Monthly Archives: January 2015
Below is the text of the oration delivered by Maire Drumm on Saturday, December 13, at the annual éirígi Liam Mellows commemoration. The event took place at Mellows’ grave in County Wexford. Wreaths were laid at the event by the Independent Workers Union and éirígi.
Mellows is one of the giants of Irish left-republicanism. As a teenager he was a member and leader of the first republican military organisation of the twentieth century, the Fianna Eireann movement founded by Constance Markievicz. Later he was a founder-member of the Irish Volunteers and led the 1916 Rising in Galway. Following the defeat of the Rising and imprisonment, he played a vital role in rebuilding the republican movement, in particular the newly-republican Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army. He was part of the Sinn Fein landslide in Ireland in the 1918 British general elections. The republicans won 73 of the 105 Irish seats at Westminster on an absententionist and independence basis, duly establishing a parliament of their own in Dublin (Dail Eireann) and declaring independence.
When the British government refused to recognise the will of the Irish people and moved to use violence to suppress their will, Mellows was to the forefront of the resistance. A war for independence took place from 1919-1921 when the more bourgeoisified elements of Dail Eireann supported a treaty with Britain which gave the British state continuing control of six north-eastern counties of Ireland while also creating a 26-county neocolonial state in the south and west (the Free State). Mellows opposed the Treaty and was part of the central leadership of the republican side in the 1922-23 civil war until his execution on December 13 1922 by Free State forces while a prisoner in Mountjoy Jail in Dublin. – Phil
Maire Drumm Oration:
It is an honour to be invited to speak at this commemoration to pay tribute to Liam Mellows and his three young comrades – Joe McKelvey, Richard Barrett and Rory O’Connor – on the ninety second anniversary of their execution by Free State forces. We also remember all those died in the struggle for national freedom.
Liam Mellows and his comrades were executed on December 8th 1922 without any trial and without any charge being laid against them.
In the eyes of the counter-revolutionary Free State government, the only crime was the four men’s adherence to the political objectives which had been succinctly set out in the 1916 Proclamation and expanded upon in the Democratic Programme of the Republic of 1919.
Those documents laid out a political agenda based upon national self-determination, social and economic justice and democracy; of cherishing all the children of the nation equally, of claiming the wealth of Ireland for the people of Ireland; of securing the greatest measures of political, social and economic freedom for the mass of the population.
Those revolutionary objectives were later ditched by an anti-Republican political elite in favour of a Treaty that saw the creation of two partitionist states within the British empire whereby control of the means of production and wealth generation would still remain in the hands of a small, but very wealthy, minority.
The men we honour today recognised that fact. They completely opposed the Treaty with its two state political solution to reinforce an all-Ireland economic status quo.
Those who led resistance against the Treaty and partition were well aware that the forms of government proposed would in no way be Read the rest of this entry
Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh.
A few days ago, this blog passed 100,000 hits. A small, but creditable achievement for a blog based at the arse-end of the world, putting forward a Marxian-republican view on Irish society, economy and politics.
Family sickness and death, redundancy, moving city (once), moving house (several times) and house-hunting have all affected my input to the blog for some time now. However, I’m hoping that 2015 will be different and things will get back on track again as I settle once more into a stable existence with an organised routine.
This year I want to get a lot more book reviews up on the site, along with new material on the Irish economy and Irish politics (eg the rise of Sinn Fein in the south). I’ll be continuing to agitate for a united left-republican project around the 100th anniversary of the Rising – I see the Shinners are already organising their ‘broad front’ constitutional nationalist project around the anniversary, making the need for left republicans to get their act together even more urgent.
On historical material, I want to finish getting up my cache of Constance Markievicz writings, most urgently her 1923 pamphlet What republicans stand for. And I want to start getting up material by the great revolutionary figure Fintan Lalor. Lalor was given his due by Pearse and Connolly, but seems to have faded from the republican pantheon in more recent years. It’s time to restore him to his rightful position.
I also want to continue to promote the valuable work being done on republican history by Mick Healy and by other folks such as Jim Lane.
I would also encourage blog readers to support the socialist-republican organisations – I believe that a key component of the way forward in Ireland is joint activity, testing out the possibility for mergers involving éirígí (the group that I am attached to), the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) and the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). Possibly even the 32-County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM), now that it has come out clearly for socialism.
I’m also keen that supportive readers contribute material to the blog. So, please, send me reviews of books on Ireland, Irish films, pieces on history, culture, the economy, whatever.
I also continue to be involved in a blog called Redline. It has several times as many hits as this blog – last December alone it had almost 10,000 hits (9,888 to be precise) – and so a lot of stuff of mine appears there, as well as a load of stuff on NZ politics, history, society, economy and a lot of anti-imperialist material with a particular focus on the Middle East, especially Palestine and the PFLP. Redline is here.