The Irish Republican Socialist Party wishes to take this opportunity to send comradely greetings to all our members and supporters as we move into 2011. We particularly would like to extend solidarity to republican socialist prisoners who currently languish in jail for their political beliefs. Throughout our history republican socialist prisoners and ex-prisoners have played an integral role in the advancement of the politics of working class liberation, something that we are all reminded of in the fact that 2011 will see the 30th anniversary of the deaths of the 10 hunger-strikers in 1981. The IRSP also wishes to extend solidarity to all political prisoners internationally who have sacrificed their liberty in the fight against oppression.
This New Year marks the two-year anniversary of the massacre in Gaza, when Israeli forces committed war crimes against a civilian population. And even though two years have passed since then, many Palestinians are still struggling to rebuild their homes and are doing without even basic necessities. This year, when humanitarian workers attempted to break the blockade that ensures Gazans are without basic supplies and medicines, which is described by Amnesty International as a flagrant violation of international law, Israel again committed a bloody massacre. The IRSP extends our most heartfelt solidarity to the Palestinian people for their steadfastness and courage and we salute the effort and sacrifices of those activists who do so much to raise awareness and aid the Palestinians, often at great personal risk. We condemn the Israeli apartheid regime and their American allies, without whom Israel would not be able to commit much of their crimes.
The IRSP extends revolutionary greetings to all those engaged in the struggle for national liberation and socialism. As capitalism and imperialism exert their baneful influence on an international level, so must we organise in a spirit of solidarity and internationalism to combat them. Currently, imperialism and social injustice are being challenged in struggles right across the globe, from Ireland to Mexico, from Greece to the Philippines, from Venezuela to India and elsewhere. The revolutionary struggle for socialism is alive and well and in this context, we can look forward to the year 2011 with great pride and hope. Pride in overcoming the obstacles we have faced so far and hope in the limitless possibilities for working people in the future when they once and for all wrestle what is rightfully theirs from the forces of exploitation.
2010 has been a landmark year in the history of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement. In February, the volunteers of the Irish National Liberation Army made the courageous decision to disarm and assert the primacy of politics. The logic behind this decision was clear. The current prevailing political conditions demand that the struggle for socialism is developed on another terrain. More important than small liberation armies, more potent than simple militarism and more powerful than guns, are our republican socialist politics and the revolutionary potential of the Irish working class. Never should Irish working class people be relegated to the sidelines of their own struggle for emancipation. The socialist soldiers of the INLA must be commended for their mature decision which was made in the interests of working class people and no-one else. They will not be found wanting as our struggle continues.
The INLA’s decision does not represent a change in the politics of the IRSM, but rather an adaption to the conditions we find ourselves in. It remains clear that there is no parliamentary road to socialism, nor is there a guerrilla road to socialism. The building of socialism requires the active participation of the masses. The challenge we now face as revolutionary socialists is to win the hearts and minds of our class and to bring them to our side in the fight for a 32 County Socialist Republic. Never in the history of our movement has successfully meeting that challenge been more important.
The past year has seen the economy in the 26 counties stumble from crisis to crisis. The ‘light-touch’ regulation that is the ethos of capitalist economics has ensured the Southern economy has come crashing down around the ears of politicians, bankers, speculators and developers. But of course, the problem always was much deeper than a couple of millionaires that it suits the media to scapegoat. Let it be said clearly, the problems we have seen in Ireland represent the irreconcilable contradictions that lie at the very heart of the capitalist system. This latest period of crisis has resulted in extremely severe austerity measures being imposed on working class people. While private financial institutions receive billions of our money and bondholders remain protected, the blind, disabled and most vulnerable are left facing savage cuts. The capitalists will do anything, no matter how shameless, to prop up their failing system. The socialist argument is clear. We need a planned economy to avoid the bust and boom lunacy inherent in capitalism. The economy must be built in a sustainable fashion, democratically and in the interests of working people, not financial vultures.
2010 will no-doubt be remembered as the year our sovereignty was further eroded with the arrival of the International Monetary Fund to Ireland. Only a couple of years ago Bertie Ahern was lecturing others about Ireland’s economic success story, and the proponents of capitalism were pointing to Ireland as an example of how to get it right. How wrong they were. With these illusions now firmly shattered, it will not be Bertie Ahern or any bank directors with their extremely lavish pensions, who will be suffering. It will be, and is, ordinary families and communities suffering the consequences of this bust and boom system. With the IMF now involved, judging by their record elsewhere, the future does look bleak. The fightback has to begin and we have seen encouraging signs on that front. The upcoming general election will no doubt take the eyes of the working class away from the real problem temporarily, but it is our role to offer leadership and to ensure people know exactly where the blame should be placed for our economic woes, that is, with the capitalist system itself.
In the occupied 6 counties we now face a disastrous situation whereby Westminster, through it’s puppet-parliament in Stormont, will be implementing savage cuts against working class people. The so-called ‘Peace Process’ has turned out to be little more than a political process through which working class people have suffered a major defeat and sectarian politics rules the day. The 6 county governmental system is an affront to democracy or even any semblance of progression. The parties that make up the Stormont administration, despite frequent displays of tokenism and rhetoric, will be fully implementing the cuts imposed by the Tory Party in London. Stormont represents a sectarian stalemate and the only result of it will be increasing numbers of people facing destitution. This situation cannot be let continue, it must be challenged and the IRSP intend to do just that.
It is undeniable that what we face now is an open class struggle. We must fightback against the ruling class in the Dáil, Stormont, Westminster and in our workplaces. Working class people are looking for leadership and they will not find it in reformist trade unionists, gombeen politicians or social democratic opportunists. It is the role of socialists to organise, educate and radicalise people and although a tough struggle lies ahead we must face it with great determination and conviction. It is the capacity of the working class for action, especially its most advanced layers, which are the most fundamental elements of a successful struggle against capitalism. Tactics are secondary considerations; let us together develop the appropriate tactics for our specific historical conditions. The fight against capitalism and imperialist occupation, whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine or Ireland, continues.
Onwards to victory!