Where, oh where, is our James Connolly?

by Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh

“There is always some excuse ready for evasion. The difficulty is, that every party likes some part of the truth; no party likes it all; but we must have it all, every line of it. We want no popular editions and no philosophic selections—the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” —Terence MacSwiney, Principles of Freedom

SIPTU’s Head of Research publicly announced in 2001 that the union would be sponsoring “the publication in several volumes of all Connolly’s articles and letters”, which would “at last enable us to appreciate Connolly’s own originality and greatness to the full”.1 I happened to be sitting next to him on the platform, and in my own contribution I welcomed the announcement but hoped people wouldn’t take it as a signal to sit back and think all was now well in the world of publishing Connolly. I was aiming for that curious amalgam that goes under the name of ‘cautious optimism’, and probably came off as a moany old begrudger. In fact, I was guilty of being far too generous altogether.

Recovering Connolly

My presence on that platform was a result of the momentum that had been building up for five years previously. On the unveiling of a statue of Connolly in Dublin in 1996, I was allowed to point out in the programme that hundreds of his articles had never been made available since their original publication, and to republish the first Connolly work for twenty years.2 The year after, The Lost Writings was published, in which I assembled 65 articles of his unpublished since his execution. It never ceased to amaze me how many people were under the sincere impression up until then that all of Connolly’s work was available. The Collected Works title put on a reprint of previous Connolly selections in 1987-8 had been taken all too literally by many. Also in 1997 Red Banner began its ‘Hidden Connolly’ series, underlining that The Lost Writings wasn’t even the half of it.

A group including some prominent labour historians then tried to get an initiative off the ground which would assemble a team of researchers to publish all of Connolly’s works, an initiative which had the blessing of the Labour Party leader (dubious as that may be). But the SIPTU announcement cut the feet from under that. While ‘The Hidden Connolly’ continued to mine a seemingly inexhaustible seam, any impetus towards publishing Connolly’s complete writings was sucked into the Liberty Hall plughole.

The first fruit of SIPTU’s project appeared in 2005 in the shape of a Connolly biography by Dónal Nevin. It was a disappointing work, but promised Read the rest of this entry

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C.L.R. James’ visit to Dublin in 1935

In 1935, Trinidadian Marxist C.L.R. James, a leading figure in the Trotskyist movement in Britain at the time, and an important figure in pan-Africanism, visited Dublin to speak about the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia).

James would meet Nora Connolly O’Brien and the Irish visit would make a significant impact on him.

Later he would write about the impact of James Connolly and the 1916 Rising on himself (see here).

Well worth reading is the piece Donal Fallon has just written about the visit, see here.

 

1932 Open Letter from leadership of Irish Republican Army to men and women of the Orange Order

 

[This is the text as quoted by The Kerryman on 16th July 1932. It was published in An Phoblacht, the weekly newspaper of the Irish Republican Army, the same day.  It was largely written by Army Council member Peadar O’Donnell. Along with a covering letter from the IRA’s Adjutant-General, Donal O’Donoghue, the address to the Orange Order had been sent out to newspaper editors on July 8.  Most, even the Unionist Belfast Newsletter, published abridged versions as early as July 11, 1932. The formatting here is from The Kerryman version. The address was distributed as leaflets in Unionist districts of Belfast by IRA volunteers.]

AN ADDRESS FROM THE ARMY COUNCIL OF THE IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE ORANGE ORDER (JULY 1932)

Fellow Countrymen and Women,

It is a long call from the ranks of the Irish Republican Army to the marching throngs that hold the 12th July Celebrations in North East Ulster. Across the space we have sometimes exchanged shots, or missiles or hard words, but never forgetting that on occasions our ancestors have stood shoulder to shoulder. Some day we will again exchange ideas and then the distance, which now separates us, will shorten. For we of the Irish Republican Army believe that inevitably the small farmers and wage-earners in the Six County area will make common cause with those of the rest of Ireland, for the common good of the mass of the people in a Free United Irish Republic. Such a conviction is forming itself in an ever increasing number of minds in North East Ulster.

The Irish Republican Army – within North East Ulster as well as in the rest of Ireland – believe that the mass of the Working-Farmers and Wage-earners must organise behind revolutionary leadership if they are to rescue themselves from a system within the few prosper and the many are impoverished.

It is our opinion, a conviction driven in on our mind by the facts of life around us, that capitalism and imperialism constitute a system of Read the rest of this entry

United Wolfe Tone Commemoration: Time for hope – time for radical change.

pics and words by Mick Healy

The Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum held their first commemoration at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare, on Sunday, 20 August 2017.  The gathering attracted a large crowd of socialist-republicans, communists, trade unionists, and women’s and community groups who marched from the village of Sallins to Bodenstown graveyard. The march was led by a colour party from the 1916 Societies, followed by a large banner declaring “Break the Connection with Imperialism” carried by members of the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum.

Colourful banners and flags from socialist-republican group Eirigi and the Communist Party of Ireland, along with rousing tunes from a republican flute band, lifted the spirits as the marchers made their way, in very wet conditions, to the monument in Bodenstown Churchyard.

The main oration was delivered by John Douglas of Mandate trade union.

Wreaths were laid by Eirigi, the International Brigades society, trade unionist Mick O’Reilly on behalf of Dublin Trades Council, the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum, Mandate trade union, the Communist Party of Ireland, 1916 Societies and many other organisations. The Internationale were sung and the clenched fist salute was given.

20 August, 2017, could be a historic date bringing together socialist-republicans, communists and trade unionists for the first time at Bodenstown in decades. The large contingent of young people evident at this event shows the continuing growth of left-wing republicanism that hopefully can be harnessed in the future for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist projects.

 

Stop The Vultures – Dundrum Demands Affordable Homes Now!

Rally: Saturday, August 19th, 2pm @ Dundrum Central Mental Hospital

Rents and house prices in the greater Dundrum area are out of control, pushing families into poverty and out of their own communities.

Developers, landlords and the banks are generating super-profits off the backs of ordinary families in Dundrum, Windy Arbour, Milltown, Churchtown, Nutgrove, Ballinteer, Sandyford and Goatstown.

The government are now attempting to hand over 800 plots of public land to the same vultures that created the current mess! The jewel in the crown of these sites is the 27 acres of lands currently occupied by the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum.

The government intend to Read the rest of this entry

Blog news, 14/8/2017

I am currently reading Charlie McGuire’s bio of Sean McLoughlin.

I am going to type up a couple of articles that cde McLoughlin, comdt-general at the end of Easter Week 1916, wrote during the civil war.

McLoughlin, of course, opposed the Treaty and was involved in organising against the Free State at both the military and poltical level, including workers’ soviets.

I will also be working on typing up some more Fintan Lalor articles.

And, hopefully, put in links to some interesting articles from various sources over the last few years.

If I get really disciplined – like really, really disciplined – I will get onto the book reviews I keep promising.

 

Support the remaining Jobstown defendants

The second group of Jobstown accused were in the Criminal Court of Justice on Tuesday (July 25) for a pre-trial hearing.

Judge Melanie Greally stated that she will not tolerate any social media commentary on the trial – that anyone who comments on the ongoing trial will be in contempt of court, and that any sort of online petition in support of the defendants will also be deemed contempt.

Any public display seeking to influence public opinion or garner support can also lead to criminal charges of contempt.

This is a deliberate attempt to gag both the defendants and the general population.

The accused are back in the Criminal Court of Justice this Friday to argue bail conditions and stop the attempted gag on #JobstownNotGuilty.

Anyone who can get to the CCJ to show their support is encouraged to do so.

Top Ten Articles

Below are the ten most-viewed pieces on the blog (excluding Home Page/Archives):

Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922 More stats 9,820
The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on More stats 6,881
Politics and the rise of historical revisionism More stats 5,509
Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography More stats 4,202
Saor Eire – Marxist and republican More stats 3,329
The global-historical significance of the 1916 Rising More stats 2,981
The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century More stats 2,851
The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921 More stats 2,781
A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three More stats 2,594
The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’ More stats 2,512

 

Plugging ‘Imperialism in the 21st century’

Some folks really should get John over to Dublin to give a talk on this book.  It’s a very important work.

Here’s an interview that a friend of mine at NZ-based Redline blog did last year with John:

https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/interview-with-john-smith-author-of-imperialism-in-the-twenty-first-century/

 

NZ elections 2017 – putting the case for not voting

We head towards a general election here in New Zealand in September.  The capitalist National Party has been in power for three terms (ie since 2008; we have three-year terms here) and look headed for a fourth.  The capitalist Labour Party is wallowing in the polls – 27% to National’s 47%.

Labour and National are basically the two cheeks of the one arse.  Or, as a veteran leftist here put it back in the early 1990s, National are the front-stabbers and Labour are the back-stabbers.

I’m involved in a NZ-based blog called Redline and got interviewed on Hamilton local community radio – Hamilton is NZ’s fourth bggest city – to put the case for not voting:

https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/radio-interview-with-philip-ferguson-on-a-positive-campaign-for-not-voting-in-the-elections/