Volume 2, Number 30
27 March 2005
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) Easter Statement from the Leadership of the Irish Republican
2) Easter Statement from the Irish National Liberation Army Prisoners
3) Easter Statement from the Federation of Irish Republican Socialist
4) What's On
EASTER STATEMENT FROM THE LEADERSHIP OF THE IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST
[Delivered by Andy Gallagher, Easter Sunday 2005, Milltown Cemetery,
Comrades of the IRSP, volunteers of the INLA, our republican socialist
prisoners in Portlaoise and Castlerea, relatives of our dead comrades,
our ex-prisoners and friends and supporters, the Republican Socialist
Movement sends you fraternal greetings and solidarity on this Easter
afternoon as we honour not only our own dead comrades but also all
republicans who fell in the struggle against British imperialism.
Republicanism is in crisis, is floundering, and seems to be coming
more and more detached from reality. The generic term republicanism
has been sullied not just in the past few months but in the past
number of years by spin doctoring, by blatant and persistent lying, by
cover-ups and clean ups worthy of the mafia.
But we in the Republican Socialist Movement cannot afford a holier
than thou attitude. The Republican Socialist Movement has not been
immune itself from errors, mistakes, and actions which sullied the
name of republicans. Only a year ago we faced the wrath of many for
incidents in Ardoyne. But we did not run and hide from those
difficulties. We faced up to them, dealt with it both internally and
externally. The result has been a rise in our support and an increase
in our membership.
In the long history of republicanism there has always been people who
joined for the so-called protection of the army. There are people who
play at revolution and strut around like the bullyboys they are.
There is a time for flexing muscles and a time for flexing brains.
This is a time, comrades and friends, for flexing our brains. We do
not need bar room republicans full of brawn and testosterone. The INLA
has made clear to us that it supports the disciplined and politically
controlled use of physical force in the context of armed
anti-imperialist struggle. It is not a private militia used to
intimidate people in the context of personal disputes, bar brawls,
personal grudges, and the like. And it will do all in its power to
ensure that it never becomes that.
I could mention many of our volunteers and activists but let me
mention just three of our fallen comrades and committed INLA
volunteers, Seamus Costello, Ta Power, and Gino Gallagher. All three
were also political activists and no task was too small for them to
do. Whether it was sitting at boring meetings, making tea for
comrades, driving around the country, planning military attacks,
moving guns, making bombs, and in Seamus's case sitting in local
councils, or selling the Starry Plough, no task I repeat was too small
There is no place in this movement for those who stand apart from the
everyday tasks of building the movement and part of that means selling
the party newspaper. All three of those brave men believed
passionately in the politicisation of republicans. If that was good
enough for Costello, for Power, for Gallagher, then it should be good
enough for you.
By following their example we will play our part in re-establishing
the credentials of republicanism as a valid revolutionary doctrine
relevant to the needs and aspirations of the Irish working class. For
there can be no doubt that the broad republican tradition has since
the beginning of the so-called peace process lost the high moral
ground that had been obtained by virtue of being genuine
anti-imperialists. But, comrades, we will not join with the friends
and allies of the British, the USA, and the Free State in the
demonisation and victimisation of other republicans. Yes, we have
been, are, and will be critical of policies that other republicans and
socialists follow. We vehemently disagree with the Good Friday
Agreement and all that has flowed from it. But, comrades, we recognise
other republicans as republicans and acknowledge and admire the brave
struggle that they have carried out. But politically we believe they
have taken the wrong road.
Instead of recognising that the armed struggle had run into the ground
other republicans elevated the so-called peace process as another step
on the road to the Republic. They were and are wrong and mistaken. All
that has happened since 1998 has strengthened partition. Sectarianism
has raged like a virus throughout many working class areas and instead
of unity we have even more divisions than ever.
Doing deals with the Free State establishment and entering alliances
with the ruling classes of Britain and the USA has weakened
republicanism not strengthened it. Those who challenge us "where's
your mandate?" and "what's the alternative to the Good Friday
Agreement?" have fallen for the illusions of power that a few election
gains bring. Muttering the mantra of mandates does not blind us to the
stark realities on the ground. The republican struggle has suffered a
Our dead comrades did not fight for "an Ireland of equals." They
fought for a socialist republic not a revamped Stormont - for the
destruction of capitalism - not for seats in a capitalist coaliation -
for unity not for more division. For us as a movement, despite our
mistakes and errors, it was always about the liberation of our class -
the working class – from the chains of capitalism. Real politics
are not about implementing the Good Friday Agreement. Our politics are
about challenging the status quo, not making capitalism work.
