declaration by the leadership of the Provisional IRA that the armed struggle is
over has been reported in the media as an historic turning point and a
fundamental departure in Irish politics. In spite of the rhetoric, however,
there has not been one single step in the direction of a united Ireland. At least a section of the Provisional Republican
movement will now be feeling demoralised and betrayed. They and many others, especially
the young people who have just started to become involved in politics, will
want to know - what next?
We are publishing here a speech given by Phil Mitchinson at the recent
international Marxist school in Barcelona. Dealing with the history of
the centuries old struggle for freedom in Ireland, and the part played
in that history by republicanism and socialism, as well as the political
developments that have led to the current impasse, this should serve as
an introduction to a major article analysing the recent declaration of
the end of the armed struggle by the Provisional IRA which we will be
publishing later this week.
The Irish Republican movement has been struggling for a united Ireland for
decades. Today it is no nearer this objective than when it was founded. Marxists
understand that a united Ireland can only be achieved on a socialist basis. So
long as capitalism dominates Ireland there will be division and strife.
Therefore it is time to take stock of the past of the Republican movement and to
draw a balance sheet. Only by such means can we build the revolutionary movement
urgently needed to prevent a further descent into sectarian chaos and achieve
instead the historic task of overthrowing capitalism and constructing the 32
county Socialist Republic.
Voters in the north of Ireland have delivered their verdict on the
Stormont Assembly. As we have consistently explained the Good Friday
Agreement, and the institutions of devolution associated with it, could
never begin to solve the problems facing ordinary working people no
matter what their background. Indeed the divide between Catholics and
Protestants has never been wider. The election result itself
demonstrates a further polarisation in the shape of Paisley's DUP
becoming the main Unionist Party, while Sinn Fein overtook the SDLP as
the main Nationalist party.
In Southern Ireland the
economic miracle is well and truly over. As we have predicted and explained for
some time now, the Celtic Tiger phenomenon did not mean that capitalism had
solved any of its contradictions. Now in the context of a declining world market
the only road open to the bosses to protect their profits will be an assault on
workers living standards.