Friday, August 14, 2009

Building an Alliance for Change

14/08/2009

BUILDING AN ALLIANCE FOR CHANGE.


This blog will be speaking at the hungerstrike rally in Galbally, County
Tyrone on Sunday. While marshalling my thoughts for that event I have
also been reflecting on the challenges facing citizens on this island and
particularly in the southern jurisdiction.

The Irish government purports to be republican. There is nothing
republican about its policies. It is not about equality or citizens
rights. It is a bad government, taking bad decisions, in the interests of its money lender friends in the banks and among the developers.

Instead of taxing the wealthy the Irish government is slashing public
services and jobs and beating up on the unemployed, the elderly, the
children and the sick.

There is an urgent need to build opposition to the coalition government,
and to the conservative forces in the state.

They cannot be allowed to destroy the social fabric of Irish society.

What is needed is a new politics delivering and implementing new policies
that protect jobs, create new jobs, invest in public services and remove
the threat of homelessness from tens of thousands of families.

There are lots of potential allies out there. The prison protests in
Armagh and the H Blocks in 1981 brought together many people who disagreed
on other issues. The hungerstrikes became a catalyst for a huge mass
movement.

In dire economic times, not dissimilar to today, prison candidates received substantial votes and two prisoners were elected TDs.

Since 1927 the politics of the southern state has been dominated by the
two big conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

The reality is that it is only in recent years that Sinn Féin has been
able to seriously take on the task of building a long term political
strategy in the south.

It is a slow process but Republicans are about changing political
conditions so that citizens are empowered to make their lives better, to
reclaim their rights.

Our responsibility is to make republicanism relevant to our time by
bringing forward commonsense and practical solutions to the chaos the
conservative parties have caused.

So while building Sinn Féin, we also have to help build an alliance for
change.

There are lots of potential allies out there. We have to work with
activists in the other parties; in the trade unions; the community
organisations; Gaelgeoirí; in rural agencies and organisations, including
farming bodies and fishing communities; women’s groups; the students,
youth organisations and those who speak for the disabled, the poor, the
unemployed, the homeless and the marginalised in our society.

The prison protests in Armagh and the H Blocks brought together many
people who disagreed on other issues. The hungerstrikes became a catalyst for a huge mass movement.

So while building Sinn Féin, we also have to help build an alliance for
change. We have to come together with others to forge a stronger,
united progressive and democratic movement for our country - one that aims
to meet the needs of all citizens. Just as we did in that long hard summer of 1981.

I believe that this can be done.

3 comments:

Mama T said...

I also believe your citizens can make this happen. Good on ya!

Longa said...

There is a lot of hard work from here to there. I Listened to Mary Lou's speach on RTE. Is it RTEs position to be in oposition or is it Ms McDonalds ability to convey her mesage so he can understand.

Longa

Micheal said...

You raise me up Gerry. I get so sad sometimes when I think of the injustices the Irish people have had to face, especially in the last 40 years.

And I get angry when I think of how the fat-cats and the cartels have siphoned off the wealth that was generated when the economy of the South was booming. How they squandered the opportunity to make real and lasting changes to the Island and the politics of Ireland.

I thank God every day for Sinn Fein and the great tradition of Irish republicanism that makes Ireland unique and connected with the spirit of our ancestors on our ancestoral homeland.

Building an alliance for change is a great way of increasing unity and cementing the peace process. And, as you say, not just building alliances amongst nationalist Ireland, but building alliances with our unionist brothers and sisters as well because we all together make up the Irish nation, including the recent immigrant's from throughout the world.

Keep up the good work Gerry. We have more in common than what seperates us. Some of my best friends are English, Gerry, and they all support a united Ireland and are delighted with the peace process. They love coming over to Dublin for a few pints of the black stuff.

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