to realize that my students were born after the end of the Soviet Union, so I can't assume anything. But the information that we're getting from the print media, in particular, in this country, the narrative is simply wrong. Here's a paradox. These parliamentary elections on December 4th for the first time brought out middle-class protesters. We don't know exactly how many, but tens of thousands in the center of Moscow. And yet­and please understand what I'm going to say­though these elections were not free and fair, they were the freest and fairest in 15 years. There's a paradox there. What's the paradox? Well, the historical narrative of democracy in Russia is wrong. The basic line in the Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, where also mainstream television gets its stories, is that democratization began after the end of the Soviet Union under Yeltsin in the 1990s, and Putin has been steadily crushing it, and this is the last attempt to crush it completely. But that's just plain historically untrue. The high point of democracy, in terms of both journalism, let's say, and elections, was actually in '89, '90, '91. And the reason that's not admissible is it took place in Soviet Russia under Gorbachev. In the '90s, under Yeltsin, began a process of what Russians call "de-democratization." Now let's flash forward­and Putin continued that. Now let's flash forward to today. JUAN GONZALEZ: And, of course, there was the­when Yeltsin actually attacked the parliament with the tanks. People forget that, right? STEPHEN COHEN: Well, I haven't forgotten it. Russians haven't forgotten it. And it shames me that the Clinton administration, American academics, the media all supported that, quoting George Washington. Bear in mind that when Yeltsin destroyed an elected parliament in October 1993, it was the first time that had ever happened on the European continent since the Nazis burned the Reichstag in the 1930s. It was almost an unprecedented event. But it was a death blow, because you can't have democracy without a parliament. You can have a democracy without a president, but you can't have representative democracy without a parliament. And Russia has never had a stable parliament. It's had lots of strong leaders. So, what happened on December 2nd was fantastic in one sense, in that the results of the official­the official results, if you bring­a guy has compared all the exit polls and all the pre-voting surveys, and the official results are only about 5 percent off what it appears people actually cast, whereas in the past it was 15 or 20 percent. So, two and two may not equal four, but it was equaling eight a couple years ago, and now it's down to five. So, what sparked these protests is something a little different. But I think­and this is what's important­that though there's this bleak, kind of grim view of it, it's all good, what's been happening in Russia, for democracy. It's probably the end of de-democratization. Is it new democratization? We'll see. What's good? Well, the vote more or less reflected the official tally, more or less reflected the way people really voted. Then people, who had been passing, came into the streets. The government didn't shoot them. The mayor of Moscow even helped bus people to the protest. The people who had become skeptical about even voting now see, even in Russia, where they are meddling with their vote, that it's important to vote, because the ruling party in these so-called fixed elections lost 15 percent of its popular vote. It still has its majority in the Duma, but here's the other important thing: its majority is no longer big enough for it to operate without coalitions and vote in negotiation with the other parties in the Duma. That's what a parliament is for­to build coalitions, and, you know, we call it bipartisan compromise. I don't like that stuff, but nonetheless, in Russia it's necessary. So I think, at the moment­we don't know what's going to happen next­this has been a step forward for Russia. JUAN GONZALEZ: And the other big issue is the resurgence of the former Communist, the Left party in Russia, as well. STEPHEN COHEN: It's interesting you mention that, because it's basically been deleted from the whole narrative. The fact is, is that since the end of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party, as it exists today in Russia, which is not the Communist party Gorbachev tried to create through his reforms, but the Communist party that opposed Gorbachev, that stood behind the putsch against Gorbachev in 1991, this party has been, until Putin came to power, the most successful parliamentary party in Russia. It doubled its vote. It's still being cheated. It probably got 7 or 8 percent more. But the reality is, whether we like it or not in this country­and this is why the media can't figure out­communism was supposed to die in Russia in 1991­what is it doing, what does it mean? The Communist Party, as it's constituted today, is the only real nationwide, organized, electoral, political opposition in the country. That's a fact. And it's that party that Putin is really worried about, not these people in the streets, because in these last elections to the parliament, many middle-class people, lots of my friends in Russia, though they're anti-Communist, cast their vote for the Communists as a protest against Putin. If that were to happen in the presidential election, Putin would be driven into a runoff, which he doesn't want. JUAN GONZALEZ: And it's your theory that the declaration of another one of Russia's billionaires that he's going to run for president is actually an attempt to siphon off opposition, to push back the Communists? STEPHEN COHEN: Well, look at it like this. Mikhail Prokhorov, who has $18 billion, which he obtained through the­with the backing of the Kremlin, and who retains it due to the grace of the Kremlin, and who wants to move it offshore, part of it being the purchase of the New York Nets here in New Jersey, who will move to Brooklyn into a Barclays Center­so he's got a half a billion dollars invested in Jersey and in Brooklyn. He can't move that $500 million to the United States without Putin's OK. Now he announces he's going to run against Putin in the election. As my grandmother used to say, "Please." I mean, he's put out there because they think that Prokhorov, who is six-foot-eight, rather good-looking­young entrepreneurs think he's an admirable figure because he's got billions, and women like him because he's good-looking and a playboy­can siphon off some of the protest vote. But he can't do­first of all, he's not on the ballot. He's just announced he wants to be. Then you have some other­it's very interesting. The guy you just showed, Ilya Ponomarev, who was protesting the arrest of this guy, he represents a­it's all, in Russia, complicated. He represents a party called Fair Russia, which was created by the Kremlin eight years ago but is kind of drifting away from the Kremlin. So, everybody is interconnected in Russia, but the problem is, the Kremlin is losing control of these creatures. AMY GOODMAN: But the sports news headline here is that the owner of the Nets could be the president of Russia. I want to ask you about him. STEPHEN COHEN: When I'm elected, I'm going to make you my vice president, absolutely. And we should start planning on that right now. If Prokhorov wanted to be serious, he'd be right here in the United States, because the Nets are dying, and there's a player they want to get. And he should be here talking to this player. But Putin said, "You can't go to the United States right now." Actually, he's in Switzerland at the moment for the new year. If you're going to run for president in Russia, you don't go to Switzerland in an extremely expensive­I mean, most Russians couldn't afford with 10 years' salary the trip he's made to Switzerland. I mean, if you were really running for president, you obviously wouldn't do that. AMY GOODMAN: Professor Stephen Cohen, I wanted to ask you about a man you know, Gorbachev, who was a frequent critic of Vladimir Putin, the former president, Mikhail Gorbachev. This is what he said earlier this month about the state of democracy in Russia. MIKHAIL GORBACHEV: [translated] We do not have a real democracy, and we will not have it if the government is afraid of their people, afraid to say things openly, to prove their point and to suggest their projects. I do not believe that this team will take responsibility and suggest a project on modernization of political structures and political foundations to us and create grounds for people to come and vote for their project, for their plan. They will not dare to do it. I think the situation now is that the authorities are near a red line. They need to stop and come up with a different platform, a different attitude, by the time of the presidential elections. They need to come up with a new system of power. AMY GOODMAN: That was the former president, Mikhail Gorbachev. Professor Cohen? STEPHEN COHEN: Well, full disclosure: I've been personally close to Gorbachev for more than 25 years. My wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, very close to him. Our daughter thinks he's her godfather, but he isn't. So, it's been a family connection. I admire him enormously. I think he's one of the greatest reformers of the 20th century, and certainly the greatest reformer in Russian history. But I don't agree with what he's been saying. His first call was to annul these parliamentary elections. But if these elections were to be annulled, it would be a blow to the process of elections in Russia. Which elections would ever be accepted? If would be, if you don't win, we're going to annul them. Moreover, these elections were a step forward, and Russia needs steps forwards, not any kind of revolutionary destabilization. There's a struggle for Gorbachev's soul. He's getting advice. Though he's not popular in Russia, he remains a symbolic figure. I understand where he's coming from. He considers himself, rightly, to be the father of Russian democracy. The United States said it was Yeltsin, but that was just Clinton's nonsense. It's Gorbachev. And he sees democracy going down the drain. He wants­he doesn't want to die as another tragic Russian reformer who failed. He wants to think­and he's in his eighties, he's not well­that his democracy is going to survive. So he wants to have an impact. Now, he had planned to speak at the second large protest, which I think was last Saturday. And at the last minute, he was persuaded not to, which I think was the right thing, because he would have been booed. People blame him for the end of the Soviet Union, and even a lot of middle-class people miss the Soviet Union. But he's in a kind of tragic position. He sees a second chance to have an impact in favor of democracy. So he came up with this idea of annulling the election. Now, in this interview, which wasn't fully translated here, he switched. And what he says is that Putin has to present a new political program to the country, a new system of power, of distribution of power, when he runs for president. And I think that's what he should be saying. JUAN GONZALEZ: I'd like to ask you about the situation with the press in Russia. Now, you've also said that under Gorbachev, there was perhaps a freer press than there was certainly under Yeltsin and now in the Putin era. The dangers to journalists these days in Russia and the murders of numerous journalists­what is the state of the press today? STEPHEN COHEN: Well, here, again, the Western media narrative is wrong. Every time a journalist breaks a leg, they say the Kremlin did it. They also say­and I don't know what the number from the Committee to Protect Journalists is at the moment, but roughly 80 journalists have been killed since the end of the Soviet Union. What they neglect to point out, that more than half died before Putin came to power. Why is that important? Because if you want to understand why journalists are being killed, you have to know the history. It began with the privatization of vast state assets. Overwhelmingly­overwhelmingly­the journalists who have been killed have been killed because they have investigated, threatened to report or reported the theft of millions and billions of dollars of property. It's people desperate to keep their corrupted property. This is built into the Russian system, which rests on stolen state property. Every poll done of the Russian people wants this property taken back by the state, including middle-class people. You know, I'm very old. I have had several careers. I was a journalist. I worked for American television networks. I wrote a column. My wife is a journalist. We know a lot of these people. Our friends have been killed. We're very close to the main opposition newspaper in Russia, which is called Novaya Gazeta, the New Gazette, who three of its leading reporters have been assassinated. But the editor, Dmitry Muratov, doesn't believe for a minute that the Kremlin did it. He thinks the Kremlin could do more to find who gave the contracts to have them killed, but AMY GOODMAN: Anna Politkovskaya. STEPHEN COHEN: Anna Politkovskaya was the closest to us, but a man by the name of Yuri Shchekochikhin, my wife's best friend in Russia is his widow. And they're still investigating that. He died of toxic­toxic poisoning in a hospital, very suspiciously. By the way, there's a new film about him that's going to come out soon. The point here is, if we really get to the basis of what's wrong with Russia, and we leave aside its history­you can't, but we're going­it's the fact that the nation doesn't accept the privatization of property that occurred in the 1990s. Now, again, the American narrative deletes the 1990s. But the reason that the people who control the financial oligarchy in Russia don't want free elections is they know that if they had free elections to a parliament, the people would vote for candidates pledging to confiscate their property. This is the main obstacle. Now, some democrats have tried to figure a way around this, like a forgiveness tax, a one-time supertax on these billions of dollars of property. And then­and it would all go into Social Security or education, and then we would forgive, you know, the oligarchs. But this is what Russia faces. This is the real problem, not Putin, not the Russian tradition. JUAN GONZALEZ: And the reason why the United States likes to conveniently forget that is because this­the collapse of the Soviet Union and the privatization of all these assets opened up all these new markets to our own companies, right? STEPHEN COHEN: Well, there's two reasons. There's the fact that it opened up markets. It's the fact that a large part of the stolen wealth is parked in the United States. I mean, we know the Bank of New York, for example, which was investigated, how a lot of it's already in real estate. But the main thing is, is it was supported, full-throatedly, by the Clinton administration in the 1990s. Now let's flash forward. Many of these people in the squares are fine people, but the so-called liberals on the podium­not talking about the ones who aren't the liberals­they are people from the 1990s. They have no political support in the country, like Garry Kasparov, the chess master whom you just showed. First of all, he lives in New York. But I mean, the main thing is, is that these people are disliked in Russia because they're associated with the era when the nation was plundered. That's why the Communists have gotten traction. They are not associated with that. But what Russia now needs are people who come forward to offer leadership who are not tied to the 1990s. But if we flash to Washington, Washington's ties, including those of Mrs. Clinton, and all our pro-democracy organizations, are to these people from the '90s, like Boris Nemtsov. They talk on the phone all the time. This doesn't promote democracy in Russia. It associates democracy with oligarchy and with foreign intervention. So, Russia knows how to do democracy. It proved it in the 1980s. It doesn't help when we come forward and then embrace people who are, to put it mildly, odious figures in Russia. AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much for being with us, Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University, author of numerous books on Russia and the Soviet Union. His latest, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, it's just out in paperback.
