July 01, 2015

There is no comparison between the American and Irish struggle for independence

Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
American independence was an Anglo-protestant insurrection of European colonists against fellow colonists over confiscated lands. Irish independence was an uprising of the native Catholic and socialist super-Gael against the coloniser.

Americans were colonists and colonisers, the Irish were the colonised. It's lazy the comparison. There are no parallels between American and Irish independence, as I have worked to show many times.

The parallel for Irish indepencen is with the Haitian and black and slave rebellions, like the one which happened many years ago at the Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Charleston church has long been a center of civil rights activism since its 1816 founding, and Denmark Vesey, a leader in the church, launched a failed slave rebellion that saw the church building burn to the ground.

James Connolly Heron, great-grandson of the leader of the 1916 rebellion, wrote about the 1916 Rising in the following terms:
"To resist slavery by all means at one’s disposal hardly requires a mandate: it requires a response. It requires immediate action."
Irish people in the early 1900s were not chattel or indentured. And of course the irony is that the British ended slavery decades before the American Civil War which closed the trade of humans as chattel.

If there is an analogy it is between Irish Risings and slave rebellions, even if it is a stretch. Both were the dispossessed, exploited and oppressed.

I've written many times that America is the Ulster plantation over a continent. The Plantation of east Ulster in 1606 inspired the Plantation of Virginia at Jamestown in 1607. Historian Madison Grant, wrote in his classic 1933 work The Conquest of a Continent; and of course it was conquest by Europeans, including Irish, Protestant and Catholic.

John Sloan wrote, ‘Authors in Context: Oscar Wilde’:
"Many Irishmen, among them Young Ireland leaders John Mitchell and Thomas Meagher, supported the Confederate Cause during the American Civil war."

I've looked before at 'Being a planter.' This is the burden that Irish protestants hold, but this heritage is no less ignominious than the legacy inherited by many millions of Americans, all of whom are planters, party to dispossession and oppression, including Irish Americans.

A recent Oxford University study looked at the "genetic fingerprints of the slave trade and colonisation" and found that the great-grandchildren of slave owners are walking the earth today.

Bernadette Devlin said Irish Americans were like Orangemen, as I wrote here. I also asked, if we celebrate Columbus Day and Australia Day, why not Henry II Day? I've also wrote of the anti-Columbus movement, because if your regret Britain's role in Ireland, you're also regretting Britain ever went to America.

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