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While the working class in New Zealand remains depressingly passive as successive governments have whittled away hard-won rights, conditions and living standards, large chunks of the working class in Ireland are in rebellion against the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government and its vicious austerity measures in the south.  (Fine Gael is, historically, the most right-wing of the major parties in Ireland and always forms governments with the Labour Party as junior partner.) 

At present the key battle in the south is around the attempt to impose domestic water charges.  While workers in New Zealand have largely forgotten the industrial meaning of the word ‘picket’, working class communities in Ireland have been involved in physically resisting the installation of water meters, sabotaging them were they have been installed, marching in huge demonstrations in the capital, Dublin, and resisting violence by the state.

To the forefront of the resistance in working class communities has been the revolutionary group éírígí, with whom several members of the Redline collective are affiliated.   éírígí was formed as a tiny Dublin-based campaigns group in April 2006, on the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion of 1916.  Since then it has transformed into a revolutionary political party with ciorcail (circles) across the island. 

Below is the party’s New Year statement.  (Stormont is the parliament in the north; Leinster House is the parliament in the south.)

c3a9irc3adgc3adAs 2015 begins éírígí salutes those who have contributed to the fight for justice and freedom in Ireland over the last twelve months. To those who battle against imperialism and capitalism across the globe we send fraternal greetings and the hope that 2015 will see advances in our collective struggle. At the close of a year that saw Israel launch another genocidal onslaught on Gaza we send special greetings to the Palestinian Nation – you are neither alone nor forgotten.

We also remember those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, bereavement, imprisonment, injury and other hardships in the fight for a free Ireland. Your contribution has not been in vain. The passing of another year brings us a year close to the establishment of a new Thirty-Two County Irish Socialist Republic that will truly cherish all the children of the nation equally.

May 2014 saw éirígí candidates stand for election in both the Six and Twenty-Six County states. For the first time in decades voters from Antrim to Wexford were given the option of voting for a genuinely revolutionary republican party. As such the Local Elections represented another important milestone in éirígí’s development and in the building of a twenty-first century socialist republican movement. éirígí again extends heartfelt gratitude to the thousands of people who voted for our candidates and pledges to continue to work with them and their wider communities in the fight for a better, fairer, socialist Ireland.

The last twelve months have witnessed the emergence of a mass anti-Water Tax movement across the Twenty-Six Counties. Encompassing hundreds of thousands of people drawn from every community in the state this movement has already won significant victories in the battle to abolish an unjust double tax. For the first time in generations an emboldened working class has demonstrated the latent strength of their collective power and their ability to force change.

The anti-Water Tax movement has brought the contradictions at the heart of the Twenty-Six Counties state into sharp focus with the political class, corporate media, judiciary and Gardaí all rallying to destroy a democratic movement which is slowly unlocking the vast potential of people power. In recent months Fine Gael and Labour have repeatedly attempted to demonise entire communities and criminalise legitimate forms of political protest.

éirígí condemns these transparent attempts to divide the anti-Water Tax movement and pays tribute to those who have taken a stand against the commodification of water resources and water services. We pay particular tribute to the communities of Dublin North East, Jobstown and elsewhere that have been singled out for attack by the political elite. Their acts of civil disobedience will be rightly remembered as acts of patriotism by generations to come.

The same right-wing politicians have also claimed that éirígí activists have ‘infiltrated’ the anti-Water Tax movement, a claim which we reject in the strongest possible terms. For eight years our activists have been to the fore of the struggle to retain public ownership of Ireland’s natural resources. In Rossport, Dublin, Belfast, Wicklow, Tipperary, Wexford and elsewhere our activists have continuously campaigned for the right of the people of Ireland to own and benefit from Ireland’s natural gas, oil, water, fisheries, forestry and other natural resources. And we will continue to do so despite the slurs of the establishment and their mouthpiece’s in the corporate media.

In the Six Counties the dysfunctional Stormont Coalition continues to obediently administer British rule in Ireland. Despite all of the rhetoric the re-establishment of Stormont has neither advanced the cause of Irish freedom nor significantly reduced the cancer of sectarianism. It has also failed to provide meaningful improvement in the economic conditions of the majority of people living in the occupied counties. Almost sixteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Treaty many working class communities in the Six Counties still rank amongst the most impoverished in Britain and Ireland.

The recent Stormont House Agreement is just the latest act in the increasingly irrelevant pantomime that passes for politics in the Six Counties. After years of posturing and grand-standing to their respective support bases Sinn Féin and the DUP again confirmed that their principles are for sale once the price is right. Their latest grubby little deal with Westminster will see widespread cutbacks to social welfare, education, healthcare and other vital public services. In return for waging war on the poor the Stormont Coalition secured the ‘right’ to reduce the rate of tax that corporations, including the private banks, pay on their profits.

It is now abundantly clear that Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin and the DUP are intent on creating an all-Ireland economic model that will transfer wealth from the poor to the rich at a rate unprecedented in modern times. No party which supports austerity and low tax for the rich on one side of the border can be taken seriously when it claims to stand against those same policies on the other side of the border.

In sixteen months’ time Ireland will commemorate and celebrate the centenary of the 1916 Rising. We in éirígí look forward to working with communities in the organisation of fitting events to remember those who participated in the 1916 Rising and the revolutionary period that followed. And as importantly we look forward to working with those same communities in the fight for an all-Ireland Republic of the type that was envisioned in the 1916 Proclamation and the 1918 Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.

éirígí will not be bought off by false Republics of the type that exists in the Twenty-Six Counties or glorified local authorities of the type that exists in the Six Counties. We will accept no substitute for full Irish sovereignty and independence.

To those who have previously been active in the republican struggle we ask you to join with us. Your knowledge and experience are needed at this time when hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets in protest at the injustices of austerity.

To those who have not previously been active in struggle make 2015 the year that you take a stand. Join with us and work in your own area to build a community of resistance which can then join with similar communities across the land.

Together we can work to build an all-Ireland anti-austerity movement that will deliver an effective challenge to the political elites in Stormont and Leinster House. And from there we can lay down the foundations for a new Irish Republic – the only fitting tribute to those who fought and died in 1916 and the only fitting future for all of our children.

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  1. […] We’ve also put up the éirígí New Year statement on Redline, here. […]