Archive | September, 2017

32CSM statement read at commemoration of Alan Ryan in Toronto

5 Sep

On Sept. 2nd we held a commemoration for RIRA Volunteer Alan Ryan. The commemoration was held at an undisclosed location and was attended by our international comrades and dignitaries. Below is the speech I read on behalf of the 32CSM discussing the pragmatic elements of his legacy as well as its practical applications here.

We are gathered here today to remember a fallen soldier who gave his life for the Liberation of Ireland from British Imperialism and for the Liberation of the working class from exploitation and oppression. As a result of the political stand that Alan Ryan took, he was executed by drug dealers whom were used by the state to take out this great man. The state, unhappy with simply killing Alan, colluded with the media to smear him and destroy his legacy.
In this they have failed! All around the world people remember Alan Ryan; what he stood for and what he died for. Yet, for us to truly understand why Alan died, we must understand his legacy and its applications today, here in our current context, and to articulate our positions on the issues that he dealt with and practically what it means to honour his legacy here.
First and for most, Alan Ryan was an Irish Republican and a socialist. His primary task was the Liberation of Ireland from British Occupation, which would fulfill the goals of 1916.
This Liberation is not just a Liberation in name only, but a true Liberation where the people of Ireland control Ireland politically, militarily and economically.
This could only be done by relying on the working class as a base of support. As such, Alan took upon himself to deal with the problems the working class took on, including the drug problem which is a political tool of the ruling class to decimate the ranks of the working class through addiction, criminalization, gang violence and all the problems that come along with this political tool used against the working class.
For this, and for standing up to the occupation in the north, and the betrayal of republican principles by the freestaters, he payed for his life.
In understanding what Alan stood for, we have to understand his love for the people of Ireland who are being decimated by the drugs problem and the inability to stand back and watch while his community fell victim to the terror imposed by gangsters, capitalist elements within working class communities, and the impacts of drugs on his community.
So the issue that Alan was dealing with was a material problem. His community was facing the drugs problem as an issue that was impacting the communities he was organizing. As such, he looked for solutions.
The opiate epidemic is something currently haunting our community. Dead bodies are being found every day in the washrooms of shelters, and fentynol is being found in pretty much every substance, a useless drug that is causing the people to OD. This issue must be taken up by us, not in a moralistic way, but rather in a political way, which is why we must ask ourselves the question What serves the interests of the class that we are organizing? and how will we sort out this problem in a way where the interests of the class are served and respected?

Some have stated that it is hypocritical that the Alan Ryan Peoples Community Defense Brigade, which has taken on the name of Alan Ryan and protects members of the community from exploiters, such as pimps and racist death dealers, have in the past not only advocated the Portuguese model for sorting out the drug problem, but did security this year at a safe injection site set up at tent city. This false understanding comes from confusing tactics with principles, aims and objectives.
Without a political analysis of this problem, based on material conditions that face us and a plan to move forward, the community can get behind us. Being here is just role playing at best. At worst, a counter revolutionary strategy, that not only will fail, but will cost many lives and put the movement backwards.
So what is our analysis of the drug problem? What is our strategy? What is our way forward?
The drug problem for the most part is a problem created by capitalism, exploitation and colonialism. In our society today, these problems are creating many mental illnesses which, aside from physical pains, is forcing part of society, throughout all statas, to rely on a drug of some sort; whether it’s booze, marijuana or heroine; to numb their feelings, helping them to accept the way life is, even though deep down, the root cause not being addressed.
60 percent of opiate users in Kitchener are users because of injury in the workplace. As a result of the failure of the medical system, people are attempting to score on the street because its faster. Many of these people have to still work despite these injuries so they use opiates to cover the pain so as to perform and be better slaves to the capitalist system.

Drugs such as clamazepham, diazapham, lorzapham etc. are so prevalent in Kitchener because these are the drugs that one uses to stop panic attacks, PTSD and other symptoms stemming from the fact that the life expectancy of the exploited is quite low. In Native communities, people have been dying around the age of 27 more and more frequently. These people are not the enemy, but rather, are those whom are the victims of the exploitation.
Until the root cause with is capitalism, colonialism and the unbearable violence that one faces from being exploited are removed, there will always be drug and mental health problem.
With that being said, until capitalism falls, we still need to protect our communities and our bases of support from this problem.
We do this by having a class analysis of the make up of the drug scene. We need to recognise whom is exploited, whom is doing the exploitation, and find results so we can stop this.
At the bottom of the chain you have the addict, whom is exploited and in a state where they are vulnerable due to their addiction and mental health. The false scarcity economy imposed on the drug problem, which allows the top of the chain to set prices so high that they are 500% higher then real market value. The high price that the addict must pay for their drugs, as well as the fact that they must hide their problems and not seek help due to legal reasons, put the addict in a position where they are caught between the violence of the dealer, and the violence of the state.
Above them, but still exploited, are those who score for other people so they can maintain their habit, yet are still exploited by the dealers at the top.
These are the type of people who will get you drugs, only if you share or give them a pill as well.
On top, you have the dealers who don’t use. They are not exploited, but rather are the exploiters, who profit off the misery of others.
Our strategy is to unify the addicts against their exploitation, win over the middle strata and isolate the dealers.
To do this we must take the drugs out of the hands of the dealers and fight so that those whom are addicted can be open about the problems they seek. They can use in a safe way and have the option to seek out medical help and peer support to quit drugs.
As long as there is capitalism and exploitation there will be a drug problem, and as long as the dealers control the drugs, there will be violence and criminality around this problem.
So our strategy is to take drugs out of the hands of the dealers, deal with addiction as a social issue and stop people from using drugs and hiding their mental illnesses in the first place. This will fill the gap in their soul, caused by having no hope, giving them hope in a better tomorrow through demonstrating that victory against capitalism is possible.
This can only be done by pushing for the Portuguese model. Forcing people to go hide in bathrooms to use drugs, that in many cases are poisoned with fentynol, will not solve this problem. Rather, it will create the problem that we are currently facing, which is dead bodies of people we know and grew up with, being found daily in shelters for woman, hostels and around the whole city, outside and inside.
Forcing people to hide their addictions, as opposed to feeling free to seek the help they need, will only drive these people further and further underground. When their tight rope act crashes, so do they, in many cases, losing their lives.
By fighting and winning things like safe injection through mass action, we teach the addict that only by struggle we advance. If we as a collective can fight and win this, what else can we fight and win together? We created a place where someone can use by minimizing the risk of death. We see this as a small victory.
This is one prong of our approach. The second is to fight and create alternatives to drug use which will be unveiled in the next few days, as our proposal to the region, which is being discussed right now, between those whom set up the tent city.
Does this mean that we sit ideally by why dealers attack and exploit our community? Hell no! It just means being strategic about it and not being used as a cats paw by the state. A state which sets us against whomever they choose, and sit back and watch us decimate ourselves.
When isolating a dealer, we first and foremost talk to the community through our mass organizations; find out who the real scumbags are that no one can defend and are a threat to our community. Through social investigation and mass work, we make sure we have the support of the community, and are able to mobilize them because we identify a common class enemy that the people want to fight, instead of just attacking random kids selling dime bags on the corner.
We stand here today to honour Alan, not just in name, but in act. We stand unified in struggle for a 32 County Irish Republic; unified in our desire to solve the drug problem and to build socialism in our life time. Let us not say we honor Alan by coming to events and then going home and forgetting about it, but rather by carrying on the struggle of what he fought and died for.

