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.
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.
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.
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.
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 for them.
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.
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.
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.
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 defeat.
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.
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
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.
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 rich.
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
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
It is clear that there are three options facing
the broad republican movement.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!