Creation of the International Republican Socialist Network
In April 2005 several long-time veterans of the Irish Republican Socialist Committees resigned from the IRSC and the Irish Republican Socialist Party. This decision was not based on an abandonment of support for republican socialism in Ireland, but the belief that their continued support for republican socialism in Ireland now required their unfettered ability to criticise actions and statements by the IRSP that were moving the party away from the traditional revolutionary republican socialism which had previously been its guide. Examples of statements of this nature include the decision of the IRSP to criticize the Irish National Liberation Army shooting of a young North Belfast thug at the request of the community; categorizing of the IRSP as "left republican" rather than Marxist; recent statements that the INLA would maintain its arms until the loyalist threat was neutralized or until Ireland's unification, rather than its traditional position that it would maintain its arms until the establishment of a socialist republic in Ireland; the statement by the party's political secretary that the party should contest the next elections for the Assembly or disband, and recent statements pointing to developments in contemporary China as indications of the success of socialism.
Since the break with the IRSP, the activists involved, along with comrades elsewhere in North America and abroad, have undertaken discussion as to how they might best move forward. The conclusion of those discussions has been the discussion to launch and international organization aimed at preserving and publicizing the revolutionary example of republican socialism as an example to others in circumstances where it is most applicable; active propaganda and efforts to support republican socialist movements ands factions in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the Basque Lands, and Puerto Rico-all of which are believed to be struggles where the republican socialist model is highly suitable; and to under take efforts to coordinate networking between republican socialist individuals and organizations across national borders.
The new organization is being launched with the following core perspectives:
· In any developed capitalist nation, socialist revolution is immediately on the agenda. Tracing our roots to James Connolly and John Maclean, we believe that the working class needs to seize control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange and the political apparatus necessary to administer society. We reject all reformist approaches that seek to place intermediate steps between the working class and its seizure of power.
· We recognize the state as having a class nature and reject any attempt by the capitalist class to maintain a monopoly on the use of armed force. We recognize the decision to use armed force as being purely tactical in nature and therefore reject both the perspective that all struggle must be in arms to be revolutionary and the perspective that the working class should deny itself recourse to the use of armed force when confronted with arms in the hands of the capitalist state.
· We recognize that in circumstances where a developed working class exists within a context of an unresolved national liberation struggle, the class struggle and the national liberation struggle become inseparable. Thus we call for the unification of Ireland under a 32 county socialist republic; the creation of socialist republics of Wales and Scotland, independent of the British state; the creation of Breton and Basque socialist republics, independent of France and Spain; and a Puerto Rican socialist republic, independent of US imperialism.
· We recognize the contribution of Pan-Africanism, Pan-Arabism, the Bolivarian revolutionary current, and the Pan-Indigenous movements to the international revolutionary community and their efforts to provide paths forward for groups with specific shared heritages.
· We recognize that there is no parliamentary road to socialism and that participation in bourgeois elections, like armed struggle, is a purely tactical consideration. Revolutionary organizations should participate in bourgeois elections when there is benefit to be gained through such action, but should reject any attempt to link legitimacy to the ability to successfully contest elections.
· We recognize the most important task for any working class revolutionary is the building of class-consciousness among working people.
· We support the establishment of networks of solidarity and of mutual aid. We believe that every revolutionary movement is made stronger by the victory of its comrades in other nations and weakened by their defeats.
In support of these views, the International Republican Socialist Network will seek to deepen its relations with republican socialist activists throughout the world, but especially within the revolutionary movements of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the Basque Lands, and Puerto Rico. In any circumstance where it is possible, we will seek to serve as conduits for improved dialogue between the revolutionary movements of these nations. We will devote particular attention to the support of the prisoners of war of these struggles, both material and otherwise.
Towards these objectives, the International Republican Socialist Network is actively seeking members. Such members are welcome from any sincere revolutionaries who agree with the principles laid out above and we especially are looking for creative, energetic, self-motivated activists, who can function with a high degree of independence and initiative.
For practical reasons, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter has been designated as the coordinating center of the new organization, but the organization is seeking to forego the stratification of specific officers. Acting on the established revolutionary traditions of James Connolly, John MacLean, the early Irish Republican Socialist, Scottish Republican Socialist, and Welsh Socialist Republican Movements we look to all our comrades to speak out effectively in support of republican socialism.
One of the primary undertakings of the new organization will be to initiate a campaign to purchase the house once inhabited by James Connolly in Troy, New York and to convert it to a museum dedicated to the revolutionary struggle. It is hoped that the museum can be used to house at least part of the collection of revolutionary artifacts amassed by John O'Brien, a life-long activist and founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, which already includes tens of thousands of objects representing the history of many different struggles for human libertion.
Actions and campaigns already determined to be undertaken include:
· Actions and propaganda aimed at release of Dessie O Hare.
· A holiday card campaign and gifts of books for prisoners of war from the struggles in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the Basque Lands, and Puerto Rico.
· Efforts to raise awareness of and support for those struggles and to reinforce and promote republican socialist currents within them.
· Publication of The Connolly Forum, a journal aimed at increasing knowledge of James Connolly's contribution to Marxism and its application today.
· Publication of The Workers' Republic, a periodical of republican socialist propaganda.
· Distribution of the publications of republican socialist organizations and currents from around the world.
Anyone interested in joining this effort to preserve the revolutionary legacy of republican socialism and promote it in nations where the working class confronts both the class struggle and a national liberation struggle should contact us here
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