The Republican Network for Unity extends Easter Greetings to our membership, supporters and fellow revolutionary republicans in other organizations. We offer salutations and solidarity to fellow revolutionaries internationally and we pledge to support all those those who continue to struggle for National liberation and Socialism.
Easter is a time when republicans across this nation gather in graveyards and at monuments to remember our patriot dead, a time when we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit and eventual re-establishment of the socialist republic that so many have fought and perished to attain. Easter ought not only be a time of remembrance though, it must also be a time when we gauge how far we have come in the previous year and where we pledge ourselves to the achievement of our goals in the year to come.
In the 97 years since an exercise in republican unity took armed and politically motivated men onto the streets of Dublin to fight an empire, the republican movement has triumphed, been destroyed, rebuilt itself, tore itself to pieces and rebuilt itself again more times than we care to remember. If we as pragmatic and progressive republicans to do not radically change our methods then we are doomed to repeat this cycle of failure again and again.
Ireland today is an entirely different place than it was 100 years ago, indeed it is has become almost unrecognizable in the last 20 years. The advance of the technology of personal isolation, the breaking down of communities and the growth of anti social behavior on our streets has led to a whole new set of challenges for our movement. Rampant consumerism encouraged by predatory capitalism has fundamentally reoriented the politics of revolutionary republicanism.
The breakdown of our communities has torn the heart out of Irish society. The politics of Thatcher have invaded our country and poisoned the political elite both North and South. The Green unionists in the Fine Gael led coalition in the 26 counties have gleefully adopted the Tory politics of David Cameron. The British colonial administration in Stormont has pathetically aped the right wing posturing of their mother parliament in the slavish implementation of aggressive anti working class and anti community policies.
This Easter not only marks the 97th anniversary of the Rising but also the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The signing of this agreement and its acceptance by a once revolutionary political grouping caused massive shockwaves amongst our community. Many felt elated, certain that after so much conflict and loss, a dignified political agreement had been reached; many others were wary, unsure of what the future held.
A small but significant section of republicanism was absolutely opposed to any such agreement realizing that any such deal was meant to sidestep the issue of sovereignty not resolve it. The 1998 Anglo Irish agreement has been a backward step for Irish republicans; its acceptance has left the revolutionary movement in a worse place than it was 15 years ago. Sectarianism has been institutionalized; the 26 county administration signed away their claim to sovereignty with no reciprocal measures by the British. The Unionist veto was further strengthened with the acceptance of the consent principal and the doors of “Northern Ireland PLC” were opened to international capitalism to further exploit our working class people.
Republicans were sold the myth than any return to Stormont would be to undermine it from within. We were promised the de politicization of policing and justice and the end of the British army in Ireland. We were promised the retention of the revolutionary army fully intact. Republicans were promised a socialist alternative to the failed politics right wing of direct rule.
Even the staunchest nationalist supporter of the agreement must admit that nothing we were promised has come to pass. Constitutional nationalists have bent over backwards to keep Stormont afloat. A highly political security apparatus, spearheaded by Mi5, presides over a heavily armed and aggressively anti republican police force.
The justice department acts in a highly political manner and is little more than a local rubberstamp for the wishes of the British secretary of state; the cases of Martin Corey, Marian Price, Ta McWilliams and Gary Adams are stark examples of this reality.
The British army is back in the skies and on our streets in a covert capacity, thousands remain in their barracks waiting to deploy at a moment’s notice. The revolutionary army was destroyed, disarmed and disbanded at the request of Unionism. The politics of direct rule are given a local flavor and then implemented in their entirety.
In the 26 counties the right-wing coalition presides over some of the most draconian so called justice legislation anywhere in the world, interning political activists on remand on bogus membership charges or political frame ups as in the case of Michael McKevitt. Their refusal to act in a reasonable manner in demanding the repatriation of Michael Campbell from his nightmare in a Lithuanian hell hole speaks volumes as regards their concern about their citizens.
However, revolutionary republicanism is far from dead, while heavily armed British police and soldiers defend their political wing in Westminster and Stormont; armed republicans are defending Irish sovereignty on our streets and in our fields. Whilst the political elite in both states in Ireland are implementing poverty inducing measure in our communities: revolutionary republicans are on the ground, standing shoulder to shoulder with the people to intervene in a meaningful manner on their behalves.
The Republican Network for Unity believe that Easter is a time for reflection and a time to reaffirm our commitment to effecting real and irreversible political change in Ireland, a political change that will finally cherish all the children of this nation equally.