INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST NETWORK
The IRSN grew out of the original Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America and its roots lie within the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.
· The Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America was founded in March 1984, in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the 1998 IRSP Ard Fheis it was resolved that members of the IRSCNA would be accorded the full rights of members of the IRSP, including participation in closed sessions of the Ard Fheis and voting rights at the Ard Fheis. In early 1999 the North American Coordinator of the IRSCNA, along with the Coordinator of the British sections of the IRSP and the Ard Comhairle's Secretary for International Affairs, was made part of a three person International Secretariat of the IRSP.
· In April 2005 the founding members of the IRSCNA resigned in protest against undemocratic practices at the 2004 IRSP Ard Fheis, attempts to undermine the revolutionary character of the IRSP’s International Department, and a growing drift towards reformism. In September 2005 the International Republican Socialist Network was created to provide independence to revolutionary former members of the IRSCNA, broaden the focus of the organization beyond Ireland to include Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Brittany, the Channel Islands, Euzkadi, Puerto Rico, Southwestern Sahara and other struggles for national liberation and socialism appropriate to the application of a Republican Socialist model.
In the period 1974 until at least 2000, we believe that the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Irish National Liberation Army, Republican Socialist Prisoners of War, and the party's overseas sections) served to provide the best contemporary model for the application of Republican Socialism in struggle.
The IRSN struggles to build recognition of the contribution to the revolutionary socialist tradition internationally of the Republican Socialist tendency typified and developed by James Connolly, John Maclean, Peadar O’Donnell, Seamus Costello, and Gino Gallagher, and such parties and other organizations as the Irish Socialist Republican Party, the Scottish Communist Workers’ Party, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Cymru Goch, the Scottish Republican Socialist Party, the Manx Republican Socialist Party, the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, the Irish National Liberation Army, the Scottish National Liberation Army, and the Workers Army of the Welsh Republic and to support contemporary adherents of this tendency throughout the world and to encourage adoption of Republican Socialism in all struggles for national liberation and socialism wherein it would serve as an appropriate model.
The IRSN is organized around the follow core tenets:
Our organization was created by and for working class people, to aid working class liberation in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the BasqueLands, Puerto Rico and to elsewhere in the world. We seek the creation of a 32 county workers republic in Ireland and the creation of independent workers republics in Scotland and Wales, as well as in the other nations detailed above, drawing on the tradition of James Connolly and John Maclean; where the working class will collectively own and control the means of production, distribution, and exchange, as well as democratically administering society.
Drawing upon the analytic base of Marxism, we support the working class, whose interests are unique and counterpoised to those of all other social classes. We reject the belief that the system of capitalism can be reformed in the interests the working class and believe that only through class war will the working class achieve its interests. We recognize that there is no ‘parliamentary road’ to socialism nor can a guerilla movement bring about a social revolution, but that only the conscious struggle of our class to overthrow capitalism can provide the basis for the construction of socialism. We believe that socialism is a means of liberating our class from all forms of oppression, whether economic, political, religious, cultural or social. The socialism we envision is one of our class controlling its own destiny and that our nations as a whole.
We believe the struggle for national liberation cannot be separated from the class struggle. Any attempt to isolate one from the other will result in failure. It is meaningless to speak of a free nation, if the overwhelming majority remains oppressed, and national sovereignty is lost through multinational corporate control of the economy. At the same time, we believe it is impossible not to challenge British imperialism in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Wales; French and Spanish imperialism in Brittany and the Basque Lands; and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico and still claim to be fighting for socialism in those nations, or in other nations oppressed by imperialism. We believe the continuation of partition props up the divisions in the working class of Ireland and holds them back from their own liberation, just as we believe the continued union of Scotland and Wales within the British state impedes the struggle in those nations for socialism. We believe that the Isle of Man must be removed from its ties to the British monarchy, which is itself a reactionary hold over from the system of feudalism, in order to engage in an unfettered struggle for class liberation. We believe that Puerto Rico, Brittany, and the Basque Lands must break free from the stranglehold of imperialist domination as well. There is no choice in whether or not to consider the interconnection of the national and class questions in such circumstances, reality forces us to do so. In these nations, we believe the national liberation struggle is but an aspect of the struggle for socialism.
We recognize that the nationalism of an oppressed country is vastly different from the reactionary jingoism of imperialist nations. We support all struggles against imperialism throughout the world.
· In Ireland
We support the ending of the partition of Ireland and the continued occupation by the British Army. We oppose both the partitionist governments presently operating in Ireland, whether Stormont or the Irish Dail. We do not seek to unite the six counties with the existing 26-county statelet centered in Dublin, but call for the dissolution of both, to be replaced by a 32-county workers' republic.
· In Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Wales
We support the break up of the British state and the creation of independent socialist republics of Scotland and Wales. We support the dismantling of the so-called United Kingdom and Great Britain and instead of these formations support the creation of independent Workers’ Republics in Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and England. We believe that the cause of working class revolution in all four nations is best served by complete national independence, but have no interest in such national independence if it is not brought about through the creation of workers’ republics.
· In the Rest of the World
In nations seeking both national liberation and the liberation of the working class, we believe the republican socialist model is appropriate and advocate its implementation with such modification is appropriate to local conditions and history.
We support the dismantling of the ancien regimes represented today by the French and Spanish states. We support the creations of independent Workers’ Republics for the Basque country presently submerged within both France and Spain, as well as for the Breton working class, and the Catalan working class.
We support the national liberation of Puerto Rico from the colonial oppression of U.S. imperialism and the creation of a Puerto Rican Workers’ Republic.
We recognize, defend, and support the struggle in arms waged by the Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Basque, Breton, and Puerto Rican working class organizations against the occupation of their nations and right-wing terror and in support of national liberation, and in defense of the working class. We reject the concept of armed struggle being a principle, but view it as a tactic to be employed when appropriate.
We stand totally opposed to the political ideology of Loyalism in the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh nations. Loyalism is a reactionary, sectarian and pro-imperialist ideology, with which we can make no compromise.
· Armed Struggle
We take the perspective that the working class should have recourse to any and all means of struggle possible in pursuing the interests of that class. We state plainly our view that the decision to use or not use force of arms is always a question of tactics, not of principles. While rejecting militarism and guerillaism as elitist orientations, incapable of bringing about the overthrow of the system of capitalism, we defend without exception the right of working class people to use armed force when its use serves the best interests of working people. We reject the notion that revolutionary organizations of the working class should be constrained by the laws of the capitalist state—recognizing the institution of the state to have a class nature in all circumstances and at all times—and we specifically reject attempts by any capitalist state to maintain a monopoly on the use of armed force.
As republican socialists, we take lesson from battles that have gone before us, in the community and in the workplace. Workers must reclaim their unions and organize the unorganized. We remain committed to the revolutionary industrial unionism of Larkin and Connolly. As republican socialists we see the support a fighting 'rank and file' trade union movement and we support the building of a revolutionary shop stewards' movement, such as was seen in the ‘Red Clyde’ in the second decade of the twentieth century.
Our class faces daily, relentless assaults inflicted on us from many quarters and a constant onslaught of attempts to divide us. The IRSN oppose and fight against all forms of inequality and oppression, including that of women, ethnic minorities, lesbians, gays, or other sexual minorities, refugees, and any other specially oppressed sector of the working class. We oppose racism, Zionism, sexism, heterosexism, national chauvinism, and anything else that divides the working class. We support reproductive rights and unhindered access to contraception, including a woman's right to abortion on demand. We are opposed to religious sectarianism and seek the complete separation of church and state and a secular society. We believe consensual forms of sexual expression are private concerns and should not be subject to the dictates of the state.
The increasing destruction of our environment is due to mismanagement of industrial production and the inevitable product of a system that puts profit before all else, that is, capitalism. The IRSN supports sustainable forms of production, renewable energy sources, preservation of the ecology and biodiversity of our planet, with protection of all species, and the promotion of a healthy environment for all people as well as plant and animal life. We believe that the protection of the environment demands the destruction of the capitalist system and that socialism will ensure the protection of the environment because all humans share a need for a healthy environment.
We recognize the heroic contribution of William Thompson, James Stephens, Fintan Lalor, J.P. McDonnell and the Irish sections of the First International, Michael Davitt, James Connolly, the Irish Socialist Republican Party, Jim Larkin, the Irish Citizen Army, the Irish National Liberation Army, Peadar O'Donnell, Saor Eire, the Republican Congress, Frank Ryan, the Connolly Column and Irish volunteers in the POUM, those within the Official Irish Republican Movement who refused the road to reformism such as Joe McCann, Seamus Costello, Ta Power, Gino Gallagher, and all who fought for the freedom of Ireland and its working class. Likewise, we recognize the equally inspiring contribution of John Maclean, the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement, Cymru Goch, the Workers’ Army of the Welsh Republic, the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement, the Scottish National Liberation Army, the Scottish Republican Socialist Party, and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. We consider these organisations and individuals to represent a continuous Republican Socialist tendency within the ongoing struggle for national liberation in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and elsewhere. As such, they are our forebears.
E. Where We Stand
· We are revolutionary Marxists, whose purpose is to struggle in support of the interests of the working class in opposition to the competing interests of any other social class.
· We recognize the prisoners of the revolutionary organizations of the armed organizations described above to be prisoners of war, guilty of no crime, save opposition to the oppression of their nation and their class.
· We are in solidarity with all Republican Socialist organisations presently engaged in struggle throughout the world
F. International Solidarity
· Recognizing the struggle of the working class to be international in nature, we acknowledge our duty to defend and support all those who fight against imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism; or for socialism or the defense of the working class.
· As residents of North America, we especially recognize the struggle of the indigenous nations of this hemisphere for sovereignty and justice.
· Recognizing their principled solidarity with the revolutionaries of the IRSN in the past and the model they provide of revolutionary socialist Pan-Africanism, we embrace the comrades of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party as our sisters and brothers in struggle; and acknowledge their ceaseless dedication to socialism and Pan-Africanism.
