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Marian Price speech at IRSP Hunger Strike/North West Volunteers commemoration

Posted on 28/8/2004 at 18:16:11 by Belfast 32CSM

32 County Sovereignty Movement: IRSP Hunger Strike/North West Volunteers commemoration 22nd August 2004. Marian Price.

A chairde agus comradaithe.

It is an honour to be speaking here today in memory of the Republican Socialist volunteers from this area who lost their lives in defence of the republic and the advancement of the republican ideal of a free, united and socialist Ireland. These men did not sit in backrooms telling others how to fight a war; they had the courage of their convictions and enough belief in their ideals to fight the war themselves and to die. There are some in the wider republican family who use events such as this to announce further ideological retreats from republicanism, some who use the sacrifices of others in the past to justify or sell what they are doing today. However we are not hypocrites. We remember these men with pride, secure in the knowledge that what they fought and died for will be achieved.

Republicans are again under extreme pressure, we have been here before. However there is a gradual realization that the republican community has been failed by its self appointed leaders and by the Good Friday Agreement. It is now up to we republicans to push forward with our republican alternative, we must not be elitist and must be conscious of the fact that Irish Freedom and liberation will not be won by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement nor the Irish Republican Socialist Party but by the Irish People themselves. It is our role to guide and encourage the people but first we must re-convince the wider republican community of the merits of true republicanism before we can hope to convince Irish Nationalism or Unionism.

The Sovereignty Movement would like, at this point, to thank the Republican Socialist Movement for the comradeship they have extended to us in the past number of years, particularly on the issue of prisoners and the Justice for Seamus Doherty Campaign.
No doubt there will be many occasions in the future when we will require your support and we thank you in advance for it. We also pledge our support to you in a spirit of solidarity and revolutionary republicanism. Both our organizations have been the subject of black propaganda and smear campaigns from the British, Free State and the pro-agreement establishments and from this we must conclude that we are doing something right, we have hit a nerve somewhere or perhaps pricked a few consciences.

Finally, it is important to remember when honouring fallen comrades, particularly the Hunger Strikers, not to project retrospectively attitudes or opinions that were not their own. No one can speak for the fallen or claim what it is they would have thought of any given political situation. All we can know for sure is what they died for, in the case of the INLA volunteers, the socialist republic envisaged by James Connolly. What we have in this country today are two dispensations which neither are nether socialist nor respect the integrity of the republic.

It was Connolly who penned these next few lines after the death of O Donovan Rossa and they are as relevant today as they were 90 years ago: “The burial of the remains of O Donovan Rossa in Irish Soil, ...must inevitably raise in the mind of every worker the question of his or her own mental attitude to the powers against which the departed hero was in revolt. That involves the question whether those who accept that which Rossa rejected have any right to take part in an honour paid to a man whose only title to honour lies in his continued rejection of that which they have accepted. It is a question each must answer for himself or herself. But neither can it be answered carelessly, nor evaded.”

The question we must ask ourselves here today comrades, is can we in all conscience accept less than what these men died for? That again is a question each must answer for themselves,

Go raibh maith agat.

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