Saturday, 23 November 2013

Imperialism – Ireland and Britain

As part of our on-going discussions on the nature of imperialism in Ireland, today we re-publish 'Imperialism Ireland and Britain' by the socialist republican party éirígí, which sets the Irish struggle for national liberation clearly in the context of the class struggle and the international struggle for socialism against imperialism.

It is a must read for socialist republicans. 

Imperialism Ireland and Britain

This paper is one of a number being produced by éirígí throughout 2007. Each will focus on a topic of significant importance to modern Ireland and its place in the broader world. These papers are the result of internal discussions and reflect the collective views of the membership of éirígí.

This paper is focused on the issue of imperialism, both historic and contemporary, and the profoundly negative effect that imperialism, as a policy, has had on the development of humanity across the globe in general and in Ireland in particular. We in éirígí reject the notion that imperialist policies and strategies are of a bygone era and instead assert that these policies are as real today as at any point in history.


Imperialism, the policy of one country extending control over another, has blighted humanity for millennia. Countless millions of lives have been lost through war, famine and poverty caused as a direct consequence of such policies.

Imperialist policies are primarily motivated by the desire of countries, or more precisely the ruling class of some countries, to acquire wealth. While there are many other contributory factors leading to the adoption of such policies it is greed that is the common denominator for all imperialism, although this will be rarely admitted or acknowledged by those who implement such policies. Imperialism in tandem with capitalism has over the centuries ensured that an ever-greater portion of the world‟s wealth is held by an ever smaller portion of the world‟s population.

All imperialism is underpinned by a philosophy that deems the colonised in some way inferior to the coloniser. Racism, discrimination and exploitation are intrinsically linked to a policy which justifies the right of one people to dominate and exploit another. In rejecting imperialism, we in éirígí are also rejecting philosophies that place one human being as superior to another. We hold that all human beings are born equal and entitled to a set of basic human rights which allow them to fulfil their own potential.

The world we know today has been largely defined by the empire-building policies of a small number of the world‟s countries. We live with the consequences of their efforts to establish global empires, which have repeatedly seen huge swathes of the earth‟s surface, and the people who inhabit them, arbitrarily divided up between these imperial powers. The modern- day borders of countless countries have been determined in this way. Such borders were, and are, always drawn to benefit the political, military and economic interests of the relevant imperial power with scant consideration given to the interests of those who actually have to live within these borders. Many of the worlds most embittered and longest running conflicts have their roots in such decisions.

Imperialism is not just responsible for the creation of artificial borders and territories. It also creates, and relies upon, an entirely unequal and unjust distribution of the world‟s wealth and wealth-generating resources. Our world is regularly divided into those countries which are deemed „developed‟ and those that are deemed to be „developing‟.

It is both more accurate and more honest to divide the world into those countries whose peoples are materially rich and those whose peoples are materially poor. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of those countries which form the poor world are those same countries which endured, and are enduring, the imperialist policies adopted by many of those same countries which now form the rich world. Indeed it is the systematic robbery of the hugely valuable natural and human resources of the poor world that has made the rich world rich.

21st Century Imperialism: New Form Old Result

éirígí recognises that imperialism in its twenty-first century form rarely necessitates the physical occupation of a given territory, although this option is always retained. Modern imperialist policies tend to be more subtle than previous forms although the end result is the same: the rich world harvests the wealth of the poor world. In the age of modern communications and a globalised economy it is often more profitable to exploit a country through political, cultural and economic means rather than military.

Imperialists have learned that it is often easier to gain access to the resources and markets of a given country by identifying allies within that country who are willing and able to facilitate such exploitation. In this regard the rich world routinely impinges upon the sovereignty of the poor world, interfering in the internal political life of such countries to ensure that the chosen ally gains, or retains, state power. Where such allies oversee dictatorial, inhumane or cruel regimes the rich world has long-since perfected the art of double-think, refusing to question the internal affairs of such countries.

Where such allies cannot be found other means are deployed. One has to look no further than organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to see how effectively countries can be coerced into adopting economic and social polices that serve the interests of the rich world far more than the interests of their own people. éirígí stands in opposition to imperialism in all its forms.

éirígí believes that humanity can only reach its full potential when policies which pit human beings in competition with one another are replaced by policies based upon co-operation and mutually beneficial relations. This is true at both a national level within countries and at an international level between countries. Such relations can only be built upon the principle of respect for the right of each country to choose its own destiny free from foreign interference, in short the right to self-determination. Having thus chosen a system of governance international political, economic and cultural relations can develop upon a just and mutually beneficial basis.

Imperialism and Ireland

We in Ireland have a unique perspective on imperialism and the manner in which it divides people from each other and from those things necessary for a dignified and independent existence. Our country has for eight centuries been the subject of British aggression and interference. Much of our history has been marked by oppression, famine, poverty and forced emigration. In this we have a shared history with the bulk of the world‟s countries. However unlike the vast majority of these countries we are part of the European continent and as such now find ourselves to be part of the rich world.

