(Reading time: 2mins.)
A new socialist Irish Republican hardcopy newspaper has appeared in Ireland in recent months. January and February 2023’s editions, believed to be nos. 3 & 4 are reviewed here.
While today, at least in the developed world, the production of Internet media is of great importance for the revolutionary movement as much as it is for the capitalist system, the hard-copy newspaper disseminated by hand still has an important role.
Hardcopy newspaper distribution entails contact in the real world with real people, answers given to questions asked and challenges made, contacts made between the potential organisers and potential activist supporters, can go from hand to hand and be left for a random reader.
Online media has no equivalent to this.
Lenin observed that the revolutionary newspaper is an organiser, not only in its calls to action but in the necessary tasks of production and distribution. Ireland has very few revolutionary newspapers and not even one weekly one, to say nothing of daily editions.
An Phoblacht Abú is produced and distributed by Irish Republican Socialists, whose activist manifestations have been seen in the Revolutionary Housing League’s occupation of empty buildings and its calls for a general emulation of such actions.
Another manifestation has been the activities of Anti-Imperialist Action, notably in protest pickets against imperialism and neo-colonialism, antifascist actions and anti-spiking campaigns, also in commemorations of Republican martyrs, often supported by sticker and leaflet campaigns.
CONTENT, FORM AND PRICE
Both issues reviewed contained 16 sides of A4 pages, composed of two A3 sheets folded in half, one inside the other. They sold at 2 euros per issue – less than one-third the price of most pints in Dublin and much longer to consume!
In general the articles are well-written and with few typographical errors. The editions reviewed here covered national and international news and the overall line in the content is of revolutionary overthrow of the ruling class and eschewing electoralism.
With regard to coverage of national issues, anti-fascism, anti-racism, building a broad front, opposition to NATO and the British occupation of the Six Counties and the neo-colonial and neo-liberal ruling class of the Twenty-Six Counties have figured prominently.
Apart from such regular themes, January’s issue documented the struggle against student fees and treachery of the student union executive in Maynooth and reported a joint Republican Prisoners’ solidarity picket in Dublin along with the release of a known Loyalist sectarian murderer.
Commemorations of Irish Republicans murdered by the Free State during the Irish Civil War/ Counter Revolution (1922-1923) figured in both issues.
In foreign news coverage, actions of peoples’ guerrilla forces in the Philippines and India, for which one would search the main dailies in vain, are covered in both issues and, in January’s, Scottish independence and John McLean and Israeli expulsion of Palestinian campaigner Salah Hamouri.
The environmental struggle in Germany figured in February’s issue.
Regarding economic questions, the rise in “cost of living” and housing crisis attacks on working people were addressed in short articles. Wider pieces on action were included on class struggle and community representation and action in the February edition.
The appearance of An Phoblacht Abú is welcome and it is hoped can be sustained. Hopefully further issues will deal with questions of culture and the Irish language, the war in Ukraine (on which the Left seems deeply divided), historical-cultural conservation, trade union organisation and education of the people.
AVAILABLEat 2 euro per copy (back issues sometimes free) from sellers and supporters or from firstname.lastname@example.org