C.Desmond Greaves, whose work and writings inspired the foundation of this Weekend School, was one of Ireland’s leading labour historians. He was author of The Life and Times of James Connolly; Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution; Sean O’Casey: Politics and Art; Wolfe Tone and the Irish Nation; History of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union: The Formative Years; The Irish Crisis, and two books of verse, Four Letter Verses and the Mountbatten Award and Elephants Against Rome. Desmond Greaves believed that the peaceful way to end the partition of Ireland was to secure maximum equality between Nationalists and Unionists in the Six Counties, thereby removing any rational basis for Unionism as an ideology that justified domination over Nationalists and opening the way for Northern Unionists to rediscover in time the political implications of the common Irishness they share with their Nationalist fellow countrymen and women.
As an activist in the Connolly Association, London, and editor from 1948 to 1988 of its monthly newspaper The Irish Democrat, he pioneered the idea of a campaign for civil rights as the way to shatter Unionist political domination, which was taken up by the l960s Northern Civil Rights Movement. He held that it was essential for Ireland to win allies internationally for any moves to end Partition and that organised British public opinion, especially as represented in the British Labour and trade union movement, which the Irish community in Britain could significantly influence,was the most important such potential ally.
He believed that in the era of the European Union and the near-global domination of Transnational Capital, the most important political task for democrats and the Labour Movement was to join in an international campaign in defence of the Nation State as the fundamental locus of political democracy and the only mechanism which history has evolved for imposing social control on private capital.