Republicans and loyalists unite to mark centenary of James Connolly arriving in Belfast

SIPTU – the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union – are marking the centenary of the arrival of James Connolly in Belfast to organise dockers and mill workers in an event in Belfast City Hall on the evening of Friday 28 October.

Lord Mayor Niall Ó Donnghaile will unveil a a portrait of James Connolly by artist Frank Quigley, followed by a panel discussion on the theme of the ‘The Task Today’ looking at “the current needs of workers and people who rely on public services as well as what can be learned from the legacy of James Connolly”.

SIPTU’s General President Jack O’Connor, will be joined by historian John Gray, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and SIPTU activist Jackie McDonald (more often badged as a loyalist community worker and a UDA leader).

In their press release, SIPTU’s Martin O’Rourke said

Connolly’s contribution in empowering working people in Belfast was immense; his campaigning played a key role in enhancing working conditions and the lives of the most deprived in society. Connolly was passionate about uniting working people, and breaking down sectarian barriers. His time in Belfast was characterised by his drive to unite communities.

SIPTU believes that James Connolly’s actions and thoughts are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago, and we hope by marking this great man of Labour, and exploring his contribution in Belfast, we can further understand the task today for us in the trade union movement.

UNISON’s Patricia McKeown took part a panel at the UUP’s conference on Saturday, and in response to a question about the upcoming centenaries, was able to list a large range of historic events that local unions would be keen to mark in the coming years.

The question is whether cool heads and open minds will prevail as the island gets a chance to re-examine different people’s interpretations of their shared turbulent history?

Update – catching up on a busy week, I’ve stumbled upon the Belfast Telegraph’s article about this event.

“Working with the Prison to Peace group, I have been engaging with all the republican groups anyway,” Mr McDonald, a Siptu activist, said.

“For too long working-class loyalists have been forgotten about or demonised. Myself and a number of colleagues thought it was time we got our message across and how we feel about the things that have happened to us and our community over the years.

“This is a good opportunity to make our voices heard. I will be talking about the poor and disadvantaged and the need to get jobs for our young people and about the need to give them ambition in life.”

The portrait will be erected in the Lord Mayor’s office in the City Hall.

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  • dodrade

    Shinners commerating James Connolly’s arrival in Belfast? I thought they were against Brits interfering in Irish affairs.

  • wild turkey

    i deeply respect the integrity and convictions and sacrifices of James Connolly the man. he is (was, ed.?) without doubt an inspirational figure.

    but to see the Patricia McKeowns of this world attempt to claim any real connection or legacy with man….. well it reminds me of some of the funnier, if more morbid, scenes out of the Life of Brian…. and yes it was on BBC4 the other nite.

    call me old fashioned, but there is a simple, if profound, difference, between the lightning bolt and the lightning bug….. and we are left with the bugs claiming, but not touching, the lightning.

    and Alan with respect, the history was indeed turbulent, but rarely, if ever, shared.

    eh?

  • Harry Flashman

    Not sure how much respect should be accorded to a man who raises a small private army (including child soldiers) and without any popular mandate or support launches an uprising that causes massive destruction and hundreds of deaths in a hitherto peaceful city.

    The fact that this uprising then leads to the establishment of one of the most sectarian, socially, politically and economically conservative states in western Europe rather takes the shine off his legacy.

  • Peckerhead

    “The fact that this uprising then leads to the establishment of one of the most sectarian, socially, politically and economically conservative states in western Europe rather takes the shine off his legacy.”

    In fairness though, Connolly wouldn’t have pissed on the ‘Republic’ at any time in its history, right up until the present day. I always think that if he came back today he’d have every member of the main parties in the ‘Republic’ put up against the wall and shot.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I always think that if he came back today he’d have every member of the main parties in the ‘Republic’ put up against the wall and shot.”

    I think you’re right, being a Communist Connolly would have had no compunction about murdering democratically elected politicians in order for him and his small cadre of thugs and psychos to seize control of the state.

    It’s what unelected Communists have always had to do to get into power.

  • Peckerhead

    Now now, there’s no need for anyone to start raging about it. It hasn’t happened and nor is likely to. I’m just making the point that JC can’t be blamed for the cap doffing, capitalist obscenity and Roman province that was/is the ‘Republic’.

  • Looking around at this lot, what would Connolly think of his legacy?

  • SIPTU

    Looking back allows us to see the mistakes made, and who in society paid for them. It can assist us in ensuring these mistakes are not made again.

