BRIGADISTA PETER DALY COMMEMORATED IN HIS HOME TOWNLAND

(Reading time: 20 mins)

Clive Sulish

SPEAKERS WARN OF RISING FASCISM, CALL FOR UNITY OF ANTI-FASCISTS

          Flags of various kinds flew above a gathering in Monagear, Co. Wexford on Saturday 7th September, while a number of banners were visible among the crowd: Peter Daly Society, Connolly Association Manchester, Wexford Community Action, Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland, Friends of International Brigades Ireland, Éirigí, Connolly Column. Also in attendance was a group of young men and women dressed to represent the International Brigaders and the POUM1 milita, organised by the Cavan Volunteers group. The event had been organised by the Peter Daly Society with support from the Peadar O’Donnell Forum.

Monagear Commemoration from behind wall
Long view of Peter Daly commemoration seen from the back (Photo source: Peter Daly Society)
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A reminder of even older struggles — banner inside the Monageer Tavern. (Photo source: D.Breatnach)

Monagear is a small village in the centre of Co. Wexford, a few kilometres north-east of Wexford town. Also known a Monageer, both words are, like most place-names in Ireland, from the original Irish language: Móin na gCaor, “the bogland of the berries” (probably of the Rowan or Mountain Ash, which in Irish is Crann Caorthainn). Not far from it are the historic place-names associated with the United Irishmen uprising of 17982 in that county, such as Boolavogue and Enniscorthy and indeed, a small commemoration garden in the village has memorial stones dedicated to that struggle and to others since.

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View in a cloud-darkened moment over the crowd, past the new houses in the village and to the hills and mountains in the distance. (Photo source: D.Breatnach)

At a signal, the gathering of people with flags and banners, led by a colour party flying the Irish Tricolour, the flag of the 2nd Spanish Republic, a red starry flag and the Irish workers’ Starry Plough, moved in procession down into the village area and assembled outside the raised platform containing the tasteful simple memorial to Peter Daly, International Brigader killed in the War Against Fascism in the territory of Spain (1936-1939).

Steve McCann, Chairman of the Peter Daly Society, with another man beside him, opened the ceremony from the memorial platform by briefly outlining the history of the Peter Daly commemorations and of the Society (founded in 2011) which he said had from the beginning welcomed the involvement and participation of Irish Republicans, Communists, Socialists, Anarchists and plain anti-fascists. After outlining the program of speeches and songs for the day, he called Gearóid Ó Machaill to give the first speech, on behalf of the Friends of the International Brigades, Ireland.

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Steve McCann addressing crowd with colour party and reenactment group visible below (Photo source: D.Breatnach)

“THE IRISH ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FASCISM”

          Ó Machaill opened his speech in Ulster Irish, thanking the organisers for giving him the opportunity to speak there at the cradle of Peter Daly, Irish Republican, socialist, anti-fascist. Continuing, he said that the conditions that gave rise to fascism in the 1930s are very similar to those of today. Speaking of the Republican Congress of 1936-1938, he said it had worked to overcome divisions in the working class and in the anti-imperialist movement. But it had fallen apart in disunity, unfortunately and in Ireland today, the anti-fascist forces are as divided too.

The Irish were not immune to fascism and had a strong fascist movement in the 1930s, supported for awhile by the State, X said. In the years since the defeat of fascism around most of the world, attempts to set up a fascist movement in Ireland had been smashed, said Ó Machaill but cautioned against complacency.

In some other parts of the world, workers betrayed by social democracy and hurt by capitalism, turned to hard right parties and outright fascists and it was entirely possible that such fascists would become popular while leading a campaign against bankers and even imperialism, pushing a line of “Irish for the Irish”.

“We cannot afford the divisions and need to unite ….. as Republicans and Socialists did in preventing the attempted launch of Pegida in 2016,|” said the speaker.

