Archive for the Easter Commemoration Category

IRSP International Department Easter speech 2017

Posted in Anti-Zionism, Belfast, Class Solidarity, Commemoration, Easter Commemoration, Fallen Comrades, Human Rights, Imperialism, INLA, International socialism, Internationalism, Irish National Liberation Army, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSCNA, IRSM, IRSP, Kurdistan, PFLP, Scottish Indepence, Socialism, Solidaity, Statements with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: IRSP NEWS!

Head of the Irish Republican Socialist Party International Department and Ard Comhairle member Sean Carlin delivered a solidarity message to our comrades struggling abroad.

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Comrades

International solidarity is an important aspect of the struggle for socialism in Ireland. Through this work our International department has endeavored to rebuild old friendships and to find new allies as we try to get support for our struggle but also give support and solidarity to others around the world who find themselves fighting against oppression and injustice.

During this Easter we would like to extend solidarity and revolutionary greetings to our comrades in Catalonia as they demand independence from Spain. They have fought a long and hard fight over the decades and if they can achieve victory this it will bode well for their neighbours in the Basque country. ETA has very recently volunarily disarmed in an attempt to further their cause through politically peaceful activities. It’s been reported that the Spanish government has not reacted in a positive manner to this brave move. History has shown that the Spanish will not come easily to a political solution that gives autonomy to either the Basques or the Catalans and we urge our comrades to exercise caution and to stay resolute when dealing with the intransigence of Madrid. Like here, too many sacrifices have been made and too many imprisoned and too many families broken up over a long period of time for these initiatives not to produce positive political results for our comrades in the Basque country.

Given our experience of the pacification process here in Ireland we would caution. We would demand that the Spanish and French Governments recipricate ETA’s initiative and repatriate Basque prisoners from both Spanish and French jails. We know from experience if you oppose the process for any reason you will be subjected to state harrassment

Since the Brexit referendum there is a growing desire from Scotland to once against vote to leave the UK. We look forward to any coming referdom in Scotland were the scots have a chance to become a free nation as we see this as a real opportunity for occupied Ireland.

This year has seen many groups fighting for to implement a better, more sustainable progressive and revolutionary future for their people. Some are simply fighting against oppression from religious fundamentalists and we will continue to offer support to all these goups.

The Kurds, Palestinians, Syrians, Yemenis, the Free Papua Movement  to name but a few as we see the interests of the USA and backed by the worlds capitalists rain their bombs in civilian targets and hospitals inbuilt up areas but never the oil or the gas depots.

Comrades as neo liberal agenda ramps up we must be ready to stand by our comrades

We from this platform must send the messge out loud and clear

You have our support and our solidarity

Saoirse go deo

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Main Easter Rising Commemorative Oration [2017]

Posted in Commemoration, Easter 2016, Easter Commemoration, Fallen Comrades, INLA, International socialism, Internationalism, Ireland, Irish Citizen Army, Irish National Liberation Army, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSCNA, IRSM, IRSP, James Connolly, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by The Plough & The Stars

SOURCE: IRSP NEWS!

This years main oration was delivered by IRSP Ard Comhairle member and Trade Union activist Michael McLaughlin.

Michael McLaughlin reads the main oration

Comrades, supporters, friends, brothers and sisters one year on from the centenary of the 1916 rising we again gather to remember the sacrifice of all volunteers who fell in action in defence of the principles laid out in the  proclamation of the Irish Republic.

 

In particular this year we remember our young volunteers who died in defence of the Irish Republican Socialist Party’s right to exist. We owe them everything and as a new generation of republican socialists step up to continue the struggle for national liberation and socialism it’s on their shoulders we stand, united and stronger than ever.

 

Our journey to socialism was a natural progression out of necessity, the jackboot of imperialist occupation was our introduction to the class nature of society. We were failed, we all, at some point, lived with the bitter taste of poverty, our opposition to the physical manifestations of imperialism awakened a consciousness that naturally led us to socialism. As our contempt for the establishment grew so did our understanding that to be truly free, to be truly liberated, means giving ownership of the nation to its entire people.

 

We seen a society built upon inequality and exploitation of the communities we grew up in, wage slaves, everyone broken on some level all disenfranchised but not powerless, never powerless. The strength that it took to stand up against imperialism, to agitate and strive to confront our oppressors on any level possible, this is the strength that is alive in the Irish Republican Socialist Party today and this is the strength on which the socialist republic will be built.