Ten years ago the great and good scoffed at our so-called outdated
views on capitalism. They thought the collapse of the Soviet Union was
the death knell of socialist and revolutionary ideas and actions.
Well, comrades, look at the present state of the world and tell me
that capitalism is working. Africa is in dire poverty with millions
dying of AIDS and starvation. Asia is in turmoil as the reactionary
rich seek to maintain almost feudal power over the masses. South
America is increasing turning towards the ideas of socialism as
witnessed by the revolutionary process underway in Venezuela and the
increasing contact by many states with socialist Cuba. Meanwhile the
USA is becoming increasingly belligerent in its imperialism despite
its failures to end the Iraqi resistance.
But we are not enemies of the USA or of Britain. As internationalists
we recognise the working classes in those countries as our brothers
and sisters. We recognise that the real enemy is the system of
capitalism that spawns the reactionary policies of the World Trade
Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. It
is these organisations that are dictating the policies of
privatisation that is inflicting so much suffering on people around
the world and that unfortunately other republicans bought into when
ministers in Stormont.
The consequences of the neo-liberal agenda of these world bodies can
be seen on the ground here in Ireland. 8,000 job losses in the North
West as a direct result of globalisation. These losses are not just
figures, they are the real lives of Irish people destroyed by
capitalism. The poor of Eastern Europe flock to Ireland to be
exploited by every crook, gangster, and thug that calls himself an
employer. It is no wonder that increasingly independents get elected
to the Dail, as there is growing disillusionment with the established
political parties. Low wages, anti-trade union practices, racism,
homophobia, educational services cut to pieces, increasing gaps
between the rich and the poor, and tax free breaks for the super
Meanwhile many working class areas in the cities and towns of Ireland
are breeding grounds now for thugs, knife wielding morons, and young
people with no social conscience. Social cohesion of working class
communities has collapsed. Individualism and the "me me me" generation
have almost destroyed working class solidarity. The health services
north and south are in almost terminal decline and many now dread
going into hospitals for fear they come out dead due to the appalling
state of the hospitals themselves. Everyday, in many ways, the working
classes on this island suffer humiliation and exploitation from the
Those parties who in the face of these defeats whip up nationalism
and/or sectarian hatred are the enemies of the working class.
Comrades, flags don't put food on the table. We refuse to allow
ourselves to be boxed into the role of defenders of this or that
community. Our only community is the working class - Catholic,
Protestant, Dissenter, Sikh, Muslim or Jew.
It is clear that there are three options facing the broad republican
Route one is to follow the Provisional Movement in its headlong rush
into constitutional nationalism and accept the status quo of
capitalism. Be in no doubt that PSF want to manage capitalism in
Ireland and believe they can do it better than the existing rulers.
The IRSP reject that route.
Route two is to unify those republicans who reject the Good Friday
Agreement in a joint political and military onslaught on British rule.
Some belief that the "Republican Movement" can be rebuilt around the
re-commencing of the armed struggle. The IRSP reject that route.
Route three is to return to the republicanism of James Connolly and to
raise the class questions in every arena, in every struggle, on every
battlefield. For it is only by the working classes in Ireland taking
up the issues that affect them, that the link can be made between the
class and the national question. There is no short cut available. We
face only a long hard slog of persuasion and of hard work. Republican
socialists must reach out to the youth, to the trade union activists,
to the community activists trying to improve their communities. We
need to reach out to other republicans and socialists and together
find a way to implement the visions of Connolly and Costello. For
partition and British imperialism will never be defeated until the
class question comes to the fore. The IRSP accept that route.
Republicans need to return to basics. A return to the democratic
principles inherent in republicanism is a first step followed by the
taking up of the class issues that press down on the Irish working
class. All republicans should henceforth put their trust not in
parliamentary leaders or army councils but in the revolutionary
instincts of the advanced sections of the working people on the island
of Ireland. What this means in practice is the building of a
revolutionary republican party that links the struggle against
privatisation north and south, that opposes imperialism at home and
abroad, that stands up for the rights of all workers, and that is
firmly committed to the creation of a Socialist Republic. That's where
the energies of real republicans should be geared.
That is no mean task. We must overcome our own divisions and
suspicions, our own inertia, our own self-righteousness and elitism.
For our part we are prepared to sit down with any party or group to
discuss issues frankly and in a comradely spirit, and to consider
working together on issues we can agree on. We call on all those with
a radical or republican or a socialist view to engage in constructive
dialogue with us.
There is real truth in the old slogan that "you cannot have a free
Ireland without a free working class." Let us return to the ideals of
James Connolly. His ideas were relevant in 1916. They are still
relevant today. Stand by the ideals of Connolly and we cannot go
wrong. On this Easter 2005 let us renew our faith in the republicanism
and the socialism of James Connolly, the founding father of our
republican socialism. Back to Connolly - forward to Socialism!
