Much like the GPO steps it was supposedly read from, the word Socialism is entirely absent from the Easter Proclamation text. The ethereal language of Pearse is able to traverse the decades and retain its power because it appeals to something vaguer and thus more inclusive. Not only retain its power, but grow as its ideals are consecrated in blood by those whom take up the Republican torch. It remains our refuge from the distraction of current political whims, or prevailing fashion.
Republicanism’s strength is that it could house both the Socialist agitator Connolly, and the Nationalist separatist Pearse and is surely the best path to building the biggest movement. It is worth examining this subject further, because seemingly the only consensus amongst republican groupings today is that it heralds the necessity for the establishment of a Socialist government in line with the philosophy of Marx.
I do not agree with this exclusive interpretation but I also do not share a hatred for anything Socialist that most free market advocates claim to have. This debate has been hijacked since the Cold War, where it suited both sides to claim the USSR was Marxism in practice: the USSR because it was a cloak of legitimacy over their countrywide gulag, the USA because it discredited Marxism amongst those whom Das Kapital wouldn’t be on the reading list. What transpired in the USSR was a (probably) right wing subversion of Marxism, initiated since Lenin’s time in power. I would agree with Socialists when they say there has never been a truly Marxist country, for similar reasons they were all subverted before becoming a workers’ republic.
But this begs the question: what are the chances of a United Ireland getting a Marxist Utopia instead of a green gulag?
A United Ireland that finds itself outside of world trade would need to run surpluses in every staple item, this is true of most centrally planned economies that don’t sit on seas of oil. As a pariah state, outside interests whose capital we confiscated would seek to destabilise the fledgling country by nurturing potential opposition groups. A United Ireland would be most susceptible to this type of attack, given there will be a fairly large and willing constituency in the North with a history of armed agitation. The need for a centrally planned economy and an insurrectionist element in the North point to ownership of the means of production being withheld from the workers, and a repressive set of laws. In other words, the end result of every country who aims to structure their economy according to Marxist principles.
If this doesn’t sound compelling, then a simple observance of the vast and unbroken lineage of corruptible Irish politicians should indicate, with some probability, what choices those with a concentration of power will make at the critical point of transferring custody of power back to the people.
The Socialist Republic might have been desirable at the time of the Proclamation, when Britain had the biggest Empire in the world and dictated structures of world trade, but it doesn’t now. Rules of trade are internationally agreed, and not dependent on the whims of the British Monarch. Given what will assault the fledgling United Ireland, could the permanency of Republic not be better served within a free trade vehicle? Ireland’s history of ingenuity and independence chimes better with a system that rewards risk taking and innovation the free market model undoubtedly offers.
The goodwill I have afforded Marxist principles is not reciprocated by its adherents, who choose to evaluate (rather, smear) the free market solely in terms of the undoubted suffering that occurs within its structures, leaving certain sections homeless and helpless. To me it’s like evaluating IRA campaigns in terms of Enniskillens, La Mons, Omaghs and claiming their primary pursuit was civilian deaths. There is suffering there but it’s not by design, and the alternatives too carry suffering, and I would claim, of a greater degree.
One of the smears put forward by Socialists is around housing. They would give free housing to the low paid, and the rich-centric system denies them that. True, the current system doesn’t afford them this, but would a Socialist one be able to, particularly in 5, 10, 15 years time? Because if there is no ‘incentive’ around housing, large swathes will fall into disrepair and will reduce the overall price of other houses such that new ones are unlikely to be built. In short, no free housing after a generation, and crucially no mechanism to stimulate its production.
Or they will talk of higher wages for workers, asking what sick bastards would prevent poor people being able to afford to feed their families? (Bankers!) That’s how the argument goes isn’t it? If tomorrow everyone received an extra 5 Euro an hour in their pay, the cost of shopping and goods would go up proportionally the day after, and up for everyone. Restrict the prices allowed to be charged? Companies domiciled in other countries will make sure Irish exporters pay a higher tariff to their Governments. Companies domiciled in Ireland could collapse as profits are not set according to the market they operate.
In these two examples, I am just trying say there is another side to something that is made out to be conspiratorial. Look at the city of Detroit for what happens when (State Level) Governments try to legislate intrusively on these matters, appealing to peoples basest instincts, and showering instant but unsustainable rewards. The smaller the state, the less intrusive it has the potential to become, which in world tending towards blanket surveillance of its citizens, might reasonably supplant the economic concerns of at least some of the Proclamation signatories.
The primary piece of legislation in the new Republic, that all others are measured against for consistency of motive will be this Proclamation. In difficult times, Republicans have needed this to ensure they have not deviated from their path. For example, when apparent Republicans would harangue current groupings as traitors, we need only refer to the Proclamation to see there is nothing conditional on that “fundamental right” they assert, save for “the establishment of a permanent National Government”.
Apparent Republicans would point democratic fig leafs applied under occupation as the moral path forward. The Easter Proclamation signatories sought no permission: “The Irish Republic is entitled to and hereby claims the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman”.
It is these principles to be guided by, not transitory modern notions repeated through unquestioning media outlets by quislings, lest we be led in circles, till we eventually stand in opposition to each other and all that Republicans aspire to.