Nathan Hastings (IRSP) for Princip Info: “Kosovo to be immediately handed over to Serbian people!”

Nejtan Hestings iz IRSP pored spomenika Josipa Broza Tita. Foto: privatna arhiva

In November 2022, Belgrade was visited by Nathan Hastings, a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), known for the famous photo from Derry, many revolutionary actions and anti-imperialist expressions of solidarity. We spoke with Nathan about the global political situation, Kosovo, Rojava and Ireland itself.

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Can you tell us more about your organisation, your history and what are your organisation’s plans for the future? Could you explain to us the political situation in Ireland and your position in it?

Thank you for having me and it’s a pleasure to be here talking to you. My name is Nathan Hastings and I’m a member of Irish Republican Socialist Party. The IRSP has been in existence since 1974. It was formed at that time as a socialist organisation which was also anti-imperialist in it’s nature of course. It was born at a time when Ireland and particularly the North of Ireland, where a lot of its membership was focused, was in the throes of an anti-imperialist conflict between the Irish people and Britain. The IRSP therefore played a role in that conflict, both in its anti-imperialist capacity and as a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist movement. So the IRSP believes in a 32 county Socialist Republican Ireland, that differs of course from a lot of nationalist movements who simply want the British out of Ireland. We take the lane of James Conolly and our founder’s Seamus Costello, that an Ireland with Irish capitalists exploiting working class Irish people is as exploitative and non free as an Ireland with Irish working class people being exploited by British capitalists. Throughout the time of the conflict the IRSP suffered quite a lot it had a lot of its members murdered, imprisoned and a number of its figures murdered and imprisoned also, which was incredibly damaging for the movement. The movement sacrificed quite a lot, including three hunger strikers the 1981 hunger strike and throughout the years, following that, of course more people were imprisoned, killed, exiled and faced constant retribution from the loyalists, the Irish free state, the British and by other revisionist Republicans doing the bidding of the aforementioned. At the time of 1988 Peace agreement the IRSP did not agree with all the terms of it and did not believe it was an anti-imperialist or progressive document and did not believe that it suited the interest of the people of Ireland and the working class people of Ireland. However, the IRSP agreed with the analysis at that time that a time for an armed struggle was no longer in existence, that the armed struggle in Ireland has ran its course and that it was time for a progressive, grassroots and pro-working class political movement. At a time the IRSP had of course been drastically weakened by what had occured during the course of the conflict and unfortunately its goals could not immediately manifest. The movement had to rebuild. That process took place over the course of the following decade and the movement today has blossomed as a result of much of the foundations that were laid at that time. The movement however had its own troubles during this time also, that was with those who had attacked it since its foundation, continue to attack it, those who identified as Republicans, he British media, the Irish Free State media, the bourgeoisie elements of Ireland generally and also the likes of Catholic Church and other bourgeoisie quarters, they continued to attack the movement, undermine it and try to stymie its growth. However the movement remained resilient and should be characterized as one of the most resilient movements in revolutionary history throughout the world. And recently we ran on local elections in the North of Ireland and pulled very well much to the surprise of those who had dismissed us and of course much to the surprise of those who had been blackening our name for quite some time prior to that. The IRSP goals remained the same for a 32 county Socialist Republic in Ireland in terms of how we’re going to achieve that we, follow the road which was already laid out for us by Lenin of course, by Marx and also by those who were members of our own movement and who were also members of the revolutionary tradition of Ireland who refined the teachings of Marx and Lenin for the Irish context. In that regard, we work on a community basis among working class people, assist them in their needs and draw them towards our ideology. We’re also involved in local community structures and we’ve also began to reengage in local electoral structures also. As I’ve said, the support we’ve recieved in this regard has been immense. In Ireland in the present there are a lot of shifting circumstances. Brexit, the British exit from the European Union, created political turmoil in Ireland, and also the Covid pandemic created serious lack of faith in political and state apparatus in Ireland. Where the people were wholesale failed, felt undermined and betrayed by how the government, the British government and Irish government acted. We’ve also had a shift in demographic in North of Ireland, making a united Ireland seem more likely than it may have at any time in the past. In this regard the IRSP understands that we must be ready and poised to assume our role in leading the country and leading the emancipation of the working class. So we’re developing professionally our capacity to do that also.

What is your opinion on Kosovo?

To explain my position, and this would be my personal position as opposed to that of IRSP: I already explained my position on this. I would like it to be understood in the context of globalisation, neoliberal globalisation and the attemps of the small capitalist elite to dominate the world through the breaking down of national borders and then decimating and the breaking up of countries who pose opposition to that objective of theirs to dominate the world and to exctract capital for their own ends and to the detriment of native populations and countries throughout the world. Kosovo I believe must be understood in that context. Kosovo and how it has been used by the West, by NATO and by the enemies of freedom and the world as a prime example of this neoliberal globalisation. Kosovo and what has occured with Kosovo has been the delibarate effort by the West and by NATO to break up potential resistance to its objectives in the world in that regard the people of Serbia have been denied part of their homeland and it follows on a trend of this type of behavior by the West, particularly by the US empire. Kosovo is Serbia and the removal of Kosovo from Serbia is no less than a complete act of hipocrisy on the behalf of the US empire and its allies. In relation to Kosovo I believe that Kosovo should immediately be handed over completely to the people of Serbia and to whom it belongs.

