Monthly Archives: July 2015
C.L.R. James on importance of James Connolly and Easter Week
The great revolutionary writer, activist and theorist C.L.R. James wrote the article below in 1941 (April 14) on the 25th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. It appeared in the American left-wing paper Labor Action – James was living in the US and was a prominent figure in a Trotskyist group called the Workers Party at the time. His party name was Johnson. The piece is taken from the Marxist Internet Archive, having been transcribed and marked up by Einde O’Callaghan. Not surprisingly, it contains a few small errors – such as numbers – and James is wrong to say “Easter week was the herald of the Irish revolution and the first blow struck against imperialism during the war at a time when the Irish revolutionary movement in Europe seemed sunk in apathy and the futile squabblings of exiles in cheap cafes.” Hardly any Irish were political exiles living in Europe before the Easter Rising, let alone squabbling in cheap cafes.
by C.L.R. James
Easter Sunday morning, 1916. Three o’clock. James Connolly, Irish revolutionary leader, was talking to his daughter and. some of her friends, all asking why the revolt so carefully prepared had been countermanded.
Connolly knew that the arms from Germany had been intercepted, he knew that the arrangements had broken down, but he knew that the British government was going to strike. He could not let the revolt be stamped out without resistance. It seemed to him, and rightly, that the resulting demonstration would be too great. He would fight, come what may. There was a chance that if they held out long enough the whole country might rise. But, whether or not that happened, the blow had to be struck. It was in this spirit, long range revolutionary calculation, that Connolly sent the message to his followers calling on them to begin.
They prepared a declaration of the Irish Republic, signed by Thomas Clarke, Sean MacDiarmada, P.H. Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas MacDonagh, Eamonn Ceannt, Joseph Plunkett. About noon the next day a body of Irish volunteers marched down O’Connell Street, apparently on parade. In reality they were marching on the Post Office and they seized it. At that same moment, small detachments seized other key points in the city. A little over a thousand men, workers, and a few intellectuals at their head, had challenged the whole British Empire.
They held the center of the city for over five days. By Friday, 60,000 British soldiers were fighting 1,000 Irishmen while Dublin blazed in flames. The revolutionaries hoped that the country would follow them – but nothing happened, nothing at any rate that could then be seen and measured. On Saturday, President Pearse ordered the surrender. To even sympathetic observers it seemed that the Irish had merely once more shown themselves a brave but irrational and unpredictable people. Except Lenin, who wrote fiercely in their defense, not only as revolutionaries but in defense of the circumstances of their revolt.
A History of Bloody Repression
To understand this noble, but apparently futile heroism one must have some idea, however rough, of Ireland’s past at British hands.
It is customary to speak of Turks in the Balkans and Tsarism in Poland as classical examples of imperialist barbarism. Nothing in six centuries of European history has ever equalled the British strangulation of Ireland. To get some adequate idea of this, one has to study the Read the rest of this entry
Death of Peggy O’Hara
It’s with great sadness we learned of the death of Peggy O’Hara. Peggy was a principled republican to the end. She saw no reason to bend to the wind – let alone hot air – of Provisional nonsense which pretended they hadn’t been beaten and co-opted. She saw no reason to sell out her principles for some crumbs from the table of British imperialism.
We’ll write a proper obit to her in due course.
Kevin Bean on The ESRC Irish Republican ‘Dissident’ Project: Setting the Record Straight
I have been asked by Kevin Bean if I’d put up the following statement by him in relation to the Economic and Social Research Council taking a research project he was involved in and making material from it available to the repressive forces of the British, six-county and twenty-six county states:
The ESRC Irish Republican ‘Dissident’ Project: Setting the Record Straight
This statement is a summary of a conference paper that was presented at an academic conference at the University of Bath in June 2015: it also draws on papers and contributions to conferences in Galway, Maynooth, Liverpool and Dublin in 2014-2015.
In 2012-2015 I was a co- investigator, along with a number of other academics, on an ESRC-funded project into the politics of so-called ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism. The aims of the project were clear: to investigate the ideologies and strategies of those republicans opposed to the post-1998 status-quo, and to contribute to public understanding of the significance of these strands in political life throughout Ireland.
As an academic project supported by four British universities and a reputable independent research council, the project was subject to various ethical and peer-review procedures to ensure it met the highest standards of academic integrity. Furthermore, given the controversy surrounding the Boston College oral history project, the researchers were determined to ensure the confidentiality and security of any republicans who were interviewed and recorded as part of the ESRC project. Thus, strict security precautions were taken with these recordings. In particular, researchers were interested only in political and ideological positions: participants were particularly not asked questions about organizational matters and were advised not to talk about
Irish solidarity with Greece
A great march of several thousand people in Dublin on Saturday in solidarity with the Greek people resisting austerity.
I’m involved in another blog, Redline, which is based in New Zealand. That blog has a few new pieces on Greece, including several items from friends within Syriza.
Greece votes No to austerity, what now?
A great NO from the Greek people (from our friends in Syriza)
We need a NO vote (from our friends in Syriza)
We have a lot of other material on Greece, but see in particular our pieces on the Vio.me factory occupation in Thessaloniki, including our interview with an occupation spokesperson.