The following are the annual New Year statements issued by the main nationalist and republican organisations.
SINN FEIN PRESIDENT, GERRY ADAMS
2009 will be remembered as difficult year economically for people across Ireland. Global circumstances may have contributed but the decisions and policies of the Fianna Fail/Green Party government, and its predecessors, and the greed and dishonesty of some bankers and speculators, have shaped this crisis. 2010 must see a sustained effort to sort this mess out.
In June Sinn Fein became the largest party in the North. We have continued to show leadership through trying and difficult political circumstances. The two governments have failed to deliver on commitments made. Sections of political unionism continue to resist the need for power sharing on the basis of equality and partnership. Through all of this our focus has been on ensuring that the all Ireland political institutions are stable and that citizens rights and entitlements are guaranteed.
A Westminster election will take place in 2010. In advance of this a sustained effort to see the implementation of the outstanding aspects of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements, including the transfer of powers on policing and justice will take place. Republicans will do all in our power to ensure that this is successful. It is the interests of all citizens that we have institutions which can deliver. That means institutions operated on the basis of partnership and equality and on the basis that political agreements entered into are implemented.
Aside from politics, personally the last number of weeks have been a difficult period for my family and myself. I would like to thank people across Ireland who have been in touch to express their solidarity with us at this time.
32 COUNTY SOVEREIGNTY COMMITTEE
We commend our activists for their dedication and hard work in pursuit of the republican goal in 2009. We commend all other republican activists for being true to their beliefs and for being generous and inventive in listening to the beliefs of others. 2009 was a year which witnessed that inventiveness being translated into political action which was widely recognised throughout the republican base. It represented the most potent expression of solidarity with imprisoned comrades. It is solidarity in action with those who were bereaved in the struggle. It is also the way forward for Irish republicanism.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement has a clear vision for the year ahead. The reclamation of our sovereignty must take real form. We must give leadership to our communities to help them achieve this. Throughout Ireland communities have been betrayed by the institutions of faith, finance and state which have long purported to speak and act on their behalf. The abundance of trust placed in the integrity of individual leaders has proved misplaced. They have been left leaderless.
They have not, however, been left powerless. It is in recognition of this reality that the 32CSM will now engage with our communities. In a disciplined approach the 32CSM will liase directly with local communities to explore ways of reclaiming their sovereignty, and under these auspices, help them pursue their political and social objectives. We will focus our efforts in ensuring that all community activity will by default be a pursuit toward national sovereignty. Such a process will be a challenge to both states. It is a first step in filling the vacuum left by those who are now wholly subsumed into the apparatus of partition.
Communities so organised can become the template for national freedom. The republican objective is twofold; to secure our sovereign independence and to organise a just society within that independence. Like our republican forebears we can now enact our aspirations, we can involve our people with our beliefs in real and tangible terms. Republicanism cannot be detached from the people and the people cannot be detached from the strategies deployed to secure their freedom. We can only lead through democratic involvement with our communities.
Because it is a first step it must be taken with due diligence. We have prepared our arguments and are refining our position as mandated at our Ard Fheis. It will be democratic. It will be a learning process which will require discipline, patience and pragmatic political judgement. Republicans cannot interact at a distance. We need to create a new interface between ourselves and our people which will allow us to seek their mandate for our struggle. This mandate will not be measured by a gerrymandered vote. Its value will be in its democratic integrity and its sovereign credentials. For us the ballot box means more than just numbers. Democracy can only be returned to the Irish people when their national sovereignty is recognised.
Because it is a challenge to the state the state will obviously respond. Mistakes will be made, but also learned from, and it is this disciplined approach which will allow for this engagement to spread successfully to other areas. In part the success of this project may be gauged from the state’s reaction to it. They will not be alone. Establishment Nationalists will also have a vested interest in seeing this project fail. They will seek to divide and conquer. But a clear understanding as to the implications of its sovereign distinction and clear democratic practices will thwart them. After all it was disdain for democracy within their own organisations which led them into the cul de sac they now find themselves.
The 32CSM will be active on other fronts. Two major international initiatives will be launched in the coming year. We have observed how issues at play on the international stage are geared toward political events in the occupied six counties. We have made our intentions known to the relevant governments that we are determined to follow a particular path challenging any move that would seek to de-legitimise the republican struggle. These initiatives are for the benefit of Irish republicanism, we will not claim sole ownership of them. But we will provide the leadership that will open up counter arguments for all republicans to employ against these nefarious measures.
