This week marks 100 years since the outbreak of the Belfast pogroms, when the city saw significant sectarian violence and the expulsion of an estimated 10,000 men and 1,000 women from their workplaces, starting in the shipyards and spreading to other workplaces. The violence also spread to the Belfast slums with 22 killed and hundreds wounded. It was the start of a period known as the first ‘Troubles.’ Between June 1920 and June 1922, 428 people were killed and tens of thousands kicked out of their homes, similar to the early phase of the later ‘Troubles.’
This year, the Socialist Party intends to re-print some of Peter Hadden's key works, which we think will be an assist for a new generation looking towards socialist ideas as an alternative to sectarian division. Our first re-print will be of Divide and Rule, written in 1980, in which Peter analyses the period leading up to the partition of Ireland. Below is the introduction to the new edition.
The week after the election in the South, which saw Sinn Féin win the popular vote as support for the two traditional establishment parties reduced to a historic low, the Economist magazine had a front cover asking if a United Ireland is possible.
Six months before Bloody Sunday - when the infamous Parachute Regiment (Paras) killed 14 unarmed protesters at a civil rights march in Derry - ten people were killed in Ballymurphy by the same regiment.
As we go to press, it is over 750 days since the Stormont institutions collapsed in the wake of the RHI. This figure is likely to rise considerably, given the sectarian games of both the DUP and Sinn Féin and the lack of any serious efforts to restart the institutions.
This titanic battle of the Belfast working class saw 60,000 workers take strike action for one month.