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Architects of the Resurrection: Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and the fascist ‘new order’ in Ireland – And some useful questions raised about democracy in Ireland in the early 20th century. September 10, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.

I know, I know. There’s another book out on the history of an Irish political party which is central to the interests of many of us here, but… it might be worth doing an appraisal of R.M. Douglas’s book on Ailtirí na hAiséirghe which is certainly one of the most interesting and thought-provoking histories I’ve read in quite a while.

For those unfamiliar with Ailtirí na hAiséirghe they were an essentially fascist party that was established during the early 1940s at a time when such movements were, perhaps, a little more popular and profitable than they might be later. They become remarkably popular and in 1945 gained seats at the local government elections. But, then tellingly following the foundation of Clann na Poblachta found their gains reversed. That alone is a fascinating history in and of itself and I’ll return, I hope, at a later date to discuss the book in general.

One issue raised by Douglas in the introduction is crucial to an understanding not merely of Ailtirí na hAiséirghe but also of the histories of the Emergency period, and that is that this is ‘the most under-researched and poorly understood period in modern Irish history’.

And as he notes, far from this being a ‘sclerotic’ time politically and culturally, it was by contrast a period of ferment.

This curious level of ignorance as regards Ireland during the 1940s has led to Ailtirí na hAiséirghe being all but written out of the histories. Indeed I first came across mention of the organisation in the very early 1980s while reading… Political Parties in Ireland which noted that it had some bizarre cultural and political philosophies but did not, as I recall, absolutely place it within the fascist camp.

But he also makes a point which I think is vitally important in its implications for Irish history of the early to mid-20th century, which is that ‘Anglophone historians have consistently de-emphasised, or more often entirely ignored, those political organisations that conducted their business in the Irish language, concentrating on more accessible movements like the Blueshirts that used English as their lingua franca. This omission is no doubt explained by the fact that, for entirely understandable reasons, few scholars in the field of European fascist studies have found it necessary to acquire a reading knowledge of Irish. In light of the strong correlation of cultural and political nationalism, however,the consequence has always been that the milieu out of which an authentically Irish fascism was always more likely to arise has been precisely the one that has received the least attention.

This reminds me of a conference I was at where the issue of bilingualism in the public space in the wake of immigration was raised. How would we deal with it in signage, public announcements and such like. It took a few moments before the point was made that Ireland was already bilingual.

One can be excused, I think, for a degree of concern as to what is already lost to us due to such a lack of appreciation and a working knowledge of the language. And there is no question but that this has closed off an understanding of sections of the society in a way which has been unhelpful, to put it mildly, in constructing useful histories.

There’s some way yet to go there one could also reasonably posit.

But, I’d like to point to what I think is one of the strongest aspects of the book which is the first chapter, entitled Anti-democratic influences in Ireland, 1919 – 39. This neatly engages with any number of myths about the nature of the society both before independence and in its wake, and as Douglas argues in the introduction ‘Aiséirghe’s history challenges a number of prevalent assumptions about Irish politics and society in the middle of the twentieth century. The first of these is the belief that independent Ireland was virtually predestined to become and to remain, a member of the family of Western liberal-democratic states’.

This is a theme he expands upon further. He notes that the Dáil was only able to convene twelve times during the War of Independence, but lest that seem like some form of original sin, he notes that the dispensation that arrived at the end of the conflict and subsequent to that… ‘because there never had been a negotiated settlement to the Civil War, [the] real possibility remained that hostilities would be renewed at some future stage’. And this led to very negative outcomes, although ‘institutions of state – many of them facsimiles of their British predecessors – were established… little effort was made to heal the festering wounds of the Civil War, or to seek even the smallest measure of common ground with the defeated republican element; rather in governmental circles a tone of triumphalism tinged with paranoia prevailed’.