 Therefore we are simultaneously the victim of imperialism, through the British occupation, and the direct beneficiaries of imperialism, by our location within the rich world.

The joint system of twenty-first century imperialism and capitalism relies upon a passive acceptance of a racially-based exploitation. Much of the material wealth that the people of Ireland enjoy comes at a cost of human suffering that we would be unwilling to pay if the victims were Irish, or indeed white. Hard-fought for rights that we in Ireland take for granted are unknown to billions of our fellow human beings.

Those who promote imperialist policies have, unfortunately, no shortage of allies in Ireland. There are many who would bring Ireland into formal military and political alliances with those same countries which for centuries past to the present day treat their fellow human beings as resources to be exploited in pursuit of material gains. We in éirígí believe that the agenda of these Irish apologists for imperialism should be challenged and exposed at every opportunity, be this in relation to the use of Shannon airport by the US military, the British occupation of six Irish counties, membership of the EU rapid reaction forces or the proposed entry of the twenty-six counties into NATO.

We in Ireland have a humanitarian duty to reject the capitalist/imperialist system and the exploitative philosophy underpinning it. Furthermore, we must endeavour to pursue a form of governance and international relations based upon justice and co-operation, and use our position within Europe to encourage others to do likewise.

Ireland and Britain

The national territory of Ireland includes the island of Ireland, her waterways, airspace, islands and seas. The right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, is sovereign and indefeasible.

For eight centuries relations between Ireland and Britain have been defined by Britain‟s ambition to conquer and colonise the island of Ireland. For eight centuries this ambition has been thwarted by the determination of the Irish people to be free. The resultant cycle of invasion and occupation, rebellion and resistance has led to the deaths of millions and the impoverishment and enforced emigration of millions more.

Throughout this period Britain has carefully fostered false divisions among the Irish people. These divisions, be they on the basis of class, religion, gender or ethnicity have been used to maintain the British presence in Ireland and to ensure that wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of the few at the cost of the many. Such “divide and conquer” strategies have been used by Britain and other imperialists the world over. Central to the success of this strategy is Britain‟s ability to identify a sufficiently large, or powerful, section of the Irish people willing to support and administer British rule in Ireland. Throughout our history Britain‟s rule in Ireland has been at its most tenuous at those points in history where such a section of the population could not be identified, most notably in the 1916-1921 period.

The continuing British occupation of six Irish counties is a clear violation of the right of the Irish people to national self-determination. This is the context within which relations between the peoples of Ireland and Britain are defined.

 éirígí wishes to see the normalisation of relations between the peoples of Ireland and the peoples of Britain but believes that this can only occur when Britain respects the right of the Irish people to self-determination. This in effect means the ending of Britain‟s constitutional claim to part of Ireland and the withdrawal of the apparatus of occupation. There can be no other basis for the normalisation of relations between the peoples of these islands.

While it would be highly desirable for a British government to unilaterally commence the process of disengagement from Ireland, we in éirígí believe this to be a highly unlikely scenario. The lessons of history teach us that Britain will concede only as much as is necessary to weaken and divide any political movement that challenges its authority in Ireland. Our history is littered with military campaigns, treaties and statutes designed by Britain to neutralise such movements and prolong the occupation.

The most recent of such treaties, namely the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements, of 1998 and 2006 respectively, contain many of the features that have defined British treaties in Ireland for centuries. Three such features stand out most clearly.
  •   Firstly, central to both of these agreements is an absolute acceptance of the legitimacy of British rule in Ireland. The constitutional status of Britain‟s occupation will not change until a majority of those within the occupied six counties so decidein effect one sixth of the Irish people will hold a veto over the other five-sixths.
  •   Secondly Britain‟s long history of nurturing false divisions in Ireland continues with power being allocated on the basis of a crude sectarian head-count designed to deepen and prolong false divisions along religious lines.
  •   Finally, as with all British treaties, there is the apparent potential for those who support Irish freedom to achieve a long-term victory if they are willing to support the status quo in the short-term. In this the British government is at its most devious. Britain has conceded enough to convince some who oppose British rule in Ireland that these latest treaties are substantially different to all previous treaties and therefore worthy of support. In this the British draw upon their not insubstantial experience in negotiations and hope to neutralise the demand for British withdrawal and Irish Freedom. Failing this the British hope to lay the seeds of division among those who would nominally desire Irish freedom but disagree upon how it may be achieved.
    We in éirígí are convinced that these two most recent treaties are considerably more likely to solidify British rule in Ireland than they are to end it.

  • Others have argued that Britain no longer has ambitions of empire and is in fact preparing to withdraw from Ireland, using the establishment of the Stormont assembly and increased levels of cross-border co-operation to support this hypothesis.

  • We in éirígí reject this analysis. We believe that the evidence indicates the opposite to be true. Britain is simply re-shaping and modernising the occupation and in doing so is attempting to portray her role in Ireland as neutral while simultaneously co-opting an ever larger section of the population into supporting the occupation. The current British government have over the last number of years implemented a policy of regionalised parliaments and assemblies with the objective of securing the long-term integrity of the so called “United Kingdom”. The British establishment has moved to neutralise the demands for complete independence for Scotland, Wales and Ireland by conceding limited powers to locally elected representatives. This tactic, and variations of it, has been successfully used on many occasions throughout history. This is the context within which the Stormont Assembly was established. 

