The Socialist Party is opposed to the visits to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth and Barrack Obama. €25 million will be spent wining, dining and protecting the Queen and Obama in a vain attempt to try to rebuild Ireland’s damaged reputation. The reputation of the Irish state was of course destroyed by the actions of the Irish capitalist class whose greed, corruption and unquestioning faith in the market has bankrupted the country.
Whilst the media and the politicians fawn over the Queen and Obama they are choosing to ignore that they are “leaders” and the highest representatives of countries who are currently actively engaged in three imperialist wars. The US and Britain have been the two leading powers behind the imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Libya.
The Socialist Party supports the abolition of all monarchies. This hangover from feudalism is undemocratic, elitist and helps perpetuate a class system based on the exploitation of working class people for profit. The British monarchy has also used it’s powers in recent decades against the interests of working class people. In 1975, Queen Elizabeth used her powers as head of state to dismiss Australia’s Labour government replacing it with a conservative administration and in 2008 similar “royal” powers were used to suspend the Canadian parliament to allow a minority conservative government to remain in power.
The British Royal Family down through the centuries oversaw the building of a massive empire which was based on war, oppression, exploitation and a conscious policy of sectarian or racist divide and rule. The legacy of this policy is still felt today in Israel/Palestine, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Cyprus and of course in Northern Ireland.
British Imperialism’s historic role in Ireland of actively instilling and propagating sectarian division and partitioning the country for their own economic and military ends was to blame for the creation of two sectarian states on this island. The discrimination suffered by Catholics in Northern Ireland during Unionist rule was as a direct result of the role played by successive British administrations.
Sinn Fein’s embracing of the capitalist system and political establishment was once again exposed when their leader Gerry Adams opposed the visit of Queen Elizabeth at this time (but not in the future) but welcomed the visit of Barrack Obama! Sinn Fein leaders regularly mix in the higher echelons of the US political establishment. To oppose Obama’s visit wouldn’t go down well with their friends on Capitol Hill or the CEO’s of the US multinationals who they “pragmatically” court and befriend. As Obama sent in unmanned drones to bomb Libyans, Sinn Fein choose to turn a blind eye to the attacks on the country of their former ally Muammar Gaddafi.
Dissident republicans will be on the streets protesting against Queen Elizabeth’s visit. The Socialist Party will not be supporting their protests which are inherently sectarian. The murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr and the recent spate of attempted bombings in Northern Ireland are a warning that there are still backward sectarian forces attempting to drag us back to the horror of the “Troubles”. The strategy of the dissidents is based on carrying out attacks which will whip up sectarian division and bring down state repression on working class Catholic communities. This reactionary strategy should be opposed by all working class people. The national divisions on this island will not be resolved through the failed strategy of the armed struggle but by building a mass movement for socialism based on working class unity.
The so-called peace process has not resolved the national conflict in Ireland, rather it has institutionalised sectarianism and established a political structure that can only “function” as long as sectarian division is maintained. Sectarianism hasn’t gone away and the main political parties will increasingly try to use divide and rule tactics to cut across united struggles by working class Catholics and Protestants against the cuts, water charges and in defence of public services. The British ruling class will also resort to whipping up sectarianism once again if they think this is necessary to protect their economic and political interests.
The uniting of Catholic and Protestant workers in a struggle North and South against the cuts and austerity will be a step towards the building of a movement around socialist policies that can challenge the rule of capitalism. The Irish working class, whether they are Catholic, Protestant or Dissenter share a common struggle and a common enemy that lies at the heart of the problems they face – capitalism and it’s political representatives, whether they be the Fine Gael/Labour government, the sectarian parties that dominate the Assembly or the ConDem government backed by the British monarchy.