Archive for the Seamus Costello Category

The Life and Beliefs of an Irish Working Class Patriot: Seamus Costello, 1939 – 1977

Posted in Seamus Costello with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


This project was completed  by an 18 year old student called Fergal Twomey, which is very impressive for a student of that age.  It was sent to me for consideration to publish as an article which I accepted.  All the views, terminology, sources, etc are solely the work of Fergal, (with a few very minor edits by myself).


Define and Justify:
An exposition of the life and beliefs of Seamus Costello form the central component of this project. Costello had a profound impact on the political environment of Ireland, and the reverberations of his actions have left a continuing mark. Costello was a socialist republican political figure, and a militant republican in the tradition of Tone, Pearse and Connolly.
Aim of Study/Project:
To provide a fresh and encapsulating exposition of Costello’s life, and importantly, the beliefs he lived that life for. There has been no book published yet today which focuses primarily on Costello’s life, which tackles both the personal achievements and failings of the man, as well as his crucial ideals.
Few modern accounts of The Troubles provide detailed or thorough information about a man who, taken in context, essentially embodied the intricacies of Republicanism in Ireland.  One of the reasons I chose Seamus Costello was to make good this absence in Irish Historical-Political literature. I think that a man who cared so sincerely, who organized so tirelessly, and gave so much of himself for something greater than himself, deserves more than anything else, to have his story told.

Intended Approach:
I intend to approach the story of Seamus Costello through sources which are primary, or at the very least, close to primary. I plan on using different sources for different spheres of information. For the practical activities carried out by Costello, and the terrible events leading to his death, as well as information on his early life, I seek to use ‘INLA – Deadly Divisions’ by Jack Holland and Henry McDonald. I planned to highlight aspects of his personality and intrinsic beliefs using information from interviews, and more detailed descriptions of his political impact using the Irish Republican Socialist Party Website.

How I will research this project:
• Holland, Jack and McDonald, Henry “INLA – Deadly Divisions: The Story of one of Ireland’s Most Ruthless Terrorist Organisations” Published in 1994 by Torc.
• Interview conducted with Mary McClure over a period lasting from the 3rd of January, 2014 to the 24th of March, 2014.
• Irish Republican Socialist Party website contains information on Costello: (Page Last Modified: 09 June 2010 09:11:35)

Evaluation of the Sources:
1. INLA: Deadly Divisions is a secondary source.  One of the strengths of the book is the high quality and thoroughness of its research, combined with a unique level of insight on behalf of the authors. One drawback for the purposes of my research is that the novel primarily focuses on the Irish National Liberation Army and the paramilitary aspect of the Republican Socialist movement, and the majority of the book is written about the develop of the IRSP/INLA after the death of Seamus Costello. This means only a part of the book is useful to me. In addition to this, there is a possibility of bias, as one of the authors, Henry MacDonald, is a BBC Correspondent and a former member of Sinn Fein: The Worker’s Party. This, along with charged language like ‘Terrorists’ leads me to believe that the authors may have possessed a foregone conclusion on the movement when writing the book.

2. I interviewed Mary McClure over Facebook on the subject of Seamus Costello from January to March, 2014.  Mary was a personal friend of Seamus Costello and a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, and as such is an invaluable primary source of information relating to Costello and the IRSP.   Mary also provided several documents relating to Costello and the political theories of the early IRSP which proved very informative.  Mary provided a personal insight into the character and personality of Costello which would not have been possible otherwise.
“I owe my allegiance to the working class.”
There are few stories in politics like that of Seamus Costello.  Born into an Ireland bitterly divided by civil strife, both class-based and national, Costello would forge a political movement by sheer willpower and tireless dedication – a movement which would leave a legacy reaching far beyond his own life.  The astounding impact of the Republican Socialist movement – formed in the Spa Hotel in Lucan by a small group of activists one fateful day, December 1974 – still reverberates throughout the current political climate of Ireland.  While others succumbed to sectarianism, Costello pushed earnestly forward.  Inspired by the writings of Connolly and Marx, driven by the sacrifice of Tone, he would link socialism and physical force republicanism in a combination never before witnessed.
Where does the story of this man’s extraordinary life begin?  Costello was born into an affluent family in Old Connaught Avenue, Bray in 1939.  Mary McClure describes his family life as different to that of Connolly,

