Irish Election Literature

… what you maybe meant to keep…

1986 letter from The Workers Party to the Communist Party of The Soviet Union (CPSU) looking for Funds July 8, 2010


First off many many thanks to the Sender for this. (and donations always welcome)
(I’m also assuming that this letter is real)
A 1986 letter from The Workers Party to the Communist Party of The Soviet Union (CPSU) looking for “a grant of one million pounds (Irish) over the proposed five year development period in order to assist.. in this vital and urgent task, which we believe will be Of benefit to the world struggle for Peace, Freedom, and Socialism.
The letter is signed by Proinsias De Rossa and Sean Garland.

Amongst other things it gives a background to where the party were, their view of Ireland at the time and outlines what they would spend funds on.
There is also a mention of ‘Special Activities’.
Some of this has been detailed in The Lost Revolution.

As its hard to read in places, the text is underneath each page.

Dear Comrade,
The Executive of the Workers Party of Ireland, on the occasion of a visit to Moscow of the General Secretary, Sean Garland, and Vice-President and Chairperson Executive Political Committee, Councillor Proinsias De Rossa TD, wishes to convey its warm regards and fraternal greetings to the Central Committee and members of the C.P.S.U. and to address this important and urgent message to you.

Though it has been a relatively short time since our two parties established relations in December ’83, each year has seen more contact and understanding leading to more positive development and to a better
overall understanding of the two parties objectives strategies and tactics. In regard to the basic fundamentals, of objectives and tasks in the world today, there is we believe a common analysis and a common approach.
We know that you are quite familiar with the general situation in Ireland, just as we ourselves, keep informed as to developments in the Soviet Union and throughout the world. We would however like to briefly sketch for you the present and immediate future situation in Ireland as we see it.

In the Republic of Ireland the continuing economic Crisis is making the coalition government of Fine Gael and Labour very unstable. The parliament has only one year to run but many Observers are now predicting the possibility of a General election this November or early next spring. The government has lost the confidence of the majority of the people, of business, of the trade unions, and even of many of its members both inside and outside parliament. The Main opposition party, Fianna Fail, is expected to table a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the government

as soon as the parliament reassembles in late October. The indications are that the combined votes of the Workers arty, the Progressive Democrats, Fianna Fail and some defections or abstentions of government deputies may result in the defeat of the coalition.
Allied to the chronic state of the economy there are now 250,000 officially unemployed (18%) and there is generally believed to be at least 50,000 people out of work who are not eligible for benefit and are therefore not counted officially. In addition to this emigration reached 30,000 in 1985.

The recent defeat for the government in a referendum to amend the constitution to allow divorce also dealt a severe, blow to the credibility of the Prime Minister Mr. Garrett Fitzgerald. It was of course also A severe blow to the democratic struggle in Ireland., with the forces of Roman Catholicism combining with Fianna Fail and some government deputies to effect this defeat. In addition to this the States indebtedness has continued to soar while there in continuing unrest at the very high rate of personal taxation combined with cuts in the health and education services.

In Northern Ireland much of what was promised in the Anglo-Irish Agreement, (peace, stability, devolved government with a Bill of Rights) has not been delivered, and the government of the republic could become vulnerable because of this.
Nevertheless this government or the next one is not going to fundamentally alter the Anglo-Irish Agreement given the context in which it has been arrived at.
In Northern Ireland the refusal of the Unionist parties to accept the Anglo-Irish agreement has created a most dangerous situation. The Unionist leadership has been outflanked by the British government and the Irish Government, aided and abetted by the SDLP, all of whom are strongly influenced by Washington. The Unionists whatever they do are not going to be able to stop the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The economic and social scene in Northern Ireland is as bad if not worse than in the Republic, with over 20 % unemployed.

A new realignment is taking place in Irish politics. The British and Irish governments along with Washington are seeking a more moderate and willing leadership of Unionism, while the new party in the Republic, led by Dessie O’Malley, ex-Fianna Fail minister, is a reactionary conservative party with a ‘Liberal’ gloss. This party the Progressive Democrats provides a new opportunity for the establishment to maintain the fiction of political choice. The emergence of the Progressive Democrats comes at a time of decline in the two government parties, Fine Gael and Labour. A new likely coalition Could be Fine Gael and Progressive Democrats, each with a liberal social image And extreme right – wing monetarist economic policies. The Left is still the weakest force and though the workers Party continues to grow the total Left vote would not exceed 15% at this moment in time.