And he points to a poverty of imagination that has much more contemporary resonances…

Fiscal orthodoxy of the most rigid and unimaginative kind frustrated any attempt to address the structural deficicencies of the Irish economy. The result was to deprive those at the bottom of the socail ladder not merely of the means of subsistence, but of any real hope for the future. Patrick McGiligan, Minister of Industry and Commerce encapsulated Cumann na nGaedhael’s take-no-prisoners approach to economic policy when he declared in 1924 before the Dáil that rather than face the prospect of an unbalanced budget, ‘[p]eople my have to die in this country and may have to die through starvation‘ – perhaps the most comprehensively asinine statement ever made by an Irish public representative.

Yet Douglas is not ungenerous as regards the change of government between Cumann na nGaedhael and Fianna Fáil barely a decade after the Civil War. That was, without doubt, a pivotal moment for the state – and its people and Douglas regards CnaG as demonstrating both ‘integrity and courage’. Yet he points to the way in which that transition led to expressions of anti-democratic feeling in terms of the Blueshirts. While no means as kind as Maurice Manning has been in terms of exculpating the Blueshirts of fascist tendencies he notes that the membership was largely free of same, unlike elements of the leadership. But in fairness Fine Gael rapidly recognised the dangers of this slightly extra-parliamentary oppositional force and O’Duffy was sidelined.

If original sin there was he implies that it existed further back – and this is an analysis to give pause for thought for those who tend towards the idea that 1916 was an alien and anti-democratic irruption in the Irish body politic. For Douglas dismisses the rosy notion that Ireland was pre-schooled in democracy during its experience of British rule. Indeed he argues that quite the opposite conclusion can be taken from a reading of that history.

Notwithstanding Basil Chubb’s assertion that the era of British rule under the Union served to inculcate the irish people with democratic habits and practices, and Brian Farrell’s related argument that the constitutional nationalist struggle was a school of democracy that left a lasting impression even on the republican militants who founded the first Dáil in 1919, other scholars have called into question the degree to which a meaningful conceptual distinction can be considered to exist between proponents of ‘moral’ and ‘physical’ force in the nineteenth century. One may further legitimately inquire as to the precise nature of the ‘lessons’ imparted by political activism in ireland under the Union. In the mid-nineteenth century, as Jonathan Sperber reminds us, Ireland represented the closest approximation in all of Europe to a ‘police state’, with fourteen times as many armed policemen per capital as in ‘absolutist’ Prussia.

And he points to how ‘it is important to bear in mind how very frequently in modern Irish history the evolution of democratic processes was retarded, frustrated or undermined by state policy… the disenfranchisement of the ‘forty-shilling freeholders’ in 1829, seemingly as a collective punishment for their having voted in excessive numbers in support of Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Association, represented merely the most glaring example of a tendency throughout the 19th century to countenance the operation of democratic principles only to the extent that it did not conflict with executive authority. In the same category can be included the vetoing of the expressed will of the Irish majority on the Home Rule question, first by the House of Commons in 1886 and then by the unelected House of Lords in 1893, the denial to Ireland of a system of local government until 1898; and the passage of more than 100 so-called ‘coercion acts’ granting emergency powers to the executive between 1800 and 1921.

This background noise built up into a profound rupture between state and subject. As he notes, ‘…no scholar to date has systematically examined the impact of these laws in eroding public confidence in the impartiality of the state and the responsiveness of nominally democratic systems to popular concerns’.

Indeed this entirely belies the idea that somehow Ireland was already on a trajectory to normalisation within a broader and embracing British polity. At every point where such a normalisation could feasibly (although I have to admit, not to my satisfaction as an outcome) occur, potentially in the 1910 – 1914 period the actualities of Irish socio-political life generated crucial paradoxes and contradictions that the record demonstrates the British were unable and unwilling to act in a fashion that would have placated the extant sentiment that remained favourable to their project.

