A New Year’s message to the haters…

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A homeless man begging in Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision

After some months of distraction and neglecting of this blog, the Rebel City Writers are back and hope to keep a consistent flow of material throughout 2017. For those of you new to our blog, do delve into our archives for some Pulitzer-worthy rantings and ramblings from rebels and reds alike. 

WARNING: If bad words offend you, then fuck off and read the fucking Echo!!

Absence of religion in my life has left me aloft as to who I should praise now that the curtain is about to close on another Christmas, so a theoretical nod to Karl Marx will have to suffice. Now let’s be clear, I am no scrooge and only partially a grinch. Christmas dinner and the time spent with family are my favourite parts of the holidays. Although, throwing on me novelty Christmas jumper and heading to the pub to consume intolerable levels of black stuff leading to a more intolerable rendition of my favourite christmas song, is right up there. What I can’t stand are the haters.

Some would say that Christmas brings out the best in us in terms of people’s willingness to give, to both charity and the less fortunate. However, I would say it brings out the worst in us. A few suits with share stickers dropping a couple of bob into a lads cup on the South Mall, although welcomed, is not reflective of the generosity, or of the equality, of society. Especially when our local district court Judge imprisons at least half a dozen of these very people in the final week of court proceedings, for “begging” and being “an obstruction and nuisance to the public”. Anyway the point is Christmas never fails at illuminating the core problems in society and the division surrounding them – poverty, homelessness, income inequality, mental health, unemployment, domestic violence etc. all come to the fore of public discussion. And although most people would be generally sympathetic to anyone who finds themselves in tough circumstances at christmas, not everyone would. I used to refer to them as the welfare haters, but now I just call them CUNTS.

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These CUNTS are not too hard to spot. They usually blame any lasting economic problems on the poor and destitute, otherwise known as “entitled”. Not a word said about tax evasion, income inequality or the banks causing the financial crisis. As Frankie Boyle says, all of this stuff “was on the fucking news”. The CUNTS are generally intellectually impotent, they come up with generalisations and stereotypes, not based on any fact based research by the way, and they repeat them religiously. They don’t acknowledge that at the end of 2014, 39% of the population of the Free State (or 1,969,630 people) had requested some sort of financial aid from the Department of Social Protection. Yeah, thats right 39%, probably about half of the adult population needed help. While at the beginning of 2016 we learned that 13 people had doubled their wealth in a year to have 38 Billion between them. Yeah that’s right, 13 fucking people. I could fit the bastards in the box room of me mother’s house all together, and be sure if I had the chance – I would fuck a grenade in there after them.

The point is everyone needs a hand at some stage in life. Obviously, if the current global economic system is designed to concentrate real wealth in the hands of a few, then more people are going to need help. Yeah I might be playing to divisionists by attacking the CUNTS, but fuck it and fuck them. They think that 39% of the population is entitled and part of the “don’t want to work brigade”. Their go-to catchphrase “Get a job and contribute” – yeah, contribute to what exactly? The growing loot of capital exploited on the backs of the working class being stored by the 1% in their paedophile dungeons? I’ve got a better idea, why don’t you have your mince pie and fucking choke on it, CUNT.

Jonathan Dunne

Posted in National Issues, Workers' Struggles | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Children of Austerity – Sugar babies

Sugar Daddy Billboard

Since the introduction of increased tuition fees in the UK and further austerity in Ireland, there has been a noticeable mark up in the amount of young people (overwhelmingly women) signing up to websites which advertise their ‘company’ (often sex) with older and wealthier men. The crisis in Ireland has placed many people under financial strain and as a result into doing work that under normal circumstances they would not do. This scheme of arranging companionship with the wealthy is one such example.

This scandalous devaluation of the human spirit and body comes with the commodity based society we’re living in. Everything is already for sale in the eye of a capitalist and countries have already taken the step to legalize sex work. Sex work however is less socially and culturally acceptable, it’s still generally stigmatized for a variety of different reasons. This scheme by name and approach makes the concept of a young person selling their ‘company’ to older, wealthier people friendlier and this is done solely and purely for PR.

