éirígí takes the opportunity of the New Year to recognise and pay tribute to all those who supported the struggle for a free Ireland in 2011. As the New Year dawns, éirígí also wishes to restate its commitment to the overthrow of the British occupation of the Six Counties and the capitalist socio-economic system which exists on both sides the border.
For millions of people across Ireland 2011 will be remembered as a year of cutbacks, austerity, unemployment, emigration, poverty and despair. As the global capitalist crisis deepened the ruling class in both states intensified their attacks upon the weakest in society, determining that the many should pay for the greed of the few.
Willing fools in Leinster House and Stormont happily implemented the anti-social dictates of their respective masters in Berlin, Washington and London. By their actions the administrations in both failed statelets have committed a great wrong against the people of Ireland; burdening this and future generations with untold debts and deprivation. And all in order to protect the ruling elite of financiers, property developers, bankers and politicians.
2011 saw the British state attempt to further increase its malign influence in Ireland. In the Six Counties Britain’s paramilitary police continued with their campaign of harassment and intimidation of the nationalist community in general and republican activists in particular. House raids, stop and search, batons and plastic bullets were all used to intimidate and attack those who continue to resist the occupation. These activities by the PSNI provided yet more proof of the irreformable nature of British policing in Ireland. éirígí again calls on those who claimed that such reform was possible to accept the reality of the situation and withdraw their support for Britain’s paramilitary police and Britain’s legal system.
In a year that saw the thirtieth anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike remembered across the world the British government continued to attempt to treat republican political prisoners as criminals, resulting in an entirely predictable and justified protest by those same prisoners. éirígí reaffirms its support for the protesting prisoners in Maghaberrry Jail in 2012 and calls upon the administrations in Stormont and Westminster to grant them full political status immediately.
In the Twenty-Six Counties éirígí was to the fore of organising opposition to the state visit of Elizabeth Windsor. That opposition forced the Dublin government to mount the largest security operation in living memory, including the lock-down of much of Dublin city for up to a week. Despite the hype of the state and corporate media, the parading of Windsor through a sterile ghost city did little but reinforce the very abnormal nature of relations between Britain and Ireland. Those who joined the street protests and wider campaign of opposition to the Windsor visit followed in the footsteps of Connolly and Markievicz, who in their time led opposition to the last visit to Dublin by a British monarch. For their bravery and discipline in the face of ample provocation they are to be commended.
Internationally the struggle against the tyranny of imperialism, the markets and neo-liberalism gained much ground over the last twelve months. Countless millions across the globe took to the streets to challenge their respective ruling elites, providing real hope for the possibility of a global fight back. In the United States, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere mass demonstrations and industrial action gave a glimpse of the possibilities that a global mass movement for justice could produce. Recognising the need for a global socialist solution to a global capitalist problem, éirígí takes the opportunity to send New Year’s solidarity greetings to all of those who fight against intolerance, discrimination and exploitation.
With Britain in control of the Six Counties and the IMF/EU/ECB in control of the Twenty-Six Counties all of Ireland is now under an effective foreign occupation for the first time in almost a century. What could not be achieved with tanks and guns has now been realised with treaties and bailouts. The agenda of these joint occupations is clear – the creation of a deeply unjust neo-liberal political, social and economic order – an order which will see an ever increasing amount of power and wealth concentrated into the hands of an ever decreasing number of people.
As 2012 begins the need for a reinvigorated Irish revolutionary republican movement has never been greater. The ideas at the core of Irish republicanism are as relevant today as they were when they first emerged in the 1790s. The vision of a free Ireland governed by the people for the people stands in stark contrast to the partitioned, occupied and deeply unequal Ireland of today. A new all-Ireland Democratic Socialist Republic represents the only viable and sustainable alternative to the division, poverty and chaos that the current system has produced.
The building of a popular movement that will deliver such a new republic is already underway. Over the coming twelve months éirígí intends to accelerate that build, by increasing its campaigns of active opposition to the British and IMF/EU/ECB occupations.
éirígí encourages those republicans who have withdrawn from active struggle to reconsider their position as a new year begins. The Irish people have rarely faced greater challenges than those that currently confront them. Your skills, experience and heart are badly needed at this juncture in our history. And to those who have never been active in struggle éirígí extends an invite to join with us in taking a stand against occupation and injustice. Together we can build a revolutionary republican movement capable of creating a new all-Ireland state – one which will genuinely guarantee the political, social and economic rights of all, regardless of their gender, religion or race.