August 16, 2015

Ireland's Capitalist Crown

Just as Ireland had a "parallel Monarchy" in the form of the imperial Roman Church, so Ireland now has a "parallel Crown" in the form of capitalist bonds and debentures.

Ireland's venerated martyr James Connolly wrote in 1914 that "Ireland has no war with Germany, it welcomes the German as a brother struggling towards the light", and went further than David Cameron by calling migrants to Ireland "hordes", a "swarm of locusts", "boys of the bull-dog breed" and "Brit-Huns", making Ireland "Rotten" with a "new plantation". James Connolly wrote in a 3 part essay series titled 'Slackers'.

In Part I of 'Slackers', published February 5 1916, Connolly wrote:
"Ireland is in the throes of a new invasion. But whereas all other invasions have been invasions of fighting men, this last invasion is an invasion of men who have declined to fight. 
Since the passing of the military service law and its coming into force in England this country has been flooded daily with fresh hordes of English and Scotch, who have run away from military service in their own country and settled down like a swarm of locusts upon Ireland."
In Part II he wrote:
"No work in Ireland for Irishmen, lots of work in Ireland for Brit-Huns – every ship that goes to England carrying away Irish men to jobs in England; every ship that comes to Ireland carrying over Brit-Huns to jobs in Ireland. Was ever a nation so beset?"
In Part III he wrote:
"And finally, let us say that we are sick of the canting talk of those who tell us that we must not blame the British people for the crimes of their rulers against Ireland. We do blame them. In so far as they support the system of society which makes it profitable for one nation to connive at the subjection of another nation they are responsible for every crime committed to maintain that subjection."
Connolly asked "Who are the Irish?" in an article in the Workers’ Republic, published 8 April 1916 and entitled ‘The Irish Flag’. He responded:
"Not the rack-renting, slum-owning landlord; not the sweating, profit-grinding capitalist; not the sleek and oily lawyer; not the prostitute pressman – the hired liars of the enemy. Not these are the Irish upon whom the future depends. Not these, but the Irish working class, the only secure foundation upon which a free nation can be reared. The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour. They cannot be dissevered."
Connolly wrote in an 1897 essay, 'Socialism and Nationalism':
"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 she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs."
He wrote that he did not want the "capitalist monarchy" of France or America. Today Ireland is the poster child of European social market capitalism, and arm of world banking with all the look of a tax haven; and propped up by EU subsidies and U.S. Capital. And Connolly wanted this not just in Ireland, but across Europe. He wrote:
"Ireland may yet set the torch to a European conflagration that will not burn out until the last throne and the last capitalist bond and debenture will be shrivelled on the funeral pyre of the last warlord."
Constance, Countess Markiewicz, during a tour of America in 1922 to enlist support for the Republican cause, echoed these sentiments;
"It is the capitalist interests in England and Ireland that are pushing this Treaty to block the march of the working people in England and Ireland. Now I say that Ireland’s freedom is worth blood, and worth my blood, and I will willingly give it for it, and I appeal to the men of the Dáil to stand true."
People repeatedly bemoan the failure to enact and live out the ideals preached by Connolly and the other revolutionaries. Ronan McGreevy wrote that "Ireland was the one imagined by those who fought in the Easter Rising." 

