Matgamna, working with two supporters, formed the Workers' Fight group to act upon his views, central to which was a call for Trotskyist unity in Britain. They began publishing a journal for the Irish Workers Group and a handful of others joined the group before, in 1968, the International Socialists also put out a call for unity. Responding to it, Workers' Fight joined the IS as the Trotskyist Tendency. With other dockers in Salford, he produced an industrial bulletin, 'The Hook'.
Around this time Matgamna, who believed that effective working class rule then existed in some Catholic-majority areas of Northern Ireland, proposed that in the probable event of attacks on this control, that those areas should secede to the Irish Republic as a way of making Northern Ireland ungovernable and forcing open the national question in Ireland. He later proposed granting the Protestant (overwhelmingly Unionist) community political autonomy within a united Ireland. Some commentators have argued that both of these positions are in fact calls for repartition although Matgamna and his supporters have always denied this.
At the end of 1971, the Trotskyist Tendency was expelled by IS and reformed Workers' Fight with a much increased membership. Martin Thomas soon joined, working with Matgamna to take prominent roles in the group. Matgamna became a full-time theorist within the group, moving to London.
Throughout the late 1970s and into the 1980s the revived Workers' Fight became more and more associated with Matgamna's leadership. This was accentuated by the disputes that led to the short-lived fusion with the Workers' Power group, which had briefly joined Workers' Fight in a fused grouping known as the International-Communist League. Similarly, when the I-CL fused with the Workers' Socialist League, Matgamna was strongly identified as the central leader of one side in the factional fight that later erupted within, and then split, the fused group.
One key area of disagreement in 1983 was that the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands were considered by Matgamna to have the right to autonomy, a position he worked through during the Falklands War. This approach to the national question has since been extended, in large part by Matgamna, to other communities. Matgamna has also, since 1986, argued strongly for a two state solution - that is states for both the Palestinians and Israelis - in the Middle East - even prior to the overthrow of capitalism in the region.
Read more about this topic: Sean Matgamna
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