What’s your opinion on Rojava?

Rojava also I believe must be examined in the context of neoliberal globalisation. In that regard, Rojava, the existence of Rojava and the ideology that exists in Rojava and how the West has behaved in relation to Rojava, I believe it conveniently includes the breakup of some of the bulwark, the anti-imperialist bulwark in the Middle East – Syria, Iran and Iraq. And just as Kosovo has been used against Serbia which formed a potential bulwark against US imperialism in the Balkans, Rojava too has been used in that sense in the Middle East. I believe any group, organisation or ethnicity that lays claim to their homeland, that claim should be examined. However, it is not just correct to assume that they’re entitled to that. I think Rojava in that regard with its establishment and how that would entail the breakup of several sovereign countries that have proven to be troublesome for the US empire, for NATO, for its allies, would be of detriment to the quest for freedom and socialism in the world.

What’s your opinion on the Special Military Operation?

In relation to the Special Military operation again, we have followed it closely, both me individually and the IRSP as a party since the events in 2014. When Ukraine was turned completely into a NATO vasal state and the interests of NATO were being fronted in Ukraine by compliant pro-neoliberal greedy capitalists and also the spearhead of that was neo-nazi Azov batallion and associated organisations who were determined to crush ethnic minorities in the East of Ukraine who they thought posed a threat to Western hegemony in the region. In that regard, the people of Donbass were granted the autonomy only by virtue of the defence of them by the Russian Federation, subsequently the only way NATO and Ukraine as a threat in that region could be nullified was by the complete conquest of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. That does not mean of course that I support the politics of the Russian Federation as it exists now, however I do support the lane of the communist party of Russian Federation, which is that the de-militarization and de-nazification of Ukraine are imperative for the forces of progress and socialism in the world today.

What’s your opinion on Chinese Communist Party and its way of governance? And what’s your opinion on China’s role in global struggle against imperialism?

So primarily I believe that the political system at present in China is reflective of many of the key elements and points that were laid out by Marx, Engels, later by Lenin and Mao also. I believe that China has found the particular route to achieve communism which at times may seem to others that it is an indirect route or that certain elements of what has occured in China don’t reflect their ideas of socialism. However, we must ask ourselves the question as to what the intentions of the Chinese government are, that of acheiving communism in China. If that is the goal of Xi Jinping and his party. I do believe that that is their goal, I do believe that is their objective. I believe what is primarily reflective of that, is how determined the West has been to attack China, to undermine China and to cut China down as their rival power. In that regard, we must also look down on China’s role in anti-imperialism. China’s very existence and how prominent it has become is itself anti-imperialist. The goal of latter-day imperialism is for a small capitalist elite which is fronted and whose interests are furthered by the US, the US army, by NATO, by other alligned military and governmental forces to dominate the world, to break down the borders of the world and to extract capital from it. China has prevented that from occuring, it has retained its sovereign borders it has defeated the attemps to undermine it in Hong Kong, it’s continually struggling against efforts to do so in Taiwan and Tibet, and to undermine the propaganda being launched at it regarding Xinjang and other considerations. So, with that in mind, I believe China’s sole existence is providing an anti-imperialist bulwark. However, I can also see how China has linked with other anti-Western forces. Not so much anti-Western forces: the forces who are against the hegemony of capitalists primarily based in the West, who use military and governmental structures of the West to break down sovereign nations throughout the world, to undermine them, to absorb their capital to the detriment of their native populations.

And now the last question, how do you see recent protests in Iran?

My personal opinion on relation to this is that it must be viewed in a much broader political and economic context. In that regard, we must look at the recent Western narative, the NATO narative, the narative of the US empire in relation to Iran. There’s obviously a great deal of hipocrisy in the West and particularly in Europe regarding Iran and Iranian culture when those countries themselves have seriously questionable histories and issues with contemporary human rights abuses. However, with regard to Iran, Iran has proven to be again a bulwark, an anti-imperialist bulwark in the Middle East and the West is determined to threaten and undermine it, Iran’s role, alleged role, that has been propagated by the West in supporting the Russian Special Military Operation, has of course marked Iran also for increased targeting by the Western imperialism. So, Iran, of course is an Islamic Republic. I am a secularist, I don’t believe in religious governance, however, if people in Iran oppose that system and want to allow themselves to be democratically elected or to run democratically against Iran’s existence as an Islamic Republic, then I don’t imagine they would be opposed in doing so on a state level. However, I do imagine that they would be opposed on the ground by the people. With regard to that, if it is the democratic will of the Iranian people that they should live as they do. Then, regardless of my disagreement with that or my own personal values then that is too to be respected. I believe that the circumstances surrounding what has kicked off the protests in Iran need to be questioned. There has been no factual establishment that anyone was murdered by moral or religious police force in Iran. In fact, evidence to the contrary has been provided much more substantially. And, in that regard we must question why the West and elements in the West had become so involved when they continue to ignore some of their and much worse abuses which are well substantiated in countries with which they have military and economic ties. In that regard the West is very hipocrytical, many of those involved in these protets are also very hipocrytical and I do believe that regardless of what has substantiated in relation to what occured that sparked these protests, that these protests are being directed with political motivations by elements in the West to which to break down Iran in the same way that they have attacked others.

Audio recording of the interview can be listened to on our audio channel

Interview conducted by Princip Info

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