 

Real change will come from the streets. As its only by the active participation of the masses, the dispossessed and exploited, taking control of their own interests for the good of our entire class can any change worth fighting for be delivered.

 

The time for a debate on the type of Ireland we wish to create is here. An Ireland with universal participation in real democracy for all citizens, constitutional rights to work, to rest, to leisure, the right to a properly maintained and funded state health service, care in old age and in sickness, a right to housing a right to education, a right to freedom of expression and a right to privacy, the right to the freedom of information, freedom of assembly, the right to religious worship or to choose not to, the separation of church and state, the right to artistic expression, the protection of the concept of diverse contemporary family. These things are not bargaining chips between the working and ruling classes, they should be enshrined in a progressive collective nation’s constitution, not become a construct of the capitalist toll bridge society to profit the few.

 

As the political establishments on both sides of the border continue to fail workers, as we witness the commencement of neoliberalist divorce proceedings between the capitalist states of Europe, in this climate a momentum towards an Irish border poll is slowly but steadily growing, we cannot ignore this. A cursory glance around the island points us to the conclusion of a society deeply divided and polarised by class, a border poll is just one issue that needs addressed.

 

We are serious about our political aims and objectives. We are serious about a united socialist Ireland,this process starts by dialogue between all progressive forces on what type of Ireland we wish to create. The IRSP are ready for that debate. We will never be a barrier to any serious attempts to remove partition, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with all who strive to achieve this, we are willing to share the important lessons we have learned standing outside the Good Friday Agreement though striving for a peaceful resolution of the national question.

 

All over Ireland a war is waging between bosses and workers. Corporations interests are protected by the state and the media, natural resources stolen and sold to enrich the few. Benefits sanctions attack our most vulnerable while working conditions are slowly eroded. Our trade unions are under constant attack. We stand in solidarity with everyone in their daily struggles. We cannot beg for equality from either the British state or the Irish capitalist state, asking for equality from entities built on hegemonic inequality is a futile act, we must take back what they have stolen, our nation’s wealth, our dignity, we must revive the collective aspirations of our class.

 

A merging of two corrupt capitalist states into one corrupt capitalist state is not good enough, the struggle cannot stop there, we strive for a society grounded in Irish neutrality and in the vision of Connolly that will never capitulate to, nor serve, the interests of the most wealthy over the needs of Irish workers.

There is much talk of the re emergence of a hard border due to a British exit from the EU.This hard border already exists due to British and European Union austerity measures all over Ireland, an uncomfortable truth for some. A most dangerous yet subtle hard border than has ever existed, a hard border that unemployment, poverty, lack of opportunities, underemployment, fear of eviction creates, a hard border that exists at the front door of the majority of homes on this island.

A hard border that prevents the active participation of citizens in society, a hard border at your own front door that breaks men,women and children, a hard border at your own front door trapping people in a cycle of debt and human exploitation. A psychological hard border that destroys the dreams, hopes, imagination and aspirations of our class to collectively achieve a society which protects people, not prosecutes, a society in which no man woman or child is left behind.

This year marks the centenary of the great October revolution. A time to revisit the spirit and determination of the Soviet people who created something unique, the world’s first socialist state, it’s a time to look at the similarities between the IRSP and the Bolsheviks. Both our political parties, although thousands of miles apart we cut from the same oppressed working class anti-imperialist and internationalist cloth.

Historically the IRSP, like the Bolsheviks had no problem in working outside the perceived norms of political activity when the situation dictated it. When seeking funding for their political activities both parties were not above engaging in proletarian expropriation. When facing the might of an oppressive imperialist state both parties were not above taking up arms against it. When facing reactionary counter revolution from within, both parties were not above physically confronting it in whatever way they seen fit. When facing a changing political climate both parties were progressive enough to change with the times.

As we move towards the centenary of the great October revolution the links between the 1916 Irish rising and the Bolshevik revolution are more intertwined than modern historians would like us all to believe.

Shortly after the nineteen sixteen rising a delegation of what were to become senior Bolsheviks arrived in Dublin from exile in London to learn the lessons from the Irish fight against imperialism. What they took away from revolutionary Ireland is all academic and up for debate. But Lenin said at the second world congress of the soviet international in nineteen twenties Petrograd that he considered James Connolly to be head and shoulders above above his contemporaries in the european socialist movement. Lenin said that the easter rising was a decisive blow against the power of English imperialism.

Comrades the complete and honest truth is a powerful weapon we must not ignore when we are confronted by the false propaganda churned out from the establishment. The very curriculum in our children’s schools is capitalist propaganda to create obedient lackeys, from the pulpit, newspapers, internet articles flows capitalist propaganda, it’s an instrument of their rule.

We have to break this cycle of lies we must continue to spread the message a that stable, sustainable, shared, socialist republic is in the people’s best interests, a free Ireland that belongs to them from Ballymena to Bantry Bay.

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Portraits of the '87 Martyrs are held by family members at the 2017 IRSP Easter Sunday procession.Many hundreds of the Republican Socialist faithful assembled upon Belfast’s Falls Road today (Easter Sunday 2017) to pay tribute to Ireland’s fallen martyrs and the revolutionary dead from all generations of the Irish National Liberation and working class struggles.

In particular recognition of the 30th Anniversary of the attempted neutralisation of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, pride of place was rightly given to the families of those INLA Volunteers who in 1987, gave their lives in defence of the IRSP and the primacy of revolutionary democracy.

Republican Socialist colour party salute the INLA martyrs of 1987.

Despite frivolous warnings from the PSNI/RUC a young Republican Socialist colour party emerged into large crowds congregated at Dunville Park on the Falls Road, before marching towards a small gathering of close family and comrades of INLA Volunteers; Tá Power, John O’Reilly, Mickey Kearney, Emmanuel Gargan and Kevin Barry Duffy, who had gathered with portraits of their loved ones.

Portraits of the '87 Martyrs are held by family members at the 2017 IRSP Easter Sunday procession.

The families of the ’87 Martyrs were then invited to form up at the immediate rear of the colour party, followed by wreath bearers representing the many families of INLA and IRSP fallen from all decades of the modern Republican Socialist movement.

A new appearance from the recently formed ‘Jemmy Hope Republican Socialist Flute Band’ Belfast, was met with enthusiasm from all in attendance, while columns of IRSM ex-Prisoners and veterans from around Ireland formed up at intervals, interspersed with other attending Republican Socialist and Republican Flute bands from around Ireland and beyond.

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Comrades from as far away as Sweden and France also joined in the procession which made its way up the Falls Road and into what can only be described as appallingly wet conditions and onto Belfast’s Milltown cemetery.

Upon entrance to Milltown it became apparent to all those in attendance that numbers had swelled to what may well have been record levels for a Belfast IRSM gathering, a fitting recognition of the determination of the ’87 Martyrs and all the INLA & IRSP fallen, who over the years imbued the wider Republican Socialist family with a spirit of eternal resolve and commitment to always bounce back, stronger than before.

Despite appalling conditions, flags are lowered at the home of IRSP founder, James Connolly

With proceedings chaired by Belfast IRSP activist John Nugent, this theme of resolve was touched upon by main speaker Michael McLaughlin from Strabane, who (in reference to the ’87 martyrs) reminded all those in attendance that ‘we stand upon their shoulders’.

Comrade McLaughlin then went on to touch upon the resounding political themes currently emanating from the Stormont establishment and mainstream nationalist politicians, reminding those in attendance of the ‘hard border at the door of all working-class families’.

Michael McLaughlin reads the main oration

He stated ‘This hard border already exists due to British and European Union austerity measures all over Ireland, an uncomfortable truth for some. A most dangerous yet subtle hard border than has ever existed, a hard border that unemployment, poverty, lack of opportunities, underemployment, fear of eviction creates, a hard border that exists at the front door of the majority of homes on this island.’

Confirming that the IRSP would get behind any progressive efforts to end partition, he continued however ‘A merging of two corrupt capitalist states into one corrupt capitalist state is not good enough, the struggle cannot stop there’.

Ex IRSM prisoner Jimmy McCafferty reads the INLA, IRSP & H'Block, roll of honour.

For Republican Socialist POW Jimmy McCafferty also gave what was a quite unique and personal rendition of the IRSP, INLA and H-Block roll of honour, paying attention to the individuals and how they died.

Comrade Canice Millen of the Republican Socialist Youth movement read out the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, while Comrades Danny Morrison (Derry IRSP) and Gerard Murray (Belfast IRSP) read out statements of solidarity from both the Republican Socialist Associations of North America and Republican Socialist Prisoners in Maghaberry and Portlaoise.

John Nugent (Belfast IRSP) chaired proceedings while the 1916 proclamation was read by Canice Millen

Wreaths were also laid on behalf of IRSP and INLA structures from across Ireland.

In what was a deeply moving and personal gesture, long term Belfast Republican Socialist activist Fra Halligan also read his own tribute to the fallen INLA martyrs of 1987, addressing both the personal loss of the families and friends of the fallen, but also the counter revolutionary dynamic which lay behind the events of that dark period, stating firmly that (contrary to media spin) what occurred was not factionalism in any form, but a premeditated attack upon the structured of Costello’s Irish Republican Socialist Movement, an attack which has had failed and which (should similar circumstances arise) would surely fail again.

Fra Halligan (Belfast IRSP) gives a deeply personal and moving tribute to the INLA martyrs of 1987

Fra Halligan (Belfast IRSP) gives a deeply personal and moving tribute to the INLA martyrs of 1987

Overall, Easter 2017 was a special occasion for the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, a living tribute and testimony to the spirit ideals and resolve of their fallen comrades and all of Ireland’s revolutionary dead.

Belfast IRSP activist John Kearny, proudly poses with family members and a portrait of his brother, INLA Vol Mickey Kearny.

A relative of INLA Volunteer Emmanuel Gargan rests at the Milltown Republican Socialist plot

Danny Morrison (Derry) reads statement on behalf of Republican Socialist prisoners.

Gerard Murray (Belfast) reads solidarity statements from comrades around the world

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Pics and Keynote Speech from Belfast IRSM Easter Commemoration

Posted in Easter Commemoration, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

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Source: IRSP NEWS!  Keynote speech by Comrade Michael Mclaughlin

Comrades

We are here today to commemorate the events of Easter week 1916 and also to remember our comrades and volunteers of the Irish National Liberation Army and Irish Republican Socialist Party who fell in the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland. Those events in 1916 were a turning point in the struggle for Irish freedom and nationhood. The joint effort by a wide range of Republicans, nationalists, trade unionists and socialists could accurately be described as the first broad front in modern republicanism.

 

Our main objective has always been, and continues to be, a society free from prejudice, discrimination and exploitation, a people’s republic. A secular, stable, sovereign, sustainable, non-sectarian, socialist society, a republic organised from the bottom up, with the means of production, distribution and exchange in the collective ownership of every Irish citizen.

As we strive to create a workers republic in this vision, our current political position will never be reconcilable with either rogue State on this island. We exist solely to  bring the pillars of the 26 County Free State and the Six County sectarian northern State tumbling down, to expose those institutions as implements and apparatuses of the wealthy, designed to ultimately serve their interests.

 

The destruction of the society for the wealthy, the expulsion of imperialist interference in the affairs of the Irish people, the cessation of carefully fostered sectarianism ,created by an alien government to divide the Irish working class, these are the tasks the Irish Republican Socialist Party busy ourselves with in the centenary year of the 1916 rising.

The IRSPs political analyses has been correct at every major political juncture over the last four decades. But comrades we can be correct and wrong at the same time. We can be correct in continuously remaining principled, in continuously using our republican socialist political programme in the interests of our class but wrong if we fail to communicate that political programme correctly to the mass of the Irish people or fail to attract our class to our cause, ultimately their cause. We must continue Connolly’s revival.

We must continue the work of the martyrs who fought and died on Vinegar Hill. We must continue in the footsteps of the Workers who walked out on strike against exploitation, who fought pitched battles on the streets of Dublin during the 1914 Lockout. We continue to stand in solidarity with the spirit of the broad front of progressive forces who rose in 1916 against foreign physical and economic control of this island.

We stand here in the tradition of all progressive republicans and socialists who stayed the course, who remained principled, even in the darkest days of struggle. We continue to stand here on the shoulders of the giants of the martyrs of the Irish National Liberation Army who rose against imperialist occupation and lie buried in this graveyard and graveyards like it all over this island.

Republican Socialism has never had a strategic code to follow. To even try and create an authoritarian set of rules in which to pursue our struggle denigrates the journey to a people’s republic. The Irish working class are the sole instrument in which we can achieve our goals. Only by working through them, by convincing them of our political programme, that our vision is their vision, that a Republican Socialist society is in their best interests, that our Republic is their Republic, that it will belong to them. Only then will we see the fruit of our revolutionary labour.

Our core principals, our tolerance, our fairness, our tradition of resistance, our uniquely Irish socialism, these are the things that will keep us on the correct path. We don’t claim to be perfect, yes mistakes have been made, but all done in the best interests of our class at any given time. We hold no romantic notions of martyrdom, like the men and women of the 1916 Rising, we are just as prepared to do what has to be done, when it has to be done.

As the struggle against foreign interference in our affairs, the fight for national liberation and socialism has evolved over the last century it has gone through many eras. From armed rebellion to civil war, from social and political activism to the dark years of the Long War from 1969 to 1998, the key for survival and growth is in identifying the transition from one era of struggle to another.

Today, 18 years after the Good Friday defeat, and after numerous treaties aimed at solidifying the peace, after the entrenchment of sectarianism in the north, after the absurdities of greed and gluttony during the boom and bust cycle of capitalism in the south, and the un-flinching implementation of cruel unjustifiable austerity, we are on the threshold of a new era of struggle and like those who have gone before us, we must embrace it and thrive. The stakes are too high to ignore the realities.

As the young capable comrades of the IRSP position themselves for leadership of this organisation, how will we be judged in 100 years time. As future generations gather at this very spot to commemorate the sacrifice for a workers republic, what will they say about the new era of struggle we are moving into? What will the history books say about us? Who knows? But it’s up to us to write that chapter of struggle, our struggle against imperialism and oppression and for national liberation and socialism.

Like the men and women who rose in 1916 we have a clear vision, we have the same motives.. To address our national sovereignty denied and to create a nation worthy of a people who have never known a nation, a nation waiting to be born, that exists today in the hearts and minds of young Republican Socialist’s.

The primacy of our political project will bring us towards the Workers Republic. It will abolish the physical border partitioning our island, from North to South, and it will destroy the economic border partitioning our island from East to West. The primacy of our political project will redistribute the wealth of the nation collectively and equally giving ownership of the nation to its entire people.

As we enter this new era of struggle it’s important to remember the words of Liam Mellows as he was led out of a battle scarred Four Courts in 1922 to see uninvolved and apathetic workers cleaning the rubble from the streets after the republicans garrisoned there were attacked by the Free Staters. The ordinary worker didn’t care for the fate of the Republicans being escorted to prison or execution, Mellows commented that “the workers are not with us”, meaning the republican side in the Civil War. We must be vigilant that we do not repeat those mistakes, we must learn from history, any future actions must lead towards the Workers Republic; there can be no backward steps. It’s only by standing shoulder to shoulder with workers in their daily struggles can we attempt to fight against the powerful forces lined up against us. We must always act in the interests of the working class.

In 1994, twenty two years ago, in the interests of our class, our armed wing adopted its “no first strike” policy in response to the changing political climate of the day. Our entire movement had an intense period of internal political discussion which led to the collective decision to move towards total cessation of armed actions in 1998.

Although we supported the peaceful resolution of the national question we could not support the Good FridayAgreement in 98. The GFA contained nothing to further advance the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland. It was a defeat for the wider republican struggle. But our path had been chosen, the primacy of our political project had been ratified by the entire movement and our support base.

The ensuing years of political struggle led to the IRSPs calls in Bray 2005 for “ all anti-GFA republicans need to take a step back and engage with each other, those not on cease-fire need to call a cessation to their campaigns. Put simply it is not working; there is no support within the working class community for armed struggle to defeat imperialism, at this present time”.

Dialogue did eventually take place in 2008 which eventually led to the formation of the Irish Republican Forum for Unity, which had the potential to politically unite all strands of anti-imperialist republicanism, predictably it failed, due to the influence of British intelligence and the hidden agenda by elements within the IRFU to use it to create a new IRA, aimed at continuing failed tactics, tired rhetoric and the zero-sum political programme of the past.

The IRSP totally opposed these moves to use progressive dialogue for regressive aims and eventually withdrew our support for the IRFU over the “cloak and dagger” tactics being used.  Culminating in our current political position that support for armed struggle is one of the biggest barriers to creating an anti-imperialist broad front in the interests of the working class and for the building of socialism in Ireland. The IRSP will never condemn those who engage in armed struggle, although we ask those engaged in it to analyse their actions further than the maxim “Ireland un-free shall never be at peace” or smashing normalisation.

Since 2010 to entire movement has moved forward in the spirit of the Ta Power document, continuing our ideologically principled political struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland whilst implementing the Ta Power principles of politics in command and collective leadership.

I will finish with an excerpt from comrade Powers analysis document which states:

“WE MUST MAKE NO SECRET OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE A REVOLUTIONARY PARTY, PREPARED TO GIVE LEADERSHIP ON THE STREETS AS WELL AS IN THE ELECTED CHAMBERS, AND THAT WE ARE OUT FOR A REVOLUTIONARY STATE”.

