The leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Party today sends New Year greetings to its core membership, to supporters across Ireland and the world, to the family and friends of Republican Socialist martyrs and to imprisoned comrades everywhere.

The year 2018 proved momentous for the Republican Socialist Movement; wherein, acting upon previous year’s commitments, the party of Seamus Costello embarked upon a nationwide campaign to build for a radical referendum on Irish unification.

Staying true to Costello’s principled doctrine of Guerrilla Politics; we recognised a clear opportunity in demographic shifts within the occupied six counties, and, (applying modes of organisation learned from comrade organisations across the Celtic world and in Europe), we moved to build a popular momentum capable of forcing the goal of Irish Unity to the top of Irish national priorities and capable of pushing the progressive radical vote which will follow, over the line and towards victory.

Our members travelled across Ireland and beyond to this end; knocking upon the doors of working-class homes, organising public meetings in towns, cities and villages and debating capably in defence of our goals. In 2019 we will build further upon this momentum, bringing the only left-wing analysis to the coming debate on national unity and introducing a whole new generation to what is the only progressive and principled Republican Socialist analysis on this issue.

We note that some commentators have dramatically called into question the principle of our referendum program. In the face of such criticisms we say this; successful campaigns were never fought by those who stood still, but by those who could manoeuvre both inside and outside the enemy’s walls.

The IRSP are not above others critically analysing our direction, we welcome it, with the caveat that no one political tendency on this island has the capacity to deliver a united democratic socialist republic alone. Yet it is the responsibility of those who would oppose our direction to formulate a strategy past sloganizing.

The IRSP will embrace this path while it works and will choose another if it fails, our members are principled people and will remain on the revolutionary road regardless, concern yourself with your own structures and we will take care of ourselves.

Our grassroots working class engagement process has also been a crucial component in the realisation that 2019, a year of great historical significance, is the year for preparation, dialogue, debate and mobilisation towards a referendum to deliver a United Ireland.

A socialist United Ireland is no longer an abstract aspiration of the few. The fundamental contractions that exist within British occupied Ireland, the push for Scottish Independence, Brexit, mixed with the inherent exploitative nature of capitalism, all combined are making progressive Irish Unity a distinct possibility.

Republican Socialists do not intend to sit on the side-lines waiting for the Irish people to be allowed to peacefully and democratically express their wish for a United Ireland through a referendum mechanism. We categorically demand it; and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with all others to make this demand in 2019. We will engage in debate and dialogue with any individual or group that shares our strategic analysis on this single issue.

The wider conversation on the building of an Irish unity referendum must first and foremost be carried out in a respectful and comradely manner. Existing differences in policy have to be acknowledged and set aside for any meaningful dialogue to succeed. We must learn the lessons of our recent history; have the capacity to identify state players and agents of influence whose motives are to sow the seeds of division.

Republicans and socialists must get involved in the wider mainstream debate on a united Ireland to prevent the right-wing establishment from monopolising the social, cultural and economic narrative and to further divide the people for their selfish elitist class interests.

We must make it clear to the working class that transitioning into a 32-county capitalist framework (post referendum) will not solve the deep seeded problems which arise from a society built on exploitation. The housing crisis, education crisis, healthcare crisis, poverty crisis, unemployment, underemployment and the debt crisis can only be seriously addressed with a radical transition process towards a socialist republic; an Irish referendum is the catalyst for this change.

The IRSP will campaign for the creation of a commission, consisting of all representatives of the organised working class to examine ways of establishing an all-Ireland socialist economy post referendum.

2019 will also be a year of historic centenary celebrations as we commemorate the establishment of the First Diál and the acceptance and ratification of the Democratic Programme and the 1916 Proclamation of the Republic as the fundamental bedrock on which a progressive Irish Republic should be established. The IRSP welcome attempts by a broad spectrum of Irish socialism to unite and discuss the potential for implementation of the principal’s laid out in both these historic yet relevant documents.

The IRSP enter this year having survived 44 years of British and Free-State attempts at destroying our movement. At every stage of IRSP development we have faced relentless and multi-layered attacks. Many of these attacks were fronted by proxies of the state who; while portraying themselves as Republicans or Republican socialists, were simultaneously engaged in efforts at destroying the Republican Socialist movement on behalf of the enemy. This is the lesson of our past and a tradition we will continue to expose whenever it arises.

A visible confidence exists among the present membership and support base of the RSM This is a product of solid work and genuine activism while vibrancy is the harvest from possessing a clear and concise Republican Socialist strategy. We endure an MI5 agenda to dismantle this confidence and vibrancy through, for example, the PCTF. It would be unthinkable that such an agenda could be conceived of bereft of the traditional and dual employment of Proxies to aid state objectives. Our party adheres to the principles contained within the Ta Power document and in all our dealings with Republican comrades we persevere to pursue comradely relationships which are based upon mutual respect.

As our influence grows, criticism will naturally follow. We embrace criticism and dialogue as an opportunity for us to reflect and to analyse our own positions. We must reject faux criticism entirely and confront all those who, knowingly or not, have allowed themselves to become proxies of the state (s), particularly on social media platforms.

The meaningless scandalization of Republicanism for the petty and selfish aim of self-exposure must end. This can be terminated by replacing negative language with a positive and effective revolutionary dialogue. We must silence opportunistic reactionaries and delimit their ability to undermine confidence or sap the morale of genuine activists. This will be achieved by prioritising the politics which unites us above the issues that set us apart. The IRSP of 2019 recall the words of Seamus Costello with a membership that stands as testimony to them. “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.”

The entire Irish Republican Socialist Movement has absorbed these attacks and has only grown stronger; we view State oppression against us merely as vindication of our adherence to our revolutionary programme laid out in 1974, as we go into 2019, rest assured that we are as committed today as then.