  • Increased co-operation between the Dublin and London governments and increased co- operation between the business classes on both sides of the border is in reality simply part of a broader pattern of globalisation and European Union-wide integration and not evidence of a gradual British withdrawal.

  • If further evidence of Britain‟s contemporary imperial ambitions is required one need only look to Britain‟s role in the invasion and occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq. For those who have claimed that Britain is now a force for good in both an Irish and a global context, the lie has been well and truly exposed.

  • The Future

  • It is now more than ninety years since Pádraig Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic from the steps of the General Post Office on Easter Monday 1916. This act signalled the start of a most momentous phase in Irish history which culminated in the ending of the British occupation of twenty-six of Irelands‟ thirty two counties, after more than seven hundred years of attempted conquest. As we approach the centenary year of the Easter Rising freedom has yet to be achieved with six Irish counties remaining under British occupation.
    We in éirígí view this occupation and the denial of democracy it represents to be the single most substantial challenge facing the Irish people today.
  • For as long as Ireland remains occupied it will be impossible for the Irish people to choose a system of governance that truly “cherishes all the children of the nation equally” which we hold to be the only form of governance worthy of the people of Ireland.

  • Recent years have seen the demand for Irish freedom largely neutralised as Britain has attempted, with some success, to co-opt ever greater sections of the Irish people into administering British rule in Ireland.

  • Irish freedom will only be achieved when the demand for British withdrawal is once again placed centre stage of the Irish, British and International arenas and when the cost to Britain of holding Ireland outweighs the benefits of withdrawal. We believe the time is approaching when that demand will once again be loudly voiced.

  • That is the task now facing Socialists, Republicans and Nationalists; the building of a new social and political movement for Irish freedom. While ultimately such a movement will need support internationally, including most probably a section of the British people, it is at home and most particularly within the occupied counties where the renewed call for freedom must first be made.

  • In the building of such a movement inspiration can be sought, and lessons learned, from our own history. In the period prior to the 1916 Rising Ireland witnessed a cultural revival encompassing the Irish language, music and sports. The same period saw the growth of both a separatist movement advocating Irish freedom and a revolutionary form of socialism and
     trade unionism. It was by drawing support from all three of these trends that that the most successful Irish Rebellion to date, and the following five year revolutionary period, occurred.
    The international arena also offers insight into how modern day social and political movements develop. There are now numerous examples across the globe of people challenging global capitalism and imperialism through “bottom up” social and political movements. Any new movement for Irish freedom should seek to encompass not only traditional political parties but also organised labour, community groups, cultural organisations, campaign groups as well as non-aligned individuals.

  • While advocating the development of a new movement for Irish freedom we in éirígí believe that freedom is only of value if we, the Irish people, use it to create a society based upon genuine equality and social justice. Ninety years of nominal freedom for twenty-six counties has produced a social and economic order that is in no way substantially different to that of the old imperial order. The words of James Connolly have proved typically prophetic:

  • If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the socialist republic, your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule through her capitalists, her landlords, financiers, and through the whole array of commercial and industrial institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs. England would still rule you to your ruin, even while your lips offered hypocritical homage at the shrine of that freedom whose cause you betrayed.

  • éirígí believes that the creation of a Democratic Socialist Republic represents the best framework within which the needs of all the Irish people can be met. We assert that any new movement for Irish freedom needs to recognise that the pursuit of national freedom is inextricably linked to that of social and economic freedom.

  • We in éirígí also wish to see an end to the false divisions that Britain has so carefully fostered in Ireland and believe that a new political and social movement may offer a mechanism to do just that. We challenge those who may historically have believed that their interests were best served by supporting the British presence in Ireland to re-examine their position in the context of the twenty-first century. We appeal to members of this community to join us in a political movement for the creation of a new all-Ireland Republic where all the people of Ireland will be entitled to an equal share of the nation‟s wealth and equal access to power regardless of class, religion, gender, ethnicity, or other false division.

  • We in éirígí intend to play a full part in a new movement for Irish freedom and appeal to people the length and breadth of Ireland and beyond to do likewise and to contribute, in whatever way they can, to completing the unfinished business of Irish freedom and the establishment of a Democratic Socialist Republic. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

On the Struggle to Defeat Capitalism and Imperialism in Ireland

At the dawn of the 21st century, the long struggle for Irish National Liberation is far from completed. Today Ireland and her people find themselves subjected to the interests of International Imperialism. Three giants of International Imperialism co-operate and compete with each other for dominance in Ireland, namely  the US, the European Union and British Imperialism.

Between them, these three forces exploit and oppress the people of Ireland, with the aid of a domestic 'capitalist class' for their own material gain, while at the same time they compete with each other for total control.

There remains in Ireland, genuine opposition to this Imperial domination and the struggle for national liberation is close to the hearts of the Irish working class.