“What we must do is examine the above statement by Seamus Costello and draw all the necessary implications from it. A revolutionary party must have a revolutionary ideology, an ideology that enables us to analyse the world, the motive force at work in the world, and plan a campaign based on the analysis.”

“A campaign that is consistent, principled, and bold in its implementation, maxims as a guide to action is an ideology; it represents the historical interests of the working class, which through the medium of a revolutionary party, aims to overthrow the capitalist order and begin the construction of communism.”

Comrade Power continues:

“We must make no secret of the fact that we are such a party, make no secret of what we stand for and aim for. We cannot try to fool the Irish people, we must recognise that it is fatal to confuse and deceive them. “

 “We must define our socialist republic, explain exactly what it entails; innuendoes, vagueness and good intentions are not enough: The road to hell is paved with good intentions! We must define all this with the utmost clarity so that the Irish people are under no illusion of what we are fighting for. “

“A revolutionary socialist party means that we must engage in revolutionary politics throughout all of Ireland, both on the streets and in the elected chambers.”

Comrade Power finishes

“It means that we must first identify the major contradictions in Ireland today, which is the continued occupation by the British of the six counties, the resulting denial of our right to self-determination and sovereignty, the resolution of the national question, partition and all the evils and divisions that spring from it, it entails a struggle against imperialism, it entails the mobilisation of the mass of Irish people in the struggle for national liberation, but it doesn’t mean confining ourselves solely to the national question.”

“As we said before, there are many strands to the anti-imperialist struggle; it means involvement in campaigns against unemployment, emigration, repression, involvement in trade unions, action groups and EVERYTHING! “

“We must agitate, propagandise and organise around these issues (but not a reformist manner). There is no easy road to a socialist republic, no short cuts; we must strive towards uniting and politicising the working class no matter what obstacles confront us in our task, for we cannot win our struggle without the working class.”

Comrades in this centenary year of the 1916 Rising its imperative that the party of Connolly, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, continue and accelerate our growth and struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland.”

IRSM Belfast Easter Commemoration Sunday 24 April 2016

Posted in Commemoration, Easter 2016, Easter Commemoration, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 30, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

easter belfast commemoration 2016

After the outstanding success of Dublin IRSM’s 1916 Centenary  commemoration in the Irish Capital City, the Irish Republican Socialist Movement will be holding their Belfast Easter Rising commemoration on the auspicious date of Sunday, 24 April, 2016.  All members, bands, family members and supporters are asked to assemble outside Dunville Park, Falls Road, Belfast at 11am “for a march to the Republican Socialist plot in Milltown cemetery where our annual commemorative event will be held.” (IRSP NEWS)

 

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The 24 April marks exactly 100 years to the day that the Proclamation was first read outside the GPO at the commencement of the Easter Rebellion.  Although the Irish Citizen Army, Irish Volunteers, a small contingent of Hibernian Rifles and Cumann na mBan fought bravely against the overwhelming forces of British imperialism, the Rising failed militarily.

The Irish revolutionaries’ armed actions were at first heavily condemned by reformist politicians in both the media of the day and Westminster for having a lack of mandate, accusing them of being being ‘traitors to Ireland’ etc.  However, within a short period of time public opinion had changed drastically into admiration of their bravery and principles. A significant reason for the sea change in Irish public opinion were the excessive punitive actions of the British military industrial complex, that included secret courts-martial that sentenced many of the Rising’s leadership to death, including:

  • Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh and Thomas J. Clarke on 3 May, 1916
  • Joseph Plunkett, William Pearse, Edward Daly and Michael O’Hanrahan on 4 May, 1916
  • John MacBride on 5 May 1916
  • Eamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Sean Heuston and Conn Colbert on 8 May, 1916
  • James Connolly and Sean MacDiarmada on 12 May, 1916

In London, some months later, Roger Casement was tried for high treason and hanged at Pentonville Prison on 3 August, 1916 for his part in the military preparations for the Easter Rising. Around 1500 Irish revolutionaries most of whom were involved in the Rising were interned and exiled without trial, mainly in Frongoch concentration camp, Wales. It is widely accepted that the military actions of the revolutionaries of the 1916 Rising acted as a catalyst for what became known as the ‘Tan War’, a popular armed guerrilla war that began in 1919 against British imperialism in Ireland.

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The Irish Citizen Army, the world’s first Red Army on parade outside Liberty Hall

Saoirse go deo!

Alex McGuigan

 

The Starry Plough of Revolutionary Republican Socialism Flies in Belfast!