Ends
Edited by: Amanda Smith

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Alan Ryan Graveside Oration by 32CSM Chair Francis Mackey Read at Toronto Commemoration

3 Sep

Oration delivered by Francis Mackey at the Graveside of Volunteer Alan Ryan

In these changed times we must invoke the courage and commitment of Volunteer Alan Ryan and his brother Vincent to help us grasp the nettle of change that is now required of Irish republicanism.

In these changed times we must recognise that unless there is a fundamental reclamation of Irish republicanism from reckless elements Irish republicanism will be reduced to the state of perpetual tabloid fodder.

In these changed times if the understanding of the totality of sovereignty and self-determination is not at the heart of the republican struggle the marginalisation of Irish republicans will be irreversible.

We are where we have allowed ourselves to be. And it is only ourselves that can address this predicament. In recent times an insidious cloud has descended on the Republican Movement. Specific events of outright criminality have brought this entire struggle into disrepute.

These acts cannot be dismissed as anomalies. They are a distinct pattern of a reckless and deeply flawed political and military acumen and must cease forthwith. They are the epitome of betrayal to the volunteer we honour here today. Furthermore, the onus is now on the broader republican family to reclaim the core of Irish republicanism and place it within a secure framework of progressive and revolutionary politics.

The right of the Irish people to use disciplined armed force to end the violation of our sovereignty is beyond question. What is in question however is the negligent belief that being in possession of that right somehow confers an automatic ability to discharge that right in a responsible and effective fashion. As it stands neither of these criteria are being met.

The national army has only one function; the defence of the sovereignty of the people in whose name it has risen. It has no political wing nor can it ever be utilised as a military wing of a political group. That was the way of the Provisionals and their legacy is plain for all to see.

At all times the national army must be fully cognisant of the political environment in which it exists. At all times it must seek out genuine political alternatives to advance its goals. Armed struggle is an option of last resort. Reckless and undisciplined actions are no option at all.

The legitimate position of the national army and armed struggle was correctly and publicly articulated by the leadership of the national army in 1997. In a parallel action the cause of armed conflict and what was required to end it was articulated in international law before the United Nations. This dual expression remains the contemporary legal foundation for the republican struggle.

The question that republicans now face is not a simplistic one of being for or against armed struggle but rather can we build a strategic political movement that is not predicated on armed struggle being a prerequisite? To win this struggle we cannot simply offer our people war.

A political movement by its very definition must be fluid and adaptable. But it also must be relevant. The republican vision for a sovereign Ireland must come hand in glove with a strategy to achieve it. The insular nature of Irish republicanism has developed within us a mindset that sees our people as incidental to our struggle. We need to cease struggling for them and begin to struggle with them.

Fortunately there are republicans who have grasped this nettle. For some time now republicans throughout Ireland have met in unity and comradeship and begun the task of putting in place a radical policy platform which brings the logic and language of sovereignty to the everyday struggles of our people.

Its purpose is not to bring a new group into existence but to establish a new republican narrative that groups and individual republicans alike can adopt and develop. The challenges of contemporary times demand a contemporary pragmatism to meet them. Slogans on a bodhran, masks and sunglasses or references to historic loyalties are not enough.

The importance of this new republican narrative in the face of constitutional developments after Brexit cannot be over emphasised. At present the republican position has no bearing on these developments. And this is evident by the recent brash comments by Free State leaders concerning Irish unity and the border.

These comments do not represent a shift in Free State thinking toward republican demands. They are in fact a most dangerous departure from any concept of Irish unity that entails national sovereignty. What we are witnessing now is the horse-trading of Irish unity in return for the surrender of Irish sovereignty to Westminster, Brussels or international corporate entities

And this is where a republican understanding of the totality of sovereignty and self-determination is essential. The term Irish unity is no longer sufficient. We must demand political sovereignty, economic sovereignty and sovereignty over our natural resources as the national fundamental rights of a sovereign Irish Republic.

The door is now open to establish a political movement to advance these aims. I urge all republicans to step through it.

Beir Bua.