  18. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Tributes to the DDR

    Some very nice pics here - even if its from a capitalist rag: http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-41629.html
  19. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Tributes to the DDR

    more 40th anniversary Party Chairman Erich Honecher with child East German consumer products
  20. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Tributes to the DDR

    A tribute to the DDR (East Germany) Trabant car Standard apartment bloc of DDR Police HQ 40th anniversary parade If anyone has more pics please feel free to post
  21. Widely regarded as one of the finest works on the National Question, this is Stalin's most famous and most read work. Many of the definitions he provides are very commonly used today by sociologists and anthropologists - though without acknowledgement. Take this introduction to the definition of The Nation: What is a nation? A nation is primarily a community, a definite community of people. This community is not racial, nor is it tribal. The modern Italian nation was formed from Romans, Teutons, Etruscans, Greeks, Arabs, and so forth. The French nation was formed from Gauls, Romans, Britons, Teutons, and so on. The same must be said of the British, the Germans and others, who were formed into nations from people of diverse races and tribes. Thus, a nation is not a racial or tribal, but a historically constituted community of people. On the other hand, it is unquestionable that the great empires of Cyrus and Alexander could not be called nations, although they came to be constituted historically and were formed out of different tribes and races. They were not nations, but casual and loosely-connected conglomerations of groups, which fell apart or joined together according to the victories or defeats of this or that conqueror. Thus, a nation is not a casual or ephemeral conglomeration, but a stable community of people. But not every stable community constitutes a nation. Austria and Russia are also stable communities, but nobody calls them nations. What distinguishes a national community from a state community? The fact, among others, that a national community is inconceivable without a common language, while a state need not have a common language. The Czech nation in Austria and the Polish in Russia would be impossible if each did not have a common language, whereas the integrity of Russia and Austria is not affected by the fact that there are a number of different languages within their borders. We are referring, of course, to the spoken languages of the people and not to the official governmental languages. Thus, a common language is one of the characteristic features of a nation. This, of course, does not mean that different nations always and everywhere speak different languages, or that all who speak one language necessarily constitute one nation. A common language for every nation, but not necessarily different languages for different nations! There is no nation which at one and the same time speaks several languages, but this does not mean that there cannot be two nations speaking the same language! Englishmen and Americans speak one language, but they do not constitute one nation. The same is true of the Norwegians and the Danes, the English and the Irish. But why, for instance, do the English and the Americans not constitute one nation in spite of their common language? Firstly, because they do not live together, but inhabit different territories. A nation is formed only as a result of lengthy and systematic intercourse, as a result of people living together generation after generation. But people cannot live together, for lengthy periods unless they have a common territory. Englishmen and Americans originally inhabited the same territory, England, and constituted one nation. Later, one section of the English emigrated from England to a new territory, America, and there, in the new territory, in the course of time, came to form the new American nation. Difference of. territory led to the formation of different nations. Thus, a common territory is one of the characteristic features of a nation. But this is not all. Common territory does not by itself create a nation. This requires, in addition, an internal economic bond to weld the various parts of the nation into a single whole. There is no such bond between England and America, and so they constitute two different nations. But the Americans themselves would not deserve to be called a nation were not the different parts of America bound together into an economic whole, as a result of division of labour between them, the development of means of communication, and so forth. Take the Georgians, for instance. The Georgians before the Reform inhabited a common territory and spoke one language. Nevertheless, they did not, strictly speaking, constitute one nation, for, being split up into a number of disconnected principalities, they could not share a common economic life; for centuries they waged war against each other and pillaged each other, each inciting the Persians and Turks against the other. The ephemeral and casual union of the principalities which some successful king sometimes managed to bring about embraced at best a superficial administrative sphere, and rapidly disintegrated owing to the caprices of the princes and the indifference of the peasants. Nor could it be otherwise in economically disunited Georgia ... Georgia came on the scene as a nation only in the latter half of the nineteenth century, when the fall of serfdom and the growth of the economic life of the country, the development of means of communication and the rise of capitalism, introduced division of labour between the various districts of Georgia, completely shattered the economic isolation of the principalities and bound them together into a single whole. The same must be said of the other nations which have passed through the stage of feudalism and have developed capitalism. Thus, a common economic life, economic cohesion, is one of the characteristic features of a nation. But even this is not all. Apart from the foregoing, one must take into consideration the specific spiritual complexion of the people constituting a nation. Nations differ not only in their conditions of life, but also in spiritual complexion, which manifests itself in peculiarities of national culture. If England, America and Ireland, which speak one language, nevertheless constitute three distinct nations, it is in no small measure due to the peculiar psychological make-up which they developed from generation to generation as a result of dissimilar conditions of existence. Of course, by itself, psychological make-up or, as it is otherwise called, "national character," is something intangible for the observer, but in so far as it manifests itself in a distinctive culture common to the nation it is something tangible and cannot be ignored. Needless to say, "national character" is not a thing that is fixed once and for all, but is modified by changes in the conditions of life; but since it exists at every given moment, it leaves its impress on the physiognomy of the nation. Thus, a common psychological make-up, which manifests itself in a common culture, is one of the characteristic features of a nation. We have now exhausted the characteristic features of a nation. A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. It goes without saying that a nation, like every historical phenomenon, is subject to the law of change, has its history, its beginning and end. It must be emphasized that none of the above characteristics taken separately is sufficient to define a nation. More than that, it is sufficient for a single one of these characteristics to be lacking and the nation ceases to be a nation. It is possible to conceive of people possessing a common "national character" who, nevertheless, cannot be said to constitute a single nation if they are economically disunited, inhabit different territories, speak different languages, and so forth. Such, for instance, are the Russian, Galician, American, Georgian and Caucasian Highland Jews, who, in our opinion, do not constitute a single nation. It is possible to conceive of people with a common territory and economic life who nevertheless would not constitute a single nation because they have no common language and no common "national character." Such, for instance, are the Germans and Letts in the Baltic region. Finally, the Norwegians and the Danes speak one language, but they do not constitute a single nation owing to the absence of the other characteristics. It is only when all these characteristics are present together that we have a nation. Read the full article at: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1913/03.htm
  22. Concerning Marxism in Linguistics A group of younger comrades have asked me to give my opinion in the press on problems relating to linguistics, particularly in reference to Marxism in linguistics. I am not a linguistic expert and, of course, cannot fully satisfy the request of the comrades. As to Marxism in linguistics, as in other social sciences, this is something directly in my field. I have therefore consented to answer a number of questions put by the comrades. QUESTION: Is it true that language is a superstructure on the base? ANSWER: No, it is not true. The base is the economic structure of society at the given stage of its development. The superstructure is the political, legal, religious, artistic, philosophical views of society and the political, legal and other institutions corresponding to them. Every base has its own corresponding superstructure. The base of the feudal system has its superstructure, its political, legal and other views, and the corresponding institutions; the capitalist base has its own superstructure, so has the socialist base. If the base changes or is eliminated, then, following this, its superstructure changes or is eliminated; if a new base arises, then, following this, a superstructure arises corresponding to it. In this respect language radically differs from the superstructure. Take, for example, Russian society and the Russian language. In the course of the past thirty years the old, capitalist base has been eliminated in Russia and a new, socialist base has been built. Correspondingly, the superstructure on the capitalist base has been eliminated and a new superstructure created corresponding to the socialist base. The old political, legal and other institutions, consequently, have been supplanted by new, socialist institutions. But in spite of this the Russian language has remained basically what it was before the October Revolution. What has changed in the Russian language in this period? To a certain extent the vocabulary of the Russian language has changed, in the sense that it has been replenished with a considerable number of new words and expressions, which have arisen in connection with the rise of the new socialist production, the appearance of a new state, a new socialist culture, new social relations and morals, and, lastly, in connection with the development of technology and science; a number of words and expressions have changed their meaning, have acquired a new signification; a number of obsolete words have dropped out of the vocabulary. As to the basic stock of words and the grammatical system of the Russian language, which constitute the foundation of a language, they, after the elimination of the capitalist base, far from having been eliminated and supplanted by a new basic word stock and a new grammatical system of the language, have been preserved in their entirety and have not undergone any serious changes -- they have been preserved precisely as the foundation of the modern Russian language. Further, the superstructure is a product of the base, but this by no means implies that it merely reflects the base, that it is passive, neutral, indifferent to the fate of its base, to the fate of the classes, to the character of the system. On the contrary, having come into being, it becomes an exceedingly active force, actively assisting its base to take shape and consolidate itself, and doing its utmost to help the new system to finish off and eliminate the old base and the old classes. It cannot be otherwise. The superstructure is created by the base precisely in order to serve it, to actively help it to take shape and consolidate itself, to actively fight for the elimination of the old, moribund base together with its old superstructure. The superstructure has only to renounce this role of auxiliary, it has only to pass from a position of active defense of its base to one of indifference towards it, to adopt an equal attitude to all classes, and it loses its virtue and ceases to be a superstructure. In this respect language radically differs from the superstructure. Language is not a product of one or another base, old or new, within the given society, but of the whole course of the history of the society and of the history of the bases for many centuries. It was created not by some one class, but by the entire society, by all the classes of the society, by the efforts of hundreds of generations. It was created for the satisfaction of the needs not of one particular class, but of the entire society, of all the classes of the society. Precisely for this reason it was created as a single language for the society, common to all members of that society, as the common language of the whole people. Hence the functional role of language, as a means of intercourse between people, consists not in serving one class to the detriment of other classes, but in