· We support all struggles for socialism and the liberation of oppressed nations, women, lesbians and gay men, and all other working people.
· The IRSN stands prepared to work as the ‘diplomatic corps’ of any Republican Socialist organization that seeks our assistance.
· We make it a central concern of our organization to do everything in our power to facilitate greater dialogue and cooperation between struggles where Republican Socialism offers the most effective road forward.
III. INTERNAL ORGANISATION
· The highest authority within the IRSN is its collective membership as expressed through periodic IRSN Conferences.
· The authority of the IRSN arises from the structure, rules, and traditions discussed in the Basic Document.
A. Chapter Designation
· Any metropolitan area wherein a member of the IRSN resides, that is more than 50 miles distant from another IRSN chapter shall be deemed a distinct chapter of the organisation, unless they seek to be affiliated with an existing chapter lying at greater distance than noted.
· Each chapter must designate at least one person, on a fixed or rotating basis (the most senior member is recommended), to serve as their liaison to the IRSN as a whole. This person will file a monthly report of the activities (propaganda, organising, fund raising, etc.) of the chapter with the Coordinating Office. The chapter liaison will also be responsible for collection and remittance of dues from the chapter's members. The chapter is collectively responsible for collection of dues and for information contained in the report.
B. Leadership Structure
The Coordinating Office of the IRSN is established in San Francisco. Its responsibility is to provide the organization with a central address, to maintain a bank account, and otherwise provide coordination to the organization as a whole. Should the Coordinating Office loose the confidence of the IRSN's membership, the members can, by majority vote, establish a new Coordinating Office of their choosing.
All members of the IRSN hold equal status and the functions of the Coordinating Office should be viewed as practical necessities only and not as imparting any distinct of rank to the members associated with that office.
All members of the IRSN are empowered to speak out on behalf of the organization towards its aims of supporting the spread of revolutionary Republican Socialism, building the class-consciousness of working people, and overthrowing the systems of imperialism and capitalism, and are encouraged to do so. The strength of any revolutionary organization is grounded not in the intelligence of its leadership, but in the preparedness of its membership to act on its principles. The initiative, creativity, skills, and resources of all members we seek to integrate into the struggle and no limits are set on the initiative of the members, so long as their actions are consistent with the views of the organization discussed above.
C. Obligations of Membership:
Membership in the IRSN is a choice of revolutionary activism, responsibility for defense of the interests of the working class, and an acceptance of the defining concepts of an important and still vital tendency.
Members of existing Republican Socialist organizations are encouraged to join with the IRSN in efforts of shared concern and the IRSN would welcome existing Republican Socialist organizations adopting informal or formal policies to work with the IRSN in order to help facilitate the goal of developing practical and dynamic relations between Republican Socialist movements, which serves as the central task of the IRSN. In circumstances where more than one group exists dedicated to Republican Socialist struggle in a given nation, the IRSN lies prepared to assist any and all such organizations who seek their support, but it doing so, retain the autonomy from the specific organization or organizations. The IRSN sees its objectives as building awareness of and support for existing Republican Socialist organizations, helping to facilitate the development of Republican Socialist organizations in circumstances where none presently exists, but the objective circumstances for choosing a Republican Socialist path exist; assisting in developing ties of solidarity and mutual support between Republican Socialists in one struggle with members of other Republican Socialist organizations, either in the same or different nations; challenging instances where a Republican Socialist organizations begins to depart from a revolutionary Republican Socialist program; and providing material assistance to the prisoners of war and political prisoners of Republican Socialist organizations. The IRSN is not established in competition with any existing or future Republican Socialist organization and lays claim to no specific mandate from any existing Republican Socialist organization. However, while making clear that the IRSN has no mandate from any other Republican Socialist organization or movement, the organization notes at its founding that its ranks include some comrades with almost a quarter of a century of Republican Socialist activism in the international arena to their credit and apologize to noone for their reliance on this experience in determining the road forward.
Anyone applying for membership in the IRSN must pass a probationary period of not less than six months, however, prior or current members of the Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America, the IRSM, SRSM, or Cymru Goch may be admitted immediately. Probationary members are expected to develop their knowledge of the basic tenets of Marx, Engels, and Connolly; of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton, Basque, and Puerto Rican history (and of the history and politics of the IRSM specifically). At anytime after six months of probation, they will be admitted as members, if they have successfully demonstrated an understanding of and support for the guiding principles of the IRSN, as well as standards appropriate to membership in regard to discipline, effort, financial contribution, and internal communication
Members’ dues are set at $15.00 per month, a portion of which will be used to financially assist Teach na Failte and the prisoners of war of the Republican Socialist organizations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the BasqueLands, and Puerto Rico. Any member three or more months in arrears in dues payment, is subject to suspension of the rights, but not responsibilities, of membership until such time as the arrears is made up in full. Canadian members pay in $15.00 in Canadian dollars, while US members pay $15.00 in US dollars, without respect to exchange rates. Members outside North America are asked to pay either US $15.00 or 12 Euros.