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From the Vaults: Workers Power, September, 1979

In From the Vaults, IRA, Northern Ireland, Trotskyism on May 7, 2012 at 9:36 PM

On August 14, 1979 Lord Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the Queen, together with his grandson and another young person were murdered in an act of terrorism. The IRA remotely detonated a  bomb on the boat they were on. The country was in shock. As the BBC reported about Lord Mountbatten’s funeral, “Thousands lined the route of the procession and the memorial service at Westminster Abbey was attended by royalty, leaders and politicians from all over the world.”  But this was not the view of the Trotskyist organisation, Workers Power. Below I copy a front page unsigned article written in an editorial style from their newspaper. Despite the fact that this act of terrorism occurred over 32 years ago, it is still truly sickening to read.

Don’t mourn Mountbatten

Workers Power, No. 8, September, 1979, p1.

LORD MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA, at various times the First Sea Lord, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia and Viceroy of India, was not merely a titled member of the parasitical Windsor Dynasty. Workers should know him for what he was – an intelligent and resourceful militant of British Imperialism in the long period of its decline from first to third or fourth rate power.

It is ironic that he fell a casualty of the latest war to which that dogged and bloody retreat gave rise. He died at the hands of forces seeking to liberate Ireland from the malign power that condemns’ Irish men, women and children to the persistent harra ssment of an army of occupation. To suffer SAS secret assassination  squads, the imprisonment and torture of those seeking to protect their own people and to expel the oppressors.

It is, of course, part of the propaganda of successive British governments to criminalise these freedom fighters, to deny that there is war being fought in Ireland. So said their predecessors in India, Cyprus and Kenya.

As Marxists, and not nationalists, we have a different view of the tactics to be employed to end the oppression of Ireland. The killing of a retired ruling class militant, member of the royal family etc., will enrage the ruling class, but it will not injure or weaken it. Indeed, such actions, carried out by a highly secret military formation and unrelated to the mass action and involvement of the working class in both Northern and Southern Ireland, will provoke repression without preparing the forces to deal with [unclear].

The successful attack on the paratroops, whose regiment murdered fourteen unarmed civilians in Derry in 1972 is, however, doubly defensible. Only rabid pro·imperialists and their Fleet Street hirelings can condemn it.

Of course it is personally tragic for the friends and families of working class boys driven into the Army by unemployment and set to die in Ireland. But there is only one solution. Get the troops out NOW. ‘But’, scream the Labourite politicians as well as the Tories, ‘That would be a victory for the IRA.’ So it would be. It would be a victory for every working class person in Britain as well.