“Seamus was a socialist because he saw the wrongs that really created the divisions in society. He saw the poverty of Ireland firstly when he was at National School. He did not grow up in that poverty. The Costelloes were what could be loosely termed middle class.”
His environment was a politically charged one and INLA: Deadly Divisions describes his introduction to Republicanism coming about as a result of him reading an account of the arrest of Cathal Goulding in an arms raid prior to the Border Campaign.  At the age of fourteen, Costello was already a staunch devotee to the tenets of militant republicanism.   The IRSP website biography of Costello references his official introduction coming at the age of 15, when he applied to join Sinn Fein after acquiring a copy of the organisation’s newspaper, ‘The United Irishman’. Costello was told to ‘come back next year’, and upon doing so, entered the ranks of the IRA.  Costello was catapulted into action in the Border Campaign of 1956 – 1962.  The Border Campaign was an ill-fated endeavour to break the British occupation in the North through attacks on RUC barracks and other British institutions. While the campaign failed in achieving its goals and resulted in the imprisonment and deaths of many republicans, most famously Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, it served the vital purpose of keeping Republicanism alive and in the minds of a new generation.
Costello became known as ‘The Boy General’, when at the young age of 17, he led the attack to burn down the Court House in Magherafelt while commanding an active service unit.  Costello was injured in an accident at a safehouse, and was shortly after arrested upon his return to Wicklow.  While interned at the Curragh, he became even more politically involved and spent much of his time in reading and contemplation. Upon his release, he took up a job as a car salesman.
Costello had an infectious charisma that left a mark on all who knew him.  It first began to manifest in his early days in the Border Campaign, with those he commanded describing him as ‘strict but radiating confidence’. INLA: Deadly Divisions describes his ‘Italianate good looks and charm’ standing to him well as a car salesmen – he even became salesman of the year.  Mary McClure when describing his magnetism said,

“His dreams became my dreams. His visions became mine. He was my inspiration.”

Costello had a profound effect on everyone he met, bringing people to action and inspiring them to strive for the future. These characteristics would serve him well in building a political movement in his home town of Bray, where he was a local councillor for many years and where he gathered a strong republican presence around him.
In Costello’s personality, there was also a strict, authoritative strain. In the words of Mary McClure,

“He expected the highest standards from his comrades and his friends and if any of us deviated from those then it was a lambasting from the man himself.”

Costello was not willing to tolerate a fool, and looked for total dedication from his friends and comrades.
Throughout the 60’s, as well as giving the speech at Bodenstown in 1966, Costello consolidated his political position in Bray and his political ideas came to full fruition. He once rounded up all the homeless in Bray and took them to the Bray council like a flying column and demanded their rights. It was these kind of grassroots guerrilla actions that endeared him to the people of his home town.  The core kernel of Costello’s ideology can be found in his speech at Bodenstown:

“The lesson of history shows that in the final analysis, the robber baron must be disestablished by the same methods that he used to enrich himself and retain his ill-gotten gains, namely force of arms.”

This principle would be challenged in the times to come.
In 1969, the Troubles exploded into the international consciousness. With Sinn Fein becoming more left-wing and electoral, the more traditional right-wing Catholic elements within began to chaff. The new ideology posited by the Goulding-Garland leadership advocated the liberation of the north of Ireland from British occupation through the unity of working class Protestants and Catholics against the British bourgeoisie, who sought to conquer by dividing.
The final straw came when Sinn Fein voted in overwhelming majority to end abstention – the process by which Republicans refused to take electoral seats or recognise the southern government. A contingency of members, derided as ‘The rosary bead brigade’, walked out and would form the provisional IRA.  Costello as a committed Marxist and non-sectarian remained in the fold of the Official IRA. However, fault lines would soon appear. The battle of the bogside raged and the boots of British soldiers hit the streets of Ulster’s cities.
Costello had a good rapport with the Northern elements, and the struggle was carried on by community heroes like Joe McCann. However, following McCann’s death in 1972 and a series of incidents resulting in bad publicity for the Official IRA, the Cathal-Goulding leadership saw an opportunity to enact their plan of a transformation to solely political struggle, and put forward a temporary ceasefire which would prove permanent.  A feud raged between the Provisionals and the Officials, now colloquially referred to as ‘The Stickies’. The Official IRA was now finding it was only receiving weapons and ammunitions for inter-Republican strife, and the more militant Northerners felt abandoned by the Goulding leadership and Dublin and became increasingly disillusioned.
Many Official IRA members felt that they were in effect leaving the armed struggle to the Provisionals, who didn’t have the responsibility or democratic working class political ideology to carry out the war effectively. Meanwhile in the South, Costello was attempting to win over the Army Council but was becoming increasingly marginalized. Goulding sought to oust Costello. A document was drawn up and Costello was accused of various indiscretions, and wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself,

“For the first time many of the rank and file members began to question the direction in which the movement was being led.”
In 1974, the Ard Comhairle suspended Costello as a member for 6 months, and refused to allow him to stand for election in Bray. Despite this, Costello proceeded in standing after a swell of support from across the country emerged. An extraordinary Ard Fheis was called for, to allow Costello to make his case and contest the accusations of factionalism against him. Costello went on to top the poll in Wicklow as a local election candidate. Around this time, Costello was also court martialled by the Official IRA, and was refused the opportunity to provide evidence in his defence. He was dismissed ‘in ignominy’.  During this dark period of internal struggle, Costello began to consider the dreaded option of a split and a new organisation. He began to perform raids in the collection of guns and to organize meetings of like-minded militants. Eventually the Ard Fheis came, and Costello was expelled from the organization – many of his supporters are denied entry to the meeting and were not allowed to vote.


