The annual James Connolly Commemoration took this afternoon in Dublin at Arbour Hill. The main address was given by Communist Party of Ireland member Barry Murray:
“A chomrádaithe, go raibh céad maith agaibh as an churieadh labhairt ag an comóradh
stairiúil seo inniu, ach maith domh mo easpa gaeilge nó is í an impirialachas is cúis leis.
Comrades it is indeed a great honour to speak here today at the graves of the gallant
heroes of 1916 and to speak the names of the Patriot Dead buried here:
Patrick Pearse, William Pearse, Thomas Clarke, Con Colbert, Edward Daly, Sean Heuston
John McBride, Sean MacDermott, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael Mallin, Michael O’Hanrahan
Joseph Plunkett, Sean Heuston and James Connolly.
Let us pause for a moment, in solidarity with the people of Palestine as they mourn the
death of Abu Aqla.
“On this great day, in the international calendar of national liberation we send revolutionary
greetings to all struggling peoples throughout, the world,….to our comrades in the
Occupied six counties of our own country, …to the interned peoples of Palestine, to the
besieged in Cuba and Venezuela and to all our Communist comrades where ever you may
“Today as we witness violent imperialism on the march again we remember that over a
hundred years ago, while capitalism was engaged in similar orgy of destruction as
imperialism carried out the destruction of human life on an industrial scale. Slaughter, the
like of which, was never witnessed before by humanity; all in the race for imperial
domination. The war, we know as the first world war, led hundreds of thousands of Irish
workers to their slaughter at the exhortation, of native bourgeoise elements, hoping to
prove their usefulness to the empire. A bourgeoisie incapable of conceiving of any form
political expression other than the begging for concessions to Ireland’s misery from the
patronage of the Crown.
“But one hundred age years ago also there were those with a vision, working class men and
women, inspired by the possibility of humanity, who spurned imperial patronage and looked to a day when humankind would shape its own destiny, free of oppression and class slavery. We speak of the men and women of 1916 and beyond. These visionaries asked for no such concessions. They rejected the authority of the imperial power and insisted instead on their right and right of every human, to all that is
good in the world and set about organising a society that would deliver that right.
“While the world was drunk on imperialist propaganda and lies, Connolly and Pearse and the
rest planned for, organised for, declared and defended, an Irish Republic. In an emphatic
rejection of imperialist narrative and sending a message throughout the world that it was
possible for workers to control their own destiny and that the Empire could be brought to a
standstill. While others believed that the empire was unassailable, they dared to conceive of and
believe in an Ireland and a world, free of imperial domination, a democratic Ireland, a
socialist Ireland, a sovereign Ireland. Their aim was to deliver national liberation through, the reconquest of Ireland, that Connolly spoke of, in order to secure not only political independence but a complete
reorganisation of society and all its resources, in the interest of all its citizens. They did this
in the full knowledge that they would pay with with their life’s blood, but also in the sure
belief that their sacrifice would give courage to others to secure the reconquest.
“They were right Comrades, The guerrilla war of national liberation that followed in defence
of the Republic did indeed bring imperialism in Ireland to its knees…and the possibility of
control of our destinies within grasping distance. Sadly, as Connolly had predicted, military victory alone would not bring an end to the avaricious machinations of imperialism or rid us of the nebulous control of the local capitalist.
“In 1922, as in recent years, the cross-class coalition that was the Republican movement
came apart and those who shared class interests with imperialism set about a counter
revolution, to thwart all that was hoped for.
As we know Britain partitioned Ireland…..gifting, the six counties, to a racist sectarian
distortion, leaving a legacy of misery and division in their wake. In the south imperialism
seeded autonomy to a ‘nascent Gombeen comprador class’ only too willing to swap the
aspiration of a worker’s republic, in the interests of capital. A century of reaction on. the legacy of imperialism has not waned. In the north, military occupation and partition, continues to ensure the existence of the abomination, that is that Northern Statlet. The carnival of reaction continues to set worker against worker in a construct designed and maintained to fulfil the imperial paradigm of Britain acting as peace keeper between warring Irish tribes.
“Recent amendments to the imperial formula namely the Good Friday agreement have not
changed that paradigm and should be viewed as nothing more than a strategic
manoeuvring, by the British. It is continued, in anticipation and realisation of the reality
that the gerrymandered sectarian construct, that some call Northern Ireland, can no longer
ensure a unionist majority. This is due to demographic change and the urgent need to
recruit Irish nationalism to the cause of the empire, as they had done already in 1922.
Comrades, the Belfast agreement, like its predecessor the Anglo Irish treaty,
should be recognised as, nothing more than, updating of imperial strategy in Ireland. A
cynical counter insurgency, disguised as reform. Indeed, the Good Friday agreement has
enlisted the support of the government in the South and the international support of other
imperial allies; including the EU and America. But crucially,.. getting the support of the
former resistance movement, to accept British absolute authority in determining the
parameters of democracy in the north, represents a high point for British Imperialism.
Let me be clear, the current so called power sharing arrangement does nothing of the sort,
and is designed and serves only to:
- disguise the true nature of imperial subjugation in Ireland by demanding that all
participants consent to British rule.
- disarm republicanism literally and politically
- ensure acceptance of British control and limitations to the exercise of democracy in
Ireland ad invitum.
- And to ensure that any constitutional change, that might take place, will ensure
British political and economic interests.
All of the above were secured on the fig leaf promise of a border poll.
