IRSP Ard-Fheis Speech
Danielle Ni Dhighe
morrigan at SPAMmorrigan.net
Mon Oct 16 00:26:03 MDT 2000
Address to the Irish Republican Socialist Party's 2000 Ard-Fheis by John
Martin, IRSP Political Secretary
Let me first tackle the state of the movement and party internally.
We have been criticised because the political leadership has not proved
"particularly political". Let me place this in context. This leadership
like the membership has come under armed attacks from Loyalists and from
British backed pseudo republican gangs. It has suffered physical and verbal
assaults from Provisionals, resisted fierce efforts by British security
forces to compromise our security and politics while reaffirming the
movements commitment in particular to the political direction of the famous
Ta Power document. We have lost our leader Gino Gallagher who laid down the
direction we should take. Our comrades in Portlaoise jail had to undergo a
hunger strike to achieve prison equality with the Provisionals. The INLA
accepted the political analysis of the IRSP over the past four years and
transformed itself into a disciplined, politically motivated, and highly
effective revolutionary force. The IRSP has now held three Ard-Fheis in two
years following the failure of previous leaderships to call any since 1984.
The IRSP now has a presence through out Ireland is politically active and
is a growing revolutionary force. That is the product of political
But we acknowledge there have been ongoing problems and a loss of direction
by many of our activists. There has been confusion, disloyalty, dissension
and sometimes in the leadership despair at the inability of comrades,
including ourselves in that leadership, to do the simple political things
well. We have been hounded by drug allegations and by the local gossip of
our political enemies denigrating and demeaning us.
However comrades it is no good railing against others when the fault lies
within our own movement. We can not yet be described as a serious political
revolutionary force or even a serious political party when our organisation
has at times been shambolic. We could give all sorts of reasons for the
poor state of the organisation. But we won't. Too long of living in the
past has been the hallmark of the Irps.
We need to take a leaf from the wise words of Ta Power who warned us in his
far sighted analysis 14 years ago that we need to break with the past and
look to the future. Comrades we share Ta's vision of a communistic future
but our vision at this moment is not the long vision but the immediate
view. To get to our transitional goal of a Socialist Republic we have to
forge an effective efficient revolutionary weapon called the Party. That is
the immediate and overriding target for the IRSP over the next five year
period - creating the revolutionary nucleus for the future and that means
making this party effective.
While we are highly critical and self critical of our organisational
performance I do not share the same misgivings about our analysis or our
politics. A belief in Republican Socialism is to believe that the only true
freedom worth fighting for in Ireland is the freedom for all from economic,
political, social and cultural exploitation. It therefore places the
liberation of the Working Class in Ireland as the primary task of our
movement. But that task is impossible until the British claim of
sovereignty over Ireland is withdrawn. Even then the achievement of any
form of independence on the island will always result in capitalist and
imperialist advances. Only when the working class takes power, as a class,
will the Socialist Republic be established. Our socialism will be a
socialism of comradeship, a socialism of fraternity, a socialism of
empowerment for all, a socialism of equality and a socialism that transfers
political economic and social power from the few to the many. It will be an
advance from the bourgeois Republic that now exists, but it will not be the
final step to Socialism. It will be a transitional stage in which we the
working class begin to lay the foundations for a truly liberated society.
Republican Socialist ideology draws its inspiration first and foremost from
the struggles and ideas of the working classes in Ireland and world wide.
It is a belief tempered in struggle and strife that only in the exercise of
the power of the class can liberation be achieved.
It is internationalist it is socialist, it is republican it is marxist. It
is the most progressive thought of its day, the most radical and the most
forward thinking and therefore comrades the most open to debate dialogue
change and progression.
Just as the Republicanism of Wolfe Tone was the most advanced of its day
and relevant to the needs of the time and just as Connolly`s Socialism was
advanced and relevant to the needs of the time so also must today's
Republican Socialism be the lynch pin of progressive thought and action.
