Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Francie Mackey's address delivered at the 2014 Ard Fheis, 32 County Sovereignty Movement Chairperson
"Comrades agus a chairde, we meet in a time that is witness to a mass mobilisation of people protesting for a fundamental right; the right to water. It is an important distinction to recognise that these protests are not simply against an insidious tax on water but instead represent a positive campaign to establish a national position on a
Almost one hundred years ago Padraig Pearse, writing in a pamphlet entitled The Sovereign People, declared:
“So that the nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all the men and women of the nation but to all the material possessions of the nation, the nation’s soil and all its resources, all wealth and all wealth producing processes within the nation.”
It is somewhat ironic that those very sentiments, and those who espouse them, are being used by the state in an attempt to undermine the people’s sovereignty and their right to ownership over the nation’s resources.
In 1919 The Democratic Programme of Dáil Eireann decreed:
“It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation’s resources, to increase the productivity of its soil, to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, and fisheries, its waterways and harbours, in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people.”
The First Dáil recognised that its primary duties were to the Irish people. It took the very essence of the 1916 Proclamation and made it law for the welfare of the Irish people. It did not serve elites or empires. Those in Leinster House who claim to be their inheritors are in default of this fundamental premise.
In July of 2010 the United Nations passed Resolution 64/292;
“The United Nations recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”
Without question the issue of water is an issue of sovereignty. It is incumbent on the Sovereignty Movement to take this analysis into the heart of the Right To Water campaign so that the national and international pedigree of this matter is clearly understood.
We say this not as infiltrators but as educators. We urge all those who are mobilising to recognise that a people who exercise their sovereignty are an unstoppable force. True government is the administration of the people’s will and rights. Democracy does not begin and end in the electoral process. Sovereignty transcends the
popular vote because it is the basis upon which such votes are held and their outcomes made accountable.
The so called government of this State are nothing more than debt collectors for European Financial Institutions.
They look upon the people as commodities whose primary function is to provide labour and taxation to preserve wealth and wealth production in the control of a tiny and powerful elite. Our natural resources like our oil, minerals and fisheries have been sold off to private interests to the detriment of our nation’s well being. It
is a cycle that needs to be broken. And the first essential
step to be taken is to recognise the water issue as a first
There is little point in blocking a water tax only to have it reintroduced under a different guise. Fundamental change in the affairs of a nation can only come to pass with fundamental change in the mindset of its people.
And that has to be fought for!
Debt is the new poverty. And like all poverty before it, it represents a deliberate strategy for social control.
he financial bailout of banks and bondholders has institutionalised this poverty for generations to come. The political class which facilitated this theft of the fruits of our labour are the same class which has institutionalised sectarianism as a mechanism to maintain
Our right to our natural resources, to the fruits of our labour, to the integrity of our national territory and to the collective wisdom of our people’s vote are one and the same. To campaign for one is to campaign for all. They are all matters of Irish sovereignty!
This poses huge challenges for republicans in all organisations. As much as we may decry the recent efforts of the state to use us as a means to undermine the Right To Water Campaign they nonetheless reflected a stark truth that our standing in the political sphere is
wholly insufficient to advance our core objectives.
All valid arguments need a robust and functioning political vehicle to propagate them. The veracity of the argument of the Right To Water Campaign would fall on deaf ears if it weren’t for the tens of thousands marching on our streets. There is no escaping this fact.
And before we address this reality amongst the broad church of republicanism we must first do so amongst ourselves. Are we fit for purpose? Is our core position augmented by an energetic and functioning organisation?
Our Movement needs to consolidate its existing structures as a prerequisite to expanding them. It can only do this by functioning in a disciplined manner.
Cumainn must meet regularly and conduct their affairs according to the procedures outlined in our Constitution.
They in turn must interact with regional and national structures to ensure the impact of our political activism is maximised. All levels of our organisation should commit to making consolidation and expansion their priority for the coming year.
