At the beginning of a new year, éirígí takes this opportunity to thank its members and supporters for the commitment and energy they have displayed throughout 2009. Their sterling work across Ireland has inspired many others to become involved in the struggle for national, economic and social freedom.
éirígí rededicates itself to the achievement of a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic.
As we enter a new decade it is appropriate to review the first decade of the new millennium.
Just ten years ago, global capitalism was positioned in a seemingly impregnable position – with all alternatives being widely rubbished as historical failures. Within the first two years of the new millennium, the world’s only superpower, the United States, embarked upon a massive political, economic and military offensive under the shabby pretext of a ‘War on Terror’.
In truth, this ‘war’ was only an extension of the decades-old US policy designed to impose a single socio-economic model upon all the nations of the Earth – a capitalist model which would allow private corporations access to vast reserves of natural resources and expanding markets.
Eight years after the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, millions of human beings lie dead and the lives of tens of millions more have destroyed. For the people of both countries, the prospects for future peace, stability and justice remain bleak.
By 2007, the first signs of a global recession which would engulf the world were appearing. For billions of people across the globe the last two years of the decade were dominated by fear, uncertainty and dramatic reductions in their standards of living, as the capitalist system entered an inevitable cyclical contraction.
In these darkest of times, however, the light of freedom continued to shine. In the opening years of the new millennium, the resistance of the Palestinian people during the second Intifada, the commencement of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, the continuation of the Cuban revolution and the world-wide mass movement against the Iraq war demonstrated the unquenchable human desire for freedom and justice.
As the decade progressed, resistance to US-imposed political and economic systems spread across the globe. Nearly every country in South America rejected the calamitous economic policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other US controlled bodies. For the first time in decades, the potential for a continent-wide revolution now exists. That it does so in the virtual backyard of the US is all the more inspiring.
In other parts of the globe too, in Europe, Asia, Africa and within the US itself there have been many positive developments as people have begun to organise multi-fronted opposition to twenty-first century capitalism.
Ireland has been far from immune from the global developments of the last decade. At the dawn of the millennium, it appeared that the British strategy of Ulsterisation, Normalisation and Criminalisation was as close to fruition as it had ever been. Through the framework of the Good Friday Agreement it appeared that the British government had succeeded in finally consolidating both partition and the British occupation of the Six Counties.
Ten years later, it is clear that the process of normalisation of the Six Counties has now peaked. Indeed, this process is now crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.
The deployment of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment on Irish soil, the firing of plastic bullets, the use of 28-day detention, the widespread use of ‘stop and search’ powers, the continued use of non-jury Diplock courts and the increasing militarisation of the PSNI all demonstrate the completely abnormal nature of the Six County state.
In parallel to this overt abnormality, the fundamentally sectarian nature of the Six Counties also remains unchanged. Nationalists remain two-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than their unionist counterparts and, in some parts of the North, make up over 80 per cent of those on the housing waiting list. Stormont is today as incapable of delivering freedom, justice and prosperity as it was in 1921.
In the Twenty-Six Counties, the last decade has seen the myth of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ exposed for the artificial debt-driven bubble that is was. Within three short years the population in the Twenty-Six Counties have seen their standards of living and prospects for the future collapse.
After decades of a deeply-flawed ‘social partnership’ between the business class, the state and the trade union leadership, the prospect of class war is now openly back on the agenda.
In its most recent budget, the Dublin government has, in effect, declared war on workers and the poor. The establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties appear to believe that the young, the old, the disabled, the unemployed and working people should collectively pay for the greed of the wealthy and powerful.
In the Six Counties, Britain’s puppet administration at Stormont also appears to believe that most vulnerable should pay for the excesses of the most privileged. The Six-County executive has already agreed to cuts of tens of millions of pounds in public services. These cuts will be exacerbated as the British government reviews its stipend to the Six-County state in the coming year.
Across Ireland, more than half a million workers are without work, while tens of thousands more face the prospect of forced emigration. This is the unpalatable reality of a society and a system that has been carefully designed to protect profit margins at the expense of its population.
But, as in so many other places, the working people of Ireland are beginning to realise that they alone can and will protect the interests of their families and communities. Workers at Visteon, Waterford Crystal, Thomas Cook and the Dublin docks have shown that workers have the means at their disposal to fight back.
2010 begins with a world in crisis environmentally, economically and politically. But the myths of the recent past have been exploded. No economic system can provide extreme wealth for the few without taking from the many. And the will of a people to be free cannot be contained by force, treaty, deception or bribery.
The last decade has also shown that there can be no decent future for the majority without struggle and a willingness to fight for that which is right – even when the price of that struggle may be high.
As 2010 dawns Ireland, more than ever, needs a radical mass movement that will represent one class in society – the working people – and which will adopt but one attitude to the British occupation – that of uncompromising active resistance.
For its part éirígí remains fully committed to playing an active role in that mass movement for the achievement of justice and freedom in Ireland.