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Easter Statement from the Leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement

Milltown Cemetery,Belfast

Delivered by Andy Gallagher • Easter 2005

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 for them.

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 defeat.

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 rich.

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
capitalist classes.

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 movement.

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!




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

28 March 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Writing's Off the Wall!
Catherine McGlinchey

Ireland: Republican Movement faces disintegration
Paul Mallon

The IRA is Morphing into the 'Rafia'
Anthony McIntyre

Truth and Justice!
Sheila Holden

Greet the Lion to Kill the Cat
Àine Fox

Concerned Republican
N. Corey

Six Against the Rock
Anthony McIntyre

Our Patriot Dead Are Turning in their Graves
Margaret Quinn

Easter Oration 2005
32 CSM

Easter Statement from the Leadership of the Republican Movement 2005

RSF Vice President Calls On Provisionals To Disband
Des Dalton, RSF

Easter Statement from the Leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement
Andy Gallagher, IRSP

Easter Statement from the Irish National Liberation Army Prisoners of War

Caribbean Sinn Fein Easter Message
Jimmy Sands

22 March 2005

A Must Read
Mick Hall

Green Paper on Irish Unity
32 CSM Press Release

The Advisocrats
Anthony McIntyre

Fig Leaf
Dr John Coulter

Democractic Killers
Fred A Wilcox

Eamon McCann

No Dodging the Moral Dilemma
David Adams

After St Patrick's Day, Where Goes the Peace Process?
Fr. Sean Mc Manus. INC

The Left Way Could be the Right Way for Sinn Fein
Eamon McCann

Robert McCartney
Carol Mallon

Don't Lose Perspective
Richard Wallace

Anthony McIntyre

Is Spring Banging at the Doors of the Arab World?
Michael Youlton

The Letters page has been updated.



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