DANIEL GUERIN DIED on the night of April 13th last (1988). He was 84 years of age. The news reached us when the summer issue of Workers Solidarity was already in preparation, hence this belated obituary. One of France's best revolutionary activists and thinkers, he was best known in Ireland as the author of books such as Fascism and Big Business, 100 Years of Labour in the USA and Anarchism.
Of all the reading which I did, in 1930, on the boat which took me to Indochina and back, of books which ranged from Marx to Proudhon, to Georges Sorel, to Hubert Lagardelle, to Fernand Pelloutier, to Lenin and Trotsky, those of Marx had without any doubt the greatest impact. These (books) opened my eyes, uncovered the mysteries of capitalist surplus-value, taught me about historical materialism and the dialectic.
JOBS ARE UNDER threat all over the place. It is not just ones that are useful to us; like nursing, teaching, bus drivers; that are chopped. There are also workers in plants producing weapons, nuclear power, and so on whose futures are far from secure. Workers like those making missiles in Shorts in Belfast whose jobs could well vanish if privatisation plans are put into operation. While we don't want to see anyone tossed onto the dole we also need to question what is being produced and in whose interests, As well as fighting to save the jobs we should be bringing up this issue.
What was the alternative Lucas Corporate Plan? Over a period of two years a series of proposals that later became known as the Lucas Plan were drawn together through the active involvement of most of the workers in the 15 different Lucas factories. Its aim was to shift Lucas Aerospace, as a company away from the production of military goods, mainly for NATO (an emphasis that was capital intensive and had high profit margins for Lucas's owners) and towards the production of socially useful goods (which was a labour intensive field, relying more on the skills already in the Lucas Company).
In 1913 militant trade unionism had a tremendous task ahead of it. The poverty of manual workers was appalling. The death rate in Dublin, 27.6 per 1OOO, was as high as Calcutta's, The slums were the worst of any city in either Ireland or Britain. 20,108 families were recorded as living in a single room. An Irish Times editorial commenting on a report about Dublin housing wrote that "28,000 of our fellow citizens live in dwellings which even the Corporation admits to be unfit for human habitation. Nearly a third of our population so live that from dawn to dark and from dark to dawn it is without cleanliness, privacy or self respect. Sanitary conditions ruled out ordinary standards of savage morality''