Sent in to us to day
BY SEAN DOYLE SPEECH AT GRAVESIDE OF SEAMUS COSTELLO I.R.S.P. COMMEMORATION SUNDAY 7TH OF OCTOBER 2012. Comrades it is always a great honour and privilege to speak about Seamus Costello; however I must concede to my inadequacy to encapsulate his life, and his comprehensive vision of a 32 county socialist republic. His intellect, many talents and above all courage knew no boundary. His knowledge of our history and the wisdom of our past liberators; Tone, Lalor, Connolly, Mellows was consumed for breakfast, dinner and tea. But Connolly had a profound influence and guidance on the young Costello. He joined Official Sinn Fein and the IRA at 16 years of age and commanded a unit in the occupied six counties in Operation Harvest in 1956 aged 17 years. Within about a decade he held the positions of Adjacent General, Chief Of Staff and Director Of Operations and the position of Vice President of Official Sinn Fein until it proved impossible to dissuade the party from the reformist and one sided concentration that had frustrated him, robbed his youth and sapped his energy for over 18 years. The sometimes lonely and dangerous road of a young revolutionary visionary, both from external, and from internal forces, on the path he must travel, to realise his vision of a 32 county socialist republic in his lifetime, presents enormous challenges and demands great courage, to confront the old guard, set in their ways, of a mindset, that has been corrupted by delusion, that the party is more important, and the self liberation of the Irish people secondary. Let’s evaluate the task, mindful of the constraints imposed by the leadership. After Operation Harvest in 1962 as Seamus and comrades, had spent time in the Curragh concentration camp, as guests of the collaborators of British rule the 26 county government. They had wasted no time and organised educational lectures and debates while interned, and reviewed the stagnation of the party, and likely ways to break the cycle, and convince the leadership of the way forward. Conscious of many attempts, by a minority, to advocate, the absolute, importance of the twin approach, the national question, and the class struggle, as one struggle, rather than two competing strands, which has been the position and divided loyalty, and opinions since the ‘ 40’s. For example in 1945 when the internment camps and prison gates opened, in England, the north, and south thousands of men and women came home to a smashed movement both north and south and driven underground. They regrouped and concentrated on the military wing completely divorced of the people. They carried out raids on British camps and acquired substantial amounts of arms and ammunition, recruited and trained volunteers poised for the opportunity. They did not have to wait long, Operation Harvest was that opportunity. They enjoyed popularity during those years for their military endeavours two were elected to Westminster in 1955 and in 1957 four td’s were elected in the 26 county general elections but lost all 4 in 1961. When Seamus coined the phrase “I owe my allegiance to the working class” little did I know, or realise, the background, to this declaration, it encompasses his lifetime of struggle, to convince the party, as all parties, are secondary to the people’s revolution, parties are but a means to an end, and any party, or members, who willingly frustrate, or delay, this right of the people, must be exposed, as counter revolutionaries. Seamus believed in people empowerment, and he was the most charismatic, skilful orator, inspirational, and practical communicator, on every aspect, of the struggle, from ideological theory, to unemployment, housing, and class discrimination, none too big, or none too small, Seamus gave generously of his time, to organise people collectively, to fight for their rights, and find their confidence, and voice, and restore their dignity, denied to them by the parasitic political system, who will be aware a risen people will dispense with them at the opportune moment. His vision was enacted every day by example, as he worked with people, motivating them, to take back control of their lives, from the political system, that insist, on servitude, and adoration, as the price for a meagre existence, and denied rights. If he taught us anything, it was to have courage, to confront the twin evils, that is why Seamus and comrades formed the IRSP in December 1974, national oppression, and class oppression, must be confronted, and eradicated, only then will we have peace, and a healthy society in Ireland. New phases, of our struggle, unfold on a daily basis, and we must have the courage to expose, challenge, and inform opinion, building resistance, and ultimately win that phase, increase awareness, and consolidate, our resistance, for example, governmental decisions, who showed, who they really represent, shock horror, not the people who elected them. But as Connolly predicted, “if we fight for national freedom, without social freedom, any government we elect, will only be a committee, to manage the affairs, of the capitalist ruling class”. That is why ordinary working class people, are being crucified, and being impoverished, with austerity measures, to pay the gambling debts, of the banks, bondholders, and speculators, private debts, by decree, of the government, are sovereign debts, everyone, must repudiate these debts, their explanation, for their losses, was deregulation, and casino capitalism, that has been stopped. Not so, in early May of this year, J.P. Morgan the biggest U.S. bank, in terms of assets, admitted, a loss of over 2 billion, gambling on credit worthiness, of major corporations, but data released showed a weakening economy, and the market moved downwards. Barclays bank was found to have lied, in order to manipulate, libor the bank lending rate and many other banks were involved in the conspiracy, yet years in to the crisis, J.P. Morgan, and Barclays, are still using the same processes, that led to the financial crash, but why not, when ordinary workers are forced to bail them out. Seamus the young revolutionary at the age of 27 in his famous Wolfe Tone speech at Bodenstown called for the nationalisation of the banks for the benefit of the people and protection from the ravishes of vicious capitalism that has come to haunt us but who was listening? Another phase of our struggle we must address is The Good Friday Agreement, which I’m sure everyone here is an authority on, so I won’t labour on it, just to point out, while we no longer, have an orange state we most definitely, have a sectarian, and divided society, as is enshrined, in its composition, which is vigorously, defended by its institutions, to criticise, you are considered, anti peace, and likely, to get the full attention, of the PSNI, or even, the prison regime, which hasn’t changed, ask any of her majesty’s guests, Marian Price for example. We also have another glaring example of the Good Friday Agreement, at a practical level, in the Gridwood Plan, the former army barracks site in North Belfast which was highlighted, as a major breakthrough, to regenerate, an area blighted by sectarian division, and social deprivation. Within this development, it has the potential, for 200 homes as suggested last year by Minister Alex Attwood, but when his successor, DUP’s Nelson Mc Causland took over it was diminished. There are 2400 people on the social housing list. Mc Causland’s concern, was that based on need, they would be occupied by nationalists. Current waiting lists show for North Belfast 74% are from Catholic background, while 26% are Protestant, but under the terms of this shared future, these families can only be housed if equal amounts of Protestants need housing. Little wonder the young revolutionary Costello, in 1966, proclaimed, “That is why we seek the support of the people for the destruction of the present political and economic system, we do not believe, that reform is the answer, we therefore seek, support for our revolutionary solution”.
- Seamus Costello 35th Anniversary Memorial Event (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com)