As a result, the Irish Republican Socialist Party was founded by Costello, who wished to intertwine the national question and the class struggle.  Mass defection from Official Sinn Fein followed.  The party was also joined by the now famous Bernadette McAliskey, who further cemented the political reputation of the group. The new party was immediately attacked by the Official IRA, resulting in the deaths of three IRSP members. Sean Garland, an Official Sinn Fein leader, was badly wounded in retaliation. The Irish National Liberation Army, still in its infancy, could do little to defend itself.  Bernadette McAliskey would later resign and leave the party, talking half the Ard Chomhairle with her over the refusal to subordinate the INLA to the IRSP’s political directives.


Seamus Costello was a devoted Marxist. He fought tirelessly for Dublin’s poor, for Bray’s poor, for the masses of people all over Ireland who were reduced to poverty by a state which should have provided for them and who had no voice to stand up for them. It was thus the loss of Ireland’s working people, when on a sad day in October, 1977, Costello was shot dead by a bandit in his car in the North Stand Road, Dublin. His murderer, Official IRA member Jim Flynn, was said to have acted on his own, having seen Costello many times parked in the street, reading a newspaper. Jim Flynn would later fatally meet justice only a few metres from where Costello had died, in 1982.
At the time of his death, Costello had been trying to negotiate a broad front between Provisional Sinn Fein, the Communist Party of Ireland and the Irish Republican Socialist Party.  His funeral was attended by Ruadhri O’Bradaigh, Michael O’Riordan and many other giants of Irish politics. His oration was given by Nora Connolly O’Brien, daughter of James Connolly, who stated,
“Of all the politicians and political people with whom I have had conversations, and whom I have had conversations, and who called themselves followers of Connolly, he was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.”



By Fergal Twomey

A Tribute To Seamus Costello

Posted in Amherst, Imperialism, INLA, Ireland, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSCNA, IRSM, IRSP, Noel Browne, Seamus Costello with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars


Every October, IRSP members, Republicans,, Socialists, Trades Unionists, relatives and friends remember the late, Seamus Costello, in his home town of Bray, County Wicklow.  Many of Seamus Costello’s old comrades, co-founders and younger members of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, gather in Bray annually, to remember with pride their slain comrade. Seamus Costello was the co-founder of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

Seamus Costello was the INLA’s first Chief of Staff.  Tragically, he was murdered in the prime of his political life, by an Official IRA gunman on the 5th of October 1977, in the North Strand, Dublin.  Seamus Costello left behind a grieving wife, Maeliosa and his four children, Caoilfionn, Fionan, Aoibbin and Ronan, were traumatically deprived of a loving father. The Irish Republican Socialist Movement was devastatingly robbed of it’s first leader and co-founder.

Much has been written about Seamus Costello, his political dynamism and personal charisma.  As a guerrilla fighter during the IRA’s ‘Border Campaign’ of the 1950’s known officially as Operation Harvest, Seamus Costello earned the nickname, ‘The Boy General’.  He operated in the South Derry area, was wounded and subsequently interned. His highly respected antecedents, were partly responsible for South Derry eventually becoming a strong IRSP area, over a decade later, when the Official IRA’s most revolutionary activists rejected Goulding’s reformist politics to join the Republican Socialist Movement.


 Politician and Soldier

Seamus Costello was first and foremost a Republican Socialist, a revolutionary who broke with and rejected the reformist political chicanery and Stalinist stage-ist, ‘two-nations’ ideology of the Official Republican Movement.  Born into an agricultural family background, he was well placed to advocate on behalf of small farmers and he was as well versed on issues effecting the rural working-class, as he was on urban proletarian issues. Prior to Seamus Costello’s murder in 1977, he was appointed, or elected to


  • Wicklow County Council
  • County Wicklow Committee of Agriculture
  • General Council of Committees of Agriculture
  • Eastern Regional Development Organisation
  • National Museum Development Committee
  • Bray Urban District Council
  • Bray Branch of the ITGWU
  • Pesident Bray and District Trade Unions Council
  • Cualann Historical Society
  • Chairperson of the IRSP/Chief of Staff INLA


Seamus Costello’s politics in his own words can be gauged by the following quotations,

On a New Ireland:

“We want to build a society where our children can live in peace and prosperity, a society where they will control the wealth of this country.” (Crossbarry, Cork, in March 1976)

On Capitalism:

“Against robber-rights I will fight to their destruction or my own.” (Seamus Costello)

On Imperialism and Partition:

“Our attitude, on the other hand, is that the British presence in Ireland is the basic cause of the divisions between the Protestant and Catholic working class in the North.” (Seamus Costello)

