April 2015        

Building the people’s resistance

James Connolly Festival, 2015

Eugene McCartan

The first James Connolly Festival, sponsored by Socialist Voice, will run from the 4th to the 10th of May in Dublin. It will be a week filled with music, theatre, talks, films, poetry readings, and performances by singer-songwriters, with lunchtime theatre and film shows in the New Theatre. (For full details see the festival programme at www.jamesconnollyfestival.com.)
     The festival is a new development to popularise the ideas of James Connolly and to bring to another generation of working-class activists his central importance to today’s struggles and to building the forces for a working-class way forward.
     The festival will show that Connolly is more than some historical figure or a face on a political banner and that his ideas and insights into the experience of the Irish working class, his profound contribution to theory regarding the inseparable link between the social and national struggles and the central role of working people in securing both are still as relevant as they were in his time.
     One of the central political events will be this year’s James Connolly Memorial Lecture, on Saturday 9 May at 2 p.m. in the New Theatre, East Essex Street, to be given by the radical Catalan nun and activist Sister Teresa Forcades.
     The lecture will be followed by the formal launch of the CPI’s “Democratic Programme for the 21st Century.”
     On Sunday 10 May the CPI’s annual Connolly Commemoration will take place in Arbour Hill Cemetery, with an oration by the CPI and the Connolly Youth Movement, together with this year’s guest speaker, Clare Daly TD. This event starts at 3 p.m., and all are welcome.

A Democratic Programme for the 21st Century

The Democratic Programme for the 21st Century is a contribution to the political discussion and debate that needs to take place in every trade union and every community, cultural, women’s and youth organisation about the way forward and the type of Ireland that we should struggle for and build. We see this as a contribution to bringing some clarity to the emerging and developing struggles of working people.
     The CPI believes that the working class, the left and democratic forces need to move beyond electoralism—which is not to dismiss elections in themselves but rather to place them in the context of a wider political struggle and mobilisation by the working class at the industrial level and of community, cultural and social struggles.
     Working people need their own strategy for shifting the balance of forces in their favour, to secure their own economic and political interests, to challenge for economic and political power.
     The Democratic Programme will present a strategy for a way forward that places our daily struggles for the right to join and be represented by a trade union, for the right to water, for the right to work, to education, and to a proper health service, to be active citizens in a more profoundly democratic society, rather than, as we are today, mere individual consumers, with the interests and needs of monopoly capitalism paramount and the needs of working people and the environment treated with contempt.
     The Democratic Programme will also outline the central importance of national sovereignty and democracy as critical tools for building a people-centred economic and social policy, which will entail outright opposition to the European Union and breaking free of the controlling mechanism of the euro zone.
     As the Democratic Programme states, “the long historical struggle of our people remains incomplete. Our desire to build a free and independent sovereign state has never been realised.”
     Both the James Connolly Festival and the Democratic Programme for the 21st Century are part of the CPI’s continuing contribution to building the people’s resistance to imperialist domination and control.

Festival links:

Web site: jamesconnollyfestival.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jamesconnollyfestival2015?ref=hl
Twitter: @ConnollyFest
—and to create a trend: #CONNOLLYFEST

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