A Brief History of Capitalism
In the 1700's and the century before, the ideas of the 'economy of scale', it being cheaper to make a lot of one thing in one place, together with a desire to control a semi-rural work force, were the driving forces behind the first factories. At the same time dramatic changes in agriculture, such as crop rotation and landlords enclosing fields that were previously communal with walls or hedges, created vast profits for the landowners (mostly the aristocracy), who eventually invested it in new industries.
This first great accumulation of capital, at our expense, was one of the events that marked the start of capitalism proper and set the tone for its later development. These changes also displaced many people from the land and created great poverty. As was pointed out in Chapter One these developments were paralleled by an expansion abroad by the European capitalists in their search for gold and silver to fuel the increasing demand for these metals as a means of storing their growing capital. It is from around this time that capitalist imperialism properly gets off the grounds.
The working class resisted but eventually the economic power of the masters and a State penal code that was one of the cruellest and brutal in the world won the day. For example, you could be hung for stealing a handkerchief, if it was owned by a 'gentleman'. This period was crucial to hammering out the present characteristics of the English working class. The way the law was used was very important in this process. It was a mixture of terror and benevolence and explains much of the present attitudes in our class. Here is a good summary of some of the methods employed;
"The law was used not only to privatise as property what had been commonly enjoyed, but also, and inseparably, to render as crimes what had been customary rights, and to execute, transport or condemn to the hulks those subsequently criminalised. Between 1688 and 1820 the number of capital offences grew from around 50 to over 200; the bulk of the additions concerned offences against property. By 1740 it was a capital offence to steal property worth one shilling. Food rioters and machine breakers faced the death sentence and enclosure rioters transportation. The Black Act of 1723 created fifty new offences at a stroke.
As to enactment, much remained in the hands of JPs - nakedly representing gentry interests. Assizes - the only point of contact for most people with the central State - were occasions of great pomp and ceremonial. The awesome centrepiece of the assizes was the ritual surrounding the pronouncement of the death sentence. Executions were public spectacles, and the ritual of public execution was a necessary part of a system of social discipline where a great deal depended on theatre. The strict application of the 'law' and importantly the dispensation of 'mercy' helped over time to persuade people that the law was above everybody and fair. Which of course it is not.
Estimates are that maybe 20% of those convicted of capital offences were sentenced to death and of those just half were actually executed. The word of a 'gentleman' could influence a jury not to convict or a judge to recommend pardons or leniency. This helped to create the mental structure of paternalism, cementing dependence with gratitude and qualifying the impersonal rigour of the law. We have something far stronger here than coercion alone."
From "The Great Arch" by Corrigan and Sayer.
It is worth noting that the introduction of capitalism was fiercely resisted by the peasants and early factory workers. This resistance was overcome by extreme brutality - famine, massacres, murder, torture and transportation. This is the real history of capitalism. The people chucked off the land and out of the small cottage workshops and terrorised by this legal system were to become the industrial working class of the 19th century. They formed the vast pool of people who had nothing except the ability to work, called the 'proletariat', an awkward sounding word derived from Latin meaning someone without property but one notch above being a slave! From this great mass of dispossessed people were recruited the workers the capitalists required.
The introduction of machines such as Arkwright's spinning jenny, Watt's steam engine and Akroyd's powerlooms and the dividing of labour into narrow repetitive actions following the teachings of the economic philosophers such as Adam Smith, reduced the role of the workers to machine feeders and minders or just 'factory hands'. This was again stiffly resisted with machine breaking, armed rebellion and executions of mill-owners. Again the resistance was defeated by a mixture of military means and divide and rule propaganda such as loyalism and sexism. The economic power of the masters and merchants that was protected by the State was used to hold whole communities to ransom until they adopted new methods of work, often at the point of starvation. The city and factory age of capitalism had arrived.
The late 18th and early 19th century was a period of great brutality and squalor for the victims of capitalism. It would be fair to say that our people resisted tooth and nail against being turned into "the working class". Under the new regime, their standard of living dropped with drastically lower wages than before. This in turn produced another great accumulation of capital that went to fuel the economic engine of capitalism in its growth. Here is an examples of what was involved; Cobbett, a social commentator talking of the weavers in Halifax in 1832 observed;
"It is truly lamentable to behold so many thousands of men who formerly earned 20 to 30 shillings a week, now compelled to live on 5 or 4 shillings and even less a week"
From "The Making of the English Working Class" - E.P. Thompson.
This well and truly marked the end of the traditions of feudalism in the economic life of society, although it lingered on in the legal system with its emphasis on benevolence. It was replaced with the ideas of classical liberalism. The old paternalistic views were now those of a small minority. This new set of ideas, or ideology, was given its clearest expression in 1776 in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" which reflected the needs of the new capitalist order and totally broke the hold of the older views. The new capitalists needed to break the restraints on their production and trade that feudalism had maintained and Adam Smith's work gave them their theoretical justification. At the heart of this were four main assumptions about people. They were considered to be lazy, selfish, cunning and generally independent of society. This is really a description of the capitalist's own attitudes and values. In other words they assumed the world to be a mirror of themselves. This is typical of the arrogance of the ruling class, and one of their weaknesses.
Smith's work also assumed that an economy was made up of many small enterprises, so no individual company could exercise any significant influence on the market, hence his idea of a free market. With the growing concentration of capitalism into bigger companies you would think his work would be redundant but not so. Much of the history of economics since has been the patching up of Smith's ideas. From this period in working class history we can see the origins of the present Labour Party and trade union tradition, the Tolpuddle martyrs. The name says it all, "Martyrs", a forelock tugging bunch of religious berks who got transported for trying to form a union. They were so wet the ruling class let them come back. We draw our inspiration from the Luddites, the "Captain Swing" rural fighters and the Naval and Army mutineers of the period as well as the London Mob. And of course the Paris Commune, who gave Karl Marx the biggest shock of his life. In 1871 the Paris workers and some of the middle class rose in revolt - they were brutally suppressed with over 20,000 killed.
But by the mid 19th century the British ruling class had succeeded in constructing the present structure of society as we know it. The efforts of social engineering by the Tories under Thatcher were a pale shadow of the events of the 18th and 19th century. We still live in the shadow of this 'Great Arch' of oppression that they finished building in the 19th century.
"In these years (the 19th century) the Great Arch of the modern ruling class was finally finished, many of the bricks marked with the graffiti of the vanquished, and much blood, most of it foreign, mixed with the cement."
From "The Great Arch" by Corrigan and Sayer.
This is a practical example of colonialism and a divided working class right on our door step.
At the moment in what is only technically a part of the UK, a section of the working class is resisting the rule of the British ruling class. An area about the size of Yorkshire with a population less than that of Birmingham has fought the British State to a standstill. There are approximately 10,000 regular frontline troops from mainland Britain garrisoned here. They support a local police force numbering about 10,000 that is heavily armed (pistols, rifles, machine guns,
plastic bullets, gas, armoured cars etc.).