On the Official Republican Movement’s Reformist Trajectory:

“They ignored the presence of 15,000 troops on the streets. They ignored the torture and terror perpetrated by the British Army on the Nationalist population and they acted as though there was no change in the situation since 1969.” (Seamus Costello)

On the Provisionals:

The principal difference we would have with them as I see it, is that the Provisionals are not as an organization, dedicated to the establishment of a Socialist Republic….We are not in business to criticize the Provisionals. We have our own policy to pursue and we have our own objectives. To the extent that the Provisional policy runs parallel to ours, we are prepared to co-operate with them.” (Seamus Costello)

On Loyalists and issues effecting Northern working-class Protestants:

“We should certainly co-operate with anybody on any aspect of our policy. But we think that any approach to the Loyalist and Protestant working class in the North, must be on the basis of a principled political approach….We feel that the approach to the Loyalists must be an honest one and that we must explain to them what all aspects of our policy are.” (Seamus Costello)

On the IRSP and the role of the INLA in defending it’s members:

“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.” (Seamus Costello, March 1975.)

On Revolutionary politics, elections and parliaments:

“I favour guerrilla tactics in parliament the same as I do in other respects.I favour them in local elections and local government bodies,they’ve proved successful there. And I see no reason, why, with a few TDs or MPs, of the right calibre, pursuing the right policies, why they cannot destroy the confidence of the people within these institutions and bring them tumbling down in ruins” (Seamus Costello)


What People said about Seamus Costello

Noel Browne, on hearing Seamus Costello speak at a conference in Boston, USA, stated:

Seamus Costello spoke for the IRSP and gave a scintillating display of good humour, history, politics and facts…. I’ve never heard his brand of Republicanism before… Is it not a triumph for our radio, TV and newspapers and of the venomous Dublin political denigration machine that none of us has ever read, heard of or seen this man’s remarkable dialectical skill and political ability.”

Noel Browne concluded, by prophetically stating:

“They will have to shoot him, or to jail him, or get out of his way, but they certainly won’t stop him. Costello the revolutionary Marxist Socialist whose ambition is a secular, pluralist united Socialist Republic, won’t go away until he gets it!”


Nora Connolly-O’Brien, the daughter of Irish Marxist philosopher and Easter Rising leader, James Connolly, said of Seamus Costello:

“Of all the politicians and political people with whom I have had conversations, and who called themselves followers of Connolly, he was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.”

Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey, a founding member of the IRSP and lifelong Republican Socialist, said of Seamus Costello:

“My personal acquaintance and friendship with Seamus Costello began in 1973. Before then I knew him only, as most people in Ireland, by reputation……….On hearing of his death, I could find no words of my own to express the deep sense of loss I felt, both personally and as a revolutionary  socialist committed to the struggle for Irish freedom. I took therefore the words of a fellow revolutionary on the death of Malcolm X, the black revolutionary champion of black liberation and socialism in the U.S.A.: ‘Without him, we feel suddenly vulnerable, small and weak, somewhat frightened, not by the prospect of death, but of life and struggle without his contribution, his strength and inspiration’.”


Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey, finished off her appreciation of Seamus Costello, by saying:

” His single greatest attribute was, however, his ability to relate to the mass of the people. His potential as a leader of mass struggle is not easily replaced. He could inspire not only the dream but the confidence of its achievement, and the commitment to work towards that end…..From the ranks of mass struggle, others will come. From the experience of struggle, the political programme, organisation and method of struggle will come. But another Seamus Costello may never come again. When our freedom has been won, let us guard it well,remembering it was paid for in the blood and the lives of those now dead, but whose memory lives forever in the hearts of us who loved them for all that they were and all they might have been, had they been allowed to live.”


Thomas ‘Ta’ Power, INLA Guerrilla and Revolutionary theorist wrote:

“the sheer stature of the revolutionary Seamus Costello is too great for what can be expressed in feeble words, yet words are the only (way) to express and convey this stature albeit in a feeble way”


Follow In Seamus Costello’s tradition!

The politics of Seamus Costello are perpetuated in the Irish Republican Socialist Party.  October 2013 will be the 36th Anniversary of the tragic murder of Seamus Costello.  However, the IRSP, the revolutionary political vanguard of the movement Costello co-founded, is as relevant in contemporary Ireland as it was in 1974. Irish Republican Socialism is in the unique position today, as it was in Costello’s lifetime, of being the only Irish party to adequately address the crisis of Capitalism and the undemocratic partition of Ireland. In conclusion, there is no doubt that Seamus Costello would be proud to know that the Republican Socialist Movement, despite almost insurmountable obstacles in the past, still fights for, and owes it’s allegiance to the Irish working-class!




