The story of the modern Workers Party begins in 1982 when the Party Ard Fheis (Annual Delegate Conference) decided that its programme ,its politics and its philosophy could only be correctly understood if there was no ambiguity about the Party name. Prior to this the Party had been known as Sinn Fein -The Workers Party, partly reflecting the Party's early origins and more significantly ideological development over the previous two decades.
The Workers Party, like most other socialist parties, would see its ideological position as emanating from the two great strands of European thought - democratic republicanism and socialism. This is amply illustrated in the Party's activities and programme over the past thirty years, both nationally and internationally.
Election campaigns, economic and social agitations were all fought on clear cut democratic socialist platforms. Indeed throughout the eighties and the beginning of this decade it is true to say that The Workers Party, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, was the sole voice of the working class. The Party gained seven seats in the Irish Dail (Parliament), a European seat and a number of local authority seats throughout the Republic and in a few of the electoral districts in Northern Ireland.
Internationally it allied itself with the progressive democratic forces seeking world peace and an end to imperialist exploitation. The Workers Party gave both moral and practical support to a wide range of struggles from Vietnam to latter-day Cuba. It was active in the European Committee for Security and Cooperation and in helping to build a left wing alliance in Western Europe through the European Parliament.
Unfortunately, in 1992 at the height of its parliamentary success and organisational development, major defections took place centred around the Dail group. Six Deputies supported by a section of the Party membership, largely in the Dublin area, sought to change the Party from its principled socialist position into a social democratic parliamentary party. Unable to win a majority at a special delegate conference they left and formed another party.
Since 1992 then the Party has been engaged in the process of rebuilding and has overcome serious financial burdens and at the same time secured new headoffice premises in Dublin. Obviously the task of rebuilding has had to contend not only with the "crisis in socialism" but also with the sectarian terrorism in Northern Ireland. However the Party looks forward with confidence to the new millenium determined to win the political support of working people throughout Ireland.
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