Workers' Liberty #59


What is Irish Republicanism?

The CPI calls for civil war

The young Communist Party had very close ties, personal and ideological, to the revolutionary nationalists. The manifesto abridged here was published in The Workers' Republic of 17 December 1921.

Men and women of Ireland! Workers of Ireland! Today the representatives of the Irish Nation, elected to fight for an Irish Republic, meet to accept or reject, in your name, a Treaty with the Robber Power, England. This Treaty proposes the most shameful betrayal of Ireland's fight for national independence and of the cause of Irish Republicanism.

In exchange for a hollow mockery of the aspirations of the Irish people, Ireland, as a "Free" State, is asked to become an ally of the most hateful tyranny that history has produced. Thinly disguised as partners, we are asked to become lackeys of the British Empire in her efforts to subjugate the whole world and ruthlessly suppress every spark of Freedom that exists. Another of the long series of betrayals of the Irish people is about to be perpetrated.

On this momentous occasion, the Communist Party of Ireland, as the vanguard of the Irish Working Class, addresses the people of Ireland and in particular the revolutionary workers, to warn them of the danger that confronts them and help to overcome it. We call upon all true revolutionaries in An Dail not to betray the men of Easter Week, not to dishonour their Oath of Allegiance to the Irish Republic, but to denounce the Treaty, reject the terms, and stand fast for the Republic.

The most critical moment in the history of the Irish people has come. No compromise will be tolerated by the Irish working class. For the working class is the only class revolutionary to the end. The politicians of the upper class have always and ever compromised on the most vital principles of the struggle of the people for political and social freedom. They are about to do so again. We proclaim this bitter truth....

This so-called Free State will bring neither Freedom nor peace. Instead, civil war and social hell will be loosed if it is accepted.

The Empire is rocking! It is being broken and crushed in India, destroyed in Egypt, and will soon be torn asunder by proletarian uprising in England itself. Above all, the hostile attitude of America threatens to seal its doom. Faced with the greatest crisis in its history it foregoes its claim to rule unchallenged in Ireland, thereby effects a compromise with the weaker spirits among the Republicans, and immensely strengthens its position in the coming inevitable conflict with America.

Into this war Ireland will be drawn as a pawn fighting for England's domination of the world. This peace is but the preparation for battle; the lull before the world hurricane. Its moral effect will, as Dr Fogarty says, mean half a navy to England. Its material effect will mean a secure flank for England, complete possession of the most favourable naval and aerial base in Europe, the service of several thousands of bayonets hitherto thrust against her - and no possibility of being "stabbed in the back".

Ireland is to become the outpost on the Atlantic defending the interests of British Imperialists against the attack of the American Finance Kings. The IRA is to become the watchdog of English Capitalists!...

Oh, God! to think that the people of Ireland are asked to renounce the Republic that Connolly and Pearse fought and died for - to renounce such a prize in favour of a phantom mockery for which Griffith talked and negotiated! To think of all the tortures our internees suffered! And all for the privilege of living enslaved and subject, in a "Free" State, and of having their representatives swear allegiance to King George.

As against the British Empire we stand for an Irish Republic. As against any State that will foster or promote the interests of the British Empire we will fight for an Irish Republic. We stand and fight for an Irish Republic against the Free State. We will ally ourselves to whoever fights against the Free State for an Irish Republic.

The Communist Party swears no allegiance to the Free State; will not be faithful to King George. We repudiate with scorn and hatred common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain as she now is. We denounce as a fraud and a mockery the British Commonwealth of Nations. The only true Commonwealth of Nations is the world federation of workers' republics. Only as a unit of such a world federation can Ireland achieve her freedom. The Communist Party allied to the revolutionary parties of the world alone can lead the way to an Irish Republic.

The Communist Party of Ireland stands with those who fight for Pearse's ideals, Connolly's Republic. On to the Republic! Down with the British Empire! Down with any Free State allied to the Robber Trust! Long live the Irish Republic! Long live the World Federation of Workers' Republics! Work for a Republic! Hold your guns and fight for a Republic! Join the Communist Party of Ireland!

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