Colour Party & side view Militia GOM
Colour Party facing photographer, POUM and Brigader reenacters to the left. (Photo source: G. Ó Machaill)

MIGRANT DEPORTEES

          Steve McCann introduced the man beside him as Diarmuid Breatnach and called him to sing the first song of the selection for the ceremony and to say a few words about its content. Breatnach pointed out that migrants are often a prime target of fascists and the song he was to sing was about migrants and their treatment. On 28th January 1948, a DC-9 transporting Latino illegal migrants and “guest workers” crashed in the Los Diablos region of California and all 32 on board were killed. The radio news reported the crash but only gave the names of the crew members and the Immigration Department guard, saying the others killed were “deportees”. The names of the dead were known in their localities and were printed in local newspapers but were not deemed worthy of mention on the radio.

DB Reading Intro Song Platform Peter Daly Monageer Sep 2019
Diarmuid Breatnach reading introduction before singing a song. Steve McCann is standing to the left of the photo on the stage. (Photo source: Ado Perry)

Wood Guthrie wrote a poem called “Deportee” about the tragedy which was put to music by Martin Hoffman, the song since called Deportees or Plane Wreck at Los Gatos. Breatnach then sang the song, the chorus of which says:

Goodbye to my friends,

Farewell Rosalita

Adios mis amigos, 

Jesús y Maria;

You won't have a name 

When you ride the big airplane --

All they will call you 

Will be “deportees”.

LESSON OF HISTORY – NOT LIBERALISM BUT ROBUST ACTION IS NEEDED

          Mags Glennon was called to read a statement on behalf of Anti-Fascist Action. Moving on from the background to the fascist upsurge of the 1930s and the background of those who fought to defeat it, Glennon read: Far-right parties have risen from minor subculture to government across Europe in recent years, showing the glaring need for principled and active opposition to fascist and far right forces. The most concerning aspect of this political resurgence is the support it has received from young people and large sections of the traditional working class, due to the abandonment of these people by social democrats, and other parties who claimed to ‘represent’ them. Well meaning liberalism has never defeated fascism. It never will.”

Reading from the statement, Glennon called for a “re-energising” of the struggle to defeat those “aiming to distract our communities and young people from fighting their real enemy. Where there are fascists we must oppose them.”

Glennon concluded by reading: “Appeals to the police, to parliament or to Google to censor fascists have no place in anti-fascist struggle. History has shown that robust action against fascists in Ireland has always sent them running back to the gutters to think again. Long may it continue. La lucha continua!

Militia GOM
POUM militia and International Brigader reenacters seen from behind, centre photo. (Photo source: G. Ó Machaill)

“MUST ORGANISE IN WORKING-CLASS COMMUNITIES”

          The MC, Steve McCann, introduced the anti-fascist and community activist as well as Independent Dublin City Councillor, Ciaran Perry. Speaking without notes, Perry outlined the historical necessity of defeating fascism politically and physically.

Echoing a previous speaker’s comments, Perry too called for unity of the antifascist forces against fascism but also against capitalism and imperialism. He said that working-class communities, betrayed by social democracy and distracted by identity politics, had become prey to the propaganda of fascists.

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Ciaran Perry speaking

Fascism is a facet of capitalism”, Perry said “and therefore the enemy of the working class.  The working class should be our natural constituency.”

Going on to suggest that if fascists build bases in working class communities it is because of the failure of the Left, he called on socialists and antifascists go into those communities and to build their bases there.

ESCAPE FROM DACHAU AND DEATH IN SPAIN

          Breatnach stepped forward to sing a combination of two songs from the German side of the anti-fascist struggle. The German political prisoners in the concentration camps were forbidden to sing socialist songs and had written their own, one of which became famous around the world was The Peat Bog Soldiers, lyrics written by Johann Esser, a miner and Wolfgang Langhoff, an actor and melody composed by Rudi Guguel.

“Hans Beimler (1895-1936) was a WWI veteran, a Communist, a Deputy elected to the Reichstag in 1932,” said Breatnach. “In January 1933 Hitler came to power in Germany. The Communist Party was banned and in April 1933 Beimler was arrested and sent to Dachau extermination camp where, in May, he strangled his SA guard and, putting on the man’s uniform, escaped. He went to Spain where he was a Commissar with the International Brigades and was killed in the Battle of Madrid on 1st December 1936.”