Similarly, the immensely turbulent decade 1913-23 which witnessed the eventual rupture of the Union can have done little to reinforce the confidence of Irish citizens in the efficacy or sanctity of parliamentary procedures. As David Fitzpatrick observes of the immediate pre-Great War period, a ‘private army ruled in Ulster with the acquiescence of the state’. Of this organisation, the UVF, one Protestant Ulsterman in three was a member; across the entire island the comparable figure among Catholics for its nationalist counterpart the INV, was one in eight. The UVF’s attempt, with the connivance and, in some cases, the active assistance, of leading figures in British military and political circles to overturn a parliamentary majority in favour of Home Rule for Ireland by the threat of force has been described as constituting ‘the most devastating blow struck against constitutional democracy in modern Ireland or Britain, the most notorious case of running off the pitch with the ball when losing the game’. Whether or not this is so, the ease with which democratic procedures could be defeated by armed miniorities was carefully noted by members of both communities.

In such a context perhaps the truth is that the truly remarkable outcome is that the independent part of the island developed a relatively flexible and democratic polity rather than the opposite. Certainly the omens were far from good. And given that the British state was itself in many respects only partially democratic it seems almost perverse that such weight should be given to institutions and practices which were only adhered to under the most favourable conditions. There is no small degree of optimism in the belief that their application beyond their geographic boundaries would be as complete as some protest.

Obviously Douglas uses this to explain how anti-democratic currents ran through Irish life, but in doing so I suspect he does a great service in underlining the delicate nature of democracy on the island both before and after partition and how the obvious contradictions between rhetoric and reality in relation in particular to state and political actors undermined any hope that a simple, straightforward and coherent narrative could be constructed as regards the nature of the polity and democracy.

And occasionally, as with the Blueshirts, or indeed their Republican opponents this came to be couched in the language of freedom, particularly of speech. Another element of the overall dynamic was religions. Douglas has an illuminating couple of pages on the Rosary Riots, where mobs – encouraged rhetorically by some sections of the clergy – attacked Connolly House (and this sort of activity was directed at communists and socialists). Far from this demonstrating a passive and acquiescent, almost ‘beaten’ society, in the wake of the tribulations of the early 1920s by contrast this seems to point to a society that was seething, perhaps at the scale of those tribulations and their eventual ramifications. Douglas argues that in Ailtirí na hAiséirghe itself we see an expression of a sort of nascent youth culture that perhaps was subsumed in later decades into more banal cultural forms. But I’d wonder if it doesn’t go beyond that into a sort of existential angst on the part of the society as a whole, or at least the evidence of profound fractures within the society.

This relationship between the polity and democracy was central to political endeavour. From the Blueshirts who couched their efforts in a strongly republican language as regards the North (and in that they were but an echo of the arguments that surrounded the Army Mutiny in 1924) to an IRA which in the 1920s and thereafter saw itself as the legitimate and sole inheritor and expression of the Dáil to a Fianna Fáil that regarded itself as the national movement and a Fine Gael that in a neat reflection believed it was the only fit party of government this relationship took more or less pernicious and/or absurd forms.

There’s much more than this and as well worth returning to again. I can think of two books on Irish history that are worth looking at this month. This should – in my opinion – be one of them.


1. Dr. X - September 10, 2009

One thing I’d like to know is what continuity – organisational, ideological, social etc. – there is between the Blueshirts, na hAiseiri and today’s far right as represented by Cóir and Youth Defence. I remember that Justin Barrett talking about twentieth century history being the result of a conspiracy of bankers, bankers who all happened to have Jewish names . . . you don’t have to work at Bletchley Park to decode that one.


2. EamonnCork - September 10, 2009

The anti-semitic thing is not confined to the far right in Ireland. As late as 1970 Labour TD Stevie Coughlan made a speech in Limerick where he described Jews as ‘bloodsuckers’ and ‘extortionists’. Coughlan was still selected as Labour candidate for Limerick East in the 1973 election. I also, though I don’t have the quote to hand, recall Sligo Fianna Fail TD Mattie Brennan, in the eighties, questioning the right of Alan Shatter to lobby for changes in the laws of a Christian country. Francis Stuart’s broadcasts from Germany in the second world war were full of this stuff about the international money men, nudge nudge, wink wink we know who they are don’t we?


3. Dr. X - September 10, 2009

And then there’s Alan Shatter getting loads of anti-semitic hate mail during the 1996 divorce referendum campaign. . .