Alex McGuigan,


Seamus Costello Commemoration – Saturday 4th October 2014

Posted in INLA, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSCNA, IRSM, IRSP, Seamus Costello with tags , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars



“Of all the politicians and political people with whom I have had conversations, and whom I have had conversations, and who called themselves followers of Connolly, he was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.”  

(Nora Connolly, daughter of James Connolly, speaking of Seamus Costello shortly after his assassination)

Prophetic Words From Seamus Costello in 1966

Posted in INLA, IRSM, IRSP, Seamus Costello on August 27, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars


The following quotations are taken from Seamus Costello‘s iconic speech at Bodenstown in 1966, yet 48 later it retains it’s prophetic resonance in today’s “Ireland of un-equals.”

1.   “In the North, the destinies of one and a half million of our countrymen are controlled by a puppet regime”


2.   “We republicans must not be content to criticize those who misgovern both parts of our country. If we are to regard ourselves as true followers of Tone, we must provide the Irish people with an alternative. It must be a realistic and practical alternative. Our target must be the achievement of the ideals set out in the Proclamation of 1916 – the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for all our citizens.”


3.   “to imagine that we can establish a republic solely by constitutional means is utter folly. The lesson of history shows that in the final analysis the robber baron must be dis-established by the some methods that he used to enrich himself and retain his ill-gotten gains, namely, force of arms. To this end we must organise, train, and maintain a disciplined armed force which will always be available to strike at the opportune moment.”


It is the duty of contemporary Irish Republican Socialists to adhere to and struggle for Seamus Costello’s vision of an Irish Workers’ Republic where the proletariat rightfully take ownership of the means of production and exchange for the benefit of the majority, not the few.  Unlike one-dimensional nationalists , contemporary Irish Republican Socialists in accord with Connolly and Costello, recognise that both the class struggle and the national liberation struggle are inseparable.

Saoirse go deo!

Famous Revolutionary Quotations by Alex McGuigan

Posted in Che Guevara, Ho Chi Min, James Connolly, Karl Marx, Mao, Seamus Costello, Stalin, Subcomandante Marcos, Ta Power, Trotsky, VI Lenin on November 26, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

Collated throughout this article are some of the author’s favourite revolutionary quotes, although it must be added that to include every significant relevant quotation would be a project that would far exceed the boundaries of a blog. The revolutionary quotes are very roughly sorted into sections. There are some of the best known quotes from Revolutionary Socialists such as: MarxEngelsLenin, Mao, Stalin and Trotsky. Elsewhere there are quotes from Irish Republican Revolutionaries, beginning with Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken and Robert Emmet, to more contemporary revolutionaries, such as Bobby Sands, Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey and Seamus Costello

.Lastly, there are quotes from socialist revolutionaries of the Americas, who include the universally famous Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, IWW Union organizer Joe Hill, Malcolm X, Huey P Newton and SubComandante Marcos of the EZLN. Hopefully the collation of these revolutionary quotes in a single article will be of use to those interested in the prophetic words of those who like Irish Marxist and Easter 1916 Rebellion leader, James Connolly, regularly spread “the divine gospel of discontent.”

One of the most significant revolutionary quote can  be found inscribed on the tomb of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery, London which I have had the pleasure of visiting. The quote declares:

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it!”

Irish Republican Quotes

“Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community – the men of no property.” (Theobald Wolfe Tone)

“To break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils and to assert the independence of my country- these were my objectives. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter – these were my means” (Theobald Wolfe Tone)

“The rich will always betray the poor.” (Henry Joy McCracken)

“Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dares not vindicate them, let no prejudice or ignorance asperse them… When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written”(Robert Emmet)

“The principle I state, and mean to stand on is this, that the ownership of Ireland, moral and material, up to the sun and down to the centre is vested in the people of Ireland.” (James Fintan Lawlor)

“Educate, that you might be free. We are most anxious to get the quiet, strong minded people who are scattered throughout the country to see the force of this great truth.” (Thomas Davis)

“They have done their worst, and continued to deny me even the privileges accorded to the common herd . . . but I am sustained by the consciousness of my imputed ‘crime’ being an honourable one!” (Michael Davitt, Dartmoor prison, 1867)

connolly - Copy

“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will 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)

“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of
our prisons or graves we will still evoke a
spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps,
raise a force that will destroy you! We
defy you! Do your worst”
 (James Connolly)

“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?” (James Connolly)

“We believe in constitutional action in normal times; we believe in revolutionary action in exceptional times” (James Connolly, 1915)

“There are in every generation those who shrink from the ultimate sacrifice, but there are in every generation those who make it with joy and laughter and these are the salt of the generations”(Patrick H Pearse)

“From death springs life and from the graves of great patriots springs a great nation” (Patrick H Pearse)

“Ireland unfree shall never be at peace” (Patrick H Pearse)


“The ending of partition was inevitable because Ireland was one nation by history and tradition , by facts of race, geography, and economy “ (Seamus Costello)

“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 & that we are out for a revolutionary state” (Seamus Costello)