He would sing two verses of the Peat Bog Soldiers, Breatnach explained, combined with the Hans Beimler song.

Hans Beimler Photo Spain maybe
Photo of Hans Beimler, WWI veteran, Communist, escapee from Dachau, International Brigader, killed in the Battle of Madrid 1936.                      (Photo source: Internet)

“THE NORM WAS FOR ALL CAPTURED INTERNATIONAL BRIGADERS TO BE EXECUTED”

          The sun sinking towards the west shone over the heads of the attendance on to the raised bed of the memorial stone and its flagpoles and, except when covered by clouds, into the eyes of those on the platform. Outside the nearby pub some locals gathered and behind those gathered around the monument, others in attendance lined a low wall while nearby other local people, mostly youth, congregated for a time. Occasionally a passing car drove carefully along the street past the crowd. House martins darted above, a wasp occasionally bothered the speakers and the smokey-blue soft curves of the Silvermine Hills and Knockmealdown Mountains rose to the west.

Harry Owens Speaking
Harry Owens speaking from the platform (Monagheer Tavern to the right of photo)

The Chair of the event called Harry Owens to speak.

Harry ‘s speech traced the history of world events that had led up to the fascist coup and war in Spain. He also spoke about the kind of people the Brigadistas had been, quoting from their comrades, journalists and opponents. That Captain Frank Ryan had his life spared was unusual, he explained, as the tendency was for all anti-fascist officers to be executed and all International Brigaders of all ranks. Whilst the Spanish fascists wanted to execute them, the Italian soldiers tended to keep them alive in order to exchange them for Italian prisoners of the Republican side.

The death toll among officers and men in the International Brigades had been higher than the norm in warfare and the average in the Irish contingent higher still, Owens said. The food and armament supply conditions of the Republican side had been poor in many areas but almost to a man they had fought on until death, capture or demobilisation. It was their conviction, that they knew what they were fighting for and believed in it that accounted for that.

After Owens’ speech, Breatnach stepped forward to sing, without introduction, Viva la Quinze Brigada3 (the song written by Christy Moore about the Irish who fought in the 15th International Brigade). The song mentions Peter Daly in the verse:

This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan,

Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too,

Peter Daly, Charlie Reagan and Hugh Bonner,

Though many died, I can but name a few.

Danny Doyle, Blazer Brown and Charlie Donnelly,

Liam Tumlinson, Jim Straney from the Falls,

Jack Nalty, Tommy Patton and Frank Conroy,
Jim Foley, Tony Fox and Dick O’Neill.

The words of Moore’s chorus rang out along the street:

Viva la Quinze Brigada!

No Pasarán!” the pledge that made them fight;

Adelante” is the cry around the hillside,

Let us all remember them tonight.

…. and concluded with the cry “Viven!” (“They live!”)

WREATHS, THE INTERNATIONALE AND AMHRÁN NA BHFIANN

          McCann called for those who wished to lay wreaths on behalf of organisations and the following came to lay floral tributes: John Kenny, activist of the Peter Daly Society; Mags Glennon for Anti-Fascist Action; Seán Doyle for Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland (who had provided the colour party); Connolly Association Manchester; and Gary O’Brien for Éirigí. Messages of support had been received from the CPI, IRSP and the Connolly Association Manchester.

Closeup Peter Daly Monument & Wreaths
Closeup of Peter Daily memorial with floral tributes laid. (Photo source: Peter Daly Society)

McCann then called Breatnach forward to sing the Internationale, the international anthem of the working class, the lyrics of which Breatnach explained had been composed by Anarchist Eugene Pottier of the Paris Commune, in 1871, the first time the working class had seized a city. It had been written to the air of the Marsellaise but later put to its own melody by worker-composer Pierre de Gayter.

“It was written in French”, said Breatnach, “which is why I propose to sing the chorus once in French at the start but it has been translated into many languages. Youtube has a post with 95 translations ….. and there are at least three versions of it in English and people are welcome to sing along in any version they know,” Breatnach concluded before singing the French chorus, followed by two English verses and chorus.

