Connolly Youth Movement: James Connolly Commemoration Speech 2017

One hundred and one years ago on the 12th of May 1916 a man, whose principles and teachings still guide the leftist youth of Ireland, was executed by firing squad. If the British authorities and the Irish bourgeois of the time thought that his execution would be the end of his ability to cause trouble for the establishment… how wrong they were.

One hundred and one years later the ideals, teachings, and actions of James Connolly still inspire and instruct young leftists across the length and breadth of Ireland and further afield. We continue to draw strength from his example as we challenge the status quo and play our diligent part in organising the resistance alongside our comrades in the Communist Party of Ireland.

Our eyes are wide open to the inherent failings of the abhorrent capitalist system. We have no illusions about the political and economic systems which control and dominate so much of our lives. Young people today are crying out for change, crying out for their fair share, for stable employment, for a decent education, for affordable housing, for health care and a reasonable sharing out of the wealth of the nation.

We see the greedy and corrupt politicians bending over in subservience to international corporatism and the great god of foreign investment. We see that their interests are not our interests. We see the social services struggling and closing, we see the right wing politicians cheating us north and south, we see the families being evicted and the citizens sleeping in the streets. We see the drugs crisis, the health crisis, the housing crisis. We see our politicians failing to support the most vulnerable refugees, and the complicity of the Irish government in supporting imperialism. We see our fellow young people, the ones who stay, struggle to survive on low wages in precarious work, always threatened that if we don’t accept exploitation at work we will simply be replaced. We see those who can leave leaving, and those who can neither leave nor find work suffering to survive.

The crisis gripping the young people of Ireland is nothing short of criminal. To quote Blindboy Boatclub, from the Rubberbandits, on the Late Late Show, “My generation are jumping on planes or jumping in rivers”. North and South politicians have failed to put in place the necessary support for young people’s mental health. And it is costing lives.

Some say it is unbelievable that in 2017 things can be worse for the coming generation than the previous generation. We in the CYM say that not only was this situation to be expected, it was inevitable. Capitalism will never serve the many. The bourgeois state cares more about profit and control than it does about the health and wellbeing of its working class citizens. This is true whether you are in the republic or the north. Whether you look at neoliberalism in the context of Ireland, Britain, America, the European Union, where ever neoliberalism is dominant, socialism is being suppressed and it is the working class who are left behind, pressed down upon, forgotten about or exploited.

The current economic order is killing our planet, and it is killing our brothers and sisters. We do not have time for complacency, the young people of the world recognise the need for radical change and for a fight back. We reject the status quo, we reject capitalism, we reject the greed of politicians, bankers, and corporate parasites, we reject bourgeois politics, and we reject imperialism.

Drawing inspiration from Connolly, with the support of our comrades in the Communist Party of Ireland and our fellow young Marxists around the world, the Connolly Youth Movement will continue to keep the flame of Irish Socialism alive, we will do our utmost to educate and organise other young people and ensure that Marxism lives in Ireland. We have seen recent successes, we have opened our fourth CYM branch this year, we welcome our new comrades in Mullingar. This is only the beginning. We will continue to organise, and we will ensure that there will always be young Marxists ready to answer the call.