Bico and Bill Warren

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Mon Feb 12 18:41:19 MST 2001

>>But with BICO, I think something else is at work.  After all, they went
>>from being critically supportive of republicanism to being so viruelntly
>>hostile that they became pro-imperialists.  Bill Warren's book on
>>imperialism very much represented their evolution on that score.

>As comrades should know by now, I hate the line of reasoning found in the
>late Bill Warren's book with a passion. Just imagine if Bill Warren was
>still alive today and--like some people--subbed to 25 different leftwing
>mailing lists pushing his line that imperialism has a silver lining. It
>would drive me to utter distraction.

Well, it probably would.  But I think you would be more than a match for
'cde' Warren, if he were still alive.

The interesting thing about Warren's book on imperialism is that it shows
the links between theory and politics on the ground.  The BICO-ites simply
could not stand the realities of a national liberation struggle; the
struggle drove them crazy.  I mean, imagine it, there you are trying to
build a career as a Marxist academic, with  a nice little niche market, and
along come a load of bloody ill-educated working class yobs from the ghetto
and start trying to overthrow the state.  I mean, how inconsiderate of

This reality led to ICO becoming BICO and abandoning their early position,
which did recognise the national question as being at the heart of the
Irish revolution.  Now, however, they launched an intellectual fatwa on the
national question and declared an anathema on the republican movement.
This drove them to break with Marx and Engels' own analysis of Ireland and
one of the chief results of this was Warren's book on imperialism.
Imperialism now became the benefactor of Ireland!  And republicanism the
dreaded backward, Catholic peasant and petty-capitalist obstacle to
imperialist benevolence.

If there was ever a case of left-renegades' counter-revolutionary politics
on the ground giving rise to counter-revolutionary theorising, this is a
pure example.

In the end, it didn't do them much good.  The Workers Party was much, much
bigger and so all the plum jobs in universities that were rewards for
intellectuals' attacking the national liberation struggle went to them -
and to Labourites and more openly bourgeois hacks.

Some day, I'll get around to posting something on another of these BICO
ratbags' works - Austen Morgan's pompously self-styled 'Marxist' 'political
biography' of James Connolly, which is pretty much a travesty of
scholarship from start to finish.


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