As we gather in these familiar surroundings every year to mark the 1916 Rising and to remember our patriot comrades and volunteers who rest in this graveyard, and in graveyards like it all over this island, it’s important to continue to recognize the sacrifices, pain, suffering and anguish that accompanies the necessity of taking up arms against those who oppress our class.
We salute the bravery of the men and women of the 1916 Rising and we salute the bravery and dedication of the men and women of the Republican Socialist Movement whose names are inscribed on this monument.
Armed conflict is never a decision that should be taken lightly, but this movement was born out of the fundamental truth that in 1974, like the 1916 Rising, the struggle for National Liberation and Socialism needed to physically oppose the occupation by bearing arms against it. No other option existed and the men and women of Irish Republican Socialist Party and Irish National Liberation Army stepped up to the plate defending their communities and going on the offensive against the might of British Imperialism and its domestic allies.
After decades of armed struggle Bernadette Devlin when describing the latest phase of the conflict said that the “Good Guys” lost and she was right. This movement has never hid from the realities of the circumstances around the Good Friday Defeat. We hoped in 1998, as we still hope today, that a peaceful settlement could have been reached that once and for all allowed us to continue our struggle for a 32 County Socialist Republic, without the pain and suffering that accompanies open armed conflict.
Whilst we warned against aspects of the Good Friday Agreement we hoped for a settlement that would decisively deal with the core issues of the denial of our national sovereignty, but all it has done is institutionalised sectarianism and economic inequality. We stand here 17 years after the Good Friday Defeat of 1998 reluctantly vindicated in our opposition to that treaty. The occupation is as secure as ever, sectarianism is still the order of the day and the manifestation of economic inequality is evictions, homes without heat and dinner tables without food. Our class continues to suffer; our work is far from over.
Our class enemies are winning comrades. Billions upon Billions is getting poured into their overseas bank accounts from public money. The privatisation of society is well under way; What Maggie Thatcher failed to achieve in the 1980s David Cameron and Enda Kenny are succeeding at present. The privatisation of the Health Services through the TTIP European-US agreement is fast approaching and society must mobilise to oppose anything that will hand health care over to private corporations.
In the occupied North, Stormont continues with its neo-liberalist economic race to the bottom. We are told by “the great and the good” that cuts to corporation Tax will create wealth, that’s correct; it will create wealth, but only for the already wealthy. Our wages will still keep the lights on and fund public services while the capitalists will be laughing all the way to the Swiss bank.
In the South the rich and powerful foreign and domestic corporations, who drain public money from society like vultures, are recruiting an army of private scab security contractors to intimidate residents and workers on the picket-lines and at protests against the privatisation of our very water. Actions worthy of William Martin Murphy and his Strike Breakers of the Great Dublin Lock Out of 1913.
So you see comrades. Although the Republican Socialist Movement’s tactics have changed to suit the political landscape, for now, our class and this movement is still at war with the very same set of oppressive right-wing ideological principles that drive us on this small island to continuously reassert our resistance to oppression generation after generation and over hundreds and hundreds of years.
We all know what is to be done comrades, Ta Power knew what had to be done, Gino Gallagher knew what had to be done and Seamus Costello knew what had to be done. To succeed where others have failed before us is to create a fire in the hearts of every oppressed Irishman and Irish woman. We need them all to rise up with us. To create this mass movement we need a strong, motivated, relevant, class conscious and principled republican, Irish Republican Socialist Party.
There must be no ceasefire in the class war comrades. The IRSP must use our Republican Socialist political agenda as the main weapon in our arsenal to undermine the confidence of our class in the institutions of capitalism and against the denial of our national sovereignty. The IRSP must step up our campaign to break the links with Britain and the European Union. We must strive to create an Ireland in which our entire class is bonded together in a community of purpose, of sustainability, of stability of united working class solidarity.
The IRSP must continue to raise our people’s class consciousness and offer an alternative vision of the future of this nation under Republican Socialist leadership. We must continue articulate and evolve our economic, social and cultural vision laid out in our Perspectives for the Future of Republican Socialism in Ireland document.
Our task is to help raise the living conditions of our class. To make an equal society in which we can all give our allegiance. Currently we have an unequal society in which the rich are getting richer off the backs of the wealth generators. All the while our class gets left behind by those born with a silver spoon in their mouths. We must strive to make sure that all the children of the nation have access to the prosperity that we are all working to build and those private corporations or off shore banks are not in a position to steal that wealth, rather it goes back to the people who generate it.
It’s only by convincing others of the IRSPs progressive political program that we grow the struggle for national liberation and socialism.0 Our vision for this island and its people must be confident, vibrant, contemporary and revolutionary. In the heart of every “Irp” beats an organic contempt for the institutions and people that represent the arrogant, greedy and condescending values of the small few who control so much at the top of the unequal society we live in, and have lived under for hundreds of years.
It is the same organic contempt for the elite that lives in us that drove the United Irishmen of 1798. It’s the contempt for those who would oppress us that drove the men and women of the 1916 Easter Rising. It’s the same contempt for all forms of injustice and oppression and the hope of creating something better that led to the creation of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the Irish National Liberation Army in 1974.
We need to spread the gospel of discontent and light a fire of revolution and optimism inside every Irishman and Irishwoman.