by Gareth Murphy (General Secretary, Connolly Youth Movement)
Today, the fifth of September 2006, 90 years after the anniversary of the 1916 rising The Irish Independent staying true to its colours featured an article by Kevin Myers on John Redmond. The article was entitled ‘A Tribute to a Forgotten Hero!’ This article sums up the essence of Irish State politics, north and south. Whether it is the media, politicians or celebrities like Bono and Bob Geldof, Redmond is the essence of the governing ideology and the governing class.
What is this governing ideology? It is Ireland latching on to imperialism in the hope of being fed its scraps, just enough to keep our wealthy rich and our poor from revolting.
Redmond sent thousands of young men off to die on the continent and fed them the lie of home rule and self-determination. Today Bertie Ahern, without our consent, sells our neutrality and sovereignty (the little 26 counties have) and signs us up to military agreements and wars for a couple of euro and dollars. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the PD’s, Labour, the Greens, even parts of Sinn Fein, RTE, TV3, the Irish Times, Bono…the list goes on and on – all support without question global imperialism and Ireland’s role in it and subservience to it.
Whether it is Bush’s war on people everywhere, the EU’s undemocratic building of a neo-liberal super-state, or the acceptance of the continued British occupation of Ireland, the above list sponge and feed off imperialism like a bunch of parasites. For let us make no mistake: Ireland’s wealthy are parasites, they do not create, they leech, while the overwhelming majority of people on this island either perish or struggle to live comfortably. John Redmond may be Myers’ hero, but to all democrats he is a scoundrel, just like McDowell, McCreevey, and Ahern are too.
Where there is a ruling class there is a ruled class. The ruled class are all the hard working people across this island looking to survive and, if possible increase their lot in what is an unfair and cruel world. They do not own much and have little say in governing but they have the richest of histories and culture which when tapped into produce magnificence. The ‘Proclamation of Independence’ is one such gem.
They have John Redmond but we have Wolfe Tone, James Fintan Lalor, Michael Davitt, Charles Stewart Parnell, James Connolly and Padraig Pearse to name just a few. The latter two being the dominant authors of the Proclamation.
In its most limited form, this document represents the most progressive constitution of its time. It represents a victory for women, children, poor, workers, for those of religion and of none, for nationalism, socialism, for you and me.
But more importantly, this document in its designed organic form represents the beginning of the Irish People’s Revolution. The revolution to overthrow the Redmonds and McDowells of this world. The revolution to empower working people and create a New Ireland of peace and prosperity for all.
To members of the Connolly Youth Movement, or those involved in Rising Youth, the ‘Reclaim the Proclamation’ campaign and éirígí, to comrades in Ógra Shinn Fein and Republican Socialist Youth, and to many many more across this country and the globe, the Proclamation represents part of our culture and our ideology. While John Redmond may be alive and well in a few, the Proclamation is breathing life into the many.
We do not struggle for an abstract notion of freedom or for an abstract notion of the nation. We struggle for the emancipation of the people of the nation. It is for this reason the proclamation declared “…the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”
*note: This statement can be found here on the CYM’s website.