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Thread: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

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    Default Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican




    Anyone know much about the character in question?

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    From the CPI website:

    Seán Murray was born in 1898, the son of a small farmer in Cushendall, Co. Antrim. Though showing signs of being a brilliant pupil at Glenaan National School, he had to leave at the age of fourteen to work on his father’s and uncle’s farms. His teacher, Master McNamee, took a continuous interest in his education and introduced him to classical literature.
    As a youth Murray became interested in the national and labour movements. He joined the IRA, becoming commandant of the Antrim Battalion, which engaged in attacks on RIC barracks. In 1920, while on his way to join a flying column with his adjutant, Malcolm McKeegan, he was arrested by British forces and brought to Belfast Prison. He was later transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp, from which he was released on the declaration of the truce that preceded the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.
    In December 1922 Murray met Peadar O’Donnell for the first time; thereafter they became close friends and comrades in arms on the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War. Afterwards Murray emigrated to England, working for a period in the London docks and becoming a delegate to the London Trades Council and later its secretary.
    When he returned to Ireland he became organiser of the Irish Worker League, which had been formed by Jim Larkin. From 1928 to 1931 he was a student at the Lenin International School in Moscow, and when he returned to Ireland he became organiser of the Revolutionary Workers’ Groups. He was nearly burned alive in March 1933 when the head office of the RWG, Connolly House, in Great Strand Street, Dublin, was attacked and set alight by a mob incited by priests.
    On the foundation of the Communist Party of Ireland in June 1933 Seán Murray was elected general secretary. In October he was served with an expulsion order from the territory of Northern Ireland, which he refused to recognise; he continued to make many secret journeys there but was eventually arrested and jailed.
    Murray was general secretary of the CPI from 1933 to 1940 and national organiser from then until his death at the age of sixty-three in 1961. A man of great intellect as well as a prolific journalist, editor, and pamphleteer, he was an outstanding Marxist-Leninist scholar, with the specific ability to apply his revolutionary knowledge to Irish conditions.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Promotional stuff about the book:

    Product Description

    In this ground-breaking book Seán Byers documents the life and political career of Seán Murray, an unremarkable rural, northern Catholic who went on to become general secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland and one of the most prominent left-wing thinkers of his era.

    An Irish War of Independence volunteer, anti-Treaty republican and graduate of the International Lenin School in Moscow, Murray rooted himself in the key Irish labour, republican and international struggles of his time. Based on previously unseen archival sources, Seán Byers explores Murray’s IRA activities during the Irish revolutionary period; his significant contribution to the 1932 outdoor relief strike and the short-lived republican Congress initiative; and his crucial role in organising the Irish contingent of the International Brigade who fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.Shining a spotlight on Murray’s close personal and political relationships with Peadar O’Donnell, Frank Ryan, Jim Larkin junior, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Betty Sinclair and many others, Byers uses this biography as a nexus for examining cross-pollination between the Irish socialist and left republican movements throughout the period in question.

    In Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist and Irish Socialist Republican, Seán Byers reveals the extraordinary story of how in the face of adversity – the coercive measures of the Unionist state and red scare tactics of Catholic Ireland – Murray left a significant imprint on Irish leftist politics through his work as an activist and organiser, a prolific writer, propagandist and theorist.

    Table of Contents

    1. The Making of an Irish Republican Bolshevik
    2. Reviving the United Front
    3. The Improvised Popular Front
    4. ‘Pushed Upstairs’
    5. Between Marxism-Leninism and Left Reformism

    About the Author

    Seán Byers is involved in a project in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast entitled ‘The Labour Movement, Working-Class Cultures and Conflict in Northern Ireland since 1945’, which aims to preserve and promote trade union history and the independent existence of the working class through a series of community seminars, international conferences and the establishment of an archive and research hub. He currently lives in Belfast.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Anyone else read the book?


    It's a nice read although I'm not sure I really learned too much. It's a reasonable narrative of the early years of communism in Ireland in the first half of the 20th century. The most interesting bit I found was the discussion about the CPNI during the second world war and their position regarding unionism and towards industrial disputes during that time as as the changing attitudes to the war itself.