Comrades note this last word, action. You have heard often that "Without
revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary action" Well comrades in
the best tradition of Marxist dialectics the reverse is also true. Without
action there can be no theory. A movement must analyse think learn grow and
develop. It must do as well as well as think. Too often in the past
revolutionary movements have allowed themselves to be side-tracked by
obscure and trivial disagreements that end in disaster.
Splits and feuds may be part of the price of establishing a revolutionary
movement but surely one learns, one theorises from that experience.
Surely we have learned the futility of the politics of bitterness, of name
calling and of reducing one's opponents to the level of caricature.
In terms of ideas the R.S.M. has learnt that the best way to develop, to
grow, is to let ideas flourish. Be open to new influences provided the end
result is to strengthen the working class.
Let us not fear the truth, the cold light of reality on our vision of
socialism. Listen not only to our own comrades but also to the voices, no
matter how disconnected, discordant and discontented, of the working class.
That is the way for the movement and it must also be one of our core
beliefs. Also we must never allow ourselves to be seduced by the many
different sectarian voices of a distorted Marxism that prefers to theorise
over the nine points of a pin. We have been criticised for bowing to the
prevailing reactionary mood. Because the IRSP looks at the world as it is
not as we would like it to be do we stand condemned by some on the far left.
For the first time in many years the IRSP has become actively involved in
political struggle. That is not only an organisational advance, it is a
political and ideological advance. Of what use are paper resolutions
proclaiming our revolutionary purity if no organisation exists to implement
the resolutions. Purists! They come they go.
There must be no ultra leftist lunges of this movement to the wilder shores
of revolutionary (or as some have called it infantile) politics. Nor can we
allow our revolutionary core beliefs to be seduced by the soft alluring
voices of the establishments as they offer us the fruits of compromise, of
shared power, of involvement, and of engagement. Comrades, let there be no
swings to the left or right. Just the steady slow consistent march forward
to win the allegiance of our class.
We as a movement have survived against all the odds because no matter how
much parts of this movement swung between ultra leftism, right militarism
or the cult of personality none of those aberrations could extinguish the
core beliefs that Seamus Costello and later Ta and Gino gave their lives
The death of Seamus Costello robbed us of a truly revolutionary voice who
epitomised the best of our generation. No movement that deserts the people,
ignores the current realities and refuses to acknowledge the economic needs
of the working class deserves to exist. Seamus played a major part in
convincing many in the mainstream republican movement that the time for
clichés, flags and the faded memories of old men was long past.
If Irish republicanism has played a progressive role in Irish society it is
because of its ability to renew itself in each generation and become
relevant to the lives of the people from which itself had sprung. Seamus
Costello was a catalyst in renewing the republican tradition in the later
part of the 20th century. He pointed the way, by standing for elections
taking his seat, playing a full part in the community he came from while
never forgetting the crime of partition. A full blooded socialist Seamus
saw a role for an army of the people prepared to both defend the interests
of the working class whilst also prepared to challenge imperialism and its
hold over the whole of Irish society.
Comrades the present leadership of this movement share that radical vision.
It was for this reason that the Official Republican Movement Seamus had
stayed with after the emergence of the Provos because of its more formal
commitment to socialism, expelled him.
His dismissal formalised the differences between the reformist and the
revolutionary wings of republicanism. Seamus took the revolutionaries with
him. He went on to found the Irish Republican Socialist Party and to
protect it went on to build from the nucleus of the Peoples Liberation Army
the Irish National Liberation Army.
Seamus worked passionately for what he believed in. He worked day and night
to build the Republican Socialist Movement. His assassination was a body
blow to the movement and to the cause then of anti-imperialist unity.
Subsequently our movement without the guiding leadership of Seamus was
riven by disputes, informers and infiltrated by anti-socialists.
A long hard struggle, costing the lives of some of our best comrades, has
won back the movement to its original goals, socialism and the liberation
of the working class. Both sections of this movement have undergone radical
reform over the past six years and while there is much to do there should
be some satisfaction that now volunteers within the army swear not to
"betray the interests of the working class movement." The task for that
section of the movement of building a true army of the people is
undoubtedly enormous but it has begun.
