National Liberation Struggle
(IRSP Pamphlet Reprint)

The author and original date of publication of this historical IRSP document is unknown, but it was part of a series of pamphlets produced by the IRSP to give the working class of Ireland a clear vision of the IRSP's policies.


The struggle for national liberation directly raises class questions. Any attempt to isolate the national struggle from class politics will result in failure. We do not have a choice in whether or not we wish to consider the interconnection of the national and class questions: reality forces us to do so.

The I.R.S.P. supports the struggle for national liberation and furthermore believes that it is the duty of all anti-imperialists to further that struggle for national liberation.

We define the national liberation struggle as that struggle which seeks to force a British military withdrawal from the occupied six counties; the destruction of the pro-British loyalist armed forces; the withdrawal of British political influence from all parts of Ireland; the winning back of economic control of our own resources, the recognition of a separate Irish cultural identity and the establishment of revolutionary socialist Republic.


At no time can there be political concessions to British loyalists. We recognise loyalism as a reactionary, racist and imperialist ideology which has for three hundred years been used as a bridgehead of British imperialism. We distinguish between loyalism and protestantism. We recognise the right of everybody to their private religious beliefs, provided those beliefs are not used in the oppression of others, but we stand totally opposed to the political ideology of loyalism.


We recognise the progressive role of nationalism in the Irish struggle. We also recognise that nationalism can play a reactionary role. The national chauvinism of the Tories, National Front, etc. is counter-revolutionary and anathema to socialists. The nationalism of an oppressed country is vastly different from such reaction. In Ireland the progressive nationalism of Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen identified with the most radical movement of their day, the French Revolution, and today progressive nationalists in Ireland identify and support in a genuinely international sense the struggles of oppressed peoples throughout the world and the anti-imperialist socialist states.

We recognise that national liberation struggles can distort and blur class differences. Various class forces make up the national liberation movement. We state unequivocally that only under the leadership of the working class can the Irish liberation struggle achieve the ultimate victory, not only of "Brlts Out" but also the destruction of the capitalist system. Only the working class has the objective interests in the victory of that struggle.


The bourgeois nationalists' only role is as clients of imperialism. Hence their abandonment over the years of the demand for national independence in favour of 'stability', to facilitate the search for profit. They have accepted through the Anglo-Irlsh agreement not only Britain's but also the U.S.A's right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Irish people.

Sections of the small farming class and people engaged in small businesses may support national liberation. However as representatives of the petit-bourgeoisie, they are unable to carry the struggle to victory. They vacillate in the face of imperialism. Property ownership is still at the basis of their economic existence.

One need only look to the past leaders of the Republican movement to see how its petit-bourgeois leaderships constantly betrayed the struggle for national liberation for eg. Griffiths and De Valera.


We recognise the progressive nature of the Republican movement. We also recognise the limitations of that movement. They are an alliance of nationalists, socialists and republicans who are united in their support for the war against the forces of occupation. In so far as they fight for independence we support them, but as communists, we affirm that mere independence which leaves untouched the class question in Irish society is unacceptable to us. We refuse to accept that an "Assembly of Elected Representatives" is in any way an adequate end goal for the working class in this country.


At present the term "national liberation struggle" is generally taken to mean armed struggle. We believe that the use of arms is a tactic to be used wherever and whenever necessary. The use of arms stems from a political analysis of a given situation. As peaceful protest in the six counties wss beaten and shot off the streets, there was no alternative but to fight back in the same vein. We support the armed struggle presently being waged against British imperialism and in particular we support the Irish National Liberation Army. The I.N.L.A. is not merely a smaller alternative to the I.R.A. but it shares our belief that the social and national struggles are inseparable and recognises Connolly's warning to the Irish Citizens Army to the effect that should independence be achieved, the struggle would be far from over and that their arms should not be laid down until the final victory of the working class.

The I.R.S.P. believes that armed struggle alone cannot achieve victory. Only by mobilising the working class north and south, which would include at least a section of the protestant working class, can the goal of national liberation and socialism be achieved.