equally serving the entire society, all the classes of society. This in fact explains why a language may equally serve both the old, moribund system and the new, rising system; both the old base and the new base; both the exploiters and the exploited. It is no secret to anyone that the Russian language served Russian capitalism and Russian bourgeois culture before the October Revolution just as well as it now serves the socialist system and socialist culture of Russian society. The same must be said of the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Uzbek, Kazakh, Georgian, Armenian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moldavian, Tatar, Azerbaijanian, Bashkirian, Turkmenian and other languages of the Soviet nations; they served the old, bourgeois system of these nations just as well as they serve the new, socialist system. It cannot be otherwise. Language exists, language has been created precisely in order to serve society as a whole, as a means of intercourse between people, in order to be common to the members of society and constitute the single language of society, serving members of society equally, irrespective of their class status. A language has only to depart from this position of being a language common to the whole people, it has only to give preference and support to some one social group to the detriment of other social groups of the society, and it loses its virtue, ceases to be a means of intercourse between the people of the society, and becomes the jargon of some social group, degenerates and is doomed to disappear. In this respect, while it differs in principle from the superstructure, language does not differ from instruments of production, from machines, let us say, which are as indifferent to classes as is language and may, like it, equally serve a capitalist system and a socialist system. Further, the superstructure is the product of one epoch, the epoch in which the given economic base exists and operates. The superstructure is therefore short-lived; it is eliminated and disappears with the elimination and disappearance of the given base. Language, on the contrary, is the product of a whole number of epochs, in the course of which it takes shape, is enriched, develops and is smoothened. A language therefore lives immeasurably longer than any base or any superstructure. This in fact explains why the rise and elimination not only of one base and its superstructure, but of several bases and their corresponding superstructures, have not led in history to the elimination of a given language, to the elimination of its structure and the rise of a new language with a new stock of words and a new grammatical system. It is more than a hundred years since Pushkin died. In this period the feudal system and the capitalist system were eliminated in Russia, and a third, a socialist system has arisen. Hence two bases, with their superstructures, were eliminated, and a new, socialist base has arisen, with its new superstructure. Yet, if we take the Russian language, for example, it has not in this long span of time undergone any fundamental change, and the modern Russian language differs very little in structure from the language of Pushkin. What has changed in the Russian language in this period? The Russian vocabulary has in this period been greatly replenished; a large number of obsolete words have dropped out of the vocabulary; the meaning of a great many words has changed; the grammatical system of the language has improved. As to the structure of Pushkin's language, with its grammatical system and its basic stock of words, in all essentials it has remained as the basis of modern Russian. And this is quite understandable. Indeed, what necessity is there, after every revolution, for the existing structure of the language, its grammatical system and basic stock of words to be destroyed and supplanted by new ones, as is usually the case with the superstructure? What object would there be in calling "water," "earth," "mountain," "forest," "fish," "man," "to walk," "to do," "to produce," "to trade," etc., not water, earth, mountain, etc., but something else? What object would there be in having the modification of words in a language and the combination of words in sentences follow not the existing grammar, but some entirely different grammar? What would the revolution gain from such an upheaval in language? History in general never does anything of any importance without some special necessity for it. What, one asks, can be the necessity for such a linguistic revolution, if it has been demonstrated that the existing language and its structure are fundamentally quite suited to the needs of the new system? The old superstructure can and should be destroyed and replaced by a new one in the course of a few years, in order to give free scope for the development of the productive forces of society; but how can an existing language be destroyed and a new one built in its place in the course of a few years without causing anarchy in social life and without creating the threat of the disintegration of society? Who but a Don Quixote could set himself such a task? Lastly, one other radical distinction between the superstructure and language. The superstructure is not directly connected with production, with man's productive activity. It is connected with production only indirectly, through the economy, through the base. The superstructure therefore reflects changes in the level of development of the productive forces not immediately and not directly, but only after changes in the base, through the prism of the changes wrought in the base by the changes in production. This means that the sphere of action of the superstructure is narrow and restricted. Language, on the contrary, is connected with man's productive activity directly, and not only with man's productive activity, but with all his other activity in all his spheres of work, from production to the base, and from the base to the superstructure. For this reason language reflects changes in production immediately and directly, without waiting for changes in the base. For this reason the sphere of action of language, which embraces all fields of man's activity, is far broader and more comprehensive than the sphere of action of the superstructure. More, it is practically unlimited. It is this that primarily explains why language, or rather its vocabulary, is in a state of almost constant change. The continuous development of industry and agriculture, of trade and transport, of technology and science, demands that language should replenish its vocabulary with new words and expressions needed for their functioning. And language, directly reflecting these needs, does replenish its vocabulary with new words, and perfects its grammatical system. Hence: a) A Marxist cannot regard language as a superstructure on the base; To confuse language and superstructure is to commit a serious error. QUESTION: Is it true that language always was and is class language, that there is no such thing as language which is the single and common language of a society, a non-class language common to the whole people. ANSWER: No, it is not true. It is not difficult to understand that in a society which has no classes there can be no such thing as a class language. There were no classes in the primitive communal clan system, and consequently there could be no class language -- the language was then the single and common language of the whole community. The objection that the concept class should be taken as covering every human community, including the primitive communal community, is not an objection but a playing with words that is not worth refuting. As to the subsequent development from clan languages to tribal languages, from tribal languages to the languages of nationalities, and from the languages of nationalities to national languages -- everywhere and at all stages of development, language, as a means of intercourse between the people of a society, was the common and single language of that society, serving its members equally, irrespective of their social status. I am not referring here to the empires of the slave and mediaeval periods, the empires of Cyrus or Alexander the Great, let us say, or of Caesar or Charles the Great, which had no economic foundations of their own and were transient and unstable military and administrative associations. Not only did these empires not have, they could not have had a single language common to the whole empire and understood by all the members of the empire. They were conglomerations of tribes and nationalities, each of which lived its own life and had its own language. Consequently, it is not these or similar empires I have in mind, but the tribes and nationalities composing them, which had their own economic foundations and their own languages, evolved in the distant past. History tells us that the languages of these tribes and nationalities were not class languages, but languages common to the whole of a tribe or nationality, and understood by all its people. Side by side with this, there were, of course, dialects, local vernaculars, but they were dominated by and subordinated to the single and common language of the tribe or nationality. Later, with the appearance of capitalism, the elimination of feudal division and the formation of national markets, nationalities developed into nations, and the languages of nationalities into national languages. History shows that national languages are not class, but common languages, common to all the members of each nation and constituting the single language of that nation. It has been said above that language, as a means of intercourse between the people of a society, serves all classes of society equally, and in this respect displays what may be called an indifference to classes. But people, the various social groups, the classes, are far from being indifferent to language. They strive to utilize the language in their own interests, to impose their own special lingo, their own special terms, their own special expressions upon it. The upper strata of the propertied classes, who have divorced themselves from and detest the people -- the aristocratic nobility, the upper strata of the bourgeoisie -- particularly distinguish themselves in this respect. "Class" dialects, jargons, high-society "languages" are created. These dialects and jargons are often incorrectly referred to in literature as languages -- the "aristocratic language" or the "bourgeois language" in contradistinction to the "proletarian language" or the "peasant language." For this reason, strange as it may seem, some of our comrades have come to the conclusion that national language is a fiction, and that only class languages exist in reality. There is nothing, I think, more erroneous than this conclusion. Can These dialects and jargons be regarded as languages? Certainly not. They cannot, firstly, because these dialects and jargons have no grammatical systems or basic word stocks of their own -- they borrow them from the national language. They cannot, secondly, because these dialects and jargons are confined to a narrow sphere, are current only among the upper strata of a given class and are entirely unsuitable as a means of human intercourse for society as a whole. What, then, have they? They have a collection of specific words reflecting the specific tastes of the aristocracy or the upper strata of the bourgeoisie; a certain number of expressions and turns of phrase distinguished by refinement and gallantry and free of the "coarse" expressions and turns of phrase of the national language; lastly, a certain number of foreign words. But all the fundamentals, that is, the overwhelming majority of the words and the grammatical system, are borrowed from the common, national language. Dialects and jargons are therefore offshoots of the common national language, devoid of all linguistic independence and doomed to stagnation. To believe that dialects and jargons can develop into independent languages capable of ousting and supplanting the national language means losing one's sense of historical perspective and abandoning the Marxist position. References are made to Marx, and the passage from his article St. Max is quoted which says that the bourgeois have "their own language," that this language "is a product of the bourgeoisie" [2] that it is permeated with the spirit of mercantilism and huckstering. Certain comrades cite this passage with the idea of proving that Marx believed in the "class character" of language and denied the existence of a single national language. If these comrades were impartial, they should have cited another passage from this same article St. Max, where Marx, touching on the ways single national languages arose, speaks of "the concentration of dialects into a single national language resulting from economic and political concentration." [3] Marx, consequently, did recognize the necessity of a single national language, as a higher form, to which dialects, as lower forms, are subordinate. What, then, can this bourgeois language be which Marx says "is a product of the bourgeoisie"? Did Marx consider it as much a language as the national language, with a specific linguistic structure of its own? Could he have considered it such a language? Of course, not. Marx merely wanted to say that the bourgeois had polluted the single national language with their hucksters' lingo, that the bourgeois, in other words, have their hucksters' jargon. It thus appears that these comrades have misrepresented Marx. And they misrepresented him because they quoted Marx not like Marxists but like dogmatists, without delving into the essence of the matter. References arc made to Engels, and the words from his The Condition of the Working Class in England are cited where he says that in Britain "...the working class has gradually become a race wholly apart from the English bourgeoisie," that "the workers speak other dialects, have other thoughts and ideals, other customs and moral principles, a different religion and other politics than those of the bourgeoisie." [4] Certain comrades conclude from this passage that Engels denied the necessity of a common, national language, that he believed, consequently, in the "class character" of language. True, Engels speaks here of dialects, not languages, fully realizing that, being an offshoot of the national language, a dialect cannot supplant the national language. But apparently, These comrades regard the existence of a difference between a language and a dialect with no particular enthusiasm. It is obvious that the quotation is inappropriate, because Engels here speaks not of "class languages" but chiefly of class thoughts, ideals, customs, moral principles, religion, politics. It is perfectly true that the thoughts, ideals, customs, moral principles, religion and politics of bourgeois and proletarians are directly antithetical. But what has this to do with national language, or the "class character" of language? Can the existence of class antagonisms in society serve as an argument in favor of the "class character" of language, or against the necessity of a single national language? Marxism says that a common language is one of the cardinal earmarks of a nation, although knowing very well that there are class antagonisms within the nation. Do the comrades referred to recognize this Marxist thesis? References are made to Lafargue, [5] and it is said that in his pamphlet The French Language Before and After the Revolution he recognizes the "class character" of language and denies the necessity of a national language common to the whole people. That is not true. Lafargue does indeed speak of a "noble" or "aristocratic language" and of the "jargons" of various strata of society. But these comrades forget that Lafargue, who was not interested in the difference between languages and jargons and referred to dialects now as "artificial languages," now as "jargons," definitely says in this pamphlet that "the artificial language which distinguished the aristocracy . . . arose out of the language common to the whole people, which was spoken both by bourgeois and artisan, by town and country." Consequently, Lafargue recognizes the existence and necessity of a common language of the whole people, and fully realizes that the "aristocratic language" and other dialects and jargons are subordinate to and dependent on the language common to the whole people. It follows that the reference to Lafargue is wide of the mark. References are made to the fact that at one time in England the feudal lords spoke "for centuries" in French, while the English people spoke English, and this is alleged to be an argument in favor of the "class character" of language and against the necessity of a language common to the whole people. But this is not an argument, it is rather an anecdote. Firstly, not all the feudal lords spoke French at that time, but only a small upper stratum of English feudal lords attached to the court and at county seats. Secondly, it was not some "class language" they spoke, but the ordinary language common to all the French people. Thirdly, we know that in the course of time this French language fad disappeared without a trace, yielding place to the English language common to the whole people. Do these comrades think that the English feudal lords "for centuries" held intercourse with the English people through interpreters, that they did not use the English language, that there was no language common to all the English at that time, and that the French language in England was then anything more than the language of high society, current only in the restricted circle of the upper English aristocracy? How can one possibly deny the existence and the necessity of a language common to the whole people on the basis of anecdote "arguments" like these? There was a time when Russian aristocrats at the tsar's court and in high society also made a fad of the French language. They prided themselves on the fact that when they spoke Russian they often lapsed into French, that they could only speak Russian with a French accent. Does this mean that there was no Russian language common to the whole people at that time in Russia, that a language common to the whole people was a fiction, and "class languages" a reality? Our comrades are here committing at least two mistakes. The first mistake is that they confuse language with superstructure. They think that since the superstructure has a class character, language too must be a class language, and not a language common to the whole people. But I have already said that language and superstructure are two different concepts, and that a Marxist must not confuse them. The second mistake of these comrades is that they conceive the opposition of interests of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the fierce class struggle between them, as meaning the disintegration of society, as a break of all ties between the hostile classes. They believe that, since society has disintegrated and there is no longer a single society, but only classes, a single language of society, a national language, is unnecessary. If society has disintegrated and there is no longer a language common to the whole people, a national language, what remains? There remain classes and "class languages." Naturally, every "class language" will have its "class" grammar -- a "proletarian" grammar or a "bourgeois" grammar. True, such grammars do not exist anywhere. But that does not worry these comrades: they believe that such grammars will appear in due course. At one time there were "Marxists" in our country who asserted that the railways left to us after the October Revolution were bourgeois railways, that it would be unseemly for us Marxists to use them, that they should be torn up and new, "proletarian" railways built. For this they were nicknamed "troglodytes". It goes without saying that such a primitive-anarchist view of society, of classes, of language has nothing in common with Marxism. But it undoubtedly exists and continues to prevail in the minds of certain of our muddled comrades. It is of course wrong to say that, because of the existence of a fierce class struggle, society has split up into classes which are no longer economically connected with one another in one society. On the contrary, as long as capitalism exists, the bourgeois and the proletarians will be bound together by every economic thread as parts of a single capitalist society. The bourgeois cannot live and enrich themselves unless they have wage-laborers at their command; the proletarians cannot survive unless they hire themselves to the capitalists. If all economic ties between them were to cease, it would mean the cessation of all production, and the cessation of all production would mean the doom of society, the doom of the classes themselves. Naturally, no class wants to incur self-destruction. Consequently, however sharp the class struggle may be, it cannot lead to the disintegration of society. Only ignorance of Marxism and complete failure to understand the nature of language could have suggested to some of our comrades the fairy-tale about the disintegration of society, about "class" languages, and "class" grammars. Reference is further made to Lenin, and it is pointed out that Lenin recognized the existence of two cultures under capitalism -- bourgeois and proletarian -- and that the slogan of national culture under capitalism is a nationalist slogan. All this is true and Lenin is absolutely right here. But what has this to do with the "class character" of language? When these comrades refer to what Lenin said about two cultures under capitalism, it is evidently with the idea of suggesting to the reader that the existence of two cultures, bourgeois and proletarian, in society means that there must also be two languages, inasmuch as language is linked with culture -- and, consequently, that Lenin denies the necessity of a single national language, and, consequently, that Lenin believes in "class" languages. The mistake these comrades make here is that they identify and confuse language with culture. But culture and language are two different things. Culture may be bourgeois or socialist, but language, as a means of intercourse, is always a language common to the whole people and can serve both bourgeois and socialist culture. Is it not a fact that the Russian, the Ukrainian, the Uzbek languages are now serving the socialist culture of these nations just as well as they served their bourgeois cultures before the October Revolution? Consequently, these comrades are profoundly mistaken when they assert that the existence of two different cultures leads to the formation of two different languages and to the negation of the necessity of a single language. When Lenin spoke of two cultures, he proceeded precisely from the thesis that the existence of two cultures cannot lend to the negation of a single language and to the formation of two languages, that there must be a single language. When the Bundists [6] accused Lenin of denying the necessity of a national language and of regarding culture as "non-national," Lenin, as we know, vigorously protested and declared that he was fighting against bourgeois culture, and not against national languages, the necessity of which he regarded as indisputable. It is strange that some of our comrades should be trailing in the footsteps of the Bundists. As to a single language, the necessity of which Lenin is alleged to deny, it would be well to pay heed to the following words of Lenin: "Language is the most important means of human intercourse. Unity of language and its unimpeded development form one of the most important conditions for genuinely free and extensive commercial intercourse appropriate to modern capitalism, for a free and broad grouping of the population in all its separate classes." [7] It follows that our highly respected comrades have misrepresented the views of Lenin. Reference, lastly, is made to Stalin. The passage from Stalin is quoted which says that "the bourgeoisie and its nationalist parties were and remain in this period the chief directing force of such nations." 8 This is all true. The bourgeoisie and its nationalist party really do direct bourgeois culture, just as the proletariat and its internationalist party direct proletarian culture. But what has this to do with the "class character" of language? Do not these comrades know that national language is a form of national culture, that a national language may serve both bourgeois and socialist culture? Are our comrades unaware of the well-known formula of the Marxists that the present Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian and other cultures arc socialist in content and national in form, i.e., in language? Do they agree with this Marxist formula? The mistake our comrades commit here is that they do not see the difference between culture and language, and do not understand that culture changes in content with every new period in the development of society, whereas language remains basically the same through a number of periods, equally serving both the new culture and the old. Hence: a) Language, as a means of intercourse, always was and remains the single language of a society, common to all its members; The existence of dialects and jargons does not negate but confirms the existence of a language common to the whole of the given people, of which they are offshoots and to which they are subordinate; c) The "class character" of language formula is erroneous and non-Marxist. QUESTION: What are the characteristic features of language? ANSWER: Language is one of those social phenomena which operate throughout the existence of a society. It arises and develops with the rise and development of a society. It dies when the society dies. Apart from society there is no language. Accordingly, language and its laws of development can be understood only if studied in inseparable connection with the history of society, with the history of the people to whom the language under study belongs, and who are its creators and repositories. Language is a medium, an instrument with the help of which people communicate with one another, exchange thoughts and understand each other. Being directly connected with thinking, language registers and fixes in words, and in words combined into sentences, the results of the process of thinking and achievements of man's cognitive activity, and thus makes possible the exchange of thoughts in human society. Exchange of thoughts is a constant and vital necessity, for without it, it is impossible to co-ordinate the joint actions of people in the struggle against the forces of nature, in the struggle to produce the necessary material values; without it, it is impossible to ensure the success of society's productive activity, and, hence, the very existence of social production becomes impossible. Consequently, without a language understood by a society and common to all its members, that society must cease to produce, must disintegrate and cease to exist as a society. In this sense, language, while it is a medium of intercourse, is at the same time an instrument of struggle and development of society. As we know, all the words in a language taken together constitute what is known as its vocabulary. The chief thing in the vocabulary of a language is its basic stock of words, which includes also all the root words, as its kernel. It is far less extensive than the language's vocabulary, but it persists for a very long time, for centuries, and provides the language with a basis for the formation of new words. The vocabulary reflects the state of the language: the richer and more diversified the vocabulary, the richer and more developed the language. However, by itself, the vocabulary does not constitute the language -- it is rather the building material of the language. Just as in construction work the building materials do not constitute the building, although the latter cannot be constructed without them, so too the vocabulary of a language does not constitute the language itself, although no language is conceivable without it. But the vocabulary of a language assumes tremendous importance when it comes under the control of grammar, which defines the rules governing the modification of words and the combination of words into sentences, and thus makes the language a coherent and significant function. Grammar (morphology, syntax) is the collection of rules governing the modification of words and their combination into sentences. It is therefore thanks to grammar that it becomes possible for language to invest man's thoughts in a material linguistic integument. The distinguishing feature of grammar is that it gives rules for the modification of words not in reference to concrete words, but to words in general, not taken concretely; that it gives rules for the formation of sentences not in reference to particular concrete sentences -- with, let us say, a concrete subject, a concrete predicate, etc. -- but to all sentences in general, irrespective of the concrete form of any sentence in particular. Hence, abstracting itself, as regards both words and sentences, from the particular and concrete, grammar takes that which is common and basic in the modification of words and their combination into sentences and builds it into grammatical rules, grammatical laws. Grammar is the outcome of a process of abstraction performed by the human mind over a long period of time; it is an indication of the tremendous achievement of thought. In this respect grammar resembles geometry, which in giving its laws abstracts itself from concrete objects, regarding objects as bodies devoid of concreteness, and defining the relations between them not as the concrete relations of concrete objects but as the relations of bodies in general, devoid of all concreteness. Unlike the superstructure, which is connected with production not directly, but through the economy, language is directly connected with man's productive activity, as well as with all his other activity in all his spheres of work without exception. That is why the vocabulary of a language, being the most sensitive to change, is in a state of almost constant change, and, unlike the superstructure, language does not have to wait until the base is eliminated, but makes changes in its vocabulary before the base is eliminated and irrespective of the state of the base. However, the vocabulary of a language does not change in the way the superstructure does, that is, by abolishing the old and building something new, but by replenishing the existing vocabulary with new words which arise with changes in the social system, with the development of production, of culture, science, etc. Moreover, although a certain number of obsolete words usually drop out of the vocabulary of a language, a far larger number of new words are added. As to the basic word stock, it is preserved in all its fundamentals and is used as the basis for the vocabulary of the language. This is quite understandable. There is no necessity to destroy the basic word stock when it can be effectively used through the course of several historical periods; not to speak of the fact that, it being impossible to create a new basic word stock in a short time, the destruction of the basic word stock accumulated in the course of centuries would result in paralysis of the language, in the complete disruption of intercourse between people. The grammatical system of a language changes even more slowly than its basic word stock. Elaborated in the course of epochs, and having become part of the flesh and blood or the language, the grammatical system changes still more slowly than the basic word stock. With the lapse of time it, of course, undergoes changes, becomes more perfected, improves its rules, makes them more specific and acquires new rules; but the fundamentals of the grammatical system are preserved for a very long time, since, as history shows, they are able to serve society effectively through a succession of epochs. Hence, grammatical system and basic word stock constitute the foundation of language, the essence of its specific character. History shows that languages possess great stability and a tremendous power of resistance to forcible assimilation. Some historians, instead of explaining this phenomenon, confine themselves to expressing their surprise at it. But there is no reason for surprise whatsoever. Languages owe their stability to the stability of their grammatical systems and basic word stocks. The Turkish assimilators strove for hundreds of years to mutilate, shatter and destroy the languages of the Balkan peoples. During this period the vocabulary of the Balkan languages underwent considerable change; quite a few Turkish words and expressions were absorbed; there were "convergencies" and "divergencies." Nevertheless, the Balkan languages held their own and survived. Why? Because their grammatical systems and basic word stocks were in the main preserved. It follows from all this that a language, its structure, cannot be regarded as the product of some one epoch. The structure of a language, its grammatical system and basic word stock, is the product of a number of epochs. We may assume that the rudiments of modern language already existed in hoary antiquity, before the epoch of slavery. It was a rather simple language, with a very meager stock of words, but with a grammatical system of its own -- true, a primitive one, but a grammatical system nonetheless. The further development of production, the appearance of classes, the introduction of writing, the rise of the state, which needed a more or less well-regulated correspondence for its administration, the development of trade, which needed a well-regulated correspondence still more, the appearance of the printing press, the development of literature -- all this caused big changes in the development of language. During this time, tribes and nationalities broke up and scattered, intermingled and intercrossed; later there arose national languages and states, revolutions took place, and old social systems were replaced by new ones. All this caused even greater changes in language and its development. However, it would be a profound mistake to think that language developed in the way the superstructure developed -- by the destruction of that which existed and the building of something new. In point of fact, languages did not develop by the destruction of existing languages and the creation of new ones, but by extending and perfecting the basic elements of existing languages. And the transition of the language from one quality to another did not take the form of an explosion, of the destruction at one blow of the old and the creation of the new, but of the gradual and long-continued accumulation of the elements of the new quality, of the new linguistic structure, and the gradual dying away of the elements of the old quality. It is said that the theory that languages develop by stages is a Marxist theory, since it recognizes the necessity of sudden explosions as a condition for the transition of a language from an old quality to a new. This is of course untrue, for it is difficult to find anything resembling Marxism in this theory. And if the theory of stages really does recognize sudden explosions in the history of the development of languages, so much the worse for that theory. Marxism does not recognize sudden explosions in the development of languages, the sudden death of an existing language and the sudden erection of a new language. Lafargue was wrong when he spoke of a "sudden linguistic revolution which took place between 1789 and 1794" in France (see Lafargue's pamphlet The French Language Before and After the Revolution). There was no linguistic revolution, let alone a sudden one, in France at that time. True enough, during that period the vocabulary of the French language was replenished with new words and expressions, a certain number of obsolete words dropped out of it, and the meaning of certain words changed -- but that was all. Changes of this nature, however, by no means determine the destiny of a language. The chief thing in a language is its grammatical system and basic word stock. But far from disappearing in the period of the French bourgeois revolution, the grammatical system and basic word stock of the French language were preserved without substantial change, and not only were they preserved, but they continue to exist in the French language of to-day. I need hardly say that five or six years is a ridiculously small period for the elimination of an existing language and the building of a new national language ("a sudden linguistic revolution"!) -- centuries are needed for this. Marxism holds that the transition of a language from an old quality to a new does not take place by way of an explosion, of the destruction of an existing language and the creation of a new one, but by the gradual accumulation of the elements of the new quality, and hence by the gradual dying away of the elements of the old quality. It should be said in general for the benefit of comrades who have an infatuation for explosions that the law of transition from an old quality to a new by means of an explosion is inapplicable not only to the history of the development of languages; it is not always applicable to other social phenomena of a basis or superstructural character. It applies of necessity to a society divided into hostile classes. But it does not necessarily apply to a society which has no hostile classes. In a period of eight to ten years we effected a transition in the agriculture of our country from the bourgeois, individual-peasant system to the socialist, collective-farm system. This was a revolution which eliminated the old bourgeois economic system in the countryside and created a new, socialist system. But that revolution did not take place by means of an explosion, that is, by the overthrow of the existing government power and the creation of a new power, but by a gradual transition from the old bourgeois system in the countryside to a new system. And it was possible to do that because it was a revolution from above, because the revolution was accomplished on the initiative of the existing power with the support of the bulk of the peasantry. It is said that the numerous instances of linguistic crossing in past history furnish reason to believe that when languages cross a new language is formed by means of an explosion, by a sudden transition from an old quality to a new. This is quite wrong. Linguistic crossing cannot be regarded as the single impact of a decisive blow which produces its results within a few years. Linguistic crossing is a prolonged process which continues for hundreds of years. There can therefore be no question of explosion here. Further, it would be quite wrong to think that the crossing of, say, two languages results in a new, third language which does not resemble either of the languages crossed and differs qualitatively from both of them. As a matter of fact one of the languages usually emerges victorious from the cross retains its grammatical system and its basic word stock and continues to develop in accordance with its inherent laws of development, while the other language gradually loses its quality and gradually dies away. Consequently, a cross does not result in some new, third language; one of the languages persists, retains its grammatical system and basic word stock and is able to develop in accordance with its inherent laws of development. True, in the process the vocabulary of the victorious language is somewhat enriched from the vanquished language, but this strengthens rather than weakens it. Such was the case, for instance, with the Russian language, with which, in the course of historical development, the languages of a number of other peoples crossed and which always emerged the victor. Of course, in the process the vocabulary of the Russian language was enlarged at the expense of the vocabularies of the other languages, but far from weakening, this enriched and strengthened the Russian language. As to the specific national individuality of the Russian language, it did not suffer in the slightest, because the Russian language preserved its grammatical system and basic word stock and continued to advance and perfect itself in accordance with its inherent laws of development. There can be no doubt that the crossing theory has little or no value for Soviet linguistics. If it is true that the chief task of linguistics is to study the inherent laws of language development, it has to be admitted that the crossing theory does not even set itself this task, let alone accomplish it -- it simply does not notice it, or does not understand it. QUESTION: Did Pravda act rightly in starting an open discussion on problems of linguistics? ANSWER: Yes, it did. Along what lines the problems of linguistics will be settled, will become clear at the conclusion of the discussion. But it may be said already that the discussion has been very useful. It has brought out, in the first place, that in linguistic bodies both in the center and in the republics a regime has prevailed which is alien to science and men of science. The slightest criticism of the state of affairs in Soviet linguistics, even the most timid attempt to criticize the so-called "new doctrine" in linguistics, was persecuted and suppressed by the leading linguistic circles. Valuable workers and researchers in linguistics were dismissed from their posts or demoted for being critical of N. Y. Marr's heritage or expressing the slightest disapproval of his teachings. Linguistic scholars were appointed to leading posts not on their merits, but because of their unqualified acceptance of N. Y. Marr's theories. It is generally recognized that no science can develop and flourish without a battle of opinions, without freedom of criticism. But this generally recognized rule was ignored and flouted in the most unceremonious fashion. There arose a close group of infallible leaders, who, having secured themselves against any possible criticism, became a law unto themselves and did whatever they pleased. To give one example: the so-called "Baku Course" (lectures delivered by N. Y. Marr in Baku), which the author himself had rejected and forbidden to be republished, was republished nevertheless by order of this leading caste (Comrade Meshchaninov calls them "disciples" of N. Y. Marr) and included without any reservations in the list of text-books recommended to students. This means that the students were deceived a rejected "Course" being suggested to them as a sound textbook. If I were not convinced of the integrity of Comrade Meshchaninov and the other linguistic leaders, I would say that such conduct is tantamount to sabotage. How could this have happened? It happened because the Arakcheyev regime [9] established in linguistics cultivates irresponsibility and encourages such arbitrary actions. The discussion has proved to be very useful first of all because it brought this Arakcheyev regime into the light of day and smashed it to smithereens. But the usefulness of the discussion does not end there. It not only smashed the old regime in linguistics but also brought out the incredible confusion of ideas on cardinal questions of linguistics which prevails among the leading circles in this branch of science. Until the discussion began the "disciples" of N. Y. Marr kept silence and glossed over the unsatisfactory state of affairs in linguistics. But when the discussion started silence became impossible, and they were compelled to express their opinion in the press. And what did we find? It turned out that in N. Y. Marr's teachings there are a whole number of defects, errors, ill-defined problems and sketchy propositions. Why, one asks, have N. Y. Marr's "disciples" begun to talk about this only now, after the discussion opened? Why did they not see to it before? Why did they not speak about it in due time openly and honestly, as befits scientists? Having admitted "some" errors of N. Y. Marr, his "disciples," it appears, think that Soviet linguistics can only be advanced on the basis of a "rectified" version of N. Y. Marr's theory, which they consider a Marxist one. No, save us from N. Y. Marr's "Marxism"! N. Y. Marr did indeed want to be, and endeavored to be, a Marxist, but he failed to become one. He was nothing but a simplifier and vulgarizer of Marxism, similar to the "proletcultists" or the "Rappists." N. Y. Marr introduced into linguistics the incorrect, non-Marxist formula that language is a superstructure, and got himself into a muddle and put linguistics into a muddle. Soviet linguistics cannot be advanced on the basis of an incorrect formula. N. Y. Marr introduced into linguistics another and also incorrect and non-Marxist formula, regarding the "class character" of language, and got himself into a muddle and put linguistics into a muddle. Soviet linguistics cannot be advanced on the basis of an incorrect formula which is contrary to the whole course of the history of peoples and languages. N. Y. Marr introduced into linguistics an immodest, boastful, arrogant tone alien to Marxism and tending towards a bald and off-hand negation of everything done in linguistics prior to N. Y. Marr. N. Y. Marr shrilly abused the comparative-historical method as "idealistic." Yet it must be said that, despite its serious shortcomings, the comparative-historical method is nevertheless better than N. Y. Marr's really idealistic four-element analysis, [10] because the former gives a stimulus to work, to a study of languages, while the latter only gives a stimulus to loll in one's arm-chair and tell fortunes in the tea-cup of the celebrated four elements. N. Y. Marr haughtily discountenanced every attempt to study groups (families) of languages on the grounds that it was a manifestation of the "proto-language" theory. [11] Yet it cannot be denied that the linguistic affinity of nations like the Slav nations, say, is beyond question, and that a study of the linguistic affinity of these nations might be of great value to linguistics in the study of the laws of language development. The "proto-language" theory, I need hardly say, has nothing to do with it. To listen to N. Y. Marr, and especially to his "disciples," one might think that prior to N. Y. Marr there was no such thing as the science of language, that the science of language appeared with the "new doctrine" of N. Y. Marr. Marx and Engels were much more modest: they held that their dialectical materialism was a product of the development of the sciences, including philosophy, in earlier periods. Thus, the discussion was useful also because it brought to light ideological shortcomings in Soviet linguistics. I think that the sooner our linguistics rids itself of N. Y. Marr's errors, the sooner will it be possible to extricate it from its present crisis. Elimination of the Arakcheyev regime in linguistics, rejection of N. Y. Marr's errors, and the introduction of Marxism into linguistics -- that, in my opinion, is the way in which Soviet linguistics could be put on a sound basis. Pravda, June 20, 1950 Concerning Certain Problems of Linguistics Reply to Comrade E. Krasheninnikova Comrade Krasheninnikova, I am answering your questions. QUESTION: Your article convincingly shows that language is neither the base nor the superstructure. Would it be right to regard language as a phenomenon characteristic of both the base and the superstructure, or would it be more correct to regard language as an intermediate phenomenon? ANSWER: Of course, characteristic of language, as a social phenomenon, is that common feature which is inherent in all social phenomena, including the base and the superstructure, namely: it serves society just as society is served by all other social phenomena, including the base and the superstructure. But this, properly speaking, exhausts that common feature which is inherent in all social phenomena. Beyond this, important distinctions begin between social phenomena. The point is that social phenomena have, in addition to this common feature, their own specific features which distinguish them from each other and which are of primary importance for science. The specific features of the base consist in that it serves society economically. The specific features of the superstructure consist in that it serves society by means of political, legal, aesthetic and other ideas and provides society with corresponding political, legal and other institutions. What then are the specific features of language, distinguishing it from other social phenomena? They consist in that language serves society as a means of intercourse between people, as a means for exchanging thoughts in society, as a means enabling people to understand one another and to co-ordinate joint work in all spheres of human activity, both in the sphere of production and in the sphere of economic relations, both in the sphere of politics and in the sphere of culture, both in social life and in everyday life. These specific features are characteristic only of language, and precisely because they are characteristic only of language, language is the object of study by an independent science -- linguistics. If there were no such specific features of language, linguistics would lose its right to independent existence. In brief: language cannot be included either in the category of bases or in the category of superstructures. Nor can it be included in the category of "intermediate" phenomena between the base and the superstructure, for such "intermediate" phenomena do not exist. But perhaps language could be included in the category of the productive forces of society, in the category, say, of instruments of production? Indeed, there does exist a certain analogy between language and instruments of production: instruments of production manifest, just as language does, a kind of indifference towards classes and can serve equally different classes of society, both old and new. Does this circumstance provide ground for including language in the category of instruments of production? No, it does not. At one time, N. Y. Marr, seeing that his formula -- "language is a superstructure on the base" -- encountered objections, decided to "reshape" it and announced that "language is an instrument of production." Was N. Y. Marr right in including language in the category of instruments of production? No, he certainly was not. The point is that the similarity between language and instruments of production ends with the analogy I have just mentioned. But, on the other hand, there is a radical difference between language and instruments of production. This difference lies in the fact that whereas instruments of production produce material wealth, language produces nothing or "produces" words only. To put it more plainly, people possessing instruments of production can produce material wealth, but those very same people, if they possess a language but not instruments of production, cannot produce material wealth. It is not difficult to see that were language capable of producing material wealth, wind-bags would be the richest men on earth. QUESTION: Marx and Engels define language as "the immediate reality of thought," as "practical,... actual consciousness.'' [12] "Ideas," Marx says, "do not exist divorced from language." In what measure, in your opinion, should linguistics occupy itself with the semantic aspect of language, semantics, historical semasiology, and stylistics, or should form alone be the subject of linguistics? ANSWER: Semantics (semasiology) is one of the important branches of linguistics. The semantic aspect of words and expressions is of serious importance in the study of language. Hence, semantics (semasiology) must be assured its due place in linguistics. However, in working on problems of semantics and in utilizing its data, its significance must in no way be overestimated, and still less must it be abused. I have in mind certain philologists who, having an excessive passion for semantics, disregard language as "the immediate reality of thought" inseparably connected with thinking, divorce thinking from language and maintain that language is outliving its age and that it is possible to do without language. Listen to what N. Y. Marr says: "Language exists only inasmuch as it is expressed in sounds; the action of thinking occurs also without being expressed.... Language (spoken) has already begun to surrender its functions to the latest inventions which are unreservedly conquering space, while thinking is on the up-grade, departing from its unutilized accumulations in the past and its new acquisitions, and is to oust and fully replace language. The language of the future is thinking which will be developing in technique free of natural matter. No language, even the spoken language, which is all the same connected with the standards of nature, will be able to withstand it" (see Selected Works by N. Y. Marr). If we interpret this "labor-magic" gibberish into simple human language, the conclusion may be drawn that: a) N. Y. Marr divorces thinking from language; N. Y. Marr considers that communication between people can be realized without language, with the help of thinking itself, which is free of the "natural matter" of language, free of the "standards of nature"; c) divorcing thinking from language and "having freed" it from the "natural matter,' of language, N. Y. Marr lands into the swamp of idealism. It is said that thoughts arise in the mind of man prior to their being expressed in speech, that they arise without linguistic material, without linguistic integument, in, so to say, a naked form. But that is absolutely wrong. Whatever thoughts arise in the human mind and at whatever moment, they can arise and exist only on the basis of the linguistic material, on the basis of language terms and phrases. Bare thoughts, free of the linguistic material, free of the "natural matter" of language, do not exist. "Language is the immediate reality of thought" (Marx). The reality of thought is manifested in language. Only idealists can speak of thinking not being connected with "the natural matter" of language, of thinking without language. In brief: over-estimation of semantics and abuse of it led N. Y. Marr to idealism. Consequently, if semantics (semasiology) is safeguarded against exaggerations and abuses of the kind committed by N. Y. Marr and some of his "disciples," semantics can be of great benefit to linguistics. QUESTION: You quite justly say that the ideas, concepts, customs and moral principles of the bourgeoisie and those of the proletariat are directly antithetical. The class character of these phenomena is certainly reflected in the semantic aspect of language (and sometimes in its form -- in the vocabulary -- as is correctly pointed out in your article). In analyzing concrete linguistic material and, in the first place, the semantic aspect of language, can we speak of the class essence of the concepts expressed by language, particularly in those cases when language expresses not only the thought of man but also his attitude towards reality, where his class affinity manifests itself with especial clarity? ANSWER: Putting it more briefly, you want to know whether classes influence language, whether they introduce into language their specific words and expressions, whether there are cases when people attach a different meaning to one and the same word or expression depending on their class affinity? Yes, classes influence language, introduce into the language their own specific words and expressions and sometimes understand one and the same word or expression differently. There is no doubt about that. However, it does not follow that specific words and expressions, as well as difference in semantics, can be of serious importance for the development of a single language common to the whole people, that they are capable of detracting from its significance or of changing its character. Firstly, such specific words and expressions, as well as cases of difference in semantics, are so few in language that they hardly make up even one per cent of the entire linguistic material. Consequently, all the remaining overwhelming mass of words and expressions, as well as their semantics, are common to all classes of society. Secondly, specific words and expressions with a class tinge are used in speech not according to rules of some sort of "class" grammar, which does not exist, but according to the grammatical rules of the existing language common to the whole people. Hence, the existence of specific words and expressions and the facts of differences in the semantics of language do not refute, but, on the contrary, confirm the existence and necessity of a single language common to the whole people. QUESTION: In your article you quite correctly appraise Marr as a vulgarizer of Marxism. Does this mean that the linguists, including us, the young linguists, should reject the whole linguistic heritage of Marr, who all the same has to his credit a number of valuable linguistic researches (Comrades Chikobava, Sanzheyev and others wrote about them during the discussion)? Approaching Marr critically, cannot we take from him what is useful and valuable? ANSWER: Of course, the works of N. Y. Marr do not consist solely of errors. N. Y. Marr made very gross mistakes when he introduced into linguistics elements of Marxism in a distorted form, when he tried to create an independent theory of language. But N. Y. Marr has certain good and ably written works, in which he, forgetting his theoretical claims, conscientiously and, one must say, skillfully investigates individual languages. In these works one can find not a little that is valuable and instructive. Clearly, these valuable and instructive things should be taken from N. Y. Marr and utilized. QUESTION: Many linguists consider formalism one of the main causes of the stagnation in Soviet linguistics. We should very much like to know your opinion as to what formalism in linguistics consists in and how it should be overcome. ANSWER: N. Y. Marr and his "disciples" accuse of "formalism" all linguists who do not accept the "new doctrine" of N. Y. Marr. This of course is not serious or clever. N. Y. Marr considered that grammar is an empty "formality," and that people who regard the grammatical system as the foundation of language are formalists. This is altogether foolish. I think that ''formalism'' was invented by the authors of the "new doctrine" to facilitate their struggle against their opponents in linguistics. The cause of the stagnation in Soviet linguistics is not the "formalism" invented by N. Y. Marr and his "disciples," but the Arakcheyev regime and the theoretical gaps in linguistics. The Arakcheyev regime was set up by the "disciples" of N. Y. Marr. Theoretical confusion was brought into linguistics by N. Y. Marr and his closest colleagues. To put an end to stagnation, both the one and the other must be eliminated. The removal of these plague spots will put Soviet linguistics on a sound basis, will lead it out on to the broad highway and enable Soviet linguistics to occupy first place in world linguistics. Pravda, July 4, 1950 Concerining Certain Problems of Linguistics June 29, 1950 Reply to Comrade Sanzheyev Esteemed Comrade Sanzheyev, I am replying to your letter with considerable delay, for it was only yesterday forwarded to me from the apparatus of the Central Committee. Your interpretation of my standpoint on the question of dialects is absolutely correct. "Class" dialects, which it would be more correct to call jargons, do not serve the mass of the people, but a narrow social upper crust. Moreover, they do not have a grammatical system or basic word stock of their own. In view of this, they cannot possibly develop into independent languages. Local ("territorial") dialects, on the other hand, serve the mass of the people and have a grammatical system and basic word stock of their own. In view of this, some local dialects, in the process of formation of nations, may become the basis of national languages and develop into independent national languages. This was the case, for instance, with the Kursk-Orel dialect (the Kursk-Orel "speech") of the Russian language, which formed the basis of the Russian national language. The same must be said of the Poltava-Kiev dialect of the Ukrainian language, which formed the basis of the Ukrainian national language. As for the other dialects of such languages, they lose their originality, merge with those languages and disappear in them. Reverse processes also occur, when the single language of a nationality, which has not yet become a nation owing to the absence of the necessary economic conditions of development, collapses as a result of the disintegration of the state of that nationality, and the local dialects, which have not yet had time to be fully uniformized in the single language, revive and give rise to the formation of separate independent languages. Possibly, this was the case, for example, with the single Mongolian language. Pravda, August 2, 1950 Coneerning Certain Problems of Linguistics To Comrades D. Belkin and S. Furer July 11, 1950 I have received your letters. Your mistake is that you have confused two different things and substituted another subject for that examined in my reply to Comrade Krasheninnikova. In that reply I criticized N. Y. Marr who, dealing with language (spoken) and thought, divorces language from thought and thus lapses into idealism. Therefore, I referred in my reply to normal human beings possessing the faculty of speech. I maintained, moreover, that with such human beings thoughts can arise only on the basis of linguistic material, that bare thoughts unconnected with linguistic material do not exist among people, who possess the faculty of speech. Instead of accepting or rejecting this thesis, you introduce anomalous human beings, people without language, deaf-mutes, who have no language at their disposal and whose thoughts, of course, cannot arise on the basis of linguistic material. As you see, this is an entirely different subject which I did not touch upon and could not have touched upon, since linguistics concerns itself with normal human beings possessing the faculty of speech and not with anomalous deaf-mutes who do not possess the faculty of speech. You have substituted for the subject under discussion another subject that was not discussed. From Comrade Belkin's letter it is evident that he places on a par the "language of words" (spoken language) and "gesture language" ("hand" language, according to N. Y. Marr). He seems to think that gesture language and the language of words are of equal significance, that at one time human society had no language of words, that "hand" language at that time played the part of the language of words which appeared later. But if Comrade Belkin really thinks so, he is committing a serious error. Spoken language or the language of words has always been the sole language of human society capable of serving as an adequate means of intercourse between people. History does not know of a single human society, be it the most backward, that did not have its own spoken language. Ethnography does not know of a single backward tribe, be it as primitive or even more primitive than, say, the Australians or the Tierra del Fuegans of the last century, which did not have its own spoken language. In the history of mankind, spoken language has been one of the forces which helped human beings to emerge from the animal world, unite into communities, develop their faculty of thinking, organize social production, wage a successful struggle against the forces of nature and attain the stage of progress we have to-day. In this respect, the significance of the so-called gesture language, in view of its extreme poverty and limitations, is negligible. Properly speaking, this is not a language, and not even a linguistic substitute that could in one way or another replace spoken language, but an auxiliary means of extremely limited possibilities to which man sometimes resorts to emphasize this or that point in his speech. Gesture language and spoken language are just as incomparable as are the primitive wooden hoe and the modern caterpillar tractor with its five-furrow plow or tractor row drill. Apparently, you are primarily interested in the deaf-mutes, and only secondarily in problems of linguistics. Evidently, it was precisely this circumstance that prompted you to put a number of questions to me. Well, if you insist, I am not averse to granting your request. How do matters stand with regard to deaf-mutes? Do they possess the faculty of thinking? Do thoughts arise with them? Yes, they possess the faculty of thinking and thoughts arise with them. Clearly, since deaf-mutes are deprived of the faculty of speech, their thoughts cannot arise on the basis of linguistic material. Can this be taken to mean that the thoughts of deaf-mutes are naked, are not connected with the "standards of nature" (N. Y. Marr's expression)? No, it cannot. The thoughts of deaf-mutes arise and can exist only on the basis of the images, sensations and conceptions they form in every-day life on the objects of the outside world and their relations among themselves, thanks to the senses of sight, of touch, taste, and smell. Apart from these images, sensations and conceptions, thought is empty, is deprived of all content, that is, it does not exist. To Comrade A. Kholopov July 28, 1950 I have received your letter. Pressure of work has somewhat delayed my reply. Your letter tacitly proceeds from two premises: from the premise that it is permissible to quote the work of this or that author apart from the historical period of which the quotation treats, and secondly, from the premise that this or that conclusion or formula of Marxism, derived as a result of studying one of the periods of historical development, holds good for all periods of development and therefore must remain invariable. I must say that both these premises are deeply mistaken. A few examples. In the forties of the past century when there was no monopoly capitalism as yet, when capitalism was developing more or less smoothly along an ascending line, spreading to new territories it had not yet occupied, and the law of uneven development could not yet fully operate, Marx and Engels concluded that a socialist revolution could not be victorious in one particular country, that it could be victorious only as a result of a joint blow in all, or in most, civilized countries. This conclusion subsequently became a guiding principle for all Marxists. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, especially in the period of the first world war, when it became clear to everyone that pre-monopoly capitalism had definitely developed into monopoly capitalism, when rising capitalism had become dying capitalism, when the war had revealed the incurable weaknesses of the world imperialist front, and the law of uneven development predetermined that the proletarian revolution would mature in different countries at different times, Lenin, proceeding from Marxist theory, came to the conclusion that in the new conditions of development, the socialist revolution could fully prove victorious in one country taken separately, that the simultaneous victory of the socialist revolution in all countries, or in a majority of civilized countries, was impossible owing to the uneven maturing of the revolution in those countries, that the old formula of Marx and Engels no longer corresponded to the new historical conditions. It is evident that here we have two different conclusions on the question of the victory of socialism, which not only contradict, but exclude each other. Some textualists and Talmudists who quote mechanically without delving into the essence of the matter, and apart from historical conditions, may say that one of these conclusions should be discarded as being absolutely incorrect, while the other conclusion, as the absolutely correct one, should be applied to all periods of development. Marxists, however, cannot but know that the textualists and Talmudists are mistaken, they cannot but know that both of these conclusions are correct, though not absolutely, each being correct for its own time: Marx's and Engels' conclusion -- for the period of pre-monopoly capitalism; and Lenin's conclusion -- for the period of monopoly capitalism. Engels in his Anti-Dühring said that after the victory of the socialist revolution, the state is bound to wither away. On these grounds, after the victory of the socialist revolution in our country, textualists and Talmudists in our Party began demanding that the Party should take stops to ensure the speedy withering away of our state, to disband state organs, to give up a standing army. However, the study of the world situation of our time led Soviet Marxists to the conclusion that in the conditions of capitalist encirclement, when the socialist revolution has been victorious only in one country, and capitalism reigns in all other countries, the land of the victorious revolution should not weaken, but in every way strengthen its state, state organs, intelligence organs and army, if that land does not want to be crushed by the capitalist encirclement. Russian Marxists came to the conclusion that Engels' formula has in view the victory of socialism in all, or in most, countries, that it cannot be applied in the case where socialism is victorious in one country taken separately and capitalism reigns in all the other countries. Evidently, we have here two different formulas regarding the destiny of the socialist state, each formula excluding the other. The textualists and Talmudists may say that this circumstance creates an intolerable situation, that one of these formulas must he discarded as being absolutely erroneous, and the other -- as the absolutely correct one -- must be applied to all periods of development of the socialist state. Marxists, however, cannot but know that the textualists and Talmudists arc mistaken, for both these formulas are correct though not absolutely, each being correct for its time: the formula of Soviet Marxists -- for the period of the victory of socialism in one or several countries; and the formula of Engels -- for the period when the consecutive victory of socialism in separate countries will lead to the victory of socialism in the majority of countries and when the necessary conditions will thus have been created for the application of Engels' formula. The number of such examples could be multiplied. The same must be said of the two different formulas on the question of language, taken from various works of Stalin and cited by Comrade Kholopov in his letter. Comrade Kholopov refers to Stalin's work Concerning Marxism in Linguistics, where the conclusion is drawn that, as a result of the crossing, say, of two languages, one of them usually emerges victorious, while the other dies away, that, consequently, crossing does not produce some new, third language, but preserves one of the languages. He refers further to another conclusion, taken from Stalin's report to the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), where it is said that in the period of the victory of socialism on a world scale, when socialism is consolidated and becomes part of every-day life, national languages will inevitably merge into one common language which, of course, will be neither Great Russian nor German, but something new. Comparing these two formulas and seeing that, far from coinciding, they exclude each other, Comrade Kholopov falls into despair. "From your article," he writes in his letter, "I understood that the crossing of languages can never produce come new language, whereas prior to your article I was firmly convinced, in conformity with your speech at the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), that under communism, languages would merge into one common language." Evidently, having discovered a contradiction between these two formulas and being deeply convinced that the contradiction must be removed, Comrade Kholopov considers it necessary to get rid of one of these formulas as incorrect and to clutch at the other as being correct for all periods and countries; but which formula to clutch at -- he does not know. The result is something in the nature of a hopeless situation. Comrade Kholopov does not even suspect that both formulas can be correct -- each for its own time. That is always the case with textualists and Talmudists who do not delve into the essence of the matter, quote mechanically and irrespective of the historical conditions of which the quotations treat, and invariably find themselves in a hopeless situation. Yet if one examines the essence of the matter, there are no grounds for considering the situation hopeless. The fact is that Stalin's pamphlet Concerning Marxism in Linguistics, and Stalin's speech at the Sixteenth Party Congress, refer to two entirely different epochs, owing to which the formulas, too, prove to be different. The formula given by Stalin in his pamphlet, in the part where it speaks of the crossing of languages, refers to the epoch prior to the victory of socialism on a world scale, when the exploiting classes are the dominant power in the world; when national and colonial oppression remains in force; when national isolation and mutual distrust among nations are consolidated by differences between states; when, as yet there is no national equality of rights; when the crossing of languages takes place as a struggle for the domination of one of the languages; when the conditions necessary for the peaceful and friendly co-operation of nations and languages are as yet lacking; when it is not the co-operation and mutual enrichment of languages that are on the order of the day, but the assimilation of some and the victory of other languages. It is clear that in such conditions there can be only victorious and defeated languages. It is precisely these conditions that Stalin's formula has in view when it says that the crossing, say, of two languages, results not in the formation of a new language, but in the victory of one of the languages and the defeat of the other. As regards the other formula by Stalin, taken from his speech at the Sixteenth Party Congress, in the part that touches on the merging of languages into one common language, it has in view another epoch, namely, the epoch after the victory of socialism on a world scale, when world imperialism no longer exists; when the exploiting classes are overthrown and national and colonial oppression is eradicated; when national isolation and mutual distrust among nations is replaced by mutual confidence and rapprochement between nations; when national equality has been put into practice; when the policy of suppressing and assimilating languages is abolished; when the co-operation of nations has been established, and it is possible for national languages freely to enrich one another through their co-operation. It is clear that in these conditions there can be no question of the suppression and defeat of some languages, and the victory of others. Here we shall have not two languages, one of which is to suffer defeat, while the other is to emerge from the struggle victorious, but hundreds of national languages, out of which, as a result of a prolonged economic, political and cultural co operation of nations, there will first appear most enriched unified zonal languages, and subsequently the zonal languages will merge into a single international language, which, of course, will be neither German, nor Russian, nor English, but a new language that has absorbed the best elements of the national and zonal languages. Consequently, the two different formulas correspond to two different epochs in the development of society, and precisely because they correspond to them, both formulas are correct -- each for its epoch. To demand that these formulas should not be at variance with each other, that they should not exclude each other, is just as absurd as it would be to demand that the epoch of the domination of capitalism should not be at variance with the epoch of the domination of socialism, that socialism and capitalism should not exclude each other. The textualists and Talmudists regard Marxism and separate conclusions and formulas of Marxism as a collection of dogmas, which "never" change, notwithstanding changes in the conditions of the development of society. They believe that if they learn these conclusions and formulas by heart and start citing them at random, they will be able to solve any problem, reckoning that the memorized conclusions and formulas will serve them for all times and countries, for all occasions in life. But this can be the conviction only of people who see the letter of Marxism, but not its essence, who learn by rote the texts of conclusions and formulas of Marxism, but do not understand their meaning. Marxism is the science of the laws governing the development of nature and society, the science of the revolution of the oppressed and exploited masses, the science of the victory of socialism in all countries, the science of building communist society. As a science, Marxism cannot stand still, it develops and is perfected. In its development, Marxism cannot but be enriched by new experience, new knowledge -- consequently some of its formulas and conclusions cannot but change in the course of time, cannot but be replaced by new formulas and conclusions, corresponding to the new historical tusks. Marxism does not recognize invariable conclusions and formulas, obligatory for all epochs and periods. Marxism is the enemy of all dogmatism. NOTES [1] Stalin's essay Marxism and Problems of Linguistics was published in Pravda on June 20, 1950. Prior to this, there had already been discussion on Soviet linguistic problems in Pravda. This essay by Comrade Stalin is in reply to questions put to him by a group of Soviet students in connection with the discussion, and to essays published in Pravda's columns. The titles of these latter were "On the Path of Materialist Linguistics" by member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Bulakhovsky, "The History of Russian Linguistics and Marr's Theory" by Nikiforov, "On the Problem of the Class Character of Language" by Kudriavtsev and others. p 1. [2] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Works, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1958, Vol. 3, p. 212 p. 13 [3] Ibid., pp. 411-12. p. 13 [4] Ibid., 1957, Vol. 2, p. 351. p. 14 [5] Paul Lafargue (1842-1911), well-known activist of French and international workers' movements, and outstanding Marxist propagandist and publicist. He was one of the founders of the French workers' Party, student and comrade-in-arms of Marx and Engels, and husband of Marx's daughter Laura. p. 14 [6] Bund, General Jewish workers' Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia, was a Jewish petty-bourgeois opportunist organization founded at a congress held in Vilna in October, 1897, which worked mainly among Jewish handicraftsmen. At the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party's First Congress in 1898, Bund joined the R.S.D.L.P. as "an independent autonomous organization concerned only with the special problems of the Jewish proletariat." Once it joined the Party, however, it propagated nationalism and separatism in the Russian working-class movement. The Bundist bourgeois-nationalist standpoint was sternly repudiated by Iskra newspaper founded by Lenin. p. 18 [7] V. I. Lenin, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination " Selected Works in Two Volumes, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1952, Vol. I, Part 2 pp. 318-19. p. 19 [8] J. V. Stalin, "The National Question and Leninism," Works, Eng. ed. Moscow, 1954, Vol. 11 p. 353. p. 19 [9] Arakcheyev regime, named after the reactionary politician Count Arakcheyev, was an unrestrained dictatorial police state, warlord despotism and brutal rule enforced in Russia in the first quarter of the 19th century. Stalin uses the term here to indicate Marr's overriding domination in Soviet linguistic circles. p. 30 [10] Four-element analysis -- Marr asserted that pronunciation of mankind's primitive language was evolved from the four syllables sal, ber, yon and rosh. P. 31 [11] "Proto-language" theory -- the doctrine of the Indo-European school which holds that a linguistic family consists of a group of patois (dialects), split from a common primitive "parent language." For example, modern Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian are sister languages derived from Latin, and were originally only different patois. However, as there is no documentary evidence for the existence of a "parent language" of most of the dialects or languages, the Indo-European scholars have worked out a hypothetical "parent language," their main aim being to facilitate explanation of the rules of phonetic changes, but there is no way to prove the extent of the truth. p. 32 <a name="n12">[12] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Works, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1958, Vol. 3, pp. 432 and 430. p. 35 http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1950/jun/20.htm
  23. An excellent series of lectures, which makes the great work of Marx accessable to all: http://www.openculture.com/2011/11/reading_marxs_icapitali_with_david_harvey_free_course.html
  24. Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh

    Irish Socialists Must Adopt a Land Nationalisation Policy

    A very interesting essay by Raymond Crotty: The Irish Land Question and Sectarianism http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/crotty-raymond_on-irish-land-question.html The Irish Land Question and Sectarian Violence Raymond Crotty
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