Posted in Easter 2016, Easter Commemoration, Irish Citizen Army, Irish National Liberation Army, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSCNA, IRSM, James Connolly, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

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“Brilliant to see the various Starry Plough flags of the Irish Proletariat flying in the Mid-Falls and all over Belfast!  We serve neither King nor Kaiser, nor Westminster, Stormont or Leinster House!  Onwards to an Irish Workers’ Republic!”  (Alex McGuigan)

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“The red Starry Plough flies in the lower whack. The scarlet red of socialism and the 7 stars symbolising the Irish Working Class brought together in one flag.”  (Micheál Ó Ceallaigh)

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james connolly quote

Let us free Ireland! Never mind such base, carnal thoughts as concern work and wages, healthy homes, or lives unclouded by poverty.

Let us free Ireland! The rack renting landlord; is he not also an Irishman, and wherefore should we hate him? Nay, let us not speak harshly of our brother – yea, even when he raises our rent.

Let us free Ireland! The profit-grinding capitalist, who robs us of three-fourths of the fruits of our labour, who sucks the very marrow of our bones when we are young, and then throws us out in the street, like a worn-out tool when we are grown prematurely old in his service, is he not an Irishman, and mayhap a patriot, and wherefore should we think harshly of him?

Let us free Ireland! “The land that bred and bore us.” And the landlord who makes us pay for permission to live upon it. Whoop it up for liberty!

“Let us free Ireland,” says the patriot who won’t touch Socialism. Let us all join together and cr-r-rush the br-r-rutal Saxon. Let us all join together, says he, all classes and creeds. And, says the town worker, after we have crushed the Saxon and freed Ireland, what will we do? Oh, then you can go back to your slums, same as before. Whoop it up for liberty!

And, says the agricultural workers, after we have freed Ireland, what then? Oh, then you can go scraping around for the landlord’s rent or the money-lenders’ interest same as before. Whoop it up for liberty!

After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn’t that worth fighting for?

And when you cannot find employment, and, giving up the struggle of life in despair, enter the poorhouse, the band of the nearest regiment of the Irish army will escort you to the poorhouse door to the tune of St. Patrick’s Day. Oh! It will be nice to live in those days!

“With the Green Flag floating o’er us” and an ever-increasing army of unemployed workers walking about under the Green Flag, wishing they had something to eat. Same as now! Whoop it up for liberty!

Now, my friend, I also am Irish, but I’m a bit more logical. The capitalist, I say, is a parasite on industry; as useless in the present stage of our industrial development as any other parasite in the animal or vegetable world is to the life of the animal or vegetable upon which it feeds.

The working class is the victim of this parasite – this human leech, and it is the duty and interest of the working class to use every means in its power to oust this parasite class from the position which enables it to thus prey upon the vitals of labour.

Therefore, I say, let us organise as a class to meet our masters and destroy their mastership; organise to drive them from their hold upon public life through their political power; organise to wrench from their robber clutch the land and workshops on and in which they enslave us; organise to cleanse our social life from the stain of social cannibalism, from the preying of man upon his fellow man.

Organise for a full, free and happy life FOR ALL OR FOR NONE.

(James Connolly: Let Us Free Ireland, 1899)

Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration 2015

Posted in Easter Commemoration with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars

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Irish Republican Flags

Posted in Easter Commemoration, Flags with tags , , , , , on March 24, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars

In Republican working class areas of Ireland, especially the North of the country, Republican flags are very much in evidence particularly in the run up to the anniversary of the 1916 Rising at Easter time.  Generally speaking, Irish Republican flags would not be on display to the same extent that pro-British flags would be in Unionist towns and villages in the North East of the country.  Many Unionist areas in the North of Ireland would be tackily festooned with Loyalist flags and bunting on a near 365 days per year basis.

 

In Republican areas householders would still be very conscious that, due to the sectarian nature of the Northern state-let, their flying of Republican flags to commemorate the Easter Rising would be viewed by the various forces of the British occupied ‘state-let’ as being subversive, leaving them susceptible to surveillance and indeed raids by the MI5-directed PSNI/RUC.  Until fairly recently, Republican flags were the subject of a de jure ban, which was rigorously enforced by the North’s paramilitary police force the RUC and this was used as a pretext to break up even the mildest of Nationalist parades which had the temerity to carry the National flag of Ireland, usually referred to as the Tricolour. Indeed one of the sparks that helped ignite the tinder that led to the conflagration of the 40+ year conflict in the North was the ‘Divis Street flag incident when the RUC acting at the behest of arch-Loyalist, the late Ian Paisley, stormed the then Sinn Fein HQ to remove a small Irish tricolour on display that caused zero offence to any local resident. (There is considerable truth in the  words ascribed to Napper Tandy  that the ‘wearing of the Green’ has been effectively outlawed by British rule for centuries, as the old song goes)