Because regardless of how it is twisted or turned, the environment that drives young people into this scheme is one of financial hardship. Since the introduction of austerity measures, particularly the increases in tuition fees the numbers of people signing up as ‘sugar babies’ has disproportionately increased. It can be easily concluded that in the absence of meaningful work or support from the state, desperation has driven hundreds and thousands into advertising themselves for company.

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I don’t rule out that there are people out there who signed up voluntarily to this scheme nor do I condemn them. Their personal desires are their own, but on the basis of the statistics going back to the election of the Conservative government in the UK and the Fine Gael-Labour government in Ireland the numbers speak for themselves. Her.ie article on this topic states that ‘Since 2008 there has been 358% increase in signs up all across the world’, essentially highlighting that the very first year of the international banking crisis heralded in extreme hardship for vulnerable people around the world.

I can’t help but feel a sort of helplessness when reading about this, the way it has been spun has made it generally culturally acceptable despite it being revolting and a method of forcing young people into prostitution. This isn’t a question of ‘doing whatever you want’ or ‘following your dreams’, these are liberal notions which dilute the very real crisis young people are in.

In the face of increasing fees and continued and prolonged absence of meaningful employment the options we have are continuously cut down to the point where options such as prostitution are considered and taken up. It’s worth noting that as fees increase education becomes more and more inaccessible leaving options for young people more limited and limited.

As further austerity measures are introduced alongside the anti-student loan system we’ll see a clearer divide among young people. Those with the means will attend University and go on to well paid jobs while most of us will see either ourselves or our children locked out of third level education. Students and young people must mobilize to defend themselves and apply enough pressure to see tuition fees of all forms rolled back. But the continuing declining environment for young people won’t be simply beaten through defensive campaigns, we must also see to it that zero hour contracts are rid of alongside discriminatory wages on the basis of wage.

These sugar babies mark the beginning of a rapid and scary decline for our generation. If we’re going to do nothing, it’s just going to get worse.

Additional reading:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/labour-declines-to-rule-out-rising-fees-for-third-level-students-1.2537065

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/irish-sugar-babies-speak-about-dating-older-men-for-money-724788.html

http://www.her.ie/life/hundreds-of-irish-women-are-turning-to-sugar-daddies-to-help-them-pay-their-debts/21467

http://www.dailyedge.ie/irish-students-sugar-daddies-1284320-Jan2014/

Posted in Feminism, International Issues, National Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE CASTLE – Working Class Renamed Serfs under Minority Coalition

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The Irish government took a break from their lengthy discussions on their strategy for reneging on their election promises to make a public announcement tonight. Ireland’s first Taoiseach Enda asked the second Taoiseach Mícheál to speak (as a policy of taking turns is now in force).

“After one of the periods of silence in our political mediation, we at last found common ground. We believe the working classes of Ireland are being misrepresented by their title and we feel that this could be what has been causing the civil disobedience and mass trips to the capital for protest parades. We have become concerned by the people’s inability to accept our PR campaign slogans and never expected them to believe a few catchy phrases on a couple of posters. Our parties understanding of the national unrest about items like water or housing would seem to come from the belief that there is a class system in Ireland. We would like to clear any misunderstandings up by renaming the working, unemployed and lower-middle classes as Serf.

