The recent declaration by the leadership of the Provisional IRA that the armed struggle is over has been reported in the media as an historic turning point and a fundamental departure in Irish politics. In spite of the rhetoric, however, there has not been one single step in the direction of a united Ireland. At least a section of the Provisional Republican movement will now be feeling demoralised and betrayed. They and many others, especially the young people who have just started to become involved in politics, will want to know - what next?
The Irish Republican movement has been struggling for a united Ireland for decades. Today it is no nearer this objective than when it was founded. Marxists understand that a united Ireland can only be achieved on a socialist basis. So long as capitalism dominates Ireland there will be division and strife. Therefore it is time to take stock of the past of the Republican movement and to draw a balance sheet. Only by such means can we build the revolutionary movement urgently needed to prevent a further descent into sectarian chaos and achieve instead the historic task of overthrowing capitalism and constructing the 32 county Socialist Republic.