Workers' Liberty #59


What is Irish Republicanism?

The Comintern on the Treaty

Message from the Comintern "to the workers of Great Britain and Ireland", June 1922 (shortly before the outbreak of the civil war).

The Irish proletariat is again being faced with a fateful decision. After prolonged peace negotiations English imperialism is again preparing to coerce the Irish people by force of arms.

After all the efforts of the English bourgeoisie to maintain its domination by force of arms had been frustrated by the heroic self-sacrificing defence of the Irish people, it was obliged to come to an understanding with the Irish bourgeoisie. For the semblance of an independent Irish Free State the representatives of the Irish capitalists, Collins, Griffith and Co., sacrificed the fruits of the long and successful struggle, and received in return as a Judas reward the right to exploit the Irish workers together with the English bourgeoisie.

The party of small peasants and of those workers who are not yet class conscious, represented by De Valera, saw through this game. However, the election compromise which this party has arrived at with the Irish exploiters shows their lack of determination to fight against the latter.

The working class elements of this party, and above all the IRA, which consists mostly of proletarian elements, are justified in being indignant at this pact, and seeing in it the beginning of a future betrayal.

The Irish Labour Party is fully aware that every attempt at emancipation on their part will be hopeless until the party will direct its struggle against the twofold oppression of English imperialists and Irish capitalists. Nevertheless the Irish Labour Party is much too opportunist to continue the revolutionary traditions of Connolly and Jim Larkin. In all questions concerning real independence and the Irish Republican Army, the Irish Labour Party does not go beyond phrases. Instead of demanding complete independence, it clings to an ultra-constitutionalism just like its twin sister the British Labour Party. Instead of supporting the Republican Army under arms, it advocated an army "under the control of the people". Confusion and indecision exists in its own ranks, and prevents it from being the leader of the Irish proletariat.

It is only the young Communist Party of Ireland which has the courage and determination to point to the right path and say:

"It is only after the yoke of the English imperialists has been shaken off that the struggle against the Irish exploiters will have any chance of success! It is only after the establishment of real independence that the class struggle will be able to develop untrammelled by any national question".

The attitude of the proletarian majority of the IRA is proof that the Irish Communist Party, notwithstanding its short existence, is on the right path and represents the will of the Irish working class. The clearer and more determined it pursues this path the sooner will the English and Irish capitalists understand that the large majority of the Irish people, the workers, are not inclined to have filched from them the fruits of a long and self-sacrificing struggle for the semblance of independence which is being offered to them.

The English capitalist class is fully aware of this, and at the moment when it sees that the Irish workers refuse to be swindled on this question, but demand from England a real free state, it will again land its troops in Ireland, and is ready to renew the war rather than grant an independence which would interfere with its plans of exploitation.

Workers of Great Britain! Your duty now consists in frustrating this predatory campaign of your bourgeoisie! Do not allow the Irish people to be subjugated once more by the English capitalists!

Workers and peasants of Ireland! You must be fearless and determined in your struggle for the liberation of Ireland, and thus continue your fight for your own emancipation. But you must bear in mind that liberation from the yoke of the English oppressors is only a prelude to the great final struggle for the abolition of the reign of your own exploiters. In this struggle the Irish Communist Party and the Communist International will assist you with counsel and action.

Long live the Irish people freed from national oppression!

Long live the Irish proletariat!

Long live the solidarity of the English and Irish exploited workers!

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