As an Irish Serf your ability to vote is more of a national fashion shoot and you should think of it as a festival of your betters. A leader can be a misleading term for a Serf as you might expect some representation and that was never our intention. Perhaps now as Serfs the people of Ireland will be able to accept the reality of the Eurocratic need for water privatisation and the entitlement of property owners. We are calling for more patience as it takes time to play enough games of golf to select the right property developer to bestow our housing crisis upon. The NAMA-land-distribution-of-wealth (NLDW) has caused a bit of divide among the ruling classes and the decisions around potential social-housing-profit-margins (SHPM) will need to be taken seriously and cannot be rushed. We are calling it a night as our drivers are getting tired but we will be returning at the crack of lunch tomorrow to ponder some more.”*

*may include a hint of satire…

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The wealth divide in Ireland has been gradually increasing during our age of austerity and the increase of over 70,000 Irish millionaire is a testament to the fact that this shock therapy is a lucrative one. I wish I could say it’s a covert operation but it’s not. The facts and figures are there to be read and they are reliant on our inability to change our system or lack of media coverage to promote the inequality. We see a nation with hotel children, whose imprisoned childhoods are the byproduct of non existent rental controls, and Yeats words from 1913, the era of slums and tenements, are once more appropriate.

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone…

The marrow they are drying is ours. The working, unemployed and lower-middle classes of Ireland. We will pay for over 70% of the water but we will use 10%. Increases in property tax, motor tax, VAT, PRSI, health insurance and the desecration of our public health and education services. The attacks on our vulnerable, in particular our children, have been unpalatable. We let bank employees give illegal loans of 450 million away without a prosecution but lone parent payment is cut from until age of 18 to 7. The Nuns who sold our children were more direct in their approach but a forced eviction, through emigration, of over nearly half a million of our youths, would indicate that a similar belief system is at play. Perhaps the person we are saving face for has changed, but today it is the Eurocrats whose boardroom charm has our local-lad-TDs sweating and faking solutions.

The result for us and our children remains the same. Hardship and pain. We have a housing crisis that requires 90,000 people to be housed and government strategy that felt promising 35,000 social houses by 2020 was sufficient. The remaining 55,000 people/families according to Alan Kelly and Paudie Coffey would be housed under the HAP and RAS schemes. Two schemes that create a positive statistical bubble for the Irish government. A solution worthy of any European boardroom but leaves the people within it powerless to achieve security. But what is the problem if you are housed? Well is it really housed if your landlord can ask for rent increases or refuse to renew the contract? Is it shelter when you are not part of discussions around your home, because they are held privately between landlords and the council, as tenants are not included? Or is it a home if you need to place your children, out of your community, into a city center school as you are unsure where you will be living in two years? You commute each day to ensure they have some stability in case your housing situation changes. And you hide your fears around eviction while creating a Santa you wished you could believe in.

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These contracts are a CSO stop gap but do not take the psychological impact of living with such uncertainties into account. And why should they? You are housed. You are a tick in an excel document and you should be grateful and not complain about the support, regardless of the personal cost of living under such a scheme. This attitude will need to change as the margins of poverty are increasing. And with rents of 2000 Euro the percentage of peoples monthly income being spent on shelter is reaching unsustainable levels. How can an average family earning 35,000, save for a deposit with unscrupulous rent prices? An entire class of people are then forced to rent but without the rental securities that our European counterparts are protected by. The mass evictions by Grant Thornton in Cork and Dublin are the start of a trend that could see our people brought to their knees by profit driven vulture funds. In Cork, at the Eden tenants eviction meeting, the tenants spoke of the reality of rent increases of up to 1,450 without a blink. It was normal and accepted. An apartment rented for 8-900 euros a few years ago is now worth 650euro more a month. The walls remain mortar so now it is our desperation they are selling. They went on to describe the reality of trying to secure a new rental property. Stories of 50 people turning up to a viewing. People with deposits in their hands and references ready. Of bidding wars held by estate agents at these viewings. It feels like a wild west movie, like a scramble for gold. All conscience and morals forgotten as pennys are counted. And the sheriffs or bailiffs of this new frontier take cash in hand and protect those who pay as there are no enforced laws to fear or follow.

