Ard-Fheis Pháirtí Poblachtach Sóisialach na hÉireann 2014
The Irish Republican Socialist Party marked its 40th anniversary Ard Fheis by holding it for the first time in Strabane CoTyrone.
The IRSP used the 2014 Ard Fheis to show case our progressive political programme to maximise the political capacity of its membership and identify potential for the growth of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. These three topics were geared towards promoting the full participation of all invited delegates with observers, for the first time, being able to contribute from the floor to the motions debates.
The political programme for the Ard Fheis was built around our Perspectives on the Future of Republican Socialism in Ireland document. All discussions and debate over the course of the Ard Fheis were themed from existing topics in the Perspectives document.
Comrade Tommy Kelly then delivered a short message of solidarity to the Ard Fheis from the Republican Socialist political prisoners in Caslterea Co Roscommon .
A speech from Comrade Dominic McGlinchy themed “Towards the Republic” was then read out by his brother Declan.
“We have spent our whole lives aspiring to what some might call a pipe dream, the establishing of a 32 county socialist republic. We have watched the generation of men and women much older than I go from young adults to middle age and in other cases leave this earth as they came into it under the heal of the oppressor “.
“Do we really think its a pipe dream that we have nothing better to be doing? I for one don’t as do many other of us out there. What I do think is how we approach the building of a movement of people who will set about establishing a 32 county socialist republic will have to change. Different times demand different tactics. What have we learned from our past? That the answer lays in the future, no more glorious failures. We cannot afford to burden the next generation with the baggage and ghosts of our collective past”.
Mr McGlinchey continues “As we move forward it is not good enough to pay lip service to the struggle to hide behind a particular hat on a particular day this movement must be led by the party the revolutionary van guard of the struggle. It has to be accepted that fatigue has set in; some have a lot of miles on clock along the road of political struggle many years spent in gaol it is hard to keep dusting yourself down keep getting up again and continuing on”.
“We must challenge ourselves once again get out of our comfort zones, educate our youth agitate on the ground in the towns and cities across this country. In rural Ireland we need to see where we can be effective on the on the ground this can become a breeding ground for new activists. We must make new policies that relate to those that live in these areas and then act upon these. It is a battle for the hearts and minds and this must start in the parishes and town lands across our country house by house family by family we must make ourselves relevant in daily lives of the people who live there”.
“How do we do this, we help were we can, we cannot fix all the worlds ills straight away but a start must be made. Taking into account this movement has limited resources. We must challenge ourselves to get out there to find new ways of getting our message across and listen to what is happening on the ground”.
“We will have to piggy back on other bodies to expand our movement it will bring us at times to places that might make us uncomfortable but the expansion of our movement is paramount .In every facet of society we must make our presence felt , it is our absence that will be our weakness, we will not be defined by a tricolour a red flag or a starry plough it is our actions and our politics that will define the men and women of this movement and that will leave a lasting positive legacy for future generations” .
“Our strength is that our cause is a noble and just and we must do everything in our power to protect that. At times we must take risks but these must be calculated, a path must be forged and a plan must be made. The IRSP needs to be re-established right across the island, this could be done in many ways first and foremost more Cumman. This could quite easily be expanded right across the globe to other likeminded activists reaping massive rewards for the movement. As said earlier our action shall define us and if we bring discipline into everything we do the working class will gravitate towards us”.
Mr McGlinchey finishes “A new beginning, a new start ,a republic must be built from the ground up everyone one of us must leave our mark on it, Connolly told us the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour and the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland . I come to this movement late enough in life many might say to late I say better late than never but I feel I have came home to my spiritual home where I belong. I am as determined now as I have ever been I have an inner belief passed down to me through my mother and father and theirs before them that we can win and that we must. I like to wish you all the best and I look forward to working with you all to turn our dreams into reality”.
Comrade Martin McMonagle then delivered the key note speech from the outgoing Ard Comhairle. During the address Mr McMonegal gave an honest account of the failures and success of the outgoing Ard Comhairle and how the IRSP intends to fulfill its full potential in the years to come.
After the mornings presentations the outgoing Ard Comhairle stepped down and the Ard Fheis began with motions being proposed and debated. After on the day standing orders committee amendments to the Clár there were 63 motions to be debated.
Some of the motions debated and passed included;
Fracking is a process that allows the exploitation of shale gas and oil for energy use. The institutions of Capitalism see this as a quick fix to shore up immediate energy supplies and allow big business corporations to turn a quick profit. However, experts and environmental organisations oppose such moves. Fracking causes earthquakes and contaminates the ground water which in turn contaminates the supplies which feed human drinking water which ranges from chemical contamination to radioactive contamination.
That Ard Fheis states its opposition the destruction of the environment through Fracking. And that the Irish Republican Socialist Party draws up plans for a campaign against Fracking wherever it is proposed in Ireland. Conference also sends its solidarity to those activists, from the various anti Fracking campaigns across Ireland, currently involved in actions against the use of Fracking.
Ard Fheis recognises and welcomes the contribution made by migrant workers and their families to both the economy and society. The Irish Republican Socialist Party is opposed to the exploitation of migrant workers through unfair pay and conditions in the work place. We also oppose the under cutting of local labour by business people through the exploitation of migrant workers. Ard Fheis supports positive actions to create unity rather than division between the working class.
