On Sunday July 11, Socialist Republicans from across Ireland gathered in Bodenstown to pay their annual respects to the Father of Irish Republicanism and the Leader of the 1798 Uprising, Theobald Wolfe Tone.
Since the days of Thomas Davis in the 1840s, Visits to the grave of Tone have been an important event for the Republican Movement, with annual events taking place since the Fenian organised Centenary of the 1798 Uprising in 1898.
This year’s well attended event was organised by the Seamus Costello Memorial Committee and was led by the Socialist Republican Colour Party, representative of the National Movement.
Events at the grave of Tone were presided over by a member of Anti Imperialist Action Ireland and a minutes silence was held for all those in every generation who have given there lives for an Irish Republic.
Wreaths were then laid on behalf of the Socialist Republican Movement and the Spirit of Freedom Society, Westmeath.
The large crowd was then addressed by a speaker on behalf of the Stop the Extradition of Liam Campbell Campaign who urged all those in attendance to do what they can to build and support this important campaign.
The main oration was then delivered by a young member of Anti Imperialist Action and Macradh- ISR Youth from Belfast, Occupied Ireland, further highlighting the ongoing growth of the Socialist Republican Movement across Ireland. The full text of that inspiring oration is printed below.
Before the event concluded, the chair reminded those in attendance that it was their duty to build the Revolutionary Forces in their community so that in a years time we can return to Bodenstown with an even larger crowd of militant Socialist Republicans dedicated to the defeat of Imperialism in Ireland and the Rebuilding of the All Ireland People’s Republic.
Full Text of 2020 Bodenstown Oration
Oration at Bodenstown 11/07/2020
“We have assembled here today to pay our respects to the memory of Theobald Wolfe Tone, the father of Irish Republicanism. If we the republicans of 1966, are to pay a fitting tribute to Tone, it is essential that we examine in depth the ideals for which he fought and died”. That is the opening paragraph of Seamus Costello’s oration that he gave here in 1966, affirming the political shift of the republican movement toward Marxism, committing itself to the Irish working class.
Today that commitment is needed more than ever. This neo-liberal capitalism has failed the vast majority on this land, and will continue to do so by placing monopoly over competition (Lenin, 1916). It has expanded the economic hierarchies and increased economic and social injustices across all 32 counties. The right-wing governments in power on either side of the border have been paying lip service to our public services that support the working classes. Through this we have seen a drastic increase in homelessness, child poverty and a complete shambles of dealing with a global pandemic in comparison with socialist states. There is only one way of dealing with this neo-liberalism and a farce of a democratic system. Tearing it down and replacing it with one based on the principles and ideals of Tone, Joy and Orr, Catholic, Protestant, Dissenter.
In the North, we have an identity insecurity complex in one of our communities, that has proven not only to be destructive but deadly. This insecurity complex has been reinforced by a puppet government controlled by the British elite. Trying to reach through to our working-class brothers and sisters on a cultural and national level has proven time again to be futile and completely ineffective. They feel alienated from our ideology and from the Ireland in which we seek to build however, this alienation is unfounded and a by-product of ignorance and exposure to unquestioned bourgeois media and religious preach. We must therefore look to what comprehensively unites us, our hopes and fears for our children, our lifestyles, our social class. We must commit to implement the principles of the United Irishmens image of uniting Irishmen and Irishwomen, not as planters but free, free from religious, cultural, and indeed class hierarchy.
For the sake of her people and cultural identity,Ireland must be freed from her oppressors both foreign and domestic, she must be liberated not only from Saxon sway but from the influence of corporate interest. Only through the mass line can true democracy unveil itself, free from the shackles of economic fear and true to the hopes of her people. “The people and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history” (Mao, 1945). Ireland’s struggle for national liberation cannot be allowed to be reduced to a border or lack of. It must be a united people through common language, territory, economic life, and culture, only then can we declare national liberation. We must be committed to reverse the effects of 800 years of political and cultural colonisation that sought to not only destroy our national pride but culture and indeed our language. Only then can we achieve independence as a republic free from imperialism.
We can achieve this by creating the state within the state driving the collective through self-sufficiency and building our communities to be independent from capitalist markets and the imperial machine. As Thomas Sankara once said, “he who feeds you,controls you”. By creating separation from the establishment, its machinery, and the people we weaken the establishment and indeed its authority.We must give the people security and thus earn their trust. We must commit to create a self-sufficient people who are independent of capitalist foods and commodities.
It is very well for us to gather here today in humble commemoration to one of the fathers of our ideology, however, to truly commemorate we must organise and implement the principles and ideals of liberty,equality and fraternity that inspired the croppies of ’98.
In 1966, on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 rising, Seamus Costello committed himself and the republican movement to the people of Ireland. We today on the 11th of July 2020 reaffirm that commitment. The people may see the republican movement as splintered beyond recognition, but I see a movement filled with energetic youth, pure at heart and full of hope and aspiration for an Ireland built on the equality that socialism provides. I see amovement rising, newly strung and ready to be heard.