4. Remi Moses - September 10, 2009

There’s an article on that Coughlan affair in the Summer 2009 Old Limerick Journal Eamonn.


5. Tim - September 10, 2009

Good post.
Just makes me think what a miracle it was that Ireland turned out a liberal democracy at all.


6. splinteredsunrise - September 10, 2009

Funny you mention the Ailtiri book, my copy is on order and should be with me in a day or two. Meanwhile, about the middle of The Lost Revolution and will have some thoughts on that… but struck that the United Irishman was carrying ads for the works of Fr Fahey as late as 1965. Clearly, when the Hibernian started to recycle this stuff about Judeo-Masonic conspiracies, they had precedents to fall back on if required. 🙂


7. Jim Monaghan - September 10, 2009

I fear that the discussion lacks a comparative analysis that looks at Ireland vis a vis other European countries. A sort of “only in Ireland” school.
This organisation was a response to the Irish economic and political crisis. In the absense of a leftish response it flourished. When a more coherent response emerged from the Clan it disappeared. Lessons for today. If the elft does not p[rovide radical answers to the economic and political crisis, if it is prolonged and if the left is seen as part of the status quo that got us into the mess, then see the rise of Coir.
I would not go as far as Mannig but I regard the Blueshirts as semi fascists at most.


WorldbyStorm - September 10, 2009

Perhaps, although… although in a way it strikes me as more similar to the role of right libertarianism as part of political thought in the US, an exaggerated expression of already prevailing norms that appears ‘radical’ and is in ways but also fundamentally cleaves to societal norms…


8. Dr. X - September 10, 2009

I’d say the major factor – the one that’s head and shoulders above the rest – for the emergence of liberal democracy in Ireland after the revolution was the fact that the land question had gone a long towards being settled by the time the new state came along.

Sure, as Dooley’s book proves, there were still major controversies about land well into the 1970s. But the class system in the rural areas had been fundamentally changed with the landlord class being paid off and sent on their way. That meant you had no Junkers class blocking agricultural modernisation as you did in Germany in the 1920s, for example – and Ireland was also very different from Italy where Mussolini’s blackshirts first went into action on behalf of local rural elites against peasant/labourer unions (that’s if memory serves of course – I am open to correction on those two last points).


Paddy Matthews - September 11, 2009

Sure, as Dooley’s book proves, there were still major controversies about land well into the 1970s.

There’s still the odd Junkerin floating around with notions of reviving the status quo ante.


Paddy Matthews - September 11, 2009

I got my German terminology wrong – that should be the Junkfrau von und zu Carey, of course.


Dr. X - February 23, 2010

That woman’s a grasping Kulak, Paddy, not a ‘Junkfrau’.


9. Jim Monaghan - September 11, 2009

A few points.
Why Fascism in Germany. It lost the War, WW1. The ruling Class had lost confidence. In Britain it had not and saw off both Right and Left.Britain also had the colonies which gave a cushion from emmigration and exploitation to a greater degree than Germany.
Ireland. The safety valve of emmigration got rid of radicals( real and potential) of both left and right.The 30s IRA drained away to England and the USA.
In recent times there were more Irish revolutionaries in London than in Dublin. I remember Wilson saying to I think Jack Lynch that he represented more Irish than Lynch.
Lots of other reasons but I think the above was a factor.
The Altiri were a reaction to the failure of Irish society and their solution was a mix of authoritarian melange.


10. Tim - September 11, 2009

I recall reading that Ailtirí had a huge emphasis on the Irish language as an important part of its programme, which would fit in with certain nazi-esque ideas of ethnic purity.
I think the resolution of the land question played an important role in the stability of Irish democracy, and one I hadn’t considered before. Perhaps social justice had been introduced in such a gradual way that similar occurrances to Russia 1917 could not have occurred in Ireland.
Once again, thanks for a thought-provoking article. I came across this blog looking for info on the Waterford Soviet, as I spend the best part of my childhood living on the site where the red flag was hoisted in 1920. Tim


11. Dr. X - September 11, 2009

There was a Waterford Soviet?


