What we lost in the subjugation of the Irish people, of Irish culture and of Irish economic potential is yet to be regained. Connolly outlines this simple: ‘“The conquest of Ireland had meant the social and political servitude of the Irish masses, and therefore the re-conquest of Ireland must mean the social as well as the political independence from servitude of every man, woman and child in Ireland.”’
The ancient enemy of Irish liberty has been the British state and the actions of the British state. But what actions did the occupation of Ireland by the British represent? What if the consequences of British occupation are evident today but as consequences of a new occupation?
Much like in the pre-1922 period, the masses in Ireland which are no longer exclusively Irish are subject to the power of finance capital emanating from the United States, the European Union and the British State. We are subject to the horrendous exploitation enabled through the triple layer of imperialism that has been created in Ireland. Ireland exists as a military base, be it via Shannon or through direct military occupation in the 6 counties, Ireland exists as a tax haven with thousands of shell companies registering here to avoid payment of tax, Ireland exists as a place that vulture funds and other financial monsters can churn a profit on the misery of the people of Ireland.
Ireland exists, if at all it exists to facilitate the continued growth of elite for a class of super wealthy circles which have no interest in the common person working wherever they may work. We are their indentured serfs, much like we were when the British state forcefully garrisoned barracks in every corner of this country and continued to disposes the Irish people of their wealth. Ireland exists as a land of opportunity with those who are ready to exploit, steal and generously enrich themselves through the impoverishment of the people in Ireland.
The method by which we are conquered and kept subject has changed, yet the outcome and ultimate consequence is virtually identical. In the past, the British state used crude military force as well as the deprived nationalist middle class to keep the masses broken or content. Today, the ruling classes through alliance with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the Green Party continue to rob and despoil the workers of Ireland of their wealth. How and in which way?
Through shifting alliances and various reasons for forming governments this cluster of parties has consistently bound the fate of Ireland European capital, European legislation and European executive authority. What is further is that these parties have consistently refused to break with the EU and by this refusal, have continued, like their middle class land owning class traitor predecessors to fight for the sovereignty of Ireland and its people.
We have been prostituted for a few shiny pennies to the world and have received nothing but pain in return. Our people die on the street as we watch the media talk of a Celtic Phoenix and a recovery. The struggle to sell, undermine, outsource and privatize everything continues at a pace comparably only to the destruction of Socialism in the East. Even the humble benefits that social democracy once delivered are being stripped away.
The slumlords have returned, the workhouses are before us and our people are dying. The left wing political movements that exist, be they Trotskyist cults or Sinn Feinn have re-organised their political programs to represent success in the electoral field rather than the demand laid forth by Connolly: the ‘taking possession of the entire country, all its power of wealth production and its natural resources, and organising these on a co-operative basis for the good of all’. This and this alone would represent the ‘reconquest of Ireland’ from our jailors and oppressors, this and this alone would be our liberation.
As a result of this angling for electoral success and re-orientation of political demands, political work in itself has become representative of the timid political demands in themselves. Canvassing and lobbying or something that I would prefer to simply call begging are the go-to strategies for the ‘left’ in Ireland.
There can be no peace made between the oppressed and oppressor, we are at war and will continue to be at war until one side capitulates definitively. There can be no deals struck and no bargains signed, Labour must begin to gain moment and under the leading theoretical principles of Communism strike at the heart of the capitalist class. The Irish Communist movement must show leadership in the battle against capital through action guided by revolutionary theory. Socialism will not come through casting a vote tomorrow, but through the intensification of workplace, housing and community orientated struggles and the sharpening of class contradictions.
We, Communists are not in this for some form of respite for our class, we are in our struggle to triumph and reconquer Ireland with the sole objective being the complete elimination of the parasitic and criminal ruling class. Our vision, is the vision of James Connolly.
“...the objective aimed at is to establish, in the minds of men and women of Ireland, the necessity of giving effective expression, politically and socially, to the right of the community (all) to control, for the good of all, the industrial activities of each, and to endow such activities with the necessary means.
This, historically speaking, will mean the enthronement of the Irish nation as the supreme ruler and owner of itself, and all things necessary to its people – supreme alike against the foreigner and the native usurping ownership, and the power dangerous to freedom that goes with ownership.”