For the time of year that’s in it – a look at Republicanism
What is republicanism?
“republicanism needs to be understood as the tradition of revolutionary practice rooted in a fundamental commitment to the value of popular sovereignty” Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University
What is Popular sovereignty?
Sovereignty rests with the people, not the king, and not the nation even, but within each person. It is based on a social contract, where all citizens are equal, free and self governing. Popular sovereignty is the founding tenet of democracy.
What is the republican tradition?
To create republics through revolutions.
Republicanism underlies the principal aims of most revolutionaries (whether socialist, liberal, democrat, or communist). It inspired revolutions across Europe and the Americas in the late 18th and 19th centuries, It underlay anti-colonial struggles for liberation from Africa to Asia, Vietnam and Algeria to Palestine in the 20th century.
What are its essential features?
came from the American revolution,
and “Liberty, equality and fraternity” from the French. They inspired republican revolutions in the Caribbean and Latin America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries,
and the 1848 revolutions in Europe against absolute monarchies. There were other beliefs about man, society, war, patriotism, and nationalism, bearing in mind Republicanism was an international, trans-national movement.
The Italian Republic recognizes the value of labour
Italy is a Democratic Republic, founded on work. Sovereignty belongs to the people, which exercises it in the forms and within the limits of the Constitution.
In Ireland Theobald Wolfe Tone desired
“To unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishmen in order break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, that was my aim“.
What shaped the republican tradition?
Creating revolutions and the revolutions themselves forged ideas that shaped the tradition. The republican tradition is embedded in patterns of thought and moral codes which inspired the participants to action.
How was it shaped?
Its aims and objectives are defined within generations, as well as transmitted across them.
Who are Republicans?
Apart from a few well-known figures, Republican men and women are almost all unknown because they had to remain hidden from police, armies and spies.What they wrote was considered seditious and was published in small popular pamphlets and clandestine journals that have long disappeared. They are excluded from traditional historical narratives because these are centred on nation-states.
They developed theories about overturning injustice and impacted upon modern legal systems.
What were Republicans fighting against?
Concrete predicaments like a wretched present and injustices they would not reconcile themselves to. They articulated the desire to change ‘for the happiness of all’. Oppression, subjugation, and political domination are still with us today.
Prohibition of republican advocacy in the UK
The 1848 Treason Felony Act made advocacy of republicanism punishable by transportation to Australia,
later life imprisonment. The Law Lords ruled in 2003 that this law does not prohibit peaceful advocacy of the abolition of the monarchy but it remains illegal to even ‘imagine’ overthrowing the Queen and republicans can still be jailed for life. Last year Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer slammed the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service for bringing him and fellow party activist Kevin McColgan to court over distribution of Easter Lilies
outside the Tyrone v Monaghan game at Healy Park on Easter Sunday.
This year Cllr McColgan,Sinn Féin chairman of Omagh District Council slammed the PSNI after a 42 year-old party activist was arrested and another cautioned while promoting the sale of the Easter Lily in the town.
Republic is a membership-based pressure group which lobbies and campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy in the UK. Spokesman Graham Smith said “Monarchies are inevitably secretive, wasteful of taxpayers’ money and interfering with the political process.”
Their mission is also to hold the monarchy and royal household to account and represent the views of republicans to a wider audience and to public authorities
While also against monarchical forms of government, Irish republicans are against the presence of the British state in any form in Ireland and advocate creating a united, all-island state, comprising the whole of Ireland.
In Northern Ireland, the term “republican” is usually used in the sense of Irish republicanism.