Republicans of British-Occupied Ireland Unite!
The Protestant & United Irish Republican, Wolfe Tone:
“To unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishmen in order break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, that was my aim”.
“If the men of property will not support us, they must fall. Our strength shall come from that great and respectable class, the men of no property”.
James Connolly was an Irish republican, Agnostic and socialist leader. He was born in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland. He left school for working life at the age of 11 & became one of the leading Marxist theorists of his day. He took a role in Scottish and American politics. He was Murdered by a British firing squad because of his leadership role in the Easter Rising of 1916.
Connolly became secretary of the Scottish Socialist Federation.
At the time his brother John was secretary; after John spoke at a rally in favour of the eight-hour day, however, he was fired from his job with the Edinburgh Corporation, so while he looked for work, James took over as secretary. During this time, Connolly became involved with the Independent Labour Party which Keir Hardie had formed in 1893.
Sometime during this period, he took up the study of, and advocated the use of, the neutral international language, Esperanto.
By 1892 he was involved in the Scottish Socialist Federation, acting as its secretary from 1895. Two months after the birth of his third daughter, word came to Connolly that the Dublin Socialist Club was looking for a full-time secretary, a job that offered a salary of a pound a week. Connolly and his family moved to Dublin, where he took up the position. At his instigation, the club quickly evolved into the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP). The ISRP regarded by many Irish historians as a party of pivotal importance in the early history of Irish socialism and republicanism. While active as a socialist in Great Britain, Connolly was the founding editor of The Socialist newspaper and was among the founders of the Socialist Labour Party which split from the Social Democratic Federation in 1903. While in America he was a member of the Socialist Labor Party of America (1906), the Socialist Party of America (1909) and the Industrial Workers of the World, and founded the Irish Socialist Federation in New York, 1907. He famously had a chapter of his 1910 book “Labour in Irish History” entitled
“A chapter of horrors: Daniel O’Connell and the working class.”
critical of the achiever of Catholic Emancipation 60 years earlier. On his return to Ireland he was right hand man to James Larkin in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. He stood twice for the Wood Quay ward of Dublin Corporation but was unsuccessful. His name, and those of his family, appears in the 1911 Census of Ireland – his occupation is listed as “National Organiser Socialist Party”. In 1913, in response to the Lockout, he, along with an ex-British officer, Jack White, founded the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), an armed and well-trained body of labour men whose aim was to defend workers and strikers, particularly from the frequent brutality of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Though they only numbered about 250 at most, their goal soon became the establishment of an independent and socialist Irish nation. He founded the Irish Labour Party as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress in 1912 and was a member of its National Executive. Around this time he met Winifred Carney in Belfast, who became his secretary and would later accompany him during the Easter Rising.
“Though I have usually posed as a Catholic, I have not done my duty for 15 years, and have not the slightest tincture of faith left!”
Letter from James Connolly to John Carstairs Matheson, 30 January 1908.
Socialism Today – The Connolly & religion debate.
“The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system; it must go. And in the work of abolishing it the Catholic and the Protestant, the Catholic and the Jew, the Catholic and the Freethinker, the Catholic and the Buddhist, the Catholic and the Mahometan will co-operate together, knowing no rivalry but the rivalry of endeavour toward an end beneficial to all. For, as we have said elsewhere, socialism is neither Protestant nor Catholic, Christian nor Freethinker, Buddhist, Mahometan, nor Jew; it is only Human. We of the socialist working class realise that as we suffer together we must work together that we may enjoy together. We reject the firebrand of capitalist warfare and offer you the olive leaf of brotherhood and justice to and for all!”
“We do not mean that its supporters are necessarily materialists in the vulgar, and merely anti-theological, sense of the term, but that they do not base their socialism upon any interpretation of the language or meaning of scripture, nor upon the real or supposed intentions of a beneficent Deity. They as a party neither affirm or deny those things, but leave it to the individual conscience of each member to determine what beliefs on such questions they shall hold. As a political party they wisely prefer to take their stand upon the actual phenomena of social life as they can be observed in operation amongst us to-day, or as they can be traced in the recorded facts of history!”
