In this episode we talk to Lynda Walker. Lynda has been a political activist in Belfast since moving there from her native Sheffield in 1969. She is a long-standing member of the Communist Party of Ireland, and served as National Chairperson of the party from 2006 to 2017. She was active in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, and was instrumental in founding the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement in 1975 and the establishment of Belfast Women’s Centre. Lynda is also an active Trade Unionist, on Belfast Trades Council, and represented ICTU as a Commissioner in the Equal Opportunities Commission. In the 1990s she was a founding member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, and stood as a candidate. In 2010 she helped form Reclaim the Agenda, a women’s organisation committed to radical change.
Lynda’s publications include Living in an Armed Patriarchy, published in 2017, and the edited volumes, Madge Davison: A Revolutionary Firebrand in 2011, and Breaking the Chains: Selected writings of James Connolly on Women in 2016.
We discuss Lynda’s political activism in the Communist Party, and the challenges of political activity during the Troubles; her work in civil rights and women’s rights, and some of the international connections made as part of the women’s movement; Lynda’s work in education and role in establishing the Women’s Studies course in what is now Belfast Met; the activity of the International Brigades Commemoration Committee; and some of the publications she has been involved in.
A more detailed biography of Lynda is available on the website, A Century of Women - which provides a wealth of information documenting women who have had an impact on the social, economic, cultural and political history of society.
Listeners can also read a blog post Lynda mentions, which she wrote for the Linen Hall Library, on the International Women’s Day Concert in Belfast in 1981 here: Music Making Change Happen
Lynda kindly allowed us to reproduce these photos from her political activism:
The Irish Left Archive Podcast looks at Left politics in Ireland, talking to activists, writers, historians, politicians and others involved in Left organisations and movements about their experiences of participating in Left parties and campaigns. The podcast is hosted by Ciarán Swan and Aonghus Storey.