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Left Archive: The Irish Famine – Vasco Purser, Socialist Workers Party, c. 1995 August 26, 2019

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

To download the above please click on the following link. irishfamine.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This is a 28 page pamphlet written by Vasco Purser and published in the mid 1990s. It is organised into sections such as ‘Ireland Before the Famine’, ‘Free Market Capitalism’, ‘The Famine’, ‘Relief Measures’, ‘Emigration’ and ‘Resistance and Betrayal’.

The Introduction suggests that:

Some commentators, such as Kevin Myers of the Irish Times, claim the Irish famine was simply a natural disaster. Yet the whole of Ireland was then a part of the UK, the centre of the worlds wealthiest empire. This pamphlet aims to give a brief view of what happened, and to look at the response of both Government and Irish politicians to the suffering. Was it really a natural disaster caused by the failure of the potato crop? Or was the famine the result of the free market and the drive for profit?

The Conclusion argues that:

The Amin lesson to draw from the famine is nota nationalist one, but a socialist one. The right of oppressed nations to self-rule is a simple principle which all socialist support. But on its own independence does not challenge market values.

Please note: If files have been posted for or to other online archives previously we would appreciate if we could be informed of that. We are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.


1. Jolly Red Giant - August 27, 2019

As is common with so much of the writings on the famine – the class struggle of the period is only mentioned in passing when the reality was that it had a significant on the famine period.


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