In addition there is a locally raised regiment of part time soldiers that only serves in Northern Ireland; the Ulster Defence Regiment, a kind of local official vigilante force. They also number around 10,000 with standard army equipment. Support is given by the Royal Navy and RAF. Elite units such as the SAS, SBS, Marines and the Paras' are also employed at different times.
What we have here is a war against the British State and a civil war in our class right under our noses. If we are serious about what we believe, we must look at Northern Ireland and draw some conclusions. After all we can hardly ignore a war on our doorstep. Bearing in mind that this situation is definitely a colonial one we recommend that you refer to Chapter One to get a background to what colonialism is and its effects on our class in general and the problems that nationalist struggles raise for us.
Understanding Northern Ireland
We have tried to keep this as brief and clear as possible. There are some excellent books on Ireland and we strongly recommend you read them (please refer to the booklist). This only skims over recent Irish history.
Once, all of Ireland was owned by the British. They took and maintained control with all the usual cruelty of imperialism. The Irish experience is similar to that of the Africans, even down to famine and slavery - a sixth of the population were sold as slaves to the Americas in Cromwell's time. Eventually a popular rising resulted in the British being forced out of the Southern part of Ireland in 1922 after years of bitter war. This was followed by a civil war in Ireland between those who wanted to continue the fight against Britain to retake Northern Ireland, who came to be known as Republicans and those who wanted to settle for what they had won, who came to be known as 'Free Staters'. The Free Staters won and Ireland was partitioned into two sections, North and South.
We should look more closely at this northern section of Ireland and why it came into existence.
In the 19th century the northern part of Ireland along with Scotland and South Wales came to be the most heavily industrialised parts of the British Empire and the source of fabulous wealth for the ruling class. The history of Irish resistance to British rule had been a long one and the ruling class had for sometime been trying to divide the workforce in order to subdue them.
After the abortive attempt at revolution by the United Irishmen in 1798, in which the Protestants were prominent, the British resolved to foster divisions between the Catholics and the Protestants. The basis of this division was to be the one thing that each had that was different, their religion.
This gathered speed in the North where the ruling class were becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of a united working class in the mass employment of the area's industries. Fiery Protestant preachers were shipped in from Scotland, and Protestants began to be given more preference for jobs and land. The Orange Order became a tool to bring the Protestants in the North closer to their masters. Ironically the Order was founded by Anglican Protestants, those from the English elite looking to England, and at first excluded the Northern Irish Presbyterian Protestants, those from the Scottish Tradition, because they were too democratic and too 'Irish'!
This religious or sectarian division was whipped up more strongly towards the end of the 19th century as the Irish agitated for 'Home Rule'. In the first few years of the 20th century the Irish working classes were involved in massive strikes both in the North and the South. The ruling class in the North could see which way the wind was blowing and determined that they were going to hang on to their wealthy corner of Ireland because they owed their wealth to being a part of the British Empire and did not want to become part of a much poorer Independent State.
Their propaganda machine went into top gear to whip up division and hatred between the Catholics and Protestants. At this time Ireland was experiencing some of the biggest strikes Europe has ever seen. Loyalism and Unionism were the names given to the movements they created to protect their power; Loyalism, as in loyal to the monarch, the head of the British State, and Unionism as in the 'Union' of Northern Ireland with the rest of the 'United Kingdom' the UK.
In July 1912 the Ulster Unionists and Orange Order were to declare "holy war" against the Catholics. (This has a strange ring to it these days when we are told that sort of thing only happens in the Middle East). Nearly a quarter of a million Ulster Unionists pledged to fight Home Rule by means of arms. Incredibly they also stated that if Home Rule was imposed on them they would not stay in an independent Ireland but would ask the German Kaiser to rule them as their Monarch. The Ulster ruling class was quite prepared to join the German State to protect their interests, which illustrates nicely the hypocrisy of their patriotism.
Most of the support for Home Rule, not surprisingly, was in the South of Ireland. But this political difference was also based on economic differences. The South contained petty capitalists and an ambitious and political middle class. This group could not develop their businesses because the might of the British economy was too competitive and too close. What this group needed was protection from the British economy.
The Northern industrialists on the other hand owed their position to having access to Britains imperial markets and power. Ireland had two sets of capitalists at different stages of development. This fact was to dominate the life of Ireland until the 1960's.
The South of Ireland Since 1922
The Southern 'Free State' of Ireland had been achieved at the cost of terrible suffering yet the influence of English capital was as strong as ever. It was just the local management that had changed. This process was to be repeated throughout the British Empire. James Connoly, the Irish socialist, foresaw this. Writing in the Irish paper "Shan Van Vocht", he made what was to become a profound prophecy for the modern Irish State.
"If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic, your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through her array of commercial and individual institutions she has planted in this country."
From "Shan Van Vocht"
In this way Britain has remained one of the leading imperialist powers in the world, while many of her citizens think that the 'Empire' is a thing of the past.
The Northern Irish State Since 1922
After the partition of Ireland the Northern Industrialists were given their own little 'parliament'; Stormont. This wealthy little corner of Britain was theirs to run as they liked with little or no interference from London and the Orange Order was central to keeping control in this small 'Statelet'. What this meant was the systematic terrorising of the Catholic community by a heavily armed police and paramilitary force (the notorious A, B and C Specials), that was entirely Protestant. The economic attractions of this colonial set-up were still strong. With a divided working class they could make more money by paying lower wages and providing less services from local government.
Northern Ireland had and still has some of the worst housing in Europe. The prejudice and bigotry that was whipped up to protect the Northern ruling class had to be continued for economic and political reasons. The divisions it created helped keep industry in the North profitable longer by keeping wages low, keeping the Catholics down kept the Protestants happy with their lot, which was hardly any better. The situation has close parallels with the racism against blacks in the UK, which also is intended to keep the white working class happy with their lot. As Karl Marx might point out, the rise of Unionism and Loyalism is a clear example of political and social events being determined by economic forces. Later though the reverse was to happen. As they say "the tail wagged the dog".
By the 1960's, with the wave of optimism that swept the industrial world and inspired by the black civil rights movements of the USA, people began to protest in Northern Ireland. Their demands were for things like housing, education, jobs and the vote (at this time there was a property qualification to receive the vote, this effectively denied the vote to many Catholics). The Irish working classes, Catholic and Protestant, took to the streets to voice their desires for change and a better way of life. The response was brutal. The demonstrators were beaten off the streets by the police and Protestant gangs. Worse was to come. The police in Ulster had pistols, rifles and sub-machine guns as standard issue. They together with Protestant gangs went into Catholic areas and shot people at random and burned down whole streets at a time.
Random killing and torture of Catholics became the pattern, (the largest mass murders in Britain were carried out by the 'Shankhill Butchers' a Loyalist gang). In response whole Catholic areas became no-go zones for the police such as 'Free Derry'. These survived until the London government took power from the local government and imposed direct rule from Westminster and sent in troops and tanks to smash them. Forced to defend themselves the Catholics drew on the old Republican traditions to build community organisations that could withstand these attacks.
Since then the Catholics in the North of Ireland have continued to resist and as was pointed out earlier have held the British State to a stalemate.
