|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
Please note: The Irish Left Archive is provided as a non-commercial historical resource, open to all, and has reproduced this document as an accessible digital reference. Copyright remains with its original authors. If used on other sites, we would appreciate a link back and reference to the Irish Left Archive, in addition to the original creators. For re-publication, commercial, or other uses, please contact the original owners.
This document from Saor Éire represents the only printed political material from that group, the Saor Éire Manifesto. Saor Éire was established in 1967 as a Republican urban guerrilla group, taking it’s name from the republican group of the 1930s. It was involved in a number of bank robberies in the late 1960s, with proceeds used for arms.
The Saor Éire Manifesto was reportedly printed by Peter Graham using the presses of Red Mole in London (the publication of the International Marxist Group). Red Mole also published the text of the manifesto in their June 1971 issue (available here on the Red Mole Rising website ).
The manifesto outlines their argument for a number of small armed groups as a necessity to creating the conditions of revolution, and strongly critises the failure of political formations to achieve the goals of national revolution, arguing for armed opposition both in the ‘Free State’ and the North.
The introduction begins:
In the six counties today the Butchers are at work again. The ghetto uprising of the Catholic - Nationalist population is the latest round in the Irish struggle for self-determination. But the rulers in the Free State are not in the least interested in the people North of the Border. They have shown beyond doubt, over many years, their “sincere” desire for moderation, for “peaceful” relations and the closest ties with the British state and it’s ruling class which have ruled and despoiled Ireland for eight centuries; who manipulated the divisions which colonialism had erected between the people of Ireland living in the North East and the rest of the country and used them to divide Ireland and keep it as an Imperialist pawn in 1921 ; who imprisoned the Catholic Nationalists of the six counties within an artificial statelet and has since thrown a protective cloak over the Orange terror which was used for ﬁfty years against these people and which is now engaged in another exercise of naked terror to bludgeon the northern Catholics into submission.
In calling for an armed response to the ‘Free State’:
[T]he Free State ruling class is one of the loyal custodians of HM. garrison in Ireland, and […] only those who want to root out their system, root and branch, who are prepared to go all the way against the Free State can really oppose that master, British Imperialism.
Of the tactics of urban guerilla warfare:
New strategies and tactics must be developed for the Irish situation. Rural guerrilla warfare in relation to Irish topography and modern technological developments must be placed in its proper context and more emphasis placed on the urban guerrilla. Sabotage throughout the country, actions by small independent groups and political work among the masses must be the order of the day. Separate revolutionary groupings must be formed to confuse the police and in the interest of security. The banks and the State have all the resources, ﬁnance and armaments, to supply these groups and at a later stage a guerrilla front can be created.
The document concludes:
From the very beginning we have used revolutionary warfare to attack the interests of the ruling class and imperialism in Ireland. It is only through revolutionary warfare that the people of Ireland will truly achieve the goal which has been fought for uninterruptedly over the many past centuries of unquenchable struggle and sacrifice for freedom. Republican Ireland has been at war with the Free State since its creation. There may have been ceaseﬁres but no treaties were signed, and in the not too distant future it will be necessary to take up this struggle again.