Republican unity in 2009 resulted in impressive demonstrations on a range of issues. The continuing media and political demonising of republicans is proof of their effect as is their grudging admission of our growth. The media and political establishment’s objective is to ignore us but through mutual cooperation we have made this impossible. In the coming year this cooperation can be galvanised within our communities as these issues now become their issues in pursuit of our national objectives.
The British Government’s strategy of finally destroying any vestige of republicanism within the provisional movement will not be allowed to undermine the separatist ideal. A resurgent republicanism will demonstrate to both governments and the international community that the destruction of the provisional movement was the liberation of Irish republicanism. It is up to all of us to ensure that 2010 clearly demonstrates this reality.
RSF PRESIDENT DES DALTON
The coming year presents us all with huge challenges but also opportunities. The two fronts on which it is essential that we engage in 2010 are political and economic.
Last year and indeed recent days events on the ground in the Six Counties testified to the fact that British rule in Ireland will be met with resistance. The attacks on British crown forces and the wave of repression and resistance, which followed are evidence to the reality that the nature of British occupation in Ireland has not changed but neither has the attitude of a section of the Irish people.
The young people in the Six Counties who took on the forces of the British Crown were dismissed as ‘ A-political thugs’ or merely representing an ‘anti-social’ sub youth culture. We know what the truth is. These young people represent a new undefeated generation prepared to take on British rule in Ireland. They are young people simply taking their place in the latest phase of the historic struggle for Irish freedom.
It is our duty in Sinn Fein -the only political organisation representing the revolutionary Irish Republican tradition - to give political expression and leadership to this new generation.
The coming year is also likely to see an intensification of the normalisation of British rule and partition. Speaking on RTE television on Monday night (December 28) the 26-County President Mary McAleese signalled the possibility of a visit to the 26 Counties by the Queen of England. We in Sinn Fein equally signal our intention to oppose such a visit.
Mary McAleese’s use of the word ‘collegial’ in describing 26-County relations with the British state is worthy of note. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary 11th revised edition 2006 defines collegial as meaning: ‘belonging to or relating to shared responsibility.’ Or alternatively as one of a number of colleges belonging to the same university. This use of such language is a significant pointer as to the thinking of the political establishment in the 26-County State and how they view their relationship with Britain.
At this time we are also conscious of the Republican prisoners in both Portlaoise and Maghaberry. We extend them our greetings and pledge them our solidarity. Support for the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry in their fight for political status is vital in the coming year. By denying British attempts to ‘criminalise’ them the prisoners in Maghaberry are engaged in a battle to deny the British Government’s criminalisation of the Irish people’s historic struggle for national independence.
We must recognise like James Connolly: ‘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.’
A war is being waged on working people globally. Here the 26-County administration faced with a choice between taxing the rich or taking from the marginalised and vulnerable, have chosen to put their hands in the pockets of the poorest. Employers and the state are intent on rolling back any advance made by workers over the course of the last century.
In the face of all this a weak and reformist trade union leadership were deliberately humiliated and wrong-footed by the Dublin administration in their vain attempts to lay the basis for yet another so-called ‘Partnership Agreement’.
Tinkering at the edges of a discredited and failed social and economic system is not enough. Real revolutionary political and economic change is demanded. In its obituary of Daithi O Conaill SAOIRSE pointed out he ‘viewed the Republican Movement not as a political party, but as the main catalyst of progressive forces to achieve Irish Freedom.’ It is the role which we must live up to.
We would do well to heed the advice of Connolly given to those intent on building a national movement over a century ago: ‘It must demonstrate to the people of Ireland that our nationalism is not merely a morbid idealising of the past, but is also 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.’
Armed as we are with clearly thought out and radical programme for real political and economic democracy EIRE NUA and SAOL NUA we can take our rightful place in the vanguard of the struggle.
The All-Republic for which we struggle has to be - returning to Connolly again - of such a character that: ‘the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land.’
Just as imperialism is not confined to one country the solidarity in the fight against it must also be international. Over the coming year we must continue to develop our role in the international struggle against imperialism.
We extend our greetings to all engaged in the noble quest for national liberation. We face a common enemy but also share the common goal of securing and defending the inalienable rights common to all peoples and nations.
Our work is clearly marked out for us. It is our duty to bring to the task all our energies and abilities.
At the beginning of a new year, eirigi takes this opportunity to thank its members and supporters for the commitment and energy they have displayed throughout 2009. Their sterling work across Ireland has inspired many others to become involved in the struggle for national, economic and social freedom.
eirigi rededicates itself to the achievement of a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic.
As we enter a new decade it is appropriate to review the first decade of the new millennium.
