The Primacy of Politics

(The following article by Garry O’Ciánain, pertaining to Ta Power’s vision for the Irish Republican Socialist Party appeared in the Belfast edition of the IRSP’s news-sheet ‘Workers Republic.’)

The Primacy of Politics

This year marked the 24th anniversary of the assassination of Vol. Thomas Power and his comrade Vol. John O’Reilly. The ‘Ta’ Power document highlights the political intellect of Ta Power. Power spoke of the need for the primacy of politics for greater internal democracy within the Republican Socialist Movement. Thomas Power’s assassination by counter-revolutionaries who espoused the idea that:

“Republicanism in Ireland is adequately served by Sinn Fein and the IRA… a new organisation at this time is premature”.

This theory was an old one going back to Eamonn De Valera’s statement that ‘Labour must wait’. Republicanism is not adequately served by Sinn Fein. That is evident by their acceptance of the Good Friday Agreement which is built on an Apartheid basis of an elite minority taking precedence over the will of the working class people on this island. Sinn Fein whilst hypocritically condemning public service cuts in the 26 counties are quite prepared to implement them in the North. Similarly in the 26 counties when Labour was asked to wait, it did and it is still waiting. The wait has resulted in a dictionary-definition republic which is controlled by corrupt and capitalist politicians. This is why the primacy of politics is vital to the IRSP. Labour will not wait any longer.

The IRSP have an obligation to the working class people of Ireland to ensure that their interests are not passed over or ignored. When we talk about the primacy of politics, we do not mean Armani suits at Stormont or the Dail. We mean the politics of the street which are created by hunger in the belly and anger in the head. Street politics means our involvement in community action, public demonstrations and self-education. Placing politics at centre stage also means that there is a need for self-education that destroys the myth that victory for our political cause can only come through force of arms. The IRSP states that their can be no military solution to a political problem Ireland’s problem was not a military one in 1922, 1969 and it is not a military problem in 2011. The evil social and economic effects of partition must be challenged by the working class people as a whole.

The primacy of politics means that the IRSP must have a high level of commitment and activism from its members. This means involvement in community issues and a continual presence on the streets. The IRSP must be active and relevant to the ongoing social, political and economic issues in West Belfast and beyond. We live in an era now where conditions have changed. This means our response must change. This does not mean our objective has changed our ultimate goal remains the end to imperialist rule in Ireland and the establishment of a 32-county socialist republic with the working class controlling the means of production, ownership and exchange.

The primacy of politics is essential not just for the Irish Republican Socialist Party but for the Irish working class!

“Understand the past so that we may analyse the present in order to influence the future”
– Vol. Thomas ‘Ta’ Power

Garry O’Ciánain,