Delivered in Costello House by Dan Murphy of the IRSP in Belfast
Comrades, this is an Easter the likes of which none of us has seen before. At a time of year when the revolutionary songs of our past fills the air and our streets are full with all manners of Republicans, proudly remembering all those that made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of Irish freedom.
It is not the case this year. Our streets will be largely silent and completely devoid of the throngs or proud Republicans that usually gather. Ach a chairde this doesn’t matter. Wether it’s from the gravesides of our patriot dead, from our homes or even from prison cells the Irish Republican Socialist Movement has always, and will always, remember with the most immense pride all those that gave their all in the national liberation struggle. In particular all those members of this movement who fell in the struggle for a 32 county socialist republic.
This year it was the intention of the Republican Socialist Movement to pay a special tribute to our fallen comrades whose milestone anniversaries fell this year.
We would ask all our members and supporters to take a second out of their Easter and give a thought to our martyrs and their families. Volunteers Hugh Ferguson; Danny Loughran; Brendan McNamee and Ronnie Trainor whose 45th anniversaries fall this year. Volunteers Miriam Daly; Ronnie Bunting and Noel Little whose 40th anniversaries are this year and Volunteer Alex Patterson whose 30th anniversary has just passed us. Comrades it’s no exaggeration to say that we owe these martyrs our lives, in fact we in the Republican Socialist Movement owe them so much more.
From its inception in 1974 to this present day our enemies have used and continue to use all the means at their disposal to destroy this movement. They have tried to intimidate us, they harass us at every opportunity, they jail us and they have murdered us, yet here we stand. 45 years on from our founding and we’re still here and more than that growing in terms of members and confidence.
The current vitality of this movement; the confidence of its members, and in particular our highly energised and growing youth movement; and most importantly that spirit of resistance, that is, our refusal to bow to any order that would see our people is a subject class did not come about by chance.
It was moulded by the revolutionary theories espoused by Connolly, Costello and Power; and it was resolutely defended by all our comrades that went before us. Whilst reflecting on the lessons of our forebears it’s imperative that we remember that their struggle, that is our struggle, is far from finished.
No where is that struggle more evident than in Ireland today. In the midst of this global pandemic we have watched all those so called “wealth creators” disappear into their multi-million pound fortresses whilst their workers were left without jobs or wages. We look on whilst these parasites ruthlessly exploit this crisis while the rest of us face loosing everything.
Most disgustingly we watch on as those companies that can still operate actively put their workers lives at risk by not providing the appropriate protective equipment to carry out their work, solely to keep a flow of capital for these human leeches to feed on.
It’s here comrades that the most blatant contradiction of the capitalist system is laid bare. Any economic system that prioritises capital over human life, which actively kills off or endangers those on who it relies is not sustainable in normal times let alone during a crisis of this calibre. Here in Ireland this crisis has been exacerbated by partition. Both jurisdictions on the island failed to work in sync when putting in place measures to deal with this crisis and both went in completely opposite directions. Ireland was, to an effect, used as some kind of experiment in testing which strategy would be more effective and as we’re seeing and will continue to see it will be the Irish working class to pay the price of this. In the occupied 6 counties we have an executive that has allowed the response to this pandemic to be politicised within the sectarian confines of this state, our lives took second precedent to this.
Comrades whilst it’s important to keep in mind the gravity of the current crisis, it’s just as important that we highlight the positive stories happening in the midst of the madness. When this kicked off and the capitalist class disappeared with all the money that was a result of our labour leaving many in our communities without an income, the Irish working class came together as they always do.
Across the country working class communities have come to the fore in looking after our most vulnerable. The Republican Socialist Movement commends all those community and political activists that have supported the community response. We are especially proud of our own members who have been at the fore front of community support efforts.
Comrades whilst we may not be able to remember our fallen comrades in our usual way, I can tell you with confidence that their sacrifice and commitment to this movement and to this country has been the guiding light for us during these uncertain times. And it’s here a chairde that we will pay tribute to them, through our actions supporting those who they gave their lives for.
Comrades if there was ever a time to take action against this failed social system it will soon be upon us. Global capitalism is facing a crisis unseen since the depression era. We will not, no we can not! Allow a repeat of 2008, when the capitalist used their political puppets to get bailouts while the rest of us suffered over a decade of austerity.
No more than a few weeks ago our health care workers were standing on picket lines fighting for a basic living wage. Those that fought tooth and nail against them now have the audacity to stand and clap them off to work jobs which they aren’t even properly equipped to do.
Comrades I can tell you where the IRSP were when our frontline staff where standing on the picket, we were with them! At this moment our activists are working round the clock securing, assembling and distributing vital PPE to our frontline staff, and when this is over we will continue to stand beside them. Given the hindrance caused by both partition and capitalism during this crisis the IRSP again reiterates its call for the immediate establishment of an all Ireland national health service.
Comrades we are about to go through a period of rapid political development, and whilst many of us yearn for some semblance of normality we can never return to normal. In the aftermath of this crisis grassroots led unity campaigns will be more important than ever. The IRSP would urge all republicans and socialists to get behind the ongoing Yes For Unity campaign. The purpose of this broad front initiative is to put the maximum amount of pressure on both failed governments on this island to bring an end to partition, we aim to inject the socialist message into the mainstream debate on Irish unity and bring control of that debate to the Irish working class. Comrades in these uncertain times we urge you all to keep yourselves safe, look after your families and your community by following the advice of the medical experts; use this time to prepare ourselves for the struggle ahead. As we enter this new phase of the workers struggle the Irish Republican Socialist Movement will proudly stand where we have always stood!
“We owe our allegiance to the working class”
Go raibh maith agaibh