The following is the address by Saoradh chairperson Brian Kenna to the party’s annual conference in Newry last weekend.
A chairde agus a chomradaithe,
It is with the deepest honour that I address you today at our annual Ard Fheis, having been re-elected as the National Chair of our revolutionary Party. I totally commit myself to perform this role to the best of my ability throughout the year. I have absolutely no desire or compunction to sit as your Chair for longer than necessary and wholeheartedly believe that the Party next year should elect a new Chair as we collectively stand against the insidious cult of personality that dominates.
I would like to thank the outgoing National Executive for all the excellent work they engaged in on behalf of our revolutionary Party in the year just past. As well as their own responsibilities in their local areas N.E. members were available on a continuous basis across the length and breadth of the country.
It would take too long to single out all of the N.E. for mention but without doubt my task as Chair was made infinitely all the more easier as a result of their dedication. Mandy Duffy as the outgoing vice-Chair deserves a special mention in view of the enormous role she played, particularly in relation to Administration, operational and Constitutional matters. Her republican credentials and vast experience made the difference on more than one occasion.
I would also like to pay special tribute to our inaugural Chairperson, Davy Jordan. Having served as chair for Saoradh’s first two years, Davy’s stepping down led to my election to the post. As a result he may have been forgiven had he melted into the sidelines in some form of political semi-retirement but on the contrary, was an ever-present support to me and the N.E. and was always on hand to offer advice, guidance and political and ideological direction.
To the general membership of Saoradh I offer my fullest thanks and admiration for the outstanding political and community activism they embarked upon over the last twelve months. Their unselfish dedication to the cause of Irish reunification, revolutionary socialist principles and community empowerment stands head and shoulders above any other across the political spectrum on this island and in stark contrast to the capitalist, self-serving, clientelist, gombeen mentality of so-called elected representatives.
You have MLAs, absent from their self appointed posts for close on three years now but still pocketing wages and vast expenses and down south in the biggest doss house of them all, TDS playing musical chairs and voting for their absent mates who are supping pints five hours drive away. I could say shame on them but they would ask me to spell it. In the most hostile of environments under the lash of state oppression and through daily instances of home invasions, stop and search, visits to our places of employment and constant harassment our activists
Go out to represent the working class, the disenfranchised and the marginalized, not for the gold and silver coveted by mealy mounted MPs, TDS and MLAs but for the greatest prize of all, the reunification of our country, freedom and a socialist republic.
Welcome to the Unfinished Revolution.
Saoradh’s ultimate objective is the overthrow and replacement of the ideological concepts which underpin the imperialist capitalist states. Modern politics are inseparable from economic conditions. James Connolly’s correct analysis was that partition would serve to divide the working class and foster a climate of reaction. Just look at the sectarian headcount we witness in the occupied six counties during the occupiers’ Westminster elections. Saoradh seek to effect an end to Britain’s illegal occupation of the Six Counties and to ensure the equal distribution of the islands wealth and wealth-producing resources via public ownership of all the means of production. Our Party advocates the complete rejection of the prevailing capitalist power structure and the status quo. We desire to change the mechanism of society. Saoradh believe that there is little point struggling to end the illegal occupation, if the sole result of that struggle is for the working class to be subject to new masters and exploiters under the banner of an Irish Republic, like the 32-county green Free State the bourgeoisie desire. James Connolly was very clear as long as the capitalist system remains in place the Irish people can never be free. The struggle for national liberation cannot and will not be separated from the class struggle. Our short term objectives may be similar to other groups but our long term political objectives are very different. We believe in the establishment of a revolutionary socialist republic which we believe can not be achieved through participation in bourgeois means. Saoradh has no interest in some form of cosmetic change.
Saoradh support an exit from the super imperialist EU, this has been a long-standing revolutionary position. We see Brexit as a defeat for the business and political elite of Britain, Ireland and Europe. Saoradh reject the position adopted by former Republicans and constitutionalists, what’s the difference?, who have sided with the oppressor in the form of the EU, British and Irish elites against the working class. We are opposed to the usurpation of national sovereignty and self-determination by the European capitalist and imperialist superstate.
Imperialism has undoubtedly tried to stop us: yesterday our Revolutionary Hub, Junior McDaid House, in occupied Derry, was raided by heavily armed thugs of the Crown Forces, along with three homes of Party activists where Christmas presents, children’s schoolwork and savings were cruelly stolen and one of our comrades was arrested for absolutely no clear reason, not that the occupier needs a reason—it’s clear that the agenda of the Crown Forces, of the British imperialist government and of the corrupt 26-county neo-colonial state is one of ongoing harassment of revolutionaries in a bid to stop us from making our voice heard.
Well, they didn’t succeed and they won’t ever succeed.
In fact, we are here today proudly showing an increasing and vibrant membership, as many are joining us and many will in the months ahead.
We have had the honour to establish new Criobhanna in South Derry/North Antrim, South Leinster and Scotland, a clear salient fact that clearly shows we are getting stronger and stronger throughout this island and abroad as well.
As further demonstration of this, we are proud to announce the upcoming opening of a new office in Newry.
And we have done all this despite the occupiers and their neo-colonial cohorts ongoing policy of stop and search, the draconian ‘ border and security act’, arresting and gaoling our Party members, to whom we extend our deepest solidarity, in particular Gavin Coyle who is now going into his third year of administrative detention in the occupiers Maghaberry and for the sake of whom we will continue to strive for the freedom of all Revolutionary Republican Political Prisoners so that they can join us too, free from draconian bail terms and free to return to their distraught families.
Still the occupying Crown Forces are not content, and are trying to undermine our membership targeting our members through corrupt imperial agencies including the social services, as we witnessed only a couple of weeks ago when a Republican was challenged by social services falsely accusing them of radicalisation, but they were then forced to back off when confronted as no evidence whatsoever was found. We have witnessed Party members in the occupiers’ interrogation centre in Musgrave Barracks being questioned about alleged dole fraud with information being very willingly supplied by the DHSS, a new form of insidious collusion.
In our struggle for freedom, we can’t forget our comrades in other parts of the world fighting for the exact same fight, and I am obviously referring to our Palestinian comrades whom the Party fraternally met and are in the process of forging links with, as we will continue to forge fraternal bonds with all like-minded groups global wide.
Saoradh are unbent and unbroken and will continue to strive for the Unfinished Revolution and a Socialist 32-County Republic.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh agus beirigi bua.