The cost to the Catholic community has been enormous yet they have refused, to date, to swallow any of the deals that the British have offered them. From their point of view there can be no going back to things as they were and that means breaking the power of the 'Orange State' of Ulster and its military machine. Underneath all the political manoeuvres, the British to date have been unable to make the Loyalist ruling class give ground.
This is because the Loyalist/Unionist/Orange machine of bigotry and privilege has taken on a life of its own independent of the economic interests that created it in the first place. The economy of Northern Ireland was in steep decline in the 1960's. Now it is in a shambles propped up by money from London. Yet Loyalism continues like a zombie unaware that it is dead. The tail is well and truly wagging the dog.
To the British ruling class Ulster is a running sore. It has to support the local Loyalist elite who are in reality no longer of any use to them. Yet they cannot ditch them. Why, you might well ask. Why not pull out? There are a number of reasons.
No State will voluntarily give up a piece of its territory. It is bad for its image elsewhere. All States are artificial. Giving up Northern Ireland would raise tensions elsewhere in the 'United' Kingdom that are at present under control, e.g. Scotland, Wales, the North etc. It would be also seen as a sign of weakness and decline of the whole British ruling class by other ruling classes in the world. As one Tory MP once expressed it:
"If we lose in Belfast, we may have to fight in Brixton and Birmingham".
- John Biggs-Davidson
The normal pattern in colonial conflicts like this is to pull out and pass on power to a local power group with whom the old colonial power feels it can do business, as with the 'Free Staters' in the South of Ireland in 1922. There is no group in Northern Ireland that the British can pass power on to, at the moment. This is their objective though, even if it means creating a new power group in Northern Ireland. This is what the British ruling class have been doing for generations elsewhere.
To pull out of Northern Ireland without some sort of local settlement would de-stabilise the south of Ireland. Without British support the Orange elite would be defeated militarily without doubt. The aim of the Sinn Fein and IRA etc. is to unify Ireland. The Southern ruling class would be very unhappy about this as they hate the Republicans as much as the Loyalists do! The likely outcome would be some sort of conflict if not civil war.
The prospect of that happening off the coast of Britain is very disturbing to the British and international ruling classes.
As was pointed out earlier the present strength of Loyalism and Unionism in the Protestant community owes its origins to the desire of the Northern Ireland ruling class to protect their very profitable part of Ireland. They weakened working class unity by whipping up sectarian hatred between Catholic and Protestant. This meant portraying the Catholics as the enemy, i.e. as savages and godless. The threat used against the Protestants was that the Catholics would rise up and sweep them out of Ulster if they were given a chance.
This was backed up with a warped and distorted history to encourage a siege mentality in the Protestant community. So the Catholics became the scapegoat for all the problems of the Protestants like unemployment, low wages and the housing shortage. In this way the Protestants were persuaded that their best interest was to side with the Orange boss class. The Catholics are used and attacked in Northern Ireland by the ruling class in the same way as are the blacks in Britain.
If sectarian hatred was the method the ruling elite in Northern Ireland used to divide the working class, then the Orange Order was the means that was used to bind the Protestant working class to their masters. Membership in the 1960s numbered about 200,000. To get a job on the local council, in the civil service and many industries membership of the Order was useful, and often necessary. The more important and sensitive the job, the more important it became to be a member of the Order. For higher placed jobs individuals had to belong to more extreme branches of the order like the 'Apprentice Boys' or the 'Black Preceptory'.
Even though many Protestants feel that the Order is outdated and backwards the benefits of membership were, and are, real enough to make it worth while joining. Giving preference to Protestants for jobs, housing and land is the economic cement that holds the walls of the Orange State of Northern Ireland together. Ironically, it is because the working class in Northern Ireland are so divided that the whole of that class are so badly off when compared to those in Britain in terms of wages, housing and unemployment.
Despite all this the Protestants have at times come together with the rest of their class; the Belfast lock-out of 1907 saw the independent Orange Order supporting the strike, a railway strike in the 1930's saw the IRA and Protestant trade unionists working together in agitational work. The Protestant community have and continue to produce a host of remarkable fighters against British rule in Ireland; the United Irishmen, Wolf Tone, Napper Tandy, Robert Emmet, Captain Jack White (military organiser of the Irish Citizen Army, one of the first workers militia's in Europe), Constance Markievicz the first women MP, for Sinn Fein, in Britain to name a few.
The Fears of the Northern Irish Protestants
The Protestants, and many of the Catholics, in Northern Ireland see Southern Ireland as a backward and poor country; it's expensive to live in, controls unemployment by forcing its people to emigrate, it is a society that is dominated by the Roman Catholic church that makes access to abortion and contraception difficult and tries to enforce a miserable moral code on the working class. Welfare benefits are poor and health care is private and expensive. These are all good reasons not to want to enter into a united Ireland with the Southern State.
The Protestants fear being sold-out by the British ruling class, and as far as we can see they are quite right. Now that the economy of Northern Ireland is in tatters there is little economic reason for the British State to remain there. As was pointed out earlier the main reason for staying there is political; a withdrawal would destabilise the whole of Ireland with dangerous consequences for Europe and the rest of the capitalist system. Their long term aim is to 'stabilise' the situation and then pull out. If the Protestants get in the way of the British ruling class they will be sold down the river in just the same way as similar local groups were elsewhere in the Empire. The Protestants fear being overwhelmed by the Catholics. This has not happened to those Protestant communities in the three Ulster counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal that were given to the South by the British. These communities were sold out because there was not enough Protestants in these counties to make it viable for them to keep political control. They have lived quite happily with their neighbours once removed from the influence of the Orange Order and the British State.
The Protestants and the British
It is deeply ironic that although the Protestant Orange Order see themselves as British they are viewed as Irish by the British and as such are the target for all the usual bigotry and racism when they come to Britain.
Class Politics and Northern Ireland
In the present situation it is very difficult to engage in class struggle work in N. Ireland. The problem the working class face here is that they are in a colonial situation. It is hard to see how they are going to be able to move forward without ending the source of their division, colonialism itself as operated by the Orange elite and their British backers.
Not everyone in the Catholic areas is a Republican nor is every Protestant a Loyalist. Both parts of the class exist in a kind of siege, cut off from each other and the rest of their class in Ireland. The Republicans do however, as you might expect, look abroad and identify with similar struggles such as those of the Palestinians and the blacks in South Africa.
As in any colonial or imperialist situation the class war between the working class and the ruling class is distorted. It is not a straight fight. The working class faces various enemies at the same time.
The Protestant ruling class and their supporters in the working class are certainly part of the enemy. Those who carry out the orders of the ruling class and oppress the working class are also in the enemy camp; the RUC, UDR are protecting their own position as a privileged local group. The British Army squaddies in Ireland, most of whom don't know what the hell they are fighting for, are also in the enemy camp when they are 'doing their job' over there.
The reformist Social and Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) who will sell their grannies if they could do a deal with the British are also in the enemy camp. The Roman Catholic church with its woman hating dogma is also in the enemy camp. That just about leaves us with the Catholics and the Republicans and the unaligned Protestants (many do exist). The Catholic community are boxed in as we have just described. Every attempt to reach out to the Protestants has been met with brutal repression. They literally have only one choice; to continue resisting or go under.
