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éirígí has just published its first policy paper entitled ‘Imperialism,
Ireland and Britain’.
The first section focuses on imperialism as a policy, the factors that motivate such policies, and the political philosophies that underpin them ‘Racism, discrimination and exploitation are intrinsically linked to a policy which justifies the right of one people to dominate and exploit another. In rejecting imperialism, we in éirígí are also rejecting philosophies that place one human being as superior to another’.
Leading on from this is a critique of contemporary imperialist policies in which éirígí asserts that while the means that imperialist countries use may have changed but that the end result remains the same ‘…look no further than organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to see how effectively countries can be coerced into adopting economic and social polices that serve the interests of the rich world far more than the interests of their own people. éirígí stands in opposition to imperialism in all its forms.’
The paper asserts that Ireland’s relationship with imperialism is unique ‘…we are simultaneously the victim of imperialism, through the British occupation, and the direct beneficiaries of imperialism, by our location within the rich world.’
Noting that there are many in Ireland willing to support imperialist policies éirígí asserts that ‘…these Irish apologists for imperialism should be challenged and exposed at every opportunity, be this in relation to the use of Shannon airport by the US military, the British occupation of six Irish counties, membership of the EU rapid reaction forces or the proposed entry of the twenty-six counties into NATO.’
Much of the paper focuses on the nature of the relationship between Ireland and Britain stating that ‘éirígi wishes to see the normalisation of relations between the peoples of Ireland and the peoples of Britain’ but holds that this cannot happen until Britain withdraws from Ireland believing that ‘…this occupation and the denial of democracy it represents to be the single most substantial challenge facing the Irish people today
In relation to political movements which challenge British rule in Ireland and the techniques used by Britain to defeat such movements the paper states that Irish history ‘…is littered with military campaigns, treaties and statutes designed by Britain to neutralise such movements and prolong the occupation.’ This is the context within which the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements must be viewed which éirígí believes ‘…are considerably more likely to solidify British rule in Ireland than they are to end it.’
The final section of the paper deals with the future, in which éirígí commits itself to ‘the building of a new social and political movement for Irish freedom’ arguing that there are ‘now numerous examples across the globe of people challenging global capitalism and imperialism through “bottom up” social and political movements.’ éirígí asserts that such a movement needs to move beyond traditional political parties and‘ seek to encompass not only traditional political parties but also organised labour, community groups, cultural organisations, campaign groups as well as non-aligned individuals.’
The concluding paragraph invites people to join éirígí and ‘contribute, in whatever way they can, to completing the unfinished business of Irish freedom and the establishment of a Democratic Socialist Republic.’
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