12. Tim - September 11, 2009

I figured WP types would know about it, seeing as Waterford is WP city.
see http://www.struggle.ws/ws/ws51_munster.html
I meant 1923.


13. IrishLib - September 21, 2009

Good article, its shame Irish history is not taught properly in schools.


14. WorldbyStorm - September 21, 2009

I think I heard Tim about that Soviet, apologies, didn’t get to read your comment sooner.

IrishLib, isn’t there a fair bit of truth in the notion that lacking Irish language skills cuts off a huge amount not merely of history and culture but very specific political and social history.


15. Jim Monaghan - September 21, 2009

“I recall reading that Ailtirí had a huge emphasis on the Irish language as an important part of its programme, which would fit in with certain nazi-esque ideas of ethnic purity.”
I am sure you don’t mean it but support for the langauge is not racist. I am on a Irish language blog with Polish and other people, it is broad and any racist nuts are given a exit. One person tried to start a thing on immigration and got short shrift.
I beleive in cultural diversity and see it as possible under socialism.The destruction of minority cultures and languages is one of the many crimes of Imperialism.


WorldbyStorm - September 21, 2009

I think you’re right. I guess it is possible though to argue that for some engaged in cultural areas, and this would apply as much to anglophones as to the Irish language, that concepts of cultural purity can sometimes lead to pernicious outcomes. But I’d have thought from my own limited experience of such matters that the Irish cultural milieu (in terms of the language) would be as you describe it Jim.


Tim - September 21, 2009

Jim – no, I don’t believe support for the Irish language is racist at all. Although it was forced upon me in school while none of my ancestors ever spoke it, I may resent that- but not those who want to protect the language.


16. Jim Monaghan - September 22, 2009

I accept this Tim.
On a footnote I am surprised that there is any interest in sex in Ireland since sex education was introduced in the schools. The education system in my opinion ruins any interest and passion in almost any subject.I am a heretic who does not believe that we have the best education system in the world.


EamonnCork - September 22, 2009

Good point. Perhaps all over the country there are people in discos who respond to the offer of sex, “Sex? You must be joking. I spent years having it rammed down my throat in school so I have no interest at all in it now.”
BTW, anyone who thinks we have the best education system in the world should look at the spelling on a random message board.
All you leffties tink you are intelagent but it is only petrentias stuff your’e talking.


sonofstan - September 22, 2009

Headline in UCD College Tribune this week: ‘SIPTU Treaten Strike Action’ …….


Garibaldy - September 22, 2009

Excellent SoS


17. NollaigO - September 22, 2009

Does Douglas’s book give any information on Maria Duce?
Was there a link/overlap between them and Aiséirighe?
There are many accusations still current about various left wing republicans who went through that organisation.


18. jbm7 - September 22, 2009

I would take the accusations with a pinch of salt. The more Stalinist types used to say Mick Price of Republican Congress was a fervent Catholic.When a society is in trouble and 50s Ireland was definitely in trouble. The nation was practically disappearing with emmigration people look for radical solutions. There is thus a struggle for which solution. It would be strange if some were not attracted to various forms of Catholic action before moving to more leftwing solutions.
I know this will get me into some hot water but if you dropped the Nazi stuff and especially the antisemitism form the Aiseiri program what do you have?


19. Brian Hanley - September 22, 2009

‘I know this will get me into some hot water but if you dropped the Nazi stuff and especially the antisemitism form the Aiseiri program what do you have?’

A plan for a dictatorship led by one man, emigration from Ireland to be banned, a conscript army of 100,000, invasion of the north and expulsion of those Ulster Protestants that would not get with the programme, a new capital at Tara, and making the speaking of English illegal in five years.


Dr. X - September 22, 2009

Hang on, are we sure the whole thing wasn’t a prank staged by Flann O’Brien/Myles Na Gopaleen?


pangur bán - September 22, 2009

Myles mercilessly lampooned O Cuinneagán in his column, you’ll find in the best of Myles in the section “the brother”.


WorldbyStorm - September 22, 2009

Sounds feasible to me.


WorldbyStorm - September 22, 2009

fantastic name pangur bán… seriously


20. Ramzi Nohra - September 22, 2009

That sounds like a bit of an under-ambitious programme…

Was immigration to be banned too do you know Brian?


21. Brian Hanley - September 22, 2009

I’m not sure about immigration. I’m going by what’s in the R.M. Douglas book. Ambitious? Well they did have a slogan ‘six counties, six divisions, six minutes’!


sonofstan - September 22, 2009

in six words!


22. Ramzi Nohra - September 22, 2009

Thanks Brian

Who said fascists cant have a sense of humour!?


23. John O'Neill - September 22, 2009

“BTW, anyone who thinks we have the best education system in the world should look at the spelling on a random message board.
All you leffties tink you are intelagent but it is only petrentias stuff your’e talking”

The above comment made me think about something totally unrelated to this topic. I was listening to a woman on ‘Newstalk’ a while back who put up a very good argument for the English language spelling to be simplified to make it more accessible and easier to learn. Personally, I don’t see why most of the spelling used in ur averag txt mesag cant b used n an essay even doe everyon can comprend wats been said.

People I say this to automaticlly go into grandparent mode ‘it was good enough for us…..blah blah’ and usually go on to ask whatever happened to the Black and White Minstrel show or complain why you can’t buy Golly bars anymore.

Personally, I think there is a good case for English to get an overhaul. It’s not like we go around speaking like extras from a Shakespeare play so it must have been done before. Words that sound completely different than they are spelt are particularly difficult for youngsters to grasp and can hamper learning so why not change them? I haven’t heard any reasons why this shouldn’t happen, but I am open to hearing them.

Closer to the subject I had a copy of a newspaper some time ago called Aiserí (not sure of the spelling) is this the same group? The lead article called for all people to be armed by the government to fight the impending Red Army invasion.


24. Joe - September 22, 2009

“There are many accusations still current about various left wing republicans who went through that organisation.”
I get the sense from the book that a lot of young people (mainly men, late teens, early twenties) were attracted to Aiserighe because it was active and energetic as an extreme nationalist organisation – it was talking about doing something about the stuff that the other parties talked about but appeared to do nothing about (the North, the Irish language, the economy etc). Some members were also involved in the (fairly disorganised and disjointed) IRA at the same time. It would be no surprise (and no particular shame on them either) if some of these people saw sense and became left wingers as they matured.
I read in the Lost Revolution that Tomás MacGiolla came from a family with Free State politics and that he joined the IRA through the anti-partition campaign in the forties. Aiseirighe was certainly in the forefront of anti-partition campaigning in the forties so maybe Tomás was in Aiseirighe? Seán Treacy, another Tipperary man and ex-Labour TD and Ceann Comhairle was Aiseirighe in his youth.
Finally, Brian Hanley’s summation of Aiserighe’s programme on post 19 above is excellent. But to expand a little, an ex-member told me that their policy on re-unification was stagist in that the first attempt would be through a National Prayer Crusade, followed by several other steps that I can’t remember and only invading with the 100,000 others if the prayers and the other stuff hadn’t already done the trick.


25. Garibaldy - September 22, 2009

Joe, maybe if they had a stages theory they were Stalinists all along


26. NollaigO - September 22, 2009

I wasn’t going to mention names, Joe!
I thought the ” Six counties, six divisions, sixty(?) minutes” slogan was coined by Tom Barry and referred to 26 County army. It would have been a daft plan but not necessarily fascist.
To raise this question again, does Douglas’s book have any info on Maria Duce and were there any links with Aiseirighe?
Did O’Fahy do anything beyond write pamphlets?


27. Brian Hanley - September 22, 2009

I think Douglas argues that they were quite distinct movements, but he doesn’t give a lot of information on them.
Sean South was in Maria Duce in Limerick but not Aiseirighe, though he read their stuff.
By the early 50s Aiseirighe were in touch with many of the re-founded fascist movements in Europe and North America but they had lost most of their Irish membership.
Fr. Fahy was influential beyond Ireland: he corresponded with Fr. Coughlin in the US among others. Pickets on the visits by the likes of Danny Kaye during the 1950s were also part of Maria Duce activity. There is an article by Enda Delaney on Maria Duce in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History (July 2001). It might be in the National Library.
Re John O’Neill’s question: I’m sure it was the Aiseri paper, that was published until the 1970s.
I’m only telling you what I’ve picked up from Douglas and Delaney and others, I’m not an expert on this.


28. Brian Hanley - September 22, 2009


The internet is a wonderful thing (?). Just found this, which gives a flavour of Maria Duce, from their own perspective. I’ll leave it up to you to judge if there was any other objections on their part to Danny Kaye, aside from his ‘leftism’.


29. WorldbyStorm - September 22, 2009

Just read the History Ireland piece on it, having made it about half way into the book. Well worth a read.


30. Scotland… a small, hitherto sheltered, and therefore unavoidably naive country. Discuss « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - October 14, 2009

[…] European polities who achieved independence during the same period (some of which I dealt with previously). One presumes that aspects of that more benign, albeit arguably equally deceptive, viewpoint can […]


31. nineteensixtyseven - February 23, 2010

I am sorry this post is so late but I just found this via Google. This was a fantastic post and really underscores the extent to which liberal democracy cannot be taken for granted in the 20th century. Some modern historians scoff at the teleological implications of the Whig version of history whilst presupposing the essential inevitability of liberal-democratic nation-states themselves. Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ was nothing but an idealistic postmodern attempt at sidelining grand-narratives which contradicted this view (eg. Marxism).

Richard English seemed to put a lot of stress on the British inheritance in his discussion of the formation of the Free State apparatus and this post makes it pretty clear that his reading of that inheritance perhaps misses all the key points. John Regan, I find, is a bit more accurate in the counter-revolutionary nature of the post-Civil War consensus which even Fianna Fail implicitly bought into.

I have felt for a while now that Irish history needs to be consider in a more comparative manner than it is currently. Eric Hobsbawm in Age of Extremes throws in the odd reference and Mark Mazower, who is frankly excellent on the fragility of liberal democracy, has several references to the Free State but mostly in the realm of cultural policy. The thesis put forward here, therefore, is immediately attractive to me and I think I will purchase the book.

For my own history dissertation I am considering a comparative analyses of the Ulster Vanguard movement in the context of how political actors deal with a crisis of hegemony and the State, and asking what, if anything, the movement tells us about the nature of Unionism and the State in Northern Ireland. If anyone has any suggestions of themes I would be most appreciative and will keep you all up to date with my research.


32. Here’s something of interest concerning Ailtirí na hAiséirghe « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - July 28, 2010

[…] Anyhow, they’ve managed to get hold of Aiséirghe, paper of Ailtirí na hAiséirghe (who we dealt with here). […]


33. Tomas O Dochartaigh -Ailtirí na hAiséirghe -1944 Tipperary « Irish Election Literature Blog - July 26, 2011

[…] book on them called “Architects of The Resurrection”. Theres a decent post about it here As you can see they were fairly extreme. In this 1944 Election, the party fielded six other […]


34. From the mid 1940s The Ailtirí na hAiséirghe Plan to end Partition « Irish Election Literature - January 13, 2012

[…] Ailtirí na hAiséirghe were a relatively popular Christian Nationalist stroke Fascist Party that started in Ireland in the 1940s. There is an excellent book “Architects of The Resurrection” about them with a decent post about it here […]


35. Chris Mooney - July 11, 2012

After hearing about Ailtirí na hAiséirí and the threat they must have posed to irish democracy I’m going to race out and find a copy of Mein Kampf in Irish. There must be thousands of them floating around in Dublin’s famed secondhand bookstores or on line.

Chris Mooney


36. Loyalists And The Far Right. - Page 12 - August 30, 2013

[…] […]


37. Israel gearing up for possible invasion of Gaza? - Page 683 - August 4, 2014

[…] […]


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