IRSCNA Costello Commemoration Statement

The Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America send revolutionary greetings to our comrades in Ireland on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the life of Seamus Costello.

As the founder of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the Irish National Liberation Army in 1974, Costello was a determined and forward thinking revolutionary. His goal was a 32 County Socialist Republic, a Republic of and for the working class, a class undivided by religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

Costello stood in the same tradition as James Connolly, the leader of the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising of 1916. Like Connolly, he didn’t live to see his vision achieved, but also like Connolly, he continues to inspire those who carry on the fight to achieve that vision.

Almost thirty-six years after its founding, the IRSP continues to uphold Costello’s belief that the national liberation struggle and the class liberation struggle are the same struggle.

The INLA engaged in nearly a quarter century of political armed struggle before it declared a ceasefire in 1998, and then decommissioned earlier this year. Setting aside the tactic of armed struggle based on a sound analysis of current conditions in no way means that the war for national and class liberation is over. It merely will take a different form, with the IRSP carrying the struggle forward through organizing, agitating, and educating.

The Irish Republican Socialist Movement continues to believe that there is no parliamentary road to socialism, because socialism cannot be forged by seizing the bourgeois state apparatus; nor is there a guerrilla road to socialism, because a social revolution requires the active participation of the masses; and therefore a socialist republic can only be established through the mass revolutionary action of the working class in the political, economic, and social spheres.

After Costello’s death, comrades like Bernadette Devlin McAliskey were moved to say that they felt smaller after his loss. Costello made an incredible impression on so many activists who were themselves internationally known partisans for the working class cause. Thirty-three years after Costello was taken from us by a counter-revolutionary’s bullet, we still feel his loss.

While many things have changed since his death, just as many things have remained the same. The exploitation and oppression he tried to overthrow is as pronounced as ever. Capitalism continues to provide grinding exploitation and misery as its contradictions produce turmoil for working people.

The form of British rule in Ireland has changed, but not the content. Britain remains in Ireland to do the bidding of the capitalist class, suppressing the working class for the rich and privileged. Beneath the appearance of wealth is the reality of families deprived of homes and stability. Scarcity is artificially maintained both for profits and for dividing people along sectarian and ethnic lines.

The Movement that Costello founded as a vehicle for revolutionary change is his legacy. We are grateful to lend our continued support as the North American section of the Movement. Let us carry forward his legacy until we have achieved his dream of a 32 County Socialist Republic on the island of Ireland.