The MC Steve directed attention to a bodhrán decorated with a dedication to Peter Daly by Barry O’Shea which was displayed by Erin McCann and which would be raffled as a fund-raising exercise at the reception inside the pub.

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Ciara McCann with the bodhrán decorated by Barry O’Shea (Photo source: D.Breatnach)

Steve McCAnn then called Marie Kenny Murphy and Marilyn Harris up on to the stage, where they played the Irish national anthem on flutes, with many people singing along in its Irish translation4:

Anocht a théim sa bhearna baoil,

Le gean ar Ghael chun báis no saol;

Le gunnaí scréach, faoi lámhach na bpiléar,

Seo libh, canaig’ Amhrán na bhFiann.

 

 

 

 

Part Crowd Close GOM
Section of crowd around monument (Photo source: G. O Machaill)

REFRESHMENTS, EXHIBITION, RAFFLE, SONG AND CONVERSATION

          All the speakers had referenced the historical memory of the Anti-Fascist War on Spanish territory to the struggles of today and even of tomorrow and the selection of songs had been deliberately chosen to emphasise internationalism and workers’ solidarity from the past and needed today.

McCann thanked all the performers, speakers and participants and in particular welcomed the participation of the Connolly Association contingent from Manchester, encouraging them to attend again the following year. Inviting all to enter the local Monageer Tavern to view the Antifascist War memorabilia and to have some food, the MC brought the ceremony to an end.

Inside the local pub, the Monageer Tavern, food had been made available by the owners and the function hall was provided for the commemoration participants.

An interesting display of memorabilia of the Spanish Anti-Fascist War had been erected inside by the Cavan Volunteers history group. The walls of the function room on one side were also covered with permanent framed photographs and other images of Irish history, among which Joe Mooney, anti-fascist, community worker and activist of the East Wall History Group, spotted a photo of the Dublin docks with a docker well-known to his community in the foreground!

Music was provided by Tony Hughes with voice and guitar, singing a selection of songs including anti-racist and Irish Republican ballads, also Viva La Quinze Brigada.

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Tony Hughes playing and singing at the event inside the Monageer Tavern                                       (Photo source: D.Breatnach)
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Spanish Anti-Fascist War memorabilia organised by the Cavan Volunteer history and re-enactment group (Photo source: D.Breatmach)

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When the raffle was held a search went on for the winning number ticket which eventually unearthed it in the possession of Helena Keane, seller of the tickets and who adamantly refused to take the prize. Another dip into the stubs brought Gearóid Ó Machaill’s ticket out, ensuring the decorated bodhrán would find a new home somewhere in the occupied Six Counties.

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Section of the function room wall in the Monageer Tavern. (Photo source: D.Breatnach)
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Another section of the function room wall. (Photo source: D.Breatnach)
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(Photo source: Ado Perry)

FOOTNOTES

1The International Brigades were organised through the Comintern and Communist parties in various parts of the world but a number of International Volunteers came also through the mainly Trotskyist POUM, including Anarchists. One Irish volunteer went to join the Basque Gudaris and was killed fighting the fascists there.

2First Republican rising in Ireland, organised and led for the most part by Protestants, descendants of British colonists.

3Christy Moore called this “Viva la Quinta Brigada” (i.e the Fifth) but in later versions sang in English a line in the first verse calling it “the 15th International Brigade”. It appears that from different chronological perspectives one can call it either the Fifth or the Fifteenth but the mostly English-speaking brigade of the International Brigades is usually named the Fifteenth. Quinze is the Spanish word for “fifteen” and Viva la Quinze Brigada scans in the song while “decimoquinta Brigada” has too many syllables to fit.

4The Soldier’s Song was written originally in English by Peadar Kearney, an Irish Republican worker with socialist sympathies and put to music by worker-composer Patrick Heeny. It was translated to Irish by Liam Ó Rinn under the title Amhrán na bhFiann and published in 1923. Only the chorus became the anthem of the Irish State and that was not until later. The Irish-language version is the one most commonly sung at non-State occasions now.

LINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Organisers
Peter Daly Association: https://www.facebook.com/PeterDalyCommemoration/

with help from the Peadar O’Donnel Forum: https://www.facebook.com/Peadar-ODonnell-Socialist-Republican-Forum-1538296709833402/

Colour Party by Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/AIAIreland2/

Memorabilia and kitting out of POUM militia and International Brigade reenacters by Cavan Volunteers group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/242987949412133/

End .

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TRUTH AND POWER –THE FIRST LESSON

Diarmuid Breatnach

I remember my first lesson at school. First lesson from a teacher, that is, because you learn other lessons in school as well, from other kids. That particular lesson has remained with me for the rest of my life.

OK, it couldn’t have been the first lesson – it was my second year at school — but it is the first I remember which, in a way, does make it the first. And it wasn’t from any book or written on the blackboard.

Lesson One - Truth to Power

That was in senior infants then, I was five years old and our teacher was Iníon Ní Mhéalóid, Miss Mellet in English. It’s a rare Connemara family name, I know now and that is where she was from. She was handsome, maybe even more than that, I can’t remember now. I never had a crush on any teacher who taught me but if I had, it would not have been on her.

The day of this particular lesson, I must’ve been misbehaving in some way, I suppose. Not paying attention to her and talking or laughing with another kid, probably.

She called me out from my desk, admonished me, told me to stick my hand out and … whacked it with a ruler. Maybe my eyes gave her a message, I’m not sure. They say the eyes are the windows of the soul and right then, at that moment, I guess my soul must’ve been pretty dark.

What are you thinking?” she asked me in Irish.

Now, my Da had brought me and my brother up to tell the truth – always. Years later, my young sister at school would have teachers tell her that though I had often misbehaved, I had always told the truth. I did too, mostly.

When Iníon Ní Mhéalóid asked me that, my training came to the fore but it was more than that – I wanted to tell her what I was thinking.

I think you’re horrible,” I replied, in Irish too, of course.

I thought I heard my classmates suck in their collective breath.

Hold out your hand again!”

I did so, half disbelieving. She’d asked me, hadn’t she?

Whack!

What are you thinking now?”

That …. that …. you’re h-horrible,” I sobbed.

Hold out your hand again!”

Whack!

What are you thinking now?” She had a glint in her eye.

I paused, conflicted, then replied.

Nothing.”

An bhfuil tú cinnte (are you sure)?”

Tá (I am)”.

Go back to your seat then.”

So now you’re thinking things like “physical abuse, abuse of power, bully, traumatic experience” and feeling sorry for me. Right?

You have it wrong.

Iníon Ní Mhéalóid had taught me a very valuable lesson, relating to truth and power. It is this:

You can speak truth to power because you feel like it, through pride, to encourage others or for any other reason. But those in power are not like your equals down below. You don’t owe those in power any truth and it is perfectly acceptable to tell them lies, to protect yourself or others.

You can of course speak the truth out of choice but know that they do not respect it, will probably use it against you and ….. you must be prepared to pay the price.

End.

PAST AND PRESENT BATTLES ON A DUBLIN STREET MARKET

Note: Text content reproduced by permission from Save Moore Street From Demolition, from their report on their Awareness Wk 255 3rd August 2019.  The area has been the scene of a struggle between mainly historical conservationists and property speculators since 2002, the latter aided, campaigners say, by the Irish Government and the City Managers.

Save Moore Street Awareness Wk 255 3rd August 2019

A more depleted street market than usual greeted the campaigners while setting up our weekly campaign stall. A number of stall-holders had taken the opportunity of the bank holiday weekend to take a break; with Sunday and bank holiday Monday trading forbidden by their licences, the prospect of a long weekend was clearly attractive. Of course, the 17 or so licenses still issued by Dublin City Council does not at all compare with the 75 of some decades past but then that was bound to be an effect of permitting the erection of two supermarkets bracketing the street. Even more, having a thriving street market is not in the interests of those who want to demolish the quarter and construct a “shopping mall” or chain-store shopping district.

