Archive for December, 2013

The Law and the Order – Supremacist Parading in the North East Of Ireland by Alex McGuigan

Posted in Supremacist Parades on December 27, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

This short film documents the impact that supremacist parading has on just one small community.  The period in question was largely in the 1990’s but unfortunately, supremacist parading by sectarian ‘Loyal Orders’ are still a constant  for communities such as the Short Strand, Ardoyne, Carrick Hill and elsewhere where local people are regularly beaten off the streets for having the temerity to protest against bigotry, hatred and fascism.

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25th anniversary commemoration of the death of Miriam Daly, at her graveside, Swords, County Dublin, 25 June 2005. Address by James Daly

Posted in Miriam Daly on December 23, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

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At commemorations like this in earlier years, while the struggle continued, we could think in terms of the nobility of the cause transcending the horror of Miriam’s death, and I could quote James Connolly’s last message to his wife, “Hasn’t it been a good life, Lily, and isn’t this a good end?” But lately the cause for which she was tragically martyred has slithered down into slapstick comedy, farce and low buffoonery. Trimble with impunity calls Republicans dogs and pigs. War criminal Blair backs Paisley’s theocratic demand that since Republicans have sinned in public they must repent in public. That from an alumnus of Bob Jones University, whose president’s wife, Mrs Bob Jones III, asked for her opinion on something, stated “Good book says wife don’t have opinion, husband head of household have opinions”.

But this is not a case of harmless mud wrestling — entertaining, colourful folklore. Murderous buffoons are not confined to the six counties. George W. Bush launched his first presidential campaign from Bob Jones University. And in the six counties, to use an animal metaphor which doesn’t degrade the user, the fox has been put in charge of the chicken coop. Paisley, the master of destruction, the organiser of chaos, has got rid one by one of every previous leader of unionism, O’Neill, Chichester-Clarke, Faulkner, Molyneux and Trimble. His next target is the Parades Commission. When UDA banners are forced by the PSNI/RUC through Catholic areas like Ardoyne, murder is not far behind. Under that threat, the parades commission, if it still exists by then, could well allow the Orange Order to march down Garvaghy Road next year.

This year, on the 25th anniversary of Miriam’s death I feel there is at least one thing I can do, and that is to restate an important message she never tired of repeating. It was: to beware of and shun so-called “conflict resolution”, the alleged academic discipline which is in fact an imperialist confidence trick.

The conflict resolution agenda requires the obliteration of the obvious truth about the nature of the struggle. This has been distorted to such an extent that the inheritors of the 1912 loyalists’ successful threat of civil war in Britain, which was supported by British imperialist finance capitalism, the inheritors of the Curragh mutiny, and of the running of the Larne guns — never decommissioned — by all of which the six county territory was secured, are universally, and without argument from Sinn Fein, accepted as the arbiters of when a decontaminated Sinn Fein can be judged to have become “democratic”. On John Hume’s side of the conflict the dispute is said *not* to be about territory but about minds and hearts. There is no such illusion on the other side. The issue of territory has been won and ceded in advance.

Some republican publications which are ostensibly in opposition to Sinn Fein show that they are in fact following a similar politics when they invite unionists to use their pages to exhort the IRA to decommission, and when they say that there is nothing wrong with the Orange Order as long as its marches are within “its own” areas.

The Irish people were victims ground down in the end by many years not only of the relentless use in the foreground of the stick of repression, but also of the indefatigable use in the background of the carrot of conflict resolution. The fact that the conflict resolution approach was involved is emerging into the daylight now. It resulted in the majority of the Irish people’s being not only coerced but also tricked into voting yes in a referendum giving up for nothing the principle of national liberation which had been enshrined in articles 2 and 3 of the southern constitution, and into capitulating to John Hume’s politics.

Miriam had total clarity about the imperialist use of conflict resolution in Ireland. I will try to briefly restate her message here — in my opinion, that specific part of her anti-imperialist message which brought about her death.

Unlike the aims of conflict resolution, Miriam’s aim was the Irish Republican Socialist one embodied in the demands drafted by Seamus Costello for the Broad Front document and agreed at the IRSP’s first conference. They included:

Number 6. That the Irish anti-imperialist front rejects a federal solution and the continued existence of two separate states in the six and 26 counties as a denial of the right of the Irish people to sovereignty and recognises the only alternative as being the creation of a 32 County Democratic Republic with a secular constitution.

Number 7. That the Irish anti-imperialist front demands the convening of an all Ireland constitutional conference representative of all shades of political opinion in Ireland for the purpose of discussing a Democratic and secular constitution which would become effective immediately following a total British military and political withdrawal from Ireland.

Seamus always stressed the presence here of two points of principle: first that the British would be excluded from such a constitutional conference; and second that the British must actually withdraw; perfidious Albion must not merely state an intention to withdraw, as they did in the declaration which John Hume later obtained — with the rider of course that they would stay as long as the unionists wanted them to; which is till kingdom come. His rejection of the two state or federal “solution” went with his rejection of that (Belfast) ring-road socialism which was always acceptable to practitioners of conflict resolution.

