By Sean Doyle
We concluded part 3 with the church throwing the weight of their position against the revolutionary movement for the freedom of Ireland.
Reflecting on this article of 3 parts, with the gift of hindsight, when O’Higgins said about foundations not yet laid, and called the elected Republican government of 1918 “wild men screaming through the keyhole” you don’t need hindsight nor foresight, you must be blind, in any context, when your occupier for 800 years gifts you with 12,000 rifles, 1.7 million rounds of ammunition plus 79 Lewis guns, 6 armored cars and a large number of trucks for you to kill your own comrades and enforce British rule and their treaty, that at any time is tantamount to the worse example of collusion and betrayal to any reasonable, sane volunteer. Another such was asked, he said “if it’s good enough for Mick as in Collins, it’s good enough for me” don’t you just hate blind followers, and then proceeded to enforce it. I ask you, what reward would you want to assist the enemy by murdering your comrades, taking up to 82 out of your free state prisons and callously executing them by firing squad, and even more hunted down throughout the country and shot because they loved their country more than they valued their own life’s. Your free state foundations are built on the bones of our fenian dead of our past generations. Their spirits, and those of all who gladly, through the centuries gave their life’s for Irish freedom, they will inspire us to come together and shatter your foundations, foundations built on shame and murder and inspire another generation with the knowledge and spirit of our fenian dead to rise, and in memory of past generations, reclaim our country, and bestow it to it’s rightful heirs to its rightful heirs, the people of the republic. And not intrusted to any committee for the rich, or private personal gain, this was so well illustrated by Padraic Pearse in his last political essay the sovereign people “A nation may go further and determine that all sources of wealth, whatsoever, are the property of the nation, and all surplus wealth shall go to the national treasury to be expended on national purposes”.
Also, Joseph Mary Plunkett was influenced by the events in the 1913 lock out and was so disappointed with Arthur Griffins anti-labour position, even more so Eamon Ceannt had resigned from Sine Fein, Griffith, one of the main negotiators, and if you recall had a go-between to Lloyd George, so he played a significant role in the treaty talks, so much for our chances of a worker’s republic with the likes of him, he was quite happy to stay within the British Empire.
James Connolly said “for slavery is the thing of the soul, before it embodies itself in the material things of the world, I assert that before a nation can be reduced to slavery its soul must have been cowed, intimidated or corrupted by the oppressor, only when so cowed, intimidated or corrupted does the soul of a nation cease to urge forward its body, to resist the imposition of the shackles of slavery, only when the soul so surrenders does any part of the body consent to make truce with the foe of its natural existence”. Need we forget, Westminster were the architects, creators and enforcers of the Orange State in the occupied 6 counties, with the full backing of the Tories and Lloyd George, the 26 counties was only ever offered a dominion as part of the British Empire, but completely and utterly guised intentionally in the absurd title of Free State.
Stormont and Leinster House, two chips off the same block, Westminster. Returning to one of the main points, the British super ploy, inviting Irish political engagement within their institutions, to work within, to enforce British rule and to be a willing advocate, to convince Irish people that servitude is the price of peace, all required is to forget about all who suffered and died by murder firing squad, hanging, mutilation and hunger strike for the Republican ideal. All who sacrificed their lives for a free and independent Ireland, who were completely committed that all sources of wealth and resources would be bestowed back to the people. The Republican government of 1918 and the democratic program of 1919, their principles were not for barter. The British and Irish political careerists need you and your future children servitude to maintain them in the custom as your better’s demand. I think O’Donovan Rossa phrased it well when he warned of involvement with our oppressor, did it fall on deaf ears or do we as always put faith in the wrong class. O’Donovan Rossa said “It is in that English parliament the chains for Ireland are forged, and any Irish patriot who goes into that forge to free Ireland will soon find himself welded into the agency of his countries subjection to England”. A brilliant, wise summary, but since then we have Stormont and Leinster House, all pups from the same dog, bred and trained to respond to their master’s command.
Regardless of dress uniform, British or Irish, not forgetting men or women in suits can be a more deadly foe than suits of armour. As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike, when 10 young men refused to concede that Irelands right to be a free, independent, sovereign nation and would not accept that their legitimate war to fight British occupational forces in their own country, by what ever means at their disposal. Ultimately as prisoners of war, when faced with accepting their rights were only a criminal endeavour, decreed by Thatcher and Westminster, they as true young revolutionaries, with our history and legacy of generational sacrifice for Irish freedom, made the ultimate choice, they would go on hunger strike rather than concede to criminality of our legitimate defence against occupational forces. All 10 lost their lives contesting British foreign interference and presence in our country, even though some were elected North and South.
Electoralism, border polls, referenda, plebiscite will only change the façade and prolong and delude, when are we were going to realise, our history bears testimony, as Connolly said “Only a people prepared to fight for freedom deserve to be free”. His assessment of the Home Rule Party is as follows “The Home Rule Party’s achievements for Ireland” he described them as 85 spouters in the British House of Commons, he added “As servants of England, the members of the Home Rule Party are perhaps entitled to their salaries, but if they claim 100 pounds per year is based on achievements for Ireland, the claim is but an impudent attempt to obtain money under false pretences”. Now that is a fair way of looking at it, and raises important questions, certainly parliamentary British policy towards Ireland, Lloyd George said our claim to be a free and independent country was a sham. He has been proved to be totally untrustworthy, Lionel Curtis one of the constitutional experts on the British side on the Anglo-Irish Treaty talks points to the handling of the situation with Redmond and Carson during the years 1916 to 1918 in which he pledged support for the unionists right to remain outside a Home Rule parliament for the rest of Ireland, and on the other hand telling Redmond he would not allow the unionists to undermine the settlement in an all-Ireland context. Curtis added “it is this that is referred to as the great betrayal”.
Excuse me, our history is full of such betrayals, it is obvious to me at any rate. Since we had set up our own government of the Republic in 1918, which was declared illegal, can you believe by the British foreign occupation forces and jailed many of our government members, what baffles me, even though you may say we have the gift of hindsight, even dismissing that, to participate in the second election, called by the British for May 1921 and as it turns out, a delegation from this, after the truce in July started talks on the British Treaty, signed in December, waiting to be approved by the incoming administration, then to be recognised as the British pup, the Provisional Government. King George opened the partitioned North East of our country in June 1921. Which ironically Boris Jonson is planning to celebrate its centenary this year, my commiserations to all who have suffered and died in that orange statelet.
How have we fought and died with pride for the Republic, wore suits, sat on arses, capitulated and surrendered the Republic, has the slave within not quite awakened from his slumber, are we mostly just reactionary, when poked, we respond. We had some revolutionary brilliant thinkers but never enough. The forces of counter revolution were always gelled together, just like the British early occupation policy, when they started their expansion out of the pale to defeat the Gaelic Irish and attempt to establish the kingdom of Ireland. They used religion and proclaimed it the divine right of Kings. Obviously, well noted by the counter revolutionaries, they in turn called on the Catholic Hierarchy for moral authority to subdue the people, threating them with the wrath of God, but Bishop Troy of Ossary sums it up for me, ordering the people to fast for a day, they might advert the divine wrath provoked by their American subjects. The final part, I think offers an insight into what the church, the British and establishment have been shoving down our necks for centauries and has influenced and embedded in some people, a slavish mentality that we must overcome. Another common denominator of church and state, they both need subservient people to be subjected to both church and state, that is why they unify, the church preaches without them we would have no morality, we would be little better than animals. The state preaches without bosses and masters we would starve, any challenge to either is a treat to both and that is well illustrated by Bishop Troy. Bishop Troy continued, describing Irish subjects in America, he said they were seduced by specious notions of liberty and other illusive expectations of sovereignty, disclaim any dependency upon Great Britain, and endeavour, by force of arms to distress their mother country.
I would of thought that was the duty of every subordinate nation, to break the shackles, in our case, a free and independent Republic. Now its your time to build the revolutionary movement and the 32-county socialist republic, remember a revolutionary movement is not compatible with a political party, the fore is self-reliance and independence the later is complete and utter dependency. There is no equivocation, wheeling, dealing or bartering, only a revolution can achieve our objectives, all wealth and resources belong to the people, just a fraction of what has been pilfered would put a roof over every family’s head, a proper health service for all and third level education. It grieves me that the collaboration of church and state and business class, imposed the British Treaty. Be done with suffer you little children, as Bobby Sands said our victory will be the laughter of our children.
As socialist Republicans, we believe that both church and state and British Imperialism are the cause of our inequality and human depravation, I personally believe only a revolution can resolve and correct this imbalance, electoral reformism has us where we are, and continued, will only postpone the inevitable, while enriching careerists’ politicians and political parties. It is time to reflect on the last century of political, I can’t say failure, because it worked and divided and postponed working class unified revolutionary development. James Connolly gave us a glance of the possibilities the peoples republic can develop, he said “Capitalism teaches the people the moral conceptions of cannibalism, the strong devouring the weak, it’s theory of the world of men and women is that of a glorified pig trough where the biggest swine gets the most swill, the idea of human relations, which would grow out of the working class of Ireland, solidifying and concentrating their forces for their common benefit, would make for human brotherhood and a conception of the universe, worthy of a really civilised people”.
I will leave the last word to the man referred to as the old fenian, but I would say “never too old to bring the fight for freedom to the enemy and inspire another generation by example” I of course am referring to Tom Clarke, his poignant words “they tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds” over a century later now of electoral sell outs and betrayals, are we going to tell them they fell on baren ground or are we going to tell them they are ripe for picking, and the Irish people will reap the rewards of their own harvest.
I have taken the liberty and will take the criticism over my glance through our history, of course with hind sight, this 3-part article and conclusion I hope, we can evaluate good intention from blatant deception, respectfully, where necessary, to advance our revolutionary objectives, absolutely paramount to debate.
Finally, our generation must give full licence to the next generation to review our history and previous, all aspects and methods we tried, and perhaps before fruition, or not, have died in our struggle for the Republican ideal. The gift of knowledge with hindsight must not be wasted on misplaced loyalty, by aping previous initiatives out of a false sense of respect, in truth, every past dead generation, that gladly gave their life blood for the republic are screaming from their graves. Respectfully, learn from your history and avoid whatever mistakes we made, that have been proven over time, they did not have the benefit of hindsight. The gift of time, is yours, as Connolly also realised “Knowing your history is like a lamp to the feet of the Irish worker is the stormy paths he must travel today”.
Get rid of all the shackles, we must start with freedom of thought, freedom of mind and the inevitable goal, the reconquest and establishment of a socialist 32 county Republic.