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He’s laughing at you…

Ireland should not have a housing crisis it has estates all over Ireland that could be converted into social housing. The Irish League of Credit Unions have offered 5billion towards social housing costs. There are Irish companies in the pipelines with German and Swedish models of energy efficient passive and affordable houses just biting at the bit to work in Ireland. The question is why are the government not using common sense? Why is NAMA not being forced to hand over more land? Why are property developers not being controlled? Why are housing regulations so bureaucratic and regressive that international models of affordable and beautiful housing cannot be built here? There has to be a reason. Gross incompetence seems to obvious; so is it corruption? Is the housing crisis a mask for creating more wealth for a class of Irish people? If austerity can create millionaires; what will the housing crisis create? As minorities form some pantomime government it may serve them well to remember broken promises will not be forgotten. They may prefer the company of the wealthy but they do serve us all. Remember Russian history and ask the Tsars if they would have changed anything? That is of course, if you can still find one!

Rachael O’Sullivan

For more on who exactly the “housing crisis” benefits please read this article….

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“Kilmichael’s road, what worth?” – The usurpation of our revolutionary past

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“Barry’s dead, does no-one hear? 
Kilmichael’s road — what worth?

While Irishmen wear rusty chains that beseth them from their birth.”

– Bobby Sands, The Sleeping Rose

Irish Republicanism is at one of its most factionalised states in its history, arguably at its lowest ebb, and a state which can be summed up with painful accuracy in the above lines from Bobby Sands’ poem. With the mainstream face of modern republicanism happy to dine with royals and openly supportive of the neo-colonial European project, and with the militarist face seemingly without strategy, direction and any significant support, it has left many disenfranchised and disillusioned republican activists caught in a limbo. In this vacume potential was ripe for a large broad-based show of unity in this the centenary year, especially following the unified resistance to the demolition of the Moore Street battle site, but unfortunately conditions dictated otherwise. Or perhaps it was purely down to a lack of will. But where republicans failed the Free Staters sought to capitalise. And the resulting pageantry and faux-admiration espoused by the ruling class of the 26 county state for the heroes of 1916 would surely fool many into believing that this partitioned state is indeed what was fought for during that fateful week. But there are some that know better.

When the men and women of the assorted Republican forces marched out on the morning of April 24th, 1916, (100 years ago today) the Republic which they had pledged their lives to was not the corrupt and failed 26-county Brown Envelope Republic that has existed for the past ninety or so years. Their aim was not to create a backwards theocratic Catholic Republic that would leave a traumatic legacy of abuse of it’s most vulnerable citizens. And they did not sacrifice their lives and liberty for a “Republic” that willingly surrenders sovereignty to international and European banking cartels, and which prioritises the needs of the privileged and wealthy. Like Tone and the heroes of 1798 they sought to establish an all-Ireland republic where all citizens were equal in all aspects, where all the nation’s children would be cherished equally and where the “men of no property” would be the very class on which the strength of the Republic would be based. This rotten and corrupt state which seeks to claim legitimacy from the blood spilled by republican revolutionaries has absolutley no claim to the legacy of 1916. And in all honesty, if it wasn’t for the fear of letting the veil slip and the resulting public outcry, you can be rest assured that Kenny et al wouldn’t even bother pretending to have any admiration for the heroes of 1916.

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The 1916 Rising was fought by men and women that pledged their lives to the revolution, and sacrificed so much in defence of the thirty-two county Irish Republic. These heroes, and the countless others that came before and after, died for a dream that has not yet been achieved. A dream that will never be achieved so long as parasitic politicians and careerists are allowed to dictate to the people which aspects of our history we are allowed to remember, and how so they should be remembered. Commemorating the British occupational forces in Glasnevin, portraying quislings like John Redmond as being on par with revolutionaries like Tom Clarke, attempting to decimate our national monument at Moore Street, and, an almost complete lack of addressing of the “northern question” other than in attempts to distance the recent conflict in Ulster from the generations of conflict throughout this island – these are all methods of conditioning the people of Ireland to believe that all has been resolved, that the struggles of our ancestors have been concluded. It is in essence a usurpation of our revolutionary history by regressive forces of the ruling class.