Miriam became aware as early as 1972 of what she called a plague of locusts, of people — often on first name terms with British and American ministers and officials — who appeared variously as academics, social workers, journalists etc. They were all equally anxious to divert the Irish national liberation struggle away from anti-imperialist national and class analysis, and from political demands on an all Ireland basis, and to redirect it into the management of what was described, to Miriam’s fury, as an ethnic struggle in the six counties between Irish Catholic nationalists and British Protestant unionists.

Unlike Seamus Costello’s projected constitutional conference, conflict resolution meetings must necessarily be chaired by representatives of the imperialists in the guise of honest brokers. But they cannot allow any consideration of history or of colonialism. They insist on formal neutrality (though of course there cannot be real neutrality) not only from the chair but from the participants, and they do not allow discussion of anything in terms of moral categories such as justice or oppression. Republicans must put themselves on a par with loyalist rapists and sexual mutilators, and those who throw urine over eight-year-old girls trying to go to school.

The aim of conflict resolution is not justice but the ending of “disturbance of the peace” in the form of resistance to the status quo. Its method is cynical bargaining in relation to relative strengths and threats. Since it is accepted that the conflict is within the six counties, the alternative to submission by the nationalists would clearly be, on the part of the unionists who are stronger and more ruthless, a violence unlimited to the point of psychosis — a violence like that of the Israelis against the Palestinians, as the Israeli flags flying in loyalist areas make abundantly clear. Therefore the British must remain to placate the unionists and thus protect the nationalists.

Here today we remember Seamus’s and Miriam’s heroic attempt to prevent that outcome, and we face the tasks left to us by those who did not take their road.

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(Many thanks to the archives of the irsm.org website for the full text of Jim’s prophetic speech)

Christmas Vigil for Fallen Comrades of the IRSM 29 December 2013 by Alex McGuigan

Posted in Commemoration on December 18, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

On Sunday 29th December 2013 Belfast IRSP will be holding it’s annual Christmas Vigil to remember the fallen comrades of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.  The vigil begins at 12 noon at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast.  All available members, supporters and of utmost importance, the families of our fallen comrades, are warmly welcomed to the annual vigil for the Fallen.   All freedom loving people, trade unionists and fellow Republicans and Socialists are of course welcome.  For further details, please contact the IRSP’s national headquarters at Costello House, 392b Falls Road, Belfast or contact your local IRSP representative.

Let us never forget those INLA volunteers and IRSP comrades who gave their lives in the fight for a Irish Workers’ Republic and the protection of our movement from the forces of Imperialism’s death-squads, counter-revolutionaries and assorted fascists.

We can all give an hour of our time during this special time for families for those who gave their lives for us, Irish national liberation and the economic freedom of the Irish proletariat.

Saoirse go deo!

The Irish Republican Socialist Movement 1974 and Onwards! by Alex McGuigan

Posted in activism, IRSM on December 15, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

Like all truly revolutionary movements, the Irish Republic Socialist Movement are realists, as Marx and Engels stated in the Communist Manifesto:

“this fight is sometime hidden and sometimes open.”

But while tactics change, principles never will.  The Irish Workers’ Republic, envisioned and fought for by Connolly a century ago was carried on by Seamus Costello, Ronnie Bunting, Ta Power and Gino Gallagher, to name but a few.  Observers of Irish politics over the decades have testified to Seamus Costello, the IRSM’s co-founder, fortitude and brilliance.  A little bit of Seamus Costello’s vision has been within the integral psyche of “Irps” past and present.  No-one has ever claimed that the road to a Workers’ Republic would be an easy one in any national liberation struggle for a socialist state, as VI Lenin confirmed in his theses “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” after all to quote Connolly:

“Our demands most moderate are, We only want the earth!”

The imperialists, the super-rich, the corporations, our own native Gombeen Capitalists and the owners of fabulous privilege will not give up their control of the means of production and exchange easily.  However, with Capitalism as a socio-economic system in freefall globally, just as Feudalism before it, prior to bourgeois revolutions (which were far from seamless) the parting words of Herr Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto ring as true today in the ears of the unemployed worker as it did in those who worked in the ‘satanic mills’ who felt the first hope of scientific socialism as a means to change the inequities of society:

“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win!  Working Men of All Countries, Unite!”

Costello whose views are well documented also realised that reformists, opportunists and usurpers of the Connollyite vision would, in tandem with the imperialists, seek to silence the exponents of such an aim that threatened the status quo and correctly identified that:

“Any revolutionary movement that cannot defend its own membership, and cannot demonstrate its capability of defending its own membership, goes out of business anyway. We are in business as a serious revolutionary organisation and we are not going to be put out of business by anybody. The IRSP is organised and it is here to stay.”

These prophetic words are as accurate today as when he stated them in 1975.  The IRSM’s resilience has proven that for 39 years as we adapt, strategize and grow.  Naysayers, begrudgers and opportunists should take note.

Saoirse go deo!

