e-book Socialism and the Irish Rebellion: Writings from James Connolly

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Please enable cookies in your browser to get the full Trove experience. Skip to content Skip to search. Connolly, James, Published St. Petersburg, Fla. Language English. Author Connolly, James, Physical Description p. Subjects Socialism -- Ireland -- History -- 20th century.

Labor movement -- Ireland -- History -- 20th century. It is not Socialism but capitalism that is opposed to religion; capitalism is social cannibalism, the devouring of man by man, and under capitalism those who have the most of the pious attributes which are required for a truly deeply religious nature are the greatest failurs with the heaviest sufferers. Its national ideal can never be realised until Ireland stands forth before the world a nation free and independent. It is social and economic, because no matter what the form of government may be, as long as one class owns as private property the land and instruments of labour from which all mankind derive their substance, that class will always have power to plunder and enslave the remainder of their fellow creatures….

The party which would lead the Irish people from bondage to freedom must then recognise both aspects of the long continued struggle of the Irish nation. Second, that the result of the long drawn out struggle of Ireland has been, so far, that the old chieftainry has disappeared, or, through its degenerate descendants, has made terms with iniquity, and become part and parcel of the supporters of the established order; the middle-class, growing up on the midst of the national struggle, and at one time, as in , through the stress of the economic rivalry of England almost forced into the position of revolutionary leaders against the political despotism of their industrial competitors, have now also bowed the knee to Baal, and have a thousand economic strings in the shape of investments binding them to English capitalism as against every sentimental or historical attachment drawing them towards Irish patriotism; only the Irish working class remain as the incorruptible inheritors of the fight for freedom in Ireland.

But whosoever carries the outworks of the citadel of oppression, the working class alone can raze it to the ground. I only assumed the Catholic pose in order to quize the raw freethinkers, whose ridiculous dogmatism did and does dismay me, as much as the dogmatism of the Archbishop.


James Connolly

In fact I respect the good Catholic more than the average free-thinker. This is in conformity with the practice of the chief Socialist parties of the world, which have frequently, in Germany for example, declared Religion to be a private matter, and outside the scope of Socialist action.

Modern Socialism, in fact, as it exists in the minds of its leading exponents, and as it is held and worked for by an increasing number of enthusiastic adherents throughout the civilised world, has an essentially material, matter-of-fact foundation. We do not mean that its supporters are necessarily materialists in the vulgar, and merely anti-theological, sense of the term, but that they do not base their Socialism upon any interpretation of the language or meaning of Scripture, nor upon the real or supposed intentions of a beneficent Deity. They as a party neither affirm or deny those things , but leave it to the individual conscience of each member to determine what beliefs on such questions they shall hold.

James Connolly’s fight for economic and social liberty

They stood for the rights of property and free competition and philosophically accepted the consequences upon Ireland; the leaders of the Irish people also stood for the rights of property and refused to abandon them even when they saw the consequences in the slaughter by famine of over a million of the Irish toilers. Well, I think it is the beginning of the end. This great, blustering British Empire; this Empire of truculent bullies, is rushing headlong to its doom.

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The world knows her weakness now. Have at her, then everywhere and always and in every manner. And before the first decade of the coming century will close, you and I, if we survive, will be able to repeat to our children the tale of how this monstrous tyranny sank in dishonour and disaster.

James Connolly: Ireland's Greatest (RTE Documentary)

A nation which believes that all races are subject to purchase, and which brands as perfidy the act of any nation which, like Bulgaria, chooses to carry its wares and its arms to any other than a British market. By the death of Comrade James Keir Hardie labour has lost one of its most fearless and incorruptible champions, and the world one of its highest minded and purest souls. It is not easy for us who knew him long and personally to convey to the reader how much of a loss his taking away is to the labour movement.

James Connolly’s fight for economic and social liberty | International Socialist Review

We feel it with the keenness of a personal loss. James Keir Hardie was to the labour movement a prophetic anticipation of its own possibilities. He was a worker, with all the limitations from which no worker ever completely escapes, and with potentialities and achievements such as few workers aspire after, but of which each worker may be the embodiment. James Keir Hardie himself was ever too modest to say, but we who were his comrades often thought, that he was a living proof of the truth of the idea that labour could furnish in its own ranks all that was needed to achieve its own emancipation, the proof that labour needed no heaven-sent saviour from the ranks of other classes.

He had been denied the ordinary chances of education, he was sent to earn his living at the age of seven, he had to educate himself in the few hours he could snatch from work and sleep, he was blacklisted by the employers as soon as he gave vent to the voice of labour in his district, he had to face unemployment and starvation in his early manhood and when he began to champion politically the rights of his class he found every prostitute journalist in these islands throwing mud at his character, and defaming his associates.

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Yet he rose through it all, and above it all, never faltered in the fight, never failed to stand up for truth and justice as he saw it, and as the world will yet see it. When the vultures of capital descended upon Dublin, resolved to make Dublin the grave of the new unionism, James Keir Hardie was one of the first to take his stand in the gap of danger by our sides. And when many of our friends weakened or were led astray, in the midst of the clamour of reviling tongues, and rising above it, we could always catch the encouraging accents of James Keir Hardie bidding the Dublin fighters to stand fast.

And when the latest great iniquity was being rushed upon the world, and the contending hosts of Europe were being marshalled by their masters for the work of murder, James Keir Hardie stood resolutely for peace and brotherhood among the nations — refusing to sanction the claim of the capitalist class of any nation to be the voice of the best interests of that nation. May the earth rest lightly over his bosom.

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References Seamus Deane , gen. This collection seeks to return Connolly to his proper place in Irish and global history, and to inspire activists, students, and those interested in history today with his vision of an Ireland and world free from militarism, injustice, and deprivation. He lived in tumultuous times in dire poverty in Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. Everywhere, he enriched the working class.

Connolly was a teacher of socialism and a militant unions organizer. He wielded words like a scimitar, slicing through the thickets of lives to get to capitalism's noxious heart. He wrote socialist songs which can still ring the rafters today.