Young Family Signing
A young family signing the petition at the Save Moore Street From Demolition stall on a wet DecemberSaturday. Part of the ‘1916 Terrace’ which over 300 men and women occupied in 1916 can be seen across the road. (Photo source: SMSFD)

Our core team was depleted too, with Mary recovering from an injured knee and Mel on duties elsewhere; Bróna, Bart and Diarmuid set up this week.

Some long-time supporters stopped by to chat, including excellent photographer Errol, a man with extensive knowledge of wildlife, especially plants, who regularly drops by to distribute fresh fruit among us. As usual, people from different parts of Ireland, also migrants living here and visitors, signed the petition and talked about the importance of historical memory.

Postaer Dubalta Ar nOidhreacht & Nil Saoirse Gan Stair
(Photo source: SMSFD)

While putting two Irish-language posters together for a photograph for the Gaeilge Amháin Facebook page, on which understandably only Irish language is permitted, we hit upon the idea of placing the picture side of our leaflet upon it. It makes an attractive ensemble, don’t you think?

Meanwhile, news reaches us that the Minister’s Advisory Group on Moore Street has completed or is about to complete its report to the Minister, which basically backs the property speculator Hammerson’s ideas for the area. This is hardly surprising, sadly, considering how things go and have gone over the years but is a sad reflection on the management of this state. Apparently it was not all smooth sailing however, with disagreements about content and emphasis. One can see the sense, from the Minister’s point of view, of excluding our group from their list of approved stakeholders; less easy to understand, perhaps, is the acceptance by other members of her group of the exclusion of the most active Moore Street campaigning group in recent years.

Crowd signing stall 6 Jan2016
A crowd signing the petition on 6th January 2016 (the following week the SMSFD called two demonstrations into the street and buildings were occupied to prevent their demolition). (Photo source: SMSFD)

PUB QUIZ

The prize (non-monetary) for naming four pubs in Moore Street’s past and their locations goes to Moore Street 1916 Battleground History Forum, a FB page supporting our campaign. Michael Shanley’s “pub with no name” was identified as “O’Neill’s” (probably not one of the current chain) by one of Troy’s Butcher’s team; it was diagonally across from them before being demolished to make way for the LIDL supermarket and underground shopping mall. Its corner was known for generations as “Dead Man’s Corner”, being near where the body of Volunteer commander O’Rahilly had lain with five bullets in his body, writing a goodbye note to his wife as he lay dying. The excellent monument now near the spot replaces the small plaque erected on the corner of the pub and reproduces not only The O’Rahilly’s words but also his very script, enlarged of course. But without any signage on Moore St. to indicate its presence, how many thousands must pass by unaware of its existence? Our campaigners have raised this with the Council but despite promises, no signage has yet been erected. After all, why call attention to the historical importance of an area when the City Managers support the property speculators wanting to demolish it?

ORahilly last letter plaque
O’Rahilly memorial plaque containing an enlarged facsimile reproduction of his dying letter to his wife. It is in a side street off Moore Street, unseen by thousands. (Photo source: D.Breatnach)

That pub was the same one to which Vol. Tom Cremin had tried to gain entry, without success in 1916. The 18-year old had volunteered to join the O’Rahilly’s fatal charge on the British barricade located at the Moore Street junction with Parnell Street, on the way shooting a British soldier at the Salmon Lane junction. Vol. Cremin made it as far as what is now O’Rahilly Parade but had been wounded in the foot and the butt of his rifle had also been shot off. Seeking shelter, he entered possibly No.24 or 23 where he fed the dog he found there with some food in the house, lay upon a bed and fell asleep. When he awoke the following day, Easter Saturday, the Surrender had taken place and British soldiers were searching the houses for hidden fighters (there were none) and weapons.

