Breandan Mac Cionnaith, general secretary of eirigi, sets out his party’s views on the conflict in the Six Counties and the challenge to republicanism.
Eirigi is an open, independent, democratic political party. Eirigi is not aligned to, or supportive of, any armed organisation and by extension is not supportive of the armed actions of such organisations. Since its foundation in 2006 eirigi has argued that the conditions simply do not exist for the prosecution of a successful armed struggle. Over the course of the last eight years we have been repeatedly asked to join the right-wing, reactionary chorus of condemnation of republican armed actions.
We have refused to do so because we understand that 40 years of the politics of condemnation have achieved nothing.
We further understand that engagement and influence are far more useful than sound-bite condemnations. Instead of pointless condemnation we have chosen to put forward our critique of modern Ireland and the role that republicans can play in shaping positive change, in the belief that ever greater numbers of people will be won over to that position.
We have advanced our critique in both public and in private. It is clear that there are those republicans who do not agree with eirigi’s analysis of the current objective conditions. it is equally clear that there still are men and women from both sides of the border willing to engage in armed actions.
As has been the case in the past, those actions need to be seen in the context of partition and the imposition of a deeply unjust socio-economic order. Armed political actions are a symptom of that disease and not the cause.
Without addressing the root cause of conflict in Ireland, it seems certain that there will be people willing to resist British political interference, partition and injustice through armed means. Simple recognition of that fact does not equate to either condoning or condemning those individuals or their actions.
At the time of eirigi’s establishment, the party asserted that a democratic socialist republic could only be achieved through the establishment of a new progressive social movement incorporating local communities, organised labour, cultural organisations, campaigns groups and political parties. Eirigi still believes mass popular participation in struggle to be a prerequisite for radical change in Ireland. Through campaigns, elections, leaflets, public meetings, outreach and all of the other tools of political development, we seek to play our part in challenging injustice and promoting a credible alternative to the status quo.
The wider republican struggle is more fractured now than it has ever been. This fragmentation continues to demonstrably weaken the cause of progress.
An honest recognition of the reality of the current objective conditions is a necessary first step on the road to consolidation of the republican struggle.
We therefore welcome all strategic discussions within the wider republican, socialist and revolutionary circles.
We particularly welcome movement towards the position that eirigi has advocated since 2006. In the past, irish republicans often took inspiration from revolutionary organisations across the globe. In recent times for example South America has produced valid and very successful forms of popular struggle. That region has seen immense social and economic change result from new thinking and new forms of unarmed struggle.
While our opponents may wish that republicans had only two options to choose from -- that of accepting the status quo or that of an armed campaign -- we in eirigi remain committed to creating another option for those who wish to see an end to British rule, social injustice and economic exploitation across all of Ireland: a mass, participative revolutionary movement.
We intend to continue to play our part in building that movement and to encourage others to do likewise.