THE WORKERS' PARTY OF IRELAND

Tribute to Comrade Mike Dollard, New York

Tribute to Comrade Mike Dollard, Salem, New York, USA, who died on 24th December 2012 in Albany Medical Centre, by Sean Garland, National Treasurer, Workers’ Party of Ireland.

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Mike Dollard (centre) with Sean Garland and the late SeŠn ” Cionnaith

 

It was with great regret and sadness that we heard of the death of our comrade and friend Mike Dollard on Christmas Eve last. Mike had a long and very positive connection with the Workers’ Party, mostly through the Republican Clubs, USA.

 

Mike, as we in Ireland knew him by, was a great humanitarian, a progressive who all his life practiced what he preached.  All here are well aware of Mike’s activity and commitment to the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, for the objectives and aims of the NAACP, his stand against the racist KKK.  An active trade unionist he abhorred the system of capitalism for which the sole reason for its existence is the exploitation of the many by the few.  Never one to hesitate to draw attention to what he seen as sloppy and useless statements which did not advance our cause but only confused people, he often cited examples of news releases that indulged in sloganising and I’m quoting him here, “I am more drawn to carefully thought out and artfully articulated proposals for how to clean up this mess that unbridled capitalism has left us”.  More than ever Mike’s words are so relevant today.

 

Always seeking to advance the interests of the party he was tireless in researching new ways and ideas which would help to educate and organise workers in the ongoing struggle for class politics.  Mike believed that we should use every opportunity to build the workers movement and to learn from the struggles of other countries without blindly imitating them.  He did not hesitate to study the writings and speeches of the exponents of capitalism and draw lessons from them to strengthen our forces.  In this regard I recall many years ago he sent me a speech by a leading capitalist spokesman, a John Blundell, who at that time in 1990 was President of the Institute of Economic Affairs.  The speech was titled “Waging the War of Ideas: Why there are no Shortcuts”.

 

This speech which was dedicated to the arch reactionary F.A. Hayek, author of the “Road to Serfdom” who has become, even in death, an icon to the Friedman’s, the Thatcher’s and the most vile and obnoxious leaders in the world who care not for people but for profit had lessons for socialists.  Mike was concerned all his life to build a society of equals, to achieve the true emancipation of humanity throughout the world.  I took Mike’s advice when he sent me that particular speech and I have endeavoured over the passing years to have other members and supporters recognise the lessons in it for socialists in our struggle.

 

Mike detested conmen and especially those who betrayed the working class whether it was in the US, Ireland or indeed anywhere in the world.  An avid reader he kept up to date with political happenings all over the world.  His advice on politics and technology was always first class.  Along with our late friend and comrade SeŠn ” Cionnaith, who spent a long time in the US in the seventies and worked with Mike, as a Republican Clubs General Secretary in organising the Republican Clubs they were a formidable team and provide how it was possible to build a viable organisation even in the most difficult of conditions.

 

A true American patriot, Mike loved his country and its people and he detested the corrupt system, capitalism, which kept the vast majority of his people in poverty and ignorance. He recognised the great problems confronting workers over the world but he never was a pessimist.  He knew that history was on our side and though he knew that in recent years conditions had not been easy for socialists, as he remarked to me in one of his letters, referring to the defections by a number of leading members of the Workers’ Party who had formed a faction and attempted to liquidate the party.  Having secured seats in parliament they decided to betray the workers who had elected them and after a short time in parliament joined the Social Democratic Labour Party.  Mike knew from his own experience that these opportunists would finish up becoming more conservative than the Tory party which is happening today in Ireland.

 

A loyal and generous comrade, we have been the better for having known him as a friend and comrade.  On behalf of the Ard Comhairle, members and supporters of the Workers’ Party of Ireland we convey our deepest sympathy on your and our great loss to Suzanne, Michael’s wife and to his children, Norin, Mary, Sean, Malcolm and Kieran and to all his grandchildren.

 

16th January 20013

Dublin, Ireland

 

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics