Category Archives: Trade unions
A study/discussion group based on Connolly’s Labour in Irish History started a couple of weeks ago. With the lockdown across Ireland (and in other countries where socialist-republicans and supporters reside) many of us will have more time than we usually do for study, theory, political discussion, so let’s make use of it.
The studies have been initiated by Eirigi general-secretary Mickey Moran, but are open to any socialist-republican-minded people. They take place on zoom and are very easy to access. You can contact Mickey directly or, if you are shy, email me and I’ll put him onto you. He’s: firstname.lastname@example.org
The sessions take place on Wednesday nights at 8.30 (Irish time, and British time). If you’re elsewhere you will need to check what time that is wherever you are.
Last week we delved into two chapters where our political tradition begins to emerge, looking at the democratic and internationalist ideas of the United Irish movement of Wolfe Tone and at Emmet’s movement and the manifesto of the 1803 rebellion, which, if anything, was even more radical – for instance Emmet’s rebellion wanted to confiscate and nationalise Church property.
It was my privilege to do the introduction.
The next 2 chapters will be introduced by Fiona, as the sessions begin to move on from the great revolutionary democracy of the United Irishmen and Emmet, pre-runners of socialism, to the emergence of a more explicitly socialist politics in Ireland. These chapters are:
Chapter 10 – The First Irish Socialist – A forerunner of Marx; this looks at the views and work of William Thompson in the late 1820s and early 1830s
Chapter 11 – An Irish Utopia; this looks at the Ralahine commune in Co. Clare in the 1830s
Anyone who doesn’t have a copy of the pamphlet/book can read it on the Marxist Internet Archive, here.
Posted in 1798 - 1803, 1840s, Famine, Young Ireland & Irish Confederation, British state repression (general), British strategy, Catholic church/church-state relations, Commemorations, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fenians, Fintan Lalor, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Ireland in 1800s, James Connolly, Political education and theory, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Robert Emmet, Scabs, Secret police, Social conditions, Toadyism, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Wolfe Tone, Women, Workers rights, Young Ireland
An interesting article, although I think the comrades might be somewhat optimistic about the level of class struggle they think will follow the pandemic.
by Socialist Democracy
When the Dublin government announced financial measures in response to the Covid 19 pandemic a local satirical e-zine, Waterford Whisper News, had a field day. The right wing Fine Gael government had gone communist. The country was now a Soviet. Ireland should be done with it and imprint a hammer and sickle within the tricolour.
There was reason for the satire. Many of the major issues of Irish society, claimed by the government to be insoluble because of the lack of a money tree, disappeared overnight. An army of homeless were ushered into empty hotels. For the first time in its history the Irish state conjured up a national health service by renting the large private sector. Individual payments to workers were ushered in and then increased when they proved insufficient. In the background a State that constantly misses all environmental targets and has no serious plan to deal with climate change suddenly saw the skies clear above the entire island.
Of course the Irish Soviet is a figment of the satirical imagination. Most government expenditure is directed towards the bosses. Payments to workers are in part an attempt to maintain the structures of production to speed eventual recovery. With this said, there are substantial funds assigned to ensure social peace, especially as the recent elections had demonstrated just how unpopular the leading capitalist parties are.
This is a rump government, the struggle to establish a new one is ongoing, and the issues that brought it down are the issues that it is now trying to temporarily resolve: a massive housing crisis, a health service in a shambles and large sections of the population under wage and pension pressures. The problem with their resolution is twofold. Firstly, how do you row back on the temporary concessions made today? Secondly, how do you present the bill for the extra expenditure to a working class still paying for the 2008 banking bailout?
The rump government has shaken off the shock of the. . . continue reading article on the SD site
Interview by Mick Healy with Diarmuid Breathnach on the Save Moore Street Campaign.
Mick also did an earlier interview with Diarmuid on his decades of political activism:
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Housing, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish Citizen Army, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Secret police, six counties, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Toadyism, Trade unions, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Women, Women in republican history, Workers rights
This is an interview that Mick did recently with Kevin Keating, a veteran activist in Dublin. Kevin’s many years of activism go from the IRA to the fused People’s Democracy (merger of the original northern-based PD and the southern-based Movement for a Socialist Republic), which became Socialist Democracy in the later 1990s.
Kevin has very serious health problems these days. Happily, this was one of his better days.
See also the interview with John McAnulty of SD. John was a leading figure in People’s Democracy in Belfast over decades. Mick spoke to him last October about the experience of 50 years of struggle. See here.
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, Partition, Peter Graham, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, Trade unions, Workers rights
Posted on | Image
The article below first appeared in the July 29, 1922 issue of The Workers Republic, the paper of the newly-established Communist Party of Ireland. The civil war had begun just a month earlier. The CPI aligned with the anti-Treaty IRA and agitated for it to adopt a social programme pointing to a workers’ republic, not just a republic.
Sean McLoughlin was actually the senior surviving commandant of the Easter Rising of 1916. On the Friday evening, as the Rising was drawing to a close, the 21-year-old 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.
McLoughlin later worked closely with Roddy Connolly in founding the original, short-lived CPI and was active in workers’ struggles during the civil war, including workplace occupations and the formation of soviets.
I have broken up some of the longer original paragraphs. Also the article referred to both the Labour Party and labour (the working class with capital ‘L’; I have put the latter in lower case to differentiate them.
On the political side, it should be noted that the true perfidy of the Irish Labour Party was not grasped yet, although they had gone along with the Treaty – something which should have given the game away. But a section of revolutionaries still saw them as being a party which Connolly had helped found and this produced illusions.
The text I used is taken from the appendices to Charlie McGuire’s Sean McLoughlin: Ireland’s Forgotten Revolutionary (London: Merlin, 2011).
by Sean McLoughlin
The Republicans have only one object, a purely sentimental one, as far as the masses are concerned – the establishing of a Republic, separated completely from Britain. This is supported by the Communists and the advanced labour elements, in so far as it is a revolutionary step, in helping to smash British imperialism, but the masses are not swayed by these questions of high politics. They are moved by economic pressures, and will not respond to sentimental appeals, no matter how impassioned they may be, And the masses are correct.
In the first place they are tired of war. In the second, they see that, no matter who wins, they will still be slaves grinding out their lives for wages and ruled with a rod of iron by bosses and landlords, and they cannot summon up enthusiasm enough to enable them to fight on behalf of wage-slavery.
The Republicans Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in British strategy, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Labour Party, Political education and theory, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Sean McLoughlin, Secret police, Social conditions, Toadyism, Trade unions, Workers rights
In Review: Jeffrey Leddin’s “The ‘Labour Hercules’: The Irish Citizen Army and Irish Republicanism, 1913-23”
“If you or anybody else expect that I’m going to waste my time talking ‘bosh’ to the crowds,” James Connolly was heard to say, “for the sake of hearing shouts, you’ll be sadly disappointed.” He preferred instead to “give my message to four serious men at any crossroads in Ireland and know that they carry it back to the places they came from.”
This would prove to be more than just ‘bosh’ on Connolly’s part. A stiffening of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) was noted in October 1914, upon his assumption of its leadership, with the announcement of a mandatory parade for all members. Rifles were to be “thoroughly cleaned”, anyone absent would be noted and latecomers refused admittance.
Meanwhile, articles by Connolly started to appear in the Workers’ Republic, critiquing the. . .
continue reading here.
Posted in 1913 lockout, Constance Markievicz, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish Citizen Army, James Connolly, Jim Larkin, Partition, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Trade unions, War for Independence period, Women in republican history, Workers rights
The Trade Union Left Forum is hosting a discussion on the impact of the Industrial Relations Act on trade union activity and organising on Wednesday, 3rd of July from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm in the Ireland Institute for Historical and Cultural Studies, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin (right near the ICTU conference in Trinity College).
Presentations will be made by:
Gareth Murphy (Financial Services Union)
John Douglas (Mandate)
The event is open to members of all trade unions so please come along and have your say.
For more information, please go to the TULF’s event page on Facebook by clicking here.
The article below was written by Connolly and appeared in the paper Workers Republic, October 30, 1915. The version below was transcribed in 1997 by the James Connolly Society and appears in the Connolly section of the Marxist Internet Archive.
The Irish Citizen Army was founded during the great Dublin Lock-Out of 1913-14, for the purpose of protecting the working class, and of preserving its right of public meeting and free association. The streets of Dublin had been covered by the bodies of helpless men, women, boys and girls brutally batoned by the uniformed bullies of the British Government.
Three men had been killed, and one young Irish girl murdered by a scab, and nothing was done to bring the assassins to justice. So since justice did not exist for us, since the law instead of protecting the rights of the workers was an open enemy, and since the armed forces of the Crown were unreservedly at the disposal of the enemies of labour, it was resolved to create our own army to secure our rights, to protect our members, and to be a guarantee of our own free progress.
The Irish Citizen Army was the first publicly organised armed citizen force south of the Boyne. Its constitution pledged and still pledges its members to work for an Irish Republic, and for the emancipation of labour. It has ever been foremost in allnational work, and whilst never neglecting its own special function has always been at the disposal of the forces of Irish nationality for the ends common to all.
Its influence and presence has Read the rest of this entry →
Alan MacSimoin 1957-2018 was a long-time anarchist activist and a founder member of the Workers Solidarity Movement.
MacSimoin joined the Official Republican Movement (Official Sinn Fein) as a young man in the 1970s. He was involved in the Murray Defence Committee in 1976-77 to stop the state execution of anarchists Noel and Marie Murray for the killing of a member of the police.
He was also involved with the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement’s boycott of South African goods in Ireland and the Irish Anti-Nuclear Movement that stopped the building of nuclear power stations around the coast of Ireland in the 1970s.
Below is an interview my friend Mick Healy did with him a year or two back and has passed on to me . . .
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, Anti-nuclear movement, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Interviews, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Officials, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Secret police, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism