Below is a speech that was delivered by éirígí’s Daithí Mac An Mháistir on Thursday, April 7, at a public meeting hosted by University College Dublin’s Frank Ryan Society on the subject of the upcoming state visit of Elizabeth Windsor to the Twenty-Six Counties. Read on...
There are many grounds upon which the upcoming visit by Elizabeth Windsor should be opposed by all socialists, republicans and democrats.
Indeed, if these political designations are to have any real meaning today, then those who would profess to hold them are, I would contend, duty-bound to oppose this visit.
Foremost among the reasons for opposing her visit must be the fact that this woman represents the epitome of a system based upon class privilege – a system whereby power and privilege are assumed and passed on based upon the type of blood that flows in one’s veins and upon the money and influence that one’s family has inherited over time.
It is the notion of class-based entitlement at the expense of others which is at the very heart of the worldwide system of domination and exploitation that has ruled over and destroyed much of this planet we live on.
This visit is fundamentally, of course, about placing the finishing touches on the long-standing British policy of ‘normalisation’ in Ireland.
This policy has, in essence, been about securing and protecting British rule in Ireland, in particular, in terms of its military and geo-political strategic considerations.
Whatever about attempts to spin it as being otherwise, what this normalisation policy actually represents is the legitimisation of the politics of subservience – where the interests of Ireland are de facto acknowledged to be subservient to the interests of the so-called ‘United Kingdom’, which is itself today fighting to maintain its relative position of relevance and superiority in the world.
Indeed, Jack Straw let the cat out of the bag with his overly candid remarks in 2007, acknowledging as they did the critical importance of the North of Ireland to the integrity of the whole ‘UK’, and also, to British influence in the UN, G8, and EU etc.
The politics of superiority is what those who believe in and wish to uphold the capitalist/imperialist system are all about.
It is only through legitimising the notion of social superiority historically that a minority has come to wield and use the power to exploit the majority.
Social, economic, and political superiority is what Britain’s wars of conquest have always been about.
It is what their wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are all about.
It is what Britain’s war in Ireland has always been about.
And legitimising the politics of superiority is what this visit is about also.
In war as in peace, the Empire must legitimate itself. Paddy must, of course, learn to ‘tip the cap’ to his social masters.
Elizabeth Windsor may be but a relic of a time when the word of a monarch and the notion of divine right were enough to control a population. Indeed, she may merely be the symbolic head of the British armed forces.
That being said, we cannot downplay the role that this visit is designed to play in the overall narrative of the process of pacification in Ireland.
Connolly noted at the time of the visit of British King George V 100 years ago that:
“The mind accustomed to political kings can easily be reconciled to social kings – capitalist kings of the workshop, the mill, the railway, the ships and the docks.”
The mind accustomed to the political kings and queens of monarchy can be reconciled also to military occupation, and financial and economic treason as represented by the EU/IMF treaty of submission.
Ruling by fooling with great Irish fools to practice on, indeed.
The fact that this visit is taking place at all shows how successful Britain’s ‘normalisation’ policy in Ireland has been, for the most part.
The success of the whole so-called peace process was based upon what G.R. Sloan has termed a ‘unique geo-political dualism’.
What he meant by this is that normalisation was to be, and was, achieved through a strategy and process based upon creating the perception amongst people generally, including a majority within the ‘Republican community, that the problem of Ireland was essentially resolved, at the very same time as, in reality, British interests in Ireland were being secured into the future.
Whatever about their protestations to the contrary, that this visit is able to take place now bears testament to the fact that the Provisional movement have bought into this process of normalisation in its entirety.
Both they and the British can’t be right. That the Queen of England is visiting an essentially normalised and partitioned, pacified and contained situation in Ireland gives clear indication as to who is right and who is wrong with regard to the political trajectory underpinning the ‘peace process’. Normalisation of British rule and not a re-unified, independent Ireland is what has resulted from the ‘peace process’. It is the substantive not the superficial that ultimately counts.
It took 100 years to re-create the conditions wherein a British monarch could return to the capital of Ireland. Not that they would ever admit it, but it is, however, a simple fact that this visit could not have happened without the ultimate defeat of the Provisional movement as a potentially revolutionary force. Again, this visit was contingent upon this happening.
That being what it may, for our part we in éirígí will remain steadfast in our opposition to the British head of state visiting any part of Ireland for as long as Britain continues its occupation of the Six Counties.
This visit is integral to maintaining and deepening the notion that the primary cause of the long-running historical conflict in the north-eastern part of Ireland no longer exists.
According to the narrative underpinning this visit, historical questions related to Irish national self-determination, independence and sovereignty have all now been satisfactorily addressed and resolved.
They are notions and concerns from another era.
Those who think otherwise are, of course, depicted as still living in the past.
The reality is much different – when this visit goes ahead, it will be on the basis of the English Queen coming to the Twenty-Six Counties as the head of a British state, including its armed forces, which continues to illegally occupy six Irish counties.
Let me state very clearly that there can be no welcome in Ireland from any self-respecting Irishman or Irishwoman for any British leader, of government or head of state, for as long as the occupation of the Six Counties continues.
It is incumbent upon all those who profess to be against the tyranny of the ruling class, and in favour of upholding the principles of the right to national self-determination and freedom from military and political occupation to ensure that no such welcome is forthcoming.
This proposed visit has been welcomed by the great and the good in the media, the political establishment and the churches.
It will, however, so long as the institutions of capitalism, imperialism and monarchy are in the ascendant, as always, fall to a respectable minority of ordinary people to reject both the visit and the political philosophy behind it.
It is for us to show that the long tradition of political dissent in Ireland is alive and well, just as James Connolly and his fellow revolutionaries of the day did in opposing British King George V’s visit in 1911.
On the occasion of that visit, they produced a leaflet setting out the reasons why republicans, socialists and democrats should be implacably opposed to any such proposition.
In finishing, I would like to read to you a part of the text of this very important leaflet. As I do, and bearing in mind the fact that this woman represents a system that claims jurisdiction over a part of Ireland, I would ask you to consider, 100 years later, whether the reasons for implacable opposition to British royalty on the part of those who profess to hold dear the interests of Labour and Ireland have changed in any fundamental way?
“The future of the working class requires that all political and social positions should be open to all men and women; that all privileges of birth or wealth be abolished, and that every man or woman born into this land should have an equal opportunity to attain to the proudest position in the land. The Socialist demands that the only birthright necessary to qualify for public office should be the birthright of our common humanity.
“Believing as we do that there is nothing on earth more sacred than humanity, we deny all allegiance to this institution of royalty, and hence we can only regard the visit of the King as adding fresh fuel to the fire of hatred with which we regard the plundering institutions of which he is the representative. Let the capitalist and landlord class flock to exalt him; he is theirs; in him they see embodied the idea of caste and class; they glorify him and exalt his importance that they might familiarise the public mind with the conception of political inequality, knowing well that a people mentally poisoned by the adulation of royalty can never attain to that spirit of self-reliant democracy necessary for the attainment of social freedom.
Thus coronation and king's visits are by our astute never-sleeping masters made into huge Imperialist propagandist campaigns in favour of political and social schemes against democracy. But if our masters and rulers are sleepless in their schemes against us, so we, rebels against their rule, must never sleep in our appeal to our fellows to maintain as publicly our belief in the dignity of our class – in the ultimate sovereignty of those who labour.
“Fellow-workers, stand by the dignity of your class. All these parading royalties, all this insolent aristocracy, all these grovelling, dirt-eating capitalist traitors, all these are but signs of disease in any social state - diseases which a royal visit brings to a head and spews in all its nastiness before our horrified eyes. But as the recognition of the disease is the first stage towards its cure, so that we may rid our social state of its political and social diseases, we must recognise the elements of corruption.
“Hence, in bringing them all together and exposing their unity, even a royal visit may help us to understand, and understanding, help us to know how to destroy the royal, aristocratic and capitalistic classes who live upon our labour.
“Their workshops, their lands, their mills, their factories, their ships, their railways must be voted into our hands who alone use them, public ownership must take the place of capitalist ownership, social democracy replace political and social inequality, the sovereignty of labour must supersede and destroy the sovereignty of birth and the monarchy of capitalism.
“Ours be the task to enlighten the ignorant among our class, to dissipate and destroy the political and social superstitions of the enslaved masses and to hasten the coming day when, in the words of Joseph Brenan, the fearless patriot of '48, all the world will maintain:
“The Right Divine of Labour
Go raibh maith agaibh.
Smash the NAMA Republic!
Different Name, Same Aim
Campaign for British withdrawal
We Only Want the Earth!
No British Royal Visits!
Workers in Struggle
Reclaim The Republic
|éirígí online shop|
|Donate to éirígí|
“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”
Copyright © éirígí, All rights reserved