‘Battle With Capitalism’ — In France As In Ireland — Lies In Renewing The Republic

The protests ongoing on the streets of Paris are symptomatic of working class discontent — not only in France and with the Élysée Palace but with governments and states across the West.

But for the emerging movement in France to succeed it must establish a political direction. The manifesto commitment of Jen-Luc Melenchon — to mount a constituent assembly upon a ‘Fifth French Republic’ — is the direction I hope it moves.

This, too, is where we should aim towards in Ireland.

The core objective for a movement as this, here, must be to restore the sovereignty and unity of the Irish Republic. For ourselves, the battle with capitalism playing out on the streets of Paris lies there — in establishing anew that Republic.

The French, too, should do likewise, by bringing forward the constituent assembly proposed by Melenchon at the last election — giving, thus, power to the people to determine their affairs and their destiny.

We are dealing, in the now, with a rigged system — one designed by the already powerful to preserve their position over that of the working class. We need to design a new system and that is what a constituent assembly can give onto.

In the times of flux before us, born of Brexit and demographic change, we must ensure that when we arrive at a nationalist majority, triggering thus political change, that we move not to a revision of the standing order but instead to a new beginning.

Asserting Irish sovereignty and independence will be key in that event; building a movement capable of doing so the necessary precursor and the task now to hand — a popular extra-constitutional movement that upholds the Republican object.

People in France, likewise, must have a clear programme and a clear idea as to what and where they intend, if their discontent is not to be hijacked in the event it succeeds toward change.

Through such endeavour, we can finally arrive at our shared objective: the free association of free nations envisaged by the great James Connolly. Whether France or Ireland, his timeless vision must inspire us to make that a reality.

Sean Bresnahan

Chair, Thomas Ashe 1916 Society, Omagh