The Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum convened an important conference in Dublin on 21 November 2015. The gathering which included socialists, republicans and communists from across the island discussed the means by which they (and their associates) could promote a shared and deeper understanding of socialist republicanism in the contemporary Irish context and how this analysis helps with a clearer understanding of the world we live in today.
Discussion ranged over a number of connected topics. Eugene McCartan opened the proceedings with a brief recap on why the Forum was established and outline the rationale for the strategic paper* presented earlier to attendees. This introduction was followed as Pauline Conroy chaired a discussion led by Tommy Mc Kearney exploring the centenary of Easter 1916 and asking how we might celebrate the Rising by examining its political context and how this relates to Ireland of today.
The second topic was chaired by Mags Glennon with a presentation from Eoghan O’Neill outlining the need to make coherent connection between various struggles such as provision of water and health, the campaign against the EU and imperialism while all the time placing these issues in the context of a wider vision for a different Ireland.
After lunch Eddie Glackin chaired a presentation by Gearoid O’ Machail and Colm Ó Laighnach as they detailed the need to develop and deliver an agreed programme of political education that would challenge the current ‘received wisdom’ that neoliberalism and imperialism are a benign influence in Ireland and elsewhere.
The final session was delivered by Donal Higgins as he spoke on the value (and limitations) of modern technology and how the left might harness this technology in order to spread its message and communicate with a greater numbers of people than we do at present.
Steve Mc Cann drew the conference to a conclusion as he asked the gathering to nominate a national steering committee. A panel of twenty was appointed to fulfil this task.
Franky Quinn was last to speak when he delivered a word of thanks and appreciation to the Communist Party of Ireland for making its premises available for the event and for providing food for all present.
Summary of forum’s strategic paper
The Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum was established in 2013 to promote the ideas of socialist republicanism (as best expressed by Connolly, Mellows and O’Donnell) in order to create a political and ideological base intended to facilitate the creation of an anti-imperialist movement capable of bringing about real social change in Ireland. Since its foundation the Forum has published a booklet entitled ‘Undoing the Conquest; Renewing the Struggle’ containing the group’s view of the core crucial importance of class, the state, imperialism plus a statement of its principles. As well as the publication it has conducted well-attended meetings in Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Wexford, Tyrone and Monaghan.
Having identified and set out its core principles, the forum is now addressing two further but related issues by elaborating what the forum seeks to achieve. Firstly, while remaining adamant that it is not a campaigning group, it is nevertheless necessary to emphasise that the forum is designed to contribute to the creation of a broad anti-imperialist, socialist republican movement capable of uniting in struggle around political and economic issues. An essential first step in this process has to be the attainment of a working agreement on a number of key issues and/or principles.So that the forum can also reach beyond party political activists, it is important that organised discussions consider the concrete conditions of the Irish working class within the context of socialist republicanism. Broadly speaking discussions should fit into three currents;
- a) A core analysis
- b) Examination of current and contemporary issues
- c) Guided study of the past (1916 centenary in particular) in order to look forward.
With the national and social questions remaining unresolved, there is a myriad of organisations (socialist, republican, socialist republican and communist) ostensibly committed to their ‘democratic’ resolution. The forum welcomes opportunities to exchange its assessment with a range of activists but adheres at all times to a Marxist /socialist republican analysis.
Finally, the forum takes an all-Ireland approach when dealing with issues except for the obviously local.
For further information you can view the forum’s website at: https://socialistrepublicanforum.wordpress.com/nuachtnews/