The Republican movement is not one pure body, something that the British security forces will tell you. It is an alliance of different attitudes and classes and has changed over the years. Within each organisation are left, middle and right wings on the issue of class. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) were a more class struggle orientated group but have been damaged by feuds and splits, many believe with the assistance of the British security forces. There is a history of friction between Sinn Fein and the IRA. The situation is similar to what we expect to find in a revolutionary situation in Britain and elsewhere, a shifting set of political, military and social alliances.
The weakness of class politics in the Republican movement is for a number of reasons;
In the siege situation, split from the other half of the working class, there is great pressure to drop differences over class in order to pursue the immediate struggle to survive.
The effect of the Roman Catholic Church should not be underestimated. It has its own plans for Ireland. Just like any other multinational company and the class war is not on its agenda!
The nationalist tradition lost much of its class content after the war with the British. It is this weakened tradition that the Catholics in the North have picked up.
The Left in Ireland and Britain failed the working class. Nowhere is this more evident than in Northern Ireland. Such failures are exposed in a crisis situation like that in Ireland and show what we too will face in a future revolution in Britain and elsewhere if we do not pursue our politics with the greatest energy now.
Ireland And Us
Although we think that Britain should stop meddling in Ireland our objective is not just a united Ireland. We are far more interested in a united Irish working class. Our objective is the destruction of capitalism, religion and the State, orange, green, pink or red.
Reasons for Optimism
Even in such a desperate situation like Northern Ireland working class people still share experiences in common under capitalism. The Republican leadership have to add some measure of a socialist carrot to their rhetoric; ritual worship of James Connoly, the Irish socialist, is a must at most larger Republican events.
The bulk of the Northern Irish Catholic working class are committed to resisting the forces that represent the ruling classes, the IRA could not function otherwise. This however does not mean that support for the IRA or Sinn Fein etc. is unconditional or uncritical in the Catholic communities.
As the British ruling class pursues its plans for dumping the Orange elite and nibbling away at the privileges of the loyalists, the northern economy continues to slide into the pit. The use of the RUC against Loyalist demonstrations in recent years, including the use of plastic bullets is a symptom of the slow success that the British are having at taming the Orange beast that was their own creation. Some of the dirty tricks campaign in Northern Ireland has been aimed at the Protestant elite as a part of this process e.g. the Kincora boys school scandal where senior Loyalists were implicated in a child-sex ring. The use of 'inquiries' into the RUC has been to scare them. The results were never going to be made public. It was to show what could be done, that British support was no longer unconditional. As a result the tensions set up in the RUC have been intense with a whole spate of suicides resulting from the stress. The Anglo-Irish agreement was another measure aimed at bringing the Unionists into line. There have been individuals in the Unionist organisations who have come to socialist conclusions but they have, to date, been killed or chucked out.
In the South of Ireland the population has something like 50% under the age of twenty-five. The power of the Roman Catholic church over the Irish youth is dropping rapidly. They are no longer entering the priesthood or convents. Things have got so bad that African priests are having to be sent to Ireland to plug the holes, reversing the historical place of the Irish in the African missions.
The southern economy is under the control of a small highly visible elite who are very publicly corrupt. The result for the Irish working class is one of the highest annual emigration rates in the world. Now with the world recession biting over the last few years, there is nowhere to go and many are coming back.
The possibilities for class struggle in the whole of Ireland are huge.
The Irish Republicans and Us
We have to be clear about our attitude here, a situation like this is an acid-test of our politics. So far we have avoided going into the long list of atrocities and horrors that the British ruling class have inflicted on the Irish and continue to do so to this date. We do not intend to morally blackmail you into supporting the Republicans as do many of the British Left.
What is a problem however is the moralism that our ruling class plant in our heads. In their terms killing, torture and starvation are legitimate methods of pursuing their interests and is sanctioned by the State, explained by educationalists and blessed by the Church. For instance it is well known, and well documented, that undercover units from the UDR, RUC, Army and SAS etc. have been involved in random sectarian killings, torture and the execution of Catholics and Republican activists. Yet we are told that it is only the IRA etc. that do this. We must not forget the scale of the propaganda war that the British State is waging over Northern Ireland, or that the main target of that war is us, the British working class.
Throughout the rest of the world Ireland is seen as suffering from British occupation and aggression. Ireland is seen as a war situation not a 'terrorist' problem caused by a few evil nutters, as we are told in the Britain.
When a group of people take on the superior organised might of the State and use force they have to use "all means necessary" as the black revolutionary Malcolm X pointed out. The only rules of war are that there are no rules except to kill the enemy, and World War One and Two, Vietnam and the Gulf War prove the point. There is no nice way to kill another human being. The outcry from the Left over the killing of three unarmed IRA volunteers in Gibraltar should be compared with a statement from the IRA on BBC radio;
"We understand the rules of war, all we ask is that you admit that your forces shot our volunteers on sight as we would expect to do to yours, and stop pretending otherwise."
During the Algerian war against the French, women and children were used to plant bombs. Criticised for this by the French, the Algerians replied "give us tanks and aeroplanes and we will gladly use them instead!" The French of course practised every conceivable barbarity in the pursuit of 'civilisation'.
Dreadful mistakes and the accidental killing of innocent people are what happens in war and we see no reason to believe that the coming class war between our class and our oppressors and enemies is going to be any different.
The Irish Republicans have made many mistakes and would be the first to agree. Some of these were plainly because of the lack of class politics, such as the Birmingham pub bombings where the enemy were seen as the English in general. Such actions are to say the least hard to explain or defend, except on the grounds of utter desperation. The more recent tactic of attacking military, political and economic targets is a more positive development.
As we pointed out in our general commentary on nationalism in Chapter Two we must remember that desperation often motivates those involved in anti-imperial struggles and this can be very difficult for many people to understand in a country like the UK. While we agree with the removal of such imperial and colonial oppression we argue and fight against the 'local' oppression waiting in the wings to take over the local management of capitalism.
James Connoly was dead clear about this difference between national liberation and the class war. On the eve of the 1916 rising during a lecture on the methods of guerilla war he advised the Irish Citizen Army as follows;
"If we should win, hold on to your rifles because the volunteers [nationalists] may have a different goal. Remember we're out not only for political liberty but for economic liberty as well. So hold on to your rifles."
It is worth repeating here our attitude to nationalism from Chapter One
"What we must understand is that in the face of often brutal oppression nationalism gives working class people something. This 'something' is identity, pride, a feeling of community and solidarity and of course physical self-defence. We need to combat capitalism and its nationalism with something as strong i.e. - with our identity, pride, community, solidarity, history, culture and inspiration of the international working class's. To achieve this effectively will require courage, imagination and determination. To challenge nationalist ideas means doing more than saying that they are bad, we must prove that fighting for our class is better than fighting for a country."
