Commentaries on current events, political economy, and the Communist movement from a Marxist-Leninist perspective.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017
Toward a Socialist Ireland
history shows one what a misfortune it is for a nation to have
subjugated another nation. All the abominations of the English have
their origin in the Irish Pale.F.
Engels to Marx, 10-24-1869
Britain was the template for colonial imperialism, then Ireland was,
along with aboriginal inhabitants of the New World, its first victims
and, assuredly, its longest suffering. When British elites once
proudly proclaimed that the sun never set on the British Empire, they
neglected to mention that it first cast the ugly shadow of colonial
oppression over Ireland.
there, once things are in the hands of the Irish people itself, once
it is made its own legislator and ruler, once it becomes autonomous,
the abolition of the landed aristocracy… will be infinitely easier…
It is not only a simple economic question, but at the same time a
national question, since the landlords there... [are]... the mortally
hated oppressors of the nation…K.
Marx to L. Kugelmann 11-29-1869
to an invitation to participate in the annualJames
8-14) in Dublin, Ireland, myMLTcolleague
Joe Jamison and I had the pleasure of the better part of a week of
education and comradeship with a number of friends
The annual festival is seven days of music, art, film, theater,
poetry, and politics, concluding with a ceremonial wreath-laying at
the Arbour Hill Cemetery in honor of James Connolly and the other
martyrs of the 1916 Easter Uprising. Organized by the Communist Party
of Ireland and its friends, the annual festival welds culture with
politics in a way that is both entertaining and educational.
festival stresses the long history of Irish struggle against
imperialism, a struggle that continues today against British colonial
influence over the northern six counties, against the supranational
reign of the European Union, and against the economic exploitation of
US multinational corporations that, for example, use Ireland as a tax
James Connolly occupies a central place of honor and inspiration for
Irish Communists and their allies. Connolly’s grasp of the
dialectics of national liberation and socialism was unparalleled for
his time. As few others did, he saw the struggle for an independent
Irish state as organically linked to the emancipation of Irish
workers. As he wrote with great eloquence in 1897:
you remove the English armytomorrowand
hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the
organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.
England would still rule you. She would rule you through her
capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through
the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has
planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and
the blood of our martyrs.
clarity of Connolly’s understanding of imperialism and his
prescient grasp of neo-colonialism anticipates Lenin and the
Bolsheviks in many respects.
comrades and friends advised us of the Communist and left support for
the demands of the Right2water campaign for free and clear public
ownership and use of Ireland’s water resources by all of its
citizens, a campaign that included a national demonstration in Dublin
learned of the role of Irish Communist leaders and allied militants
in support of striking employees of the national bus service, Bus
Éireann. Irish Communists are militantly active in the country’s
trade union movement.
met comrades who physically shut down Shannon International Airport
in order to deter US imperialism’s affront to Irish sovereignty.
When US planes land with troops, supplies or captives, to deliver
torture, death, and destruction to other parts of the world, these
dedicated militants attempt to block runways and accept arrest as a
the ideological front, the Communist Party offers a fine monthly
maintains an excellent bookstore in the heart of Dublin--Connolly
publishes numerous books and pamphlets, and operates a multimedia
bookstore regularly hosts a series of public discussions and debates
on questions relevant to socialism and the working-class movement, a
addition, the Communist Party has sparked a fruitful conversation
with the left wing of the Irish Republican movement, a conversation
that seeks to restore socialism to its place in the tradition of
radical Republican thought. Organized as the Peadar O’Donnell
Socialist Republican Forum, it pays tribute to a man who was a
socialist, union organizer, IRA leader, editor, author, and
internationalist-- once described as “the greatest agitator of his
generation.” Forums are held throughout Ireland.
of the leaders of the Forum, Tommy McKearney, spoke passionately on
May 14 at the solemn ceremony held in the courtyard ofKilmainham
Gaol where James Connolly was executed on May 12, 1916. The event was
sponsored by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. In his address,
McKearney stressed the unity of Republicanism and socialism. Having
spent 16 years in prison as a leader of the struggle against British
imperialism and participating in the 1980 prison hunger strike, he is
a most suitable spokesperson for the Republican cause. McKearney is
one of Ireland’s leading Marxists as well. His book,The
Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliamentis
an indispensable analysis of the dynamics of the
late-twentieth-century struggles against injustice in the six
concluded our visit that afternoon by participating in the Communist
Party’s commemoration of James Connolly’s execution at Arbour
Hill Cemetery, where the martyrs of the 1916 rebellion are buried.
Jimmy Doran, Dublin District Chairperson of the Communist Party, gave
an inspirational oration:
of political parties and groups claim James Connolly as their
inspiration. James Connolly was a socialist—a Marxist, an
anti-imperialist, an internationalist, and a trade union organiser.
James Connolly would have had no hand, act or part in the 1990
Industrial Relations Act, or “social partnership.” He certainly
would have nothing to do with the prosecution of children for
peaceful protest. Connolly was always on the side of the oppressed,
not the oppressor.
would be down on the runway in Shannon with the anti-war movement,
defending our neutrality and stopping the American war machine
turning Shannon into an aircraft carrier for their genocidal wars.
would have no truck with the imperialism of the European Union, and
he would laugh at the deluded suggestion of using Brexit and
membership of the European Union as a means of uniting the country by
surrendering our national sovereignty and democracy to the
imperialism of the European Union.
Connolly fought and died for a socialist republic, not for the
gombeen [a gombeen is a small-time wheeler dealer, a con
country with a divided people that the counter-revolution installed.
would James Connolly say? James Connolly would say that if humanity
is to survive in Ireland and the world, there is no alternative to
the common good. There is no alternative to public housing. There is
no alternative to public health care. There is no alternative to
peace. There is no alternative to ending world poverty. There is no
alternative to this environment. There is no alternative to decency
and dignity for our people.
there is no alternative.
socialism or barbarism.
only want the earth!
thank Eugene McCartan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of
Ireland, for inviting us to share the warm, generous hospitality of
the Irish comrades.