This month a group of socialist and republican activists from a variety of backgrounds throughout Ireland came together in Dublin to establish the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum. The concept of the forum arose from a series of seminars that in turn had their origin in a symposium on “Republicanism in the Twenty-First Century” hosted by the Communist Party in September last year.
The aim of the forum is to promote the ideas of socialist republicanism, as best expressed by James Connolly, Liam Mellows, and Peadar O’Donnell. The forum is named after Peadar O’Donnell in recognition of his outstanding role as a union organiser, republican soldier, author, enemy of fascism, friend of the worker and small farmer, committed socialist, and lifelong activist for peace and against imperialism.
At a time when our people are being ground down daily by the brutalities of the bankrupt capitalist system and the inability of the two failed states in Ireland to provide any solution to their problems, the Peadar O’Donnell Forum believes that the time has come for a decisive break with the present system—or, as Connolly so memorably put it, to set about the reconquest of Ireland.
All Ireland is under the domination of global capitalism and imperialism, which exercises its control through the machinery of the European Union and IMF, the direct intervention of the British state, and overt and covert US influence. This control is exercised at every level and in every area of life—economically, socially, politically, ideologically, culturally, and environmentally—and is welcomed, endorsed and facilitated by the domestic capitalist class, north and south, who have long ago given up any thought of creating a society that would “cherish all the children of the nation equally.”
Our children emigrate in their tens of thousands, while their parents labour ever-longer hours for lower wages—not to maintain jobs, health, education and essential social services for the people but to sacrifice those to further bolster the obscene wealth and protect the super-profits of global finance capital, the source and cause of the crisis.
The Peadar O’Donnell Forum believes that ways and means must be found to challenge this reality, to devise and develop campaigns and policies that take account of all these factors and that mobilise the people to take control of their own destiny and bypass corrupt politicians and the failed systems that they represent and to set about building a 32-county socialist republic.
Towards this end, the forum has set itself the initial task of organising a number of seminars around the country, which can provide an opportunity for those who subscribe to the principles of the forum to come together and discuss the application of socialist republican ideas to the problems that confront us. It is also intended to publish the papers from the original seminars.
Support for these ventures is sought from all those who subscribe to the principles underpinning the forum and those that reflect the debates and discussion that have taken place:
- active opposition to the rule of imperialism in Ireland, whether exercised through the diktats of the European Union and IMF over Dáil Éireann and through the British state and its client assembly in Belfast.
- support for the maintenance and protection of Irish neutrality, and solidarity with all those struggling against imperialism for peace, independence, and social progress.
- recognition of the essentially anti capitalist nature of our struggle: capitalism cannot and will not solve our problems;
- understanding that change can be brought about only by people themselves, in the first place by actively defending their immediate interests but more importantly by confronting and defeating this system and the forces and structures that defend it;
- accepting that, in the conditions existing in Ireland today, there is no place for militarism or the use of armed force and that the continued recourse to violence is harmful to the development and furthering of mass politics, playing into the hands of those who are opposed to Irish independence and unity;
- believing that our vision of a united socialist Ireland can be brought about only by the unity in action of the people, north and south, Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter; this necessitates active opposition to all forms of sectarianism and racism and the promotion of equality at all levels of society;
- recognition of the centrally important role of the trade union movement, uniting as it does within its ranks half a million workers of all religions and none, north and south, in public and in private sector employment; it must be won for active resistance to the current austerity and a return to the radical policies of Connolly and Larkin.
Tommy Mc Kearney 087 239 0750
Hugh Corcoran 0044 77 06391 728 (Belfast)
Eugene Mc Cartan 087 7525051