The British soldier Vol. Cremin had shot further back down Moore Street had been carried, under fire, into No.10 by one of the three Plunkett volunteers, George. A field hospital had been set up in that house (of insufficient importance to save, according to the lawyers of the Minister for Heritage) by Vol. Elizabeth O’Farrell and Vol. Julia Grenan, in which around another 18 wounded were being cared for. The British soldier survived the Rising. Which was more than did one of George’s brothers, Joseph Plunkett, who was shot by British firing squad some days after the surrender, along with another 15 Volunteers in Ireland (Casement was hanged in August in London). The Seven Signatories of the Proclamation of Independence were among the executed and four of those spent their last days of freedom in the Moore Street battleground, along with another executed, Willie Pearse.

But what matters all that when there is big money to be made! There is lot more than adding “a halfpence to the pence” in their “greasy tills” these days.

Beimíd thar n-ais ar an tSráid arís an Satharn seo chugainn.

End.

Costume men & women 3 flags M St
Some women and men supporters of the campaign in 1916 period costume on the street in February 1916, (Photo source: SMSFD)

From the slums of Dublin to the battlefields of Spain: Brigadista Bob Doyle (1915-2009)

The story of a working-class and poor Dubliner who fought fascism in the Spanish State and remained a life-long militant.

the irish revolution

Brigadista Bob Doyle — Image designed by Nekane Orkaizagirre
Brigadista Bob Doyle — Image designed by Nekane Orkaizagirre

by Stewart Reddin

Robert (Bob) Andrew Doyle was born on 12th February 1916 at 15 Linenhall Street in Dublin’s northwest inner city. He was the second youngest of five siblings. Bob’s parents, Peter Doyle and Margaret Alldritt, were married in Dublin on 13th November 1904. Peter, aged 20 at the time, was employed as a seaman and lived on Upper Dorset Street with his three sisters. It appears that both his parents were deceased by 1901 as his eldest sister Anna, aged 20, is recorded in that year’s Census as head of the family.

Bob’s mother Margaret was 19 when she married and she lived in Kilmainham with her family. Alldritt is not a common surname in Ireland (in his biography, Brigadista, written in conjunction with Harry Owens, Bob’s mother’s family name is recorded as Aldridge, however the birth, marriage…

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“They or we must quit this island” – Fintan Lalor on the landlord class (June 1848)

Great words. More applicable today to the Gombeen or native Irish capitalist class than the landlords although some of the former are also the latter.

the irish revolution

From the republican newspaper The Irish Felon, June 24, 1848.  This appeared in the original as one paragraph, but I have broken it up into several paras to assist 21st century readers.

Although written 170 years ago as a condemnation of the main property-owning class in Ireland then (the landlords) it sounds very modern, like a condemnation of the main property-owning class in Ireland today (the capitalists).  It is not hard to see why Connolly – and Pearse – admired Lalor so much.  The article represents a step forward in republican political thinking from the time of Tone and Emmet, as over four decades of class development and conflict had taken place and Ireland was in the midst of the horrors of a massive famine created by the capitalist property system.

The bit about “strangers” is also apt as a description of the Dublin4 and WestBrit set of…

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American And British Exceptionalism In The Age Of Trump And Brexit

There is definitely a brand of US exceptionalism that assumes superiority and entitlement to invade, blockade, embargo and infiltrate other countries. This is not incompatible with a feeling of historical or cultural inferiority with respect to some European states, just as arrogant, bullying and domineering behaviour of an individual is far from incompatible with the same individual’s sense of inferiority.

AN SIONNACH FIONN

Renegade Cut is rapidly becoming one of my favourite YouTube channels for its commentary on the modern crossover between politics and culture. Specifically, popular culture. A recent video includes these observations on the issue of “American exceptionalism” which could be equally applied to another ostensibly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and English-speaking union that believes itself to be unique by virtue of history and nationality, and which is also undergoing a wave of populist sentiment:

American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States is not only different from the rest of the world but uniquely positioned to lead the world.

Exceptionalism states that the US follows of path of history different from the laws and norms that govern other countries.

American exceptionalism is the belief that the US is not only bigger and more powerful than other nations but that it due to its uniqueness, it need not follow said laws…

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I DON’T KNOW MADURO – BUT I DO KNOW THE U.S. IN LATIN AMERICA

Diarmuid Breatnach

 

Some people are saying Maduro is a dictator and ruling undemocratically. Those people seem to be mostly from the imperialist media and the Right but still … The claim seems to rest on the fact that although his party won the 2013 general elections, Maduro now rules without the support of the majority of the legislature in Venezuela.