However the forces of Irish anti- imperialism find themselves small and isolated in 2013. While there are some very optimistic signs that the anti- imperialist struggle can be re-built, with broad appeal amongst the masses, those of us involved in the struggle for national liberation and socialism must recognise the current position of the revolutionary movement. A real, popular strategy must be put in place to win the people of Ireland to the struggle for national liberation and socialism!

In order to rebuild the struggle for socialism in Ireland to a position were in can successfully establish an Irish Socialist Republic, we must first recognise our strengths and our weakness, analysis the prevailing conditions and the main issues facing the Irish working class and map out a clear strategy for defeating capitalism and imperialism in Ireland.

It is the task of every socialist republican to win more and more people to the cause of socialism in Ireland. We can only do that by understanding the issues that face our class and by setting out a clear vision, not just of what we are against, but more importantly of the type of Ireland we are fighting for!

In short, we have to clearly identify the enemies of the working class, the obstacles to achieving socialism, the forces that can play a positive role in the anti- imperialist struggle and work day and night amongst the people to re-popularise the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland.

The first step is examining the main issues facing our class today and tackling some of the main obstacles in the struggle for socialism. It is then up to socialist republicans to put out a clear strategy to over come such obstacles and to once again, unite the working class behind the demand for national liberation and socialism!

It is the opinion of this blog that the following consist of the main issues facing the Irish working class and the main obstacles in the struggle for socialism in Ireland. A thorough examination of such issues and a clearly defined strategy for overcoming such obstacles would greatly strengthen the revolutionary forces in Ireland.

1. British Imperialism and Partition
2. European Imperialism
3. The Role of the US in Ireland
4.The Ruling Elite in Ireland/ Domestic 'Capitalist Class'
5..Working Class Political Apathy
6. Lack of Working Class Organisation/ Class Unity
7. The Current Crisis in Capitalism
8. Hostile Media

Over the next number of weeks we will be running a series of articles discussing the above and offering suggestions as to how socialist republicans might address them. We welcome submissions or comments on these topics from our readers. Just send us an email at

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The precarious working class

The following is a very insightful piece published in this months 'Socialist Voice', the journal of the Communist Party of Ireland.

It covers a range of issues facing the working class and working people in Ireland, and is a must read for anyone interested in fighting for workers rights in today's conditions.


The precarious working class

Increasing numbers of workers are being condemned to jobs that offer no security of employment, no fixed hours of work, and very little prospect of achieving a decent standard of living.

     This is nothing new, as anyone who has read The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists knows; but the number is increasing significantly in Ireland, and indeed globally, and it is now clear that the debt socialised by the state is being used as the context for a restructuring of the economy as a low-wage, low-security economy, undoing a century of hard-won gains by trade union and socialist activists.
     In Ireland, Greece and Portugal, as well as countries that have applied for membership of the EU, unelected bureaucrats and central bankers impose not only debt and privatisation but labour “reforms” and industrial relations reforms that are restructuring society to meet the needs of highly mobile and aggressive capital. In other EU counties, including Germany, “partnership” arrangements are used to implement similar structural changes that protect older permanent employees while facilitating the restructuring towards precarious work.

     These are significant changes that, a hundred years after the 1913 Lock-out, are undoing a century of labour victories and progress for working people, shocking (in the sense of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine) society backwards. This crisis is being used to transform society even further towards the needs of capital and towards the very basic level of pay required to reproduce just enough of labour globally to maintain the working class for the needs of capital. Subsistence living and poverty are a reality for many workers, never mind the plight of the billions of unemployed.

     An insight provided by Marxist political economy (and bourgeois political economists, including Adam Smith) is the labour theory of value, which sees the price of a commodity fluctuate above or below the amount of labour involved in producing it. Viewing labour itself as a commodity suggests that its value (translated into wages on the market) is what is required to sustain itself and reproduce itself for capital’s exploitation. So, in essence, all capital wants to pay a worker is enough to train them, keep them going while at the optimum working age, and have children so that future labour exists. Capital has no interest in what happens outside your working hours or in your older years.
     This was the reality for most workers a hundred years ago, and now we are returning to the same.
     The generally accepted definition of precarious work is instability, lack of protection, insecurity, and social and economic vulnerability. Its features are low pay, 0-hour contracts, agency work, fixed-term contracts, part-time work and underemployment, low skill with few opportunities for training or career advancement, easy hiring and firing and quick turnover, and a lack of social welfare once unemployed. In Ireland we’ve also seen the dismantling of joint labour committees and pressure on the minimum wage.

     The right wing present precarious work as positive flexibility, giving workers more control and “ownership” of their lives; as one business commentator, Peter Shawn Taylor, put it, “the trend marks an advantage for workers as well, who gain more control over their work-life relationships.”
     We know that the reality is in fact the opposite. Precarious work makes it impossible for workers and their families to budget, plan, or save sufficiently. It complicates child-care arrangements. It can have a serious effect on social welfare claims, in particular lone parent’s allowance. It divides workers between longer-serving permanent employees and newer employees. It creates divisions within unions and ultimately weakens labour, to the benefit of capital.

