The background, objectives and foundation of 32 CSM.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement was founded at a meeting of like-minded Republican activists in Fingal County Dublin on Sunday, December 7th 1997.
Most of those present were members of Sinn Fein who were finding themselves increasingly marginalised due to their open concerns at the direction which the party was being led following revelations of Britains latest proposals for ”peace” in Ireland.
Minutes from that first gathering point out how,
” Those attending the meeting shared a common concern regarding the failure of the current peace talks to tackle the key issue of Irish Sovereignty. Indeed it was felt that the peace talks, based on the Mitchell and joint framework documents which guarantee a Unionist veto, will ensure an internal Six-county settlement and prohibit the probability of an end to partition”
Many of those present had been ‘advised’ to keep quiet about their concerns and others were simply expelled from SF with no real explanation.
It was in such circumstances that these Sinn Fein members found it necessary to organise themselves into an ‘identifiable unit’ in order to prevent themselves from being ‘scattered into the political wilderness’ which was what the Provisional leadership had hoped for.
Formerly called the 32 County Sovereignty Committee (as in a committee inside SF) the individuals were then formally expelled from the party necessitating the formation of a distinct organisation the 32 County Sovereignty ‘Movement’. The original constitution stated that the first aim of the organisation was to:
”Seek to achieve broad unity amongst the Republican family on the single issue of Irish Sovereignty”
There was considerable agreement and admiration within Republicanism for the stance which the 32csm had taken and many key figures within SF privately admitted at the time to agreeing with the organisation.
The willingness of the Provisional leadership to compromise on such a key principle as the Sovereignty of the nation had caused confusion, even panic within the Republican grassroots nation-wide, a fact which was highlighted by the enthusiastic response the 32 CSM received during a series of lectures it had organised in Belfast, Dublin and Dundalk in the same week as the GFA was revealed.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE 32 CSM.
”The interpretations placed on this phrase suggest it has been widely misunderstood…The British government did not claim to have no strategic interest in Northern Ireland…. The government may well have strategic, economic as well as political interests in Northern Ireland. What it is saying is that it will not selfishly allow these to override the views of the majority of people in Northern Ireland” (NIO Source 1996, quoted in the Irish war, Tony Geraghty)
Simply put we are a group of individuals who recognise that the root cause of the conflict in Ireland is Britains refusal to respect the Sovereignty of all-Ireland.
We believe that the only way in which Britain can show respect for Irish Sovereignty is to declare publicly its intention to withdraw from Ireland permanently.
Furthermore we recognise that the Good Friday Agreement, built as it is around continuing partition and a Unionist veto, makes the possibility of Britain declaring their intention to withdraw even less likely.
We intend to build a movement that can one day convince Britain to make such a declaration.
We are not a political party, in that we have no intentions of running in elections and we do not organise ourselves along the traditional lines of party structure.
This is something that certain other anti-GFA Republican parties fail to understand.
We do not claim to be the ‘Real Sinn Fein’ and we are not trying to steal the thunder from any group that does.
The 32 CSM is democratic; there is no room or no need for another Sinn Fein.
ORGANISING RESISTANCE TO BRITISH RULE.
We are committed to presenting the case for Irish self-determination before the international community.
We believe that much of the conflict in Ireland could be resolved if the United Nations were to intervene in upholding Irish Sovereignty.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement sent two representatives to America in April 1998 to lodge a written submission with the United Nations in New York.
The application asks the United Nations to ascertain whether the British government is in breach of the international covenant on civil and political rights and other international covenants.
In March 2001 our representatives submitted an Addendum to the above application which it directed to the U.N high commission on Human rights in Geneva.
We are presently engaged in following up our submissions to the United Nations.
However we are not naïve enough to expect the UN to hold the key to Irish freedom.
Historical examples have shown that decisions made by the UN may not be worth the paper they are written on, yet any action which keeps the issue of Irish Sovereignty alive in Ireland and that may put pressure on Britain internationally should in our opinion be followed up.
As said above we are open to all suggestions regarding ways to fight for Irish Sovereignty be it mass mobilisation on the streets to confront the British Army / Police, or demanding the withdrawal of US troops and bombers from Shannon airport.
