[See below for PDf of full document]
In 1916 British rule was exercised nakedly by British officials. Power was in the hands of planters and landlords and their associates in banking and industrial combines. The mass of the Irish people were in bondage to the few and an army and a police force were stationed here to see that the slaves behaved and made their masters rich. The. State was the association of rifles and batons, jails, bailiffs and thuggery, with the wealth of the aliens and traitors, to rob and strangle a sovereign people
To-day Dublin Castle, they say, is no more. But the aliens have not been dispossessed : landlordism has not been abolished, and landlords have not been made disgorge : banks, which are the pooling of money stolen from us, have not come under our control : and the machinery of the State is to-day exactly as in pre-Treaty days – a tyranny associated with the interests that beggared us. The Free State Parliament is only an associated agency for carrying out the Imperial purpose, and just as the individual land agent waxed rich in his master’s service, so now an association of Imperial agents prosper on the ruin of their country and squabble among themselves for the offices. For we tell you choice of government for the State is nothing except choice of agents for the class that enslave us. Good or bad government means what the good or bad agent meant in other days, and good men in office no more means the end of slavery than a good agent meant the end of landlordism.
In N.E. Ulster the working-class are torn in the mill of exploiting imperial finance ; the middle-class there are weak against the highly-concentrated power of the big Imperialist industrialists. S. the N.E. Parliament is only a gilded dust-bin around which Belfast derelicts collect for crusts and partition marks the new Pale.
All those who have passed into the service of the State machine have betrayed the Irish cause. We must build on those alone who are being crushed by it, and who alone have the will and the power to smash it. It will not be dismantled from the top : it cannot be geared to exploit slowly : a change of drivers is no good, for it is the same machine with the same nature and the same tasks. On the ruin of their State we must build ours ; we must organise to smash theirs, rescuing the masses from their illusions about it.
And amid these masses the hardest hit are the line of rally : the unemployed worker, the part-time-worker, the men and women waiting the short-knock, the men and women putting up with slave conditions because to assert their dignity as human beings means the sack, the thoughtful worker who is a comrade to his fellows and sees the blasphemy of a system that starves human beings amid plenty: the farmer who cannot bridge the gap between the yield of what he has to sell and the cost of what he must buy, who sees his family strive mightily and live meanly, who sees his children denied education, who has the bailiffs thundering round his house for the rent, and the banks roaring for their interest ; who sees the combines make his crops valueless in his fields while they build mighty reserves: the fisherman who potters about in an open yawl and sees his food pass into the raiding vessels of big finance ; the small shopkeeper who sees the multiple shop drain his tills. All these must assemble, with the working-class in the van, and build committees to collect resistance to the whole sweep of the enemy State, until we achieve again a revolutionary government to take the place of that which British firing parties shot down in 1916.
The ultimate backing for our enemies will be sought among the demoralised upper stratum of the workers, among the small owners and traders, and to this section we would especially direct an appeal to rescue them from the illusions that are being developed among them. The whole experience of the past few years points inevitably to the fact that small industries can’t last and small traders can’t live. They must hire into the services of the combines and become their yeomen, or they will take their place as the comrades of free men and women striving to achieve a freely functioning Irish Republic and the organisation of a Workers’ State.
Here, then, is our declaration of allegiance to an Irish Republic with power in the hands of those alone who can really achieve freedom, and when achieved defend it. We call on all those who share our ideals and believe in our means to set their hands and their heads to the task before us.
SAOR EIRE (An Organisation of Workers and Working Farmers) CONSTITUTION AND RULES.
NAME. The name of the organisation shall be SAOR EIRE.
(1) To break the connection with England and secure for the Republic of Ireland free expression of its National Sovereignty.
(2) To vest all political power within the Republic in the Working-Class and Working Farmers.
(3) To abolish, without compensation, landlordism in land, fisheries and minerals.
(4) To make the National wealth and credit available for the creation and fullest development of essential industries and mineral resources, through Industrial Workers’ Co-operatives, under State direction and management, the workers to regulate internal working conditions.
(5) To develop by State credits, the Agricultural Industry, through Co-operatives of Working Farmers, and Groups of Agricultural Workers. To promote the development of the Fishing Industry on a Co-operative basis, and to develop the Mineral resources, by State credits, through Industrial Workers’ Co-operatives.
(6) To establish a State monopoly in Banking and Credits.
(7) To create a State monopoly in Export and Import services, and to promote co-operative distribution.
(8) To have all forms of Public Inland Transport taken over by the State, to be operated and administered by a body set up by the National Executive Council.
(9) To make the provision of Housing for citizens a State responsibility.
(10) To guarantee a minimum standard of living for each citizen in work, and for whom work is not available.
(11) To establish a Social Insurance Scheme which will make provision for old age, widows, orphans, and for the maintenance of the physically and mentally incapacitated.
(12) To end the payment of every form of Imperial Tribute.
(13) To restore and foster the Gaelic Culture, Language and Pastimes.
(14) To bring about the closest co-operation between workers in agricultural and in rural districts, and those in cities and towns ; to bring them to realise that their interests are mutual ; that, therefore, they should be allies, as they are. all victims of the same exploiting agencies.
(1) To organise Committees of Action among the Industrial and Agricultural Workers to lead the day-to-day struggle of the Working-Class and Working Farmers against exploitation, and to secure a revolutionary leadership for their common struggle.
(2) The mobilisation of the mass of the Irish people behind a Revolutionary Government, for the overthrow of British Imperialism and its allies in Ireland, and for the organisation of a Workers’ State.
Membership of the Organisation shall be open to all those, over the age of sixteen, who accept the Objects and the Means of the Organisation.
The Branch Committees shall have power to suspend membership and to recommend expulsion to the National Executive.
The unit of organisation shall be the Branch. Each Branch shall consist of not less than twelve members, who shall pay an initiation fee of 1/-, and a monthly contribution of sixpence. Fifty per cent of all such fees and contributions shall be forwarded to the National Executive.
The administration of the Branch shall be in the hands of a Branch Committee, consisting of a Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, and four other members, who shall be elected at the Annual Meeting of the Branch, to be held in January of each year. The persons elected shall hold office for one year, but may be removed by the majority vote of the members. The Branch Committee shall meet at least once a fortnight. Monthly Reports must be sent by the Branch Secretary to the National Executive.
As far as possible, Branches shall be organised on an industrial or vocational basis. Members, however, may be assigned to such Branches as the National Executive considers most desirable in the interests of the Organisation.