The world would be much better off if certain leftists dared to stick their necks out and give full-throated resistance against imperialist aggression without prefacing it with umpteen excuses, extrications and disavowals designed to keep them in at least some of the good graces of ‘polite society’.
On this day, October 5th, 1977, 42 years ago, Seamus Costello – a leading Irish republican, founder of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and INLA – was assassinated.
Seamus was 16 when he joined his first republican organisation in 1955. Throughout the rest of his life, he remained committed and active in the struggle for Irish national liberation and for socialism. Seamus lived and died as a revolutionary, and his death – an act of counterrevolutionary betrayal – was an acute blow to the movement.
Analysing the partition of Ireland by Britain and Britain’s control and interference – on both sides of the imperialist border – as a barrier to the development of class struggle, Seamus saw the fight for national liberation in Ireland as primary and of crucial importance. This was a fight he saw as connected to the liberation of oppressed peoples around the world, and as a means of supporting and stimulating class struggle in Ireland, which required this fight in order to fully develop. The centrality of this belief, as well as his dissatisfaction with the path undertaken by the OIRA, was what led him and his comrades to found the IRSP and INLA in 1974.
Seamus said in his speech at the 1976 troops out conference in Dublin that “the existence of support groups abroad, especially in Britain are of paramount importance to the success of our struggle”. In May 1975 at the IRSP’s first Ard Fheis he said: “we recognise that the struggle of the Irish working class for national liberation and socialism cannot be seen in isolation from the struggles of oppressed peoples throughout the world”. These are two statements that Red Fightback – as socialists, anti-imperialists and supporters of a united Ireland – wish to uphold, in firm solidarity with the people of Ireland. It is a solidarity that we extend to all others under the yoke of oppression here, in Ireland, or elsewhere.
The fight for Irish national liberation and socialism is not yet complete. It is incumbent on all of those who want to be on the side of progress to study and support anti-imperialist and working class movements everywhere, and one cannot understand this movement in Ireland without undertaking a study of the life and words of Seamus Costello. We will remember and celebrate him always. Ní Síocháin gan Saoirse!