Thrills & Difficulties: Being a Marxist Poet in 21st Century Ireland by Kevin Higgins

for Susan Millar DuMars

More than a quarter of a century ago a man-child called Kevin retired from politics as he turned twenty seven. He had joined the then somewhat notorious Trotskyist group, the Militant Tendency¹, at the age of fifteen. After twelve years of activism, which began as a member of Galway West Labour Youth the month the Falklands War kicked off and fizzled like the saddest of fireworks in London in the aftermath of Mrs Thatcher’s Poll Tax, against which he had been a somewhat obsessively focussed campaigner, it was over. “Retirement” was the face-saving word he used to describe his departure from politics. From the inside it felt like a personal tragedy. And it was. After more than a decade as a fiercely loyal ‘comrade’, Kevin had had enough of Militant and they had had enough of him. Dialectics being the contradictory beast it is, a total exit from active politics may have been the best thing that could possibly have happened to him right then. But it didn’t feel like that to him. Instead of world socialist revolution, with which history had refused to oblige him, the spectres haunting the little part of Europe with which Kevin was then mostly concerned were, from his point of view, disappointing: Tony Blair and the Celtic Tiger, which got given its name the same year Blair became UK Labour leader: 1994.

Poll Tax Dec 93

The complete essay, Thrills & Difficulties: Being a Marxist Poet in 21st Century Ireland by Kevin Higgins, is currently available as a pamphlet from



Kevin Higgins: 3 Poems 
Adeptly aware of gender, class, race and age: Molly Twomey launches Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital by by Kevin Higgins
The Mirrors That We Drape: Deirdre Hines reviews Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital by Kevin Higgins
The Neo-liberal Poet: An essay by Kevin Higgins


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