THE CELTIC TIGER VICTIMS
Ireland has changed enormously in the past 30 years. There is a new found
wealth and a self confident assertive and arrogant bourgeoisie controlling
and influencing all our lives. They co exist happily with the existing
world economic order. But the flotsam and jetsam rejected by the Celtic
tiger have few to speak for them. We have attempted to articulate the
plight of those dispossessed. One of those dispossessed was Patrick
Campbell, INLA volunteer and comrade of the Irish Republican Socialist
Party who lost his life in defence of the working class. Patrick was able
to see that oppression took more than the form of the uniform of the
British Army or the RUC. It was also the scourge of capitalism that left
working class communities in Dublin marginalised and excluded from the
benefits of the so-called consumer society.
Patrick learned that there were values in this world that transcend the
selfishness, greed and corruption that is endemic in capitalism. Values
such as solidarity, co-operation, comradeship, and defence of ones own
community and class. These values Patrick saw as basic for the working
class if that class was to rise above the petty capitalist values of
today's modern Ireland.
Some people see little harm in drugs. Maybe there is even one or two here
who use them!! It is a recreational thing they say and harms no one. On the
contrary the drug gangs that ply their trade in working class communities
are consciously killing not only the heart of working class communities but
also the bodies of our youth. Ireland has the youngest proportion of drug
addicts in the world. The drug gangs are in essence drug capitalists
interested only in the quick profit and mindless of the harm they do.
Selfish greedy and brutal they have been allowed to flourish while the so
called police north and south looked the other way or used these people as
their touts and informers in working class communities. The activities of
the UFF drug barons in the lower Shankill were condoned by the British
security forces until they became an embarrassment. Mandelson knew before
he released Adair what he was up to. Every time local communities began to
organise themselves to push these drug capitalists out police action has
been directed against the communities, not the drug barons. Maybe those in
the UVF leadership not associated with the drugs trade have found out the
truth of this. Our movement does not believe this is accidental. The
spreading of a drug culture among working class youths helps to keep down
radical dissent and provides the police with a small army of touts.
Drugs are a class issue. If the druggies started operating their heroin
sales in exclusively middle class areas the police would be down on them
quick. Patrick Campbell died fighting the drug barons. He died a working
class hero who gave his life in defence of his class.
THE BOURGEOIS REPUBLIC
The rise of the Celtic Tiger has undoubtedly weakened the arguments of the
unionists against the unification of the two states. Economic arguments
were always their strongest point in the past. If unionists are convinced
that their economic lot is best preserved under an Irish government and not
a British one, they'll become loyal to Irish capitalism, and the Irish
working class will be subject to both green and orange bourgeois
capitalism. Therefore the question has to be asked is the integration of
the 6 counties into a bourgeois republic governed by the Dublin regime
something we seek? This take us back to the question that James Connolly
himself saw as a difficulty, the inability of the national bourgeoisie to
complete the national revolution. Does this mean that the working class is
the class destined to make the national revolution and thereby let it flow
into the Socialist revolution? Our position like Connolly before us, is
that the struggles for national liberation and socialism in Ireland are
inseparable - national liberation can only be won through socialism, and
socialism only won within the context of a 32-county republic. However the
relative improvement in the lot of sections of the working class during the
current boon period within the bourgeois economy creates false illusions in
Given the rapid rise in inflation within the 26-county state the IRSP
should be encouraging workers to pursue through militant industrial action
legitimate wage demands. There is no contradiction in struggling for a
better standard of living within capitalism as well as seek to overthrow
it. After all relative improvements in the condition of the working class
in Ireland will be at the expense of the working class as a whole world
wide. Sooner or later the "good times" will pass by and we will still be
left with major problems. Ireland has the third lowest wages in the EU.
Having an English speaking, educated workforce is one of the main reasons
for Ireland's economic boom. However Irish workers are being told that they
must be restrained because the economy is too fragile. Some corporations
are already preparing to move to newly opened sources of cheap labour, a
trend which can be expected to continue to some degree. If the EU begins
to take in Eastern European nations and Turkey, however, you will see a
very swift flight of capital to those entry points at the expense of (and
prompted by) the gains made by Irish workers.
