by Attack International
“This booklet sets out to explain what’s going on in Ireland. It shows why British troops are there and, more importantly, why it is in our interests to get them out.”
This is how Attack International—a small, anonymous collective of anticapitalist revolutionaries based in England—described their text “The Spirit of Freedom: The War in Ireland” in 1989. Now published as a book for the first time, it still provides a concise, readable, and unabashedly partisan introduction to the history of Ireland’s struggle against British colonialism, as well as analysis of the contours of the struggle and their approach to solidarity with it.
A powerful and provocative call to the radical left to dig into the Irish republican resistance, “The Spirit of Freedom” has continued to circulate for more than three decades, far beyond the immediate audience at which it was immediately aimed, and as the context dramatically shifted. To aid the present-day reader, this edition also includes a new Preface and Afterword by C. Crowle (as well as footnotes and supplementss to Attack International’s chronology and book recommendations) to update the last thirty years of history of the conflict in the Six Counties of “Northern Ireland.” These new materials also reflect on the differences between support for Irish republicanism in the 1980s in the UK, versus in the present and (for many readers) in the settler colonies of North America. As Crowle argues (from personal experience), an adoption of Irish identity can seem to offer the white settler a way to step out of their social position as a colonizer; this is not an exit, however, but a smokescreen, obscuring real relations on both sides of the Atlantic.
This book offers material not just for the study of the struggle for a United Ireland, but for the real practice of solidarity across borders, nations, and ideological affiliation, as together we try to build a world where all are free from the violence of State and Capital.
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