“The right to the control of the material resources of a nation does not reside in any individual or in any class of individuals; it resides in the whole people and can be lawfully exercised only by those to whom it is delegated by the whole people, and in the manner in which the whole people ordains.” – Pádraig Mac Piarais
The Irish Republic was proclaimed in 1916. It was ratified by the Peoples revolutionary Dáil Éireann in 1919.
What followed was a Protracted guerilla war between the Irish Republican Army and British forces in Ireland which included the Royal Irish Constabulary and British army.
The Irish Republic was betrayed when internal enemies of the Irish Republic, a garrison class made an agreement with British imperialism to partition the country and hold Ireland as a mere dominion of the British empire.
What followed was a civil war between those forces who remained loyal to the Peoples Republic of 1916 and the Free State who accepted British partition over Ireland and British domination over Irish political, economic and social affairs.
The Free State were supported by the British army with arms, weapons and personnel. Their role was to suppress the Republican forces who defended the Irish Republic.
During the Civil War the Free State Army executed at least 77 Republicans. This is more than what the British had executed during the Tan War.
The Free State gave an oath of allegiance to the British monarch and was imposed on the Irish people with six North Eastern counties remaining occupied by Britain. The Free State Party was Cumann na nGaedhael.
Some who refused to accept the Treaty and fought for the Republic during the Civil War would later abandon their principles in order to take their seats in Leinster House and would go on to form Fianna Fáil believing that the Free State could be hollowed out and reformed out of existence.
In 1932 Fianna Fáil won the election in the Free State. Around the same time former Free State soldiers formed themselves into the Army Comrades Association (ACA) . They provided stewarding for Cumann na nGaedhael meetings. They believed that “free speech was under attack” because the IRA had been challenging pro-British meetings and political parties.
In 1933 Fianna Fáil again won the election and Eoin Ó’Duffy the Garda Chief Commissioner was sacked.
Ó’Duffy took leadership of the ACA and restyled it using the fascist salute, used the slogan “Hail Ó’ Duffy” and commonly became known as “the Blueshirts.”
Ó’Duffy himself attended a number of international fascist gatherings internationally. The Blueshirts politically copied the international fascist movements of their time and espoused anti-republican, anti-socialist and anti-semitic politics. Their primary ideology was the Italian fascist concept of corporatism.
Through a Protracted street struggle Blueshirtism was eventually beaten off the streets as a political force by Socialist Republicans and the Republican movement during the 1930s. Frank Ryan epitomised the anti-fascist movement of the time when he declared “No Free Speech for fascists”
The Blueshirts would later go on to fight for fascist Spain and Franco and disgraced themselves. Brendan Behan famously stated they were the first army in history to return from battle with more soldiers than they left with.
To redeem Irelands honour Socialist Republican Frank Ryan led the Irish International brigades and fought for the Spanish Republic with distinction.
There is a historical lineage of Irish fascism. Like all ideologies it develops according to its own national charactheristics. The history of the Blueshirts shows that Ireland is not immune to far right and fascist movements inspired by international movements and events.
But history also shows us that it is the cutting edge of Socialist Republicanism which will drive them off the streets and in their place lay the foundations for the Peoples Republic which was declared in 1916!
An Phoblacht Abú!