The Irish counter-revolution in 2016
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The article below is taken from the latest issue of the Socialist Democracy bulletin. I think it’s an excellent article, although I disagree that the mantle of 1916 is irrelevant.
Words can’t describe the dreadful shambles of the 1916 centenary commemorations. At the heart of each new farce is the assertion of cultural and political relativism. The Citizen Army revolutionaries are the same as the constitutional nationalist Redmond who denounced them, as the British troops who shelled them, as the UVF sectarians who armed against an Irish democracy.
The Irish capitalist class presents this cultural stew because they are overcome with embarrassment and revulsion, forced to commemorate something they despise. They would much rather be drinking tea with the British royal family or selling off housing stock to vulture capitalists.
Because, after all, the main thing about the rebellion was that it was defeated. It sparked off broader struggles in Ireland that were eventually defeated. Those in charge of the centenary are not the inheritors of the revolution, but its gravediggers.
One outcome of the counter-revolution is that many of those claiming to be the opponents of the governing parties today have great trouble in applying the revolutionary message of 1916 today.
The rebels rose against imperialism, yet today imperialism is so deeply entrenched that it is invisible.
The Troika carries out regular inspections. The ECB and IMF issue warnings and instructions. In the midst of a housing famine NAMA sells off resources at knock down prices to vulture capitalists – a grotesque 21st century version of theabsentee landlord.
Yet in the 2016 elections the platforms of all the candidates were based on the assumption that any alliance that could command a Dail majority would be free to direct the Irish economy – just as the Greek government was allowed to control their economy!
Sinn Fein tries to claim ownership of the Rising while claiming that the Somme has the same significance in Irish history and voting funds for imperialist triumphalism by Unionism in the North. There they tell us that local autonomy will eventually lead to prosperity
The task of socialists today is not to squabble and claim the mantle of 1916. The task today is to face up to the Irish counter-revolution in 2016.
A new revolutionary movement would recognize that change is a thousand times more likely to come from occupying the GPO than occupying the Dail, and turn away from mindless reformism and electoralism to-wards the direct organization of the working class. An independent working class party must be built if the reconquest of Ireland – the Socialist Republic – is to be achieved.
“We are out for Ireland for the Irish. But who are the Irish? Not the rack-renting, slum-owning landlord; not the sweating, profit-grinding capitalist; not the sleek and oily lawyer; not the prostitute pressman – the hired liars of the enemy. Not these are the Irish upon whom the future depends. Not these, but the Irish working class, the only secure foundation upon which a free nation can be reared.” – James Connolly.
Posted on May 6, 2016, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Provos - then and now, Revolutionary figures, sectarianism, Workers rights. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Irish counter-revolution in 2016.
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