Ever since a young age I have had a fervent passion for politics, although my understanding of it only became more developed in the last four years or so. Prior to this, my understanding of politics was always somewhat limited to a British/Irish context, with a simplistic understanding of ‘left vs right’.
Growing up in a republican household, I was always given the impression that imperialism and Thatcherism were wrong, given republicanism’s bitter history with both ideals.
Whilst there was a plethora of flaws with growing up with a republican narrative, it did give me some ability to connect the dots. I learned of figures like James Connolly, Jim Larkin and so on. Understanding the ideas of these figures in Irish history gave me the knowledge to dissect and reject the ideas of the other republican idols such as Patrick Pearse or – a notable figure of contempt for myself – Sean South.
The beliefs of Connolly led me to the ideas of other socialists – Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. I gained a different narrative on world affairs; Ireland’s problems were not rooted simply in British rule. The Irish people’s woes lay in class society. The people of this island, Protestant and Catholic, were not oppressed simply by Britain, but rather, by capitalists, both British and Irish, who used sectarianism who gave us divided.
Although I’ve only recently become a member of Socialist Youth, I hope to play a constructive role in it, whether it be through organising, campaigning, or simply convincing others. This, I hope, can help end the tyranny of the 1% over the 99% – neo-liberalism, sectarianism, racism, sexism, and discrimination of any kind.
By Séamas McLaughlin
(Foyle Socialist Youth)