EASTER STATEMENT FROM THE IRISH NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY PRISONERS OF
The INLA POWs give our continued support to the leadership of both the
INLA and IRSP. We send Easter greetings to all our comrades within the
Republican Socialist Movement, to friends and supporters at home, and
throughout the world. We extend our support and solidarity to our
fellow political prisoners. To the Basque and Catalan prisoners, to
the Turkish and Kurdish death fasters, to the Palestinian prisoners,
and to all political prisoners in Chile, Puerto Rico, and the USA and
throughout the world. We stand resolutely with, and pay tribute to,
all those fighting imperialism worldwide. We support the freedom
fighters of Iraq.
Comrades, on this, the 89th anniversary of the Easter Rising, we
gather once more to pay homage and to remember all those who gave
their lives for a democratic Socialist Republic. We pay respect to,
and honour the republican dead, no matter what organisation they
belonged to. While today we in the Republican Socialist Movement
remember in particular our own martyred dead and our fallen comrades,
we do not forget or ignore those other republicans who sacrificed
their lives so that this country could be free. We remember them all
At noon on that Easter Monday in 1916, members of the Irish Citizen
Army and the Irish Volunteers occupied the GPO and strategic buildings
around the centre of Dublin. From the steps of the GPO, Padraig Pearse
read aloud the proclamation of the Irish Republic, announcing that
they were setting up a Provisional Government replacing Britain's.
These were extraordinary events involving ordinary men and women who
lived in extraordinary times.
Today let us pause for a moment and reflect on what all those who died
for the Republic think they were doing. Irish men and women bravely
fought and died for the rights of all of us, for all the people of
this island to live in political, economic, and social freedom in a
Republic that cherishes all the children of the nation equally.
Ask yourself, "who today stands by that concept of the Republic?" The
fat cats of Irish business life, the politicians who feed on
corruption, greed and bribery, these very same politicians who have
labelled republicans and republican socialists as criminals? The full
force of the establishment have united to try and denigrate the
sacrifices of all those we honour here today by there continuance in
making unsubstantiated allegations of criminality against our
The facts speak for themselves, imprisoned INLA members were all
convicted of political offences, there are no members of the INLA
awaiting trial for criminal offences, no member of the INLA or indeed
the IRSP is involved in any type of criminality. However there are
those out side of the Republican Socialist Movement who use the name
of the INLA for there own ends, some with the approval and
encouragement of the security agencies both north and south. These
parasites who have descended into this type of activity besmirch the
name of republicanism and not only is there no place for them in our
movement, there is no place for them in society, for like the
capitalist system they are piranha who feed off the working class.
There will never be a place in our movement for anyone who believes
they can use it for personal advancement or financial gain.
Unlike Fianna Fail, which has seen high ranking members of their party
involved in criminal activities such as money laundering with the
Guinness, Mahon, Cayman Trust, C. J. Haughey was rather partial to the
odd bribe or two, and ex-Fianna Fail minister Ray Burke is in jail on
bribery and corruption convictions. The hypocrisy of the establishment
is breathtaking. None of these stand for the Republic, for they have
allowed the poor of this country to slip into further debt and misery,
with the gap between the rich and poor growing wider.
Nor do the racists who preach hatred and enflame sectarianism, or the
trade union leaders who have sold out the workers, nor those who wish
to maintain oppression and inequality. None of these stand for the
Republic we want to see.
We as republican socialists cannot and will not live under British
colonial or unionist rule, for that rule is unjust, cruel,
discriminatory, and imperialistic. Seven years on since the signing of
the GFA, what has changed? Westminister maintains direct rule. The
British Army still patrol our streets, their intelligence service
still operates clandestine operations, they continue to maintain and
update their military installations. Sectarian clashes have increased
and there is still no real justice or equality for the
republican/nationalist community. Dessie O'Hare continues to be held
as a political hostage by the Free State government who has reneged on
its commitments under the GFA and republican prisoners in Maghaberry
are denied recognition of their political status which was won because
of the sacrifice of the hunger strikers in '81.
Comrades, it is time for us in the Republican Socialist Movement to
take stock of where we are and where we are going, and how best to
prepare politically and organisationally for the next phase, which
will be our struggle, i.e. the class struggle. There is a danger at
the moment of republican socialists ending up simply reacting to
events. We encourage and fully support the Ard-Chomhairle of the IRSP,
who are actively involved in preparing a long-term overview of a
strategic and political understanding of what has to be done to
achieve our aims and objectives.