This blatant revisionism is going to get all the more apparent as we move further into the so-called “Decade of Centenaries”. A gimic and a lie of an idea that was penned to have our people believe that the revolutionary period of 1913-1923 was the point of history when our nation was born. What in fact did emerge from the dust was the two corrupt states, both north and south, which have relied on an idea of two seperate people to maintain the staus quo and continue the exploitation of the masses after partition. This sham also portrays the labour, cultural and national struggles, which were at their height in this period, to be nothing more than problems of their times and that all has since been resolved. Unless we as a people can rise in defiance of these distortions of our history then what our martyrs died for will truly have been in vain.

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Republicans, socialists, anti-imperialists and anyone that is proud of our revolutionary past should not be willing to allow this defining moment of the revolution to be re-packaged and prostituted so the rich and powerful of both states in this nation can congratulate themselves and a century of ruling by fooling. To paraphrase the great Tom Barry, those in power have gone down into the mire to sully and destroy the legacy of our ancestors, and down after them we must go to ensure their dignity can be restored. If we fail to mount a worthy mass-movement of resistance to oppose these defiant acts of revisionism then it is not only our generation we are failing, but those that came before us and those that will come after. The British establishment, and its lickspittle shoneen allies in Ireland, have for centuries attempted to crush the unyielding spirit of resistance of the Irish people. A spirit which was borne of the ancient Gaelic warriors of centuries past, and blooded again and again in every generation that has lived under the yoke of British imperialism.

But alas, they failed. They failed because people like Pearse and Connolly and those that fought with them took it upon themselves to strike a blow for the freedom of the ancient Irish nation. They failed because the people, despite the social conditioning of Anglo-Saxon rule, yearned for the chance to take control of their own destinies. They failed because every empire that crosses foreign shores to unjustly and mercilessly conquer another people will inevitably fall when met with the unified voice of a risen people! But, where they failed, many more still seek to prevail. They seek to portray the struggle for full Irish independence as a finished fight. They seek to promote historical revisionism and sell it as a token of a “renewed relationship”. And they seek to paint the forces of the British Empire, that have for centuries carried out atrocity after atrocity on the native Gael’s for the cause of Queen and country, as equal to and worthy of the same remembrance that we as freedom loving people bestow on those brave warriors that died in the name of justice, liberty and equality. Comrades, there is much work to be done.

Barry’s dead and Cork’s asleep,
McSweeney’s cause been sold.
And the blood still lies on Kerry’s roads,
Unwashed by winds of old.
The hares cross lonely, barren ways,
Where once columns tramped the night,
And but a few still whisper Tracey’s name,
By hearthened fires in dancing light.

The Rose of Munster’s dead boys,
She choked upon her blood,
And Barry’s men died in her screams,
Trampled down into her mud.
Who cares for Kerry’s lonely graves,
The King of Cashel’s gone to Clare,
And those impoverished downtrodden fold,
As ever — laid naked, poor and bare.

Barry’s dead, does no-one hear?
Kilmicheal’s road — what worth?
While Irishmen wear rusty chains,
That beset them by their birth.
Oh! Barry’s gone let Munster weep,
His pleading ghost cries in the night,
But the Munster rose will only bloom again,
When Munster men join freedom’s fight.

AN PHOBLACHT ABÚ!

Lar Ó Tuama

Posted in Anti-imperialism, National Issues, Rebel History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election 2016: The year of the hotel children

Photo: Samboal/RollingNews.ie

Photo: Samboal/RollingNews.ie

We wait as a nation to hear the game played,
On radio to paper the clowns run parade.
Negotiated talks from closed wooden doors
Lay maps of a future for babes still to borne.

The hotel children hidden in Aistear cloaks,
Know no reason their ambitions will choke.
They word to letter form their homework to be done
For work if faster, harder a mother’s path may be resung.

The added pencil numbers of ones, twos and threes
All now becomes a telling of personal achieve.
Small hope eyes glow fierce to ignore,
The cold hunger of learning their young minds us implore.
For striving to thriving no teacher now claims
Is a child’s personal vendetta in a state’s CSO claim.

