at the present time there are at work a variety of agencies seeking to
the national sentiment in the hearts of the people.
Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are
undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping
from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and
characteristics of our people.
Nevertheless, there is
that by too strict an adherence to their present methods of propaganda,
consequent neglect of vital living issues, they may only succeed in
stereotyping our historical studies into a worship of the past, or
crystallizing nationalism into tradition---glorious and heroic indeed,
still only a tradition.
Now traditions may,
frequently do, provide materials for a glorious martyrdom, but can
strong enough to ride the storm of a successful revolution.
If the national
movement of our
day is not merely to re-enact the old sad tragedies of our past
must show itself capable of rising to the exigencies of the moment.
It must demonstrate to
people of Ireland that our nationalism is not merely a morbid idealising
of the past,
but is also capable of formulating a distinct and definite answer to
problems of the present and a political and economic creed capable of
adjustment to the wants of the future.
social ideal will best be supplied, I believe, by the frank acceptance
part of all earnest nationalists of the Republic as their goal.
Of course, some of our
friends, especially those who have never got beyond the A.B.C. of the
will remind me that even in a republic the worker is exploited, as for
in France and the United States. Therefore,
they argue, we cannot be republicans. To this I reply: the countries
have only capitalism to deal with. We have capitalism plus a monarchy
roots deep in the history and thoughts of the people. Get the people to
the foul plant of ages – monarchy; and the mushroom growth of a century
will not long survive the popular uprising….To assert that, because
exploitation (robbery) of the workers takes place under a republic, we
be republicans is the very acme of absurdity. The exploitation of the
is relatively greater in countries where the workers have the
franchise, as in England,
than in countries where the workers are unenfranchised as in Russia.
Are we therefore opposed to the worker claiming the vote? Socialists
indifferent to monarchy. Indifference is acquiescence, when confronted
actively hostile principle. The triumph of Socialism means the
monarchy and all its institutions.
12, 1900. That day sixteen
years later, Connolly was executed.
Not a Republic, as in France,
where a capitalist monarchy with an elective head parodies the
abortions of England, and in open alliance with the Muscovite despotism
its apostacy to the traditions of the Revolution.
Not a Republic as in
States, where the power of the purse has established a new tyranny
forms of freedom; where, one hundred years after the feet of the last
red-coat polluted the streets of Boston, British landlords and
impose upon American citizens a servitude compared with which the tax
pre-Revolution days was a mere trifle.
Republic I would
wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be
a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve
beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth
of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their efforts on its
To the tenant farmer,
between landlordism on the one hand and American competition on the
between the upper and the nether millstone; to the wage-workers in the
suffering from the exactions of the slave-driving capitalist; to the
agricultural labourer, toiling away his life for a wage barely
keep body and soul together; in fact to every one of the toiling
whose misery the outwardly-splendid fabric of our modern civilisation
reared, the Irish Republic might be made a word to conjure with---a
point for the disaffected, a haven for the oppressed, a point of
the Socialist, enthusiastic in the cause of human freedom.
together of our national aspirations with the hopes of the men and
have raised the standard of revolt against that system of capitalism
landlordism, of which the British Empire is the most aggressive type
resolute defender, should not, in any sense, import an element of
the ranks of earnest nationalists, and would serve to place us in touch
fresh reservoirs of moral and physical strength sufficient to lift the
Ireland to a more commanding position than it has occupied since the
It may be pleaded that
of a Socialist Republic, implying, as it does, a complete political and
economic revolution would be sure to alienate all our middle-class and
aristocratic supporters, who would dread the loss of their property and
What does this
That we must conciliate the privileged classes in Ireland!
But you can only
hostility by assuring them that in a free Ireland
their `privileges' will not be interfered with. That is to say, you
guarantee that when Ireland is free of foreign domination, the green-coated Irish
guard the fraudulent gains of capitalist and landlord from `the thin
the poor' just as remorselessly and just as effectually as the
emissaries of England do to-day.
On no other basis will
classes unite with you. Do you expect the masses to fight for this
When you talk of
do you only mean the chemical elements which compose the soil of Ireland?
Or is it the Irish people you mean? If the latter, from what do you
free them? From the rule of England?
But all systems of
administration or governmental machinery are but the reflex of the
forms which underlie them.
English rule in
England is but
the symbol of the fact that English conquerors in the past forced upon
country a property system founded upon spoliation, fraud and murder:
the present-day exercise of the `rights of property' so originated
continual practice of legalised spoliation and fraud, English rule is
be the most suitable form of government by which the spoliation can be
protected, and an English army the most pliant tool with which to
judicial murder when the fears of the propertied classes demand it.
Our fathers, as in
knew how to crawl up to the landlord's office, pay his honour his rent,
then crawl home and die of hunger without making any foolish
interference with `the rights of property'. Why just imagine if our
been Socialistic in '47, not a single Irish man, woman or child have
hunger, and the human race would have been deprived of the sublime
a white race perishing of hunger in the midst of plenty rather than
principle of private ownership of God's earth. And their sublime
favour of private ownership of land is all the more remarkable in our
when we remember that their private ownership was never heard of in
until the English forced it upon us at the point of the sword, the
The Socialist who
root and branch, the whole brutally materialistic system of
like the English language we have adopted as our own, is, I hold, a far
deadly foe to English rule and tutelage, than the superficial thinker
imagines it possible to reconcile Irish freedom with those insidious
disastrous forms of economic subjection---landlord tyranny, capitalist
and unclean usury; baneful fruits of the Norman Conquest, the unholy
of which Strongbow and Diarmuid MacMurchadha---Norman thief and Irish
traitor---were the fitting precursors and apostles.
If you remove the
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
through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array
commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this
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
hypocritical homage at the shrine of that Freedom whose cause you had
Socialism---without a reorganisation of society on the basis of a
more developed form of that common property which underlay the social
of Ancient Erin---is only national recreancy.
It would be tantamount
public declaration that our oppressors had, so far, succeeded in
with their perverted conceptions of justice and morality that we had
decided to accept those conceptions as our own, and no longer needed an
army to force them upon us.
As a Socialist I am
do all one man can do to achieve for our motherland her rightful
heritage---independence; but if you ask me to abate one jot or tittle
claims of social justice, in order to conciliate the privileged
classes, then I
Such action would be
honourable nor feasible. Let us never forget that he never reaches
marches thither in the company of the Devil. Let us openly proclaim our
the logic of events is with us.