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Podcast – Ailtirí na hAiséirghe January 20, 2021

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Ailtirí na hAiséirghe were a Fascist Party founded in March 1942 and led by Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin. They contested the 1943, 1944 and 1948 General Elections and won 9 seats in the 1945 Local Elections.

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1. WorldbyStorm - January 20, 2021

Very enjoyable analysis of AnhA. And your point about how successful they were is particularly striking. The influence on CnaP is fascinating and how so many went over to it.

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irishelectionliterature - January 20, 2021

CnaP came about just after the split following the attempt to change the leadership, so a lot of the membership had already gone. They were attractive in that they had people of ability and more importantly were Republican.

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WorldbyStorm - January 20, 2021

And I guess dovetailed with stuff happening post war in the UK with the LP there. I wonder did they just seem more ‘modern’?

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2. banjoagbeanjoe - January 20, 2021

Ah Alan. You’ll have to work on your Irish pronunciation.
Ailtirí [Al ter ee] hAiséirghe [hash eye ree].

Listening now. Ag cuimhneamh ar mo Dhaidí agus ar mo Mhamaí. You could say that I wouldn’t exist only for this crowd of others 🙂

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irishelectionliterature - January 20, 2021

Apologies, I actually did some practice on their pronounciation but it’s fairly poor in places.

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 20, 2021

Just finished listening. Excellent stuff Alan. Sorry about the carping about the Gaeilge.
You’d wonder alright how they (he, really, I’d say i.e. Ó Cuinneagáin himself) kept their paper going till the mid seventies. They also published a women’s magazine (in opposition to the likes of Women’s Way) called Deirdre. I’d guess there may have been some state funding going for that because of the Irish language content. I’d speculate also that there may have been funding coming from far right/fascist sources in the U.S. – similar to the way O’Doherty and nutjobs of her ilk and also pro-life organisations can tap into funding from US far right and conspiracy theory and pro-life organisations and individuals.

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WorldbyStorm - January 20, 2021

I was wondering that about the paper in the 70s. Amazing. Do you know I have a memory of that magazine… Deirdre. Hmmm… interesting, wonder if anyone has copies.

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Colm B - January 20, 2021

My mother used to get copies of Deirdre! I thought it was just a Gaeilgeoiri magazine for women.

OMG me mammy was a Nazi!

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 20, 2021

Well it was just a Gaeilgeoirí mag for women. Don’t think there was any overt politics in it.

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WorldbyStorm - January 21, 2021

That’s what they wanted you to think but Deirdre was an anagram of an acronym about Corporatism. Obviously.

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3. rockroots - January 24, 2021

I’m struck by some of the more ambitious and progressive policies around house-building, electrification, industrialisation, etc. I can see how it might appeal to some as they looked at their ration-book by the light of a paraffin lamp. How did that compare to the stated FF aims in 1943, I wonder?

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terrymdunne - January 24, 2021

Sure, if you cut out the bits about dictatorship and the antisemitism then they would probably be remembered as iconic left-republicans – especially if it was twenty years earlier and some of them were shot by the crown forces or free staters. Not saying they are small bits to cut out – at all – but “left” and “right” doesn’t really always encapsulate political differences in colonial, post-colonial and neo-colonial contexts. At the same time as that a lot of their policies sound entirely like a flights of fancy wishlist.

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alanmyler - January 24, 2021

About the confusion of Left and Right, I don’t know if my own grandfather was a fan of that lot but he was an admirer of both Hitler and Connolly, which is certainly confusing to me. I never asked him about any of that unfortunately. As you say, living in a tenement in the Liberties maybe the nuances don’t matter so much when material progress is the promise.

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Michael Carley - January 24, 2021

Would that be similar to ideas about the greater “efficiency” of fascist regimes: they might be brutal but they’ll make the electric canals run on time.

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terrymdunne - January 24, 2021

No, nationalisation of railways – at -33.19 on the podcast there is their list of policy points – you can listen yourself if you think it is being mis-characterised.

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Michael Carley - January 24, 2021

Sorry, I wasn’t clear: would those ideas /appeal/ to people, despite their source, because they represented material progress or efficiency?

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terrymdunne - January 24, 2021

I think if we were in 1930s Germany there was a gulf between the SPD and KPD on the one hand and the NSDAP (or the Nationalists) on the other (even if there were a couple of rare instances where that was bridgeable at least with parts of the right-wing rank and file). But the Ailtirí programme was like develop the country – get real independence social/economic/cultural – pull ourselves up by the bootstraps in some heroic national popular mobilisation – break free of underdevelopment. I think the foreign model for doing all that could shift from the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany to the Peoples’ Republic of China according to what decade you are talking about. Same in other countries – like in the Chinese Civil War a lot of the KMT went over to the CP side – not individual soldiers here & there but entire divisions with their officers. That makes no sense in a European/Metropolitan context.

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rockroots - January 24, 2021

Well ok, to answer my own question, I see that rural electrification was promised in 1939 but then deferred for the duration of the war (sounds familiar, that). So it wasn’t an original idea for this lot, just a change of priorities.

I just think the commitment by either party to, for example, bring electricity to the masses in – as SoS says – a peasant economy was an extraordinary ambition/achievement. Compare and contrast with years of feasibility studies and contract tenders around rural broadband by a very wealthy modern Ireland.

I’m less clear on the industrialisation drive – was that an idea FF was fairly resistant to until the Lemass years?

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sonofstan - January 24, 2021

@rockroots.
Also compare and contrast the ability of the FF govt in the 30s to actually build house, tens of thousands of them.

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terrymdunne - January 24, 2021

FF was all for industrialisation pre-Lemass – was to be local indigenous etc… with more of a state role if necessary – pivoted to FDI later.

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4. sonofstan - January 24, 2021

I think that now, given that, in Zizek/ Jameson/ whoever’s phrase, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism,we can forget how fragile it seemed during the depression and into the war years. The wish to abolish or temper the market wasn’t confined to the left, nor did it seem as ‘natural’ as it does now, given that, in Ireland for example, a lot of people were still living in peasant economy.
Catholic corporatist social theory was very popular among what passed for an intelligentsia in the Free State and, as Joe will remember, was still present in the late ’70s among some vestigial fringes. A lot of that would have resonated with the stuff AnaA were pushing.

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5. CL - January 24, 2021

Because of De Valera’s protectionism, beginning in the 1930s, employment in manufacturing grew fairly rapidly.

The ‘social partnership’ wage agreements can be regarded as a form of corporatism.

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6. Daniel Rayner O'Connor - January 24, 2021

In AnahA, we are dealing with types of political concepts that were prominent in industrialised Germany seventy years before (Eugen Duehring, etc). Babel’s description of them as ‘the socialism of fools’ is relevant here.
At least one young hyper-active Labour Councillor, Eoin O’Coigligh of Drogheda, caught the bug, joined AnahA, and, in the 1945 local elections topped the poll in his ward, becoming his party’s greater vote winner. Perhaps mercifully for the country, he died soon after.

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 25, 2021

Another young man travelled the other way. Seán Ó Treasaigh from Tipp was an AnahA member in his youth, and, as Sean Treacy, later became a long-serving Labour Party TD and ended up as Ceann Comhairle iinm.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - January 25, 2021

He never quite shook it off. He lost the LP whip for opposing the loosening of contraceptive restrictions.

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7. CL - January 24, 2021

Quite apart from continental Nazism, the anti-Semite, Fr. Denis Fahey, was also an important influence on Ailtirí na hAiséirghe.

Fahey featured prominently in Gerry McGeough’s magazine, The Hibernian. His books are readily available on fascist websites.

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