 

The Venezuelan Opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself President, quoting a Constitutional provision and quickly got the support of the US and European powers. Brazil’s neo-fascist President Bolsonaro is also vociferously backing Guadió. Cuba and Bolivia support Maduro, as does Russia and China. Well, we kind of get used to the European powers being on the same side as the US in international affairs, and of Russia being on the other. And Cuba and Bolivia are biased against the USA, having often accused their powerful neighbour of meddling in the affairs of countries in Latin America.

And as it happens, history supports their accusation. Since the decade after WW2 alone, the USA have intervened, directly by invasion or less directly (i.e by instigating coups), in the following Latin American countries:

  • Argentina (coup 1976 and subsequent support for right-wing dictator)
  • Brazil (coup1964 and subsequent support for right-wing dictator)
  • Chile (coup 1973 and subsequent support for right-wing dictator)
  • Costa Rica (coup-civil war 1948 and many measures since)
  • El Salvador (coup 1975 and civil war to 1992)
  • Guatemala (coup-civil war 1954)
  • Nicaragua (support for right-wing dictator and running terrorist group 1979-1990s)
  • Panama (assassination of President 1981 to support replacement, subsequently military invasion 1989)
  • Paraguay (coups 1954, 2012)
  • Peru (CIA-sponsored governments 1990-2000)
  • Uruguay (coup 1973)
  • Venezuela (coup 2002, supporting opposition to Chavez, ditto with Maduro, inciting military coup [unsuccessfully to date]).

Well even if these methods were subversive and undemocratic, perhaps the USA was intervening to support democracy? After all, isn’t that what its spokespersons say they want in Venezuela?

Well, sadly no. The regimes the USA has supported in power as well as those brought to power by coups, have been military dictatorships and right-wing governments, repressing democratic freedoms, jailing trade unionists or murdering them, banning opposition media, torturing detainees, making hundreds ‘disappear’, and generally, according to many human rights organisations, with appalling civil and human rights records.

In fact, some of the statements of US spokespersons recently revealed interests that had little to do with justice or human rights. A Guardian report (see References and Links) quotes the USA’s national security adviser John Bolton complaining about Russian support for Maduro: “This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering.” Apart from the fact that this sounds like the USA’s Latin American policy from the 19th Century, one can’t help wondering when in the 20th or so far in the 21st Century, the USA has ever limited its operations to ‘its own hemisphere’.

Apparently, on May 1st, the Venezuelan Opposition leader tried to stage a coup. He sent out a tweet calling on people to mobilise to unseat Maduro and, though at one point he said it would be peaceful, had himself photographed with a few armed men in Army uniforms. Some opposition people did mobilise and the Army, apparently still loyal to Maduro, confronted them and injured many (none apparently with live rounds, thankfully). Where was Guaidó? It’s not clear but certainly not among those confronting (or being confronted by) the Army.

The US Secretary of State Pompeo claimed publicly that Maduro had a plane ready to fly to Cuba when the coup attempt began but was talked out of it by Russia. Evidence for this? He didn’t produce any and Venezuelan officials accused him of trying to undermine the Venezuelan Army’s confidence in the regime.

Almost certainly there will be other attempts. The US feels it has a good chance of destabilising the regime and bringing in one more favourable to itself. And of course, there’s all that oil.

Do I support Maduro? I don’t know him or his practice well enough to do that. But I do know the USA and whatever they are up to there, I am against them. And I think we should all be.

End.

LINKS AND REFERENCES:

US interventions for regime change in Latin America since WW2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change_in_Latin_America

US policy towards Latin America in the 19th Century: https://oxfordre.com/latinamericanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.001.0001/acrefore-9780199366439-e-41

Recent US statement on sphere of influence: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/01/russia-denies-us-claim-it-told-maduro-not-to-flee-venezuela