Reclaim The Republic/Athshealbhaígí an Phoblacht

“What The Proclamation Means To Me”

By Donall O'Driscoll (éirígí activist)

I see the Proclamation as essentially, the mission statement of Irish Republicanism. There is a tendency among certain sections of Irish society to buy into a 'four green fields' type of nationalism. What the Proclamation achieved, in my view, is to lay out a template for practical republicanism that understood that the 'liberation' of a nation is of little use unless the society that is moulded through that liberation is based on genuine social and economic democracy.

Some people claim, often with much delight, that the proclamation is not a socialist document; but is this really the case? What defines such a document as socialist? Does it need several references to the proletariat or 'comrades'? No. What is clear to me from reading the proclamation, is that it sets out a framework for an Irish Republic, that is perfectly compatible with a socialist system of governance. It does not set out a framework for exploitation, it does not set out a framework for privatisation. One does not need to think too long to realise that the societies that have emerged, both in the 6 counties and 26 counties, have been very much at variance with the ideals of 'cherishing all the children of  the nation equally' and guaranteeing equal rights and 'equal opportunities for all our citizens'. The fact that many of those who claimed to believe in the proclamation, were resonsible for creating such societies, does not take away from the nobility of the proclamation itself.

So to me, the Proclamation is essential in understanding that that genuine republicanism is as much about the socio-economic conditions of the people as the mere symbolism and flag waving of bourgeois nationalism. The proclamation was not only about setting out to free Ireland from British imperialism, but to lay the foundations for a society which would not prove to merely be an extension of that imperialism in a native Irish context. In short, it was a declaration of true republicanism.