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Micheal O'Riordan. Facing political facts

by John Throne Saturday, May. 20, 2006 at 12:05 PM
loughfinn@aol.com

Micheal O'Riordan, the leader of the Irish Communist party has just died. He was one of the Irish men who fought in the Spanish civil war against Franco. This gave him a certain aura. In the past ten years he has become a sort of warm and fuzzy symbol for the social democratic left, and the leadership of such outfits as Sinn Fein. The correspondence on Indymedia in Ireland about him is pretty much subservient. What a wonderful and determined man of the left he was; along these lines. In order to bring some balance to the discussion I sent the comments below to Irish Indymedia. I felt that it was necessary to take a stand. It is not acceptable to let the lives of the millions of workers and revolutionaries who were slaughtered by Stalinism to go unmentioned. Nor can it be ignored that Stalinism was a catastrophe in other ways. Its disastrous failure ushered in the new capitalist regimes in the former Stalinist world with all the horrors these are bringing with them.

Micheal O'Riordan. Facing political facts

Micheal O'Riordan, the leader of the Irish Communist party has just died. He was one of the Irish men who fought in the Spanish civil war against Franco. This gave him a certain aura. In the past ten years he has become a sort of warm and fuzzy symbol for the social democratic left, and the leadership of such outfits as Sinn Fein. The correspondence on Indymedia in Ireland about him is pretty much subservient. What a wonderful and determined man of the left he was; along these lines.

In order to bring some balance to the discussion I sent the comments below to Irish Indymedia. I felt that it was necessary to take a stand. It is not acceptable to let the lives of the millions of workers and revolutionaries who were slaughtered by Stalinism to go unmentioned. Nor can it be ignored that Stalinism was a catastrophe in other ways. Its disastrous failure ushered in the new capitalist regimes in the former Stalinist world with all the horrors these are bringing with them.

Micheal O'Riordan. Facing political facts

Micheal O'Riordan was a man of politics all his adult life. In death I am sure, he would want to be judged politically. There is no doubt Micheal O'Riordan was a determined man who stood in general on the left. I was active in the Irish labor movement for many years and on occasion saw and heard his account of things.

However this is not all that needs to be said. Micheal O'Riordan was a leading activist in the Stalinist movement. The policies of this movement led to the disastrous defeat of the working class movement in its war against fascism in the Spanish civil war. The methods of this movement included the monstrous slaughter of those who held other opinions on the left especially the Trotskyists. This slaughter took place in Spain, the former Soviet Union and internationally.

I have never heard that Micheal O"Riordan ever separated himself in any way from these crimes of Stalinism. And as others have said he supported the invasions of the former Soviet Union into countries such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Yes. A man is dead. That is to be regretted. But we should not hide the political reality from ourselves and the new generations that are now coming into politics. Stalinism was a catastrophe for the international working class movement. Micheal O'Riordan was a participant of Stalinism and a supporter of Stalinism his entire adult political life. And anybody who questioned Stalinism he went out of his way to crush such questioning.

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