Thomas Johnson’s original draft of the Democratic Programme
Repeating in the words of the Proclamation of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic ‘We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible’.
And further in the opinion of its President, P. H. Pearse, we declare that the nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all the men and women of the nation but to all the material possessions of the nation: the nation’s soil and all its resources, all wealth and all wealth-producing processes within the nation. In other words no private right to property is good against the public right of the nation (Sovereign People, by Pádraig H. Pearse, 31/3/1916.)
We declare further that as the nation in the exercise of its sovereignty may entrust its soil and its resources, its wealth and wealth-producing processes to the care and charge of any of its citizens, to use and exploit for the nation’s enrichment, on such terms and on such conditions as may be determined by the whole people, so the nation must ever retain the right and the power to resume possession of such soil or such wealth whenever the trust is abused or the trustee fails to give faithful service.
In the same manner as we affirm that the duty of every man and woman is to give allegiance and service to the commonwealth, so we declare it as the duty of the nation to ensure that every citizen shall have the opportunity for spending his or her strength and faculties in the labour of wealth-producing or the service of the people. In return for willing service in the name of the Republic we declare the right of the nation’s citizens to an adequate share of the produce of the nation’s labour.
The Irish Republic shall always count its wealth and prosperity by the measure of health and happiness of its citizens. It shall, therefore, be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to ensure that no child shall endure hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing or shelter, that all shall be provided with ample means and facilities requisite for the education and training of free citizens of a free Gaelic nation. A condition precedent to such education is to encourage by every reasonable means the most capable, sympathetic men and women to devote their talents to the education of the young.
To promote the development of its resources, to increase the productivity of its soil, to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, fisheries, waterways and harbours in the interest of and for the benefit of the Irish people, the nation, exercising its right of sovereignty, shall deem it to be a duty to organise and direct into fruitful contact the labour of men with the land and raw materials and machinery and industry.
Wherever the land, the mineral deposits and other forms of the production of wealth are wrongly used or withheld from use to the detriment of the Republic, then the nation shall resume possession without compensation.
In the sphere of overseas commerce the Republican Government to safeguard the interests of the nation shall itself undertake the organisation of the import and export of merchandise so as to prevent the shipment from Ireland of food and other necessities until the wants of the Irish people are fully satisfied and the future provided for and to obviate the waste of life and labour which competitive commerce involves and the risk of destroying Irish productive enterprises.
It shall be the purpose of the Government to encourage the organisation of people into trade unions and co-operative societies with a view to the control and administration of the industries by the workers engaged in the industries. It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek the co-operation of the governments of other nations in determining a standard of social and industrial legislation with a view to general improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour.
Finally, the Republic will aim at the elimination of the class in society which lives upon the wealth produced by the workers of the nation but gives no useful service in return, and in the process of accomplishment will bring freedom to all who have hitherto been caught in the toils of economic servitude.