The Workers Party has set out elsewhere in Conference documents and statements our analysis and position on the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Suffice to say that we believe the fictions of extreme Unionist elements and of the Provisional IRA could lead to a major escalation of terrorist violence which will result in *many thousands dead. We have received reliable reports that the British and Irish governments are prepared for a figure of up to 5,000 deed in such a situation in order to achieve their aims.

An additional element to this situation and an indicator of the direction in which Monopoly Capital’s thinking in moving with regard to the future of Ireland as a whole is the nature and content of the Single European Act. This has now been signed by all twelve EEC member States including the Republic of Ireland . This Act as you know amends the Treaty of Rome and adds new sections to it. From a detailed workers Party analysis of it it clearly diminishes Irish Neutrality and sovereignty to that of a mere label of convenience. The government proposes to have this Act ratified by parliament before the end of December and the Workers Party of Ireland is at present campaigning to have it renegotiated to provide guarantees on our neutrality, sovereignty, and social and regional development policies for underdeveloped regions of the Community.

The Workers PArty is convinced that it is not only necessary to combat these seemingly contradictory forces, who ultimately serve the same interests, that of Monopoly Capital, but it is essential that the working class is educated and mobilised to act in Their own interests. We are in the process of laying a firm base for building a class conscious party. We have come a long way in a relatively short space of time and the next 5 to 10 years are critical for the development and building of the Workes PArty in Ireland. It is by defending the interests of the working class, by being always there giving leadership and direction that we have come this far. We are aware that no revolutionary party anywhere in the world ever succeeded without having the mass support of the workers which is only achieved class politics, integrity and struggle.
We know that at the end of the day It is our own activity, strength and influence in Ireland which will be the determining factor for victory, and we know that we must be able to secure the bulk of our resources from the people on Whose behalf we are struggling. This is for us a constant activity, and this has always been a basic in Irish revolutionary history.
Nevertheless all of the great revolutionaries and movements of our past worked to build allies abroad for support and solidarity. from Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen of 1798, who sought and received encouragement and assistance from the French Revolution; the Fenian Movement of the 1860’s; the Irish Republican Brotherhood; and the Irish Volunteers of this century, down to our own day. We acknowledge, and once again express our sincere thanks and appreciation to you for the support we received this year.

Taking into account the present stage of development of the party and of the present politics/ situation in all Ireland our executive Political Committee has adopted a five year party development programme. The key elements of which are;

1. To strengthen and consolidate party ideology by increased emphasis and more resources on party political education. this will be carried out by establishing a full time party school of political education and training of party cadres.

2. The expansion of party publications, commencing this autumn with a new party journal; To seek to launch within the next year a new party popular weekly newspaper. Alongside this the publication of pamphlets and documents on specific issues plus the reprinting of party policy documents which are at present out of print.

3. The expansion of party organisation throughout the country. This to be spearheaded by the appointment or full time party organisers/agitators.

4. To build on recent successes in the electoral field especially following the widespread victories in local government elections of June ’85. We will be contesting at least 30 out of 44 constituencies in the Republic at the next general election. we are fully aware or the volatile nature of the electorate in capitalist countries and we recognise that electoral strategy and involvement is only one aspect of our struggle. However elections, combined with the party’s activities on the ground, the performance of our Deputies in parliament, and our councillors on municipal authorities has helped the party grow.

5. To expand and develop our research department to provide constantly up to date material for political
decisions, and backup for for agitations and our public representatives.

The projected cost of this party development programme, in round figures is as follows:

The building and equipping of party school on a site already owned by the party 30 miles north of Dublin The building would have to be suitable to accommodate 20 students and have lecture and study rooms etc
Cost: £50,000

Staffing, maintenance of students and their travel expenses
Five Year Cost: £250,000
Preparation and launching of new party journal and popular weekly newspaper.
Cost: £100,000

Purchase of printing machinery and ancillary equipment
Cost; £150,000

Appointment of fulltime party organisers, wages, expenses of approximately £220 each per week. Average
number of organisers over the five year period to cover the 32 counties would be thirty.
Cost: £1,800,000

Over the five year period we estimate that the number of elections to the various parliaments, councils,
assemblies and EEC, in both States would be eight in all. Given that we will be putting candidates forward in most constituencies in all these contests we estimate expenditure conservatively at:
Cost. £1,000,000