Therefore we have to continually ask of the working class are low-paying
and dangerous jobs desirable, and at what point do workers cease being
content with their economic lots and start working towards their own
liberation? Wage slavery itself is the problem, not finding ways to make
workers better-paid wage slaves. Reports show widening gaps between rich
and poor. Unemployment is down, but what percentage of the Irish working
class subsist on poverty wages? What about affordable housing and
childcare? We now have the "working poor"
Those republicans who encourage foreign investment in Ireland are in effect
appealing to capital's desire for cheap labour, and have a small segment of
society reap the rewards of that cheap and productive labour. If all we are
about is a matter of providing jobs and wages to workers, then we should
have no problem with foreign capital coming in, investing their billions.
To insure that they stay then, we need to do away with unions because they
drive up operating costs by insisting on things like pensions, higher
wages, insurance, all of which make operating costs high. We need to do
away with minimum or living wages so the companies can maximise profits.
They'll screw the working class, but at least the workers will have jobs.
That appears to be more and more the drive of Sinn Fein -- no mention of
empowering workers, of having them organise along industrial lines, of
taking control of their workplace and changing society. No, it's to bring
economic benefit to impoverished areas by courting native and foreign
Irish trade unions are unfortunately ideologically tied to the capitalist
system and have a stake in its preservation. They also see issues naturally
in purely national terms and have in effect only paid lip service to
The IRSP needs to develop a clear strategy for all sections of the working
class including the protestant working class that transcends national
boundaries and appeals to their class instinct.
We need to stop paying lip service to working class unity and saying that
the working class, north and south, have more in common, and have shared
destinies, more than they share anything with the two governments that
divide them. A strategy that empowers workers will I believe in the long
run reach out to appeal to wider and wider sections of the working class. I
believe the incoming Ard-Chomhairle should develop this aspect of
empowerment in both theory and practice. If we presume that our analysis,
as voiced by Connolly and Costello, is correct, then we must focus on
outreach and organising and working with all segments of the Irish working
class and not on revising our principles to be more marketable to bourgeois
elements. Sinn Fein like others before them including the Workers Party
have done that. Although there may be initial electoral advantages to this
the ultimate effect is impotence.
THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT
Now let us look at the northern situation. We as socialist republicans were
able to identify the flaws of the peace process and articulate a clear
political position of opposition to that process. Let us repeat here today
what we have said consistently, the peace process is fatally flawed, and
will not produce a final settlement. It is clear that the GFA does not
contain either the vision or momentum to deliver peace let alone a
political solution. Those who remain wedded to the Good Friday Agreement
remain wedded to the divisive, sectarian politics of the past The GFA is a
failed, flawed and finished document.
The IRSP has outlined its opposition to this GFA on a number of grounds.
The built in veto within the assembly at Stormont solidifies the existing
sectarian power blocs and gives reactionary politicians the power to
prevent, within the remit of the assembly, any radical measures to deal
with the economic and social problems that exist in the six counties.
Martin McGuiness will not break the power of the Grammar schools that have
discriminated against working class children and Bairbre de Brun will be
hard put to reform the decrepit health service.
The working classes are pressured into identifying with the two sectarian
blocs. Partition itself which was reluctantly imposed by Britain itself in
1920 because of the power of unionism in British politics and which spawned
sectarian pogroms, discrimination and death is solidified by this agreement.
The cross border institutions much heralded as an all Ireland dimension are
in reality existing practices of co-operation tarted up as some wonderful
exotic all Ireland creature. Political prisoners are released on licence
and already discrimination is directed against those prisoners who refuse
the accept the agreement. We do not recognise the right of anyone to
criminalise Republican prisoners. Those Republican prisoners still
incarcerated as a result of the conflict (and we especially include our own
comrades still left in the Kesh) should at all times be treated as what
they are, prisoners of war and given that status.
