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The consequences of 1916? April 7, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I think Patsy McGarry has it very wrong in this piece in the IT this week – even if I have some sympathy for his immediate complaint. He laments that when some question the Rising – its legitimacy, its course, its outcomes, they are met with a response which…

…find it impossible to accept that it is love of Ireland which provokes some to lament the Easter Rising and the violent legacy it bequeathed the people of this island and its neighbour for much of the 20th century.

Even today as centenary commemorations continue, 1916 and its consequences divide.

Indeed he notes that he himself was ‘asked whether I was British’ during a discussion on 1916.

Of course that level of discussion is absurd – and resort to what are presumably intended as insults are both risible and counterproductive. Worse again it is – as all such insults are – designed to shut down conversation. So in that respect McGarry has my sympathy.

But that said there’s a broader problem McGarry doesn’t address – indeed, for the most part compounds in his column. That is that McGarry has yet to present a good reasoned sustained defence of what are for the most part simple assertions on his part that the Rising was all that he complains about in the quote above… ie. ‘violent legacy…etc’.

For example almost immediately after that quote above he writes:

Such consequences are the reason our two major political parties in the Republic cannot abide the thought of being in government together.

Thanks to 1916 and its legacy the centre in Irish politics today refuses to hold.

The consequences of 1916 copper-fastened a partition that led to two minorities on this island being abandoned to the not-so-tender mercies of their local majority.

But that’s a remarkably simplistic understanding of both the division between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the reasons for it and the connection – somewhat tenuous in that respect – between them or Sinn Féin and the events of the War of Independence and the Civil War as it split and 1916. Simply put it ignores the fact that the Rising itself wasn’t an alien irruption into the Irish body politic but a response to broader dynamics that long pre-existed it and furthermore that not everything that followed on from it can be laid at its feet in terms of responsibility. It’s as pointless and ahistorical as arguing that John Maxwell is to blame for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael not  talking this week at Government buildings – if we’re down to that level of blame we’re not really blaming anyone because we can, frankly, blame everyone.

And there’s further assertions that are simply unsustained:

The plight of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland and of the Protestant minority in the Republic was ignored through decades of active discrimination.

Had matters stayed on a political course in Ireland during the first World War period, it is doubtful whether such bitter divisions would have grown so great.

To counterpose the two situations North and South is also entirely simplistic, to argue that 1916 was the genesis of discrimination equally reductive.

It’s this reductionism, this simplification which is so baffling.

McGarry argues that:

In September 1914, politics delivered Home Rule in principle to Ireland.

It was limited and inadequate, providing for a devolved administration similar to that which they now have in Wales and Scotland.

But it was, to use Michael Collins’s description of the 1921 Treaty, “a stepping stone”.

There was one crucial difference. It was achieved without unleashing the ghouls of violence which have haunted us since 1916.

But the most obvious problem is that violence haunted us prior to 1916. This island was not a democracy in the sense that McGarry or most would understand the term, it was ruled by the imposition of force, force which was applied as and when it was necessary. Watching Michael Portillo’s actually quite good programme on 1916 one got a real sense of how the military had a remarkably free hand, how civilian authority, such as it was, was separated from events by hundreds of miles and a sea. Granted it was at a time of war, but this wasn’t unusual or unique. It was merely an accentuation of the then status quo.

McGarry does mention this, in a roundabout way, but then essentially offers us a rhetorical shrug:

Yes, there were two major militias on the island then, the Ulster Volunteers and the Irish Volunteers.

But who knows how they might have related after the war? We can’t know.

And yet he is certain that his analysis of all else, and his understanding of what actually happened is correct?

In fairness towards the end of the piece he tries to come to some engagement with those pre-existing issues, albeit in relation to the First World War noting the slaughter at Gallipoli,  and noting other events too:

Why did at least 3,411 young Irish men die at Gallipoli in 1915 invading Turkey, a country with which we never had a quarrel?

After all, didn’t Khaleefah Abdul-Majid I, sultan of the Ottoman empire, offer £10,000 to ease our suffering during the Famine.

Queen Victoria requested he reduce that to £1,000, as she just gave £2,000.

He agreed, reluctantly, but secretly sent five ships loaded with food to Drogheda despite an attempted blockade by the British navy.

The problem is that he appears unaware of how those realities might shape responses and reactions in the decades and years leading up to 1916 (indeed that raises the issue of the realities that shaped responses and reactions in the decades and years leading up to the more recent conflict in the Northern Ireland). Responses that were violent, indeed, but were self-evidently the legacy of violence.

Part of the problem I have will all this is that if his stance is that of pacifism that is understandable, though perhaps limited as a position in the context of the broader churn of events. But his continuing inability to place 1916 not as a novel event but as one which fits into a historical continuum means that the overall picture he presents seem partial and inconsistent.

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1. gendjinn - April 7, 2016

Everything was just perfect in Ireland until them bastardin’ Sinn Feiners wrecked the place entirely and forever.

1916 was undemocratic!
So was von Stauffenberg!
He was fighting the Nazis!
They were fighting the British empire!
You can’t compare the two at all!
Yeah, the British were far, far worse for far, far longer!
*fisticuffs*

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2. 6/5against - April 7, 2016

Oh God, at the risk of repeating myself, all this bleating about how democratic politics had delivered home rule misses the simple fact that IT DIDN’T. There was no home rule in 1914, or 1916, and it never showed any sign of showing up after 1918 either.

And surely 1916 united FF and FG rather than divided them over the years. The civil war split was not evident in the GPO, and many in what became FG would never have questioned the legacy of 1916. I think Sean McEoin would have looked askance at a FG leader like Bruton rubbishing his rebellious legacy as he has so enthusiastically done (since leaving office).

And the not-democratic argument re 1916 cannot be stretched post 1918, when people were free to vote for the Irish party and a Redmonite view if they so wished.

And…….

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gendjinn - April 7, 2016

Oh but Unionists do – SF only got 47% of the vote in 1918 so not democratic in the slightest. And all those seats where they were elected unopposed proves they intimidated Unionists and Home Rule candidates out of running.

Whether something is democratic or not, betrayal or not, is not the QED of a debate. The entirely appropriate response to either assertion is “And?” Or if you must “So? Since when do colonists need a democratic mandate to throw an unwanted imperial occupier out of their country?”

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

There is that, and It think it’s a very very powerful argument. Granted the reality of unionism added a wrinkle to this. But then again as noted elsewhere Pearse et al apparently ordered no shots should be fired in Ulster so they weren’t unaware of the nuances either. And again it’s what you both describe that adds to the complexity without invalidating or delegitimising the Rising.

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gendjinn - April 8, 2016

I agree with the criticisms about loss of life. 1916 was a choice, as a consequence of that choice civilians died. That to me is a moral obscenity.

It is unfortunate that those who make that case most loudly about 1916 are the ones most silent on the British empire, British violence then and during the Troubles, and the fact the Irish had been voting for home rule/independence by ridiculous margins since 1872.

Ok 1916 bad. Let’s say they’re right. What was the alternative? 1920s conservatives were not giving any of the colonies freedom. We’d be Scotland, Wales. Then WW2. We get leveled and conscripted. What if we are still Wales or Scotland today? What if we had the Troubles throughout Ireland instead of the Border campaign damp squib?

If one is to criticize the act that galvanized the independence movement there is an onus to lay out the superior counterfactual and home rule under Baldwin Tories?

Or just please just answer one question – which was the greater moral evil – the 1916 Rising or the British empire?

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Pasionario - April 7, 2016

Democratic poitics may not have delivered Home Rule, but it seems clear that most Irish people remained committed to constitutional means in Easter 1916 (whether they were right to do so is another matter). The Rising was not widely supported (as the leaders themselves understood), did not spark a nation-wide revolt, and the rebels were jeered in the streets of Dublin. It was thus an undemocratic action by any ordinary standard.

Cast your eye over the numerous by-election results in 1914-16 if you doubt the continuing appeal of the Redmondites during the early years of the First World War. Pearse and his followers did not even challenge for these seats. It’s not that just that they lacked a democratic mandate of any kind, they had no interest in looking for one. Those by-elections were obviously based on a restricted franchise, but there’s no evidence that the mass of Irishmen and women would have voted for any other way at the time, as suggested by the overwhelming backing (over 90%) for Redmond within the Irish Volunteers in 1914.

For Pearse, the will of the people was not a mundane matter of votes in ballot boxes but an abstract force to be invoked in service of the nation’s historical destiny.

There is only one way to justify 1916 and it has nothing to do with democracy. Like the Bolsheviks, a small revolutionary elite realized (and their intuition was impressive) that the possibility existed to alter events and how people perceived them through violence. Both Lenin and Pearse were categorical on that point. The rest is all flummery.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

I’m not entirely unsympathetic, but I’m unpersuaded by the totality of that argument. The nature of British democracy at that point was very restricted and would by our eyes (and indeed crucially by those involved in the Rising given their stated aims) have been almost alien in terms of its limitations. I find it difficult to shape arguments about democracy in all this that work in defence of the then status quo.

As to responses to the Rising I think JJ Lee puts it particularly well in ireland 1912-1985 when having surveyed the available publications of the period of the Rising he notes that “it may not have been reactions to the Rising that changed so much as reactions to the changing perceptions of the Rising based on more accurate information. The uncertainty, bewilderment, hesitancy and ambiguity that characterised many reactions to the first fragmentary reports were quickly replaced in the light of new information by mingled feelings of despair at the folly of the rebels, pride in their gallantry and contempt for the behaviour of their gaolers, feelings which john Dillon well caught in his defiant House of Commons speech on 11 May”.

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Pasionario - April 8, 2016

The democratic mechanism was limited but it did exist and under Parnell and his successors had already delivered considerable political change. In terms of population, Ireland was even massively over-represented at Westminster. Irish Party MPs were elected only by a minority of the people, but undoubtedly reflected the will of a large majority. The Irish Party machine was legendary — foreshadowing what FF would later become. Local government provided another form of democratic expression and has often been blamed for creating the “ward-heeler” dynamic that still defines Irish politics.

The men who fought in 1916 might have viewed that system as inherently alien; that was not the view of the rest of the country. Many were eager to become equal partners in the British Empire.

You could argue they were suffering from false consciousness due to centuries of colonial oppression (and that was Pearse’s basic view). The aftermath of 1916 indeed seems to confirm that analysis. (And if you’ve ever been in an African country and heard someone say “things were better under the British/French”, then you’ll know how real the phenomenon can be). But Pearse and the others did not act in accordance with the will of the people in Easter 1916, and they knew it.

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Bartholomew - April 8, 2016

“feelings which John Dillon well caught in his defiant House of Commons speech on 11 May”

I went and read Dillon’s speech, and it is defiant, but not half as defiant as a speech immediately afterwards, by Laurence Ginnell, MP for Westmeath, later a Sinn Fein TD and anti-treaty:

‘I have no hesitation whatsoever in declaring myself the friend, the dear friend of those dead men—the enemy, the implacable enemy, of every Empire that swallows up and crushes to death those small nationalities, for whose independence and integrity you profess to go to war, a war which you are unable to carry through. You want to sacrifice all the manhood, not of England, but of the outlying countries —of Scotland, of Wales, of Ireland, and of your unfortunate dependencies and colonies. You want to wipe out the Celtic race, as the “Times” boasted sixty years ago: “The Celt has gone, gone with a vengeance.” No, by God, we are here still, and before you are done with the Celt you will have something more creditable to do than laughing and making a mockery of brave men who sacrificed their lives in the noblest cause for which men can die or fight.’

Powerful stuff in the middle of a war.

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WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2016

Again, I’m not unsympathetic, but in 1916 there was still a franchise extended to what was it – c.30%+ of the adult population. And that’s simply unsustainable as the basis for a polity seeking democratic legitimacy. Add to that that the fact that over representation or not the number of Irish TDs at Westminster were always a significant minority (IIRC Carson joked about that) with no direct power to influence matters through their own numbers alone, and the democratic deficits are just in those two instances alone pretty appalling.

I think therefore that it’s dubious to present anything that flows from that as the will of the Irish people. Too few of the Irish people were actually asked to give an opinion let alone participate in these matters. The Irish people had very very little choice in the matter, and most of adults had no means of electing anyone who would represent them. Local government could always only come a poor second in all this and in no way could make up that deficit. I think the apparent rapid reversal in 1916 in relation to those involved in the Rising is actually much more explicable in retrospect once these issues are brought to the fore. They might well have been acting off their own bat but they were self-evidently acting in such a way that their goals would bring about a massively greater degree of representation to ordinary people on the island as against the IPP and the proponents of HR who in many respects look like conservatives merely amending the status quo in order to sustain its fundamentals.

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WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2016

I should add a further point, while there was political progress in the late 19th and early 20th century I think once we reach issues like HR etc we’re talking about issues which fundamentally alter the nature of political structures and relationships in a way which land reform etc while not entirely different are less problematic for the British state. One could put it that the British state was unable for many reason, practical, political, cultural (in a sense) to afford even the limited HR sought. Already there had been a minor but not unimportant mutiny on the military side, politically the British state had been unable to grant HR straight up and partition added a further twist. All this suggests that political progress would have been limited. Whether nationalist Ireland would have accepted those limits is beyond the scope of this discussion but even pre-1916 there were dynamics in play that meant that the status quo ante was unlikely to be sustainable.

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6/5against - April 7, 2016

But the thing is that the modern Irish state arose out of the 1918-1923 era, not from 1916. And it arose from a democratic process. Was that process perfect, and was it perfectly legally constructed at the time? I don’t think so, but I think it had more legitimacy than any available alternative.

The leaders in 1918 may have taken inspiration from 1916 – and indeed many were active in 1916. But that’s a different matter: they also took inspiration from ancient folklore, and nobody is questioning the democratic legitimacy of the Fianna.

Had 1916 been a success, and had it established a government that never faced election, then we could certainly question its legitimacy. But that didn’t happen. Redmond and his party clearly had support in Ireland up to 1916. And after it. And indeed, in certain aspects of FG, they still do. I don’t think anybody is questioning that. And equally clearly the rebels in 1916 were acting illegally. But why does that matter?

I just don’t get it. All the criticism of 1916 seems to focus on claims that it failed to be that which it never claimed to be.

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benmadigan - April 7, 2016

have a look below to see what Sylvia Pankhurst and her roving reporter Patricia Lynch found out about attitudes to the Rising.

occasional phrases written by an English officer which was, I understand the origin of the comment that “the rebels were jeered in the streets of Dublin” (no link) are taken as gospel.

I have no doubt whatsoever the rising was not popular with the british establishment and the upper middle classes in Dublin. I am not altogether convinced about the rest of the citizens – frightened though they may have been by the surprise uprising, determined as they may have been to loot where they could when the opportunity arose to alleviate grinding poverty for a brief moment in time .

https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/thoughts-on-easter-week-the-way-we-were/

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Brian Hanley - April 8, 2016

There are numerous accounts in the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements from republicans which describe hostility and violent hostility at that, from inner-city Dubliners towards the rebels. People actually physically fought the rebels in several places on Easter Monday and the rebels had to use force to disperse them. That was replicated across much of Ireland during the war years. It doesn’t prove anything about overall attitudes towards independence, but it does show that a section of the poor (and not simply the upper class or Redmondites) were very hostile to separatists, at least between 1914-18. And the language used by republicans about these people is interesting in itself; ‘the rabble’ ‘roughs’ ‘the scum of the city’ ‘tinkers’ ‘the riffraff’ etc.
And I stress, this is not from British accounts, but from veterans themselves.

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Michael Carley - April 8, 2016

From the little I’ve read, the rebels (possibly bar the ICA) tended to be from the `respectable’ working class or higher. Would this have anything to do with it (if I have understood correctly)?

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WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2016

I think it’s very understandable that response particularly from those who the events of the Rising were geographically closest too. It’d be like military flattening parts of East Wall on foot of an insurgency around the community centre. There’d be no thanks at all for that.

And on another aspect stability, as I’m always banging on about, is something under appreciated on parts of the left sometimes. Even when, or perhaps particularly when, things are desperate in terms of living conditions anything that worsens them is profoundly unwelcome.

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Brian Hanley - April 8, 2016

In reply to Michael Carley, yes, I think that was part of it definitely and I suppose the key thing was that it happened across Ireland; Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Ennis, Longford, Galway, Tullamore, Carrick on Suir etc. Some of it was the famous ‘Separation Women’ but that had a class aspect itself.
And yes, I would suggest that the majority of republicans in 1916 were not from the ranks of the unskilled.

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gendjinn - April 8, 2016

Those by-elections were obviously based on a restricted franchise, but there’s no evidence that the mass of Irishmen and women would have voted for any other way at the time,

Well that’s not true. If you read around 19th and 20th century publications and organisations you find there is massive support for independence. It’s that everyone in Ireland knew something that many seem to want to forget now, they knew that Britain would never give them independence so they were begging for crumbs.

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Pasionario - April 8, 2016

Wait a minute. There’s a difference between wanting independence and being prepared to use violence to achieve independence. Many people supported the goal of independence; few supported violent methods to achieve it.

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Pasionario - April 8, 2016

Francis Sheehy-Skeffington made the most eloquent statement of that position:

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/francis-sheehy-skeffington-open-letter-to-thomas-macdonagh-1.2580899

Such speechs also show that you didn’t have to be a “Redmondite” to oppose the Volunteers.

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WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2016

And yet clearly once the crunch came they did support it and in considerable numbers – i.e. when 1916 had been and gone they were willing to afford legitimacy to the next wave of advanced nationalists in 1919-21. That doesn’t come from nowhere, it’s not simply the executions that allows for that – or sustains it.

I think one has to regard violence not as a cause but as an effect or byproduct in this – at least in so far as the events of the 1900-1922 period. I could even argue that the appearance of the UVF, the Curragh Mutiny, the First World War itself each upped the ante and generated an environment in which nationalist/republican violence would or could take place.

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gendjinn - April 8, 2016

WbS has eloquently highlighted the fatal democratic deficits, both of the franchise in Ireland and subsequent outnumbering in Westminster.

A majority is not a morality. Presence or absence of a democratic mandate is not the point upon which all morality and ethics revolve.

The British empire could have left Ireland at any point in the previous 800 years. Since 1872 even the unrepresentative, limited franchise overwhelmingly wanted the British empire gone. The overwhelming majority of all the Irish people wanted the British empire gone.

The morality of the British empire remaining, in open defiance of the clear will of the people for centuries is a far greater moral outrage than the 1916 Rising.

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Michael Carley - April 8, 2016

In summary:

Home Rule was on the books, but was very limited (much less than Scotland has now, for example);

a militia was openly drilling and training, with arms from Germany, to resist Home Rule, which was British law at the time;

the British government backed down when that militia brought the Kaiser’s rifles ashore and was not prepared to impose its own law in Ireland, or to impose discipline on its own army when it refused to obey lawful orders;

What’s left but rebellion?

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Pasionario - April 8, 2016

You’re all mixing up the idea that rebellion was the right course of action with the idea that there existed a democratic mandate or wide popular support for such a rebellion.

You might think that rebellion was justified as the only means of achieving independence. And you might be right that it was. Home rule was certainly pretty thin gruel.

But that rebellion was carried out and supported by a tiny proportion of the population. All the evidence points to most Irish people being committed, with reservations in many cases, to the constitional Home Rule movement at the time of the rebellion. (After all, the record of physical force nationalism had not been good whereas Parnell and his successors had delivered sweeping land reform).

There’s a sort of ex post facto fairy tale here that if the Rising was right, then it had to be democratic (or at least that the question of democracy somehow doesn’t arise). Conversely, Bruton, Dudley Edwards et al. insist it was wrong because it was undemocratic. But why couldn’t the Rising have been right even though it was manifestly undemocratic?

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gendjinn - April 9, 2016

One has to blind oneself to the entirety of writing in Ireland in the 19th century to remain ignorant of the yearning of the vast majority for independence from the British empire.

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WorldbyStorm - April 9, 2016

No, not the only way of achieving independence, not even a sure fire way of achieving it, but the only way that offered a reasonable chance of success in a period of time shorter than say two or three decades.

You’re right, there wasn’t a specific democratic mandate. I think it is persuasive to argue that the history of the previous century and more offered some mandate and that all political expressions of nationalism tended to lie on a spectrum that at one end compromised with Britain or even embraced it but at the other were in opposition to British rule – however masked. But, given the constrained nature of British rule how could there be a specific democratic mandate? The British state through its institutions and structures in Ireland shaped all political activity in certain ways, criminalised and marginalised separatist activity, refused to gift democratic rights or local representation in meaningful forms (and by the by much of this has been articulated in more recent times in relation to Scotland and Wales in respect of the political dispensations there prior to devolution – and I think that the dynamics evident post-devolution’s arrival are instructive too and that in a context of much greater integration due to physical proximity to England etc). Just on that Michael Portillo’s programme was particularly interesting in that his own conclusion was that absent 1916 Ireland would not have been ‘free’. We can also look at the attitude of the British state to the Irish – most notably concerns on their part as to the loyalty of nationalist inclined regiments etc (or indeed its cloth ear in regard to appointing Carson to cabinet in 1915 over the protestations of Redmond).

What you are perhaps suggesting is that the response to that start from some ethically pure base – that it would from the off have mass or majority support, that it would meet certain democratic standards of legitimacy. But that could never be the case in the context of a long and deep rooted political and military occupation of this island and control of its polity.

What does lend it justification is the fact that British democracy was so obviously flawed, the political and representational structures within which Ireland was embedded were so unfit for purpose that generations of Irish had sought unsuccessfully to use them simply to achieve Home Rule, something which was granted only at the last moment in partial and rhetorical form and hedged in so many caveats as to suddenly seem hardly worth the prior effort.

In other words constitutionalism (even accepting with heavy heart the reality of British rule and the need to function within constitutionalism) had self-evidently failed. One other point Lee makes is that ‘Pearse grudgingly accepted the HR Bill in 1912. He became gradually convinced, however, that the UVF appeal to force mad the peaceful achievement of HR impossible’. The last general election was in 1910. The last local election in 1914. Clearly so much had changed since both those dates by 1916. This was a dynamic and fluid situation. Looking back it is difficult not to agree with Pearse’s analysis.

And it also comes back to self-determination as well, and the right to self-determination. I tend to agree with you that individual elements in the above don’t necessarily “justify” the Rising as such but that the totality of the elements when ranged together do provide sufficient justification.

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gendjinn - April 9, 2016

Jaysus WbS that was outstanding! Of course you’ll never get a response from Pasionario.

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WorldbyStorm - April 9, 2016

Ta, this is a good discussion though from all of us and I do think pasionario has a point that is well worth working through. We know there is a legitimacy but what is it and how does it work (and what isn’t it?).

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Pasionario - April 9, 2016

Summoned! Democratic legitimacy in 1916 existed in the form of the Home Rule movement itself, which was a broad based, cross-class coalition with its origins in the mass politics of the Land League that had the support of an overwhelming majority of Irish people (even if only a minority of them had the right to vote for Irish Party MPs). Its approach under Redmond may strike you as insufferably legalistic, gradualistic, deferential, imperialistic, reactionary, and bourgeois (and it was all of those things!) but the evidence suggests most people were willing to go along with that faute de mieux. More radical options in the form of Sinn Fein or the Irish Volunteers or the ICA attracted negligible support by contrast. To claim the Rising had no specific democratic mandate because it was not possible to obtain one under those conditions is besides the point. If there had been a way of consulting the people, the people would have told them to sod off (and Pearse understood that). As it was the Volunteer movement had already massively endorsed Redmond’s call to fight to in France — which is as close to a plebiscite on the issue as you’re going to get.

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WorldbyStorm - April 10, 2016

Heheh….and fair dues.

But I would say this, while I’m very very dubious of de Valera’s formulation that the Irish people didn’t have the right to be wrong I do think that it’s not quite as straightforward as you present. Nor is it simply about trying to find reasons to retrospectively validate the Rising. If those involved in the Rising were insufficiently democratic well then, that charge can be laid in spades at Britain. The latter outweighs the former in my mind.

Furthermore, if we assume that the Irish people would accept Home Rule ad infinitum well then we have to factor in not just what happened prior to the Rising, the effective placing of HR in the cupboard marked ‘We’ll look at this again later’, but also what happened subsequently. Even despite the Rising there were strenuous efforts to introduce conscription. Absent a Rising those would have been much greater. Given the fragile nature of the post lack of HR dispensation I find it difficult to believe that it would have been possible for the British state to oversee its implementation without something equal to or greater than the Rising. Indeed, and this is a crucial thought, those in the leadership who dissented from 1916 were precisely oriented towards a Rising when conscription was pushed through. So it would likely have happened soon enough after. In other words some form of militant response to the lack of push to genuine HR by Britain in Ireland would have taken place at some point between 1916 and the end of the First World War.

And that somewhat, or perhaps considerably, undercuts notions that participation in WWI by Volunteers was a case of voting with feet.Many did. But many many didn’t (and let’s not forget economic and other factors that pushed people to join) and this was the rupture point. Some would go willingly enough to fight in the war, but more wouldn’t and would hugely resent any effort to coerce them.

And Redmond spent considerable political effort and political capital post Rising attempting to prevent precisely that eventuality, what would it have been like in the absence of the Rising.

But I return again to the thought that the Rising remains justified by the nature of the British state in Ireland, the history of that state in Ireland and the structures of representation organised by that state. That those structures were filled with Irish doesn’t alter that fact in the least. That many Irish were involved in them likewise. That many Irish would support such structures likewise as well. It doesn’t make those structures right. Anything but.

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gendjinn - April 10, 2016

Fair play Pasionario,

what does democratic mandate have to do with legitimacy?

Occupied colonies/territories have the right to resort to force of arms to achieve liberation.

From 1872 on Britain no longer had any democratic mandate in Ireland.

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Bartholomew - April 10, 2016

It depends what you take the mandate to be for – for a political settlement (Home Rule or an independent republic, the ends) or for a programme of action (elections vs armed rebellion, the means). On the second of these points, you could argue that the foundation and success of the Irish Volunteers had already given a substantial mandate to armed assertion of Home Rule. That is what the Volunteers were for. How far is it from that to armed assertion of an independent republic?

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Pasionario - April 10, 2016

WBS and Gendjinn, you seem to be coming round to the idea (which I originally expressed) that if the Rising possessed legitimacy, it was not democratic legitimacy. It would be a Leninist kind of legitimacy whereby a far-sighted revolutionary elite acts to rouse the slumbering masses from their torpor. Such ‘legitimacy’ is obviously contestable on many grounds, but it’s worth noting that in this case, that’s exactly what happened and the whole political dynamic was altered by the rebels’ actions.

As for the Volunteers, Bart, Eoin MacNeill, who led the Irish Volunteers (i.e. the radical anti-WWI wing post-August 1914) was adamant, in February 1916, that a rebellion was unjustified in the absence of ‘deep and widespread popular discontent’ but ‘no such conditions exist in Ireland’. He continued: ‘what we call our country is not a poetical abstraction (wonder who he had in mind there) […] it is our duty to get our country on side and not be content with the vanity of thinking ourselves to be right and other Irish people to be wrong’. (Quoted in D. Ferriter, A Nation and Not a Rabble, paperback, p. 151).

In other words, the Volunteers knew they didn’t have popular support, but a minority of them went ahead away (while MacNeill tried to stop them). If that’s not undemocratic, then what is?

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WorldbyStorm - April 10, 2016

I think it depends, one can have democratic legitimacy without that being expressed at the ballot box or even in mass movements prior to an insurgency. Consider British colonial rule elsewhere right into the forties and fifties which saw some pretty egregiously undemocratic manifestations. There is a reason Britain ultimately shed the Empire and part of that was the democratic illegitimacy of rule in those lands.

It is obviously preferable to have overt democratically validating structures and there are significant contextual aspects too in regard to the scope and severity of lack of democratic structures or means of representation.

That’s why I remain sympathetic to your argument because there is a contingency to all this.

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WorldbyStorm - April 10, 2016

Btw it is JJ Lee who notes MacNeills argument about waiting for a conscription crisis, something that was as noted previously likely inevitable. So he’s not someone to pin too many hopes on as regards a more non violent approach.

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EWI - April 10, 2016

As it was the Volunteer movement had already massively endorsed Redmond’s call to fight to in France — which is as close to a plebiscite on the issue as you’re going to get.

There are two fairly massive health warnings about accepting arguments on this basis. The first is that there was a massive influx under orders of A.O.H. supporters into the I.V. before the split, who of course departed with Redmond. The second is that only somewhere between twenty and thirty thousand of the NV eventually joined the British Army… which is highly suggestive. Quite a number of the non-enlisting types ended back with the I.V. camp.

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Dr.Nightdub - April 11, 2016

@ EWI “Quite a number of the non-enlisting types ended back with the I.V. camp.”

Not sure if the numbers back that up, Both Redmond and Carson only managed to bring a minority of their respective Volunteers into Kitchener’s New Army.

My gut feel is that the recruitment numbers for both Redmond’s National Volunteers (~170,000 members) and the UVF (~100,000 members) suggest that a massive proportion of both organisations were not fit to be “real” soldiers, whether for reasons of age or decrepitude, at least in military terms. They may have signed up for either side during the Home Rule crisis, but HMG didn’t deem them worthy of a khaki uniform once a real war was at hand.

Even if you allow for reservists being recalled to their former regiments, and allow for the low rates of recruitment among agricultural workers belonging to both the INV and UVF, there are still thousands of members of both organisations who never went to either Gallipoli or Flanders.

But I don’t think it’s true to say the nationalist ones ended up back in the IV camp, at least not in 1916. For example in Belfast, all the BMH witness statements of pre-Pogrom IV members concur that they were down to less than 150 members in 1916, having had a pre-war strength of 2000-3000, the rest having enlisted on the urgings of Redmond and Joe Devlin.

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EWI - April 11, 2016

They may have signed up for either side during the Home Rule crisis, but HMG didn’t deem them worthy of a khaki uniform once a real war was at hand.

The R.I.C. recruiting reports (and the never-ending snarking of the IT at the numbers of men of military age still in Ireland, and not getting chopped up into liver for the Empire) does suggest that a lack of enthusiasm for khaki was the issue here.

In 1917, Colonel Moore’s split from the Redmondites brought a sizeable number of ex-N.V. back over to the I.V. column, in a situation where I think the history books have presented a false dichotomy between the two groups (incidentally, something that seems to have held for at least the start of the Civil War as well). And a multitude certainly arrived into the I.V. in 1918 with the Conscription Crisis, rather than be forced into the British Army

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Bartholomew - April 11, 2016

Pasionario: “The Volunteers knew they didn’t have popular support, but a minority of them went ahead away (while MacNeill tried to stop them). If that’s not undemocratic, then what is?”

Fair enough, and you could say that the Volunteers were created for the armed support of a bill that was the product of a democratic process (or at least as democratic as there was at that point). But still, Mac Neill thought that an armed rebellion was justified in if there was ‘deep and widespread popular discontent’. Who would be the judge of that and how democratic could that judgement be? How can you get a specific democratic mandate for an armed rebellion without destroying the chances of success of the rebellion in the process?

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gendjinn - April 11, 2016

No Pasionario,

my main point is that there was an overwhelming majority of the Irish in favour of home rule AND independence. This is clear from reading the many publications throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. There was a reason the British suppressed these publications.

There are also a couple of problems with the democratic mandate as implemented in Ireland. 1910 200k vote, 1918 1 million vote.

I don’t agree with Pearse’s analysis that a blood sacrifice was required to awaken the slumbering masses from their Victorian opiate. The rupture with Britain was coming. It was inevitable. It would not have been the Attlee govt of India, it would have been the Churchill govt of Kenya.

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WorldbyStorm - April 11, 2016

I do think that’s right gendjinn, what you say. The Irish would part settle for HR in the context of the constraints imposed, but really the impulse was for independence of whatever type. And just to add to your other point, I’ve made this in relation to the North. The problem with the North was multiple but one basic issue was that it was unbelievably unstable a dispensation that periodically came under sustained dissent from within. Normal, legitimate polities simply do not have that dynamic in play (and while the GFA is not exactly normal it has seen almost twenty years of a situation where even though choppy legitimation has been afforded overwhelmingly to the institutions and structures of the state and political dispensation. In some ways that’s as important as the votes that underpinned the GFA). The same was true of Ireland pre-1916. Periodic waves of insurgency (and met by a strong state response). The unsustainability of the 1910-1916 period alone is surely underscored by the fact of multiple non state militias on all sides.

There’s an interesting sidebar discussion to be had on whether Unionism post 1922 could have shaped a dispensation in the North that would have accommodated Irish nationalism. I’m not convinced that in theory it was impossible, but I think in practice it was impossible.

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WorldbyStorm - April 11, 2016

BTW, just to say this is a great discussion on all sides and on everyone’s part. Thinking through the aspects of the problem is very worthwhile whatever stance one takes.

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gendjinn - April 12, 2016

WbS,

Rare is the colony that is majority colonists. The north is somewhat unique in that regard. The instability where the colonists are a small minority is obvious. And yet they still tried.

What made independence inevitable was the racist view of the British empire that the Irish were inferior and were always treated as such.

Unionists could do no other than they did.

All told, I’d say we came through the 20th century with the least amount of Irish lives lost possible. The Troubles were bad but if there’d be a real war between north & south the deaths would have been in the 10s of thousands.

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EWI - April 12, 2016

How can you get a specific democratic mandate for an armed rebellion without destroying the chances of success of the rebellion in the process?

Something that strikes me is that very few of the politicians and media yakkers who have the smelling salts out on this supposed golden principle have had issues with multiple re-runs of EU referendums here in the past decade or so. An interesting aside on this point is that one of the grounds on which the Conservative & Unionist Party effectively were threatening civil war 1912-14 was that the Liberals hadn’t mentioned Home Rule at all in their election manifesto.

Not that this wasn’t the way it was clearly understood in Ireland to be finally going to turn out – Sinn Féin gave the Irish Party a clear run in that last British General Election, in order to call their bluff on getting and making Home Rule work (Redmond, quintessential opportunist and unenthusiastic Home Ruler, had previously settled for the Ireland Council Bill before an internal IPP revolt forced him to reject it).

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EWI - April 12, 2016

But that rebellion was carried out and supported by a tiny proportion of the population. All the evidence points to most Irish people being committed, with reservations in many cases, to the constitional Home Rule movement at the time of the rebellion. (After all, the record of physical force nationalism had not been good whereas Parnell and his successors had delivered sweeping land reform).

See, this is why the Redmond hagiographers start off detailing his political career from somewhere in the early 1900s. Because then you can ignore Redmond’s status (before the threat of William O’Brien caused a closing of ranks) to Redmond’s origins as leader of the I.R.B.-allied Parnellite faction after the I.P.P.’s split. People now don’t realise just how radical Redmond’s jump to offer I.P.P. political support for WWI was. One indicator for me that his goose was already cooked was Redmond’s failure to have his party’s backing to enter the British wartime coalition government.

It is also quite misleading to characterise the I.R.B. as ‘physical force’ and leave it at that. This ignores the New Departure, the creation of the G.A.A., and a multitude of other political and cultural work which only bore fruit in the early twentieth century.

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3. deiseach - April 7, 2016

It’s telling how Patsy mentions the “at least 3,411 young Irish men” who died out in Gallipoli yet doesn’t give even a thought to the uncounted – literally, in his reckoning – number of Turks who died defending their homeland from the aggression of an invader from far away who had absolutely no business (mandate?) being there. How many of them died at the hands of our lions bravely pulling a trigger on a machine gun? No, victims are only worth counting if they died defending his vision of Ireland, one forever subservient to Britain’s imperial whims. In the spirit of a frank and open dialogue, Patsy, you can take that vision and ram it.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

+1 re the blindness at the reality of what actually happened.

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deiseach - April 7, 2016

The more I think about Patsy’s view of our complicity in Britain’s imperial adventures, how does he explain the distinct lack of such adventures in the Irish state that was born in blood in 1916? So many of our soldiers died while others might live in places like Niemba. Meanwhile our neighbours, freed of our baleful influence, continue to get embroiled in every squabble in every desert or penguin-shit-encrusted rock they can find. Odd, that.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

It is incredibly strange, isn’t it, that that history is simply waved away. We’re the one’s with the supposed atavistic propensity for violence, it is only in Irish hearts (and nationalist/Republican ones at that) that the very mention of 1916 is meant to unleash violent urges incapable of being controlled. Yet, for all its flaws which are myriad, this has been a largely peaceable polity with no enthusiasm for external adventures whatsoever. Of course there’s the stain of the subcontracting out (at best) issue of the North to the UK (albeit that was in a sense due to the realities of the situation) and the indifference towards it and the communities there, but even that is kind of indicative of an aversion to adventurism.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 8, 2016

Oh come on now! This is getting a bit pious and “aren’t we great altogether”.

Yes the RoI Army has played a largely honourable role in preventing conflict rather than stoking it.

But – and it’s a big but, talking of contracting out – how many lives did the kowtowing to the US and the use of Shannon as a refuelling base cost? How many Iraqis, Syrians (due to blowback and overspill), Afghans etc. etc. would now be alive had the US military machine been forced to deliver its engines of death by a more expensive route? Thousands? Tens of thousands.

Come to that why concentrate on deaths caused by war? What about economic violence? How many people have died due to the economic policies of the Free State and the facilitating of massive corporate tax evasion?

People die from poverty and despair as well as bullets you know!

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WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2016

I do take your point but in fairness to the defence forces those are political decisions made by politicians. Direct involvement is conspicuous by its absence. In relation to economic violence, yes, that’s true, but… the problem is that those are systemic (albeit politically directed in part) and it is difficult to think of any contemporary states that have managed to evade that to any great degree.

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gendjinn - April 8, 2016

To deiseach’s point, Ireland’s role in the world and in UN peacekeeping from the formation of the state through the 80s is a record to be proud of. And it makes the case forcefully that there is not an atavistic, savage, uncivilised beast of violence within the Irish, straining at the leash to escape.

If we can look with clear eyes at our sins, surely we can look with clear eyes at our triumphs. Especially ones so hard won.

If you want pious I give you the Bernie & Frannie show coming soon to a Vatican near you! The primary tribal wars are popping heads today and the twitters are rioting.

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Gewerkschaftler - April 10, 2016

So we’re non-violently agreeing about the role of the RoI Army.

But I note that the use of Shannon in the various US-led bouts of slaughter in the middle east has been studiously ignored.

I’ve always found the elements of republicanism that rightly condemn the historical British Empire while keeping schtum about the contemporary US Empire hard to take.

It’s far from universal but it’s there.

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CL - April 10, 2016

“University president Rev. Matthew Walsh, C.S.C., officially adopted “Fighting Irish” as the Notre Dame nickname in 1927.”
http://www.und.com/trads/nd-m-fb-name.html

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gendjinn - April 10, 2016

Certainly reads like it Gewerkschaftler.

I agree with you on your criticisms of the use of Shannon by the US. But are you aware of the threats made by the US to the Irish gov if they didn’t play ball over Shannon?

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EWI - April 10, 2016

Yes the RoI Army has played a largely honourable role in preventing conflict rather than stoking it.

But – and it’s a big but, talking of contracting out – how many lives did the kowtowing to the US and the use of Shannon as a refuelling base cost? How many Iraqis, Syrians (due to blowback and overspill), Afghans etc. etc. would now be alive had the US military machine been forced to deliver its engines of death by a more expensive route? Thousands? Tens of thousands.

I hate to say it, but there’s no hope to be found in the Irish Army’s honourable non-aligned past, any more than there is in our previous foreign policy successes like the NPT.

We’re a cheap hooker trading off past glories, doing favours for our new NATO friends. The Chad farce was only the start of it.

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4. 1798Mike - April 7, 2016

The Bruton-McGarry narrative is fairly simplistic. It ignores the fact that the Unionists brought the gun back into Irish politics, importing arms and preparing an armed rebellion. It also ignores the fact that this undemocratic action was enthusiastically supported by both the Conservative party and the officer class of the British army.
All of this done in order to subvert democracy in Ireland and the will of the British Parliament and that the Liberal government failed in its democratic duty, crumbling in the face of Unionist-Tory intransigence.
Add in the imperialist slaughterfest of the Great War for which neither the Home Rule party nor the British government had a ‘democratic mandate’ – and the ‘mandate argument’ starts to look fairly compromised and weak.
While Cumann na nGaedhal and Fine Gael did have in its leadership many who fought in 1916 and in the War of Independence, they also incorporated as part of their political base significant groups & elements which had also underpinned the Home Rule party. John Bruton looks back to this tradition.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

Yeah, CnaG (and perhaps FG even more markedly) was a curious entity.

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5. Phil - April 7, 2016

What’s with all this shopping around for imperial overlords? First Harris criticises Pearse for not realising that the British Empire was far more benign than the German, now McGarry reveals that the Irishman’s real friend was the Ottoman Empire.

How many times have we got to tell you people, you’re a republic now! Talk about the grass being greener…

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6. Richard - April 7, 2016

I did a piece on the commemorations and official attitudes here, in case anyone’s interested. https://hiredknaves.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/why-grandmother-what-big-teeth-you-have-qa-on-1916-commemorations/

Liked by 1 person

7. CL - April 7, 2016

“All political revolutions by their very nature have lacked legitimacy, if they are to be judged solely by reference to the pre-existing constitutional order….
Legitimacy always follows rather than precedes revolutions, immediately successful or not, that become the basis of a new constitutional order….
Even if it started as a tiny, secret conspiracy, the 1916 Rising has been mainstreamed and democratically endorsed by the people of this State from 1918 to the present day.
A democratic Irish state replaced incorporation into the United Kingdom by decision of an utterly unrepresentative parliament, excluding the vast bulk of the population, that passed the Act of Union in 1800.”
http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/martin-mansergh-legitimacy-and-the-1916-rising-1.2597880

Liked by 2 people

8. benmadigan - April 7, 2016

as the Good Book says – “by their fruits ye shall know them”

The irish republic (though not without its faults and shortcomings)is recognized as a state and takes its rightful place among the nations of the world in all sorts of international bodies.

NI takes its place nowhere and is famous for 50 years anti-Catholic/nationalist/republican discrimination and sectarianism and 30 years strife.

The UK has lost its empire, risks exiting the EU and has about 50% of its population in Scotland and NI seeking an exit from it.

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9. Jim Monaghan - April 8, 2016

And here you are…http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article37642
http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article37642

Oh the link works
1916-1923 – Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution

Monday 28 March 2016, by BURTENSHAW Ronan, BYERS Seán

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10. Starkadder - April 8, 2016

“Part of the problem I have will all this is that if his stance is that of pacifism that is understandable, though perhaps limited as a position in the context of the broader churn of events. But his continuing inability to place 1916 not as a novel event but as one which fits into a historical continuum means that the overall picture he presents seem partial and inconsistent”.

There was a person in 1916 whose “stance was that of pacifism”. He
was shot dead by Captain Bowen-Colthurst.

So if you’re wondering why Francis Sheehy-Skeffington hasn’t been
mentioned by McGarry and the other critics of the 1916 Rising, it’s
because mentioning his death would involve acknowledging the REAL
nature of British rule in Ireland at the time, and as I’ve mentioned before, none of these people (Eoghan Harris, etc.) want to do that.

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WorldbyStorm - April 10, 2016

+1

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11. fergal - April 10, 2016

The Bruton- McGarry- Myers- Dudley-Edwards axis of empire has yet to explain why literally hundreds of thousands thronged the capital’s streets to remember 1916 recently.
Bruton will no doubt turn up for the commemorations of that great battle of mass destruction- the Somme. Will rte host a debate on the democratic mandate of Haig and his ilk to send 1/4million to their deaths?

Liked by 1 person

Starkadder - April 10, 2016

“The Bruton- McGarry- Myers- Dudley-Edwards axis of empire has yet to explain why literally hundreds of thousands thronged the capital’s streets to remember 1916 recently.

Bruton will no doubt turn up for the commemorations of that great battle of mass destruction- the Somme. Will rte host a debate on the democratic mandate of Haig and his ilk to send 1/4 million to their deaths?”

I do think that may be part of the reason the 1916 commerations were so popular with the general public- a resentment with the hypocrisy and Imperial power-worship of Myers, Harris and co.

As for the Somme, it’s worth remembering this piece of info from
H. G. Wells:

“More lives were wasted by the British generals alone on the opening day of what is known as the Somme offensive of July, 1916 than in the whole French Revolution from start to finish.”.

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oconnorlysaght - April 10, 2016

To risk repeating many of the excellent points made, there are some extra ones that should be mentioned. Firstly, the use of the word ‘democratic’ by the Revisionists tends to be a cover for two more accurate terms ‘constitutional’ and ‘mass’. The Rising was neither of these. However, to declare, therefore, that it was not democratic is to ignore the facts that have been stated: that Irish national (and nationalist) representation was that of a minority in a parliament elected on a franchise of less than 30percent of the adult population, and, moreover, a parliament that had unilaterally extended its mandate. In addition, Irish claims for self-determination had been routinely denied by that parliament for thirty years and then granted only in the watered down form of a promise of a provincial assembly which was itself being compromised by forces within the British state. Meanwhile, as without freedom of information, democracy is a travesty, that freedom was being suppressed by the colonial censor and by the message repeated in the newspapers and many pulpits that Home Rule=Full Independence and that it had been achieved. In 1916 Irish functioning democracy was a basket case, though it did not know it.
On the other hand, the insurgents offered full adult suffrage in an independent Ireland and, though more research has to be done on this, it appears that most of them were from Ireland’s disenfranchised citizens. That seems to be a pretty good description of a democratic revolution.
Two other points, on the popular resistance to the rising, that seems to have waxed and waned: bitter, at first, but then more respectful only to revive with the fact of its defeat. The comments of the old Volunteers about their civilian attackers may reflect the fact that many of these latter would have been less proletarian than lumpenproletarian. As to the Volunteers themselves, they seemed to have been mainly from the ‘men of no property’, that is skilled workers and small businessmen who did not own their premises. The late Hughie Geraghty maintained, however, that there was a much larger proportion of the general workers in their ranks than is recognised generally. Again, more research could be done.
Finally, it is probably necessary to repeat again that there is a political agenda behind the revisionist case. If the rising was anti-democratic, then it can be argued, as it is beginning to be argued that World War I was, indeed, a struggle for democracy and the rebels were no better than crypto-Fascists. From this it follows that the admittedly shop-soiled cause of Irish independence can be jettisoned for an accepted and open semi-colonial status masked by the form of junior partnership amongst the imperial metropoles of the world: a new version of Connolly’s ‘Pirate Empire.’

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CL - April 10, 2016

“The book also contains a wealth of social data, compiled with the help of Kildare teacher David Gorry, confirming the strongly working class, north inner-city Dublin character of the rebels.
Of the known addresses of members of the garrison, 287 were in the north inner city. By age, 362 were under 30 and by social class, 56 per cent were skilled workers, shop assistants and clerks, and 18 per cent were semi- or unskilled workers.”
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/rank-and-file-members-of-1916-gpo-garrison-documented-in-labour-of-love-1.2438524

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12. Brian Hanley - April 10, 2016

Which actually means the unskilled working class, the biggest section of the working class in Dublin at the time, was actually very under-represented among the rebels and relatively small groups of white-collar, commercial and professional categories over-represented. The difference between grades of workers then, particularly between the unskilled and the skilled, let alone white-collar was vast compared to now. It wasn’t a rebellion of the poor, no matter how much we might want to believe that.

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FergusD - April 11, 2016

But isn’t it often the case that the more skilled, and often union organised, workers are at the forefront of militancy? They have some industrial power, maybe better educated? I’m not really surprised at this.

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Brian Hanley - April 11, 2016

Yes, sometimes in terms of industrial militancy. But the Rising wasn’t a strike and Dublin (and Ireland’s) greatest industrial dispute involved primarily the unskilled, organised by a union which was noted for its organisation of the unskilled in 1913. The most militant union in Ireland was the ITGWU; a general union. The single largest group of workers in Dublin were unskilled labourers and they were underrepresented among the rebels. That doesn’t mean the rebels were wrong, or that the Rising was wrong. It just means that the Rising was largely led by people who in the context of their time were not poor. It was not an uprising of the tenements. Nationalist revolutions are often led by the middle-class.
I take Rayner’s point about other garrison’s but I think the evidence would still show a prepondrence of the skilled, white-collar and upwards.

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CL - April 11, 2016

All true enough. But without the north inner-city Dublin working class there would have been no 1916 rebellion, no six days that shook an empire.

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oconnorlysaght - April 11, 2016

Agreed; in the GPO garrison the general workers were under-represented. However, work has still to be done on the composition of other garrisons. Would the proportions of those workers be more or less? It would seem that they were under represented in the GPO because most of the ICA were in St Stephen’s Green. On the other hand, the garrisons elsewhere were mainly, at best, labour aristos.
However, there are two points to remember. The first is that the general workers were only just getting over the Lockout, which had halved the ITGWU’s strength. Connolly had come near to reviving their spirit only to have his work sabotaged by Havelock Wilson. Had the struggle continued (had Macneill’s equivalent military sabotage not worked, say) it is likely that they would have radicalised.
Secondly, while the bulk of the GPO garrison (and probably of the insurgents as an whole) was composed of members of the skilled/clerical classes, many of them came from the same household, sons of the father, who was the sole holder of the franchise. Given this, and the promise (unique in Europe at that point in time) of universal suffrage, it can be said that the Rising was a democratic revolt, if not a socialist one. (Under better Labour leadership it might have developed subsequently into a struggle for a workers Republic.)

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13. EWI - April 10, 2016

The first Free State government tried in its first constitution to reflect a pluralist state […] There were always lower rates of pay for women in the public and the private sector.

– Olivia O’Leary

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/25/100-years-after-easter-rising-irish-women-still-fighting-gender-equality

(i) CnaG had the distinction of outlawing divorce, and handing over so much of the state to the Catholic Church. (ii) the properly ‘Republican’ Dublin Corporation implemented equal pay for women employees, another thing that O’Leary clearly knows nothing about (but should).

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