     0-hour contracts, in particular, leave workers at the mercy of their employers in getting enough hours and appropriate hours. This puts them at the mercy of their managers and prevents union activism or any dissension in the work-place. It is used as a tool for disciplining and controlling workers.

     In the EU 15 temporary employment has risen from 8 per cent of the work force in the late 1980s to its present level of 15 per cent. In Germany, the so-called employment miracle, 7¾ million people were in atypical employment; over a period of ten years this figure has increased by 46 per cent. Contrary to the popular image, about a fifth of all workers in Germany are in low-paid work—a significant increase over previous decades.

     4.9 million workers in Germany qualify for state support. In the metal industries, since the beginning of the crisis only 5 per cent of new employees have been permanent, the rest agency workers or contract workers. In one BMW plant 30 per cent of the workers are on temporary contracts.

     A tenth of Mexico’s work force are employed by temporary agencies. There are an estimated 1.4 million agency workers in Britain. Nokia in China employs 30 per cent of its work force through agencies. More than half of all electronics workers in Thailand are agency workers.
     In Ireland a fifth of all workers are now in low-paid work. Part-time work has grown from 16 per cent of the work force in 2006 to 24 per cent. 56 per cent of workers surveyed in the retail industry had part-time contracts, and 45 per cent reported that their hours change at least monthly, preventing any possible budgeting and greatly restricting access to credit, loans, or mortgages.

     Young workers and women workers are far more likely to be in precarious work. And the Government, through the “Job Bridge” scheme, has in effect given the green light to all private-sector employers to embrace precarious work as the model employment contract of the future.
     As we can see, the growth in precarious work is not unique to Ireland: it is truly part of the global economic system. It is a growing feature of capitalism in the twenty-first century. Employers are actively using precarious work to shift the cost of declining profit and stagnation onto workers. It comes as a consequence of the weakness of the labour movement but also significantly weakens labour in the process.

     Unions will testify that organising 0-hour contract workers is extremely difficult, as the ability to increase or reduce hours of work is used to “discipline” workers and prevent union leaders emerging from the shop floor. The European Union is actively promoting this in what it calls its “flexicurity” model—though it is significantly lacking in security for workers—in its aggressive attempts to regain lost competitiveness against India, Russia, China, the United States, and elsewhere.
     The challenge this presents to socialists and the labour movement is real. Not only is it hurting our class, it is weakening our ability to mobilise our class for progressive change. The Turkish sociologist Fatma Ülkü Selçuk presents the challenge thus:
If the unions cannot succeed in introducing effective measures against growing unemployment and precarious work, the workers’ movement will suffer a serious defeat. Just as capitalists undermine unionized workers in the formal sector with the threat of giving their jobs to the unorganized in the informal sector, they discipline all workers by threatening to replace them with the unemployed. It is clear that unless unions develop effective forms of struggle, they will sooner or later vanish from the scene of history. Yet, there is hope and it is growing stronger. If unions organize the unemployed and the informal sector workers, they can present a serious challenge to the anti-union current and start healing the wounds of the labor movement.
     As a class-conscious movement and party, how do we confront this challenge? There is increasing grass-roots mobilisation within unions, but it is disorganised and apolitical. There is also increasing talk of restructuring at the top, but this appears to be for placing the movement even further under the thumb of the Labour Party and stripping it of its own independent vision of society. Restructuring without the radical political change required to organise the unemployed and precarious work force will do nothing to reverse the decline in membership or help us to find again our industrial leverage.
     James Connolly recognised this and warned of the folly of mergers and restructuring without revolutionary politics:
Recently I have been complaining in this column and elsewhere of the tendency in the Labour movement to mistake mere concentration upon the industrial field for essentially revolutionary advance. My point was that the amalgamation or federation of unions, unless carried out by men and women with the proper revolutionary spirit, was as likely to create new obstacles in the way of effective warfare, as to make that warfare possible. The argument was reinforced by citations of what is taking place in the ranks of the railwaymen and in the transport industry. There we find that the amalgamations and federations are rapidly becoming engines for steam-rollering or suppressing all manifestations of revolutionary activity, or effective demonstrations of brotherhood. Every appeal to take industrial action on behalf of a union in distress is blocked by insisting upon the necessity of “first obtaining the sanction of the Executive,” and in practice it is found that the process of obtaining that sanction is so long, so cumbrous, and surrounded with so many rules and regulations that the union in distress is certain to be either disrupted or bankrupted before the Executive can be moved. The Greater Unionism is found in short to be forging greater fetters for the working class; to bear to the real revolutionary industrial unionism the same relation as the servile State would bear to the Co-operative Commonwealth of our dreams.

     We need a movement committed to all working people, not just sectoral interests, with a vision of society for all working people; a movement that does not believe there is only the one way within the narrow constraints of what EU monopoly capital allows us; a movement that promotes its political goals and does not leave it to the Labour Party; and, most importantly, a movement not afraid to pursue its class interests, as the men and women of 1913 did.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Mizen Head Anti-Land Grab Campaign Intensifies

The following article is re- blogged from

This is some genuinely inspirational campaigning from socialist republicans in Wicklow.

