Thursday, June 11, 2009

Class Consciousness and the Republican Movement

The great advantage the RM has at present is the awaking class-consciousness of the Working Class, but the handicap we have is our own lack of ideological and theoretical rigor. This lack of rigor leads to a certain unsureness, which, in turn, leads to a rigidity of thought and action. This is a crucial point at the present time. The anger of the people needs direction, and, above all, education. People need to know how the bourgeois system works, and how it can never work for them. At present, the only direction it is getting is from the lackey trade unions and reformist elements such as the Labour Party. The Socialist Party and People Against Profit are certainly giving better council, but, tragically, it is still reformist council. I believe that the Republican Movement is the only movement in Ireland capable of real Revolutionary action. Only the RM can direct the righteous anger of the people in a truly Revolutionary Proletarian direction, one based on solid class-consciousness. But to do this we need to be flexible and imaginative in our thought. The only way to achieve such powerful thought is by having a rock solid ideological and theoretical base to stand on. Éire Nua and Saol Nua need to be thoroughly revised, purged of all contradiction and equivocation, and made suitable for a Revolution in progress. As our very minimum policy we must have full nationalization of the land and banks. Anything less is petty bourgeois superstition, and leaves us among the ranks of the hapless reformers and against Revolution. Revolution is nothing other than the transfer of state power from one class to another. State power cannot be transferred to the Proletariat while we still have landowners and private bankers. There can be no fulfillment of the promise of the Easter Proclamation to cherish all the children of the nation equally, while some children look forward to inheriting landed wealth, and others face lives as wage slaves.

The preparation and distribution of a pamphlet explaining the class struggle and carrying on from Raymond Crotty’s essay, The Failed Modernisation of Ireland in the Late Nineteenth Century, on land ownership and its retarding effects on the Irish economy (one of the very few attempts by any Irish academic to address this question) would be a welcome step. In it's newspaper, Saoirse, the RM has a wonderful instrument of Revolutionary Struggle and such a pamphlet could be serialized in its pages.

How can we make a connection between the workers protests and the struggle to end the occupation of our country by a foreign power? Even Republicans have not always seen the connection between the two, and even today, some Republicans think that the question of Labour can be put off till after the National Struggle has been won. This is folly. If you try to push the National Struggle separate to the class struggle, then you are, in reality, putting the whole weight of it on the Nationalist people of the six counties – less than a tenth of the whole population of Ireland. The class struggle will naturally smash the border with its weight and power. What we need to explain to people is how the presence of British Crown armed forces in any part of Ireland secures the bourgeois system in all of Ireland.

The inability of the RM to formulate a fully consistent ideology, and its continued attempts to compromise with landed property, has left it in a state of stasis. This stasis has lead to a continual drip of members going off to faddish “unity projects,” that are actually in a far worse ideological cul-de-sac than the RM is. It must be remembered that those who deny the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, i.e. the Governmental Authority of the 32 County Irish Republic, such as the IRSP, Éirígí and the 32CSM, actually boost up the claims of the bourgeois, partitionist, statelets and their British Crown overlord to legitimacy in Ireland. There can only be one legitimate state power in Ireland. There is no fence to sit on. Either you are with the Dictatorship of the Proletariat or you are with the British/free state. Any activity within the bourgeois system strengthens the bourgeois system. That’s why it’s essential that the RM begin the work of building the Community Councils right now. As I say, any activity within the bourgeois system, such as taking part in bourgeois elections, strengthens the enemy. But we may begin to benefit more than we lose from taking part in these elections, if, and only if, we already have an alternative state power in operation, i.e. the Community Councils under the protection of the Army. To take part in bourgeois elections before this alternative power is in place is to work against the Republic.

As Lenin often pointed out, and Marx before him, the spontaneous form of Working Class activism is trade unionism – not for Revolution, but for a “fairer” slice of the capitalist cake. Our participation in the struggles of the Working Class, under the misleadership of the lackey trade unions, will only tend towards the modernization and copper fastening of the capitalist system. If the current economic crisis is to play any part in the Republican struggle, or vice versa, if Republicanism is to play any role in the current crisis and workers reaction to it, then we must make it clear that our enemy is ALL aspects of the bourgeois system – the councils, the police, the lackey trade unions, the capitalists, bankers and landowners. We must throw in our lot with the people of no property, who must become the people of ALL landed property. We should not be afraid of the slogan: “A free home for every citizen.” If we can’t stand behind this slogan, then we offer nothing to the Irish people and they will rightly continue to ignore and reject us. We must educate people and carefully explain to them that their demands are too small. The Proletariat, i.e. the class conscious workers, should not ask for a “fairer” slice of the cake – but should take ALL of the cake, by force. The change in perspective from petitioning their masters for a “fair deal” to abolishing the masters completely can only come about through careful and patient education. It’s impossible to educate people if you are unsure yourself of what you believe in. People can spot ambiguity a mile away; they would rather a Fianna Fáil cute hoor who believes fervently in his cute hoorism, than a milk and water Republican Socialist who doesn’t really know what he wants – as long as the Brits are out.

No comments:

Post a Comment