    This event however is about looking forward more than looking back, there are many current issues affecting the working poor and the people who rely on public services. This conference is about highlighting them as a first step to resolving them as shared issues.

    We thank all who are assisting us in this regard.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Well if he was around today he could always side with his most fanatical followers who seem to view his words as “Holy Writ” and ample justification for carrying on their campaign to rip the country apart.

  • Dec

    Drumlin

    I’m not sure it was Connolly’s word’s that ‘ripped the country apart’ – more the complete and utter denial of democratic self-determination.

    Harry

    the fact that you appear to think the aim of the Easter Rising was to seize control of the state tells me all I need to know about your tenuous grasp of history.

  • “For too long working-class loyalists have been forgotten about or demonised”

    Carál and Jackie have something in common; they both belong to paramilitary organisations that have, amongst other things, plagued impoverished communities.

    When you consider the stance Connolly took after 1911 it would seem he was prepared to cynically exploit working class people for political ends. Desmond Greaves and Sean Garland fifty or so years later tried a similar stunt when they abused rights issues to advance a 32-county socialist republic – in Garland’s case by violence as the final step.

  • Harry Flashman

    My knowledge of history is fine thanks Dec, I know what the Easter Rising was about I was referring to Peckerhead’s assertion about what Connolly would do in a modern Ireland.

    Your grasp of history is shown to be woefully inadequate in your lack of understanding of the situation in Ireland in 1916, where Home Rule was already on the statute books and most of the senior positions in the Irish administration and judiciary were held by Irish Catholics, when you come with the ludicrous assertion:

    “the complete and utter denial of democratic self-determination.”

    Try harder.

  • I am surprised no one thought it worth mentioning that Connolly said in 1916, not a shot should be fired in the north.

    I get the impression some would think more highly of Connolly if he had signed his men up in the British army, so they could march into the unnecessary meat-grinder of WW1.By the way Harry, many of those who had their lives stolen in that war, where little more than children?

    Just before he was executed Connolly told his daughter Nora, them over there (Labour Movement in Scotland and England) will never understand why I joined the rebellion. How right he was, and it seems not much has changed since.

    There were British LP Government Ministers in the Cabinet which signed off on Connolly’s death sentence. The first of many 20th century betrayals that party carried out on Ireland.

  • iconoclast

    Harry Flashman ‘ I think you’re right, being a Communist Connolly would have had no compunction about murdering democratically elected politicians in order for him and his small cadre of thugs and psychos to seize control of the state.’

    Suffrage in Britain, was introduced for men of no property in 1919,( Women of no property had to wait another 9 years), with multiple voting based on property ending in 1948 (except N.Ireland). Taking this into account is difficult to accept that elections in Ireland were democratic! I agree that Connolly should not have taken part in an uprising which lacked mass support, but the Citizen Army existed to protect Unionised workers from the brutality of a political police force made up of thugs and psychos!

  • iconoclast

    ‘The fact that this uprising then leads to the establishment of one of the most sectarian, socially, politically and economically conservative states in western Europe rather takes the shine off his legacy.’ Flashman

    I would have expected someone who lectures others about history to know that it was the ‘War of Independence’ which led to the founding of the Free State, not the 1916 Rising!
    Did it ever occur to you that the fact that the Free State turned out to be all that you have described, might have been because of the absence of Connolly and his group?

  • “Connolly said in 1916, not a shot should be fired in the north.”

    Was that just another example of cynical exploitation of folks for political purposes, Mickhall? Why was it more acceptable for blood to flow on the streets of Dublin than on the streets of Belfast? Revolution was unlikely to have been a bloodless encounter.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I would have expected someone who lectures others about history to know that it was the ‘War of Independence’ which led to the founding of the Free State, not the 1916 Rising!”

    Er, duh, and what pray tell led to the War of Independence, if not a certain series of events in Dublin City centre in April 1916?

    Home Rule was the name of the game up until the Easter Rising.

  • Nevin

    I think you are being a little harsh, having lived and worked in Belfast Connolly understood its complexity, and I presume saw that if the rising which was planned took place, and shots were fired in Belfast, it would consume both sections of the working class and rather than uniting them as he wished, it would further push them further apart. Hence his not a shot fired in the north. Was he wrong? Not if we look at more recent history.