In Northern Ireland the Republicans do try to attack what they consider legitimate targets; the security forces and those who work for them, economic targets, and members of Loyalist paramilitary groups. In contrast the security forces and Loyalist groups consider it OK to kill any Catholic as part of their policy of terrorising the whole community, and of course IRA members etc. when they can get them are also targets.
To say the IRA are responsible for dividing the working class in Northern Ireland would be about as sensible as blaming the blacks in South Africa for apartheid. The IRA are a symptom of a divided class and not the cause.
The British State has split and counter split the Irish people for the last 300 years. But the British ruling class has not had it all its own way over these years. Time and time again the Irish have united across the sectarian divide to drive out those who have used religious bigotry as a tool for ensuring Ireland is kept under direct rule from Britain.
Things will continue to become more and more difficult for the capitalists as the Irish working class realise that their interests are best served by uniting across the sectarian divide to smash not only capitalism but all those who have helped perpetuate direct rule from Britain.
We do support the struggle against the British State in Northern Ireland as we support all working class people fighting against oppression and look forward to the removal of British domination. We do not give uncritical support to any nationalist organisation.
We look forward to the struggle against oppression being widened in Ireland to include that against capitalism, both British and Irish, and the Catholic and Protestant churches. We also greatly look forward to the Protestant working class regaining its proud older tradition of unity with the rest of their class against oppression from both outside Ireland and within.
What Can We Do To Hasten These Things?
Educate ourselves out of the abysmal ignorance, complacency and arrogance about Ireland that the media encourage in us.
By continuing to agitate and inform our class we can make as much trouble for the British ruling class as possible. The best way to help those struggling against British imperialism in Ireland is to step up the class war against the British ruling class at home. Lenin said this and it just goes to show you can't be wrong all the time!
Raise the issue of Ireland in our class in the same way we do with other issues.
To the best of our abilities encourage the development of our kind of approach to class politics in Ireland, North and South. AFTER ALL WE ARE INTERNATIONALISTS.
Having mentioned the name of Marx this is the place to comment on his ideas. At the time of his writing the dominant ideas concerning capitalism and the organisation of society were, not surprisingly, those of the ruling class. 'Thinkers' like Bentham, Smith and Locke were used to justify and explain the introduction of capitalism, whether they were really into it is another matter.
Marx set himself the task of attacking these ideas head-on at their own level, that of academic economics and philosophy. This together with the fact that he was writing in German over 100 years ago does not make him an easy read! What he was up against were ideas that are still dominant today. They are usually attributed to the economist Adam Smith. They go something like this; in capitalism there are three elements - land (physical resources), labour and capital.
The capitalist brings these together to produce something which he then sells on the market for a profit. The value and hence profit of making an item is determined solely by the market and that market is governed by 'market forces', i.e. brutal competition. In this version of the world the capitalist is the central player and labour: the working class, is relegated to the role of another item of production like land. You don't have to be a genius to see that labour gets the shit end of the stick in this set up.
Nevertheless this was, end is, roughly the way the ruling class viewed the world and it gave them the 'right' to do as they pleased. The fact is they really believe all this. After all, if nobody tells you different you will never change your mind. The egotism of these people is that they think that they are the centre of the world and their power certainly feeds this illusion.
Marx sought to challenge this outlook by trying to explain capitalism on another basis. He made labour the central element in his theory of capitalist economics and tried to prove that 'value' and hence profit was determined solely by the amount of work put into creating it. This had the effect of switching the foundation of capitalism away from the capitalist class to the working class. The intention was to prove that the workers could do without the capitalists but not vice-versa. The aim of all this was to show that the capitalist far from being a gift to the human race were, in effect, a bunch of parasites who should be got rid of. Of course Marx had a lot of other ideas too and incorporated a lot of other peoples work in his writing.
To an extent Marx was correct in his efforts. Labour is crucial to creating wealth and profit. Without our labour capitalism will grind to a halt. But that's about all you can say. Marx's "Labour Theory of Value" tried to show how value was exactly determined by labour. His eagerness to try and show this in a precise scientific way has to be understood in the light of his times;
The 19th century was a time when 'science' was all the rage and academic people believed the scientific approach would unlock everything. Marx was into this fashion and applied it to the problem of value and profit, hence his use of obscure methods and formulae.
He believed if he could 'crack' the problem of value and show that it was dependent on labour and not the market then he would have the basis of a philosophy that could destroy capitalism.
Finally he was a Liberal, although this is in the 19th century sense of the word, and felt the need to justify the right of the working class to the wealth of society.
We have to acknowledge the achievements of the man as did his contemporaries in the anarchist movement like Bakunin. Ideas such as;
"Historical Materialism" - the way of looking at history from the point of view of the economic forces at work is a really useful tool. (Marx took the work of a German, Hegel, and developed it).
The man's appreciation of the relation between the economic workings of a society and its political and cultural life (or as he put it the relation between the 'base' and the 'superstructure').
Marx's use of 'dialectics' to tie all this together was a real achievement and a real pain in the arse to read! Dialectics is the art of incorporating elements of opposing arguments together to reach a position of greater truth or knowledge or, if you like, an appreciation of the to and fro of events and history. But, Marx did place great emphasis on capitalism behaving according to its own internal laws and tended to believe it would ultimately destroy itself. We do not agree with this or his plans for change concerning the beneficial role of the State. Marx was a politician as well as an economist and philosopher and understood some of the criticisms made of him and like a good academic "covered his back". He did this by using his skill in dialectics to block counter-arguments by anticipating them and incorporating their ideas into his own theory. Thus reading Marx is very difficult not just because he was a high flying academic who deliberately bent the meaning of words, in German, a 100 years ago. He has also placed loads of his 'dialectical road-blocks' on the paths to understanding and criticising his writings.
Not surprisingly, then, over the last 100 years people have been able to read all sorts of things into Marx, rather like the Bible! We should look at the useful things he has to give us rather than get into a sterile debate about what he 'really' meant, because we should know what we 'really' want. Depending on what bit of Marx you read, from what bit of his career, you may end up with a contradictory set of ideas. For instance his very early writing is a lot more humanist than his later writing which concentrates on economics.
There is evidence that Marx re-thought some of his ideas later in life, particularly after the crushing of the Paris commune in 1871, and came to conclusions that criticised his own work including parts of the communist manifesto that stressed the positive role the State had to play. No mention of Marx seems to be proper without the obligatory quotes. Here he seems to have changed his tune on the role of the State compared to his writing in the communist manifesto;
"The working class cannot simply lay hold on the ready-made State machinery and wield it for their own purpose. The political instrument of their enslavement cannot serve as the political instrument of their emancipation"
"It is a revolution against the State itself, of this supernaturalist abortion of a society, a resumption by the people for the people of its own social life. It is not a revolution to transfer it from one faction of the ruling class to another, but a revolution to break down this horrid machinery of class domination itself."
From a draft copy of "The Civil War In France" - 1871.
The Great Money Trick
Taken from “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist” – by Robert Tressel.
“Money is the real cause of poverty,” said Owen.
“Prove it,” repeated Crass.