We should have the confidence to set ourselves targets and the ability to achieve them. New quality members, sales of the Sovereign Nation, involvement in political campaigns like The Right To Water and pickets in support of Republican POW’s. None of this is rocket
science; all of it is essential.
The past number of years has seen the Sovereignty Movement to the fore in finding common ground amongst republican organisations. At times we have done so to the detriment of our own organisation but a
prudent judgement was made that the potential fruits of these efforts were worth the cost.
I want to ensure you that at all times the integrity of the Sovereignty Movement’s position was safeguarded.
Indeed in these deliberations the veracity of our position prevailed. We are now at a point that the promotion of our analysis is the best way forward for Irish republicanism.
The terms for peace and political stability in Ireland were lodged in the United Nations by this Movement in 1997. No talks process which is genuine in its intent to resolve this conflict can avoid these terms. Neither can any republican organisation. In recent times the 32
County Sovereignty Movement has relayed this reality to
the American administration and its envoys. As we await
their response, if any, we remind them again that the fact of their continuing involvement is proof positive that the current process is a failure.
The UN Submission offers Irish republicanism the security and versatility which is crucial to any revolutionary movement. Dogmatic entrenchment in ideology or history is the language of inertia. Our
analysis on sovereignty, and our strategy to propagate it,
has elevated the republican position into modernity. It is
the language of law, rights and nationhood.
The UN Submission is not the property of our organisation. It does not require membership of our organisation to support it. It is a national document outlining the sovereign rights of the Irish people in an international forum.
Our confidence in our position should not be expressed in a petulant or insular manner. Our advocacy should reflect its progressive nature. But where we see wrong we must say it. One of the shortfalls in republicanism today is a tendency to adopt a trench warfare stance at the hint of any criticism. This has the debilitating effect of forcing republicans into ever decreasing circles of irrelevancy.
For our part we want the natural destination of our engagements with our fellow republicans to be the realisation of the totality of our sovereignty. The common thread between Irish republicans and issues like The Right To Water is sovereignty. The versatility and
surefootedness of this approach enables us to elevate these campaigns beyond mere protest. We make them expressions of sovereignty itself.
This holds true for a range of similar issues. The scourge of drug abuse has infected every community on the island. Conventional thinking has failed to deal comprehensively with this problem. Community based initiatives have been hampered by punitive cuts
to funding and shackled by laws and viewpoints that have clearly failed. A paradigm shift in the approach to tackling drug abuse is required.
For sometime the 32 County Sovereignty Movement has been researching and developing an indepth policy on drug abuse and how to address it. Cognisant of our own limitations, and recognising the cross social spectrum of the problem, our approach was based on a multi inclusive solution. Rather than simply putting forward a narrow political policy to campaign on we devised a mechanism from which a more comprehensive policy could be devised.
The incoming National Executive will be tasked with launching this initiative. But it is up to our organisation on the ground to bring it in to our communities. This issue cannot be addressed from the microphone or policy document alone. It needs political activism to translate it into a functioning reality.
All cumainn were given the opportunity to study, reflect and comment upon this initiative. That process is now at an end. The next phase is to begin.
I send revolutionary greetings to all those imprisoned for their struggle to achieve an Ireland they believe will serve the rights and needs of our people first and best.
I send our solidarity to all relatives and friends of our fallen.
I send fraternal greetings to all republican and socialist organisations whom we have shared platforms with, manned picket lines with and marched streets with.
I wish to thank those abroad who arranged political forums and invited our representatives to speak. We look forward to future engagements.
This years Scottish Referendum on Independence opened some valuable insights into Westminster’s thinking and its strategic needs to maintain the Union.
We wish the Scottish people well in their pursuit of independence and we respect the sovereign basis of their recent decision.
It is clear that for Westminster to maintain and exert its influence on the global stage it requires to be at the helm of the political entity known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
This reality was demonstrated by the lengths and tactics employed by Westminster to secure an outcome on its terms. Promises of maximum devolution, currency meltdown and economic isolation, dutifully disseminated by a disgraceful BBC campaign, all exposed Westminster’s true intent of maintaining the Union at all costs.
