Web site: http://www.theplough.netfirms.com/
Vol. 4- No 11
Sunday April 15th 2007
E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) The Easter Statement from the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement. 2007
2) Easter statement of the Republican Socialist Youth Movement
3) IRSCNA Easter Statement
4) Derry Commemoration statement
5) More sectarian than ever before
6) Labour news
8) What’s On
This edition carries the main statements of the movement for Easter 2007. Easter is especially important for republicans because it is an opportunity to not only pay homage to the men and women of 1916 uprising, honour all those who died in the struggle for a Republic but also to outline the way forward. A quick reading of the leadership’s statement point out clearly the direction the republican socialist movement should take.
>??The structures of the movement remain intact.
>??Neither a return to arms nor the parliamentary road is an option
>??Class struggle is the way forward
>??Abstract appeals to class unity will not work.
>??Collective leadership not individualism is the way forward
>??Our task is to build the party
>??The primacy of politics is paramount.
If all comrades abide by these points then the road ahead while it may be difficult will be rewarded with success.
The Easter Statement from the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement. 2007
To all comrades, volunteers, ex-combatants, ex-prisoners, families of our dead volunteers, friends and supporters the leadership sends its revolutionary greetings on this the 91st anniversary of the remarkable uprising by the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army against the then greatest Imperialist power in the world.
Occasions such as these are a time for mourning, for reflection and for looking forward. We mourn for those who paid the ultimate price in the struggle to finish what 1916 started. We reflect on personal memories of our lost comrades and the sufferings that so many families have had to endure. And unfortunately we reflect on the set back that the republican struggle has suffered after decades of armed campaigns.
British rule is still intact. Ireland is still bitterly divided not merely by an imaginary line through a map but by bitter divisions between the descendants of the Planter and the Gael. These divisions have been cleverly exacerbated by the British to perpetuate their rule and to allow unfettered capitalist exploitation of both catholic and protestant workers.
In the March elections held in the North there was no fundamental economic differences between all the main parties. They have in essence all signed up to the neo liberal economic agenda that will privatise as much as possible of all socially owned resources. In short to take back for capitalism all the gains that centuries of working class struggle had achieved.
All these parties will introduce and implement the economic policies dictated by the British Government and which have their origins in the policies of the international capitalist bodies such as the IMF and the World Bank.
When this leadership took up a principled position of opposition to the Good Friday Agreement we were vilified by some on the left and by Sinn Fein (P) as warmongers and anti –peace. But we clearly indicated we opposed the GFA because it endorsed the British policy of divide and rule. It institutionalised sectarianism, cemented British rule in a part of Ireland, and endorsed partition.
Others took a different and wrong road. They decommissioned, entered Stormont, worked British rule in the North, implemented privatization policies, bowed the knee to USA war lord George Bush, colluded in the doing away with the political status gained by the heroic deaths of 10 hunger strikers and belittled and demeaned other republicans who rejected their reformism.
For our part, whilst our analysis on the present situation is clear in regards to armed actions/struggle, nevertheless we will retain our structures, our weapons and our republican socialist principles and credentials. To do otherwise at this present time would be foolish in the extreme.
Comrades and friends we say very clearly neither the parliamentary road nor the armed road is the way forward for the working class. Both positions ignore or downplay the class struggle. They have forgotten every thing James Connolly wrote about!
He said “Imperialism would still rule you if you do not set about building the socialist republic”
The national question will be solved with the victory of socialism and not before. But in working for socialism we do not forget that the working class is deeply divided and stuck into two sectarian camps. Ignoring or downplaying the reality of the sectarian divisions by abstract appeals to class unity has not and will not work.
For our part this movement will continue to do what it has been doing over the past 11 years, while others stood idly by waiting for our collapse. Driven as we are by the passion of Costello, the ideas of Ta Power and the energy and commitment of Gino Gallagher, this leadership has implemented the policy of the primacy of politics. That we were able to do so was because everything we did, everything we said, was the collective voice of the Party, the collective voice of the movement.
The result has been the re-emergence of the IRSP as a credible revolutionary party. Throughout our history the revolutionary soldiers of the INLA fought and in many instances gave their lives not only to defend the absolute right of this movement to exist and to organise but also in a battle over militarism wrapped in a green flag, the soldiers of the Peoples Army paid a heavy price to ensure that each of us here today can march behind the banner of the IRSP as we celebrate and remember the lives and ultimate sacrifice of our dead volunteers.
It is now up to each and every comrade and volunteer to pick up the weapons of today, the weapons of class struggle, the weapon of agitation, the weapon of political education, the weapon every day involvement in the struggle of the class. Each and everyone of us has a responsibility to politically educate ourselves in the struggles of the working class for it only by the collective actions of the mass of the people that we can transform society and build the Socialist Republic But comrades and volunteers beware of individualistic tendencies in the movement. No individual is greater than the movement.
The leadership of the working class is not self appointed or proclaimed. It is not handed down. It has to be earned in the white heat of everyday battles. By our theory and practice this movement will one day earn the right to be considered the advanced section of the working class. But that day is a long way away. It is up to us all here to earn that right.
In the meantime we are slowly building a credible left revolutionary force advocating the Connolly /Costello road to revolution. And we are prepared where necessary to step in and defend vulnerable working class areas from sectarian attacks. But our main push, our main drive, our overriding consideration is the need to push positive policies, approaches, and ideas from an anti-imperialist and socialist perspective.
That would be the best way to honour and acknowledge the sacrifices our volunteers made, the sacrifices their families made and the sacrifices ordinary working class families made to support the anti-imperialist struggle.
We remain unrepentant republicans, bloodied but unbowed, steeped in the socialism of Connolly and implacable opponents of any settlement of the Irish question that falls short of the Socialist Republic. For National Liberation or Socialism. Victory to the Irish Working Class!!!
Republican Socialist Youth Movement
The following speech was delivered by a representative of the Republican Socialist Youth Movement Ard Comhairle at the national Republican Socialist Movement Easter commemoration held in Belfast on Easter Sunday, 2007. /
A chairde agus comrádaí,
We stand once more to commemorate our working class martyrs. Socialist and Republican revolutionaries that selflessly pursued the Socialist Republic. The Socialist Republic that these revolutionaries fought and died for has still to be realised and it remains to this day the goal of the Republican Socialist Movement.
1916 may seem to be a relic of the past to some but the ideals that drove those revolutionaries, in particular the Irish Citizen Army are still held dear by our movement. We salute all of those who made sacrifices for the Socialist Republic, many of those are not able to join us here, their dedication sealed their fate.
The strength of this movement today is testament to all of our comrades hard work but the struggle has just begun. Anti-Good Friday Agreement Republican organisations will soon find ourselves under the utmost scrutiny as we have already seen since the acceptance of the PSNI by the largest nationalist party. The PSNI are out to prove themselves. From this point in time, things can only prove to be more difficult.
The Irish people have suffered much under the imperial yoke, too much to sit back and accept the very principle of the Unionist state and their veto. The Union is firmly cemented; the Good Friday Agreement contains no mechanism to grant Irish unity. The British leaving Crossmaglen is heralded as a great victory, what is not mentioned is that the British will maintain a permanent garrison here in Ireland. The number of troops permanently stationed here will be larger than the number of troops they used to invade Iraq.
Too much was lost, too much was sacrificed. There can be no shortcuts to our objectives, half measures have always ended in compromise and compromise has always ended in defeat and surrender. Those who compromise find themselves acting contrary to what they originally intended to achieve.
It will be by the merit of our work and our effort to convince the working class of the virtue of our politics that represents the current struggle. The British, capitalist class and their armed defenders still remain the enemy but the methods have changed.
Anglo-American companies, encouraged by their own imperial governments are flooding this country with capital to pacify our people. They have succeeded to a large decree, but there will always be those who can never be purchased. Some of those who brought successive British governments from crisis to crisis are today in alliance with that same government.
They benefit from a capitalist Ireland and have the most to fear from a Socialist revolution, which occasionally they will dress up their politics as representing. Let us not be distracted, there is an unsurpassable margin between the careerist and the revolutionary.