“Money is the cause of poverty because it is the device by which those who are too lazy to work are enabled to rob the workers of the fruits of their labour.”
“Prove it,” said Crass.
Owen slowly folded up the piece of newspaper he had been reading and put it into his pocket.
“All right,” he replied. “I’ll show you how the Great Money Trick is worked.”
Owen opened his dinner basket and took from it two slices of bread, but as these were not sufficient, he requested that anyone who had some bread left should give it to him. They gave him several pieces, which he placed in a heap on a clean piece of paper, and, having borrowed the pocket knives they used to cut and eat their dinners with from Easton, Harlow and Philpot, he addressed them as follows:
“These pieces of bread represent the raw materials which exist naturally in and on the earth for the use of mankind; they were not made by any human being, but were created for the benefit and sustenance of all, the same as were the air and the light of the sun.”
“Now,” continued Owen, “I am a capitalist; or rather, I represent the landlord and capitalist class. That is to say, all these raw materials belong to me. It does not matter for our present argument how I obtained possession of them; the only thing that matters now is the admitted fact that all the raw materials which are necessary for the production of the necessaries of life are now the property of the landlord and capitalist class. I am that class: all these raw materials belong to me.”
“Now you three represent the working class. You have nothing, and for my part, although I have these raw materials, they are of no use to me. What I need is the things that can be made out of these raw materials by work: but I am too lazy to work for me. But first I must explain that I possess something else beside the raw materials. These three knives represent all the machinery of production; the factories, tools, railways, and so forth, without which the necessaries of life cannot be produced in abundance. And these three coins” – taking three half pennies from his pocket – “represent my money, capital.”
“But before we go any further,” said Owen, interrupting himself, “it is important that you remember that I am not supposed to be merely a capitalist. I represent the whole capitalist class. You are not supposed to be just three workers, you represent the whole working class.”
Owen proceeded to cut up one of the slices of bread into a number of little square blocks.
“These represent the things which are produced by labour, aided by machinery, from the raw materials. We will suppose that three of these blocks represent a week’s work. We will suppose that a week’s work is worth one pound.”
Owen now addressed himself to the working classes as represented by Philpot, Harlow and Easton.
“You say that you are all in need of employment, and as I am the kind-hearted capitalist class I am going to invest all my money in various industries, so as to give you plenty of work. I shall pay each of you one pound per week, and a week’s work is that you must each produce three of these square blocks. For doing this work you will each receive your wages; the money will be your own, to do as you like with, and the things you produce will of course be mine, to do as I like with. You will each take one of these machines and as soon as you have done a week’s work, you shall have your money.”
The working classes accordingly set to work, and the capitalist class sat down and watched them. As soon as they had finished, they passed the nine little blocks to Owen, who placed them on a piece of paper by his side and paid the workers their wages.
“These blocks represent the necessaries of life. You can’t live without some of these things, but as they belong to me, you will have to buy them from me: my price for these blocks is, one pound each.”
As the working classes were in need of the necessaries of life and as they could not eat, drink or wear the useless money, they were compelled to agree to the kind capitalist’s terms. They each bought back, and at once consumed, one-third of the produce of their labour. The capitalist class also devoured two of the square blocks, and so the net result of the week’s work was that the kind capitalist had consumed two pounds worth of the things produced by the labour of the others, and reckoning the squares at their market value of one pound each, he had more than doubled his capital, for he still possessed the three pounds is money and in addition four pounds worth of goods. As for the working classes, Philpot, Harlow and Easton, having each consumed the pound’s worth of necessaries they had bought with their wages, they were again in precisely the same condition as when they started work – they had nothing.
This process was repeated several times: for each week’s work the producers were paid their wages. They kept on working and spending all their earnings. The kind-hearted capitalist consumed twice as much as any one of them and his pool of wealth continually increased. In a little while, reckoning the little squares at their market value of one pound each, he was worth about one hundred pounds, and the working classes were still in the same condition as when they began, and were still tearing into their work as if their lives depended upon it.
After a while the rest of the crowd began to laugh, and their merriment increased when the kind-hearted capitalist, just after having sold a pound’s worth of necessaries to each of his workers, suddenly took their tools, the machinery of production, the knives, away from them, and informed them that as owing to over production all his store-housed were glutted with the necessaries of life, he had decided to close down the works.
“Well, and wot the bloody ‘ell are we to do now?” Demanded Philpot.
“That’s not my business,” replied the kind-hearted capitalist. “I’ve paid your wages, and provided you with plenty of work for a long time past. I have no more work for you to do at present. Come round again in a few months’ time and I’ll see what I can do for you.”
“But what about the necessaries of life?” Demanded Harlow. “We must have something to eat.”
“Of course you must,” replied the capitalist, affably; “and I shall be very pleased to sell you some.”
“But we ain’t got no bloody money!”
“Well, you can’t expect me to give you my goods for nothing! You didn’t work for me for nothing, you know. I paid you for you work and you should have saved something: you should have been thrifty like me. Look how I have got on by being thrifty!”
The unemployed looked blankly at each other, but the rest of the crowd only laughed; and then the three unemployed began to abuse the kind-hearted capitalist, demanding that he should give them some of the necessaries of life that he had piled up in his warehouses, or to be allowed to work and produce some more for their own needs; and even threatened to take some of the things by force if he did not comply with their demands. But the kind-hearted capitalist told them not to be insolent, and spoke to them about honesty, and said if they were not careful he would have their faces battered in for them by the police, or if necessary he would call out the military and have them shot down like dogs, the same as he had done before at Featherstone and Belfast.
A Short History of the Class War Federation
The Class War Federation emerged from the wreckage of the British anarchist and Left political scene of the 1980’s. At that time many of the groups and individuals making up that scene, apart from a few exceptions, were retreating from class struggle into reformism or obscure and elitist middle class substitutes. It was not a pretty sight. Many of the anarchists became involved in a mishmash of single issue politics, middle class moral outrage and fashion! The Left on the other hand were busy trying to protect what party structures they had left and setting about reconstructing “the new politics of socialism” – where the working class had either ceased to exist or were no longer important. Our early years were partly a reaction against this sickening spectacle.
The miners strike of 1984/5 was a turning point for many of those in the anarchist scene. The reality of class struggle was forced upon them. Sales of our paper Class War soared as we took a no nonsense line about violence in the strike. Eventually a federation was formed which had a simple set of aims and principles that stressed the importance of class struggle. Some people could not accept the idea of such a degree of organisation and left. For a considerable period each issue of the paper was produced in rotation by different groups around the country; a fairly unique approach in the Left. The early years of the Federation, then, were spent producing populist propaganda and staging publicity stunts like ‘Bash the Rich’ marches, the ‘Mug a Yuppie’ campaign, national ‘Wreck a Roller Day’, disrupting the Henley Regatta and other upper class do’s. All with varying degrees of success. We also spent a fair amount of time arguing and debating with the Left and anarchist groups.