“It did not seem to me that prejudice, poverty, discrimination, repression and racism were confined to the North of Ireland. I could see them everywhere I spoke and still cannot comprehend the mentality that argues that I should have pretended not to see them, because it wasn’t my business” (Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey)

“Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their
own particular part to play. No part is too great
or too small, no one is too old or too young to do
 (Bobby Sands)

“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken” (Bobby Sands)

“Our revenge will be the laughter of our children” (Bobby Sands)


“Let the Fight go on” (Patsy O’Hara – INLA Hunger Striker)

“We must be vigilant that we don’t sink into the morass of sectarianism, mixing, pettiness etc. We must not get involved in unprincipled slagging matches etc or into positions that are sectarian, anti-revolutionary, morally damaging that give succour to the enemy & that confuse & divide the working class ” (Thomas ‘Ta’ Power – INLA Guerilla)

“Are we amateurs and not professionals? We know the lessons of history, we know the mistakes and we either act accordingly or collapse. Salvation lies in clarity and the courage to implement change” (Thomas ‘Ta’ Power – INLA Guerilla)

CHE 01

Quotes From American Revolutionaries

“Don’t mourn, Organise” (Joe Hill – IWW Union Organiser, USA)

“We have no right to believe that freedom can be won without struggle” (Che Guevara)

“I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting” (Che Guevara)

“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall” (Che Guevara)

“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man” (Che Guevara)

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything” (Malcolm X)

“Capitalism is a stupid system, a backward system” (Stokely Carmichael)

“I also know that while I am black I am a human being, and therefore I have the right to go into any public place. White people didn’t know that.Every time I tried to go into a place they stopped me” (Stokely Carmichael)

“I knew that I could vote and that that wasn’t a privilege; it was my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived” (Stokely Carmichael)

“I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for black people” (Stokely Carmichael)

Huey Newton

“Any unarmed people are slaves, or are subject to slavery at any given moment” (Huey Newton)

“Black Power is giving power to people who have not had power to determine their destiny” (Huey Newton)

“I do not expect the white media to create positive black male images”(Huey Newton)

“I expected to die. At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness” (Huey Newton)

“I have the people behind me and the people are my strength” (Huey Newton)

“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people” (Huey Newton)


Some of us imagined that the Sandinista Front would arrive in columns, or something like that. It wasn’t until later we realized that we were the Sandinista Front; they would show us what to do, but it was us, alongside them; we were the ones who had to fight.” (‘Felix’ Anonymous combatant)

SubComandante Marcos EZLN

“What we’re going to do is shake this country up from below, pick it up and turn it on its head” (SubComandante Marcos – Zapatista organizer)

“We learned a long time ago that we should never subject ourselves to the schedules of the powerful. We had to follow our own calendar and impose it on those above” (SubComandante Marcos – Zapatista organizer)

“Surely the agents of the government, businessmen and political parties have sent to inform you what happens here. After hearing us and hearing you, they will write in their report a false alarm. There’s nothing to be worried about. The suspects are crazy and they haven’t noticed each other. End of report” (SubComandante Marcos – Zapatista organizer)

“What follows is not a new political party on the left, but a huge front made up of political and social organizations” (SubComandante Marcos – Zapatista organizer)

“We have to make sure of our place in society as indigenous Indians that we have won. In Mexico, there are movements, there are revolutions and change, but for the indigenous nothing changes” (SubComandante Marcos – Zapatista organizer)

“The movement is growing, more people are coming in, we are getting to know people that we did not know before” (SubComandante Marcos – Zapatista organizer)

 Quotes From Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” (Karl Marx)

“Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution”(Karl Marx)

“Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite” (Karl Marx and Freidrick Engels)

“Political economy regards the proletarian like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle” (Karl Marx)

“The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property” (Karl Marx)

“In a higher phase of communist society… only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banners: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (Karl Marx)

“An Ounce of action is worth a ton of theory”(Friedrich Engels)

Lenin and Trotsky

Quotes From Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese Communist Revolutionaries

“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Bah, tombstones are only good for pigeons to sit on” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Any cook should be able to run the country” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Capitalists are no more capable of self-sacrifice than a man is capable of lifting himself up by his own bootstraps” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Crime is a product of social excess” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Democracy is indispensable to socialism” (Vladimir Lenin)

“Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle. The modern industrial proletariat does not belong to the category of such classes” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Every cook has to learn how to govern the state” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Fascism is capitalism in decay” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism, we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“If Socialism can only be realized when the intellectual development 2of all the people permits it, then we shall not see Socialism for at least five hundred years” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed”(Vladimir I Lenin)

“No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses”
(Vladimir I Lenin)

“One man with a gun can control 100 without one” (Vladimir I Lenin)

“England is nothing but the last ward of the European madhouse, and quite possibly it will prove to be the ward for particularly violent cases” (Leon Trotsky)

