Irish Republican Socialism

Updated on December 6, 2019
Seven Stars Media profile image

The author is a QUB Political Science honours graduate, a political analyst and has written on a variety of related issues.

Advocates For Irish Reunification
Advocates For Irish Reunification | Source

Irish Republican Socialism as a distinct movement embodied by the Irish Republican Socialist Party has been, since it's inception in 1974, the most progressive force in Republican politics. Until the splintering of traditional Republicanism following the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and PIRA ceasefires, it was the single principled voice of Republican Socialism in Ireland.

Unlike every single one of the present-day myriad of anti-GFA Irish Republican groups, parties and 'societies' who are all derivatives of the Provisional movement, the IRSP 'tendency' first emerged as the most revolutionary section within the Official Irish Republican Army/Sinn Féin.

IRSP spokesperson, Ciaran Cunningham, at the launch of a new document opposing Ireland's membership of an EU superstate.
IRSP spokesperson, Ciaran Cunningham, at the launch of a new document opposing Ireland's membership of an EU superstate.

The IRSP's key Marxist ideologues, such as Costello, Bunting and Power stood head and shoulders above the one-dimensional, traditionalist Republican leaders of the nascent Provisionals like O'Bradaigh, MacStiofain and McKee. Likewise, the IRSP were an uncomfortable reminder to the reformists and ring-road socialists of the Official Republican Movement. The IRSP's primary premise has always been that the class struggle and the national struggle are inseparable, in keeping with Connolly's "the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour" (Workers Republic,8 April 1916).

In present-day Ireland, with the Pythonesque fracturing of the Provisionals grassroots into a plethora of personality-led 'super-Provo' entities, which seem to multiply in number almost yearly, it is not surprising that political opportunists have sought to adopt the mantle of Republican Socialism. Thankfully, their concept of Republican Socialism is more often than not a backwards glance towards a vague notion that 'Socialism is a pretty good idea' but as with all one-dimensional Republicans, there is always the proviso that 'labour must wait'.

Britain Out Of Ireland, Ireland Out Of The EU
Britain Out Of Ireland, Ireland Out Of The EU | Source

Nevertheless, the reality is that the political waters of Irish Republicanism are heavily populated with groups offering 'radical' politics masquerading as a generic 'Republican Socialism'. The IRSP has survived intact, retained its distinct identity, prospered and not become a bit-part player in the post-ceasefire alphabet soup of so-called 'dissidents,' it's Republican and Socialist politics, in equal measure, has been its ultimate salvation.

At no time in the past has Republican Socialism sought or felt the need to 'out-Provo' the Provisionals and likewise, it would be folly to ever attempt to 'out-super-Provo' the 'super-Provos.' That's not to say that there are not many issues that the IRSP can ideologically share a platform with fellow Republicans on and it would be equal folly to imitate an 'ourselves alone' attitude, which conversely, is still a key tenet and hangover of many anti-GFA parties/groups. Sadly, in practice, history has proven that many of these traditionalist groups retain their previous movement's 'undermine and absorb' attitude towards the IRSP.

In the present political climate, where the conditions for widespread popular armed struggle are not yet a viable option, Irish revolutionaries will gravitate towards Republican Socialism's politics where the economic liberation of the working-class has equal emphasis to national liberation. One dimensional Republicanism and Irish Nationalism will often gravitate, often briefly, towards the super-Provo group that makes the biggest bang; have the 'greenest' flag and shout the loudest about post-86 or post-97 'Shinner heresy'.

IRSP
IRSP | Source

National Liberation and Class Struggle Are Symbiotic

The revolutionary socialism of Marx, Connolly, Costello, Bunting and Power defined the 'Irps' in the past and it is surely their ideological anchor for the future. In simple terms, many groups now carry the Starry Plough flag, invariably as just another 'Republican' symbol amongst many, but the Irish Republican Socialist Party are the only party to give the 'plough', the revolutionary flag of the Irish proletariat, it's prominent and proper place, side-by-side with the Red flag, the symbol of international Socialism.

"If you remove the English army to-morrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs."

— James Connolly

Unlike some Republican organizations, the IRSP has not travelled down the road to Eurocentrism. Likewise, they have rejected reformism, denied any support for the armed agents of British imperialism in occupied Ireland and any trajectory towards neoliberalism. As a working-class party, they have opposed the privateer landlordism class that has preyed on the proletariat in some of Ireland's most deprived areas. The party have provided material assistance to refugees who have settled here and strongly opposed the astroturfed fascist groups that lately have been raising their ugly, racist heads. The IRSP can clearly be seen to have upheld the politics of James Connolly, the founder of Irish Republican Socialism, where, in accordance with the quote above, the class struggle and national liberation are inseparable for those who truly want an egalitarian, independent Ireland.

H Block Martyrs

Three of the H-Block Hunger Strike martyrs: Patsy O'Hara, Kevin Lynch and Micky Devine, were Irish Republican Socialist political prisoners
Three of the H-Block Hunger Strike martyrs: Patsy O'Hara, Kevin Lynch and Micky Devine, were Irish Republican Socialist political prisoners

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Liam A Ryan

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)