Category Archives: Trade unions
I must admit that when I saw journalist Lindie Naughton had a book coming out on Markievicz my initial response was one of trepidation. Even if it was a good book, what was there left to put into a Markievicz bio that hadn’t already been covered by Anne Marreco, Jacqueline Van Voris, Diana Norman and Anne Haverty?
To my delight – especially since I bought the book after a few internet chats with Lindie – I can report that Lindie’s biography does bring more stuff to the table and is a really good read. In fact, I found reading the lead-up to the Rising had me quite excited, indeed riveted.
Lindie has made a good deal of use of the Bureau of Military History archives, most particularly the witness statements from the revolutionary period.
She seems to have been through papers of the time pretty methodically, looking for more stuff by and about Markievicz, as well as using the body of Markievicz’s articles that I dug up in the 1980s and put up on this site when I started it.
One result is that, even though I think a know a lot about Markievicz, I have found out more by reading this book. I think it’s also interesting that Lindie has brought a journalist’s research skills to the work – these are far superior to those of a so-called professional historian like Anne Matthews. And, speaking of Matthews, Lindie puts another nail in the coffin of Matthews’ attempt to frame up Markievicz for shooting an unarmed Dublin cop at point-blank range and then gloating over it (Anne Haverty also demolishes this frame-up). I did, however, think Lindie could have said a bit more about the problematic nature of the Geraldene Fitzgerald claim to have witnessed Markievicz killing the Dublin policeman and exulting over it, especially as she had mentioned to me some problems with the Fitzgerald statement. While Anne Haverty utterly demolishes Matthews’ attempt to stitch up Markievicz on that one, Lindie does, however, show it to be highly unlikely that Markievicz did any such thing. Also, Lindie notes that Connolly had specifically ordered ICA members not to shoot unarmed cops and soldiers.
Below is a page from Lindie’s bio. It will give you a taste for the book and, I hope, encourage you to go out and buy it. It deserves to sell well and be well-read. The extract deals with some stuff at Liberty Hall a few weeks before the Rising:
By the time the police returned, Connolly, Constance and Helena Molony, all armed, were Read the rest of this entry
The following is taken from Socialist Democracy’s site, where it appeared on May 22 (last Monday), here.
Let’s not beat about the bush! The demobilisation of the Bus Eireann strike is an attack on the interests of the working class facilitated by the bureaucratic leadership of our trade unions. It is a betrayal pure and simple!
The methods that could deliver victory were presented before the watching world by the sudden eruption of flying pickets and sympathy strikes which were promptly and hypocritically disowned by the Union leaders but which had the capacity to impose the will of the strikers on the struggle.
From just one day of enthusiastically supported action we get a view of what class struggle tactics would look like and how effective they would be. We now also get a plain view that complying with the full-time leaderships’ rules of engagement, agreed with the employers and the state, leads to defeat.
Leaders attempt at ‘containment’
The Labour Court deal was clearly supported by the trade union bureaucrats from the beginning as their way out of a conflict they had tried desperately to avoid. They had Read the rest of this entry
Socialist Democracy Statement, 4 April 2017
The action that can guarantee victory in the Bus Eireann struggle is the unofficial action taken by the drivers on Friday 31st March. The strike must be broadened. If it sits still, it risks being strangled.
Flying pickets should bring out Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin Bus and private bus services. Everyone’s wages and conditions will suffer if the strike is broken. Transport across the country must be brought to a halt now without a long delay for further votes.
But that’s a big ask. It’s a big ask for other workers to lose pay and take the risk of striking without the protection of an official dispute. It’s a big ask for travellers who may lose pay and suffer a great deal of inconvenience.
The strike demands must put forward the needs of everyone: A decent wage for workers that is not pared to the bone in the interests of speculators. A national public transport system designed around the needs of the people that excludes privatisation. A broader call against the sell-off of resources and services in the interests of vulture capitalism.
The top union officials are a major obstacle to success. Effective wildcat action is organised by the drivers while the officials wash Read the rest of this entry
by Mick Healy
“In 1966 we in Ireland celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion (1916). The writings of James Connolly, which prior to then had been read little, and then only by the older hands’, began to be read more widely. The younger generation found through his writings that he was not quite as the Christian Brothers in school taught – “only the 7th leader’ of 19l6.” They found in his writings Connolly the revolutionary, the worker, the union organiser and Marxist”.
– Peter Graham, Workers Fight, June 1968.
Comrades who have read about the Irish Revolution know something about the contributions made by Nora Connolly O’Brien, Michael Davitt, Liam Mellows and Frank Ryan, but many do not understand the important contributions made by significant but lesser-known figures such as revolutionary Marxist Peter Graham. Peter came from 46 Reginald Street in the Liberties of Dublin and attended Bolton St College of Technology. Working as an electrician in CIE he was a shop-steward for the Electrical Trade Union. He joined the Labour Party, but discontented with their lack of radicalism shifted over to the Communist Party. Disillusioned with their reformism, he left and became involved with Irish Workers Group and then the League for a Workers’ Republic, an organisation openly declaring itself revolutionary and Marxist, identifying with the Trotskyist current of Marxism.
With single-minded dedication he was the Read the rest of this entry