Jul 25 2018

STILL TALKING ABOUT JOHN MACLEAN

Category: Commemorations,Our History,ReviewsRCN @ 4:29 pm

Gerry Cairns replies to Allan Armstrong’s review of his book,  The Red and the Green – A Portrait of John MacLean (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2018/06/22/allan-armstrong-reviews-the-red-and-the-green-by-gerard-cairns/)

STILL TALKING ABOUT JOHN MACLEAN

 

Replying

Reviews and reviewers can vary. In reply to a new book or a new film the reviewer has different motives – be they professional, journalistic or political/polemical. When I read Allan Armstrong’s review of my own book, The Red and the Green – A Portrait of John MacLean, it felt like a different kind of review. It was personal but certainly not in the way one would expect. It was refreshingly personal. It was not in any way, shape or form a personal attack as you would usually associate with “personal” in that sense. It was, however, a personal reflection of the man whom my book is about and who has inspired Allan throughout his adult political life. It also prompted a personal reflection of Allan’s political journey and it is important that this started Allan’s review. Continue reading “STILL TALKING ABOUT JOHN MACLEAN”

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Jun 22 2018

ALLAN ARMSTRONG REVIEWS ‘THE RED AND THE GREEN’ BY GERARD CAIRNS

Review of The Red and the Green – Portrait of John Maclean by Gerard Cairns

Gerard Cairns has recently published his informative and challenging new book, The Red and the Green – A Portrait of John Maclean. I have known Gerry since the early 1990s and I would find it hard to call him Gerard, so I will use Gerry for the rest of this review.

The book’s title reveals the two main aspects of Gerry’s assessment of John Maclean. The Red and the Green highlights Gerry’s research into ‘Red’ John and his relationship with the ‘Green’ or Irish community on Clydeside .[1] A Portrait of John Maclean examines Maclean the political activist and family man. It raises questions about how Socialists organise and relate to others, especially their partners and families. When assessing  Maclean, Gerry brings his own personal experience to bear. “This has been a very personal portrait of a man I have researched, studied, lectured on, debated for a long time.” [2] Thus Gerry’s book is viewed through the prism of his own life of political activism. Continue reading “ALLAN ARMSTRONG REVIEWS ‘THE RED AND THE GREEN’ BY GERARD CAIRNS”

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Dec 09 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER THE ‘RETURN OF THE BRUTE’

 

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As the official celebrations and the unofficial commemorations of the centenary of the First World War continue, many personal accounts, poems and novels written about this period have been published or republished. One novel, not yet republished, is Return of the Brute, written by Liam O’Flaherty. David Trotter, in The Cambridge Companion to The Literature of the First World War, argues that, unlike most British war novels, it was written by an author of proletarian origin. Whilst O’Flaherty was Irish, Trotter is right in considering  Return of the Brute to be a British war novel. It is based upon the author’s experiences fighting in the British army on the western front.  The novel “intended to do justice to the brute’s point of view” [1], where the “brute” stands for working-class soldiers. If so, the “brute” refers to atomised, alienated and demoralised workers, brutalised by life on the western front.
Continue reading “BEFORE AND AFTER THE ‘RETURN OF THE BRUTE’”

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Nov 08 2015

WALK OF PRIDE

Category: Commemorations,Our HistoryRCN @ 8:32 pm

walk of pride (small v)

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Sep 06 2015

TWENTY-SEVENTH DESMOND GREAVES ANNUAL SCHOOL, 11-13th September, 2015

TWENTY-SEVENTH DESMOND GREAVES ANNUAL SCHOOL 2015

DesmondGreaves

A weekend of political thought and discussion

Friday to Sunday

11-13 September 2015

The Ireland Institute

27 Pearse Street

 
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Mar 25 2015

DEFINING REPUBLICANISM

John Tummon (Republican Socialist Alliance) responds to Murdo Ritchie’s (RCN) Promoting Republicanism (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/02/24/promoting-republicanism/)

Murdo Ritchie’s ‘Promoting Republicanism’ is a very important contribution to something we Republican Socialists need to keep working on until we have a theoretically rigorous and internally-tested critique of the poverty of any socialist analysis that fails to incorporate a full understanding of democracy and republicanism; only when this is in place can we think about breaking through to a position of genuine influence on the Left, let alone wider society outside of Scotland.

I see Murdo’s ‘Promoting Republicanism’ as a key stage in that development – and a very welcome one at that – and my comments, including my attempted development of aspects of what Murdo has written, are put forward in that spirit. What I increasingly find is that the most interesting left thinking in Britain comes from Republican Socialists, which was born out by the impressive quality of discussion at the recent RSA AGM in London; much of what passes as debate within the rest of the British (certainly the English) Left is stale repetition and, within Left Unity, the recycling of stale certainties from past eras in the name of ‘doing politics differently’. Unless we think politics differently, a failed practice will recur.

Continue reading “DEFINING REPUBLICANISM”

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Mar 06 2015

INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY – MARCH 8th

In recognition of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th, we are posting two contributions. The first is the introductory talk on IWD given by Linda Rogers and Cat Grant to the Edinburgh Radical Independence Campaign meeting on March 2nd.

The second is a major contribution to the history of women’s suffrage, entitled Finland 1906: the revolutionary roots of women’ suffrage by Eric Blanc, a socialist activist based in Oakland, California. This was first posted at:- https://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/finland-1906-the-revolutionary-roots-of-womens-suffrage-an-international-womens-day-tribute/

 

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 1. INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY

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Jan 21 2015

THE RCN AND THE CAMPAIGN FOR SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION

THE REPUBLICAN COMMUNIST NETWORK, THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN,

AND THE CAMPAIGN FOR SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION

Photo of RCN banner – Patricia Kirk & John Lannigan

Contents

A) The emergence and clash of Left British unionism and Left Scottish nationalism

B) The politics of the Scottish independence referendum campaign

C) How the Left responded to the demand for greater national self-determination in Scotland

D) Carrying over lessons learned from the SSP experience

           i)   the need for political platforms

           ii)  the need for a revolutionary pole of attraction

           iii) the need for political balance sheets to avoid repeating earlier mistakes

E) Promoting socialist republicanism and ‘internationalism from below’

           i) The political legacy of the Republican Socialist Conventions and the Global Commune events

           ii) Debating with other socialists during the Scottish independence referendum campaign

           iii) promoting socialist republicanism and ‘internationalism from below’ in RIC

           iv) the debate over secularism

           v) the debate over Ireland

F) Debates and differences within the RCN

          i) in the lead up and during the referendum campaign

          ii) since the September 18th referendum

          iii) the future for RIC, the all-islands Republican Socialist Alliance and the Scottish Left Project

Appendix

 

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Continue reading “THE RCN AND THE CAMPAIGN FOR SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION”

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Dec 14 2014

THE WOBBLIES IN THEIR HEYDAY

Murdo Ritchie reviews a new book by Eric Chester, The Wobblies in their Heyday. The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World During the World War One Era.

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AN OPEN UNION IN A POLITICAL WORLD

Using documents that have been concealed or hidden in plain sight, Eric Chester reveals the repression used to destroy the militant union organisers of the Industrial Workers of the World or Wobblies. Just as the USA entered World War One, powerful business groups, the police, private detective agencies organised armed vigilantes; State and Federal authorities including the President and the courts ignored legal and constitutional laws to crush this militant union.

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Oct 21 2014

The 18th Edinburgh Radical Book Fair, 22nd-26th October

 

The 18th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair   –  the alternative international book festival – organized by Word Power Books (http://www.word-power.co.uk), will take place from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 October 2014 in Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-38 Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh, EH6 8RG, Scotland, UK. Doors open on Wednesday 22 October 2014 at 6.00pm. There will be at least 70 publishers displaying their books for you to purchase and many events for you to attend.  There will be a cafe and a bar open during course the five days of the Book Fair. Admission is free but a monetary donation would be appreciated!

 

Edinburgh Radical Book Fair in the Out of the Blue centre

Edinburgh Radical Book Fair in the Out of the Blue centre

 

Writers and activists coming to the Book Fair include:

 

OWEN JONES, CATRIONA MACIVER, OLIVER MAYES, NINA FEDENCZUK, JULIA MACINTOSH, ROB SEWELL, MURRAY ARMSTRONG, CAT BOYD, ALASTAIR MCINTOSH, LESLEY RIDDOCH, CATRIONA MACIVER, OLIVER MAYES, PENNY COLE, LEE BUNCE, JAMIE MCKENZIE HAMILTON, DAVE SHERRY, RYAN RODRICK BEILER, DERVLA MURPHY, RAJA SHEHADEH, IAN CROFTON, SARAH BROWNE, ESTHER BREITENBACH, RYAN NICODEMUS, JOSHUA FIELDS MILLBURN, JAMES MEEK, ROBIN MCALPINE, DOMINIC HINDE, VONNY MOYES, CHRISTOPHER SILVER, JOHN BARKER, MIKE SMALL, SATNAM VIRDEE, NEIL DAVIDSON, JOANNA DOBSON, JENNY MOLLISON, JUDY WILKINSON, RONA WILKINSON, KATHLEEN JAMIE, MANDY HAGGITH, ESTHER WOOLFSON, and others. Further, two films will be shown: Scotland Yet: A Film About Independence by JACK FOSTER and CHRISTOPHER SILVER, and The Anarchist Rabbi by ADAM KOSSOFF.  Scroll down to see details of individual events.

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