No matter to what republican group prisoners belong the IRSP will support
their right to political status. We believe all Republicans should stand
together on this issue. We also believe that the four republican prisoners
convicted of manslaughter in Adare in June 1996 should be released
immediately in accord with the Good Friday Agreement along with our Comrade
Dessie O'Hare. The IRSP maintain that in a conflict resolution situation
all political prisoners must be released unconditionally. Britain has only
reluctantly agreed to the so called equality agenda so long as it is tied
into the agreement. Human rights transcend shoddy political deals and any
progressive elements in the negotiations should have kept the issue of
human rights separate from the talks on political institutions.
We believe that there is not the political will to tackle the fundamental
wrongs of the northern state. The British government has failed to
seriously tackle the thorny questions of the northern judiciary and the
RUC. Even the Patten Report, which is not acceptable to us, has been
neutered. Will the nationalists next summer be freed from intimidation,
fear, house burning from loyalist mobs while the RUC or will it be the PSNI
stand and watch? Will in five years time the level of employment for
nationalist and unionists be the same? Constitutional tinkering with the
northern state will not eradicate its fundamentally sectarian nature.
THE NORTHERN STATE
The IRSP is dedicated as republicans and as socialists to the destruction
of the Northern Ireland state. It has to go. Comrades it has to go not
because it is a British state but because it is a sectarian state.
Republicans who negotiated that Good Friday Agreement should know now that
their political judgement was wrong. Unless and until the six county state
is either totally abolished or totally transformed, sectarianism will
dominate politics here and therefore we believe no republican should play a
part in the maintenance of a sectarian Government. We said there is an
alternative republican perspective, and it is clearly, neither guns nor
Government. Comrades, in refusing to disarm Republicans do not have to take
the armed road. That is not an option at this time.
In February on the suspension of the Assembly Jimmy B said "The British
Government is now in default of the Good Friday Agreement - the British
Secretary of State has acted dictatorially and thrown the democratically
expressed views of the Irish people back in their faces."
The IRSP has said all along that it was a mistake for Republicans to trust
the British. It gives us no satisfaction to say that our scepticism about
the whole 'peace process" has been validated. Britain has shown by the
arbitrary actions of its local overlord that it retains full sovereignty
over the North. Why have the leaders of nationalist Ireland not condemned
this flagrant abuse? Can we not now with ample justification say the whole
point of the exercise was to disarm, discredit and demoralise republicans?
We call on all Republicans and Republican Socialists to step back from this
whole process and reflect on what has been achieved and what has been lost.
It is not the function of Irish Republicans to safeguard or shoreup the
position of Unionist leaders. Perhaps it is now time for Republicans to say
no. If the price of a Stormont ministry is decommissioning then we in the
IRSP are clear that Republicans should definitely say "no."
In the North it was the statement by the IRA that saved the Stormont
Assembly. How ironic that after years of struggle to end Stormont rule some
republicans choose to save the new institutions.
The loyalist cease-fires are a joke (no decommissioning nor inspections
there) yet the UDP has paid offices in Stormont courtesy of your taxes.
Unionism is crumbling and is now never more dangerous. Now nationalists are
to be expected to modify their legitimate demands to save some section of
Unionism. We note the growing arrogance of some sections of loyalist
paramilitaries who can not abide the idea of fenians about the place. They
are part of a sustained systematic and sectarian campaign directed,
controlled and influenced by an alliance of businessmen, solicitors,
policemen, intellectuals clergymen and Orangemen who reject any concessions
to "fenians." They are for the continuation of the war of extermination
against Nationalists. The leadership of the INLA have informed us in
response to the concerns expressed in nationalist working class areas at
the ongoing murder campaign directed against nationalist that they have
initiated a rolling review of the views of its volunteers.
We urge them and others to have a calm reasoned response.
We are confident those extremists do not represent the vast majority of
protestant working class opinion and we remain committed to the concept of
a mutually agreed non aggression pact between communities that will restore
confidence in working class communities especially those living in flash
points. Perhaps if the loyalists had given some time to consider our non
aggression pact proposals then those communities in the Shankill would not
now be suffering the terror they now endure. The IRSP launched its own
initiative aimed at giving control of the peace and by extension control
over our own lives back to the working class communities who suffered
during the war. We wanted to remove the spectre of a return to conflict'
the fear of which is so readily used by those who claim sole ownership of
democracy' and the GFA, as if they are one and the same thing. The CHARTER
FOR NON-AGGRESSION was in essence a pledge between working class
communities not to attack each other. We contacted various working class
representatives, political parties, trade unions, community groups and
individuals with our suggested proposals for a charter for non-aggression.