The 32 CSM is coming out of a period of relative inactivity.
This is partly due to the campaign of demonisation and harassment which was launched upon us following the Omagh bomb tragedy of 1998.
But also because the existing political conditions forced groups like ours to sit back and look at everything that was going on so as to gain an accurate analysis on which we could build.
We now believe that we have gained an adequate analysis and that the political conditions are right for us to re-launch ourselves as a credible Republican alternative to the politics of the Good Friday Agreement.
Yet there is always room for more debate and we do not claim posses a definitive blueprint for ending British rule.
We have identified the GFA as an obstacle to ending British rule, now is the time for all Republicans to debate, organise and to build a real Republican alternative.
SUPPORT FOR THE ARMY
Just as political activists had serious concerns regarding the political retreat within Sinn Fein, so to did sections within the IRA.
Acceptance of the Mitchell principles flew in the face of the very spirit of the Army constitution and when an Army convention held in Co. Donegal failed to satisfy the concerns of the ‘Republican’ camp’, a small but significant section of the Army leadership withdrew to re-organise Oglaigh na hEireann along traditional Republican lines, in the spirit of the Constitution and outside of the Provisionals remit.
The Volunteers who took that decision did so out of the same concerns and respect for Republican principles as did the activists who formed the 32 CSM
Naturally the 32 CSM understood and agreed with the IRA in its decision to re-organise, this is still our position.
2002 AND THE BROADENING OF THE 32 CONSTITUTION.
”The nations Sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the nation, but to all its material possessions; the nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and the wealth producing processes within the nation” Padraig Pearse.
During private and public debates within the 32 CSM during 2001 / 2002, some members had voiced concern that to solely concentrate our efforts on issues relating to ”constitutional parliamentary Sovereignty” we could become totally alienated from the people on whose behalf we were organising.
At a time when the country’s Sovereignty was being blatantly abused in so many other ways, albeit by the back door. The 32 CSM agreed that there was a need to identify and confront the infringements on our Sovereignty which although less blatant, could prove to be just as dangerous to Irish Freedom as British troops on our streets.
The classic view of what constitutes imperialism is being challenged the world over.
While some in Ireland rightly celebrate an end to the days of ‘the colonial Viceroy’ with his monocle and swagger stick they don’t even notice that B-52 American bombers full of troops are landing illegally at Shannon airport at the rate of five a day.
The immediate and most visible effect of the Good Friday Agreement, more so probably than the changes in the ”security” field was the sudden and massive wave of economic investment.
Former ghost towns were soon bedazzled by all the classic trappings of multi-national business. Xerox, Raytheon, IBM etc, all set their sights on Ireland as a new source of Labour, (Closer than Thailand and friendlier than Vietnam).
As the great and the good patted themselves on the back potential sceptics were warned that the generous investors might just change their minds if the political situation became ‘unstable’.
And so once again the ordinary people of Ireland found themselves blackmailed into forfeiting their national rights to Sovereignty; not this time by threats of ”immediate and terrible war” as Lloyd George had promised in 1921 but by poverty, via an end to US investment.
If as the minutes of the first Dail proclaimed ”all rights to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare” then how can we, as defenders of Irish Sovereignty, turn a blind eye to the massive influence of US business who’s only interest in Ireland, its resources and its people, is the maximisation of profit all of which is taken out of the country.
With all this in mind the constitution of the 32 CSM was amended in July 2002, moving away from the original ‘single issue’ position to the point were the organisation would,
”Promote the revolutionary ideals of Republicanism and to this end involve itself in resisting all forms of colonialism and imperialism”.
The 32 CSM is now free to comment and campaign on all issues which effect the well being of the Irish people due to the denial of Sovereignty and national independence by all Imperialist forces be they political, military, social or economic.
We in the 32 County Sovereignty Movement welcome open and honest debate.
Democracy must begin at grass-roots level if we are to avoid further deals being done over the heads of the Irish people,
Help build the Republican alternative join the 32 County Sovereignty Movement