|32 County Sovereignty Movement
|The Sovereign Nation
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This is a very useful addition to the Archive, and many thanks to ‘Spailpín’ for allowing us to scan materials from his collection.
The Sovereign Nation/An náisiún ceannasach, The Republican Voice is a 12 page large format printed publication from the 32 County Sovereignty Movement from earlier this year. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement was established in 1997 by Republicans opposed to the approach of Sinn Féin in regard to the peace process. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement does not operate as a political party or contest elections, and one member, Gary Donnelly has been elected to Derry & Strabane Council as an independent. Members of the 32 CSM strenuously deny any connection with the Real IRA which was formed during the same period.
The newspaper has a broad range of articles, ranging from one on the ‘PSF/Haas Talks Amounts to Stormont Collapse’, an opinion piece from Malachy Steenson, and the cover article on ‘Bloody Sunday: Thousands march for justice’. There are short pieces on ‘British Army recruitment posters pulled down’ and ‘The 32 County Sovereignty Movement welcomes home Martin Corey and Stephen Murney’, both of them republican activists released from prison. There’s also mention of an Anti-Internment protest in Temple Bar ‘to highlight the ongoing internment of Irish Republicans’.
The editorial, under the heading ‘The Sovereign Nation’ argues that:
The essential ingredient of any revolutionary struggle is the ability to communicate its core tenets and political programme.
And it argues that:
Each distinct phase of our struggle has produced a newspaper to reflect the contemporary thinking in the historical lineage. Each phase required a voice as a mark of distinction from the established order.
And it continues:
As technology evolved into more sophisticated means of communications so too did the political and propaganda messages they conveyed. Crude censorship evolved into insidious revisionism. Calls for freedom were replaced with calls for equality within the status quo. The term peace was prostituted to sanitise the term sell out. In line with this change has also changed the focus of republican newspapers; they are now the official voice of policy. The national conversations are now the preserve of the internet but the topics for those conversations are now the preserve of republican newspapers.
And it posits that:
The political message of republican activism must be focussed through republican newspapers as a prelude to dissemination throughout electronic media. For the 32 County Sovereignty Movement The Sovereign Nation is now that hub.
Another piece of particular interest is the Chairman’s Address from the 32 County Sovereignty Movement Ard Fheis 2013.
In this he argues that:
The two great challenges that face Irish Republicanism today are relevance and our ability to deliver it. These represent challenges because they involved change and reorganisation.
One particularly intriguing quote is the following under the heading ‘Political Programme’:
There is no social utopia nor utopian method of achieving one. A political programme is not a list of aspirations but a plan of actio based upon our abilities to pursue and implement them.
Later it suggests that:
The current economic and financial crisis has taught us some very telling lessons. To squander these lessons with a rant against capitalism is to miss the lessons it is teaching us. Where was socialism when capitalism was in crisis? Is this a mirror image of where is Republicanism when Good Friday is in crisis? And just as we are perceived as being negative so too is socialism. Socialism is indelibly linked with failure. It is linked to dictatorship, censorship, social enslavement and economic deprivation. We may not like to hear these truths; we may prefer our rants against capitalism, but the absence of any meaningful expression of socialist discontent in the midst of this crisis speaks volumes.
And we can immerse ourselves in abstract debates on the history of socialism and pat ourselves on the back when we invent a new ism as a comfort blanket but we do so at the cost of even further isolation.
And he concludes this point with the following:
We cannot build a political programme predicated on having to explain failure. We cannot go into our communities offering change on the back of outdated slogans. We cannot resurrect past conflicts as a means of making our solutions look more relevant than what they actually are for today’s problems. We either take our objective and policies into modernity or we go home. No more glorious defeats. No more keeping the flame aglow. No more workers utopia. No more populist electoralism.