In recent times,….. much has been claimed for the elusive border poll as an address and
panacea to Ireland’s British problem based on the fallacy that Irish unity could equate to
national liberation….when clearly it will not.
While even a glimmer of the prospect of ending institutionalised sectarianism in Ireland
must be welcomed, it is clear that British imperialism has no intention of relinquishing its
hold on Ireland or acceding to any democratic form that would loosen their strangle hold
on Irish workers. The exercise of a Border poll remains solely the prerogative of the British
Government, moreover any decisions as to how to respond to the results of such a border
poll remains solely with her majesty’s government.
As Marxists…we know that the ‘disease of imperialism’ is driven by capital…..and capital’s
interest……insatiable in its greed and unable to correct itself. Therefore, we must prepare
ourselves for the likelihood of imperialism reaching for further distortions of humanity,
such as sectarianised federalism, or unity within a British commonwealth.
“In the south the comprador class has formed allegiances with imperial Europe, effectively,
seeding all economic power to the most undemocratic set of executive institutions in the
world. In Ireland today north and south workers struggle to secure the very basics in life. Here in
the centre of what they tell us is the success story of capitalism workers struggle to find
homes, basic health, education and the ‘where with all’ to exist. The imperial interests of
the European Union have replaced the dogma of the holy Roman empire. As Neo liberalism
has replaced conservative Catholicism as the state credo, laying waste to the hopes of
fulfilment of our children as it sweeps all before it in the name of profit for the few.
Yet more sinister, is that the Irish bourgeoisie, who urged Irish boys to the death in
Flanders, a century ago, seem ‘hell bent’ on repeating the same crime, in their rush to join
imperial NATO, using the same pretext… as when they joined the slaughter in France a
hundred years ago……. ALL to curry favour with their imperial masters.
“In Ireland today, the imperialist and gombeen will BOTH tell you that Ireland is settled…that
unity is inevitable and that unity is synonymous with achieving the Republic of 1916. Do not
be fooled. That’s NOT what their AGREED or SHARED Island talk is about. The need to fight for national liberation is more urgent now than ever and will hinge on the ability of Irish workers to firstly challenge imperialism and secondly shape any future, reorganising of society. Following in the steps of Connolly and the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation the Communist Party of Ireland sets out the vision for a worker’s Republic, laid out in the Democratic Programme for the 21 st Century booklet, drawn from and
elaborating on the Democratic programme of the 1st Dáil. It is to the achievement of this vision that we must set ourselves. Comrades, throughout the world, the vile forces of imperialism are circling; preparing for another orgy of destruction. They have driven all production to the global south, in the
pursuit of ever more profit and exploitation of the most vulnerable, the most powerless,
the most defenceless workers of the world.
“The so called western powers of America, Europe and their bloated allies, dependent on
the capitalist rent extracted through military might…and so called legal domination of
world financial systems, are circling like sharks to claim the last vestiges of the Soviet
Union, to yet even more workers to exploit…..and evermore resources to plunder.
Comrades, while we hold no truck for the capitalist, no matter what their nationality, and
recognise capitalism in all its guises and forms, we must stand alert to the reality that the
grand Imperial coalition of America and its allies, as the dominant imperial block, with
NATO as its enforcer, is on the march. And once again deluded by the notion that it can
resolve the crises of capitalism by imperial expansion.
“They tell us that their war in Ukraine is in the support of sovereignty and democracy, while
they besiege Cuba, intern Palestine, beggar Venezuela, bomb, blast and starve any who
would dare to assert their right to the product of their labour; or assert their right to
independence, when that assertion does not coincide with the economic, strategic and
military needs of imperialism. Let us have no doubt that the current war, has at its heart, the strategic ambition to draw all of Europe into the expansionist NATO fold, to build an unholy alliance, a crusade in the rehearsal of the battle that they really want to fight.
“And there is no doubt, that the barely veiled intent of this proxy war is to threaten and curb
ultimately the rise of China; as it vies for control of world markets and disputes the
hegemony of the so called West. Comrades, despite this tale of wow, we must take heart. The monster of capitalism is a dying monster. A monster whose only raison d’etre and driving force is the accumulation
and concentration of wealth,….. bereft and incapable of the smallest human consideration.
An anti-human counter ideology that wreaks political havoc, and human devastation. Its an
ideology of distortion of natural human organisation. A distortion that is about to set light
to the very planet that we live on……the ultimate act of mindless self-destruction, unable
and unconcerned as to how it might save itself …or us.
“It is clear that as capital continues to concentrate in the hands of a smaller and smaller
portion of humanity that its avarice is leading it to deny the working class of the world, on
whose labour it depends, the ability to sustain itself and thus must inevitably lead to
revolutionary change. Comrades, as Communists, it is for us to lead that revolutionary change, confident, in the sure knowledge that is the destiny of humanity to inherit the world and build a society free
of oppression; free of class enslavement and consign capitalism to the history books, a
temporary blip on the path to communism. Comrades we must prepare. We must prepare for that revolutionary change now by arming ourselves with the knowledge that will guide our action with the unity of our class. WE MUST organise, by building a party that will lead the class to Socialist
“I LEAVE YOU WITH THE WORDS OF OUR GREAT Connolly:
‘The Irish Republic must be made a word to conjure with – a rallying
point for the disaffected, a haven for the oppressed, a point of departure
for the socialist, enthusiastic in the cause of human freedom.’
“Go raibh maith agaibh go léir as éisteacht – a chomrádaithe.”