While there are many fine people in the Left and anarchist movement in the UK, there are also those who are not so fine. Of this latter group we attracted our fair share. Over a period of time these people were either ‘cured’ or chucked out, sometimes both! We quickly learned a lot about people and ourselves in the process. This was also a period of great internal debate about methods of organisation, something which anarchists are always, and rightly, concerned about. It was during this whole process of growing and learning that it gradually became clear to us that little more was to be gained by bothering about or arguing with the Left or anarchist scene in the UK. The best course seemed to be to go our own way and just get on with what we were doing. This, as it turned out, was the correct decision. We were freed from the historical obstruction that both movements had become. We just went around them. This is still our strategy today.
We carried on with our popular approach to class politics and got better at turning the enemies propaganda weapons back at them. To our pleasure we were getting more and more positive feedback from the working class heartland: the council estates, the prisons, the armed forces, youth clubs, factories, etc. Our mailbag was, and is, more interesting than that of the established Left. People began to take more and more bulk orders of papers to sell to friends. It quickly became clear that the readership of the paper was far higher than its actual sales, encouraging as these were. The paper was, and is, passed from hand to hand and our flyposters and stickers have become collectors items with people begging for them as we paste them up! A situation unique in the recent history of the Left.
Our national “Rock Against The Rich” concert tour with ex-Clash singer Joe Strummer was a great success in every way except financially. Well, we nearly broke even! The tour spread the name and basic message of Class War far and wide and proved that class politics can also mean having a good time. The production of the paper was eventually centralised in one location for economic and practical reasons, with writers and editors spread all over the country. The paper, we believe, has got better and better. Interestingly enough the paper is entirely self-financing, something quite unique in the British Left. To help us keep it that way you will find a form at the back of this book for a subscription and other Class War goodies! The paper is sold on the street, at football matches, in newsagents, record shops and at concerts etc.
We also produce a theoretical discussion magazine called “The Heavy Stuff’, where individual members and supporters contribute articles to provoke discussion. This magazine is quickly becoming a collectors item. On the international front the Federation is in touch with like-minded groups all around the world. Our ambition is to be a part of a growing international working class movement that can change this world. To this end we held a highly successful international conference in London in September 1991.
The Federation came to prominence after the 1990 poll tax riot in Trafalgar square where the Metropolitan Police got a well deserved beating at the hands of working class people from all over the country. One of our representatives, when interviewed on TV, was asked to condemn the rioters behaviour, he refused and praised those involved as working class heroes. The media was gob-smacked, questions were asked in parliament and parts of our publications read out in the House of Commons and the Lords. A representative of a left-wing party called Militant, you may remember them, was asked the same question by the media. He not only condemned the rioters but offered to name them to the police. Nothing could have illustrated more starkly the difference between our approach and politics and those of the Left.
Our direct, hard-hitting approach also caused no end of worrying in Whitehall when during the 1992 General Election campaign the Anti-Election Alliance, in which the Federation played a major role, was banned from holding a march and rally in Central London. In reply we told them what they could do with their ban, and with just days to go they backed down. On the day, the 1500 participants were shadowed by a huge force of over 3500 police, who, according to Police Review magazine were specially drafted in from all over South East England. But, surprise surprise, this event with its resulting massive police mobilisation, coming just days before the vote was taken, was subject to a complete press blackout. The silence was deafening!
How the Class War Federation Works
We work on a federal system, each group and individual members come together to achieve commonly agreed objectives. The Federation is a membership organisation with membership fees and certain obligations, such as the understanding and promotion of the Federation's politics and propaganda. We have a simple constitution and members are expected to abide by it. Federalism is a method of organising that provides a large degree of freedom for members and groups within a broadly agreed set of politics and strategy (for a fuller description and discussion of federalism see Chapter Seven).
When the Federation as a whole takes decisions affecting the whole membership, such as adopting a particular strategy, members are expected to comply. If they do not they are free to leave; we are not dreamy liberals. Members and groups either represent themselves or send delegates to represent them at Federation meetings. All delegates are instantly re-callable by those whom they represent and are directly accountable to them.
Nobody occupies a permanent post within the Federation. The positions such as secretaries, editors, organisers, treasurers etc. are open to election at least twice a year at our national conference. This national conference is the prime decision making body of the Federation. Between conferences the day to day business is handled by a regular meeting of the National Delegate Committee. The Federation also holds weekend schools for discussion and education.
The Federation is divided into geographic regions where the groups and members are encouraged to form their own regional organisation with their own campaigns, weekend schools, conferences, internal bulletins etc. As you can see the emphasis in our way of organising is on members and groups acting under their own steam as much as possible. The central control of the Left is neither politically healthy or indeed capable of waging the struggle required to help form a working class movement that will destroy capitalism.
Whether the Federation prospers or fails will depend on its members and external events, but we do think our approach and basic ideas are correct. Just as importantly we think that the spirit in which we work is very important and believe we have retrieved the older tradition that the Left has lost. We do not claim perfection, we have made mistakes in the past, and learnt from them, and shall probably make mistakes in the future, that's what happens in the real world.
Some of these books and pamphlets may only be available from anarchist and left-wing bookshops and publishers. The title of the book is followed by the authors name and the publisher (if shown).
"Albions Fatal Tree". Douglas and Thompson.
"World Turned Upside Down". Christopher Hill.
"The Making of the English Working Class". E.P. Thompson.
"The Great Arch". Corrigan and Sayer.
"The Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement". Barrot and Martin.
"Harry McShane (no mean fighter)". Harry McShane and Joan Smith.
"The History of the Makhovist Movement". Peter Arshinov.
"The Black Jacobins". C.L.R. James.
"The Making of the Irish Working Class". Peter Berresford Ellis.
"The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist". Robert Tressel.
"Dynamite! (A century of class struggle in America, 1830 - 1930)". Lewis Adamic - Rebel Press.
"The Platform of the Libertarian Communists". Reprinted by Workers Solidarity Movement, Ireland.
"Anarchy". Errico Maltesta - Freedom Press.
"Strange Victories" (A criticism of the anti-nuclear and environmental movements). Elephant Editions.
"Heroes". John Pilger.
"The Tyranny of Structurelessness". Jo Freeman - Raven Press.
"A Critique of State Socialism". Michael Bakunin.
"The Retreat from Class; the 'new' socialism". Ellen Meiksins Wood - Verso.
"Mutinies". David Lamb - Solidarity Press.
"Krondstat". Ida Mett.
"Love and Rage". Carl Harp.
"The Willhemshaven Uprising". Icarus.
"The Invergordon Mutineer". Len Wincott - Freedom Press.
"The Communist Manifesto". Marx and Engels.
"Labour Theory of Value". Marx and Engels.
"Beneath the City Streets". Peter Laurie.
"Divided Kingdom". John Osmond - Channel 4 Books.
"The History and Practice of the Political Police in Britain". Tony Bunyan.
"The Technology of Political Control". Carol Ackroyd.
"The Uses of Literacy". Richard Hoggart.
"Petals of Blood". Ngugi Wa Thiong'o.
"Homage To Catalonia". George Orwell.
"Hungary 1956". Andy Anderson.
"Sabotage". Geoff Brown.
"Marxist Economics for Socialists". John Harrison - Militant publications.
