In 20 days, I will no longer be General Secretary of the Connolly Youth Movement. I am stepping down for a number of reasons, but the first and most important one is that when I first ran three years ago, I told myself that I would never be one of those people we hear of in other organisations who sit on positions for decades, who, instead of recognising when they’ve contributed all they can and step aside, instead rot in their seats, holding onto the last vestiges of power.
I actually think it’s a sign of success if one comrade steps down from a senior position as in my case, there are a number of candidates and capable comrades willing to step up. I am not the only senior Ard Chomhairle member to step aside, there will also be a change in the National Chairperson and no doubt many other candidates running. This indicates to me that comrades who are passionate are desiring to contribute more to our movement and step up to the plate. This indicates to the health of our movement, and nothing else.
In September, I’ll be 7 years a member. Time for reflection, but more importantly a long break from all activity to gather my thoughts. We are no longer affiliated to the Communist Party, which many of us felt would be the party we would graduate into. That deserves a significant amount of thought alone, but for now, my reflections will be of the time spent in the Connolly Youth. For the better part of those 7 years I put a huge amount of personal time and resources into growing the organisation and it fills me with great pride to see the organisation where it is at today.
Most members know the story already. Five years ago there was less than a dozen members nationally. Five years later the organisation is in triple digits. No point retelling it at this stage, everybody who ought to know, knows.
The fact is, the Connolly Youth Movement is going to keep on growing. We don’t need elected representatives to help with that growth or multi-million euro state funding. We don’t need much, because in a revolutionary situation, equipment and resources come second. What comes first is a well disciplined, well organised army of organisers, revolutionaries and militants. We have seen this as far back as 1798 – the battles of Wexford were fought with pikes because the people believed in the Republic and although they didn’t win – they came close. We have seen this in 1916, when a hugely outnumbered group of republicans, trade unionists and socialists held Dublin for a week and if it weren’t for the horrible betrayal of Eoin MacNeil, might have ushered in the Republic of 1916, rather than the partitioned failed Free State.
I am a firm believer in the Revolution and I believe so are my comrades. I reject cynicism and pessimism. If the revolutionary Party and movement are ready; then they’re ready and that has always been our mission under our slogan of AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANISE – to get ready for a revolutionary crisis and seize it.