Now that there is an acceptance of the primacy of politics, as
outlined in the Ta Power Document, the development of the party is
critical if we are to prepare the Irish working class for the
struggles ahead. Political leadership comes from a political party
that fully understands the situation and who possess the necessary
tactics, strategies, and policies that enables the working class
struggle to move forward.
Our role should be to act as a catalyst to the struggle of the people,
north and south, Protestant and Catholic, so as to give them a
cohesive programme of direction whilst raising their level of
political consciousness. Our movement has this potential if we are
prepared to take the political responsibility that goes with it, and
one of those responsibilities is to give voice to the people. There is
a duty on each and every comrade to identify with, and participate in,
the everyday struggles of the people. Educate, agitate, and organise,
comrades. It was the way of James Connolly, it was the way of
Costello. Onward to victory!
EASTER STATEMENT FROM THE FEDERATION OF IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST
Comrades and friends, the members of the Federation of Irish
Republican Socialist Committees Abroad send greetings of solidarity to
the comrades of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the volunteers
of the Irish National Liberation Army, and the prisoners of war of the
Irish Republican Socialist Movement.
Inspired by the sacrifice of the martyrs who have fallen in pursuit of
national liberation and socialism in Ireland and mindful of the
responsibility that we share to ensure that their sacrifice was not
made in vain, at Easter we again reflect on the course of the past
year and rededicate ourselves to the struggle to liberate the Irish
nation and its working class.
The Irish Republican Socialist Movement has been in existence now for
over three decades and the party's comrades in Canada and the USA this
month celebrate their own 21st anniversary. It has been a long
struggle together, at times rewarded with the strength of comradeship
and elation of small victories, at times difficult and demoralising.
For the sum of all of this, we remain proud to be part of the Irish
Republican Socialist Movement, proud of the movement's history of
dedication to a revolutionary course and its rejection of the
reformist morass in which so many revolutionary movements in Ireland
have sunk in the past. The members of FIRSCA, your comrades abroad,
renew our own commitment to supporting the IRSP in upholding the
revolutionary tradition in its struggle for national liberation and
socialism in Ireland.
We find ourselves today in the midst of a class war, the form of which
we did not fully anticipate. It is a war in which our enemies in the
capitalist class have now gone on the offensive. Around the world, our
class is under attack. The imperialists have launched bloody wars of
aggression and occupation, of slaughter and pillage, in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Haiti, and Palestine. They are threatening to wreak more
violence on the people of Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and Korea. In North
America, throughout Europe, and around the globe, wages are being
driven down, benefits stripped away, work weeks increased, and job
security undermined. As capitalism increasingly confronts the
inevitable fall in the rate of profits, the ruling class increasingly
cannibalises its own capital, pads its profits through criminal acts,
strips away civil liberties, and rules with naked hostility to the
interests of working people.
As members of the working class, your comrades in FIRSCA around the
world are engaged in this international class war. We are proud of the
internationalism of the IRSM and recognise that there is no separation
between the IRSM's struggle in Ireland and our own struggles around
the world. Through FIRSCA we continue to struggle at home and to
support the struggle for Irish national liberation and socialism.
Forward to the Workers' Republic, comrades!
Wednesday, March 30
Public Meeting: Eamonn McCann - Author and Broadcaster - Speaks on
Sinn Fein and the IRA - Republicanism at the crossroads? - Why we need
a Socialist Alternative
7.30pm - Wednesday 30th March - An Culturlann, Falls Road, West
For more information call Gordon Hewitt on 07742 531 617
Wednesday, 6 April
Public Meeting - The Fight to Make Poverty History
Speakers: Angela McCormick, Anti-poverty activist, G8 Alternatives
Committee, Scotland; Goretti Horgan, Chairperson of the Northern
Ireland Anti Poverty Network
7.30pm Wednesday April 6th, Room 302 Peter Froggatt Centre, Queens
Poverty is one of the central issues of the age with nearly half the
world's population surviving on less than $2 per day and over one
third living on less than a dollar per day.
In Northern Ireland, one of the poorest areas in Europe, 170,000 (25%
of the population) exist solely on benefits. Wages here are at least
25% less than they are in Britain and over 30% lower than in the US.
Homelessness is increasing and the availability of public housing is
shrinking. The introduction of Water Charges will impoverish many more
people in Northern Ireland when they are introduced. On that basis the
Make Poverty History mobilisation is of crucial importance.
The Public Meeting is intended to raise awareness of the central
issues, how various groups are fighting to alleviate poverty and most
importantly to raise awareness of the mobilisation in Scotland on July
For more information please feel free to call Gordon Hewitt, Campaigns
and Information Officer at the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty MTG on
07742 531 617 or 0845 120 3771.
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