    The discussion about the influence of the Comintern on the Irish party and how the CPGB was utilized in this regard is useful too... it seems the Comintern did not understand Ireland at all, and neither did the bulk of the British Communists.

    It seems the republican congress was by far the best opportunity progressives had during that time, besides that I don't think they had anything that could even be termed a false dawn.

    (Matt Treacys book is referred to a number of times politely - albeit mainly in disagreement or to make corrections)

    The book is a let down when it comes to detailing the actual politics of the man, it's a narrative of Murray's life and of communism in Ireland, not a detailed analysis of the politics and the reasoning behind positions.

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    Anyone else read the book?
    Sorry,no.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    The discussion about the influence of the Comintern on the Irish party and how the CPGB was utilized in this regard is useful too... it seems the Comintern did not understand Ireland at all, and neither did the bulk of the British Communists.
    If you are interested in the history of Ireland and the Comintern there is a pretty good book available on this. I would recommend it.

    http://www.historyireland.com/20th-c...onals-1919-43/

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    It seems the republican congress was by far the best opportunity progressives had during that time, besides that I don't think they had anything that could even be termed a false dawn.
    The character of Ireland of the last one hundred years was essentially determined by the Civil War. It might be more correctly characterised as a counter revolution. Reaction won with the support of British imperialism and shaped the future of the country. Progressive politics was set back indefinitely. If the republican side had won I think you would have seen a much different Ireland emerge ...
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Sorry,no.



    If you are interested in the history of Ireland and the Comintern there is a pretty good book available on this. I would recommend it.

    http://www.historyireland.com/20th-c...onals-1919-43/



    The character of Ireland of the last one hundred years was essentially determined by the Civil War. It might be more correctly characterised as a counter revolution. Reaction won with the support of British imperialism and shaped the future of the country. Progressive politics was set back indefinitely. If the republican side had won I think you would have seen a much different Ireland emerge ...
    Thanks I'll be sure to pick that up.

    It must have been very discouraging for progressives at the time

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    Thanks I'll be sure to pick that up.

    It must have been very discouraging for progressives at the time
    Many were forced into emigration during the 1920s and made their lives elsewhere.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  8. #8

    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    I never really got into the book, to be honest. It's a well-researched look at life on the Irish political fringe but Murray is such a cipher throughout that it was very hard to care about him. Which was not the author's fault - according to Sean Byers, Murray generally did not bother recording anything personal on paper - but it does mean that Byers struggled to portray him with any sort of intimacy, an awkward deficiency in a biography.

    Having said, the chapter about the Spanish Civil War and Murray's role in selecting fighters for the Nationalist side is worth a read in itself.

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    The phrase 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' springs to mind, is all I can say.

    As for the Spanish Civil War, both sides were dreadful.
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by Éireann_Ascendant View Post
    Having said, the chapter about the Spanish Civil War and Murray's role in selecting fighters for the Nationalist side is worth a read in itself.
    You probably mean Republican side.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by pluralist View Post

    As for the Spanish Civil War, both sides were dreadful.
    Well, on one side you had the elected government. And on the other you had those who staged a military coup and were supported by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.

    But if it's all the same to you so be it ....
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Sam Lord
    The character of Ireland of the last one hundred years was essentially determined by the Civil War. It might be more correctly characterised as a counter revolution. Reaction won with the support of British imperialism and shaped the future of the country. Progressive politics was set back indefinitely. If the republican side had won I think you would have seen a much different Ireland emerge ...
    Partition, and continued British presence in the North, was a twin blow, surely, as it put sectarian State machines in control both sides of the border? The Civil War was certainly about crushing the more radical and progressive side of Irish nationalism, the side that would have been more minded to challenge continued British presence in Ireland. The Irish working class and the Labour movement, that used mass strikes, Soviets and occupations as weapons, making the South ungovernable, was also knocked back.

    But the limited gains that were made were still enormously important, and the beginning of the end of the British Empire.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    You probably mean Republican side.
    D'oh!

    Yes, of course, you're quite right.

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    Default Re: Book Launch: Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Well, on one side you had the elected government. And on the other you had those who staged a military coup and were supported by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.

    But if it's all the same to you so be it ....
    Didn't say they were the same, did I. I just said they were both awful.
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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