“If you remove the English army tomorrow 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!”
“Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class!”
Irish Worker (socialist newspaper) 29 August, 1915. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), “James Connolly – Selected Writings”, p. 248.
‘Those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword’ say the Scriptures, and it may well be that in the progress of events the working class of Ireland may be called upon to face the stern necessity of taking the sword (or rifle) against the capitalist class!”
The Worker (socialist newspaper) 30 January, 1915. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), “James Connolly – Selected Writings”, p. 210.
“Under a socialist system every nation will be the supreme arbiter of its own destinies, national and international; will be forced into no alliance against its will & will have its independence guaranteed and its freedom respected by the enlightened self-interest of the socialist democracy of the world!”
– James Connolly”
“Such a scheme – the betrayal of the national democracy of Industrial Ulster, would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements while it lasted!”
– James Connolly.
“The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour!”
Workers’ Republic (socialist newspaper) 8 April, 1916. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), “James Connolly – Selected Writings”, p. 145.
Vladimir Lenin was a Russian communist revolutionary, Atheist, politician and political theorist. He served as the leader of the Russian SFSR from 1917, and then concurrently as Premier of the Soviet Union from 1922, until his death. Politically a Marxist, his theoretical contributions to Marxist thought are known as Leninism, which coupled with Marxian economic theory have collectively come to be known as Marxism–Leninism.
Lenin gained an interest in revolutionary leftist politics following the execution of his brother in 1887. Briefly attending the Kazan State University, he was ejected for his involvement in anti-Tsarist protests, devoting the following years to gaining a law degree and to radical politics, becoming a Marxist. In 1893 he moved to St. Petersburg, becoming a senior figure within the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. Arrested for sedition and exiled to Siberia for three years, he married Nadezhda Krupskaya, and fled to Western Europe, living in Germany, England and Switzerland. Following the February Revolution of 1917, in which the Tsar was overthrown and a provisional government took power, he returned home.
As the leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, he took a senior role in orchestrating the October Revolution in 1917, which led to the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government and the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. Immediately afterwards, Lenin proceeded to implement socialist reforms, including the transfer of estates and crown lands to workers’ soviets. In 1921 Lenin proposed the New Economic Policy, a system of state capitalism that started the process of industrialisation and recovery from the Russian Civil War. In 1922, the Russian SFSR joined former territories of the Russian Empire in becoming the Soviet Union, with Lenin as its leader.
Lenin was a Marxist and principally a revolutionary. His revolutionary theory—the belief in the necessity of a violent overthrow of capitalism through communist revolution, to be followed by a dictatorship of the proletariat as the first stage of moving towards communism, and the need for a vanguard party to lead the proletariat in this effort—developed into Marxism–Leninism, a highly influential ideology.
As stated in his Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin’s revolutionary project embraced not just Russia but the world. To implement world revolution the Third or Communist International was convened in Russia in 1919, to replace the discredited Second International. Lenin dominated the first, second (1920) and third (1921) Congresses of the International and hoped to use the organisation as an agency of international socialist revolution. After the failure of revolutionary ambitions in Poland, in the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–21, and after various revolutions in Germany and Eastern Europe in 1919 had been crushed, Lenin, increasingly, saw that anti-colonial struggles in the Third World would be the foci of the revolutionary struggle. He believed that revolution in the Third World would come about through an alliance of the proletarians with the rural peasantry.
In 1923 Lenin said:
“The outcome of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China, etc,. account for the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe. And during the last few years it is this majority that has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be. In this sense the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured.”
Lenin praised Chinese socialist revolutionary leader Sun Yatsen and his Kuomintang party for their ideology and principles. Lenin praised Sun, his attempts on social reformation and congratulated him for fighting foreign Imperialism. Sun also returned the praise, calling him a “great man”, and sent his congratulations on the revolution in Russia. Organised on Leninism, the Kuomintang was a nationalist revolutionary party, which had been supported by the Soviet Union.