Attacks on Migrant Workers
Ad Fheis condemns all attacks on migrant workers and the right wing media frenzy that encourages them. The recent spate of racist attacks on migrant workers is nothing short of a disgrace on modern Ireland. The IRSP states that when racist organisations or organisations affiliated to them hold public events we should physically oppose them on the streets. There should be no place on this island for racists to hide.
Attacks on the Disabled
Ard Fheis call for an IRSP campaign to oppose the endless rounds of assessments disabled people are currently forced go through by the capitalist state. If a worker is disabled he/she should be comfortably taken care of by society. Not made to grovel for disability assistance and continuously humiliate themselves in front of so called “medical professionals” at assessments.
Ard Fheis recognises the positive contribution made to society by the diverse ethnic minorities in Ireland. The IRSP needs to make membership and recruitment tactics more open and transparent to attract people from ethnic minorities.
Boycott Israeli Goods
Ard Fheis calls on the incoming Ard Comhairle to coordinate an IRSP nationwide mobilisation on the issue of Boycotting Israeli goods. It’s time for us to step up the boycott campaign. Israel may have the full backing of the US and the EU but the vast majority of people in the world are with the Palestinians. Boycotts brought down the apartheid state in South Africa and they can do the same here.
Oppose the two state solution in Palestine
Ard Fheis states that the Irish Republican Socialist Party refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the Zionist Israeli State. There can never be peace in Palestine while the Zionist Israeli State continues to exist. The IRSP supports calls for a People’s Democratic Arab Workers Republic of Palestine. We support calls for a Palestinian State in which Arabs and Jews would live together without discrimination. We support a Palestinian State without classes and national oppression. We support a Palestinian State which allows Arabs and Jews to develop their national cultures equally.
Forge better links with International anti Imperialist groups
Ard Fheis recognises that our struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland is part of a much larger international struggle for socialism and against imperialism. We call on the incoming Ard Comhairle to forge working relationships with all other groups across the world involved in struggles for national liberation and socialism.
Ard Fheis recognises the damage such a low minimum wage is doing by keeping workers living in Poverty. The current minimum wage contributes to the widening gap between the rich and the working class. The current minimum wage is driving workers and their families to humiliate themselves by using food banks. Ard Fheis calls on the incoming Ard Comhairle to set in motion plans to create a policy on a Living Wage.
Annual Policy Conference
Ard Fheis recognises the need for an annual IRSP conference on party policy. This is needed to stop any internal reformist thought and to rededicate ourselves once a year to our revolutionary struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland. This Policy conference should include annual reports to the membership from both the IRSP and Teach Na Failte.
Ard Fheis calls on the IRSP to step up its campaigning for a withdrawal from the Pro -Austerity Neo-Liberal European Union. The Irish Republican Socialist Party recognizes that Irish working people have nothing to gain from the European Union only more servitude and economic occupation.
This Ard Fheis calls for the lifting of all legal barriers in terms of LGBT rights such as marriage, adoption and the right to give blood.
This Ard Fheis calls on the incoming Ard Comhairle to put measures in place in order to address the gender imbalance within the IRSP.
This Ard Fheis calls for the ending of all gender discrimination in society in terms of recruitment and salaries.
This Ard Fheis re-affirms the party’s position that every member of the party should be a member of a trade union.
This Ard Fheis calls on the incoming Ard Comhairle to explore all avenues of getting the IRSP message out to wider society with a renewed effort and printing local and national materials and a particular focus on social media.
This Ard Fheis sends solidarity greetings to all anti-imperialist political prisoners in Ireland and abroad
This Ard Fheis calls on the incoming Ard Comhairle to make the Perspectives Document a basis for internal education.
This Ard Fheis sends solidarity greetings and support to our comrades in Gaza following yet another Israeli invasion.
This Ard Fheis directs that no-one representing the Republican Socialist Movement have any official dealings with the PSNI or any of their proxies such as local policing boards.
Ard fheis calls for the the IRSP Ard Comhairle and at all other structural levels makes a commitment to transparently implement in full the central tenets contained in the Ta Power Document which to this day remains the party’s most in depth, honest critique and blueprint for progess. Furthermore, that the IRSP address fully any of the contradictions outlined in the dissertation and re-assert the ten principles Ta outlined as essential to the growth of the party as an effective revolutionary movement:
Ard fheis ensures that every member of the IRSP plays a role, according to their abilities and circumstances, in the political activities of the party. As a Marxist, Republican Socialist party, we can not afford political passengers
Ard fheis calls for the party to actively oppose all sectarian, supremacist marches that are unwanted and opposed in working class areas. We recognise Loyalism, Orangeism and Unionism as instruments of imperialism, as fascist entities and whose raison d’etre has always been as a divisive bulwark against working class unity.
During the intervals in the Ard Fheis debate we had lectures on different topics from IRSP members.
Comrade Willie Gallagher made the final contribution, just before the election of the new Ard Comhairle, giving a lecture on 40 years of Republican Socialism in Ireland.
The entire Ard Fheis then stood in silence as the Republican Socialist Movements Roll of Honour was read aloud by Belfast’s Seán Carlin.