ESCLUSIVA. INTERVISTA A MAIRE DRUMM, CANDIDATA DI EIRIGI

Intervista di Flavio Bacci

Maire Og Drumm è ben conosciuta nei circoli repubblicani irlandesi soprattutto come la figlia più giovane dell’omonima madre (vice presidente dello Sinn Fèin in tempi turbolenti). Appassionata rivoluzionaria e popolare oratrice, sin dall’infanzia, Maire, viene coinvolta nella maggior parte degli avvenimenti politici dei Troubles. Al momento del brutale assassinio della madre (1976), Maire stava scontando una condanna nel carcere femminile di Armagh.

Oggi Maire Drumm è stata candidata per la relativamente nuova formazione repubblicana di eirigi che, secondo molti analisti nord irlandesi, darà filo da torcere al suo più diretto concorrente: lo Sinn Fèin. Recentemente i suoi manifesti elettorali sono stati oggetto di vandalismo.

Di seguito la versione integrale dell’intervista in lingua originale, quì la traduzione in lingua italiana

F.B. We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever”. This is one of the most famous quotes by your mother. Where do you see the steps currently being taken by Irish republicans leading us to?

M.D. From our position in éirígí, we have been quite clear that re-building popular resistance and opposition to the partition of Ireland, to opposing the inherently unequal political, social and economic systems that exist in Ireland is a long term project.

éirígí believes that electoral and parliamentary politics alone cannot deliver the type of change required in Irish society. The lessons of history indicate that the transformation from a capitalist to a socialist system cannot be achieved without the active support and participation of the mass of the people by maximising their active involvement through campaigns which will empower, politicise and mobilise the people, who alone can provide the dynamic for such a transformation. éirígí aims to contribute to that dynamic.

 F.B. Your mother’s name encapsulates a passionate republican struggle during hard times. Maire Drumm still, to this day is commemorated by the whole republican community (including Sinn Féin).  Do you think there has been any kind of abuse and exploitation of her name or legacy?

M.D. My late mother’s political beliefs, and those of my late father, Jimmy, are well-known.

I am conscious that I am standing as a candidate in this month’s election on a very clear political platform on behalf oféirígí.

I was not selected due to my name or family connections. Our party’s legitimacy, and indeed my own as a party candidate, stems from the prevailing political and socio-economic circumstances of the present, not the past.

 F.B. You are the Eirigi candidate for Colin area in the next local election. Your party describe a vote for you as ‘an alternative vote’. To who and what is éirígíthe alternative? To Sinn Féin? And why do you believe an alternative is needed?

M.D. Now more than ever a radical political voice is needed to represent working class communities against the policies of all the Stormont Coalition parties who willingly accept and implement the dictates of Britain’s Westminster Government.

Those Stormont parties have already made cuts worth hundreds of millions of pounds to essential public services in the Six Counties.

They have slashed public spending on the health service, education and housing – essential services which working class communities need and depend upon. They have also commenced the privatization of public services.

Stormont parties also defend and legitimise partition and support a system that delivers injustice, repressive laws and political policing on a daily basis.

Working class communities need real change and a new political opposition that will challenge the existing parties and confront injustice and inequality from all quarters.

We would hope to be in the vanguard of building that opposition.

 F.B. Many members of éirígíhave come from within Sinn Féin ranks. Among them, many also endorsed the GFA.  Why did they take so long to become aware that the path that SF was taking was the wrong one?

M.D. Any analysis of the make-up of our party will show that it is untrue to say that many members have come from the ranks of Sinn Féin. The majority of our members across the country are young people with no previous involvement in any political party.

As for those who left Sinn Féin, they saw that the continued drift by that organization away from core republican values, away from socialist republicanism, towards the politics of the centre and reformism, towards a style of ‘corporate brand’-type politics, had reached a stage that it was impossible to achieve any reversal of those trends.

éirígí has previously published our analysis and critique of the GFA and other treaties which can be accessed here.

Within that paper, entitled “Imperialism, Ireland and Britain” éirígí’s view of imperialism in both the national and international contexts is fully explained. With regard to the Good Friday and St Andrew’s Treaties it states that éirígí is “convinced that these two most recent treaties are considerably more likely to solidify British rule in Ireland than they are to end it.”

 F.B. Irish republicanism is inextricably linked with socialism. What does it mean to create ‘a 32 county socialist republic’ to you?

M.D. éirígí believes that poverty, exclusion and conflict, both in Ireland and internationally, are caused primarily by the joint system of capitalism and imperialism. This system, which is based upon the exploitation of the majority by a minority, will never allow the bulk of humanity to fulfil its potential. It is only by replacing this system with one based upon co-operation rather than exploitation that true human freedom can be achieved. A Democratic Socialist Republic would be such a system.

In the Irish context the continuing British occupation of a part of the national territory is a clear manifestation of modern imperialism. éirígí views the ending of this occupation as integral to the establishment of an Irish Democratic Socialist Republic.

A socialist Ireland will be a society in which the things we need to live, work and control our own lives—the industries, services and natural resources—are collectively owned by all the people, and in which the democratic organization of the people within the industries and services is the government.

A socialist Ireland would mean that government of the people, for the people and by the people will become a reality for the first time in our nation’s history.

F.B. Martin McGuinness has condemned militant dissident action on many occasions using the harshest possible terms. What is your personal opinion on the armed struggle today?

M.D. Armed struggle by many people’s around the world is very often the weapon of last resort, used only when all other methods of political struggle to achieve major societal change have been proven to have failed.

From a personal viewpoint, there are other very important areas of struggle that have still to be developed in Ireland.

We believe the building of a new progressive social movement to be an essential step on the road to transforming Ireland’s socio-economic system. Such a movement will need to encompass trade unions, political parties, community groups, campaign groups, residents associations and non-aligned individuals.

Similar movements have played an important role in the recent move to the left within a number of South American countries.  éirígí believes there are lessons to be learned from these countries that could successfully be applied to the Irish context.

 F.B. Arrest and detention for months, if not years, are a reality for many members of éirígí. The case of Stephen Murney, recently interviewed by The Five Demands, is rather emblematic. Do these arrests, in your mind encourage sympathy of the republican community towards the so-called ‘dissidents’, or bring to mind a past that many would rather forget?

M.D. The arrest of Stephen and indeed other Republicans highlights a number of things.

Firstly, contrary to the views expressed by the two main constitutional nationalist parties, political policing in the Six Counties never ended. Such political policing is a daily reality.

Secondly, one of the demands of the original Civil Rights movement was the abolition of all repressive laws. That objective has never been achieved. Indeed, we have even more wide-ranging and draconian legislation at present than ever existed in 1969/1970.

Thirdly, is the role of the mainstream media in refusing to expose the extent of state injustice and in promoting the ‘normalisation’ agenda.

Lastly, there is the failure of many within the legal profession to openly speak out and criticize the abuse of civil liberties which is happening all too frequently.

A basic yardstick of common humanity would be that injustice and abuses of civil liberties and human rights should opposed and exposed at all times and regardless of the price. Unfortunately, there are those within constitutional nationalism, within the media and within the legal profession who no longer abide by that simple yardstick, simply because it no longer suits their own selfish interests.

F.B. High unemployment, segregation and a variety of social problems. Belfast is certainly a city of great expansion, but fraught with difficulties. How do you feel as an éirígícounselor you could start to make a difference?

M.D. I and my party colleagues know only too well that we will not change things overnight. The political system is geared towards the disempowerment of communities.

Our strategy will be based upon re-empowering working class communities and representing and giving a voice to their interests. We see that empowerment taking place through encouraging people to become more politically active and socially aware and providing them with the means to do that. Political involvement must go beyond simply asking to vote.

F.B. The story of Jean McConville has a prominent place in the national media. Ivor Bell has been recently arrested on suspicion of being involved in the murder of the most infamous of the ‘disappeared’. What is your position on the case? Do you believe that the murder of Jean McConville and of the other 15 disappeared should be amnestied?

M.D. The McConville family like countless other families in Ireland who lost relatives as a result of the political conflict are deserving of the truth surrounding the circumstances of the deaths of those who died. I don’t believe that any one death or series of deaths should be given prominence above all others.

The present system in Ireland is simply not geared towards revealing those truths as there are considerable vested interests within Britain and Ireland that will seek to prevent the truth being revealed.

Certainly, any system established by the British state will not approach this whole issue from an impartial stance. Instead, Britain will design such processes or systems to protect its own interests and to allow the state to politically manipulate such processes or systems to its own advantage.

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