The Tricolour

In most Republican areas the flag most prevalently on display would be the National flag, which is also commonly referred to as ‘the tricolour’, it is made up of three vertical bands of green, white and orange. The tricolour’s origins are from the French revolution and the era of Europe-wide bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.  Many of the then new nation-states of Europe from that era, such as France and Italy post-Risorgimento also have tricolours as their national flags composed of various colours.

starryplough

The modern Starry Plough

 

The Starry Plough

A very close second to the Irish tricolour would be the Starry Plough flag which is becoming even more popular in Irish Republican working class areas.  The Starry Plough has a blue background with white stars marking the shape of the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the heavenly plough.  The Starry Plough is the flag of Irish Republican Socialism and is closely associated with the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), although not exclusively so.  Most Irish Republican colour parties, marching bands or parades will have a Starry Plough included. The Starry Plough has it’s origins in James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, although the design most seen today is an adaptation of the original, which was adopted by the left-wing Republican Congress of the 1930’s. The original Starry Plough aka the Plough and Stars has a green background, a ploughshare with the Ursa Major constellation marked on it and a sword as the plough’s blade, in the colour yellow.

The Original Irish Citizen Army Starry Plough flag

 

The Sunburst, Four Provinces and other flags

The Sunburst flag, which was adopted in the early 19th century as the flag of Na Fianna Eireann youth movement, has a blue background with a splintered sunrise in red or dark orange. In recent times the Sunburst has become quite popular and is a staple in most colour parties.

 

The Four Provinces flag is also quite popular as a stand alone flag.  It incorporates the four flags of the provinces of Ulster, Connacht, Munster and Leinster.  Some colour parties carry the Four Provinces flag or each provincial flag individually.  During the long period of the banning of the Irish tricolour, especially from rural Nationalist/Republican marches, the Four Provinces flags were often used as a substitute and received less attention from the sectarian, antagonistic RUC.

 

The Harp flag on a green background is relatively popular in rural Republican areas, although it is a flag that is rightly or wrongly associated with Hibernian-type narrow Nationalism. The 9 County Ulster flag (contained in the Four Provinces Flag above) which has a yellow background, a red cross and a red hand within a shield, does make appearances as a stand alone flag, although due to it’s very slight similarity to the Unionist ‘Northern Ireland’ flag, it is not as popular as it perhaps should be.  (In reality, the 9 County Ulster flags only heraldic link to the Northern Ireland flag is the red hand of O’Neil, the latter flag is strictly speaking the cross of St George with the red hand incorporated inside a 6 pointed, Zionist type star.)

 

A copy of the original flag that flew over the GPO in 1916. In recent times it has become closely associated with the ‘1916 Societies’

 

In conclusion, Irish Republican flags are colourful and steeped in history and tradition.Unlike the serial be-decking of Unionist areas, many people have given their lives for right to display Republican emblems. As stated earlier, in times past at least, many people were reluctant to commemorate the likes of the Easter Rising by flying flags from their homes, as it potentially marked their homes out for raids by the RUC and British army. In many cases the displaying of Republican flags by residents were used by the state-sponsored death squads of the Loyalist paramilitaries to target ordinary civilians for murder.   Many Irish Republican parties and groups have their own specially designed flags which are often seen at protests and demos.

 

Irrespective of what flag one chooses to fly and align oneself to, it is a small gesture to commemorate the heroism of the Revolutionaries who against overwhelming odds took up arms in open revolt against the British imperialist presence in Ireland during Easter 1916 in Dublin and those who selflessly laid their lives down in later periods of the national liberation struggle.  99 years later their objectives have still to be fully realised, with British imperialism still undemocratically claiming possession of the six northern counties. However, any examination of the cyclic nature of the Irish dialectic will still concur with Irish Marxist theoretician and Irish Republican Socialist leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, James Connolly, in his speech to the Court Martial that sentenced him to death following the Rising, when he proclaimed:

“that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence in any one generation of Irishmen, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress!”

The current IRSP ‘party flag’

 

Most of the flags above and associated merchandise can be purchased from James Connolly House, Chamberlain StreetDerry or online via this link

 

 

Alex McGuigan

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