  • Ceist

    The so-called physical force movement of today in like manner bases its hopes upon the disgust of the people over the failure of the Home Rule movement; it seeks to enlist the people under its banners, not so much by pointing out the base ideals of the constitutionalists or the total inadequacy of their pet measures to remedy the evils under which the people suffer, as by emphasising the greater efficacy of physical force as a national weapon. Thus, the one test of an advanced Nationalist is, in their opinion, one who believes in physical force. It may be the persons so professing to believe are Republicans; it may be they are believers in monarchy; it may be that Home Rule would satisfy them; it may be that they despise Home Rule. No matter what their political faith may be, if only they are prepared to express belief in the saving grace of physical force, they are acclaimed as advanced Nationalists – worthy descendants of ‘the men of ’98.’ The ’98 Executive, organised in the commencement by professed believers in the physical force doctrine, started by proclaiming its adherence to the principle of national independence “as understood by Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen,” and in less than twelve months from doing so, deliberately rejected a similar resolution and elected on its governing body men notorious for their Royalist proclivities. As the ’98 Executive represents the advanced Nationalists of Ireland, this repudiation of the Republican faith of the United Irishmen is an interesting corroboration of the truth of our statement that the advanced Nationalists of our day are utterly regardless of principle and only attach importance to methods – an instance of putting the cart before the horse, absolutely unique in its imbecility and unparalleled in the history of the world.

    It may be interesting, then, to place before our readers the Socialist Republican conception of the functions and uses of physical force in a popular movement. We neither exalt it into a principle nor repudiate it as something not to be thought of. Our position towards it is that the use or non-use of force for the realisation of the ideas of progress always has been and always will be determined by the attitude, not of the party of progress, but of the governing class opposed to that party. If the time should arrive when the party of progress finds its way to freedom barred by the stubborn greed of a possessing class entrenched behind the barriers of law and order; if the party of progress has indoctrinated the people at large with the new revolutionary conception of society and is therefore representative of the will of a majority of the nation, if it has exhausted all the peaceful means at its disposal for the purpose of demonstrating to the people and their enemies that the new revolutionary ideas do possess the suffrage of the majority; then, but not till then, the party which represents the revolutionary idea is justified in taking steps to assume the powers of government, and in using the weapons of force to dislodge the usurping class or government in possession, and treating its members and supporters as usurpers and rebels against the constituted authorities always have been created. In other words, Socialists believe that the question of force is of very minor importance; the really important question is of the principles upon which is based the movement that may or may not need the use of force to realise its object.

    Here, then, is the immense difference between the Socialist Republicans and our friends the physical force men. The latter, by stifling all discussions of principles, earn the passive and fleeting commendation of the unthinking multitude; the former, by insisting upon a thorough understanding of their basic principles, do not so readily attract the multitude, but do attract and hold the more thoughtful amongst them. It is the difference betwixt a mob in revolt and an army in preparation. The mob who cheer a speaker referring to the hopes of a physical force movement would, in the very hour of apparent success, be utterly disorganised and divided by the passage through the British Legislature of any trumpery Home Rule Bill. The army of class-conscious workers organising under the banner of the Socialist Republican Party, strong in their knowledge of economic truth and firmly grounded in their revolutionary principles, would remain entirely unaffected by any such manoeuvre and, knowing it would not change their position as a subject class, would still press forward, resolute and undivided, with their faces set towards their only hope of emancipation – the complete control by the working-class democracy of all the powers of National Government.

    Thus the policy of the Socialist Republicans is seen to be the only wise one. “Educate that you may be free”; principles first, methods afterwards. If the advocacy of physical force failed to achieve success or even to effect an uprising when the majority were unenfranchised and the secret ballot unknown, how can it be expected to succeed now that the majority are in possession of voting power and the secret ballot safeguards the voter?

    The ballot-box was given us by our masters for their purpose; let us use it for our own. Let us demonstrate at that ballot-box the strength and intelligence of the revolutionary idea; let us make the hustings a rostrum from which to promulgate our principles; let us grasp the public powers in the interest of the disinherited class; let us emulate our fathers and, like the ‘true men of ’98,’ place ourselves in line with the most advanced thought of our age and drawing inspiration and hope from the spectacle presented by the world-wide revolt of the workers, prepare for the coming of the day when the Socialist working-class of Ireland will, through its elected representatives, present its demand for freedom from the yoke of a governing master class or nation – the day on which the question of moral or physical force shall be finally decided.

