Imperialism Will Fall When The Democratic Republic Has Been Achieved

Sean Bresnahan of the Thomas Ashe Society Omagh argues that imperialism can best be confronted through open and critical debate, leading ultimately and in turn to the democratic all-Ireland republic.
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Imperialism has traditionally exploited the state to project and impose its capitalist paradigm, something that, in my view, can best be tackled by transforming the democratic process, empowering local communities over the centralised state – whose power is to be broken down and broken up – through a devolving of decision-making capacities to the margins of the power system.

Some, such as the anarchists, argue a need to dismantle the state entire, an argument that no doubt can be made. But while perhaps that should be our long term aim it remains beyond our present abilities. Instead, we must begin with the achievable and build from there. What we most certainly can do at this time is to analyse the state of itself and determine how and for whom the state and state power operates. This, in turn, can allow us to determine how and where change, whether incremental or revolutionary, might realistically be engendered.

In a wider sense, if we truly intend on confronting capitalist imperialism then the most powerful and immediate contribution we can make is to effect change here in Ireland, by removing from power those who do its bidding and are its willing minions. But to challenge capitalism we must first understand how it impacts our everyday lives. Only then can we learn how to fight back.

We need to discuss then, together, how capitalism impacts on society today and from there determine effective means to resist. Resistance can be as simple as buying vegetables from the door-to-door grocer or a local stockist. It can be as basic as banking with the Credit Union or ensuring the clothes on our back are manufactured according to principles of fair trade. It can be taking the time to promote and learn of our own culture and heritage.

Beyond that, at a wider level and moving ahead, our greater aim should be to establish a sovereign republic, using as much as the vehicle to dismantle the workings of imperialism here in Ireland. Indeed a truly sovereign republic would already have rejected the imperialist system in the first instance. Thus, it remains our principal aim and object, the ultimate goal for which we strive.

Such a republic, where sovereignty extends not only to territory but to the decision-making process, to our natural resources and to the money supply, would be an example to others of what can be achieved when ordinary workers can shape decisions that impact their lives, facilitated in so doing by a constitution born of key republican concepts as liberty, fraternity and equality.

A sovereign and democratic republic, working with likeminded nations and peoples, would immeasurably advance the welfare and condition of all its citizens. But it would also, and just as importantly, be an example to those elsewhere intent on societal change. It could be the first blow in the battle to come that finally, and permanently, lays waste to the hideous system of rapacious greed that is modern capitalism – the enemy of all peoples the world over. Onward to that certain day.


  1. I'm impressed, there seems to be a bit more thought behind this article rather than just the mantra.

    Good piece Sean.

  2. Definitely a need to look at local communities. Joe Brolly's recent article was excellent in that regard. The republican project of SF has been so addicted to getting elected it has become the only objective and focus the party has. At the cost of everything else. I find it interesting that as in past history the ball is at the foot of France in the coming year to rattle the status quo politically. Keep working away Sean and keep educating yourselves because the more Stormont is exposed as never having been anything but a crony self serving entity, whether in a one party state format or under the GFA, the sooner people will be looking for an alternative to those who are in there at the moment. There are plenty of examples of small nations doing well and doing it with credibility, should it be Iceland or Scandinavia. SF should be an example of where NOT to end up. Also, do bear in mind, the USA is a republic.

  3. Larry,
    "Also, do bear in mind, the USA is a republic"

    Like that ending!

  4. Nial

    Cheers. It can cause resentment among the die hards but I try to stress the term 'republican' is not the holy grail.

  5. A Shéain,
    stepping away from "one solution fits all" and employing more "critical theory", marks a qualitative change in your approach in defining what constitutes a democratic republic.
    This has a realistic intent I am sure will appeal to a wider audience.
    The language used, the language of O'Bradaigh, Rice, Gilmore, etc. deals with the concepts of "Class, State, Imperialism.";
    (a) transforming the democratic process:
    (b) empowering local communities:
    (c) breaking the power of the centralised state:
    is a three pronged initiative that could be expanded, throwing light on what is meant by "a devolving of the decision-making capacities to the margins of the power system".
    Overall, taking account of the political atmosphere your article is most timely and essential. It generates a hope, an expectation, for the worker by a worker, devoid of any intellectual elitism to be found in many other parties.
    Maith thú.

  6. Kevin,

    the same comment came thru four times.

  7. Some good points but you would be mistaken it believing we the state can ddismantled right away without revolutionary consciousness n collective organisation.we are knowhere neat a dual power scenario