Comrades, there is much more work to be done. Let it be embraced for us to move forward and develop this movement into a fortress built upon the foundations of the working class.
Ní saoirse go saoirse lucht oibre.
IRSCNA EASTER STATEMENT
8 - 4 - 07
On the 91st anniversary of the Easter Rising, the Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America send greetings to our comrades in the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Teach Na Fáilte, the Republican Socialist Youth Movement, and the Irish National Liberation Army.
We would like to applaud the great efforts of our comrades in the IRSP and RSYM, and all other comrades of the IRSM who have succeeded in implementing the political strategy of our movement. Recently the movement did an outstanding job of aiding the campaign of Peggy O'Hara and upholding the republican socialist position in the face of a massive sell-out. The RSM has done fantastic work speaking truth to power, even when it was not popular to do so. The tremendous work of our Party and Youth section in fighting the neo-liberal attacks on the workers of
Ireland, and connecting that struggle with the issue of national oppression is also to be commended. Your efforts to remain unbowed before a British-backed colonial police force is an example to all freedom loving people. The visibility and obvious energy within our Movement is inspiring to see.
We proudly reaffirm our commitment to the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and to the political alternative to the US-brokered pacification process that they represent. We pledge to do all we can to aid our RSPOWs, our Party and our Youth Movement as they continue to show the way forward.
The IRSCNA is justly proud of our twenty-three years of service to the movement and we pledge ourselves once again to continuing our efforts to build recognition of and support for the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, the national liberation of Ireland, and the liberation of the Irish working class from the shackles of capitalism.
Once again the "men of no property" are left as the true inheritors of the Easter Rising tradition; those republicans and republican socialists who continue the fight against British occupation and those republican socialists who continue to fight for James Connolly's dream of an Irish Workers' Republic.
Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America
PO Box 8266
Austin TX 78713-8266
Derry Commemoration statement
Friends and Comrades,
On Easter Monday ninety-one years ago, men and women of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army marched into the streets of Dublin to confront the British occupation forces. Their shared goal was the liberation of Ireland once and for all from British control. The ICA, led by Marxist trade unionist James Connolly, had the ultimate goal of creating an Irish Socialist Republic, a republic of and for the Irish working class. The great revolutionary V. I. Lenin later recognised the ICA as "the first Red Army in Europe."
The Irish national liberation forces held out against the British for a week before they were forced to surrender. The leaders of the Rising, including Connolly, were executed but the spirit of the Rising was an inspiration for the continuation of the national liberation struggle. Although this struggle won partial independence in 1921, six northern counties remained under direct British occupation while the twenty-six southern counties formed the comprador Irish Free State. As Connolly had predicted in 1914, the partition of Ireland led to a carnival of reaction in both statelets.
We can state here today to the DUP and others that this fitting memorial to our fallen comrades will not be moved, dismantled or decommissioned in any way. The Republican Socialist Movement and the families of our dead comrades will not be jumping through hoops for the DUP.
Although we are here today to honour the dead of the Republican Socialist Movement and the men and women of 1916 we also honour and salute all republicans who gave their lives in the struggle for national liberation and our thoughts and love are with their families today.
There is one person who is missing from this gathering today and that is our friend and comrade, volunteer Davy McNutt, who passed away in December. We salute Davy’s memory and we will always hold him dear to our hearts.
Ninety-one years after the Easter Rising, the members of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement continue to be inspired by the example of the Irish working class marching into battle under the banners of the Irish Citizen Army and the Starry Plough flag to join with others bent on ending foreign domination of Ireland, and ultimately to press forward for the greater liberation that socialism means for our class, the working class.
The true inheritors of the Easter Rising tradition are those republicans and republican socialists who continue the fight against British occupation and those republican socialists who continue to fight for James Connolly's dream of an Irish Socialist Republic.
“Let the fight go on”
More sectarian than ever before
A new book Belfast:Segregation, Violence and the City‚ (Pluto Press 2006)
by Peter Shirlow and Brendan Murtagh has been called a ground breaking
analysis of the present state of Irish society and one of the few studies on
society in Ireland in the period following the Good Friday Agreement. To
Republican Socialists, it confirms what we‚ve been saying for years.