It had the potential to remove the threat of a return to conflict. It was
an initiative that did not require political compromise of working class
representatives whether republican/nationalist or loyalist/unionist.
Unfortunately it never really got of the ground.
Violence has continued. We said that to vote No in the 98 referendum was
not a vote for violence but a vote for realism. Unfortunately regardless of
the Agreement violence will continue.
But now the question is what to actually do? The IRSP is calling for the
establishment of a Republican Forum where republicans and socialists of all
hues can dialogue together to map out a way forward for the future, in the
tradition of our call for a broad front. We do believe it is good to talk.
And we will talk with anyone in pursuit of our objectives. However we
caution anyone on taking actions that will throw us all back into full
scale armed conflict. We understand only to well how working class
communities suffer during armed conflict. We endorse the Irish National
Liberation Army cease-fire. That move was always in line with the founder
of the Army's vision of an army of the people. Others may fight allegedly
'on behalf of' and without reference to the people. We reject such
The INLA took its decision solely on the basis of the interests of the
Northern nationalist working class. No offer of a place at the table, nor
respectability, nor trips to Washington, nor the Dail, influenced that
decision. That and that alone was the basis for the cease-fire decision.
The proliferation in IRAs and the emergence of various pressure groups from
within the republican traditions shows there is a ferment of ideas taking
place. The IRSP welcome that ferment. We should never be afraid of debate
and dialogue. Remember comrades those who once are comrades may become
enemies and enemies today may be friends tomorrow. Our own history teaches
us well this lesson
We are prepared to talk to anyone about the future development of the
Republican ideal armed with our working class analysis. Only a Republic
that places the working class firmly in control is worth the struggle.
We believe talks between the various forces of Republicanism could be
useful provided it is not to build up personalities and allow some to grand
stand for the media.
We appeal to all those radical sections of political opinion, north and
south, republican and socialist to come together in the interests of the
Irish working class and at least begin to create some hope for the future.
But parallel with an openness to others comrades this leadership will
continue to develop and consolidate this movement. Last year we pointed the
direction to go-getting our message of republican socialism out to the
class. We have only scratched the surface comrades much remains to be
done. We are getting involved in class politics and fighting for the rights
of the class.
Arising out of the recent armed conflict many wounds were inflicted. The
leadership of the INLA took a policy decision to try to heal some of those
wounds. To that end information was given as to the whereabouts of the body
of Seamus Ruddy. We are deeply, deeply disappointed at the failure to
locate the body and we promise we will continue to do what we can to
resolve this sad episode. And here I must pay tribute to the sterling work
of Willie Gallagher who worked unceasingly on this issue for two solid
Also we finally were able to establish a fitting monument as a testament to
their dead hunger strikers. (Again tribute needs to paid to the work Paul
Carson put into this task).
We have supported local communities who object to racist and sectarian
marches through their areas. We urged all comrades to actively assist those
under siege during the marching season. To the leaders of residents groups
we re-iterate what we have said in the past - we reject either the concept
of face to face talks or proximity talks. No talks with racists or
fascists. Specifically we categorise the Orange Order as one such
organisation that is both racist and fascistic in nature. It has been
directly responsible for the dehumanisation, terrorisation and siege of
nationalist communities. We have called for all progressive forces
political trade union and community based to back any residents under siege
from Orange marches.