The expansion of the research department would require the appointment of two research officers.
Cost: £100,000

The total cost then in round figures is £3.45m

At present the party’s main source of income is from members subscriptions, special levies on branches, and public national collections, usually carried out from door to door. Over a twelve month period this totals approximately £120,000 of which national collection £30,000; members subscriptions £78,000; Special branch levies £12,000.
Expenditure over a 12 month period is £325,000 which covers wages, offices, and publications. The bulk of
the shortfall has been met by ‘special activities’ of which it is not possible to detail here because of reasons we are sure you will understand. The ‘special activities’ are unable always to be effective and so on occasion the party has had to seek loans from individuals and financial institutions for specific activities. This has meant an accumulation of debt with financial institutions or approximately £100,000, the interest on this alone is crippling us.
Further the continued growth of the party in the public domain makes ‘special activities’ more hazardous for the party which has more than enough enemies in the establishment ready to pounce on mistakes or difficulties.

So you can see comrade not only do we have an extremely complex and a uniquely difficult political situation to operate in, we also face an extremely grave problem In financing and building the Workers Party. The growth of the party in recent years has brought with it many extra and strenuous demands on the leadership and members. We are confident of achieving in time all that we have set ourselves to do, but what we urgently need now is on injection of capital to enable us to devote our time and energy to the tasks in hand and to relieve us of the daily burden of financial constraints.
We recognise the the great tasks the Soviet Party and people have undertaken, we know well the great struggle it has been to achieve so much and we also know well the tremendous sacrifices made by and the support the Soviet Union has rendered to Liberation movements and Revolutionary Parties struggling all over the world.
We for our part will continue to exert all our energies to raise as much finance as is possible to wage a successful struggle, nevertheless we recognise that our best efforts will not be enough to raise the finance needed.
Therefore we would respectfully request a grant of one million pounds (Irish) over the proposed five year development period in order to assist us in this vital and urgent task, which we believe will be Of benefit to the world struggle for Peace, Freedom, and Socialism. If there is agreement in principal to our request, we are available at any time to meet and discuss any proposed arrangement and or to expand on ‘any of the points in this letter.
Yours fraternally,

 

5 Responses to “1986 letter from The Workers Party to the Communist Party of The Soviet Union (CPSU) looking for Funds”

  1. Liam Byrne Says:

    Brilliant – history in the flesh! Well done!

  2. Big Yellow Taxi Says:

    Isn’t this the letter that was the basis for PdR’s libel action against the Sunday Independent in the late 1990’s?

    As far as I remember, De Rossa claimed that he didn’t know anything about “special activities” the letter.

    • Yep the letter is referred to here (http://sim.law.uu.nl/SIM/CaseLaw/hof.nsf/233813e697620022c1256864005232b7/8eb8e4a734d776f9c1257030003a94c2?OpenDocument) in an article about the case
      ….
      On 13 December 1992 the Sunday Independent published an article entitled “Throwing good money at jobs is dishonest”. The article commented on, among other things, a recently discovered letter allegedly to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was alleged in the article that Mr de Rossa – a well-known Irish politician – was one of two people who had signed the letter, which referred to “special activities” that had previously been carried out in order to meet shortfalls in the funding of the Workers’ Party, a political party of which Mr de Rossa had been leader.
      According to the article, those “activities” were of a criminal nature. At the time of publication, Mr de Rossa was the leader of another political party (the Democratic Left) and a member of the Irish parliament (the Dáil). He was also involved in post-election negotiations about his party’s participation in government.
      In August 1993 Mr de Rossa instituted libel proceedings in the High Court against Independent News and Media plc. In July 1997 the jury found the article published by Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited to be defamatory and awarded Mr de Rossa 300,000 Irish pounds (approximately 381,000 euros) in damages. Independent News and Media plc appealed unsuccessfully. The award, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, was three times the highest libel award previously approved by that court. The award and Mr de Rossa’s legal costs were paid by Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, as were the first applicant company’s own legal costs.

  3. […] It's not like Cardiff knows something that could embarrass someone if revealed, is it? Ah, surely not, what an absurd suggestion. What on earth could there possibly be in De Rossas past t… Reply With Quote + Reply to Thread new TWTR.Widget({ […]


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