According to the authors, there are as many as 26 peace barriers in Belfast,
some have stood longer than the Berlin wall did with a handful going back as
far as the 1830s. The authors argue peace lines and barriers fail to prevent
sectarian attacks and murders. Their basis for this conclusion is that 70%
of killings during the recent conflict were within 500 yards of a peace
Alone in North Belfast, there were 6623 sectarian occurrences from 1996 to
2004. North Belfast is deeply divided, according to the authors, less than
one in five Protestants will refuse to use the shops in Catholic Ardoyne,
and 82% of Catholics will refuse to use the nearby leisure centre in
This is not a phenomenon unique to North Belfast; we have seen similar cases
in East and West Belfast with people travelling considerable distances into
areas where their religion is numerically stronger for essential services.
This mentality hampers any prospect for integration, Shirlow comments „You‚d
see a playground on one side of the fence, and it was out of bounds for the
kids on the other side of the fence. Generation after generation is growing
up like this.‰
Even more worrying is the fact that 11% of Catholics and 7% of Protestants
have settled in mixed areas. Catholic neighbours on the opposite side of the
barriers now have greater opportunities in terms of employment which they
never once had. This attitude has further exacerbated feelings of isolation
and abandonment for Protestants. These feelings openly antagonise and give
rise to the Loyalist „siege‰ mentality.
As a consequence of this, sectarian and racist attacks are on the increase.
Loyalist paramilitaries have expanded their traditional links with rightwing
organisations in Europe and Britain. In the north, we had 41 racist
incidents in 1996 but that had risen to 936 in the past year. In a survey
published in July 2006 showed 33% of Protestants admitted to being
prejudiced, compared to 18% of Catholics.
According to Paul Doherty, in his book ŒEthnic Residential Segregation in
Belfast‚, a decline in levels of segregation in terms of living was only
noted after 25 to 30 years. Currently, the only signs of a decline in
segregation are in exclusively middle-class areas where people are less
likely to vote for either Sinn Fein or the DUP. Belfast now has a façade it
never once had; trendy clubs, restaurants, bars, avenues lined with
expensive shops are a common sight but serve to mask the true nature of the
state. The price of fuel and food compared to the UK is higher and 8 out of
10 of the UK‚s lowest paid black spots are in the north.
Seán McGowan, Belfast
Republican Socialist Youth Movement.
Friday, 30th March 2007.
GLOBAL COMPANIES - GLOBAL UNIONS!
We're seeing more and more cross-border union activity these days, often using the web.
* General Motors workers all over the world now have a blog of their own, thanks to the European Metalworkers Federation. The blog is located at http://www.gmworkersblog.com/ and is subtitled "Fighting back makes a difference."
* Coca-Cola workers in different countries mobilized this week in support of their brothers and sisters in the US. Here's the report from the IUF: http://tinyurl.com/2esv27
* The United Steel Workers have launched a multilingual website in support of ExxonMobil workers around the world, entitled "Global Network for ExxonMobil Workers' Solidarity". View it here: http://workersatexxonmobil.usw.org
Hands Off the People of Iran
We hope comrades in Ireland will make sure they attend the HOPI launches in May:
Cork Wednesday May 9 19:30 Victoria Hotel, Patrick Street
Dublin Thursday May 10 - 19:30 Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square
Belfast Friday May 11 - 19:30 Queens University
In the UK, the campaign has ambitious plans for a press launch of a new campaign pack in April, a 'teach-in' towards the end of June, and a full conference later in the year.
"The genuine anti-imperialist struggles in Iran are being waged by workers, teachers and students. The solidarity of the left and anti-war movement should be with these forces, not those of the reactionary regime"
Visit the HOPI website at http://www.hopoi.org/ to read more about our work and how you can get involved.
Hands Off Venezuela meetings.
The occupied factory movement in Venezuela".
Maynooth on the 17th april, 6.30-8.30 pm,
JHL2, Hume Building, North Campus, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
The meeting in the UCD will be on the 18th April, at 6pm.17th, at 6pm.