And no one but no one except you is too blame
For the race we all started saw equality named.
In a flat green field of true Irish grain
the feet of their childhood taught poverties pain.
A gunshot began and little legs race
Though the grass they pound down on is bought with their shame.

If a family left homeless through a fault they must own
Finds a lost vote still floating could they board it for home.
A land evergreen now torn into two
By the greed of cold penny that belongs to so few.
The masses come pouring to remind this small nation
Each voice that is standing talks for a people’s salvation.

So remember each vote that was ticked to be counted
Is a name not a chip to be hoarded and mounted.
In a jovial game of cards on Eireanns last table
So deliberate the hands dealt when cronies are able.

Rachael O’Sullivan

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Up The Republic!

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“It is a fallacy to believe that a Republic of any kind can be won through the shackled Free State. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The Free State is British created and serves British Imperialist interests. It is the buffer erected between British Capitalism and the Irish Republic.”

– Liam Mellows

As I watch the Mowag Personnel Carriers and formations of men carrying rifles walking up O’Connell Street to comemmorate 1916, my main thought is “how dare they?” There’s a lot of revisionism around the Rising, mainly around the real politics of it. Chief among it is the idea that Pearse and Connolly were “founders of the state” and that the Irish Army are the inheritors of the Irish Volunteers. Even among the opposition to our establishment, this idea has taken hold, the idea prevailing that our current leaders sold out the state they were given, that this state represents anything besides greed and inequality. Of course this is true, but the fact is the state was founded on these principles, they are its raison d’être.

The Irish Republic was proclaimed in 1916, in the Proclamation. It wasn’t the first attempt at a Republic, you had the United Irishmen 1798 rebellion, the Rober Emmet 1803 rebellion and the 1867 Fenian Uprising. These all had a central objective, as Wolfe Tone put it:

To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country—these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissentions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in the place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter—these were my means.

To unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishmen in order break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, that was my aim.

If the men of property will not support us, they must fall. Our strength shall come from that great and respectable class, the men of no property.

Tone is very clear here as to his aims, which were modelled on the French Revolutionary ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. All rebellions adopted these principles as the basis for Irish Republicanism – any Irish Republic had to be democratic, egalitarian, inclusive, secular and independent. These were the basis for all Irish republican uprisings, 1916 included.

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When the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the successors of the Fenians, began its process of “infiltrating” national organisations, the newly-formed GAA, the Gaelic League and so on, the reason was to turn these groups into vehicles for obtaining those very principles. Only through a Republic could Ireland stand before the world with political, economic and social sovereignty. Of course, doing this would mean the largest empire in the world simply giving in, which was an obvious impossibility, therefore, there had to be a rebellion. The mechanisms and road to Easter Week are well known and I wont repeat them here.

In 1916 a Provisional Government was formed, which was “entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irish man and woman”, it promised universal suffrage for men and women, it guaranteed “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

After the events post-1916, the Republican movement grew with an added emphasis after it led the organisation against conscription being extended to Ireland – when our modern “republic” is progressing further and further into pushing us into NATO and EU battlegroups. In 1918, Republicans won 73 out of 108 MP positions and using this mandate, declared an independent Republic, encompassing all 32 counties, with a new Parliament, Dáil Eireann, and a military force to defend the Republic, the Irish Republican Army. A Democratic Programme was adopted, which, building on the ideas of the Proclamation, and of Republicanism historically, enshrined “the ownership of all the wealth and wealth-producing processes to the nation”. The Republic would not be merely independent from Britain, it would be independent of its inhuman Capitalist system, based on exploitation.

After almost 3 years of guerilla war, terror from the British occupation forces, the establishment of the Republic was still holding, with a court system, policing system and so on. The British Government had to offer concessions, they could not crush the Republic. The shrewd British decided the best way to pacify Ireland would be to take advantage of the broad-church formation of Republicanism. The middle-class and capitalist-aligned nationalists such as Griffith, Collins, Mulcahy, were swayed into accepting a Treaty which increased the prosperity of Irish business people, but was not in the interests of the majority. The new Irish Free State crushed the Irish Republic, replaced with it was a 26-county dominion, with the Church in full control, with Britain still retaining control of Irish banking and the economy based largely on a dependence with the British economy, with plenty of profit to be made for Irish financiers, politicians and gombeens.