In the 1970's Seamus Costello led a campaign to ensure access to Wicklow's coast line, confronting private interests that tried to make profit from public land.

It's great to see socialist republicans in Wicklow continuing that proud tradition and a campaign that combines socialist republican's and a section of the organised labour movement is a very positive development.

Mizen Head Anti-Land Grab Campaign Intensifies

In recent weeks the Mizen Head Action Campaign, which is made up of members of éirígí and the Independent Workers Union along with local anglers, walkers and members of the community, have intensified their campaign against the illegal barricade preventing public access to Mizen Head in County Wicklow.

            On Sunday July 21, the campaign held a vibrant “Fish In” protest against the European Golf Club’s land grab of a section of the Wicklow shoreline. For over a decade the owners of the Golf Club have fenced off land belonging to the Irish people, denying accesses to Mizen Head. Before protestors arrived at the disputed site, the illegal barrier had been removed by the ‘Wicklow Saw Doctors’, allowing the protestors gain safe access to Mizen Head to carry out the “Fish In”.

 Campaign members erected posters at the site highlighting the dispute and the protest took the form of a hotly contested fishing competition which was won by an East Wicklow angler. On Monday July 22, the anti-land grab campaign staged a picket at Wicklow County Council buildings in Wicklow Town. The picket took the form of a peaceful ‘lock-out’ that saw the gates at the entrance of Wicklow County Council buildings chained closed.

 The colourful picket received great support from local people passing by. An hour after the ‘lock-out’ began the management of Wicklow County Council and local Gardaí gained access by sheering the large chain and lock that had prevented access to the building. The protestors then moved to the outside foyer of the building to continue to highlight the land grab of Wicklow’s scenic shoreline.

     Sean Doyle, a trade unionist from the IWU and a member of éirígí, said, “The matter of the illegal barrier on the Mizen Head was referred to An Bord Pleanála, who found there was an unregistered land strip between the European Golf Club boundary and the shore line. They also found that the golf club owner has no right to erect a barricade or claim land belonging to the people as his own.”

      éirígí Wicklow spokesperson Adrian O’Raghallaigh said, “We have brought the Mizen Head campaign to the gates of Wicklow County Council because of their lack of effort in dealing with this case. In 2005 an enforcement notice was issued by Wicklow County Council yet in 2013 the barricade remains in situ.

 This is completely unacceptable and the campaign will continue until the right of the people to access Mizen Head is recognized by all.”

For more information on the campaign 'Like' the facebook page:

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Loyalism and the Connolly Approach

In light of the upsurge of violence from within Loyalism, tonight we republish a template outlining how socialist republicans might engage with that section of the Irish working class.
As the British seem intent to let their murder gangs off their leash in an effort to divide the community and distract the working class in the occupied six counties, it is important that socialist republicans maintain a disciplined and principled approach to dealing with the question of  Loyalism.
Below we republish the writings of Seamus Costello on the subject.
Within the article, based on methods previously perfected by James Connolly as  a trade union leader in Belfast, Costello sets out the template of socialist republican engagement with Loyalism. Although dating from 1975, Costello's comments are of key importance to republicans in the 21st centaury.
Costello's revolutionary strategy stands at odds with the method put forward from some within the nationalist community and the British establishment, that would see republicans bend over backwards and drop all principle in a programme of 'Unionist Outreach'.
We hope this article will be widely discussed today as it was in 1975 and that it's lessons are adopted by this generation of socialist republicans.
Loyalism and the Connolly Approach
Connolly had to face exactly the same predicament. In Belfast prior to 1916, you had people who classified themselves as socialists and who were also interested in ending British rule in Ireland. Their approach to the Protestant working class as on the basis of limited and immediate issues. One of the principal issues which affected both sections of the working class was the question of whether or not they could get gas and water into their houses.
"Some very militant campaigns were engaged in on these two demands - gas and water for the houses in the working class districts. Republicans and socialists were involved in this campaign on the basis that this was the way to unite the working class. At the same time, these republicans and socialists refused point blank to mention or even discuss the national question with the Protestant working class, on the grounds that if they did, the Protestant working class wouldn't listen to them and that they would lose their co operation on the issue of gas and water for the houses.

 "Connolly was totally in opposition to this approach. He categorized them as gas and water socialists. Today in Belfast we have what we call ring-road socialists. They are exactly the same type of people. They are, in fact, the leadership of the Official republican movement in Belfast.

 "We maintain that any co-operation with the Protestant working class must be on the basis of a principled political position. It must be on the basis of explaining fully to the Protestant working class what all our policies are, not just our policy on the ring-road. We must try and politicize them, simultaneously with conducting a political campaign to get rid of Britain.

It will be primarily an educational function, or an educational campaign directed towards Protestants in the hope at least that some significant section of the Protestant working class will understand."