And for Irish republicans it also demonstrates the lengths and tactics it will employ to keep the Six Counties within their fold. Stormont is part of this ruse.
Partitionist referenda lends it a veneer of democratic respectability. Selective devolution of certain powers is the strategic mechanism to stifle separatist demands. And those who choose to administer this strategy are part and parcel of it.
Recent events in Derry have demonstrated that the political and constitutional DNA of partition has remained unchanged. In a blatant attempt to disenfranchise republican voters both the courts and electoral system have conspired to un-seat recently elected Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly.
Having been charged with the writing of a human rights slogan on a Derry wall the British Court sought financial restitution of several thousand pounds or an unprecedented Six Month sentence, sufficient to
invoke electoral rules to forfeit his seat. The paying of this financial restitution has the intent of facilitating former republicans in their attempts to denigrate Gary’s principled credentials. The Good Friday Agreement has merely re-branded an old product.
As pragmatic republicans we should refuse to be drawn into false dichotomies set for us by the British and their lackeys. Our principles are concerned with the welfare of our people and defending the sovereign integrity from which their national rights are sourced.
This case represents nothing more than a gerrymander through judicial means just like internment by remand.
This community was targeted because it chose a republican candidate to represent them. It is the duty of all republicans to defend this community and this is the course of action we in the 32 County Sovereignty Movement now urge.
We need to go into that community and devise with them strategic responses to whatever the outcome of this anti-democratic assault may be. If we allow Westminster and Stormont to be successful in this strategy it will become the standard ploy throughout the occupied area.
We cannot confine our scope of response to one of principle without effect. The British are equally content with either a vacated seat or a compromised republican in situ. We cannot allow our actions to divorce our principles from those who chose republicans to represent them. We must ensure our principles make both options of this British strategy unworkable.
The counter revolutionary preparations for the marking of the 1916 Centenary have begun in earnest.
Their inability to give a coherent agenda to honour this seminal event exposed the deep difficulties they have with the core ethos of the Proclamation.
Their Ireland 2016 programme suffers from the fundamental flaw in that for them Ireland stops at the border. Their history is buried in the din and confusion of revisionism because they know that what they represent is abhorrent to the ideals of Easter Week.
Attempts to rehabilitate the Home Rule argument and its advocates were given contemporary expression
with royal visits and royal banquets. The eulogising of the thousands of Irishmen slaughtered on the Somme neglected to mention their ultimate betrayal by the very royals they now seek to curry favour with.
And as much as these grotesque scenes appall every republican I urge all republicans not to fall into the trap of the false debate. The narrative of 1916 is not a vacuous comparison between Home Rule and the Anglo-
Irish Treaty but between Irish National Sovereignty and its continuing violation by the Westminster Parliament.
It is this narrative that makes 1916 stand distinct amongst it contemporary events. Its trajectory through the 1918 General Election, the establishment of Dáil Eireann and the issuing of the Declaration of Independence is the true path to once and for all bring an end to British Parliamentary activity in our country.
It is not enough for republicans to say that we are on this path. It is a path that can only be travelled with forward momentum. Republicans must demonstrate that we can counter the State’s efforts by making the Centenary of 1916 a watershed for meaningful change.
And we can only do this by working together. There is no other alternative.
I both applaud and encourage the quiet and industrious efforts by a wide range of republicans to give effect to the republican alternative. Your attention and contribution is earnestly required.
Comrades we need to have a concept of winning. We need to think, plan and act in that capacity. Our debt to our forefathers can only be repaid by the realisation of the ideals of nationhood they themselves devised.
The opening words of the Proclamation, ‘Irishmen and Irishwomen’, contains all the politics and ideology that any revolutionary vehicle requires to advance our goals. This wisdom was bequeathed to us by those who gave their lives in the belief that their fellow Irishmen and Irishwomen would construct such a vehicle.
Comrades, this is our task today!