Oration delivered at the graveside of Séamus Costello
Date:3rd October 1982
Organisation:Irish Republican Socialist Party
Author:Jim Lane
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Subjects: Seamus Costello

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

30th July 2018

Many thanks to Jim Lane for forwarding this to the Archive, the oration given by him at the graveside of Séamus Costello of the Irish Republican Socialist Party on 3rd October 1982.

In five pages this document covers considerable political and ideological terrain, outlining the legacy of Costello for the IRSP, the political approach that he gave to the party and a reiteration of key principles including a tactical attitude to abstentionism and a critique of others including ‘left-republicans’. The issue of abstention links into an overview of the then current political situation in the North and a staunch defence of abstaining from the Assembly elections.

A key passage is the following:

Séamus Costello, it was often he said, “I owe my allegiance to the working class”; and of the party he helped found, he said:

“We are a revolutionary party and our objective is to create a revolutionary socialist state in Ireland. Part of the struggle for a socialist state entails resolving the national liberation struggle and ending British imperialist intervention, whether military intervention, political intervention or control of aspects of the economy. This is the basic position of the party.We see the ending of British imperialist intervention in Ireland as an essential prerequisite for development of class struggle between left and right in this country. The class forces in Ireland have never developed properly in the last 50 years basically because of imperialist intervention and because of the fact that the national struggle remains incomplete.”

Here we have a clear exposition of the primary objective of the Irish Republican Socialis Party – a revolutionary socialist state in Ireland.

And the oration continues by noting that:

To achieve this objective, part of the struggle entails resolving the national question. “Part of the struggle” – it is important for us all to reflect on this. It implies, that in the present period of struggle, when so much effort is being put into the struggle for national liberation, that our party be also involved in all other areas of struggle in the interest of the working class, the class to whom Séamus Costello pledged his allegiance exclusively. To a great extent, our party has been greatly inhibited in its efforts to wage struggle in working-class and other oppressed peoples’ interests.

And a further passage outlines the ideological underpinnings of the oration:

The fact that our party recognises that the success of the national liberation struggle is an essential prerequisite for the greater development of the class struggle does not mean that all our energies go into national liberation and that class struggle be put in abeyance. Important and all that it is, national liberation struggle, which has all the appearance of being a protracted struggle, must not be conducted at the expense of other areas of struggle. National liberation struggle and the struggle for socialism must proceed at the one time, supporting and stimulating each other.

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