Category Archives: Social conditions
The article I wrote on this has just gone up on the NZ-based Redline blog. Here.
Firstly, apologies for not having got up commentary on the referendum. However I did do an interview with Cat Inglis of Eirigi on the subject here: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/irelands-abortion-referendum-interview-with-eirigi-activist-cat-inglis/
Sorry I didn’t put this link up earlier.
Also, there are a number of articles from past years on this blog where I made clear my support for abortion as a woman’s right to choose.
Exit polls are currently indicating a landslide, a bigger Yes vote than even in the referendum on the right of same-sex couples to marry.
The Yes campaign has struck a massive connection with the bulk of the population who really want rid of the old conservative chains that held people down and prevented them from living their lives and making their own personal decisions instead of being dictated to by church and state. The campaign has struck a real chord with people in city, town and country and across different age groups. Particularly impressive has been the mobilisation of young people, young people saying they want a better and freer society.
The latest RTE exit poll I am aware off indicates the Yes vote could be as high as 77% in Dublin and 69% across the twenty-six counties.
A landslide for a new, freer, better society. Brilliant.
James Connolly (1868-1916) was a leading figure in socialist politics in Scotland, Ireland and the United States and a radical trade union leader in the USA and Ireland. In Dublin, he was one of the key leaders of the new Irish Transport and General Workers Union, through the massive Great Dublin Lockout of August 1913-February 1914. Later in 1914, Connolly became the leader of the workers’ militia, the Irish Citizen Army, that had been estaboished as a workers’ defence force in the lockout. Under the leadership of Connolly, Michael Mallin and Constance de Markievicz, the ICA was transformed into a revolutionary army.
He also wrote stirring songs of working class struggle.
In April 1916 the ICA and the republican Irish Volunteers launched an insurrection against British rule and declared an independent Irish Republic. After a week of fighting the rebels, under heavy British bombardment that was demolishing the centre of Dublin, were forced to surrender. Connolly and other leaders of the rebellion were tried by British court-martial and sentenced to death by firing squad. Connolly, who had gangrene as a result of a wound, couldn’t stand and was tied to a chair for his execution.
The Otago Socialist Society is hosting a talk on Connolly, not only to commemorate this great revolutionary working class leader but also to look at the continuing relevance of his ideas.
The speaker is a former activist in Sinn Fein in Dublin and a current member of Clann Eirigi. He will cover Connolly’s life; his perspectives on the working class and Irish national liberation; and his writings on revolutionary trade unionism.
Speaker: Dr Philip Ferguson
2pm, Saturday, June 2
Seminar Room, Third Floor,
Dunedin Central Public Library (Moray Place)
Posted in 1913 lockout, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Constance Markievicz, Economy and workers' resistance, Fenians, Fintan Lalor, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish Citizen Army, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Jim Larkin, Nora Connolly, Political education and theory, Public events - Australia and New Zealand, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Women's rights, Workers rights
Excellent talk and discussion period – Ronan Burtenshaw at the James Connolly Forum in the little city of Troy, in New York state in March 2017. Troy, of course, is somewhere Connolly himself lived and organised – thus the name of this working class political forum group.
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British strategy, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish politics today, Partition, Political education and theory, Provos - then and now, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Workers rights
In the 2016 election, these anti-working class scumbags, who had been involved in imposing vicious austerity on the working class in the south, lost most of their seats in the Dublin parliament.
The latest Sunday Times Behaviour and Attitudes poll, published yesterday, show Labour is continuing to decline. Among the poorest 50% of people in the south, their support level is 2%, a mere one-tenth of the support for Sinn Fein and also smaller than the support for the Trotskyist bloc in the Dublin parliament.
34% of the poorer half of the population indicated they would vote for SF, the Trotskyists and independent leftists.
Yesterday’s Sunday Independent published findings from the Kantar Millward Brown poll, showing total support for Labour at just 4 percent.
Not satisfied with the blow given to them by the Irish public, ‘Irish Water’ are again pushing for the commodification of Ireland’s water resources. This time they are doing it under the ruse of needing an extra two billion euro of tax-payers’ money to guarantee the greater Dublin areas water supply, by building a 170-kilometre pipeline to bring 330 million litres per day from the River Shannon to the area. This is all very convenient coming a few days after the announcement that Irish Water have plans in place to introduce excess water charges from next year.
According to Irish Water, excess use charges will not begin until January 1st, 2019, “at the earliest” while bills for excess use charges will not be issued until July 1st next year “at the earliest”. In order to make up for its losses and to fund these huge infrastructural projects Irish Water will be charging huge amounts on what it considers to be Read the rest of this entry →
Today, February 4 (2018) marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Constance Gore-Booth/Constance de Markievicz. To commemorate the anniversary, I’m putting up the text of her 1923 pamphlet What Irish Republicans Stand For.
I have had a copy of this pamphlet since the late 1980s – ie for about 30 years! – dating back to when I first began collecting her writings, many of which appear on this blog. I drew on her writings for my MA thesis which was written in 1995 and the first few months of 1996 – the thesis chapters also appear on this blog.
Ever since I started this blog in 2011, I have meant to stick it up here, but wanted to coincide it going up with some anniversary relating to her. I had intended, finally, to put it up on July 15, last year, the 90th anniversary of her death, but got caught up in other things and the day came and went.
However, the 150th anniversary of her birth seems an even better time. So, finally here it is. Nick Scullin typed up half of it from a photocopy of the original pamphlet; I typed up the other half.
At first, I thought it was published in 1924 but it appears that it is 1923. I don’t have access to libraries with copies of daily papers from that time so haven’t been able to double-check – Markievicz, for instance, cites several newspaper articles, giving the day of the month, so these could be looked up to verify 1923 is the year and not 1924.
The original includes the words, “Reprinted from Forward by courtesy of the Editor”. This was a left-wing Scottish newspaper, based in Glasgow. Revolutionary socialists such as James Connolly and John Maclean, plus others associated with ‘Red Clydeside’ wrote for it, as did a range of reformist socialists. After WW1, the paper was particularly associated with the ILP (left social-democrats). Although Forward had its own printing and publishing company, What Irish Republicans Stand For was printed by Civic Press Ltd of Howard Street in Glasgow.
We typed it up in line with the original pamphlet – ie where it used italics, bold, capitals etc, we left them in place and where headings were centred in the original, we left them centred. I have, however, put in gaps between paragraphs where the original simply indented a few spaces to indicate new paragraphs.
I’ve not corrected mistakes – eg Eamonn de Valera did not draw up the Democratic Programme (he, like Markievicz, was in prison in England at the time). Also, some of the language now seems quaint. Co-operative Commonwealth, for instance, was often used as a synonym for socialism. There was also the view that pre-Conquest Gaelic society was a pre-class society, so references to “Gaelic ideas” often referred to this; regardless of the exact nature of Gaelic society, certainly both feudalism and capitalism were imposed on Ireland from across the water.
It is also important to keep in mind the time in which this was written. A counter-revolution was taking place, reactionary elements within the independence movement were gaining control and imprisoning and murdering their former comrades, including people Markievicz had worked with. Although Markievicz staunchly opposed the Free State, the counter-revolution took a heavy toll on her and she died just four years after the end of the civil war.
The cover has a box with the following in it, just below the title and by-line. NB: the misspelling of Wolfe, Mitchel and Lalor are as on the cover.
“The conquest of Ireland has meant the social and political servitude of the Irish masses, and therefore the reconquest of Ireland must mean the social as well as the political independence from servitude of every man, woman and child.”
I offer this little leaflet humbly to the memory of Wolf Tone, of Mitchell, of Lawler, and of James Connolly to whom I am indebted for the faith and the knowledge that inspired it.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
WHAT IRISH REPUBLICANS STAND FOR
by Constance de Markievicz
Free State as Tool of British Capitalism
In these articles I am going to discuss Ireland and the “Irish Free State” from an economic point of view, and endeavour to show that this “Free State” is but a further attempt to force the English social and economic systems on a people who cling instinctively and with a passionate loyalty to the ideals of a better civilisation, the tradition of which is part of their subconscious spiritual and mental selves.
It was devised by the British Cabinet of imperialists and capitalists and accepted by their would-be counterparts in Ireland, whom they supply with money, arms, and men for the purpose of breaking up the growing movement towards the development of the Co-operative Commonwealth in Ireland. I claim that for this reason the Free State can never be acceptable to the people of Ireland, and, moreover, that this is the key that opens the door to a thorough understanding of the Irish question, and that there is no other key.
For 800 years Ireland has been devastated again and again by English armies and tricked by English politicians for but one object – the destruction of the Gaelic State to its last traditions and relics, and the establishment, in its place, of the feudal-capitalist state.
The military and political conquests were but means to this end, whole clans were massacred, dispersed or starved to death, whole provinces laid waste again and again for this one purpose – the forcing of an alien and repugnant civilisation on a civilised people.
It is only in latter years that the history of Ireland has been approached in a scientific manner, and that this has been made clear. Mrs Alice Stopford Green is the great pioneer in this work. For many years she has been digging laboriously into the past and bringing to light all that she has gleaned from the old documents that survive the systematic destruction of the records of Ireland’s greatness by the English.
James Connolly went further. A student of labour, viewed as a world question, from both scientific and historical sources, a man of practical experience as an organiser, agitator, and speaker in two continents, he mated his knowledge and experience with the facts disclosed by Mrs Green, George O’Brien and others, and has left us in his books a wonderfully comprehensive sketch of Ireland’s real struggle. Her past sufferings, her present slow awakening and struggle and her future hopes and aspirations.
I would appeal to my readers in his words: “The sympathetic student of history, who believes in the possibility of a people by political intuition anticipating the lessons afterwards revealed in the sad school of experience, will not be indisposed to join with the ardent Irish patriot in his lavish expression of admiration of his Celtic forefathers, who foreshadowed in the democratic organisation of the Irish clan the more perfect organisation of the free society of the future.”
Padraig Pearse also dwelt much on the Gaelic State. He emphasises his vision of an Ireland “not free merely, but Gaelic as well.”
The reason why the Republican movement was accepted by the people, and a Republic was brought into being by them at the price of such terrible sacrifice and suffering was that the ideals embodied in that Republic touched into life all that was most vital and most Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in British state repression (general), Constance Markievicz, Corruption, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), James Connolly, Labour Party, Prisoners - past, Public sector/cuts, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism post-1900, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Toadyism, War for Independence period, Women, Women in republican history, Workers rights
On the Friday evening, as the 1916 Easter Rising which had begun on the Monday morning was drawing to a close, 21-year-old Sean McLoughlin had so impressed James Connolly and other leaders that he was appointed overall military commander. This was done due to the incapacitation of the badly-wounded Connolly, the original commandant-general of all the insurrectionary forces. McLoughlin then led the break-out from the GPO and into Moore Street.
Below is an article that Sean McLoughlin wrote shortly after the civil war broke out in June 1922. Along with Roddy Connolly and others, he had set up the shortlived very first Communist Party of Ireland and the article was published in the August 19th issue of their paper, The Workers Republic (named after James Connolly’s pre-1916 paper).
In the original, the second section (“Free State Methods”) was one huge paragraph. I have broken this up into several; this is the only editing – I decided, for instance, not to change his use and non-use of commas and the bold, upper case subheads are as in the original.
This is the first of several of his articles which I will be getting up here, although I am also busy typing up more articles from the 1840s by Fintan Lalor, a project which got stalled for some time unfortunately.
The text here is taken from Charlie McGuire’s excellent bio of Sean McLoughlin – I thoroughly recommend this to all republicans, especially socialist-republicans. Buy it! Read it! If you can’t afford it, get your library to buy a copy.
Social Programme for Republicans
by Sean McLoughlin
AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY
Since the beginning of the present struggle against the forces of the Free State the Irish Republican Army in the field has been able to withstand all the attacks of its enemies, and at the present moment occupies a favourable position from a military point of view. The positions held are being strengthened, supplies are good, and most important of all, the morale of the Army is splendid. Yet these things while being fine achievements do not necessarily spell victory for the Republican forces.
In order to carry the war to a successful issue, it is essential that the Republican authorities seize every opportunity of any nature, that will Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Counter-revolution/civil war period, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Labour Party, Political education and theory, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Sean McLoughlin, Social conditions, Toadyism, Workers rights
The other day I was talking to one of my long-time best mates in Ireland about stuff and thought chunks of the conversation – it was on messenger – would make interesting material for this blog. My mate is a longtime (southern) republican and OKed the following. We’ll call him ‘Eamon’.
The conversation actually began with other subjects, like the problem of (religious) sectarianism among some Shinners. Then it moved onto a mixture of discussion about Sinn Fein and southern politics, interspersed with various personal recollections and comments, which aren’t appropriate here.
Eamon: A Shinner asked me today to delete my latest post on my facebook page!
Me: Typical. Hey what did McElduff say? I think FF and DUP love stuff like this, as it enables them to take the moral high ground, covering over their own sins.
SF has basically chosen in the north to be a catholic/nationalist party instead of a republican, let alone socialist-republican, party. So McElduff is just doing what a bunch of Shinners (and some of their support base) is thinking. The leadership will be fucked off because he is doing in public what they are thinking.
E: True. Hey, it looks like Mary Lou will get to be leader unopposed.
They knew what they were doing when Michelle O Neill was appointed leader in the North…..With McDonald being the president of Sinn Fein there would be no opposition from Belfast about the president been from Dublin with O Neill in the North…..Very clever move….
Me: Adams is nothing if not crafty. A worthy heir to De Valera in that (horrible manipulative) sense. O’Neill and McDonald are also lightweights, so Adams will be able to string pull after he retires. SF have been reshaped entirely as an Adamsite party. His creation. Quite sickening really.
E: SF folk seem to think with Adams and Martin gone that they will fly it now in the South……That the IRA monkey is off their back……But they are wrong…..After all Adams topped the poll in Louth and brought in another SFer on his surplus.
The Irish electorate have long forgotten about Sinn Fein’s past…… Still, I would bet anybody a thousand euro that SF will not get more than 15% next election down south.
And 15% will not get them into government, even in a coalition.
The careerists in SF will not stay there forever in opposition….. I predict some will walk after the next election…
Me: Adams was contradictory in terms of popularity. He was the Shinners’ biggest asset (gunman turned statesman, although he apparently never did fire a shot), but he was also their biggest liability. Fine in Louth – and he would have been very popular in Monaghan and Donegal if he had’ve stood there – but of less use electorally in Dublin or Cork.
I think there is a reasonably big space for SF’s politics – the gap left by Labour and FF since they are discredited by imposing austerity. But the closer the Shinners get to a whiff of “power”, ie Leinster House government, the more Read the rest of this entry →
A History of Irish Working-Class Writing, published by Cambridge University Press, will be launched on Friday 24 November, at 6pm, in Griffith College, Dublin. The special launch price at the venue will be €30.
I’d be really grateful if you could circulate this to contacts who may be interested in the volume, and do drop in for a glass of wine and a chat if you’re around Dublin on Friday evening.
Dr Michael Pierse
Lecturer in Irish Literature