    – James Connolly, Physical Force in Irish Politics
    (1899)

  • iconoclast

    “Er, duh, and what pray tell led to the War of Independence, if not a certain series of events in Dublin City centre in April 1916?”

    The reaction of the people to the murder of some of the leaders of the 1916 Rising by the Colonial Government grew into mass support for independence!
    No matter which way you twist it, Connolly did not campaign for the sectarian, conservative, corporatist nightmare of a state which Ireland became!

  • Mickhall, we have a strange admixture of Green, Orange and a bit of Red in this affair. Connolly the Red tried to appeal to the Orange and Green in Belfast but threw in his lot with the Green in Dublin in 1916; he tried to have his cake and eat it.

    Fifty years later his followers in the Connolly Club were key players in the formation of NICRA, an organisation that John Hume wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, as some say in these parts. The Reds initially demanded reform in both jurisdictions but it appears the protests in the South were ‘bought off’ and objections to Orange patronage were highlighted whilst Green and Red patronage were ignored.

    In the light of our history in the past two centuries it’s hard to see how a Red approach to revolution would do anything other than put Orange and Green mobs at each others’ throats in Belfast and its environs.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Harry

    ‘My knowledge of history is fine thanks..’

    Your posts suggest otherwise.

    ‘Not sure how much respect should be accorded to a man who raises a small private army…’

    You seem to be under the impression the Irish Citizen Army was founded, for the purposes of the Rising. It was not.

    There WAS a private army operating in Dublin in 1913. It WAS under the effective control of one man, who ruled with an iron fist. That army was called the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and its master was William Martin Murphy. The DMP broke up and battered every peaceful demonstration that took place during the Lockout of 1913. Most notoriously, on Sackville Street, they murdered two people, in broad daylight, before hundreds of witnesses, on the capital’s main thoroughfare, on a Sunday afternoon. (The first Bloody Sunday.) They also ran amok in Summerhill (an ITGWU stronghold), smashing up hundreds of homes and battering everyone that stood in their way.

    Several months into the Lockout, the working people of Dublin set about defending themselves in an organised way, and so the Irish Citizen Army was born. Thereafter, the DMP truncheons no longer fell so freely on the heads of women and children; instead, the easy-pickings of the early Lockout gave way to countless skirmishes between DMP and ICA, mainly conducted with fists, sticks and truncheons. There were no more Bloody Sundays, no more Summerhills, though there were lots of working men convicted of kicking the shit out of peelers. Believe it or not, in the tenements, these men were heroes.

    ‘(including child soldiers)’

    Who were fighting against child labour.

    There were no schoolboys in the ICA. There was no-one in the ICA that the ICA’s enemies didn’t think old enough to work. The ICA was an army of wage-earners. If some were very young, it only highlights the nature of the society and the economy that the ITGWU was trying to change.

    ‘and without any popular mandate…’

    There were 30,000 locked-out workers, breadwinners for hundreds of thousand of dependents. Most of the population of Dublin starved in 1913. Arrayed against them was 400 – not four million, not four thousand, but four hundred, bosses, who instigated and waged a brutal class war.

    It was Murphy and the Four Hundred Thieves versus the population of Dublin. Where would any reasonable person suppose democratic legitimacy lay?

    ‘…that causes massive destruction and hundreds of deaths..’

    The destruction caused by the rebels was relatively minor. It was mostly smashed windows and bullet holes. The shelling of the city by the British Army and Royal Navy, on the other hand, was cataclysmic, and militarily unnecessary.

    You may choose to blame the rebels for the shelling directed AGAINST them, on the grounds that it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t rebelled, or been nationalists, or ever been born. I, on the other hand, feel that responsibility lies with those who launched the shells. I do not have Stockholm Syndrome, so I feel no need to empathize, and indeed side with, with the foreign military that destroyed my capital city.

    ‘…in a hitherto peaceful city.’

    This, more than anything else you’ve said, disproves your contention that your ‘knowledge of history is fine.’ Dublin in 1916 was ‘peaceful’ like Tripoli and Banghazi were ‘peaceful’ in January 2011.

    ‘The fact that this uprising then leads to the establishment of one of the most sectarian, socially, politically and economically conservative states in western Europe rather takes the shine off his legacy.’

    In the Lockout, sadly, the Four Hundred won; it was they and their like who inherited the Free State, and turned it into the gombeenocracy you, correctly, describe.

    And if I may say, they could not have done so were it not for people like you, who, bizarrely, would attribute to Connolly the evils of Connolly’s mortal enemies; who would blame Connolly for the very sins he spent his life combating.

    It seems that, to some, the greatest sin is to try.

    It’s also act of remarkable unselfconsciousness to assert that Connolly ‘would’ have put political opponents against a wall. Perhaps if you pictured him strapping them to a chair, you might more clearly see the irony of your obtuse logic.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘…in a hitherto peaceful city.’

    Sorry to go over the same ground twice, but I can’t quite get over this line.

    Yeah, peaceful like a powderkeg.

  • Harry Flashman

    Jeez, dude lighten up on the exclamation marks!

    So you agree that the War of Independence was a direct follow on from the 1916 Rising?

    I didn’t say Connolly campaigned for a conservative state, I said that was his legacy. It may not have ended up the way he hoped it would in 1916 but the Ireland created in 1922 stemmed from his and his comrades’ actions in 1916.

  • Dec

    Harry

    Home Rule had been hanging about since Gladstone’s time – that train had left the station and there was no way it was going to be introduced island wide (if at all) at the war’s end (Asquith’s compromise). The fact that catholics were in charge of some British administrations is utterly irrelevant and says a lot more about your sectarian mindset than anything else.

    Billy

    ‘‘…in a hitherto peaceful city.’

    ‘ripped Ireland apart’

    It’s revisionism for dummies.

  • Harry Flashman

    Billy calm down mate, that’s your interpretation of events, you’re entitled to it but your interpretation is naturally heavily biased. Dublin was no different from Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast or the east end of London at the time, and they were all peaceful cities.

    You recount events that were three years before the Rising and which had no relation to the proto-fascist, extreme nationalist rising that actually took place.

    The working classes of Dublin completely rejected the Rising at the time as you very well know.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Home Rule had been hanging about since Gladstone’s time”

    Except that it was actually on the statute books in 1914.

    Huge difference.

    My sectarian mindset tells that native Irish people were administering Irish affairs and would continue to do so under Home Rule thus refuting Dec’s ludicrous claim that Ireland suffered a “complete and utter denial of democratic self-determination”.

    The only revisionism going on here is from republicans rewriting historical facts.

    The Rising was by a tiny minority of revolutionaries who did not have nor ever sought a popular or democratic mandate. The leaders of that Rising would have qualified as out and out fascists twenty years later. The Rising was rejected by Dubliners at the time and had no support.

    Facts me boys, facts there’s no getting away from them damned facts.

  • Peckerhead

    “The leaders of that Rising would have qualified as out and out fascists twenty years later. ”

    Strange out and out fascists who were trying to make a truly democratic and plural society.

    Facts, me boys. No getting away from those damned facts.

  • “There were no schoolboys in the ICA. There was no-one in the ICA that the ICA’s enemies didn’t think old enough to work. The ICA was an army of wage-earners. If some were very young, it only highlights the nature of the society and the economy that the ITGWU was trying to change.”

    Billy Pilgrim

    Great post.(3:19)

  • Billy P, are you not confusing the ICA organised by Jack White to protect workers with that of the revolutionary ICA under James Connolly? Surely they are rather different beasts?

  • Decimus

    Surely the point about the children used by the ICA was that Connolly and co were supposed to be opposed to child exploitation?

  • Brian

    The ‘children’ Connolly had in his army were old enough to work long hours in horrible conditions for pay that barely kept them above the starvation level. The children he had in his army were old enough to get their heads smashed by policemen’s clubs if they dared take part in a strike or a protest against the status quo. The children he had in his army knew nothing but the system that used humans from the slums (the worst in Europe) up and spat them out as used up 35 year olds looking twice their age.

    Also, these children were not children. Adolescents would be a far more accurate but less emotive term, and the vast majority of his army were adults.

  • Decimus

    Brian,

    So he saved them from all that by sticking them in the middle of a battlezone.

  • Brian

    It got cut off, but those who use that matter to criticize Connolly are ignoring that fact that the unions his army was protecting, the very men he helped organize, were the force that was working to end deplorable working conditions and child exploitation. Without this potent force and its publicizing effects, middle class sentiment would have never got involved with the ending of child exploitation.

    Those who did fight as teenagers in the ICA and survived all look back on their service with pride and as the best years of their lives, if their memoirs and testimoney is to be believed.

