Onwards to the Revolutionary Movement- Seán Doyle, 2019

The following is an oration delivered by Irish Socialist Republican Sean Doyle at a Left for Unity meeting organised by the Sean Hueston Society in the teachers club on December 2019. 

In the course of the oration Sean Outlines the Socialist Republican Position of Loyalty to the All Ireland Republic, Abstentionism, Electoral Boycotts and the Rejection of Britain’s border poll or referendums and argues for the establishment of Alternative Working Class Power structures as Republican institutions to Rebuild the People’s Republic.

Also on the Panel were Eugene McCartan of The Communist Party of Ireland, Jim Slavin of the James Connolly Society, Edinburgh, and Tommy McKearney. The event was chaired by Pól Scannel of the 1916 Societies.


Irish Socialist Republicans would like to thank the Sean Hueston Society for hosting this debate and inviting us to put or position across on such important matters.

We are here today to honour those who sacrificed their lives to uphold the People’s democratically chosen Republic in 1918 and the radical Democratic Programme of 1919 in its centenary year.

We affirm our commitment and pledge ourselves to build a revolutionary movement to redress the betrayal and collaboration by treatyites. We will endeavor to educate and agitate for the termination of the two puppet committees, north and south. 

Connolly said, “we must stop thinking in the lines and grooves those who wish to rule us wish us to think”. Therefore, we will build a revolutionary movement not a political party. They are not compatible. A political party is predicated on reducing people to dependence. You cannot seize from the robber class what is being held with dependence.

We stand unequivocally opposed to all forms of electoralism. We call for a total boycott including border polls, All Ireland Referendums general Elections, plebiscites and not least local elections.

That is where the rot starts! Council Elections are the pillar of the establishment. It is where potential revolutionaries are steered into reformism. We must have the courage of appraisal after a century of failure. Electoralism is the tool of the ruling class. You must decide the road of reformism or revolution. 

Build People’s Councils, a state within. Our right to our country and it’s resources and wealth is not determined by our strength. It is ours by right. It can only be withheld until we are strong enough to take it back. Connolly said,”Knowing our history is like a lamp to the feet of the Irish Worker in the stormy paths he must travel.”

It must be said we have hindsight and respectfully to all those who grappled for our freedom struggle over the last century with the best of intentions. They fought and died making the ultimate sacrifice to find the path to freedom 

Ideological differences have dogged our struggle and caused splits, particularly about Abstentionism, some believing in not politicising the membership because it would lead us on a path to electoralism and reformism. Others felt that politicising was acceptable as long as Abstentionism was the red line.

With hindsight respectfully, we believe there was an alternative that could have satisfied most. Politise, educate, agitate! Ignore and abstain from the political administration north and south and build the All Ireland Republic, People’s Councils, a Revolutionary Council from within.

Let’s not let Empty pride outweigh the sacrifices of our comrades murdered by the Brits and Treatyites and talk of such trivia as ‘are you asking me to admit I have wasted all these years?’

Finally we are calling on those who entered electoralism leaving with good intent that they could make a contribution. If you realise it is only the road to reform and not revolution we are calling on you to resign forthwith. Stop beating your heads off the wall. I will conclude with the words of James Connolly, ‘The Irish Parliamentarians met… and lost every move of the game. Every time the astute British politicians called for a sacrifice on the part of the Irish Home Rule Party, that party yielded the point and sacrificed their principles. They yielded to sacrifice Ulster and divide their country, they yielded control of taxation, the yielded control of the post office, customs and excise, in short they yielded everything that gives life and power to a nation. And finally when their grandest opportunity came in the breath of war, the yielded up the thousands of lives of their trusting fellow country men. And in return achieved nothing.

I will finish with the words of Liam Mellows in reference to the treatyite Free State, “You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.”


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