Friday, 19 July 2013

Founding Statement of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

The Irish Republican Socialist Party was established by Seamus Costello and other Irish revolutionaries in  December 1974, at a meeting in the Lucan Spa Hotel, Dublin. The aim of the party founders was to establish a new revolutionary vanguard that would combine the class and national struggles and take up the vision of James Connolly. The party was named in honour of Connolly's Irish Socialist Republican Party. This was to be a genuine party of the working class.

Later that same day Costello presided over the formation of a new republican army, an organisation he hoped to mould as the armed cadre of the working class. This organisation was known firstly be as the National Liberation Front but would soon become known across the world as the Irish National Liberation Army.

Many of the founding members  of the IRSM were veteran republicans. Following the 'stickies' slide into counter revolution, whole cumainn resigned on mass to join the new organisation.

Seamus Costello was its driving force. He succeeded in recruiting many of  the leading republicans, socialists and trade unionists of the day to its ranks.

The forces of reaction in Ireland soon took note of the emerging IRSP and decided to crush the movement at birth. State repression and counter revolutionary attacks would be unleashed on the new party which stunted its growth, but not its revolutionary message.

Costello himself would be murdered in cold blood by counter revolutionaries in 1977, an event from which the IRSM never really recovered. With the murder of Seamus Costello Ireland lost its greatest revolutionary leader since James Connolly and the struggle for national liberation and socialism was set back for generations.

Much of the founding statement of the IRSP remains as relevant to Irish socialist republicanism today as it was when written almost forty years ago. Within the short statement there are many fundamental truths and a  draft guide to action for socialist republicans. Its message should be studied by all genuine Irish revolutionaries today.

For that reason, today we republish the founding statement of the IRSP. We hope it is widely read and studied by modern socialist republicans. We must learn well the lessons of our history so our historic struggle can be carried forward to victory.

Páirtí Poblachtach Sóisialach na hÉireann
At a meeting held in Dublin on Sunday, 8.12.'74, a decision was made to form a new political party, to be known as THE IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY. The inaugural meeting was attended by approximately 80 delegates from Belfast, Armagh, Co. Derry, Derry City, Donegal, Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.


To this end, it was agreed that the Party would launch a vigorous campaign of political agitation and education, North and South, on the following issues:


1/ Recognising that British Imperialist interference in Ireland constitutes the most immediate obstacle confronting the Irish People in their struggle for democracy, National Liberation and Socialism, it shall be the policy of the Party to seek the formation of a broad front on the basis of the following demands:

A/ That Britain must immediately renounce all claims to Sovereignty over any part of Ireland and its coastal waters, and should immediately specify an early date for the total withdrawal of her military and political presence from Ireland.
B/ Having specified the date for her total withdrawal from Ireland, Britain must immediately withdraw all troops to barracks, release all internees and sentenced political prisoners, grant a general amnesty for all offences arising from the military campaign against British Forces or through involvement in the Civil Disobedience Campaign, abolish all repressive legislation, grant a Bill of Rights which will allow complete freedom of political action and outlaw all discriminination whether it be on the basis of class, creed, political opinion or sex. Britain must also agree to compensate the Irish People for the exploitation which has already occurred.
C/ It shall be the policy of the IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY to seek an active working alliance of all radical forces within the context of the Broad Front in order to ensure the ultimate success of the Irish Working Class in their struggle for Socialism.
D/ It will be an immediate objective of the Party to launch an intensive campaign of opposition to the E.E. membership. We, therefore, intend to play an active part in the E.E.C. referendum in the Six County area and through our support groups in Britain.
E/ Recognising that sectarianism, and the present campaign of sectarian assassinations arises as a direct result of British manipulation of the most reactionary elements of Irish Society, we shall seek to end this campaign on the basis of united action by the Catholic and Protestant working class against British Imperialism in Ireland.


1/ We will seek to have a United Campaign of all democratic forces against repressive legislation in the south, and against the policy of blatant collaboration with British Imperialism, which is now being pursued by the 26 County Administration.

2/ THE IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY is totally opposed to the exploitation of our natural resources by multi-national Corporations. It shall therefore be our policy to give active and sustained support to the present campaign for the nationalisation of these resources.

3/ Recognising that the rapidly increasing cost of living and rising unemployment are to a large extent a direct result of our EEC membership, it shall be the policy of the IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY to actively support the formation of people's organisations to combat rising prices and unemployment.


THE IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY is not an abstentionist Party, and will decide its attitude towards the contesting of any particular election, on the basis of a thorough analysis of the conditions prevailing at the time. In keeping with this attitude we have decided, in principle, to contest the forthcoming Convention Elections in the Six County Area.