"Spartacus". James Leslie Mitchell.
"How Socialist is the Socialist Workers Party". A Wildcat pamphlet.
"Anarchy, from Loyalism to Anarchism". J.R. White - Cienfuegos Press.
"Capitalism and its Revolutionary Destruction". A Wildcat pamphlet.
"A Critique of Marxism". Sam Dolgoff - Soil of Liberty Press (USA).
"Chile: the Guerillas Are Amongst Us". Helio Prieto - Pluto Press.
"Paper Boys. Accounts of picketing at Wapping". Booklet produced by printers involved in the News International strike.
"Poll Tax Riot, 10 hours that shook Trafalgar Square". ACAB Press.
"Malatestas life and Ideas". Freedom Press.
"Deterring Democracy". Noam Chomsky - Verso.
"What is Communist Anarchism?". Alexander Berkman.
"The Slow Burning Fuse; the Lost History of the British Anarchists". J. Quail.
"The Irrational in Politics". Solidarity.
"God and the State". Michael Bakunin.
"The Reproduction of Everyday Life". Fredy Perlman - Black and Red Books.
"Bad News", "Really Bad News", "Very Bad News". Glasgow University media group.
"Sabate - Guerilla Extraordinary". Antonio Tellez
"How it all Began". Willie Bauman - Pulp Press (USA).
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". Dee Brown.
"The Iron Heel". Jack London.
"City Within a State: a Portrait of Britains Financial World". Anthony Hilton.
"Capital City". Hamish McRae.
"The Menace of Fascism". Ted Grant - Militant Publications.
"Fighting the Revolution". Freedom Press.
"From Riot to Insurrection". Alfred M. Bonanno - Elephant Editions.
"Media, State and Nation". Phillip Schlesinger - Sage.
"Out of the Ghetto". Joe Jacobs - Phoenix Press.
"Breaking Free". Attack International.
"The Free". Hooligan Press.
"The Bonnot Gang". Richard Parry - Rebel Press.
"Failure of a Revolution". Sebastian Hafner.
"British Syndicalism". Bob Holton - Pluto Press.
"Poland '80-'82". Henri Simon - Black and Red.
"Revolutionary Hamburg". Richard A. Comfort - Stamford University Press.
"Durruti, The People Armed". Abel Paz - Black Rose Books.
"The Spanish Revolution". Burnette Bolleton - Chapel Hill.
"Reading Capital Politically". Harry Cleaver - Harvester Press.
"Lenin - Selected Works". Lenin.
"Capital 1 - 3". Marx.
"Revolt on the Clyde". William Gallagher - Lawrence and Wishart.
"The Bolsheviks and Workers Control". Maurice Brinton - Black and Red.
"Revolution and Counter Revolution in Spain". Felix Morron - Pathfinder.
"Red Petrograd". S.A. Smith - Cambridge University Press.
"State Capitalism and World Revolution". C.LR. James - Charles H. Kerr.
"A Peoples History of the United States". Howard Zinn - Harper and Row.
"Bakunin on Anarchism". Bakunin - Black Rose Books.
"The Paris Commune". Lissagary - New Park.
"A Peoples History of England". Al Morton - Lawrence and Wishart.
"Ten Days That Shook the World". John Reed - Penguin.
"Lucy Parsons, American Revolutionary". Carolyn Ashbaugh - Charles H. Kerr.
"Collectives in the Spanish Revolution". Gaston Leval - Freedom Press.
"Pannekoek and the Workers Councils". Serge Bricianar - Telos Press.
"Anarchism". Daniel Guerin - Monthly Review Press.
"Birth of our Power". Victor Serge - Writers and Readers.
"The Chomsky Reader". Noam Chomsky - Serpents Tail.
"The Spanish Cockpit". Franz Borkenau.
"Reform or Revolution?". Rosa Luxemburg.
"Lessons of the Spanish Revolution". Freedom Press.
"The Tragedy of Spain". Rudolph Rocker.
"Spirit of Freedom". Attack International.
"Ireland: the Propaganda War". Liz Curtiz - Pluto Press.
"On Another Man's Wound", "The Singing Flame". Ernie O'Malley.
"The Longest War". Kevin Kelley - Brandon Zed.
"The Crack". Sally Belfrage - Grafton.
"Only the Rivers Run Free". E. Fairweather, R. McDonald & M. McFadyean.
"Twenty Years On". Micheal Farrell - Brandon.
"War and an Irish Town". Eamon Mcann - Pluto Press.
"Out of the Maze". Derek Dunne - Gill and Macmillan.
"Ten Dead Men". David Beresford - Grafton.
"The Irish Civil War". Frances Blake - Information on Ireland.
"One Day In My Life". Bobby Sands - Pluto Press.
"Trinity". Leon Uris - Grafton.
"The Lion in the North", "The Highland Clearances", "Darien Disaster", "Mutiny in the Highland Regiments", "Glencoe". John Prebble.
"Scotland: A Concise History". James Halliday - Gordon Wright.
"Scotland at the Crossroads". James Young - Clydeside Press.
"John Maclean: His Life and Times". Graham Bain - John Maclean Society.
"John Maclean". Nan Milton.
"Dictionary of Scottish History". Gordon Donaldson.
"Rousing of the Scottish Working Class". James Young.
"Tartans". Christian Hesketh.
"Scottish Womens Suffrage Movement". Elspeth King.
"A Short History of Labour in Scotland". W. H. Marwick.
"The Language of the People". William Donaldson.
"The Strike of the Glasgow Weavers 1787". Elspeth King.
"The Scottish Insurrection of 1820". Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac.
"A'Ghobhain". Pluto Press.
"Conflict and Class 1700 -1838". Hamish Fraser - John Donald.
"The Making of the Crofting Community". James Hunter - John Donald.
"The Struggle for a Language". Gwen Mulholland - Rank and File Teacher.
"Glasgow: Going for a Song". Sean Demer - Lawrence and Wishart.
"Glasgow: The Uneasy Truce". Tom Gallagher - Manchester University Press.
"Workers City: The Real Glasgow Stands Up", "The Reckoning: Beyond the Culture City Rip Off". Farquhar Maclay - Clydeside Press.
"Voices From Scotlands' Recent Past". Billy Key - Polygon.
"When Was Wales?". Gwyn A. Williams - Penguin.
"Insurrection in Wales". D. Helen Allday - Terence Dalton.
"Before Rebecca". David Jones - Penguin.
"The Rebecca Riots". Christopher Schest - Longmans.
"The Merthyr Rising". Glyn A. Williams - Crook Helm.
"Political Policing in Wales". Welsh Campaign for Civil and Political Liberties.
"Police Conspiracy". John Osmond - Y Lolfa.
"Miners Against Fascism". Lawrence and Wishart.
"The Welsh Extremist". Ned Thomas - Y Lolfa.
"Turning to London". Robert Griffiths - Welsh Socialist Party.
"Get Off Our Backs: Wales a Colony". Tim Richards - Welsh Socialist Party.
"A People and a Proletariat - Essays in the History of Wales". Dai Smith - Pluto Press.