“Pay no rent! The land for the people!” – visiting Captain Boycott

Pay no rent!  The land for the people! – the slogan of the Land League in the 1880s

The house of Captain Boycott, the infamous landlord, on Achill Island Mayo

In 1880 the people of Mayo began to shun the cruel landlord Captain Boycott, forcing him to relent in his depredations and giving us the modern word. 

Captain Boycott was the local agent of English absentee landlords, and the Irish people were 200 years on from the destruction of the indigenous Gaelic land and social system and the replacement with the English Feudal and colonial system. 

The Land War (which the conflict with Boycott was part of) shook the Landlord system which the British had imposed on Ireland.  It left them scrambling to make adjustments and reforms in order to maintain the system, to prevent the very real possibility that it would be collapsed and overthrown. 

This the colonial authorities and their loyal garrison class were successful at, any this is the system in place in Ireland today.  Indeed, as with most ‘compromise’ and ‘reform’ with Capitalism and Imperialism, the reforms are no longer needed once the people’s anger and organisations have been dismantled.

English Absentee landlords are returning in the form of Vulture Funds and International Property Investments, who are happy to take more and more of the people’s earnings because, for one thing, their boardrooms are far away from the misery their greed causes. 

So we know from Irish (and world) history that a movement of the size and militancy of the Land League will be needed to change this situation. We know from closely studying the national liberation and socialist revolutions of the past century that if such a movement compromises for ‘reforms’ at the moment of victory that this condemns the next several generations to repeat the cycle once again. 

So what we need is a People’s Land War to overturn the cruel and miserable landlord system imposed since the 1650s, a movement of the people that will not sell them out but will sweep their enemies off the face of the island. 

The landlord system has destroyed Ireland’s nature, wilderness and forests. It has extincted many unique animals. It has replaced people with factory farmed animals. It has blocked Travellers from pursuing their nomadic way of life. It has imposed cultural genocide on indigenous Irish language, culture and religion. It has imposed ‘Free Market’ genocide by enforced starvation. It is one part of a global system which has divided the world into obscene wealth and poverty which drives forced migration and environmental destruction on an enormous scale. It must go! 

Our task is to start connecting together the many streams of people oppressed by this rotten system until we form a mighty river to wash it away.

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