The Irish Republican Socialist Committees, North America (IRSCNA) has a mandate from the IRSP to act on its behalf in Canada and the US. Founded in 1984 at a convention in St. Paul, MN, the IRSCNA seeks to expand recognition of, and support for, the IRSM through political forums, press releases, demonstrations, and a quarterly periodical called Irish Republican Socialist News. The IRSCNA contributes financially to the IRSP to promote the Party’s political activities and support of IRSM prisoners, and reserves to the IRSP ultimate direction for all support work undertaken. Since 1989, the IRSCNA has been formally recognized as a component section of the IRSM.
The IRSCNA publishes works previously released by the IRSP, as well as original works, and is the sole North American distributor of the Cork Workers’ Club catalog, a series of pamphlets republishing important documents in the history of Irish socialism. The IRSCNA raises funds to support Irish Republican Socialist Prisoners of War (RSPOWS) and their families, through the James Connolly Prisoners’ Welfare Fund; maintains contact with the RSPOWs. Through the Republican Socialist Prisoners’ Educational Fund, the IRSCNA acquires books and pamphlets which are sent to prisoners to further their educational efforts. As a liaison between the IRSM and other socialist, anti-imperialist, and progressive organizations either based in North America, or having greater representation here than in Ireland, the IRSCNA provides active solidarity with these organizations as representatives of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.
Why there must be an Irish Republican Socialist Movement
No doubt for those who think national liberation is possible without socialism there is a great temptation to forego socialism; for the IRSM, however, the two cannot be separated. To abandon the quest for socialism is to surrender the possibility of gaining genuine national sovereignty. The Ireland to be liberated is not a landmass, but the people residing thereon, and the vast majority of those people are members of the working class. We cannot speak of them exercising their initiatives as a sovereign people when they are excluded from real social power by the system of capitalism. The IRSP has expressed this in the past by demonstrating that national liberation is an aspect of the struggle for socialism.
It is not our position that the Provisional Republican Movement (‘PRM’, represented by Provisional Sinn Féin and the PIRA) are ‘sell outs’ to the socialist cause. Rather we have never seen the PRM as being committed to socialism. The PRM does not represent the working classes; nor have they ever declared it to be their focus. The PRM is composed of various classes, and its political program reflects this diversity. The Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) are not ‘sell-outs’ either – they do a fine job of representing the petty bourgeois section of the populace, which is their constituency. The problem is not the SDLP’s politics, but the fact that working class consciousness is so low that Irish workers vote for them. This is why the Irish Republican Socialist Movement exists as a distinct tendency in Irish politics, in order to specifically represent the interests of the Irish working class. The IRSM makes no claim to represent all the people of Ireland – only its working people. As Marxists, we do not believe it is possible to represent all the people, as each class has distinct and mutually-opposed interests.
This having been said, there are many points on which we in the IRSM could cooperate with the other anti-GFA Republicans – points where our objectives intersect – and for this reason the IRSP has always advocated a Broad Front of Irish anti-imperialists. Against suggestions that the IRSM merge with the other Republican groups and become a ‘left-wing’ of that movement, we stand quite firm. Cooperation on matters of common interest is quite distinct from liquidating into another organization. On this point we have Connolly’s advice to the volunteers of the Irish Citizen Army as they marched out on Easter Monday: “hold onto your guns”. Just as he recognized then that the ICA shared common objectives with the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Volunteers which called for joint action, he also recognized that their ultimate interests would eventually result in contradiction. It is for this reason that a distinct Republican Socialist Movement is necessary in Ireland.
A 32-county Irish Workers’ Republic is our goal, only a socialist revolution will get us there. The class struggle and national liberation struggle cannot be separated.