The good and the great will gather at Easter in Dublin, to commemorate those who gave their live’s to free this little island from the the imperial oppression of Britain. The attempt to escape the butchers knife was a failure. All the signatures to the proclamation establishing an Irish Republic were executed under martial law,with a few more besides.
These men and women who knew their faith would be the death, if the attempt at rebellion failed, deserve our respect. As to the political parties of the establishment they would rather not commemorate a rebellion where the ordinary citizens resorted to taking up arms to free themselves from oppression. After all if then,why not now indeed is their not more need now. The failure of the Irish Republic is all around to see, worst housing crisis in the history of the state. Unemployment is in single figures only because 300.000/500.000 have emigrated the old escape valve for those Irish who took the places of our imperial overlords. Zero hour contracts are now the norm. Women still treated like second class citizens in particular in pregnancy. This has always been, since the foundation of the Irish state,indeed giving the church power over women in particular the “fallen”. Their children exported to rich Americans. While travellers are still turned out on the roadside.
Is this what these brave men and women died for.
While most of these men and women seen the break with England as the start of a free Ireland, a green flag flying over Dublin Castle. With some exceptions who had sympathy with the poor. For instance Roger Casement who had exposed the imperial rampage of the Belgians in the Congo. He was captured attempting to land guns from Germany,for the rebellion. Then because he betrayed his position as an a British civil servant in the Congo,then Ireland, the British ruling class took pleasure in hanging him. All the other leaders of the rebellion were executed my military firing squad,Connolly being strapped to a chair because of his gangrene leg.
Yet it was Connolly who had a vision of a new Ireland. His wanted a socialist Ireland or as he called for a Workers Republic, as he said a long time before the rising this was his political viewpoint and what he fought for. By the time 1916 came,he had seen the only international workers organization, side with there own capitalist class and send millions of workers to die for king and country.
He was ahead of his time on an island fettered by poverty and under imperial rule where revolution only meant one thing self determination for Ireland. He attempted to connect the two self determination alongside workers rule. In death all those who follow in the footsteps of the nationalist leaders of the rebellion also lay claim to Connolly. Even the various governing parties will speak his name in reverence come Easter. Of course it is but a show, they will attempt to get these commemorations out of the way as quickly as possible,rather then give the plebs any ideas in these austerity years.
So what did these brave men and women die for,was it for this bankrupt state, ruled by a parasitic capitalist class bought and paid for by the European Union. Maybe from this will emerge a discussion among those who make the wealth,working people, and a reconnection with the ideas of Connolly . I have always believed had he lived he would have ended up with Lenin/Trotsky in the Revolutionary Third International differences no doudth,but his fundamental ideas where closer to Lenin then the leaders of the second international. To study Connolly takes you to Lenin. For me this was my route to understanding how the world worked and the need for revolution to change it.
This I suggest is the lesson of 1916 for Irish working people, today only the ideas of Connolly and Lenin, on our banners, not another” glorious sacrifice” we Irish have had too many of these through the centuries. To finish with the last part of Yeats poem written for those who died in 1916.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse–
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born
Next time let it be a poem of victory.