“If we had had more time for discussion we should probably have made a great many more mistakes” (Leon Trotsky)

“If we had more time for discussion we should probably have made a great many more mistakes” (Leon Trotsky)

“In a serious struggle there is no worse cruelty than to be magnanimous at an inopportune time” (Leon Trotsky)

“Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws” (Leon Trotsky )

“Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one’s enemies” (Leon Trotsky)

“From being a patriotic myth, the Russian people have become0 an awful reality” (Leon Trotsky)

“Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever” (Leon Trotsky)9

“Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” (Joseph Stalin)

“History shows that there are no invincible armies.” (Joseph Stalin)

“Print is the sharpest and strongest weapon of our party” (Joesph Stalin)


“Without a People’s army, the people have nothing.”  (Mao Tse Tung)

“Soldiers are the foundation of an army; unless they are imbued with a progressive political spirit, and unless such a spirit is fostered through progressive political work, it will be impossible to achieve genuine unity between officers and men, impossible to arouse their enthusiasm for the War of Resistance to the full, and impossible to provide an excellent basis for the most effective use of all our technical equipment and tactics.” (Mao Tse Tung)

“The enemy advances, we retreat. The enemy camps, we harass. The enemy tires, we attack. The enemy retreats, we pursue.” (Mao Tse Tung)

“Wherever our comrades go they must build good relations with the masses, be concerned for them and help them overcome their difficulties. We must unite with the masses, the more of the masses we unite with, the better”  (Mao Tse Tung)

“You can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.”  (Ho Chi Min)

“Write in such a way as that you can be readily understood by both the young and the old, by men as well as women, even by children”  ( Ho Chi Min)

“Love other human beings as you would love yourself”  (Ho Chi Min)


Oration from the Irish Republican Socialist Movement’s Seamus Costello Commemoration

Posted in Seamus Costello, Solidaity on October 8, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars



It is an honour and a privilege to be asked to speak here today at this commemoration to remember our comrade Seamus Costello, who in the words of Nora Connolly O’Brien, daughter of James Connolly, Seamus was “the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.” No better tribute could have been paid to Seamus and indeed sums up Seamus as an outstanding revolutionary who believed as Connolly did that there could be no national liberation struggle without the class struggle. And that stands true today. Comrades, we in the Republican Socialist Movement passionately believe that the class and national liberation struggle are one. And we should all follow the example laid before us by James Connolly and Seamus Costello of making the goals of national liberation and socialism a reality. It is important for us as Republican Socialists to keep the memory of the man alive and indeed carry his vision of a better Ireland forward, for ourselves, and future generations.

In 1974 Seamus and other republican socialists formed the Irish Republican Socialist Party in an attempt to build a party of the Irish working class and with the formation of the Irish National Liberation Army, he saw this as the vanguard of the anti-imperialist struggle to end British rule in Ireland. Seamus saw capitalism, whether native or foreign, as much the enemy of the working class as British imperialism. Comrades, we must oppose capitalism with as much vigour as we oppose British rule. That means organising a real revolutionary party, involving ourselves in our communities, our trade unions and embracing all the people of this island under the banner of class unity.
On this occasion of the 36th anniversary of Seamus’ assassination, we also take the time to remember all other fallen comrades and volunteers of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement who gave their lives in the struggle to make the vision of Seamus Costello a reality. We also take this opportunity to send greetings to our IRSM comrades in Portlaoise Prison and indeed to all republican prisoners.

Seamus Costello, along with others, established the Republican Socialist Movement in 1974 at the height of the struggle against British imperialism and severe economic hardship across the island. The Ireland that Seamus grew up in enjoyed none of the democratic rights envisioned by republicans in the Easter proclamation or the democratic program. Seamus joined the IRA and Sinn Fein at an early age and devoted his life to achieving national self-determination and democracy for the people of Ireland. However it was during his time as an internee in the Curragh that Seamus and others defined the way forward for the Irish Republican struggle.
He instigated and developed the resurgence in “Connolyite” republicanism and pulled republicanism not only to the left, but directly into the everyday lives of the people of Ireland. When Seamus, as Connolly had done, made the connections between the struggle for independence and social issues, he made the Irish republican struggle relevant for the working class in Ireland. Seamus had a powerful gift of analysing the problems that the people of Ireland faced and offered attractive and radical alternatives to them.