As the vast majority of those involved in the formation of the IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY are people who have recently resigned from Sinn Fein (Gardiner Place), we feel it may be necessary to give a brief outline of the reasons for our resignations. They are as follows:

A/ The refusal of the Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle to implement the democratically decided policies on the National Question as laid down at the 1972 and 1973 Ard Fheiseanna.
B/ The lack of internal democracy within Sinn Fein. This became particularly noticeable during the course of the past year when many dedicated members were purged from the organisation because they dared to question the reformist approach of the Ard Comhairle on many vital questions. This purge culminated in attempts by members of the Ard Comhairle to intimidate delegates to the recent Ard Fheis, when many of them were threatened with expulsion if they did not vote in accordance with the wishes of the leadership.
C/ the decision of the Ard Comhairle to contest the Six County Assembly Elections, when it was perfectly obvious that the elections were clearly designed to re-establish a British controlled puppet Parliament for the Six Counties. In our view, this particular decision was indicative of the reformist and counter revolutionary attitudes which prevail at Ard Comhairle level in Sinn Fein, Gardiner Place.
D/ The unprincipled betrayal of the internees arising from the decision to take seats on local councils in the North. This decision was made despite the fact that the Ard Comhairle had made repeated statements attacking the treachery of the SDLP for taking their seats.

We are of course aware that the vast majority of rank and file members are completely opposed to this decision. We urge the ordinary members of Sinn Fein to refuse to accept this unprincipled attitude on the part of the Ard Comhairle. We call on all Republican Club Councillors to stand by the Internees by upholding the peoples' pledge which they signed before their election.
E/ The general drift towards almost exclusive participation in reformist activity, and the total abandonment of agitationary political action in pursuit of their objectives. Under its present leadership, Sinn Fein has been reduced to a position of almost total irrelevance in the context of the present poltical situation.


Since last Sunday we have had enquiries from practically every area in the country regarding the formation of branches. During the period since the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis, at least 14 Cumainn and two Comhairle Ceantair have resigned in bloc and indicated their intention of forming IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY branches.

We are at present engaged in an intensive recruiting drive, and will organise a full delegate national conference at the earliest possible date. A permanent National Executive will be elected at the Annual Conference.

In conclusion, the IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY extends its support to all peoples struggling for Democracy, National Liberation and Socialism.

In Ireland, we appeal to all of those who are genuinely interested in the establishment of a Socialist Republic to re-examine their present position and give their support to the IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY.

Those elected to the Temporary National Executive are as follows:

Sean Flynn (Belfast)
Manuel McIlroy (Belfast)
John McAlea (Belfast)
Charlie Craig (Belfast)
Seamus O'Kane (Co. Derry)
Terry Robson (Derry City)
Joe Sweeney (Derry City)
Bernadette McAliskey (Tyrone)
Johnny White (Donegal)
Seamus Costello (Wicklow)
Theresa Gallagher (Dublin)
Anne Webb (Dublin)
Mick Plunkett (Dublin)
John Lynch (Cork)
Stella Mackowski (Clare)
Joe Quinn (Limerick)
Tony Quinn (Tipperary

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Establishment Fears the Rise of Socialist Republicanism!

Recent hysteria in the corporate media has exposed a growing fear in the capitalist establishment at the rise of socialist republicanism in Ireland,

The latest example follows a protest outside Leinster House in Dublin, called to demand the Jailing of Ireland's Bankers when a group of anti- austerity protestors confronted Labour minister for communications, Pat Rabbitte.

 The corporate media have lined up to portray such action as criminal and have been quick to attribute the 'ugly scenes' to members of the socialist republican party éirígí. Rabitte himself has 'confirmed' that it was indeed éirígi  who subjected him to 'a bit of jostling and abuse and that kind of stuff' and 'waving Bobby Sands posters in my face saying éirígí says this and éirígí says that.'

This hostile reaction from the establishment and their attempts to portray éirígí as the big bad bogey man exposes a real fear at the heart of the establishment at the rise of socialist republicanism. The ruling elite are terrified the prospects for its long term growth and success in Ireland. Ironically it's thanks to the reaction of Rabbitte and the mass media that many working class homes are cheering éirígí tonight!

When the latest attempts to discredit socialism is combined with the on-going harassment of socialist republican community activists and the internment of éirígí spokesperson Stephen Murney it's clear to see that the forces of reaction north and south are living in constant fear of the socialist republican message. That's why the establishment is attempting to use the full power of the state and the corporate media to undermine socialist republicanism, but they are failing.

The capitalist state is right to fear socialism. Socialist republicans aim to organise the complete overthrowing of the current system and bring the working class to power in Ireland. We aim to establish a system that  through democratic central planning. will meet the needs of all citizens. Such a system will put and end to exploitation and political and economic corruption. Put simply we aim for the democratic control of society by communities, something the powers that be fear most.

 The likes of Rabbitte and other 'labour fakirs' in Leinster House are all to aware of this fact. Many of them climbed into power on the backs of the working class by pretending to be socialist republicans. Their anti- republican stories in the media and the on-going harassment by their bully boy,s only highlights that éirígí and Irish socialist republicans are getting it right.

Pat Rabbite and his cronies in the capitalist establishment should be very afraid of the 'reds under the bed'. Especially when those reds are unrepentant socialist republicans. As the on-going crisis in capitalist has shown the days of this system of exploitation are numbered. As Irish socialist republicanism continues to grow and spread its influence across Ireland we move closer and closer to the historic victory of the working class and the successful conclusion.

Onwards to the Socialist Republic!
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