32 County Sovereignty Movement
Mo Chairde,
The 32CSM would like to thank all of you for attending and all who travelled from near and far to be here. We send solidarity greetings to fellow Republicans and to all those who struggle against oppression and Imperialism. We would also like to pay special tribute to our honorary National Secretary Marian Price who may be absent here today, interned in a British cell but who is always in our thoughts.
It has been nearly 100 years since the Irish Volunteers and their comrades in the Irish Citizens Army marched out in unison to declare a Republic and to defend it through any means necessary. We are here today to remember their sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who died struggling to realize that aim.
The past 100 years have seen many changes, however the underlying political problems which motivated the men who marched out that April morning remain. The twin presence of imperialism and capitalism continue to cast a long shadow over the lives of the Irish people. Republicans stand here today continuing to defy those who demand submission.
The past year has highlighted the extent to which the six county state remains an outpost of British oppression. We have seen the continuing harassment of Republican families, the return of the supergrass system, internment and the inhumane treatment of Republican prisoners in British jails. The targeting of our families has shown up the PSNI as the inheritors of the RUC’s shameful legacy.
Children are being brought into a political conflict, not through the actions of Republicans but by the trauma they have suffered at the hands of the PSNI. The searching of children as young as five and six has been admitted as a regular occurrence by this police force that we are expected to embrace as one which is here to defend our community. The actions of the PSNI have not only resulted in a new generation rejecting their presence it has also shown that no British force in Ireland will ever be utilized for anything other than to repress dissent.
The 32CSM challenges those who defend these servants of the crown, to explain what Republican argument exists that defends the right of the PSNI to traumatise children and harass activists promoting the Republican political message.
The return of supergrass trials is a timely reminder that little has changed in the six counties. Old tactics are being revived despite being totally discredited and contrary to the very notion of due process. Although these efforts have so far been aimed at Loyalists it is obvious that should they prove useful they will then be utilized against Republicans. The 32CSM stands resolutely against this system of paid perjury.
As in the case of Marian Price the British government have already proved that should there be no case to answer in court then they will dispense with the judicial process. Internment is alive in 2012 and its victims are filling the wings of Maghaberry prison. Marian has been interned now for the best part of a year in isolation for her political opposition to the Stormont regime.
She was intended to serve as an example by the British, a warning to all who dare challenge their right to rule in Ireland. Instead Marian stands today as an inspiration to all who refuse to bend the knee in the face of oppression. The 32CSM will continue to rally around Marian and we urge all Republicans to do likewise. We also send greetings to the prisoners on protest in Maghaberry. They have shown that in the words of Volunteer Bobby Sands “They have nothing in their whole imperialist arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who refuses to be broken.”
The prisoners in Maghaberry are standing by the Republican position. This is the same position that the 32CSM has always stood by, that the Republican struggle is a legitimate political one whose adherents will not be criminalised. The 32CSM has since our inception put forward a consistent and logical political argument. We believe that the fundamental source of conflict in Ireland remains the violation of Irish Sovereignty through the occupation of the six counties. As such all our actions, positions and future endeavours are underpinned by the reality of the occupation.
In the past two years there has been a clamour of numerous individuals, religious figures and political personalities rushing to call for Republicans to engage in dialogue. They have presented Republicans as unwilling to talk or as criminals devoid of any political argument. This is a distortion of history and an attempt to mask their true intentions. The 32CSM has sent our policy positions which are publicly available to all political parties In Ireland. No one can claim that we have failed to make public our position. Those seeking to engage in dialogue with Republicans have given no basis for which such talks should take place. This is because they have no intention of addressing the core issues of the conflict.
The narrative that is being peddled by the establishment is one of Republican violence and refusal to engage politically with the Stormont regime. Republicans however have consistently pointed to the British presence as the source of conflict. The only legitimate basis for engaging in discussion is to talk about the removal of the occupation. Other secondary issues can then be engaged with as outlined in our policy.
Today we say to the British government, their allies in Stormont and those calling for dialogue, the IRA are not the source of conflict, they are a response to an illegal occupying force. The suppression of republican political activists by the state is no accident. They seek to undermine the political nature of Republicanism. They fear our argument not only because it is consistent but because there is no way to accommodate it within the occupation. Republicans cannot and will not engage with the institutions of partition and those who do have no right to claim the label Republicans.
We are fast approaching the centenary of the Easter Rising; however next year will mark 100 years since the 1913 strike and lockout. In 1913 it was Irish capitalists supported by the British government supressing the working class. Capitalist oppression has no limitations of nationality. These coming years should be a time for Republicans to reflect on the social struggle and its intertwining with the goal of national liberation.
Irish Republicans have not always given the social struggle its proper place within the wider movement. This has been to the detriment of our cause and has seen us too willing to make compromises which have betrayed the working class from which we draw our support. The 32CSM has committed itself to the establishment of a sovereign Republic. We accept the analysis of James Connolly, that without the twin destruction of Capitalism and Imperialism in Ireland then there can never be true freedom.
The inescapable conclusion for all Republicans must be that just as Imperialism is politically bankrupt so is Capitalism morally bankrupt. We do not believe that replacing the union jack with a tricolour will be a sufficient resolution for the ordinary people of Ireland. We also recognize the reformist and anti-revolutionary nature of constitutional nationalism. They will wrap themselves with the green flag whilst enacting Tory and IMF cuts. Whilst we recognize the integral role of the class struggle in National liberation we lament the failure of the broader socialist movement to recognize that without the removal of British occupation there will be no defeat of Capitalism.
The 32CSM understands that these are not easy times to be a Republican. We firmly believe that we have a solid framework available that provides for a New and better society in Ireland. We have placed ourselves at the heart of our communities to better defend their interests. We feel that increasingly republicans are faced with the option of doing what is right or doing what is easy. The unavoidable conclusion to reach when looking at former comrades in Stormont is that there is simply no constitutional path to a United Ireland.
In the coming months we will be expanding upon our social program and we ask all 32CSM activists and supporters to give their input into this effort. We salute the continued resistance efforts by the volunteers of the IRA, their courage and resilience in the face of such odds stands as an example to all Republicans. We urge all of you to go from here today and to continue your activism on the streets and in our communities. We will continue to grow and our message will continue to serve as an opposition to those who urge conformity instead of resistance, subservience instead of revolution and slavery instead of freedom.
Onwards to a Sovereign Republic.
Beir Bua