Comrades, we all here today have a responsibility not just to remember our fallen, but to reaffirm our own commitment to the Republican Socialist ideals espoused by Seamus Costello. Seamus’ most quoted battle cry of ”I Owe My Allegiance To The Working Class” resonates today. The Irish Working Class in the past number of years has come under an unprecedented attack as a result of the International crises of capitalism, a process of radical realignment of the productive forces in Ireland, across Europe, and indeed the World. It is the Working Class who are being made to suffer the consequences of this realignment through mass unemployment and emigration, attacks on hard won conditions of employment rights, an endless cruel policy of Austerity, and Health and Education cut-backs affecting most harshly the most vulnerable sections of Irish society. If we are to follow Seamus, then now more than ever we should be redoubling efforts to make inroads into the consciousness of our own class. It is our own people, our own working class families and communities who are under attack and are being forced to shoulder the consequences of the failings of Capitalism. The material reality for working class communities across Ireland today is there for all of us to see. It is therefore hard sometimes to understand the apathy and lack of fight that apparently affects the working class today. Where is the fight-back? we hear people ask. The Working Class, as has often been the case in history, has been beguiled by nationalism, organized religion and other base lowest common denominator cultural distractions. These ideological devices help to keep the Working Class from realizing that it is they who produce wealth, and they themselves who deserve the fruits of their own labour.

Comrades, Karl Marx thought us that consciousness is a reflection of the political economy. A person’s thoughts tend to be shaped by his or her political and economic circumstances. He famously wrote, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”

Comrades, the memory and example of Seamus Costello implores us to enter the field of consciousness among the Working Class and engage in ‘the Battle of Ideas’. This is a battle that we are consistently losing, and we can no longer continue to do so if we want to bring about Revolutionary Social change in the grand traditions of Costello and Connolly. Breaking into people’s consciousness and forging a politically conscious Working Class agenda is the task in front of us as a Revolutionary Party. This is not a task that we have to enter into blindly. The path is illuminated by the example of Seamus Costello, who showed us the way. While we have often floundered and found our way blocked, lessons from the past can help us overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of our movement and the emancipation of the Working Class, let me quote Rosa Luxemburg to emphasize the point: ‘‘The Working Class demands the right to make its mistakes and learn the dialectic of history. Let us speak plainly, Historically, the errors committed by a truly revolutionary movement are infinitely more fruitful than the infallibility of the cleverest central committee”. 

The causes of the economic injustice in the Ireland of today are the same causes which created the problems of poverty and inequality that the Ireland of Seamus Costello suffered. These said causes are the Capitalist Mode of Production and its inherent contradictions.

The answers to these can be found in the radical thinking and analysis of Seamus Costello and if we apply his analysis and vigorously pursue them we are on the right road. Our task first is to liberate our class from the false consciousness which currently binds it to the status quo. The Neoliberal/Capitalist consensus, spouted daily by mass media outlets which so poisons the consciousness of our class needs to be smashed. We can do this by winning people over to Republican Socialist ideals. Seamus Costello provided the template, it is up to ourselves to follow his example by throwing ourselves into the daily struggle. Comrades, strike a blow for the working class, and do it with confidence and passion as Seamus did. Seamus had a passion for the Irish struggle, which he saw as inseparable from the struggle for working class emancipation. He was able to inspire those around him to devote their time and energy to the struggle with this passion.

Comrades, we know the problems that we face. Capitalism is again on the ropes and this will affect us all but we must use this situation to benefit the working class. We must be ready to take advantage and to promote socialism as a real and viable alternative to the boom and bust of capitalism. Seamus has left us a radical politics and a legacy to build upon. He has left us a vehicle in the IRSM with which to carry those ideas. It is up to us to show some of Seamus´ passion for change and start to put things right.

Inspiration and hope are all around us as the international Working class are showing real signs of awakening from their slumber. Working class struggles and fight backs have been particularly ferocious over recent years in Greece and Spain, the Middle East rising against Western backed tyrants, and more recently this year through mass struggles emerging in Turkey and Brazil. Cuba and Venezuela also continue to give living examples of alternatives to capitalist domination and exploitation. Id like to finish by quoting a few lines from the Venezuelan revolutionary and folk singer Ali Primera, poetic words that Seamus Costello was the living embodiment of through his Revolutionary Life :
Enough of the Hypocritical thinking
Enough of the stupidity
With which they send us

We will raise our backs forever
We will destroy the whip
With which they mark us

Farmers: For your own land
Workers: for your own factory
Students: For your own ideas
We are searching for that which will emancipate us

We will dry the sweat from our foreheads
While we seek the sun through the clouds

We are seeking with joy
The Marvellous Sun of Emancipation
We are seeking with exhilaration
The Wonderful sun of the Revolution.

Comrades, above all, take Inspiration from the Revolutionary Life of Seamus Costello.
Smash imperialism and smash capitalism!
Onwards to victory, comrades!

Read more:


Irish Republican Socialist Movement Seamus Costello Commemoration Sunday 6th October

Posted in Commemoration, IRSM, Seamus Costello on October 2, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

The Irish Republican Socialist Movement’s annual Seamus Costello commemoration will take place at Bray on Sunday 6th October.  The IRSM’s commemoration will assemble at the Old Churchyard, Bray at 1.30pm.

For further details contact Dublin IRSP or your local IRSP representative.

%d bloggers like this: