New Year Statement from the Leadership of Republican Sinn Féin
Republican Sinn Féin extends fraternal New Year greetings to friends, comrades and supporters in Ireland and internationally. Millions of working-class people in Ireland and across Europe will greet the coming year with a sense of fear and foreboding. The recent budget announced by the 26-County Administration shows that the unrelenting policy of austerity - dictated by their political masters in Brussels - is not only to be continued but increased, squeezing all sections of our people beyond breaking-point. In the eyes of the political class and their media cheerleaders the working poor and unemployed, the elderly and the young are all expendable. The very concept of a society which can educate its young and care for its sick and elderly is being sacrificed on the altar of the EU’s political and economic ideology of centralised authoritarianism and finance capitalism.
The decision by the British Government to host the G8 Summit in Co Fermanagh on June 17 and 18 is highly symbolic and presents an opportunity for progressive forces to make the important connection between the old imperialism in the shape of British occupation of the Six Counties and the new imperialism represented by the economic colonisation of the 26 Counties by the EU/ECB/IMF troika. Republican Sinn Féin will be holding an alternative Anti-Imperialist Forum on the weekend before the G8 summit to present national as well as international alternatives to these twin imperialisms.
For Irish Republicans our struggle is both political and economic, anything less would be to ignore the reality of imperialism and consequently to dilute our revolutionary programme. As with James Connolly we believe that it is not enough to merely remove the physical presence of imperialism in the form of British military occupation without creating a New Ireland based on real political and economic democracy; an All-Ireland Federal Democratic Socialist Republic. Ninety years after the death of Liam Mellows his teaching has never been more relevant: “If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, money and soil of the country, then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever control the wealth of a country and processes by which wealth is attained control also its government.”
In the Six Counties the process of normalising British Rule continues with the designation of Derry as a “UK City of Culture”. Republican Sinn Féin will be actively opposing this hijacking of the historic Doire Colmcille throughout 2013. The recent revelations arising from the discredited de Silva report into the murder of Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane by a British backed loyalist death-squad, exposes the true face of British rule in Ireland.
Today nothing has changed; last year saw an increase in the repression of Republicans and 2013 promises more of the same. We will be once more campaigning for the unconditional release of political internee Martin Corey as well as veteran Republican Marian Price. We take this opportunity to extend New Year’s greetings to the Republican POWs in Maghaberry Prison and pledge them our unstinting support in the latest phase of their fight for political status. By suspending their protest the POWs have placed a serious onus on the Six-County Justice Minister David Ford and the Six-County Prison Service to speedily implement in full the August 2010 Agreement.
As the centenary of the historic 1916 Rising approaches, other important centenaries must also be marked. Next year will see three significant centenaries all of which carry a pressing relevance for the Ireland of today. Next August will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the heroic 1913 Lockout when Irish workers struck a telling blow in the universal fight for human dignity and freedom. The coming year will also mark the centenaries of the founding of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, both of which would combine in 1916 to form the Irish Republican Army. All will be fittingly marked.
For those who doubt the potency and power of history one has only to consider the words of the filmmaker George Morrison in reference to his masterful Mise Éire film covering the revolutionary period in Ireland from the 1890s to 1918: “ I regard Mise Éire as being a great anti-imperialist document.” History, if utilised correctly, can awaken and inspire the brightest and best of a generation to the possibilities of radical change in the present and the future.
We must resist all attempts to sanitise and package our history in a way that will rob it of its meaning and message for the Ireland of today. Rather than merely commemorating the past we must set out a programme for the future that will challenge the powerful and rouse the down trodden. As Connolly warned a national movement must prove itself capable of: “Formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political and economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.”
We appeal to the Irish people to awaken to the realisation that they possess the power to bring about true political and economic change, not the chattering classes in Leinster House. Electing politicians to the corrupt Lenister House institution will not deliver the revolutionary change that is demanded by the present political and economic conditions. As the only political organisation which rejects the two partition states in their entirety, Republican Sinn Féin is best positioned to lead the struggle for a New Ireland worthy of the ideals set out in the 1916 Proclamation.
An Ireland which would harness our natural resources for the betterment of this and future generations, an Ireland which would truly “cherish all the children of the national equally”. In the lead up to 2016 we will be unveiling a series of seven specific polices covering areas such as natural resources, banking, economic development etc, all based on our political, social and economic polices ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA. We can only truly honour the men and women of 1916 by making the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week a reality for all sections of our people.
In 2013 let the slogan of the 1913 Lockout ring in our ears: “The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.”
An Phoblacht Abú!
Statement in French . . .
Statement in Spanish . . .