James Connolly

James Connolly's The Legacy

Published on: Mon, 19/08/2013 - 01:58

Come here my son, and for a time put up your childish play,
Draw nearer to your father’s bed, and lay your games away.
No sick man’s ’plaint is this of mine, ill-tempered at your noise,
Nor carping at your eagerness to romp with childish toys.
Thou’rt but a boy and I, a man outworn with care and strife,
Would not deprive you of one joy thou canst extract from life;
But o’er my soul comes creeping on death’s shadow, and my lips
Must give to you a message ere life meets that eclipse.
Slow runs my blood, my nether limbs I feel not, and my eyes
Can scarce discern, here in this room, that childish

1916: The Easter Rising

Published on: Mon, 06/05/2013 - 16:58

Ireland and the Revolutionary Tradition of Easter Week

From Labor Action, 14 April 1941

Easter Sunday morning, 1916. Three o'clock. James Connolly. Irish revolutionary leader, was talking to his daughter and some of her friends, all asking why the revolt so carefully prepared had been countermanded.

Connolly knew that the arms from Germany had been intercepted, he knew that the arrangements had broken down, but he knew that the British government was going to strike. He could not let the revolt be stamped out without resistance. It seemed to him, and rightly, that the resulting demoralisation

Connolly and the Easter Rising

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 13:47

Michael Johnson

The final part of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

The date of the Rising was set for Easter Sunday. However, crisis struck the rebels’ plans when the arms shipment from Germany was intercepted. When the more moderate Volunteer leadership around Eoin McNeill became aware of the IRB’s plans, the orders for manoeuvres on Easter Sunday were called off at the eleventh hour, with an ad placed in the Sunday Independent just to make sure that the message was relayed.

McNeill’s actions were, to Tom Clarke, “the blackest

Connolly and the First World War

Published on: Wed, 31/08/2016 - 12:24

Part 11 of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

In March 1914, Asquith made his new and final proposal on Home Rule, putting forward a scheme whereby the Ulster counties could exclude themselves from the new Irish constitution. It was supposed to be a temporary exclusion, for six years, but a general election in the interim delivering a Tory majority could make it permanent.

It was clear that Ulster was holding out for permanent exclusion — partition — if could not prevent Home Rule from passing. Adding to the

Connolly and the Irish labour movement

Published on: Wed, 10/08/2016 - 12:50

Michael Johnson

Part ten of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

The issue of the need for an independent Irish labour movement and an Irish Labour Party was a source of conflict with members of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in Belfast, whose leading light was William Walker. Walker, a long-time Belfast labour activist and former member of the British Labour Party’s executive, advocated the further integration of labour bodies in Ireland with the British labour movement, a view he understood to represent “internationalism”.


Connolly and the Unionists

Published on: Wed, 27/07/2016 - 12:48

Michael Johnson

Part nine of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

The prospect of the Third Home Rule Bill sparked a widespread mobilisation of Ulster Unionists in opposition to the measure, backed to the hilt by the Tory establishment who hoped to use Ulster to defeat Home Rule for Ireland as a whole.

Connolly’s perspective after 1910 was that Home Rule was inevitable and that workers needed an independent Irish Labour Party to provide opposition to the Irish Nationalists in a future Home Rule Parliament. As late as 1913 he remained

Connolly and the Dublin lockout

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 14:03

Michael Johnson

Part eight of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

While the Home Rule crisis raged in Ulster, the southern Irish labour movement was about to engage in a class battle of unprecedented militancy.

Connolly, along with Jim Larkin, would be at the centre of events during the 1913 Dublin Lock-Out. In the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War, Great Britain was convulsed by an unprecedented wave of syndicalist-inspired strike action known as the “Great Unrest”.

Dockers and railway workers took prolonged

Connolly, the rise of Irish labour and Home Rule

Published on: Wed, 15/06/2016 - 12:40

Michael Johnson

By January 1908, Connolly finally had an organ of his own once again, when he founded The Harp as the newspaper of the Irish Socialist Federation (ISF) in the USA.

The ISF was inspired by Connolly’s work alongside Italian workers in the Il Proletario group, which prompted him to learn Italian and organise free speech protests against police harassment of the group’s meetings. Irish-Americans did not have their own national federation. Indeed, New York Mayor George B. McClellan had declared that “There are Russian Socialists and Jewish Socialists and German Socialists. But thank God there are

Connolly, the USA, and the Wobblies

Published on: Wed, 08/06/2016 - 12:25

Michael Johnson

In June 1905, the American workers’ movement took a huge leap forward, with the establishment of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Chicago.

Its roots lay in the militancy of mine workers in the mid-western states, where for a decade the Western Federation of Miners had been fighting intense class battles with the employers, uniting skilled and unskilled workers and relying on workers’ own strength and solidarity to defeat the bosses.

The need for an organisation like the IWW (known commonly as the “Wobblies”), emphasising class struggle and solidarity, and organising the

Connolly, Millerand, and De Leon

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 11:48

In 1900, the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP) scored a victory when the Paris Congress of the Second International recognised its delegates, E.W. Stewart and Tom Lyng, as representing a separate national group from the British socialist organisations.

Amongst the delegates supporting this stance — against the British SDF — were those from Daniel De Leon’s American Socialist Labour Party (SLP), whose struggle against reformism and opportunism in the socialist movement was admired by the Irish socialists.

One major issue of controversy at the 1900 conference was the decision in 1899 by

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