Republican prisoner Rory O'Connor is brutally executed by Free State forces, Dec 8th 1922

Republican prisoner Rory O’Connor is brutally executed by Free State forces, Dec 8th 1922

The Republicans fought on, the Republican Army’s headquarters at the Four Courts in Dublin were shelled by the Free State army, on the orders of the British, with the use of British arms, with an army made up of not a few ex-British army soldiers who simply transferred their allegiance to the new Free State. Up to 77 Republicans were executed in the Civil War, with many reprisals and massacres by the Free State, such as Ballyseedy. The citizens of Ireland were told by the Church not to support the Republicans, the media denounced them as a “gang”, its leaders, Mellows, O’Connor etc. were eliminated. After the defeat of the Republic in the so-called Civil War (1922-23), the Republicans were prevented from gaining employment, organising politically, forced to emigrate. In 1927, the Fianna Fáil party would break with the Republicans and enter parliament, its desire was to change it from within. However, they did not analyse the core conditions that led the Free State to establish itself, FF merely increased the role of the Church, kept the economy linked to Britain, including our currency linked to sterling, and built a country which was still run by the gombeens, for the gombeens. Executions, such as of Charlie Kerins, censorship and internment were continued under Fianna Fáil. The Free State was solidified. The Republican ideal, further undermined.

This state went through further years of lack of independence, lack of democracy, inequality, exploitation, but had the gall to declare itself a republic in 1949, with the 6 counties seemingly forgotten about! Fast forward to 2016, we can see little difference. The link to Britain is still there, 6 counties are still controlled by Britain, Irish banking and finance is linked to the EU, the gombeens are still getting richer, and we’re getting poorer. The Republic envisioned by Pearse and Connolly, of Mellows and O’Donnell, of Costello and Sands, is still not there. We need, on the centenary of 1916, to continue the fight for the Republic. We must learn from our failures in the past, as Connolly said, “only the Irish working-class are the incorruptible inheritors of Irish freedom”, as Tone said, “if the men of property do not help us, they must fall, we will rely on that noble and respectable class, the men of no property”. We must accept the Republic of 1916 was there, but it was betrayed and destroyed, driven underground, and with it the ideals and beauty contained in the ideals of 1916 and its leaders. This is why we have a bank bailout, a state subservient to the EU and the banking class, why we have water privatization, homelessness, a healthcare crisis, mental health issues, an education system that does not teach us what Pearse and Connolly believed and a leadership that seems not to care. Is it really corruption when they’re only doing what they’re meant to do? We can’t say we weren’t warned:

If you remove the English army to-morrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions shehas planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.England would still rule you to your ruin, even while your lips offered hypocritical homage at the shrine of that Freedom whose cause you had betrayed.

– James Connolly

Graham

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Rebel Lives: Volunteer Martin O’Leary – Ballyphehane’s Soldier of the People

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In 1971, Ireland was in a flurry of militancy, with the republican movement, despite the recent ’69/’70 split, playing a key part. Both the Official and Provisional wings of the movement played heroic parts in the Civil Rights Movement, opposition to British occupation and in standing with the people of Ireland against all forms of oppression. It was in this context that Volunteer Martin O’Leary gave his life.

The movement had engaged in intervening on the side of workers in several disputes, providing protection and security for workers, much the same as the Gardaí stood on the side of the bosses and exploiters. In Silvermines, Co. Tipperary the Canadian Multi-national Mogul Mines had been given permission to conduct mining operations in what was the largest deposit of silver ore in Western Europe. The Irish establishment had no interest in these resources going to the Irish people. Workers at the mines had to endure low wages, poor conditions and an unresponsive management, they decided to take strike action.

