James Connolly


Socialist Party of Ireland

(1910 or early 1911)

Transcribed by The James Connolly Society in 1997.

(Headquarters: 42e Great Brunswick Street, Dublin)

The Socialist Party of Ireland seeks to organise the workers of this country, irrespective of creed or race, into one great PARTY OF LABOUR. It believes that the dependence of the working class upon the owners of capitalist property, and the desire of these capitalists and landowners to keep the vast mass of the people so subject and dependent, is the great and abiding cause of all our modern social and political evils – of nearly all modern crime, mental degradation, religious strife, and political tyranny. Recognising this, it counsels the Irish working class to follow the example of the workers in every civilised country in the world, whether subject or free, and organise itself industrially and politically with the end in view of gaining control and mastery of the entire resources of the country.

Such is our aim: such is Socialism. Our method is: Political organisation at the Ballot Box to secure the election of representatives of Socialist principles to all the elective governing Public Bodies of this country, and thus to gradually transfer the political power of the State into the hands of those who will use it to further and extend the principle of common or public ownership. We mean to make the people of Ireland the sole and sovereign owners of Ireland, but leave ourselves free to adapt our methods to suit the development of the times. The Socialist Party of Ireland may, as the occasion seems to warrant, either enter the political battlefield with candidates of our own or else assist in furthering every honest attempt on the part of Organised Labour to obtain representation through independent working-class candidates pledged to a progressive policy of social reform. We know that every victory won for progress today is a victory for Socialism, even when the victors most anxiously repudiate our cause.

We live in times of political change, and even of political revolution. More and more civic and national responsibility is destined to be thrust upon, or won by, the people of Ireland. Old political organisations will die out and new ones must arise to take their place; old party rallying cries and watchwords are destined to become obsolete and meaningless, and the fires of old feuds and hatreds will pale and expire before the newer conceptions born of a consciousness of our common destiny. In this great awakening of Erin, Labour, if guided by the lamp of Socialist teaching, may set its feet firmly and triumphantly upon the path that leads to its full emancipation. But if Labour does not rise to the occasion, and allows itself to be swallowed up in and identified with new political alignments, scattering and dissipating its forces instead of concentrating them upon Socialist lines, then indeed will our last state be worse than our first.

We therefore appeal to all workers, and to all honest friends of progress in any rank of life, to throw in their lot with the Socialist Party of Ireland, and assist it in giving force, clearness and effectiveness to the gathering Working Class Movement of this country. And on its part that Party, conscious of its high mission, pledges itself to pursue, unfalteringly and undeviatingly, its great object – common ownership of the means of producing and distributing all wealth. In other words, common ownership of our common country, the material basis of the higher intellectual and moral development of the future.


Last updated on 12.8.2003