We commend our activists for their dedication and hard work in pursuit of the republican goal in 2009. We commend all other republican activists for being true to their beliefs and for being generous and inventive in listening to the beliefs of others. 2009 was a year which witnessed that inventiveness being translated into political action which was widely recognised throughout the republican base. It represented the most potent expression of solidarity with imprisoned comrades. It is solidarity in action with those who were bereaved in the struggle. It is also the way forward for Irish republicanism.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement has a clear vision for the year ahead. The reclamation of our sovereignty must take real form. We must give leadership to our communities to help them achieve this. Throughout Ireland communities have been betrayed by the institutions of faith, finance and state which have long purported to speak and act on their behalf. The abundance of trust placed in the integrity of individual leaders has proved misplaced. They have been left leaderless.
They have not, however, been left powerless. It is in recognition of this reality that the 32CSM will now engage with our communities. In a disciplined approach the 32CSM will liase directly with local communities to explore ways of reclaiming their sovereignty, and under these auspices, help them pursue their political and social objectives. We will focus our efforts in ensuring that all community activity will by default be a pursuit toward national sovereignty. Such a process will be a challenge to both states. It is a first step in filling the vacuum left by those who are now wholly subsumed into the apparatus of partition.
Communities so organised can become the template for national freedom. The republican objective is twofold; to secure our sovereign independence and to organise a just society within that independence. Like our republican forebears we can now enact our aspirations, we can involve our people with our beliefs in real and tangible terms. Republicanism cannot be detached from the people and the people cannot be detached from the strategies deployed to secure their freedom. We can only lead through democratic involvement with our communities.
Because it is a first step it must be taken with due diligence. We have prepared our arguments and are refining our position as mandated at our Ard Fheis. It will be democratic. It will be a learning process which will require discipline, patience and pragmatic political judgement. Republicans cannot interact at a distance. We need to create a new interface between ourselves and our people which will allow us to seek their mandate for our struggle. This mandate will not be measured by a gerrymandered vote. Its value will be in its democratic integrity and its sovereign credentials. For us the ballot box means more than just numbers. Democracy can only be returned to the Irish people when their national sovereignty is recognised.
Because it is a challenge to the state the state will obviously respond. Mistakes will be made, but also learned from, and it is this disciplined approach which will allow for this engagement to spread successfully to other areas. In part the success of this project may be gauged from the state’s reaction to it. They will not be alone. Establishment Nationalists will also have a vested interest in seeing this project fail. They will seek to divide and conquer. But a clear understanding as to the implications of its sovereign distinction and clear democratic practices will thwart them. After all it was disdain for democracy within their own organisations which led them into the cul de sac they now find themselves.
The 32CSM will be active on other fronts. Two major international initiatives will be launched in the coming year. We have observed how issues at play on the international stage are geared toward political events in the occupied six counties. We have made our intentions known to the relevant governments that we are determined to follow a particular path challenging any move that would seek to de-legitimise the republican struggle. These initiatives are for the benefit of Irish republicanism, we will not claim sole ownership of them. But we will provide the leadership that will open up counter arguments for all republicans to employ against these nefarious measures.
Republican unity in 2009 resulted in impressive demonstrations on a range of issues. The continuing media and political demonising of republicans is proof of their effect as is their grudging admission of our growth. The media and political establishment’s objective is to ignore us but through mutual cooperation we have made this impossible. In the coming year this cooperation can be galvanised within our communities as these issues now become their issues in pursuit of our national objectives.
The British Government’s strategy of finally destroying any vestige of republicanism within the provisional movement will not be allowed to undermine the separatist ideal. A resurgent republicanism will demonstrate to both governments and the international community that the destruction of the provisional movement was the liberation of Irish republicanism. It is up to all of us to ensure that 2010 clearly demonstrates this reality.