On the night of Satuday, 3 July, a group of 5 armed men held up security men at the Mogul Mines. They placed gelignite charges on the main electricity transformers – the damage from the explosion would cause Mogul Mines 1.6 million in damage. This led to a Garda manhunt for the men, with republicans across Munster facing inquiries. Unfortunately, on the night of the explosion at the mining site, a man with severe burns was dropped off to Barrington’s Hospital in Limerick by men who made a swift exit. It transpired that the explosion at the main electricity transformer had been premature and caused mortal injury to Martin.

Martin did not die immediately. For the next few hours, he would regain consciousness several times for brief periods. Each time, his family would be ushered out of the room while Garda Special Branch attempted to question him about the operation and the other participants. A tape recorder was also placed under his bed. However, despite this shameful harassment in his last moments, Martin never gave any information. Brigid Sheils Makowski, who gave Martin shelter in her home before the operation, had her house raided by armed members of the Special Branch for all traces of Martin’s stay there. In her autobiography, Daughter of Derry, Shiels Makowski describes Martin as “ all, soft-spoken and very handsome (he reminded me of Omar Sharif).”

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On the following Monday, representatives from Mogul Mines flew to Ireland, forced by the OIRA unit’s operation to resolve the dispute, to the satisfaction of the workers. The strike ended a few days later which gave O’Leary a fitting epigraph. Martin’s funeral took place on 8th July, with over 1,500 in attendance, and a large Garda presence. Outside Martin’s home at 143, Connolly Road, Ballyphehane, a volley of shots were fired over his tricolour-draped coffin, in recognition of his service. His body was buried in the Republican Plot in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, in defiance of Cork Corporation’s refusal to allow it. A party of 20 of the striking Mogul Mines workers were in attendance at the funeral to pay their respects, a wreath was laid on their behalf. The workers also organised a ceremony where a plaque was placed at the entrance to the mine to commemorate O’Leary. At the graveside oration, Cathal Goulding said that O’Leary was the “first martyr in a new phase of the republican struggle”, also saying that:

It is not within our power to dictate what action the forces of imperialism and exploitation will engage in to repress, coerce and deny ordinary people their God-given rights, making it necessary to speak the language that would bring these vultures to their senses – the language of the bomb and bullet.

Martin O’Leary was 20 years old when he died. He was, as Goulding put it, a “prototype of the modern revolutionary”. While it would not do him well to guess his views, he certainly wouldn’t have approved of the movement he gave his life for splinter into a counter-revolutionary force, taking a concilliatory view of British occupation and allowing the once revolutionary wokring-class traditions it stood for take a back seat to the purposes of opportunism. Perhaps O’Leary would have gone with the later revolutionary split in the ranks fo the Official Movement, taking the side of the INLA/IRSP or perhaps he would have welcomed the Provisionals move towards socialism. A ballad was written after the death of Vol. O’Leary:

As time goes by and years roll onward
Deep in my memory I will keep
Of a dark July morning
When all Cork City was asleep.

A band of gallant Irish soldiers
To Mogul Mines they made their way
To strike a blow against the boss class
Who exploit the wealth beneath our clay.

So rally all you Iirsh workers
The wealth of Ireland is your right
The foreign interests shall exploit you
Unless like Martin we all fight

The miners down in Tipperary
A hard and bitter struggle waged
Against the foreign mine owners
And the anger of the native slave.

Solidarity was their slogan
Determination was their mood
While poverty and deprivation
O’er their families loomed

A member of the raiding party
Before the dawn fought for his life
For injured he was while in action
Upholding Irish workers’ rights

The Free State vultures standing o’er him
A cell and trial their concern
But God above knew he had plans for Martin
In that glorious spot he had reserved

Fuair sé bás ar son Phoblacht na nOibrithe!

Graham

 

Posted in Anti-imperialism, National Issues, Rebel History, Rebel Lives, Workers' Struggles | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment