The 77th Annual Delegate Conference took place on 21 November 2015 in the London Irish Centre, Camden. In addition to individual motions on specific topics submitted by branches and affiliates, the following Executive Council Resolution on Policy was agreed unanimously.
Connolly Association Executive Council Resolution on Policy
The claim of successive British governments to sovereignty over six counties in the north-east of Ireland, and the consequent maintenance of the enforced partition and the economic, financial and military dependence of the country as a whole has:
- Hindered the economic development of the island as a whole;
- Weakened the ability of the Irish nation to resist attacks on its independence and neutrality;
- Fostered divisions among Irish citizens by favouring some and discriminating against others;
- Led to many years of continued violence and the destruction of life, health and property;
- Given comfort to all reactionary forces and weakened those of democracy;
- Maintained misunderstanding and antagonism between the British and Irish peoples, and introduced discriminatory legal practices against the Irish in Britain; and
The British government has used its foothold in the six counties to entangle the Republic in the economic and military plans of transnational monopoly capital through the European Union and the so-called NATO Partnership for Peace amongst other mechanisms, this has been spiritedly resisted by such Irish national organisations as the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the Peoples Movement, and the National Platform, on which efforts the Connolly Association has congratulated them; and
The Good Friday Agreement, as much an economic and military as a political strategy, has ameliorated very few of the problems brought about by partition and the division of a people. It and the subsequent Agreements have been reached within the confines of imperialist interests.
The Agreement only briefing preceded the entry of Ireland into the so-called NATO Partnership for Peace framework, thereby succeeding where the Anglo-Irish Agreement failed. The Agreement legitimised the operation of the British military in Ireland, and sought to establish militarisation in common with that of mainland Britain and ensure Irish government collusion in the occupation; and
The Agreements contain no provision for the operation of Irish national democracy; and
The institutions and bodies established under the Agreement have failed to establish any level of genuine integration on the island of Ireland, rather they have focused on the integration of markets. This is a policy not only in line with British imperialist interests, but that of dominant national imperialisms throughout Europe, and is in conflict with the most basic forms of democracy. Whilst power-sharing has challenged the operation of sectarian social policy, the institutionalisation at the political level of sectarianism itself has developed a political stalemate much to the satisfaction of foreign imperial interests, allowing only the market to be integrated and without any independent, democratic or sovereign governance.
The North-South bodies, especially under a conservative Irish government, have served only to promote the interests of monopoly capital; and
The Dublin government has been ensnared in the military control of Northern Ireland through:
• The coordination of the policing of the border (2011 Joint Statement)
• Extradition of citizens of the Republic to British or British-occupied territory,
• Joint 32-county military operations against all opposition to British domination of Ireland, and
• Entry into the NATO so-called Partnership for Peace; and
The institutions established under the Agreement continue to be preferable to direct rule from Westminster and must be defended, with a view to expansion of powers and reform. Furthermore, it must be recognised that the institutions established under the Agreement are capable of removing some of the barriers which British imperialism has placed in the way of unity. The Connolly Association wants all the obstacles placed by British imperialism in the way of Irish progress removed by the country that put them there, and in the meantime we’ll be prepared to accept their removal one at a time.
The current suffering and mass indebtedness of the Republic has been brought about by the dominance of monopoly finance capital, it must be recognised that the initial bailout of the Republic occurred through a bi-lateral loan from the British Treasury under the false guise of friendship. It resulted in locking Ireland into a policy position whereby the troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund have introduced a permanent state of mass debt, servitude to monopoly capital and the European Union, as well as locking Ireland out from its place amongst democratic, sovereign nations.
Alongside friendship, the British government reasoned with its own people that Irish banks traded both Euro and Sterling, thereby placing its own banking system in greater jeopardy – a direct consequence of partition; and
British government and European Union agencies have sought to undermine support for national independence and national culture, not in order to foster genuine internationalism, but to attenuate the public perception that democracy is based on community; and
Those behind the European Union are seeking to turn it into a political, financial and military union so turning the nation states affected into mere provinces and destroying much of what is left of all forms of democracy, national independence and the ability to impose social controls on transnational capital; and
Embryonic structures of a single European state cannot end the rivalries between the dominant national imperialisms of Britain, France and Germany. They indeed heighten the possibility of trade wars and armed conflicts between the various blocs including the US, Japan and the BRICS countries, and intensify the exploitation of the majority of humanity in the developing countries; and
The intensification of aggressive interventions in the Middle East and Africa, as a result of more obvious and growing inter-imperialist rivalries, and the consequent quest by the progressives to rid the world of nuclear weapons present an opportunity to end the occupation of Northern Ireland for strategic purposes and for Ireland to reclaim her neutrality through exiting the EU-NATO political, economic and military framework,
The growing antagonism between the undermining of national democracy in Britain, and the quest for a sovereign Parliament for the peoples of Britain, has placed the questions of nationalism and internationalism prominently on the political agenda, and is developing a consensus that British imperialism, as clearly expressed through the partition and occupation of the north east of Ireland, conflicts directly with any calls for a sovereign British parliament in an independent Britain.
The coming year provides many opportunities to increase the activity of the Association, including the centenary of Easter 1916, the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and the developing progressive momentum within the labour movement.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Association, meeting on the seventy seventh anniversary of its foundation,
RECOGNISE that independence and unity are both necessary concurrently, and that they cannot be dissevered.
CONTINUE its work in defence of the right of the Irish people to the reunification of their country and in defence of the interests of the Irish in Britain,
DO ALL IT CAN in the coming period to win the British trade union movement to support a policy of ending partition and British disengagement from Ireland, as a key to winning the labour movement as a whole for this end and, in time, of making this the policy of a progressive British government,
SUPPORT all efforts to obtain the release of those Irish men and women unjustly interned,
GIVE SPECIAL ATTENTION TO the work of organising the many young Irish immigrants coming to Britain today by showing them the importance of joining their appropriate trade unions to defend their economic interests, and of joining the Connolly Association and the political organisations of the labour and democratic movements in this country to advance those of their interests which are political.
SEEK to inculcate a progressive political content into Irish studies in Britain and to counter the attempt being made by conservative British and Irish interests to turn these into a form of anti-national brainwashing subversive of the Irish people’s most progressive traditions, and
SEEK all ways and means to develop solidarity further at local and national levels, with organisations working for peace and those who oppose the drive to European Union by defending democracy and the nation state.
CALLS for a declaration of intent from progressive forces in Britain, especially those within which the labour and democratic movement play a substantial role, for full British disengagement from Ireland.
CONTINUE TO AFFILIATE to Liberation (formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom), and the Campaign Against Euro-Federalism.