On Tuesday, October 30th, more than two dozen people attend a public meeting in Kilmore Community Centre in Coolock, Dublin. Entitled ‘Towards 2016: The Workers Republic – éirígí’s Vision’, the meeting was addressed by éirígí activists Brian Leeson and Martin Farrell.
Leeson’s contribution focused on the impact that the 1912-1922 revolutionary period has had on the Ireland of today. He argued that the revolutionary potential of that period was crushed with the emergence of a Free State which protected the interests of the big farmer, the Catholic church and the business class. The Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, the Irish Republican Army and others had fought for a sovereign independent Irish Republic that would cherish all the children of the nation equally and not for a state that would protect the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
Leeson went on to say that the Twenty-Six County state today is very far from the one envisioned in the 1916 Proclamation. Today’s state remains committed to protecting the few, in the form of the bankers, developers, the political class and their cronies – again at the expense of the many. In conclusion Leeson stated that the legacy of 1916 should be the spirit of rebellion, whereby ordinary working people decided to ignore the rules and laws of the ruling class and organise themselves into an effective resistance movement – something which people today should take inspiration from.
Next to speak was Martin Farrell, who gave the meeting an insight into éirígí’s work within the local community in Coolock, Darndale and the surrounding areas. He detailed the positives of building mass resistance within communities through organisations like the CAHWT (Campaign Against the Household and Water Tax). Martin highlighted how that campaign has mobilised hundreds of thousands to resist austerity and has shown that once communities get organised and stand together, they have the power to defeat the home tax, the water taxes and the crippling cutbacks.
Following the contributions of both speakers, questions and comments were taken from the floor. Issues raised included the current state of Irish republicanism, the biased nature of the state/corporate media as well as suggestions on how the fight back could be escalated.
Speaking after the event chairperson of the local éirígí ciorcal (branch), Ciaran Heaphey, said, “Tonight’s meeting was a huge success. Many new faces from the community came along to listen to the politics of Irish republicanism and to find out more about éirígí’s work in the local community.
“The next few years in the run up to 2016 and beyond are important years for republicanism and the type of Ireland we want to live in. Tonight’s meeting has played a small but important part in facilitating a local community in discussing the legacy of 1916 and the fight back against austerity today. The level of defiance at the meeting tonight was heartening. There is no doubt in my mind that the people of this city are seething with anger. The next step we need to take is to focus that anger onto those individuals and institutions that are responsible for the current mess.”