On Saturday 11th August the IRSP held a very successful parade to commemorate the 30th anniversary of INLA volunteer James McPhilemy. IRSP members from across Ireland attended accompanied by 3 bands. Following the large parade through the town the parade finished at the Irish Republican Socialist monument in Carlton Drive where the North West Roll of Honor was read aloud by James McColgan. A very personal speech was given by James McPhilemy close friend and comrade Paddy McColgan. The event was brought to an end by Jimmy McCafferty who chaired it and ended by the James Hope MFB (Belfast) playing Amhrán na bhFiann.
The IRSP would like to thank the family, friends, supporters and comrades for attending this event and special thanks given to the James Hope MFB (Belfast), James Connolly MFB (derry) and the Kevin Lynch MFB (Dungiven) for attending.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone here today as we mark the 30th anniversary of INLA Volunteer James McPhilemys death while on active service against the British occupation forces.
James was a young volunteer of only 20 years of age when his unit was involved in the attack in Clady village. The INLA operation was directed against a British Army border checkpoint on the 10th of August 1988. The INLA unit attacked the heavily fortified British border installation and during the ensuing fire fight Volunteer James McPhilemy was killed in the exchange after he had exposed his position to tell local children to get down.
The entire struggle against British occupation rested on young working class men and women’s shoulders like James McPhilemy and many others. Had they not asserted their right to resistance to oppression in arms, had they not sacrificed the best years of their lives in British jails, had they not taken a stand against the sectarian northern state and its British masters we would not be on the cusp of a new era of political struggle in which the possibility of ending partition has become a reality.
Republican socialists continue the revolutionary tradition of Connolly and Costello, that the class struggle and the national question are one in the same and cannot be separated.
Republicans socialists must find our place on the right side of history and be prepared to meet the challenges that lay ahead. An alternative vision of Ireland needs to be articulated a sovereign, stable, sustainable, socialist, successful island.
The IRSP accept that a united Ireland referendum to first successfully remove the British occupation is a progressive step towards socialism, we are asking all progressive republicans, socialists and communists as part of the wider Irish anti-imperialist struggle for national liberation and socialism to discuss and debate with each other the merits of such a path.
Connolly’s writings and actions give us the tools to understand and analyse the world we live in today, from a Marxist and republican perspective and to develop strategies to confront those who would exploit and dominate the Irish working class.