As always, the British government reacted to this assertion of social and national rights with a brutal display of force – in the killing of civilians on the streets of Dublin, in the execution of the leadership of the Rising and in the attempted crushing of Irish demands for self-determination. But the risen people who followed in the footsteps of the men and women of Easter Week proved, yet again, that no one can break the will of a people to be free.
This Easter, éirígí, and all Irish republicans and socialists, remember with pride the sacrifice of those who struck that historic blow in 1916 and all those who have given their lives for freedom in the decades since. éirígí extends solidarity to the families of all those who have lost their lives because of their devotion to the republican cause.
The Ireland of today is not the one that was envisaged by the leaders of the Easter Rising when they drafted the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. It is not the one that was envisaged by all those who have given so much in the long years of struggle before and since 1916.
Today, more than half a million people are unemployed in Ireland; tens of thousands more are emigrating. The financial wealth of the Irish people is being used to prop up private banks, while their natural resources are being given away to multinational corporations. The living conditions, wages, rights and entitlements of workers are being attacked daily in an effort to shore up the profits of the business class. Working class communities are deprived of amenities and left to the ravages of poverty and all that flows from it. Partition remains in place and the occupation of the Six Counties is maintained by the armed forces of the British government.
These are the glaring injustices that provide the incentive for unceasing struggle in modern Ireland. In doing so, éirigí is provided with the inspiring example of the revolutionaries of Easter Week, who knew that freedom and rights are never returned willingly by oppressors, but must be taken back forcefully by the oppressed.
The task that lies before Irish revolutionaries in 2010 is the same as that which faced the revolutionaries of 1916 – noting less than the complete removal of Britain from Ireland’s affairs and the radical reordering of the social and economic system.
What began on Easter Monday 1916 was a decolonisation process – Britain’s days in Ireland have been numbered ever since.
To complete this process, another uprising is needed – an uprising of the working people and all those who are exploited and oppressed. It may not happen today or tomorrow or next year, but happen it must and the preparatory work for that rising must begin today.
Four years after its foundation éirígí remains wholeheartedly committed to the struggle for Irish national, social, economic and cultural freedom. This Easter, we encourage republicans and socialists to join us as we honour Ireland’s dead and recommit ourselves to the ideals for which they died.
Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.