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This is Republican Socialism

Posted in Irish Republican Socialism on December 15, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

The Irish Republican Socialist Party – Connolly’s Ideological Heirs by Alex McGuigan

Posted in IRSM, James Connolly on December 15, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

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Irish Republican Socialism as a distinct movement embodied by the Irish Republican Socialist Movement has been, since it’s inception in 1974, the most progressive force in Republican politics. Until the splintering of traditional Republicanism post-Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and post-PIRA ceasefires, it was the single principled voice of Republican Socialism in Ireland.

Unlike every single one of the present day myriad of anti-GFA Irish Republican groups, parties and ‘societies’ who are all derivatives of the Provisional movement, the IRSP ‘tendency’ first emerged as the most revolutionary section within the Officials.

The IRSP’s key ideologues, such as Costello, Bunting and Power stood head and shoulders above the one dimensional Nationalist/Defenderist leaders of the nascent Provisionals like O’Bradaigh, MacStiofain and McKee. Likewise, the IRSP were an uncomfortable reminder to the stageists, reformists and ‘ring-road’ socialists of the Official Republican Movement.

The IRSP’s primary premise has always been that the class struggle and the national struggle are inseparable, in keeping with Connolly’s maxim:

“the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour” (Workers Republic,8 April, 1916).

In present day Ireland, with the near Pythonesque fracturing of the Provisonals grassroots into a plethora of often personality-led ‘super-provo’ entities, which seem to multiply in number almost weekly, it is not surprising that political opportunists have sought to adapt the mantle of ‘Republican Socialism.’  Thankfully, their concept of ‘Republican Socialism’ is more often than not a backwards glance towards a vague notion that ‘Socialism is a good idea’ but as with all one-dimensional Republicans, there is always the proviso that ‘labour must wait!’

 Nevertheless, the reality is that the political waters of Irish Republicanism are heavily populated with groups offering ‘radical’ politics masquerading as a generic ‘Republican Socialism’ . For the IRSP to survive intact, retain it’s distinct identity, prosper and not become a bit-part player in the post-ceasefire alphabet soup of so-called ‘dissidents’ it’s Republican and Socialist politics, in equal magnitude, is it’s ultimate salvation. At no time in the past has Republican Socialism sought or felt the need to ‘out-Provo’ the Provisionals and likewise it would be folly to ever attempt to ‘out-super-Provo’ the ‘super-Provos!’ Thats not to say that there are not many issues that the IRSP can share a platform with fellow Republicans on and it would be equal folly to imitate an ‘ourselves alone’ attitude, which conversely, is still a key tenet and hangover of many anti-GFA parties/groups.  Sadly, in practice, history has proven that many of these traditionalist groups retain their previous movement’s ‘undermine and absorb’ attitude towards the IRSP while conversely devoting considerable time and resources to attacking their former, now fully ‘respectable’ comrades in the Provisional movement who are making constitutional hay while the sun shines administering British rule in the north east of Ireland.

In the present political climate, where the cyclic use of armed struggle is not at present a viable option, socialist revolutionaries who view national liberation and the establishment of an Irish Workers’ Republic as symbiotic, will gravitate towards Irish Republican Socialism’s politics . One dimensional ‘Republicans/Nationalists’ will gravitate towards the super-Provo group that makes the biggest bang; have  supposedly the strongest smell of cordite about them; have the ‘greenest’ flag and shout the loudest about post-86 or post-97 ‘Shinner heresy’.

The revolutionary socialism of Marx, Connolly, Costello, Bunting and Power defined the ‘Irps’ in the past and it is surely their ideological anchor for the future. As a simple analogy, many groups now carry the Starry Plough flag, invariably as just another ‘Republican’ symbol amongst many, but the Irish Republican Socialist Party are the only party to give the ‘plough’, the revolutionary flag of the Irish proletariat, it’s prominent and proper place, side-by-side with the Red flag, the symbol of international Socialism.   The following prophetic words of Connolly’s nascent Republican Socialism have always been the IRSM’s de facto mission statement:

.If you remove the English army to-morrow 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 you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs” (James Connolly)

Adherence to this principle will never change.

A.Mcguigan

INLA Vol Joe Craven 30th Anniversary Commemoration – Bawnmore Saturday 7th December

Posted in Commemoration, Joe Craven on December 2, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

 

The Joe Craven 30th Anniversary commemoration will be held this Saturday in Bawnmore, starts 1.45pm Sharp!

All members are asked  to take note of the memo sent today by the secretary of the Ard Comhairle

The commemoration will be reported in IRSP News.

Volunteer Joe Craven – Fallen Comrade of the IRSM from IRSP.ie

Joe Craven

Aged 25, Joe Craven was assassinated by a UVF gunman (claimed under the cover Protestant Action Force) who opened fire from a motorcycle, killing him and wounding his two brothers as they walked to a labour exchange.

At his funeral, the priest refused to accompany the coffin to Milltown where the INLA were to provide military honours. The RUC moved in, trying to prevent the display of a black beret and gloves atop the coffin outside the Craven home, and clashes occurred between the mourners and the RUC. The family refused to bring the coffin out until the security forces moved back. When they finally did move away, the coffin was brought back out and the RUC surged back, and two men were arrested in the subsequent scuffle.

The coffin was eventually carried away by mourners with the beret, gloves and the Starry Plough on top.

Saoirse go deo!

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