THE GLOBAL-HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE 1916 RISING

This is a timely and interesting article by Liam Ó Ruairc about the significance of the Easter Rising beyond our little parish.

Apart from that, it would seem to suffer a little from a terminology problem with regard to “imperialism”. In the world today this is not an insignificant issue. At the time of the 1916 Rising it was common for commentators to conflate the words “colonialism” and “imperialism” — and why not, since we had the British Empire, the French Empire etc. However, that same year, VI Lenin completed his work “Imperialism — the final stage of capitalism” which he published the following year but exchanging, for the censor, the word “highest” for “final”. Lenin described imperialism as the merging of finance with industrial capital and its export to the underdeveloped world and also explained how its colonialism was undermining British industrial capacity and competitiveness by starving it of capital which was instead being invested in the colonies for quick return of superprofits.

He showed that imperialism could be practiced where the developed state did NOT have colonies but instead had influence.

Decolonisation was indeed one of the big processes of the early to mid-21st Century, as quoted in the article, but it was accompanied by an increase in imperialist expansion, with the USA becoming the world leader and displacing the former colonial powers of Britain and France. By and large this was achieved without occupying countries and setting up colonies of UStaters within them.

Lenin also showed that imperialism leads to war; colonialism did too but not on the scale that imperialism has.  Colonial wars were largely limited by the amount of people available to occupy colonies whereas imperialism fights most of its wars through proxies (with some notable exceptions such as Vietnam, Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, involving large committal of its troops but even there, proxies have been/are also used).

Those regimes that imperialism cultivates were later classified by national liberationists as “comprador (buyer) capitalists” or “neo-colonials”. Such an analysis of Ireland today would have to conclude that the Six Counties are a remaining British colony and the Twenty-Six a neo-colony.

In the “comment” section of the article there is a reference to another article on the same theme of international importance which is also of interest.

the irish revolution

imagesby Liam Ó Ruairc

In less than six months, the one hundredth anniversary of the 24-29 April 1916 Easter Rising will be commemorated throughout Ireland. What is striking about the so-called ‘Decade of Commemorations’ is how insular its outlook is: the 1912 Ulster Covenant, the 1916 Rising or the setting up of Northern Ireland are seen as a purely Irish phenomenon, divorced from global trends. As Edward W. Said once noted, while the Irish struggle was a ‘model of twentieth-century wars of liberation’, “it is an amazing thing that the problem of Irish liberation not only has continued longer than other comparable struggles, but is so often not regarded as being an imperial or nationalist issue; instead it is comprehended as aberration within the British dominions. Yet the facts conclusively reveal otherwise.”[1]  This article will argue that the significance of the 1916 Easter Rising lies less in its 

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