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Submitted by martin on Mon, 31/03/2008 - 19:43

I've just got hold of a copy of Rayner Lysaght's seminal 1982 (?) work, “Early History of Irish Trotskyism”. It occurs to me that if we are going to discuss the IWU, etc., then we should broaden the discussion out a bit. To that end I quote below a bit of Lysaght's hagiography.

Lysaght is a long-time Mandelite, a Welsh rentier proud of his pedigree, turned Irishman and making a stupid a-historical fetish of “the National Question”.

In 1970, or thereabouts, he published a small work - in fact, some of it quite useful stuff - on the history of the 26 County state, and in the blurb listed his ancestors, establishing that he - and not Peter Berisford Ellis! -might be the rightful king of Ireland; a decade ago he published a strange collection of too often useless snippets, mentioning Ireland, from important writings , “The Communists and the Irish Revolution”.

There, amongst other things, he - or someone - cut a phrase out of the Communist International's 1920 Theses on the National and Colonial Question, so that its meaning was entirely reversed and a doctored “Lenin” was made into a Third Worldist akin to Lysaght then. (See the review of it in WL 1/25).

His account of the IWU, IWG, etc., is consonant with that sort of paper-wasting carry-on. (His story of the IWG, and of why and how it split, is straight lying: I'll get to all that, eventually...)

Lysaght: “[Saor Uladh's] members' search for revolutionary politics had produces a man who has as much claim as anyone to the title of father of modern Irish Trotskyism, embarrassing as it may be to his child.... First he formed an Irish Workers' Union. Then he combined with Maoists.... to form an Irish Communist Group.....Founded the Irish Workers Group (IWG) which brought Trotskyism back to Ireland at last...”

And on the Seventh Day, He rested...

Over to you Rayner... (Or Nolaig...)

Sean Matgamna

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