Tuesday, 3 February 2015

One Ireland - One Vote?

Since their emergence a few years ago, the 1916 societies have spread across Ireland in most towns and cities solidifying themselves within anti-GFA (Good Friday Agreement) republicanism. It is a broad church catering for every shade of republicanism based on the central pillar of the 1916 Easter Proclamation and seeking an All-Ireland referendum free from all external influence. Their main activities involve talks, commemorations, history tours and aiming for an All-Ireland referendum.

The 1916 Easter Proclamation remains a core pillar of Irish republicanism today and the 1916 Societies are no different. However as we approach its 100 year anniversary next year it is important that we begin to reflect on its relevance today in an every changing global capitalist society in an Ireland that is culturally and ethnically diverse. What do we mean by ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’?

The proclamation is ambiguous by nature and offers nothing in terms of what an independent Ireland would look like and how to get there. Irish republicans are always keen to highlight the loaded terms such as ‘equality’ but what does this mean given all progressive political traditions claim they believe in ‘equality.’

As one Irish anarchist writer and activist points out; ‘ ‘The rising was heroic and it did shape the face of modern Ireland, but is there much in the rising for anyone on the left to celebrate? This blow against imperialism after all is somewhat undermined by the description of German imperialism in the second paragraph of the proclamation as "gallant allies in Europe". And the promise that "The Republic guarantees equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens" holds no threat to the European capitalism of today which also claims to stand for such things.

Despite the fact that the Ireland of the time was deeply divided, right down to the formation of two rival and armed militias the proclamation simply "claims the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman" despite "the differences" .. "which have divided a minority from the majority". The bitter sectarian divisions that already existed in the Belfast working class were unlikely to be overcome in such a manner! (1)

While anarchists should defend the right to self-determination, we need to ask ourselves is ‘self-determination’ and 'independence', in the real meaning of the word, possible in a global capitalist society run by imperialist powers. Is independence and nationalism a solution to imperialism?

 Read on here: http://www.wsm.ie/limits-of-one-ireland-one-vote