Research and study of ideologies of social and national emancipation and their application to conditions within imperialist society

Statement of Principles

 The Institute for Independence Studies (IIS) exists to study and propagate ideas of social emancipation and national independence, based on a standpoint which is distinctive within the various socialist and progressive currents of thought existing in this country today.

In the world view promoted by the IIS, the socialist countries constitute the collective leadership of the international working class movement, and consequently also stand at the head of the struggle for human progress and emancipation by the wide variety of other socialist and progressive movements, including progressive and non-aligned states and national liberation movements.

The ideas promoted by the IIS consequently have a particular affinity with those developed by the leaders who have stood at the head of the struggle for socialist revolution and construction in the existing socialist countries, as well as ideas developed creatively in the course of the struggles for national liberation and social progress in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

This global trend and the world view associated with it cannot fail to have a growing impact within the imperialist heartlands, and the IIS exists to contribute towards strengthening this impact further through its study, research, publication and other activities.

This impact has already long been felt in the anti-racist movements of many imperialist countries, as exemplified, for example, by the rich ideological and cultural traditions of those anti-racist and progressive movements in the US, Europe and elsewhere which have looked to the African liberation movements for their inspiration.

The IIS aims in particular to study and propagate ideas developed within the republican and socialist movements in Ireland, where English colonialism forged the archetype of both modern colonialist ideology and of divide-and-rule policies, and where, by the same token, the struggle for internationalism in this country has generally faced its severest test.

All these movements contributing to the global trend for social emancipation and national liberation have, in the course of their practical and theoretical activities, creatively developed progressive and socialist ideas, and since those endeavours have been carried out in a wide variety of social and national conditions, and on the basis of a wide variety of intellectual and social traditions, those ideas themselves are characterised by great diversity.

The IIS seeks to develop and encourage imaginative understanding of this variety, diversity and creativity of ideological systems developed within such widely differing contexts, upholding the principle that the criterion for the assessment of progressive ideas is not simply placing them in direct analogy with preconceived views and more widely accepted doctrinal tenets, but rather the extent to which they have demonstrated in practice their capacity to mobilise their peoples to contribute to the global emancipation trend.

That such a variety of intellectual and cultural traditions has become progressively more closely integrated into the global movement for emancipation reflects the profound influence of the establishment of socialist states at the head of that movement – states which themselves set an example by imbuing and enriching scientific socialism with characteristics suiting their own countries and peoples.

Marx and Engels were profoundly internationalist in their world outlook. They devoted great energy and attention to analysing developments in the countries of Asia and elsewhere beyond Europe where the contradictions of global capitalism were beginning to make themselves felt. At that time, those countries were yet to face the momentous developments towards specifically anti-capitalist class struggle then emerging in Europe and the associated emergence of explicitly anti-capitalist ideas. Scientific socialism was consequently constructed in the first instance on the basis of Western intellectual traditions, namely German dialectical philosophy, French socialism and English political economy

The scientific socialism of today has therefore been enriched intellectually and culturally on a profound  international scale far beyond its pioneering aspect in the foundational work of Marx and Engels.

In this country, some progressive currents of thought, even some of those existing under the name of Marxism, still find it difficult to refrain from reacting negatively or sceptically to intellectual and cultural influences within international socialist thought which do not derive from  the Western intellectual life within which scientific socialism was initially formulated. The IIS consequently takes every opportunity to encourage all progressive and socialist movements to extend their intellectual and cultural horizons internationally and to overcome narrow dogmatism.

In pursuing this aim, the IIS aims to develop constructive interaction with all currents within Marxist and other socialist intellectual and cultural life in this country and internationally, upholding its own distinctive standpoint by means of all relevant channels of discussion, exchange and debate, such as participation in conferences and other such events, publication of books and pamphlets, articles in specialist journals, maintaining a website, etc., along with associated campaigning activities, for example those related to defending freedom of speech for those in this country and internationally to express their solidarity and identification with the global emancipation trend supported by the IIS.

The IIS furthermore aims to seek out new channels of interaction with currents in academic life which, even when they are openly opposed to Marxism and socialism, break with the most reactionary elements of capitalist thought and are prepared to engage in constructive and friendly academic discussion and debate.