|Organisation:||Irish Republican Socialist Party|
|Publication:||The Starry Plough [IRSP]|
|Collection:||1916 Easter Rising: Anniversaries and Commemorations|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
|Subjects:||1916 Easter Rising Northern Ireland Assembly Election, 2007 Shannon Airport (Military Use)|
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This is a very useful addition to the Archive, and many thanks to “Spáilpín” for allowing us to scan materials from his collection. There are many more documents to be posted from there, including one’s from groups and parties hitherto unrepresented in the Archive.
This document goes some way towards filling the gap in the Archive in relation to materials from the Irish Republican Socialist Party in the 1990s and 2000s. Printed in 2007 as a 91st Anniversary of the Easter Rising Commemorative Edition, this A4 32 page document covers a broad range of issues. These include Shannon Airport, an analysis of the then recent Election, Political Prisoners, North Belfast Housing, Reformism and Policing and Marx and Ireland Today.
With such a varied content it is perhaps best to focus primarily on the editorial which focuses on the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. Through the use of copious quotation from political and media sources it notes that by 2006 even the Irish Times ‘the leading newspaper in Ireland’ had declared that the GFA/BA was not working and ‘maybe the inescapable conclusion is that it is never going to work’. It notes the efforts by the London government in particular to keep the process alive. And it also notes that:
For the Provisional leadership the most contentious issue in the St. Andrews Agreement is the pledge to support the PSNI, MI5 and court system. On 28 January 2007, a SF are Fheis made a ‘historic’ decision to support the PSN and the criminal justice system; appoint party representatives to the Policing Board and District Policing Partnership Boards; and actively encourage everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice institutions.
It notes that the ‘deal between SF and the DUP on May 8th is no guarantee of a positive outcome and, even if there is a deal to share power on that day, there is no guarantee that it will last.’.
And it points to ‘fundamental contradictions’ in that for republicans ‘the Agreement is not a deal; it is part of a process’ whereas for Unionists ‘the Agreement is a settlement’. And the editorial appears to implicitly agree with the concluding line that ‘there remains a split in the interpretation of the Agreement by the two communities which is fundamental enough to bring it down’.
There are many aspects of the magazine that are of interest, including the announcement that the Ard Comhairle of the IRSP has supported the establishment of a media department to address ‘problems’ in relation to the publication of the Starry Plough and ensure that there are four issues published each year ‘to make sure the IRSP political message gets to the heart of working class communities across the island’.
There are also pieces on IRSP protests against RUC/PSNI in West Belfast and from the Republican Socialist Youth Movement. There’s an interesting analysis of the elections which notes that:
There was little joy for anti-policing candidates or indeed candidates form the left. Below we print their votes. It makes sorry reading.
There is the first and second part of a series on ‘Understanding the Irish Peace Process’ and ‘The Belfast Agreement and After’ by Xabier Jiminez and Liam O Ruairc
John Martin writes on the last page of the magazine that:
For the IRSP the alternative is very clearly set out not only in the writings of great socialist republicans and Marxists like James Connolly but in the radical writings of many Marxists. It is certainly not by trying to restart a war against Imperialism. That is the road to despair and defeat. Those who either argue for or try to carry on armed struggle at this time are no friends of the Irish working class.
Nor is the way forward helped by trying to recreate the Provisionals agenda only with ‘true republicans’in the leadership. The failure of Provo strategy was not leadership based but policy based. And it is only politics and for us that is class politics that will transform this island.
The alternative is to build a revolutionary based movement prepared to fight elections in all parts of the island, lead mass struggles, win support in the trade unions and energised the youth to see the relevance of socialist ideas and rescue republicanism from its identification with ‘catholic’ politics.
There are no short cuts. The way forward may be difficult and there are many obstacles not least our own inhibitions and lack of political education. But if we remain principled, flexible and do the work of winning the working class to socialist ideas and policies then we gradually turn this period of downturn in the overall struggle into the beginning of a new upsurge in mass struggle.