Sunday, April 25, 2010
Easter Oration Dublin
The latest edition of the Sovereign Nation demonstrates the width and depth of our political development. We have taken the crucial issue of sovereignty to the national and international stage. We have challenged governments and world bodies to explain to us their positions on the occupation of our country. We have done this, not as selfish owners of our ideas, but as republicans putting republicanism first.
As pragmatists we must confront the occupation as we find it. This is not 1916. In the mid nineties the out workings of illegal, secret negotiations between then republican leaders and the British government were being exposed as a sell-out. It was not the time for recrimination but for resolute action in defence of our national sovereignty. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement stepped in to this challenge. In anticipation of the legal route that both governments would use to usurp our independence we stepped outside of their framework and protected our national rights in international law.
That protection remains secure to this day. But that was only the beginning. Both governments and their new found Irish supporters were determined on the course they had taken. New and fresh ideas were required of republicanism. Again the 32CSM was not found wanting. The Irish Republican Forum for Unity was established to coalesce republican efforts against the new dispensation. It was grounded in a simple reality, republicanism fragmented cannot move forward. It was a breadth of fresh air. It allowed for republicans to come together with the republican base and explore ways forward. Not everyone came along. But none of those who stayed away put forward valid arguments for not engaging.
The Forum’s deliberations directed us toward our own communities. Whatever our ideological stances, if they were isolated from our communities then they were irrelevant. No amount of theorising could circumvent this reality. What republicans are faced with now is the need to create a new interface between ourselves and our people. It’s not enough to descend from on high preaching doctrine. We need to go amongst them and demonstrate the relevance of our ideas to them.
Those ideas will vary. Not greatly. They varied in 1916 yet the Proclamation could accommodate them. We need to reach an accommodation now. As an organisation we are concerned with the issue of national sovereignty. Our position articulates the cause of conflict in our country. This is of paramount importance because the conflict must be resolved by addressing its root cause. Others take the view, as espoused by Connolly, that the struggle is more than the changing of flags. That our people’s liberation from capitalist forces is of equal importance. Both views are correct. But both views will founder if one is used as a precondition in relation to the other. The armed conflict requires a particular politics to resolve it. The social struggle demands that the terms for ending the conflict are not made at its expense. Partition and the financial enslavement of the working classes is proof of this.
The only solution is to resolve the conflict together. And working together is the only approach that our communities will accept. The role of socialists is to involve our people in the struggle for their own liberation. Socialism is a work in progress. It is not a precursor to securing our sovereignty but a participant in that process. Our immediate emphasis must be on resolving the conflict. That resolution is the gateway to securing real social change in our country.
I want to extend greetings to Terry McCafferty who was recently released by his British gaolers. Terry was re-imprisoned because he holds republican beliefs. He was re-imprisoned so that the British Direct ruler could demonstrate his authority on behalf of Westminster, an authority they will not dilute with devolution. We said in Derry at our Easter Commemoration that there would be more Terry McCaffertys. We said that British government policy was one of suppressing republicans irrespective of Stormont. This has proved to be the case. Lurgan republican Martin Corry, an ex POW, had his license revoked by the British direct ruler and is once again incarcerated. We send Martin our solidarity but we also send him our commitment that our efforts to secure Terry’s release will be intensified to secure Martin’s release. Without doubt, as evidenced by recent public protests, a strong prisoner support base is developing. We in the Sovereignty Movement will not be found wanting.
More of our fellow country people remain incarcerated because the root cause of the conflict has not been addressed in the so called peace process. Home Rule is not the issue that needs to be resolved. Pearse told us this in 1916. Devolution of limited powers to micro ministers is not the answer either. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement tells us this today. Sectarian headcounts to determine who sits in that little Westminster on the hill can never pass as Irish democracy.
Policing and Justice Stormont style can be summed up in two words; Section 44. The abuse of this legislation has reached almost epidemic proportions. Every nationalist and republican community has felt its effects. The armed wing of Stormont, in its instinctive haste to persecute republicans, has heralded that normalisation is a myth. And although the establishment media have thus far failed to highlight these abuses they cannot ignore them indefinitely. And to those who sit in Stormont, the actions of your military wing are your actions also. There is no absolution in hiding behind District Policing Partnerships. When you trade sovereignty for deception with the British this is what you get. It is most shameful.
The recent trade off on the Parades Commission is yet another example of fudge. Talk of consulting with communities is all well and good but like Stormont itself it does not address the inherent sectarian nature of the Six Counties. All it does is provide a new theatre for the old tribal conflicts to act themselves out. This has been clearly demonstrated by the seeking of sectarian alliances for the forthcoming general election. Is this the so called new beginning? Is this what they mean when they say that it is us who wish to return to the past? The truth is that the past never left us, they merely renamed it in the hope that our people would be fooled into thinking things have changed. We will not be fooled.
The great flaw in the so called peace process was that it did not defend our sovereignty. Republican opposition to this process was primarily based on this salient point. We are not anti peace, we are not anti politics but we are against any process which seeks to violate our sovereignty as a quick fix to the conflict in our country. We will talk to the British about one issue only, Irish National Sovereignty and Britain’s violation of it. We will seek the UN’s intervention as guarantor for the integrity of such talks so that Perfidious Albion can be left outside of the room. Our door remains open, our resolve remains fixed.
To our unionist brothers and sisters we say this; let us build a new Ireland together. Let us start with a blank canvass without veto or pre condition. Let us all recognise that our fears and concerns are subordinate to Westminster’s interests and used and abused accordingly. Ireland needs a new beginning. It needs a new dynamic in nationhood, a new dynamic in economic development, a new dynamic in expressions of culture and faith. We need a new democratic order that can look back on our history and say assuredly that we have found the way forward. Partition is squalid. It is the product of division and exclusion. It is a throw back to a world that gave us nothing but imperial slaughter. It has to end. And it will end.
The Free State has descended into a melting pot of corruption and political stagnation. Its actions have declared itself unfit for existence. It is so far removed from the ethos of the Proclamation that only the wealthy developers and bankers are cherished equally. It is proof positive that partition is squalid on both sides of it. Dublin has finally lain to rest the flawed notion that a united Ireland is nothing more than subsuming the Six Counties into the Free State. It cannot advance the cause of Irish unity. Using partition to end partition cannot work either. We need to come out from the apparatus of partition and act decisively against it. Merely standing there is not an option.
The Centenary of Easter Week is fast approaching. All sides of the conflict know the significance of this date. The revisionists are working hard to ensure that Partition and the Proclamation can in some way be harmonised. We know they can’t, but that is not enough. We too must prepare and because our resources are not as great as theirs we must prepare in fenian fashion. Our intellectual objections to this deliberate misinterpretation of our history must be matched with action on the ground that leaves our people in no doubt that 1916 is unfinished business. But we cannot wait until then.
We remember the heroes of Easter Week because they acted on their beliefs. They acted on their history, their culture, their ideological discourse and above all they acted in unison. They knew the imperfect day would come. They knew that their preparations would themselves be imperfect. But they grasped the reality that in revolution participation is an essential part of that preparation. Belief becomes redundant when it is not acted upon. Republicans today are at this crossroads also. Our imperfect day is here. We have talked long on belief, on history, on culture and on ideology. We are as prepared as we can ever be. We need to act in unison. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement is now acting on this unity. We urge all republicans to act with us, as themselves, but we are not prepared to wait any longer for you. The patriots of 1916 deserve no less of us.