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(en) Ireland, 1916 – what are they celebrating? - WSM PDF fiel of A5 leaflet

Date Fri, 14 Apr 2006 16:26:38 +0300

There is something very odd with the official commemoration of
1916. The same government which is celebrating an insurrection
against imperialism 90 years ago is today – against the wishes of
the majority of the Irish people – allowing Irish airports to be
used in support of an imperialist war. And whereas the 1916
proclamation referred to “the right of the people of Ireland to
the ownership of Ireland” successive southern governments have
shown themselves to be on the side of international corporations.
Most recently this has shown itself in the manner in which the
Corrib gas fields of Co’ Mayo were handed over to the Shell corporation.

The reason they can get away with this hypocrisy is because the
1916 proclamation is long on rhetoric about “dead
generations” and “august destiny” but short on any sort
of concrete program, never mind one that addressed the needs of the
working class. This has allowed every party in the south to claim to
stand in its tradition in the 90 years since it was first read out.

Three years after 1916 the war of Independence started. This was
Irish republicanism in its most militant period, it was simultaneously
a period when Irish workers were at their most militant. Land
occupations, general strikes and ‘soviets’ spread across
Ireland. Yet the republican leadership saw the direct actions of these
workers as a hindrance to the struggle because they were something
that threatened nationalist unity.

The weakness of republicanism is not in its failures but in its
successes because success requires building nationalist unity,
whether that be military as during the war of Independence or
political as in the Peace Process. The price of such unity is constant
– the marginalisation and removal from the agenda of any
prospect of social revolution.

Peader O’Donnell writing in 1963 observed “Many an IRA
man in jail in ’22 and ’23 cursed his use as a defender of
pure ideals to patrol estate walls, enforce decrees for rent, arrest and
even order out of the country leaders of local land agitation”.

Find out more about the real history of this period and the limits of
republicanism at http://www.wsm.ie/history

Workers Solidarity Movement - 1916 Working Group, PO Box 1528
Dublin 8

This is an A5 leaflet PDF file of this text online for you to print out
and distribute at http://www.struggle.ws/pdfs/leaflets/1916.pdf
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