Just ten years ago, global capitalism was positioned in a seemingly impregnable position - with all alternatives being widely rubbished as historical failures. Within the first two years of the new millennium, the world’s only superpower, the United States, embarked upon a massive political, economic and military offensive under the shabby pretext of a ‘War on Terror’.
In truth, this ‘war’ was only an extension of the decades-old US policy designed to impose a single socio-economic model upon all the nations of the Earth - a capitalist model which would allow private corporations access to vast reserves of natural resources and expanding markets.
Eight years after the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, millions of human beings lie dead and the lives of tens of millions more have destroyed. For the people of both countries, the prospects for future peace, stability and justice remain bleak.
By 2007, the first signs of a global recession which would engulf the world were appearing. For billions of people across the globe the last two years of the decade were dominated by fear, uncertainty and dramatic reductions in their standards of living, as the capitalist system entered an inevitable cyclical contraction.
In these darkest of times, however, the light of freedom continued to shine. In the opening years of the new millennium, the resistance of the Palestinian people during the second Intifada, the commencement of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, the continuation of the Cuban revolution and the world-wide mass movement against the Iraq war demonstrated the unquenchable human desire for freedom and justice.
As the decade progressed, resistance to US-imposed political and economic systems spread across the globe. Nearly every country in South America rejected the calamitous economic policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other US controlled bodies. For the first time in decades, the potential for a continent-wide revolution now exists. That is does so in the virtual backyard of the US is all the more inspiring.
In other parts of the globe too, in Europe, Asia, Africa and within the US itself there have been many positive developments as people have begun to organise multi-fronted opposition to twenty-first century capitalism.
Ireland has been far from immune from the global developments of the last decade. At the dawn of the millennium, it appeared that the British strategy of Ulsterisation, Normalisation and Criminalisation was as close to fruition as it had ever been. Through the framework of the Good Friday Agreement it appeared that the British government had succeeded in finally consolidating both partition and the British occupation of the Six Counties.
Ten years later, it is clear that the process of normalisation of the Six Counties has now peaked. Indeed, this process is now crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.
The deployment of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment on Irish soil, the firing of plastic bullets, the use of 28-day detention, the widespread use of ‘stop and search’ powers, the continued use of non-jury Diplock courts and the increasing militarisation of the PSNI all demonstrate the completely abnormal nature of the Six County state.
In parallel to this overt abnormality, the fundamentally sectarian nature of the Six Counties also remains unchanged. Nationalists remain two-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than their unionist counterparts and, in some parts of the North, make up over 80 per cent of those on the housing waiting list. Stormont is today as incapable of delivering freedom, justice and prosperity as it was in 1921.
In the Twenty-Six Counties, the last decade has seen the myth of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ exposed for the artificial debt-driven bubble that is was. Within three short years the population in the Twenty-Six Counties have seen their standards of living and prospects for the future collapse.
After decades of a deeply-flawed ‘social partnership’ between the business class, the state and the trade union leadership, the prospect of class war is now openly back on the agenda.
In its most recent budget, the Dublin government has, in effect, declared war on workers and the poor. The establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties appear to believe that the young, the old, the disabled, the unemployed and working people should collectively pay for the greed of the wealthy and powerful.
In the Six Counties, Britain’s puppet administration at Stormont also appears to believe that most vulnerable should pay for the excesses of the most privileged. The Six-County executive has already agreed to cuts of tens of millions of pounds in public services. These cuts will be exacerbated as the British government reviews its stipend to the Six-County state in the coming year.
Across Ireland, more than half a million workers are without work, while tens of thousands more face the prospect of forced emigration. This is the unpalatable reality of a society and a system that has been carefully designed to protect profit margins at the expense of its population.
But, as in so many other places, the working people of Ireland are beginning to realise that they alone can and will protect the interests of their families and communities. Workers at Visteon, Waterford Crystal, Thomas Cook and the Dublin docks have shown that workers have the means at their disposal to fight back.
2010 begins with a world in crisis environmentally, economically and politically. But the myths of the recent past have been exploded. No economic system can provide extreme wealth for the few without taking from the many. And the will of a people to be free cannot be contained by force, treaty, deception or bribery.
The last decade has also shown that there can be no decent future for the majority without struggle and a willingness to fight for that which is right - even when the price of that struggle may be high.
As 2010 dawns Ireland, more than ever, needs a radical mass movement that will represent one class in society - the working people - and which will adopt but one attitude to the British occupation - that of uncompromising active resistance.
For its part eirigi remains fully committed to playing an active role in that mass movement for the achievement of justice and freedom in Ireland.