Time for Britain to leave! – Let the people of Ireland decide their own future

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

18 June 2021

The resignation of Edwin Poots as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, and the implosion of the DUP, should not come as a surprise to anyone with a modicum of understanding of the entrenched anti-democratic nature of unionism and the historical manoeuvrings of the British colonial power.

It is time to end the charade, so carefully nurtured by Britain, that it is neutral, an honest broker, with no selfish or strategic interests in continuing to control the North of Ireland, directly or indirectly (devolution), when clearly it is a central part of the problem. It has used and manipulated unionism for its own strategic imperialist ends for more than a century, and continues to do so.

This latest crisis is just one in a long line of attempts at finding an “internal” solution within the anti-democratic sectarian statelet that is “Northern Ireland.” The very nature of the six-county statelet was created on a sectarian head count imposed by the British state to thwart the long demand and struggle of the people of Ireland for an independent national democracy, for sovereignty and control by the people of Ireland.

What is obvious is that partition has failed all the people of Ireland, and has left a deep scar and a bitter legacy of hatred, division, institutionalised sectarian discrimination, violence, and repression, resulting in countless deaths. This bitter harvest has been borne most heavily by the working class and working people.

This legacy cannot be wished away but rather needs to be challenged, with an all-Ireland strategy for healing those divisions, partition being the central one.

Now is the time for the British government to declare its intention to withdraw in an orderly fashion from Ireland and to finally end its colonial relationship with Ireland. It is also clear that it is in the best interests of British democracy itself to end its anti-democratic interference in the affairs of our people as well as of other nations.

Britain needs to declare that it is disengaging and to set in motion the necessary negotiations to ensure an orderly departure and to meet its long-term economic and financial commitments to the people of the Six Counties.

The Irish establishment must also be forced to engage and to pursue a British disengagement, for they have also for nearly a century hidden behind the language of neutrality and “honest brokers” to mask their complicity with continued British rule and interference, as it is in their own parasitic economic and political interests, and not those of the people of all Ireland. It’s time to end the doublespeak.

There can never be a stable internal political settlement, as the Six Counties cannot be stable or democratic. It is too contested a space in which to find a democratic settlement. That can only be achieved in a new, all-Ireland democratic state.

It is time for working people to organise and put forward their own demands and what type of united Ireland is in their best interests. The cobbling together of two failed economic and political entities is not a solution to the many problems that working people face, only a unitary national democratic state built upon absolute equality, on unity of our class, and on economic and political democracy and social justice.