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Time to Reclaim the 1916 Commemoration - it's already been hijacked by imperialists and capitalists
national | rights, freedoms and repression | feature Thursday March 09, 2006 18:09 by Padraig Connolly & James Pearse - The Irish Citizen Army (and other ghosts of 1916) Upper Floor of the GPO, temporary autonomous headquarters six six six, six six six
Sunday April 16th - a communique from the dead to all insurrectionary sisters and brothers
Having organised and trained through secret sinister revolutionary organisations...
"..The nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the nation but to all material possessions of the nation, the nation’s soil and all its resources, all wealth and wealth-producing processes within the nation. In other words, no private right to prosperity is good against the public right to secure strictly equal rights and liberties to every man and woman within the nation." - Padraig Pearse.
“The carnival of murder on the continent [World War I] will be remembered as a nightmare in the future, will not have the slightest effect in deciding for good the fate of our homes, our wages, our hours, our conditions. But the victories of labour in Ireland will be as footholds, secure and firm, in the upward climb of our class to the fullness and enjoyment of all that labour creates, and organised society can provide. Truly, labour alone in these days is fighting the real war for civilisation.” - James Connolly.
Less than a week ago, this State facilitated the overnight stopover of George W. Bush, president of the United States of America, in Shannon Airport in Co. Clare. According to Wikipedia, over 330,000 US troops stopped over at Shannon in 2005 en route to or from Afghanistan or Iraq. On 6 December 2005, the BBC programme Newsnight alleged that Shannon was used on at least 33 occasions by United States Central Intelligence Agency flights, thought to be part of a US policy called extraordinary rendition, referring to the non-judicial transfers of prisoners to other jurisdictions, including those where interrogation routinely uses torture. The New York Times reported the number to be 33, though referring to "Ireland" rather than Shannon, while Amnesty International has alleged the number of flights to be 50, a figure they published in response to Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, who had pledged to investigate rendition if presented with evidence.
The United States presently occupies 702 military bases worldwide in 132 different countries. Throughout its history, the United States has colonised a wide range of small countries and territories, including Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Panama, and South Korea, among others. It is the world's strongest imperial power at present, and fights wars to ensure that its military and financial might are maintained. In recent years it has shown itself to be a usurper of democracy when it suits its own self-interest (Venezuela, 2002), and its current war in Iraq was started in breach of international law.
In April of this year, the State will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising, thus spuriously claiming ownership and inheritance of the ideals of the men and women that fought in the insurrection. The day will be marked, according to the Department of the Taoiseach, by "a military parade in Dublin. Approximately 2,500 personnel representing all branches of the PDF together with representatives of ex-service personnel and veterans of UN service will be included. The Parade will also include members of the Garda Síochána, representing their service abroad with the United Nations. An aerial fly past by the Aer Corps is also envisaged. The parade will depart from Dublin Castle, pass through Dame Street, College Green and O'Connell Street. There will be a reading of the Proclamation outside the GPO and appropriate military honours will be rendered."
After the riot in Dublin's city centre on February 25th, where republicans (among others) staged a counter demonstration against a loyalist "Love Ulster" parade, various politicians have publicly stated that the 1916 commemorations would not be "hijacked" by troublemakers, including the gun-toting Willie O'Dea.
The truth is that the 1916 ideals have been hijacked already. This State's claim to be the natural inheritor is fraudulent, based on their continuing support for the world's biggest imperial and capitalist dominant power. Any semblance of ethics or morals, even loosely based on the neutrality from a reactionary conservative like Eamonn De Valera, have long been discarded by the gleaming lure of the greenback, blinding all into petty gombeenism and mé-féin politics. Rocking the cosy consensus between Dublin and Washington is too much of a financial gamble for the party of business and commerce, Fianna Fáil. American money speaks louder than ideals to the political elite in this country who will be "celebrating" 1916 - who cares if innocent people are being killed or if a country is being illegally occupied, when we have our shining new cars and one-off mansions paid for by multinationals? The rate of comfort increases in direct proportion to the distance of the imperial conflict - speak/see/hear no evil, when its hundreds of miles away and beyond the gaze of the constituents. Pearse and Connolly were both anti-imperialists and are turning in their graves at this state's support of US imperialism and oil wars.
The 1916 Commemoration Military Parade smacks of an event worthy of Stalin or Mao; on the one hand the communists would glorify the ordinary workers and peasants, while on the other they would butcher anyone who dared to dissent. In April we will be treated to the public pomposity of the FF/PD coalition glorifying a small micro-group of radical insurrectionaries; while in the same breath deporting immigrants, handing over natural resources to multinationals, engaging in various levels of corruption, failing to provide social and affordable housing for the public despite massive exchequer surpluses, and facilitating the military machine of an imperial power to kill and torture with impunity.
As long as this state of affairs continues, the State should not be allowed to claim ownership of the ideals of 1916. It is an attempt to colonise a history that is a million miles away from the reality of Ireland today. By continually looking into the past through light green tinted glasses and mythologising an event to suit their own political ends, the current political parties are deflecting attention away from the hypocrisy of their present actions.
To allow a commemoration of an anti-imperialist insurrection in a theme-park street populated with the likes of McDonalds and Burger King is laughable. As Connolly himself said, "If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs. England would still rule you to your ruin, even while your lips offered hypocritical homage at the shrine of that Freedom whose cause you had betrayed." Substitute 'America' for 'England' with the decline of the British Empire coupled with the ascendancy of the almighty dollar, and those words have as much resonance today as over 100 years ago.
The 1916 Commemoration called by the Taoiseach's office should be stopped, by all/any means necessary. Any attempt to do this would not be a slur on the people who died during the Easter Rising - if anything it would be an affirmation of their principles of justice, liberty, anti-imperialism, and direct action. The State seems to forget that the 1916 insurrection was deeply unpopular and committed by a small group of dedicated idealists who were completely removed from the mainstream of political thinking. The revolution only came after the insurrection. Perhaps it will take something similar to happen here again before the Irish public is roused from its apathy about our current participation in colonialism and imperial wars.