Below is the oration delivered by Jason Nott of the IRSP in Cork at the IRSP’s annual Easter 1916 Commemoration in Belfast on Easter Sunday:
today we gather to remember and salute the memory of our comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of a 32 County democratic Irish republic. An Irish Republic based on the finest principles of socialism – freedom, equality and fraternity.
We remember with pride those volunteers of the Irish National Liberation Army and their comrades in the Irish Republican Socialist Party who lie buried in this plot and further afield.
Without their intellect, their courage and their bravery the integrity of republican socialism would have long ago been consigned to history, but I am proud to say we are still here following in their footsteps.
We also send fraternal greetings to all imprisoned republicans, our comrades in Portlaois and to the republican prisoners in Maghaberry who are on protest at this time. Especially in our thoughts is Marian Price, the victim of a vindictive British state, and we call for her immediate release
Easter is the time of year when we commemorate not only the political vision of the men and women of Easter week 1916, it is also the time when we analyse the current state of the Irish republican struggle and its ability to confront the forces of British and international imperialism in Ireland. We also use this sombre time to review how we as the Irish Republican Socialist Movement continue to prosecute revolutionary struggle in Ireland.
The men and women of Easter week 1916 tilled the land of the nation and sowed the seeds of working class resurrection, from that fateful week Irish republicans have striven to drive the British from our shores, we have yet to realize the aims and goals of the 1916 proclamation.
It is necessary that as we remember our brave comrades that we learn from history and attempt to build our revolution on a solid political foundation that will arm us with the tools necessary. For the past three years the Irish Republican Socialist Party has undergone great change and development. This is part of the continuing struggle for socialism in Ireland for without the primacy of politics for which many of our comrades died the struggle would have little to no chance of ever achieving success. The primacy of politics as envisaged by our fallen comrade Ta Power is what drives the entire Republican Socialist Movement.
Whilst it is natural and correct at Easter time that our thoughts turn to fallen comrades and times past, it is also necessary that we plan and strategize for the future, if their lives are not to have been squandered on the altar of political expediency.
That brings us to where we are at today in the 21st century, a struggle that has been in the doldrums for nearly two decades as those who have signed up to the Good Friday Agreement pursue their partitionist agenda. The failure of other republicans to fully understand the nature of this failure adds to the political conundrum that we face today. As Irish Republican Socialists we fully understand the nature of that failure, ‘as the absence of war does not necessarily mean peace, the lack of political integrity cannot be covered up by the establishment of dysfunctional institutions such as Stormont and the Dail.’
Seamus Costello set out his plans for a socialist republic, his vision of a revolutionary working class political party, the Irish Republican Socialist Party. We are the genuine inheritors of the mantle of Connolly, Mellows and Costello and whilst we are humble as we don the mantle that has been handed down to us we take on the responsibility with determination, resolute that the IRSP will continue to develop our politics and strategies that can lead us to victory.
The IRSP have studied the past and learned from it. We’ve seen our weaknesses and our faults but these are far outnumbered by our strengths and successes. We’ve re-organized and are building. We are building a formidable political organization that is led entirely by the ideals of the men and women who we today gather to remember.
In the past year the IRSP has built on our working class base and felt confident to enter a number of candidates in local council elections in the north and to work with the others in the south, our intervention into electoral politics is not a sign of our acceptance in any way, shape or form of the continuing British occupation of the six counties, it is however a clear message from the republican socialist movement that we are no longer prepared to let our political message be marginalized or ignored. Across Ireland IRSP electoral intervention demonstrated that the IRSP have a credible working class message that we will continue propagate.
The leadership of the Republican socialist movement takes this opportunity to address our membership across Ireland and further afield, our supporters and the Irish working class in its totality- now is not the time for recriminations about the past, now is not the time for hankering over lost opportunities in struggle. We must keep building the revolutionary struggle in Ireland and we will be at the forefront of that revolution.
As we approach the hundredth anniversary of the 1916 rising it is important that we recognize the vision and commitment of it’s leaders, it is important that we remember all those brave Irish Republicans who have lost their lives in struggle for an Irish Socialist republic in the intervening years. It is our solemn pledge to their memory and vision to pursue our aims with the same commitment and determination.
As Individual republican socialists often we experience isolation and a lack of confidence because we ultimately struggle against the monolith of global imperialism and it is difficult to understand how we as individuals can impact on the enormity that constitutes global imperialism.
Worry not Comrades, every one of us is a revolutionary, revolution is in our blood, every day that we engage in revolutionary activity, every day that we spread the gospel of discontent, whether it be in the Unions, in the Residents Associations, in the campaigning working class action groups, is a day that brings the overthrow of capitalism one day nearer, do not fear struggle, it is the very life blood that revolutions are built on and the Irish revolution is no different.
Comrades, New fields of working class struggles are opening up in front of us. The current successful campaign of mass non-payment of the Household Charge in the 26 counties is an example of such new struggles. The reaction to this campaign which has seen well over 1 Million households steadfastly refusing to pay an unjust tax is a sure sign that the mood among the Irish masses is not one of conformity. The Irish working class today, just as it was in the period after the 1916 Rising, is revealing itself as fertile ground for the cultivation of discontent and the only true protagonist capable of delivering revolutionary social change. Our own movement has been and will continue to place ourselves at the heart of such struggles. The IRSP will continue to play a role in raising class consciousness and constantly seek to identify and play our part in the emergence of such new fields of working class struggle.
It is important that we live a revolutionary life as part of a global revolution; all of us have our part to play on the road to victory. Every day that we spread the republican socialist message is one day closer to victory.
Today we remember and salute fallen comrades, as the sun sets on today’s commemoration let us rededicate ourselves to daily revolutionary activity one and all, in the mould of Connolly, Mellows and all our fallen,
Let the fight go on.