George Bernard Shaw wrote in his preface to John Bull’s Other Island, 1907, that the Catholic Church would be a spiritually superior Imperialistic foreign ruler
"You may buy a common an not ineffective variety of Irish Protestant by delegating your powers to him… You would have a ten-times better chance with the Roman Catholic; for he has been saturated from his youth up with the Imperial idea of foreign rule by a spiritually superior international power, and is trained to submission and abnegation of his private judgement. A Roman Catholic garrison would take in orders from England and let her rule Ireland if England were Roman Catholic."
Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote heavily about James Connolly in his 1966 polemic for the New Left Review, ‘The Embers of Easter 1916-1966’. He wrote
"Connolly was a revolutionary socialist, who won Lenin’s approval, and who would have approved Lenin’s revolution. The Republic Connolly wanted was a Workers’ Republic, in which the workers of Belfast would have played an important part. As things have turned out, both parts of Ireland are firmly in bourgeois control, and no significant labour movement has emerged. The Irish Independent—which, after the Easter Rising, continued to call for more executions until it got Connolly—is still the main organ of the Catholic bourgeoisie and still the most influential newspaper in that part of the country which this year commemorates the Easter Rising. Naturally, it ran a commemoration supplement. The Labour Party in this three-quarters-of-a-nation has been dominated for years by dismal poltroons, on the lines of O’Casey’s Uncle Payther. Connolly is venerated as a martyr, and labour leaders sometimes pay homage to his ideals, without specifying what these ideals were, and always compensating for the reference by some allusion establishing the speaker’s religious orthodoxy, and if possible Connolly’s also. The Northern Ireland Labour Party is even more remote from Connolly, as it is a respectable offshoot of the respectable British Labour Party whose leaders, like the respectable labour leaders of Connolly’s own time, are prepared to support imperialist wars provided that they are allowed to call them by some other name."
"There were for a while signs that the government which claims descent from Pearse and Connolly had not entirely forgotten that Connolly regarded the Easter Rising not just as an Irish rising against England but as a blow against capitalist imperialism—the idea of the ‘pin in the hands of a child’. Nothing very dramatic along these lines could be expected from today’s bourgeois republic but, for a time, there appeared to be a realization that it would not be seemly for the heirs of Connolly simply to follow blindly, at the United Nations, the directives of that power which has inherited Britain’s role as the centre of capitalist imperialism, with its systems of indirect rule in Latin America, South-East Asia and parts of Africa, and its counter-revolutionary policies directed against the People’s Republic of China. For a time, therefore,—from 1957 to 1960 —Ireland’s representatives—or three-quarters representatives—strove to maintain an independent stance at the United Nations. The test of an independent stance at the United Nations is the annual vote about continuing to seat Chiang Kai-Shek’s delegation as representing China: that is always the substance, the forms vary according to expediency. For a few years the Irish Delegation held out on this issue, and some related issues, declining the State Department ‘whip’. The realities of life at the United Nations are such that even this modest display of independence earned Ireland considerable respect in the General Assembly. It even seemed possible at one stage that Ireland might have something distinct and useful to say in relation to revolution in the under-developed world, and the attitude of the advanced world towards that revolution. These hopes were to fade. In 1961, when the late Adlai Stevenson produced a new procedural device for keeping Chiang-Kai-Shek in the seat, the Irish Government—which had tied itself into semantic knots in the endeavour to defend its ‘China policy’ against clerical and other pressure at home—thankfully availed itself of the Stevenson gimmick in order to jettison its ‘China policy’; shortly afterwards, though not immediately, the rest of the independent line was jettisoned. For practical purposes, Ireland now became a safe Western vote: that is to say a vote on which the rulers of the advanced, capitalist countries could count, in all important questions, for the support of policies deemed appropriate in the defence of their international interests (When they are split, as at Suez, the safe votes go to the strongest, the U.S.A.) This transition was unnoticed at home, partly because the new policy continued to be expressed in the language of the old one—very much in the spirit of the Constitution of 1937—and partly because Irish public opinion, like public opinion in other countries, is hopelessly confused about the significance of UN proceedings. But for persons in the habit of following these proceedings attentively the undramatic but perceptible change in Ireland’s voting pattern from 1961 on had a chilling significance, finally confirmed when last year the one-time ‘independent’ voted, along with the other satellites, for the continued exclusion of the government of the people of China from China’s seat and the continuance in that seat of a delegation representative of American policy in Asia. The significance of this re-alignment was that, as far as official policy was concerned, the last embers of the 1916 spirit had expired."
He also wrote:
"We have no need of hypothetical Connollies, tailored to the requirements of someone’s propaganda. We have Connolly’s writings, and the record of his acts. The sense of these is the sense of the revolutionary movements in the underdeveloped world today. His writings reflect not only immense strength of character but also high intelligence; these are not the qualities that are required to swallow the American, and American-satellite, line on these revolutionary movements—that they are ‘master-minded’ from Moscow or Peking, that those who oppose them are the real anti-imperialists etc. From Connolly’s writings it is not easy to imagine him accepting the thesis that the armed Vietnamese peasants are the imperialists and that the American marines who are killing them and poisoning the rice-fields around them, are saving Vietnam from imperialism. Nor need we suppose that he would be as easily swayed as are his supposed heirs by the thought that the Vietnamese guerrillas, being either communists or Buddhists or both, quite possibly do not go to Mass."
Read 'The Embers of Easter 1916-1966’ in full here. In my previous post here on Ireland's "parallel monarchy" I quoted Fintan O'Toole who said:
"Having shrugged off one culture of deference to titled nobles, the new state embraced another. The elected representatives of the people always kneeled before a bishop and kissed his ring... Mary Kenny has argued persuasively that the Church occupied the place where the monarchy had been: ‘even the ardent Republicans would find a vehicle for the pomp and ceremony that every society either derives from tradition or reinvents – the Holy Roman Catholic Church would soon fill the vacuum left by the departed pageantry of His Majesty.' ...The ‘parallel monarchy’ of the Church preserved all the habits of awe, obedience and humility that might have been thrown off in a genuinely democratic revolution."
Oxford historian Roy Foster said that, "The Irish Free State was a notably clerical institution and became more so all the time." Donald T. Torchiana said:
"The Ireland that rid herself of British despotism possessed a peasantry, as Swift had predicted, ready to inflict an even more despotic rule of a zealously Gaelic and catholic majority." 

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