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John McAnulty

There is general agreement among socialists that ‘social partnership’ between union bosses, government and the bosses in the 26 county state has had a devastating effect on levels of working-class struggle.

It’s a statement of the obvious to say that breaking from social partnership is critical to a resurgence of the working class, and it is for that reason that Socialist Democracy member Joe Craig, with support from and as a result of debate within the organisation, penned the book Prisoners of Social Partnership.

The reaction to the book was rather instructive.  

The Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party and the various anarchist groups simply ignored the book.
Members of a small group, the Irish Socialist Network, gave the book a warm welcome and used it as one source for their own booklet which was distributed to trade councils across Ireland.

One of the bodies formally committed to building socialist unity – the Red Banner editorial board – commissioned a review of the book which began a correspondence that quite quickly became sterile and the debate was closed with no apparent attempt to bring others into the discussion.

Our protagonist in the discussion used her position, whatever that is – and this has never been made clear – to bizarrely refuse Socialist Democracy permission to reproduce the correspondence on our web site.  An appeal to the editorial board of Red Banner asking for support in our publicising of the debate met with no response despite their earlier agreement to us carrying some of the material before the debate was terminated.

We await the further discussion in Red Banner.  In the interim we have decided to reprint the full debate so far because we consider the issue to be of central importance for working class regroupment. We do not accept that one side can close a discussion already in the public domain.  The debate can still be read in the issues of Red Banner and we can see no reason why it should not have the widest circulation.  Our web site remains open to Maeve Connaughton, the members of the Red Banner editorial team or any of our readers to respond to the issues and arguments addressed in the debate.


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