Category Archives: Jim Larkin

The evidence versus yet more Ann Matthews’ smears of Constance Markievicz

imagesI’ve stuck up several pieces so far which indicate how Ann Matthews is pursuing a vendetta against Constance Markievicz, one which plays fast and loose with facts.

Here’s yet another place where what Matthews dishes up is at best highly questionable and, in fact to put it bluntly, most likely untrue.

For instance, Matthews’ Renegades asserts that Markievicz did very little in Liberty Hall during the lockout other than flounce around making a show of herself.

Well, here is some testimony from Louie Bennett, a leading figure in the Irish labour movement for many years.  Bennett was a suffragist wh0 got involved with the radical end of the labour movement at the time of the 1913 lockout and subsequently played a leading role in the militant Irish Women Workers Union.  Here she is talking about how she secretly started going to Liberty Hall during the lockout:

“At that time I belonged to the respectable middle class and I did not dare admit to my home circle that I had run with the crowd to hear Jim Larkin, and crept like a culprit into Liberty Hall to see Madame Markievicz in a big overall, with sleeves rolled up, presiding over a cauldron of stew, surrounded by a crowd of gaunt women and children carrying bowls and cans.”  (Bennett talked to R.M. Fox about her life and this provided the basis for his 1958 book on her, Louie Bennett: her life and times, p42).

This suggests Markievicz worked hard in the soup kitchen and was not some dilettante who only appeared when photos were being taken, as suggested by O’Casey and picked up by Matthews.

Moreover, Matthews is highly selective about providing context.  If she wants to Read the rest of this entry

Connolly, the Dublin Steampacket Company dispute and the 1916 Rising

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“The cause of Labour is the cause of Ireland; the cause of Ireland is the cause of Labour. They cannot be dissevered” – James Connolly

The article below is an extended version of a paper given to the Dublin Dockworkers’ Preservation Society on 23 May 2015.  Thanks to the author for sending this fascinating article to the blog.

by D.R. O’Connor Lysaght

All too often, James Connolly’s last months tend to be seen as a period in which he compartmentalised his tasks, dividing his time between preparing a military uprising and, to a lesser extent, performing basic trade union work. An extreme variation of this is that he followed the majority of his socialist contemporaries in abandoning the class struggle at least until the end of the World War, if not altogether, and that, in any case, he never organised an actual, or, anyway a major strike.

None of these assumptions is true. The full facts of his wartime career show him to have been acting as a socialist, even if, as he admitted, other socialists would not understand.

Guiding strategy

His guiding strategy was summarised in the last paragraph of the Resolution on War, passed in 1907 by the Socialist International’s Congress at Stuttgart:
“In case war should break out… it is the duty of the working classes and their parliamentary representatives to intervene in favour of its speedy termination and with all their powers to utilise the economic and political crisis created by the war to rouse the masses and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule.”

This has been ignored all too often by those trying to explain Connolly’s first World War strategy. This ignorance is helped by the fact that Read the rest of this entry

Imperialism, Connolly and Lenin – some comments

OliversArmyChapt004Pic14by Philip Ferguson

Liam O Ruairc, with his usual attention to detail, has produced an interesting and useful discussion on Connolly and Germany from the opening of WW1 to the Rising. Liam has, I think, proven that some of Connolly’s writings during this period present Germany as being more progressive or less reactionary than Britain. At the same time he has shown that Connolly was not, as suggested by Austen Morgan (and others), a Germanophile. Liam has shown that Connolly remained opposed to German imperialism and looked forward to its being brought down by the German working class while rather glossing over Germany’s record in public.

Liam has also challenged the idea that Connolly was a kind of Irish Lenin and that certain writers, mainly (but certainly not exclusively) of the CPGB and CPI variety (eg C. Desmond Greaves), smuggled that connection in as a way of justifying their own two-stage politics in relation to Ireland. Liam suggests that Connolly and Lenin also had different attitudes to the First World War and that, although Connolly was no Pilsudski, he did have a few positions in common with the right-wing Polish social-democrat leader.

I think there are some problems with the Connolly/Lenin and Connolly/Pilsudski connections.

Firstly, I agree with Liam about Greaves and those closely associated with him. Greaves had a view of the struggle in Ireland which was both Read the rest of this entry

Dublin South-Central 1916 Centenary Committee being formed; bigi linn

Dublin South Central has a rich wealth of history connected to the 1916 Rising.  From the local IRB circle to Na Fianna, from the local Irish Volunteers to the Irish Citizen Army and Cumann na mBan, many local residents took part in the Rising and local areas, including the Phoenix Park and the South Inner City ,saw important battles during Easter Week 1916. Join us as we organise community celebrations of the most important event in modern Irish history.

The Dublin South Central 1916 Centenary Committee has been formed by local residents to organise community celebrations of the 1916 Rising in Dublin South Central.  Its launch will take place at a public talk on “1916 and the Irish Revolution” by Dr Ruan O’Donnell on Saturday July 4, at 4pm, in the Bosco Centre Drimnagh. Bigi Linn; All Welcome.

Dunnes Stores strike – follow-up article

I’ve done a follow-up article, which can be read at:  https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/after-the-strike-dunnes-stores-tries-punishing-and-victimising-workers/

Public talk: the 1913 lockout and its heritage

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éirígí New Year Statement 2014

imageséirígí extends New Year greetings to our members and supporters in Ireland and overseas.  We also take the opportunity to offer ongoing solidarity to all who stand against the exploitation and domination of capitalism and imperialism across the Earth.

During the course of 2013 our party members and supporters continued to be targeted by the forces of both the Six and Twenty-Six County states.  éirígí offers particular solidarity to all those who were harassed, assaulted, arrested and jailed in pursuit of the struggle for a Democratic Socialist Republic during 2013.  As has been the case for centuries past the determination and courage of the individual republican activist remains the greatest strength of our struggle, a human bulwark which has defended the integrity of the Irish Republican movement since the time of Wolfe Tone.

Our comrade Stephen Murney has now been interned in Maghaberry Jail for over a year.  He and others have been targeted by the British state because of their political beliefs and their political activism.  éirígí repeats its demand for the immediate release of Stephen Murney and all other internees, and again calls for the abolition of the legislation that facilitates the internment of political activist on both sides of the border.

2013 was another challenging year for the Irish working class as the austerity programme of the Leinster House and Stormont regimes heaped further misery upon communities the length and breadth of the country.  Unemployment and enforced emigration remained the tools of choice for a ruling class intent on driving down the living and working conditions of Read the rest of this entry

Stoneybatter/Smithfield event on 100th anniversary of Irish Citizen Army

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Public meeting: The founding of the Irish Citizen Army (100th anniversary), Dublin, Sat, Nov 2

Saturday, November 2 at 5.00pm at the Cobblestone, Smithfield

Organised by the Stoneybatter & Smithfield People’s History Project

Speaker: Dr. Brian Hanley

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The next public talk organised by the Stoneybatter & Smithfield People’s History Project takes place on Saturday 2nd November at 5.00pm in the Cobblestone pub, Smithfield and marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Citizen Army.The Irish Citizen Army was founded in November 1913, almost two months after the commencement of the Lockout.

During the early weeks of the Lockout the Dublin Metropolitan Police brutally attacked workers on the streets of the capital and two workers died as a result of injuries inflicted by police. The ICA armed itself with hurls and batons and its primary role was to protect marches organized by the ITGWU from police attack.

Its membership was Read the rest of this entry

Brian Leeson (chairperson, éirígí) on the legacy of 1913 and the Irish Citizen Army

Light years ahead of the gas-and-water socialists.