In a small way comrades have supported local initiatives against crime in
local communities. We do not feel that the social thuggery arising within
working class communities is best deal with by self appointed base
ball bat beaters. Only a full community response can lessen the impact
that thugs have. We have also been involved in anti-racist work but it is
clear that there is still much to be done
Fortunately we have high calibre comrades who despite having served many
years in jails have thrown themselves back into political action not only
looking after the interests of political prisoners but also getting
involved in class politics. They have made a significant difference already
to he development of the Party. We expect much change and development as
this Ard-Fheis renews the leadership and provide both continuity and
change. Change and renewal has been the experience of the movement in the
last twelve months and will be so for the foreseeable future. A large
number of comrades have begun political training and spent a weekend in
Glencree honing their political skills. Our newspaper the Starry Plough has
been re-established and is proving extremely popular. We also were able to
stand two comrades in the local elections in Dublin and begin the process
of becoming relevant to the needs of the class. Teach Na Failte has given
many comrades a new found confidence.
Over the next five years, comrades in all areas should be selecting
candidates for fighting any and all elections and getting our message of
republican socialism out to the class. More and more areas are getting
involved in class politics and fighting for the rights of the class.
And that is only right. No revolutionary movement can last without clear
politics and based on a correct appreciation of the needs of the people.
Our function is to give leadership and to empower the working class to
achieve its own liberation.
In all this change comrades don't forget we are a revolutionary movement.
Reformism has not worked and will not deliver any substantial changes in
the long run. We are out for a revolutionary transformation of society and
the day and hour we forget that we may as well pack up and join Sinn Fein
or the Labour Party. While we recognise the validity of the doubts of
fellow republicans who argue that armed struggle should continue albeit in
a reduced fashion we say to them for what end?
Armed struggle of 25 years has achieved the Good Friday Agreement. That may
be an advance as some could argue but was it worth it? Will any more big
bangs bring us closer to our republican goals? We think not. In the new
circumstances now prevailing republican socialists have to renew the
struggle on the doors steps of the people, in the housing estates, in the
workplaces in the factories, in the council chambers and in any elected
chambers we succeed in entering.
Comrades that may not be this or next year. The road is long hard and
sometimes boring. But every road has a turning and ours is turning. We know
that we are gaining support and sympathy for our politics. Why? Because
people see in this movement a movement of integrity in politics and a
movement capable of adapting to the needs of the times without jettisoning
The collective leadership of this movement for the past number of years has
tried to instill confidence, self-respect, loyalty to the movement and a
fundamental belief in the primacy of politics. No matter what role you play
in this movement from now on if you do not have these attributes, comrade
then you are not an Irp. For I believe these attribute go to the very heart
of our ideology. Confidence in the class, self respect for our values of
socialism, loyalty to our own movement but not uncritical loyalty, and of
course the primacy of politics.
Now let me set out what I believe are our 10 core beliefs for Republican
1/ Only the liberation of the working class is worth fighting for.
2/ National Independence is a prerequisite for the establishment of
socialism in Ireland.
3/ So long as the British claim of sovereignty exists then Republicans have
the right to resist that claim by whatever means are relevant.
4/ The working class are the only class on which any struggle can be built.
5/ The liberation of the class is for the class itself.
6/ Where possible we urge a broad front of organisations and peoples in
unity against the forces of oppression.
7/ Our constituency is the poor the unemployed the marginalised and the
exploited no matter form where they come.
8/ The workers of the world are our comrades, the capitalists of Ireland
(and else where) are our enemies.
9/ The tactics of struggle are determined by the circumstances of the time
and we are flexible in approach to all questions of how to best struggle
against imperialism, but at all times the primacy of politics is paramount.
10/ We owe our allegiance only to the Irish Working class and the workers
of the world.
Former comrades who walked away for what ever reason, we say if you are
committed to the liberation of the Irish working class there is still a
place for you in the Irish Republican Socialist Movement
We here are all important. No class nor man nor woman is our better. We are
Irps, proud and defiant. We spread the divine gospel of discontent. We only
want the earth and we will create a fitting tribute to the long generations
of working class radicals who saw a vision of a better Ireland and a better
world. If we stand with the marginalised, the downtrodden the victims, the
poor, all who are voiceless in the modern Ireland we will be true to our
politics. Let us rebuild the socialist vision so that we renew in the Irish
working class a vision of socialism as "the heart of a heartless world".
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