A significant coterie of people have come out in criticism of the way the Connolly Youth Movement has organised its liberated buildings in Cork City. It’s fantastic to see that some of the most zealous of revolutionaries who glorify direct action, the IRA or armed struggle are against a robust framework for the organisation of a squat.
What we see in squatting culture is dirtiness, uncleanliness, disorganisation, substance abuse and an abstract notion of the housing crisis. What the Connolly Youth Movement is struggling towards developing is a counter-culture in how we understand political work and organisation.
Firstly, members of the Connolly Youth Movement by and large understand that the ruling class in all its forms is highly organised and coherent and works perfectly well in a very complicated system. It’s well represented in all arms of the State, it is influential and it is aggressive against workers. What does that mean for us, who must stand in opposition?
Secondly, the principles of Connolly Barracks are written by the members of the Connolly Youth Movement, upheld by members of the Connolly Youth Movement and ultimately open to change by, members of the Connolly Youth Movement. We practice what we preach: democratic centralist decision making.
Thirdly, those leftists or Socialists who argue for laziness, unaccountability and a general “I do what I want” attitude are not Socialists, they are individualists masquerading otherwise. Our struggle is collective and our cause is collective, we live together, we struggle together and we triumph together. We are stronger together, this is the fundamental principle of a Socialist movement, we are all subject to each other.
Fourthly, the seriousness of our ambitions in changing Ireland has to be ingrained in every act we commit to, this means that even if we liberate one building, it must reflect the depth of all our goals, for how we run Connolly Barracks is a reflection of the future.
Fifthly, another argument that has surfaced is that people should not be evicted. This feeds the right wing in Ireland and around the world that consistently states the left are looking for a free ride/refusal to work. The Connolly Youth Movement is not one of those groups that are in advocacy of creating a society of freeloaders. Socialism is a struggle, a class struggle and one that will only be achieved through hard work, commitment and sacrifice. We seek to emulate this through very real activities that we engage in this includes even something like the liberation of a building. We practice what we preach.
Sixthly, the “stick it to the man, I hate rules crowd” have no politics. Socialist society will have legislation and various mechanisms to reflect the will of the working class, our task is to ensure they are as inclusive, participatory and democratic as possible. Our task is to ensure the ownership of Ireland is with the people of Ireland in the most literal sense of the word.
I firmly stand behind and defend the activities of the Connolly Youth Movement with respect to the buildings we operate and encourage those who have questions to reach out. We as members are building accountability by practising accountability.