    It’s just a small issue used to smear a great man, a man with faults but one who tried to help the masses of miserable humanity (or whatever religion) that he found in the wrteched slums of belfast, Glasgow, Dublin, and beyond.

  • Brian

    of*

  • Decimus

    Those who did fight as teenagers in the ICA and survived all look back on their service with pride and as the best years of their lives, if their memoirs and testimoney is to be believed.

    As did those who fought in WW1 or went down the mines in WW2, but that is not the point. Connolly was supposed to be against child exploitation, but he had no qualms about sending kids who knew no better into shell and bullet fire.

  • Brian

    ‘As did those who fought in WW1 or went down the mines in WW2, but that is not the point. ‘

    Questionable assertion, to say the least. Camraderie and a sense of purpose do stand out for some, but just as many veterans of the rank and file, the masses, mostly look back on misery, terror, chaos, and suffering. That narrative often gets drowned out in history books and popular retellings, at least until the Vietnam era. But you are right, that it is not the point.

    I’ll let others defend Connolly, I have to take care of more mundane and boring matters at the moment.

  • Decimus

    “but just as many veterans of the rank and file, the masses, mostly look back on misery, terror, chaos, and suffering.”

    But not apparently those who engaged in the Easter Rising. Testament perhaps to the fact that they were not subjected to the full horrors of modern warfare.

  • anne warren

    Reply to Nevin’s question at 8.20 pm

    !are you not confusing the ICA organised by Jack White to protect workers with that of the revolutionary ICA under James Connolly? Surely they are rather different beasts?”

    No, they were the same organisation.
    The services of professional soldier Jack White were offered and accepted and he became the first commander of the Irish Citizen Army.

  • Anne, surely a change of leadership and a change of objectives led to a significant transformation of the ICA?

  • between the bridges

    Alan, it’s been suggested elsewhere that the last two paragraphs of the quote by mcdonald was actually a quote referring to his trip to the usa and not this event, cant find a link but if you read the quote with that (usa trip) in mind it would make more sense?

  • anne warren

    nevin – there was a change in leadership. JW left the ICA in 1914 when Connolly and the ITGWU decided the force should be commanded by a committee and not by a commander in chief. White himself recognised the dangers of a military dictator but was unable to work with the committee. He himself wrote in 1929/30 that after one spat he “marched out of the room to spread myself with the rapidly spreading Irish National Volunteers”
    White was in Belgium in 1916 and had nothing to do with the Easter Rising.

  • Decimus

    White himself recognised the dangers of a military dictator

    Connolly?

  • anne warren

    No Decimus – not Connolly

    White recognized the danger of the ICA having only one commander in chief who at that time was White himself. In theory he agreed to become part of, and co-operate with, a committee to obviate the risk of a single commander becoming a military dictator but then found he couldn’t work with them on a practical level .

    Hope that clears up any misunderstanding arising from my prose style.

  • Rory of the Hills

    Anne, Billy P, anyone…

    What is the best biography of Connolly? There are a few out there….Edwards, Graves, Nevin?

  • Harry Flashman

    “Strange out and out fascists who were trying to make a truly democratic and plural society.”

    Ah yes, democracy through organising an armed uprising by means of a secret society bound by quasi-fascist oaths and extreme nationalist symbolism without bothering to ask the people you’re supposedly liberating if they agreed with you because you know damn well you are in a tiny minority with absolutely zero support.

    But enough about Hitler’s beerhall putsch, we’re looking at those magnificent “democrats” of 1916 aren’t we?

  • Peckerhead

    Tiresome. Utterly tiresome. Their desire was in creating a democratic republic, hoping that the people would rise and support it. That may be out and out fascism in your book, but your book was clearly written by someone with mental retardation.

  • Nunoftheabove

    peckerhead

    That’s over the top however ‘fascism’ is pushing it way beyond a reasonable limit too. One could certainly say elitist and non – as opposed to anti – democratic however in my book fascism requires several key attributes which it is not justified to apply to the ’16 men and women. They were separatists, not aggressive expansionists; they weren’t genocidal or racist in any respect, they were self-derminationists. You can argue about the cult of violence all day long and of the morality of the blood sacrifice – and it’s by no means a waste of time doing so and this doesn’t happen enough. We continue to live with that and the appalling elitism. Alloyed to tremendous self-pity, self-righteousness and self-loathing, this is, to say the very least of it, unwholesome.

    For me, the more interesting aspect of this is the extent to which some of the contemporary so-called Connollyites and/or Connollyists feel compelled to subsume anything within their belief structures which is at all authentically Connollyite – so little of it normally is, beyond the puerile sloganeering – within specifically uber-nationalist frameworks. Now that really is tiresome.

  • Rory, I think you mean Desmond Greaves – not Graves.

  • anne warren

    One final word.
    This initiative of Republicans and loyalists uniting to mark centenary of James Connolly arriving in Belfast has been brought to a standstill – by the men that still matter. All our thoughts and ideas on the issue count for naught!!!

    See tonight’s Tele
    UDA chiefs force McDonald to turn down City Hall invite to unveiling of republican icon’s portrait

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/uda-chiefs-force-mcdonald-to-turn-down-city-hall-invite-to-unveiling-of-republican-icons-portrait-16068895.html#ixzz1bvZCzBkU

  • Reader

    anne warren: This initiative of Republicans and loyalists uniting to mark centenary of James Connolly arriving in Belfast has been brought to a standstill – by the men that still matter.
    You seem sceptical. The rest of the UDA matters exactly as much as McDonald, don’t they? My own position is that neither McDonald, nor the rest of them, matter a damn. So the chuckies had nothing, and have therefore lost nothing, through this change.

  • SIPTU

    The reality is that we in SIPTU wanted to focus upon the cross community needs of the working poor and the people who rely on public services. This event was planned as a cross community event that would capture media attention upon these issues. This is why we invited high profile speakers to address the event.

    We believe around 3,000 people have lost their jobs within the community sector over the last two years. These vital organisations assist the marginalised, the disadvantaged and also people hurt by the conflict. The reduction in service for these people assist nobody accept the decision makers as they attempt to slash and burn their way out of recession with the least possible political and economic cost to themselves.

    We also believe that society will pay this economic and social cost if these vital organisations and the communities they care for are not protected.

    It is regrettable that none of the discussion in this forum was focused upon the needs of the many against the greed of the few. As a socialist I care little for the past except to provide lessons for the future. The greatest lesson from our shared past is that when working people are divided the only winners are the wealthy.
    .

  • “This is why we invited high profile speakers to address the event.”

    SIPTU, the selection of folks who have such strong links with paramilitary organisations IMO has done huge damage to the cause of those you wish to assist.

    Folks are and will continue to be divided on the constitutional question so, in a sense, the ‘cross-community’/’shared past’ narrative will generate a grant from the usual sources but it can also be a barrier to progressing co-operation, irrespective of class, creed or political affiliation.

  • Reader

    SIPTU: It is regrettable that none of the discussion in this forum was focused upon the needs of the many against the greed of the few.
    But selecting to commemorate a violent socialist who sold out to violent nationalism was always going to be divisive. How could you have expected anything else? Then inviting violent parasites to add a bit of balance didn’t help.

  • Nunoftheabove

    SIPTU

    “We also believe that society will pay this economic and social cost if these vital organisations and the communities they care for are not protected”.

    You also accept that ‘society’ has the right to determine whether they accept that belief or not ? Moreover, that ‘society’ also havs the right – indeed obligation – to determine the extent to which any such protection should be extended ?

  • Rory Carr

    “It’s what unelected Communists have always had to do [murdering democratically elected politicians] to get into power.”

    Remind us again, Harry of which democracies you intended – Tsarist Russia ? The Kuomintang in China ? The Batista dictatorship in Cuba? The South-Vietnamese puppet government?

    But do let us recall the murderous coup d’etat of the democratically elected government of Augusto Pinochet by CIA-backed reactionary conservative forces in Chile.

    Chile had for decades been hailed as a beacon of democracy and political stability in a South America beset by right-wing military juntas and Caudillismo.

    But, wait a moment, it was Pinochet who was the Communist and the forces of murder who rounded up citizens for the slaughter were all anti-communist reactionaries supported by that arch-Caudillo of the Americas, the United States Government (of whatever hue) which has threatened meaningful democracy every time it rears its ugly head in any part of South America or the Caribbean.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Rory Carr

    And sure why not go the whole hog and blame Obama for the fact that there are multiples of the numbers of prisoners of conscience in the parts of Cuba under the jurisdiction of the Communist Party of Cuba – and in much worse prison conditions – than there are in the wee piece of it which is currently under the de facto jurisdcition of the USA.