WeeklyWorker

07.01.2021
The great hunger saw one million die and afterwards three million emigrate. However, the success of the peasantry in the land war ended English landlordism in Ireland

Socialism, nationalism and Ireland

Before and during the Second International there were many different approaches to the questions of socialism and nationalism. In Ireland James Connolly banked on nationalists taking a positive attitude towards the cause of labour. In his next article Marc Mulholland will look at Ireland’s conservative revolution

The liberal republicanism coming out of the French Revolution had generally aimed for a radical reconfiguration of Europe’s boundaries. The old dynastic states, jerry-built constructions assembled by conquest and inheritance, should be replaced by ‘nation states’, which would meld together pan-class ‘communities of fate’, built upon common language, ethnicity and historical experience.

As Giuseppe Mazzini put it, the organisational principle of Europe should be “every nation a state”. The assumption was that ‘historic nations’ rather than mere ‘nationalities’ would qualify, a certain minimum size and viability being required, and Mazzini usually left Ireland off his roster of nation-states to be constructed. Those ‘nationalities’ that were too small to maintain themselves in independence were seen to be a reserve of strength for the reactionary multinational dynastic states. In the revolutions of 1848 to 1849, for example, the Slavs of the Austro-Hungarian empire fought with royal armies against the revolutionary Germans of Austria and the Magyars of Hungary, fearing falling under the domination of a ‘master-race’ more than they did the rule of the royalist ancien régime. Engels was certainly not alone in hoping that such “nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm”.1

As a small nationality, Ireland was in an ambiguous position. While most radicals assumed that Scotland and Wales were best folded into the ‘nation’ of Britain, Ireland had shown its separatist and republican mettle with the United Irishmen movement and its glamorously tragic rebellion of 1798. The mass movement for ‘Catholic emancipation’ and repeal of the union led by Daniel O’Connell from the 1820s to the 1840s, was welcome evidence that a Catholic democracy need not be reactionary: it could be not just liberal, but radically so. On the eve of the Great Famine, moreover, Ireland made up about a third of the population of the United Kingdom, so was by no means self-evidently ‘too small’ for self-determination, though it was very poor and, outside the north-east, positively de-industrialising.

There existed in Ireland, however, a large Protestant minority (again, about a third); a denomination that overwhelming dominated the landed elite and comprised the bulk of the bourgeoisie. A substantial chunk of this constituency, particularly the Presbyterians of Ulster, had been republican and separatist in the 1790s. Fearing misrule by an oppressively Catholic and peasant democracy, however, the vast majority of Ireland’s Protestants had within a short space of time adopted a vehement unionism, rejecting the capacity of the Irish nationality to fairly govern the country.

British role

This was the view too of Britain, though military security and geopolitical prestige were far more important considerations in their holding on to Ireland. The argument for ensuring that Ireland could never become a base for hostile operations against Great Britain was straightforward enough and commonly espoused (Marx was confronted with it on the general council of the First International and it was the limit to Irish self-determination the British Labour Party was prepared to support in 1920). The argument that the Irish nationality was not capable of becoming a responsibly self-governing nation was more uncomfortably dissonant for unionists, however.

It rested on three propositions: first, that the Irish peasantry, stuck in a poverty trap, panted to despoil property; second, the Irish nationality was irreconcilably divided on sectarian lines; and, third, Catholic Ireland was unremittingly hostile to British rule, which they refused to see as anything other than alien and selfish. The problem here was that none of these problems reflected well on British governance, which, given the state of Irish opinion, could only be reasonably seen as a succession of expedients either disastrous in effect or hopelessly inadequate to the problem. No positively pro-Irish case for British rule was ever really formulated, therefore. We have the irony that the most impressive critiques of British rule came from unionist intellectuals. The 1844 dictum of Benjamin Disraeli, who never bothered feigning much concern for Irish problems, was endlessly quoted:

I want to see a public man come forward and say what the Irish question is … a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, an alien church, and in addition the weakest executive in the world. Well, what then would honourable gentlemen say if they read of a country in that position? They would say at once, ‘The remedy is revolution.’ But the Irish could not have a revolution, and why? Because Ireland is connected with another and the more powerful country … If the connection with England prevented a revolution, and a revolution was the only remedy, England logically is in the odious position of being the cause of all the misery in Ireland.2

The first recourse for any nationalist agitator seeking historical evidence of British bungling and malice in Ireland was the splendidly written published works of WEH Lecky, Ireland’s greatest historian and an Irish unionist MP. Even the venomous historical work of James Anthony Froude, the openly racist calumniator of Ireland, was mostly a catalogue of English incompetence and selfishness. It is difficult to find a more excoriating critique of British rule of Ireland in the 19th century than that written by Godfrey Locker Lampson, an Eton- and Cambridge-educated English Tory MP.3 The normally invincible complacency and self-regard of the British ruling class failed it, when it came to the Irish question.

One might think that the British mind would be ever searching for creative solutions to the so-called ‘Irish question’. It was not as simple as this, however. There is a psychological effect known as ‘self-affirmation theory’, which states that people are much more amenable to being persuaded by new arguments if they are first reassured of their own great virtue on the subject.4 For example, it was first impressed upon cold war white Americans that they, the heartland of the Free World, were stout champions of individual freedom and the equality of man. This made it much easier to persuade them to accept meaningful reforms in the 1950s and 1960s civil rights era. Jeremiads on the enormities inflicted by whites on blacks in American history, steadily produced by the NGO-ised black studies industry since then, tends on the other hand to back white Americans into sullen obduracy and denial. There are difficult problems here for the production and dissemination of historical truth, and implications for the overtaking of radical ‘people’s history’ by contemporary ‘race, empire and gender’ studies, but I digress.

The point, as it applies to Ireland, is that the unhappy consciousness of the British regarding Ireland was a reason for them not to face up to the necessity of doing something about it. They had to be periodically shocked into sullenly returning to the problem. Partly for this reason, as William O’Brien, the nationalist MP, put it at the end of the 19th century, in Ireland political “violence” was “the only way of securing a hearing for moderation”.

O’Brien was referring to the insurrectionism of the Fenian organisation, a republican-separatist secret society that had the sympathy of Marx and especially Engels. Though best known for a rather hapless rising in 1867 and pinprick terrorist attacks in Great Britain, its most important role lay elsewhere. It was the Fenian milieu and organisational capacity that provided the cadre for one of the great set-piece class conflicts of 19th-century European history: the Land War. This was most intense in the years 1879-81, but really defined Irish popular politics for the rest of the century after the famine of 1845-50. The peasant’s combative struggle for the land ultimately destroyed landlordism in Ireland, creating perhaps the most profound socio-political divergence from Great Britain.

In Britain, the rentier culture of landlordism remains more or less intact to this day, as its great age of production fades, and it pervades the governing practice of both the ruling class and their more obedient stewards now back in control of the Labour Party. Ireland for the first half or so of the 20th century was characterised by a petty-bourgeois puritanism of a type absent from Britain since landlordism suffocated the yeomanry in the 17th and 18th centuries. With a wide dispersal of productive property ownership for the market as its thread of continuity, independent Ireland has emerged as almost a model capitalist culture - a sometimes vulgar ornament of a trans-Atlantic ideal of enterprise economy, complete with a moderately militant, but definitely proletarian counter-culture.

Nationalists in the first half of the 19th century were typically democrats, or at least fairly radical constitutional liberals. This was certainly the case in Ireland. The principle of national citizenship was seen as an alternative to dynastic subjecthood. The distinction between ‘nations’ and ‘nationalities’, however - the former capable of self-governance, the latter doomed to subjection and eventual disappearance - meant that it was easy for the ‘master-race’ concept to take hold. In the decades after the defeat of the 1848 revolutions, monarchic regimes in Europe - notably Prussia and Piedmont-Savoy - were able to marshal the dynamism of bourgeois civil society, the fiscal strength of constitutional parliamentarianism and the revolutionary energy of populist nationalism under the baton of state militarism for the purposes of massively aggrandised dynastic expansionism.

The Italian north partly liberated and partly conquered the Italian south. Protestant Prussia expelled Catholic Austria from its sphere of influence, conquered the southern German states, and built a German Reich extending into stateless Poland in the east and up to and beyond the ‘natural’ French frontier on the west. The Habsburg dominions - a regular loser in these skilfully executed wars of strategic manoeuvre - were in some respects the most ominous for the future of nationalism, however. Here two ‘master races’, though both minorities in their two halves of the empire, won ethnic supremacy over oppressed nationalities: the Germans in Austria and its dependencies west of the Leitha river, the Magyars in Hungary and the wider ‘Lands of St Stephen’ to the east.

Nationalism

The result was to empty nationalism of much of its earlier democratic content. This was always a likely possibility, because its political psychology always had two somewhat contradictory components.

On the one hand, nationalism holds that the state was only fully legitimate if it drew its authority and mandate from the national people, so defined. This is nationalism as self-determination. It draws upon a psychology of social identity, by which an in-group concept was extended to fellow citizens sharing certain markers: language, descent and presumed common history.

On the other hand, nationalism does not require as an essential component of its psychology that self-determination need be democratic. A state can have national legitimacy even if it is authoritarian, so long as it presents as speaking for the nation. This arises from a psychology of ‘affect referral’, in which a ‘brand’ - whether it be a fashion label, a football team, or a national ideal - holds loyalty not by what it practically offers, but by the emotions it is able to play upon. Attachment generated at first by a transactional offer - support for the national ideal in return for liberty - is parlayed into loyalty to the national community through its presumptive leaders as an end in itself.

The nationalism of the petty bourgeois by the 1880s and 1890s was rapidly transferring from the democratic left to the radical right. Virulent nationalism tended to characterise the lower middle class: master artisans, shopkeepers, clerks, and so on. In the early 19th century, they had been in the vanguard of the struggle for democracy. Now, the anti-Semites, nationalists, Christian socialists, conservative and Catholic parties all had a substantial lower-middle class social base. This collapse of the “petty bourgeois democratic movement” into rabid hostility to the organised proletariat, Kautsky argued in 1902, meant that “Social democracy has no more bitter enemy than the reactionary democracy”.5

We should not overdo the salience of nationalism as a political ideology at this time, however. Much of Europe was not organised into nation-states in this period. Multinational states were the norm (the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Russian empire, the United Kingdom, Belgium - even, arguably, the German Reich (which excluded Austrian Germans and included quite a lot of Poles). Spain and Italy were divided regionally as much as they were united nationally. Only France, perhaps, was straightforwardly a nation-state. Before 1914, nationalism appealed much more to the middle classes (particularly students) than it did to the working classes. Indeed, nationalism as an ideology was not much older than socialism, both dating roughly from the French Revolution.

The Communist manifesto (1848) had famously insisted that “the workers have no country”: but this was probably an observation on the exclusion of workers from citizenship rather than a programmatic statement. Marx and Engels both supported Polish and Irish independence. In 1870 they first supported German national defence when France declared war, and then French national defence when Germany invaded. August Bebel of the German SPD in 1907 firmly stated that the parties of the Second International “no longer shared the opinions of the Manifesto”, when it came to its assertion that the workers have no country.6 This was not considered particularly controversial at the time.

There were implications to this kind of patriotism, however. If workers did now have a country, having won certain political rights, did they thereby have a loyalty to the country’s capitalist state? In an 1896 article on colonialism, which kick-started the Revisionist Debate, Bernstein argued that, because the SPD represented a quarter of voters in the German Reich, “we have a certain responsibility for the policy of that Reich”.7 The British socialist, Ernest Belfort Bax, responded that this showed Bernstein had become a state loyalist and thus had “unconsciously ceased to be a social democrat”. This was not at all unreasonable - though, as it turned out, Bax would become a pro-war jingo in 1914, while Bernstein would be much more sceptical.8

The Second International was largely made up of ‘inheritor parties’ - the description applied to the German SPD in 1965 by the historian, Peter Nettl. This meant that they were anxious to inherit rather than to smash the existing state structure in which they operated. In general, they wanted to keep borders as they were. To most socialists, it seemed that the existing states were the more or less natural base on which socialism would be developed. Karl Kautsky proposed an autarchic ‘socialism in one country’ theory: “A cooperative Commonwealth coextensive with the nation could produce all that it requires for its own preservation.”9 The French reformist, Jean Jaurès, was more explicit about the implication of socialism in one country:

In the present state of humanity, where our only organisation is on the basis of nationality, social property will take the form of national property … The nation, and the nation alone, can enfranchise all citizens … We invoke the nation.10

Given France’s revolutionary tradition, it was easier there to link socialism to a broadly progressive narrative than it was in many other countries.

Second International socialism was ‘inter-national’ rather than ‘post-national’. Kautsky wrote in 1907:

The patriotism of the proletariat is itself closely bound with the idea of international solidarity: the idea that the wealth and culture of their own nation prospers only if they go hand in hand with the prosperity and culture of other nations.11

Social democrats were generally fairly patriotic, but before 1914 at least few were particularly nationalist. Outright anti-patriotism was mostly to be found on the anarchist or syndicalist left. There was an active anti-patriotical movement in France, while the army always looked to be on the brink of open subversion of the republic. Gustave Hervé was contemptuous of “the filth and horse dung of the barracks”, as he put it: “Plant the flag there!” he told the patriots. So far as he was concerned, Plutôt l'insurrection que la guerre! (‘Better violent rebellion than [patriotic] war!’) By 1914, Hervé was for fanatically pro-national self-defence. Jean Jaurès was more typical of French socialists in seeing socialism as a consummation, not a rejection, of France’s national story of progress and revolution.

The Austro-Marxist, Otto Bauer, argued that the transcendence of capitalism would mean a “growing intellectual differentiation between the nations - this is what socialism means”.12 His argument was that the democratisation of education and higher civilisation would inevitably draw workers more closely into their national culture. The socialist state would foster rather than erode distinct national cultures. Migration across national boundaries, Bauer anticipated, would be controlled, thus maintaining the integrity of cultural communities.13 (The Second International, however, opposed capitalist migration controls.)

Socialists had to find a way to deal with the existence of nationalist currents. How they did so often relied upon the particular circumstances in which they operated. Socialist approaches to nationalism in the Second International can be categorised in four ways.

1 Prioritising nationalism

Józef Piłsudski, a leader of the Polish Socialist Party, was the most striking example of a socialist who saw the movement primarily as a means to strengthen a national liberation struggle. So far as he was concerned, Poland had a pre-ordained progressive role in European history. He argued in 1895 that “the historical role of socialism in Poland is the defence of the west against reactionary Russia”. When he became the leader of the ‘Revolutionary Faction’ of the PSP in 1906, Piłsudski directed its activity toward securing national independence for Poland. It was quite clear that for Piłsudski the socialist workers’ movement was a means to a nationalist end. The Polish bourgeois were far too timid and bound up with those great powers that held Poland in their partitioning grip (Germany, Austria and Russia). Only the worker movement could provide the dynamic energy for serious conspiracy. Socialist ideology was very much secondary to organisation for armed struggle. He once asked in exasperation after his party printed copies of Marx’s Communist manifesto: “Can a single Russian soldier be killed by that?”

Poland emerged as a nation-state through the armed diplomacy of World War I, with rival powers bidding for Polish nationalist support. A pro-German ‘Regency regime” at Warsaw had support amongst the landed nobility and bureaucratic class. This was challenged by middle class National Democrats, who controlled a military force operating under French command on the Western front. A third group was the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) with its Polish Military Organisation (POW) led by Piłsudski.

As the central powers declined into defeat, the National Democrats and the leftists jointly took power in the Galician capital of Kraków and established a regional government. The POW spread out across Poland, as its Austrian and German occupiers evacuated, instituting far-reaching agrarian reforms and some measures of socialisation as they went. On November 10 1918, Piłsudski returned in triumph from a German prison. He was able to form a government comprising members of the PPS, the National Democrats and the peasant People’s Party. Under pressure from the Allies, the government was reconstituted as an exclusively National Democratic cabinet, which, however, confirmed Piłsudski in government.

When his former comrades complained of his failure to make Poland a socialist state, Piłsudski was frank in reply: “My friends, you and I caught the socialist train together. I got off at Polish Independence station. I wish you the best of luck in continuing your journey to Utopia.” The government drifted to the right until, in 1926, Piłsudski made himself effectively dictator of Poland, marginalising the conservatives, through a coup d’état. He was supported in this by both the Socialist Party and the Polish Communist Party.

2 ‘Parking’ nationalism

The Austro-Hungarian empire was chock-a-block with nationalities (beside the Germans and Magyars, it included Czechs, Croats, Serbs, Slovaks, Poles, Slovenes, Ukrainians, Italians and Romanians). In 1897, under nationalist pressure from the militant nationalist ‘Young Czech’ movement, the government passed the Badeni Decrees, making Czech as well as German an official language. This led to rioting and serious brawls in the Reichsrat (parliament). Between 1898 and 1904 parliamentary business was next to impossible.

The ‘Austro-Marxists’ of the Socialist Party of Austria (SPÖ) were particularly anxious to develop a programme on the national question, which would hopefully prevent it dominating politics altogether. They wanted class politics to come to the fore. Their programme, first outlined at the SPÖ Brünn Congress in 1899, amounted to a unitary pan-national state with maximal cultural autonomy for nationalities. Cultural recognition and protection should extend to grouped individuals rather than territories as such (the ‘personality principle’). As Otto Bauer explained, the aim was to do enough to ‘park’ the national question, allowing class questions to come to the fore:

National autonomy is not a programme devised by clever men in order to rescue the state in its hour of need, but the demand that the proletariat necessarily voices in the multinational state … National autonomy is a necessary goal for the proletarian class struggle, because it is a necessary means of its class politics.14

To a degree, this was successful. When the franchise was radically expanded (under socialist pressure) in 1906, the predominantly middle class nationalists were radically undercut. In the 1907 Reichsrat elections, socialists won nearly half the vote in the 233 German districts they contested, and more than a third from 107 Czech districts. Workers were voting socialist rather than nationalist. However, contradiction between a programme of national autonomy for the state and a united workers’ party was evident. In 1911 the Czech socialists broke away to form their own party.

3 ‘Instrumentalising’ nationalism

Lenin saw the national question as a potential weakness in the established order. In particular, the national question was dynamite built into the foundations of tsarism (there were many nationalities in the Russian empire, the “prison house of nationalities”, and the nationalist revolutionary tradition in Poland in particular was very significant). The worker movement, the Bolsheviks believed, should support the right of bourgeois nationalists to demand territorial separatism primarily to undermine the ‘Great Russian’ nationalism of the state. This was not in favour of any separatist nationalist ideal but against the unitary nationalism of the state. Its logic was one of continual tendency towards disintegration of the state until it comes into the hands of the proletariat.

As Lenin wrote in a typically abrasive polemic of 1914, “the proletariat confines itself, so to speak, to the negative demand for recognition of the right to self-determination, without giving guarantees to any nation”. In other words, the seceding nation could itself be assailed by its own separatist movements. The proletarian movement was not seeking to realise any nation, but to weaken the state.15 In essence, revolutionary socialists should use whatever nationalist movement that presented itself. As Lenin wrote in 1916,

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc - to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution.16

Just as the Bolsheviks were prepared to make concessions to the peasants, offering them private property in land, so also they were prepared to make concessions to petty-bourgeois nationalism, so long as it helped to smash the state. This was the Bolshevik exception. They wanted to smash the existing state structure, not to inherit it. In 1917 they were quick to recognise Polish and Finnish independence.

Once the Bolsheviks were in control of much of the Russian empire their posture changed considerably. In 1919 they invaded Poland (though Poland, under Piłsudski, attacked first). In 1922, Russian forces invaded and annexed the socialist-run Republic of Georgia. Protection and advancement of the ‘proletarian state’, now constituted, was the priority.

4 Rejecting nationalism

There were socialists who opposed even the nationalism of the oppressed. Most notable was Rosa Luxemburg. Herself Polish, Luxemburg notoriously took exception to the International’s support for Polish independence (Poland was divided between Russia, Austria and Germany). This was a form, she argued, of “social patriotism”; a dilution of proletarian independence:

The adoption of the social-patriotic resolution [proposed at the London Congress of the International, in favour of Polish independence] would establish an important precedent for the socialist movement in other countries … If the national liberation of Poland is elevated to a political goal of the international proletariat, why not also the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Ireland and Alsace-Lorraine? All these objectives are equally utopian, and are no less justified than the liberation of Poland … the door would be opened wide to national struggles and nationalist organisations … Instead of political programmes, nationalist programmes would be drawn up. Instead of a coherent political struggle of the proletariat in every country, its disintegration through a series of fruitless national struggles would be virtually assured.17

It would be unsurprising that a Polish Jew would not be keen on carving Europe up into more or less ethnically pure ‘nation-states’. Ethnic nationalism was usually hostile to Jews. The middle class ‘National Democracy’ movement in Poland, to which Piłsudski came to be allied, was virulently anti-Semitic. It organised pogroms and its slogans were: “Don’t buy from the Jew” and “Let national buy from national”. Though the Polish Socialist Party’s main theoretician was Jewish (Feliks Perl), as it turned nationalist, it bent to anti-Semitism. Before Luxemburg moved to Germany in 1897, she was a member of a smaller rival, the Polish Social Democratic Party (SDKP). Nonetheless, there is little evidence that Luxemburg was motivated by a fear for the Jewish fate. She contentedly felt herself to be culturally Polish and was rather insensitive to anti-Semitism. Her priority was holding aloof from bourgeois nationalist priorities.

The International continued to promote Polish independence - long a popular liberal and radical cause, dismissing Luxemburg’s objections. Poland, of course, did achieve independence, and there was indeed a subsequent trial for its Jewish population. Widespread anti-Semitic violence racked Poland between 1914 and 1920, though it was somewhat dampened by the new national state from 1918. Anti-Semitism revived in the 1930s in the aftermath of the great depression. It took German conquest, however, for anti-Semitic rancour to turn into genocide.

‘Realising’ nationalism

James Connolly in Ireland struggled to reconcile advanced intellectual nationalism with the worker movement. In his landmark historical work, Labour in Irish history (1910), he argued that in the course of the conquest, England had imposed the feudal-capitalist system on Ireland’s “communal or tribal ownership of land”. Up until 1649, therefore, “war against the foreign oppressor was also a war against private property in land”.18 Since then, however, because the land question came to focus on the farmer’s struggle to own their own land, the nationalist movement - and even its radical wing, the Fenians - fell into middle class hands. However, Connolly did identify with the Irish version of the French revolutionary tradition, the United Irishmen of the 1790s. The United Irishmen had raised the demand of Irish separation and a more or less democratic republic. Connolly wrote:

Here we have a plan of campaign indicated on the lines of those afterwards followed so successfully by the socialists of Europe - a revolutionary party openly declaring their revolutionary sympathies, but limiting their first demand to a popular measure, such as would enfranchise the masses, upon whose support their ultimate success must rest ... it was just this daring aim that was the secret of their success as organisers, as it is the secret of the political effectiveness of the socialists of our day. Nothing less would have succeeded in causing Protestant and Catholic masses to shake hands across the bloody chasm of religious hatreds. Nothing less will accomplish the same result in our day among the Irish workers.19

Connolly hoped for the “re-conversion of Ireland to the Gaelic principle of common ownership”, applied not now to land, but to industry, once the people realised “the truth that the capitalist system is the most foreign thing in Ireland”.20 He did not think that socialism arose from any kind of race memory, however. It was a “vital truth that successful revolutions are not the product of our brains, but of ripe material conditions”.21 Instead, the propagandising of socialism as a realisation of the historic Irish civilisational ideal would be a task for the intellectuals.

Connolly hoped for the kind of combination of intellectuals and the masses as found in the contemporary Italian socialist movement (in which the leadership were drawn from the professoriate, at considerable distance from the wage-earning rank and file).22 For many years, middle class nationalism had diverted the workers from class-consciousness. But the sympathy of the advanced nationalist intelligentsia for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union during the 1913 lockout gave Connolly hope:

Not the least of the many encouraging signs given to the world during the great Dublin labour dispute just mentioned was the keen and sympathetic interest shown by the ‘intellectuals’ in the fortunes of the workers … We have no doubt that it will be found in Ireland, as it has already been found in Italy, that the cooperation of the wage labourers and their intellectual comrades will create an uplifting atmosphere of social helpfulness of the greatest benefit in the work of national regeneration. We have in Ireland, particularly outside of the industrial districts of the north, a greater proportion of professional, literary and artistic people than is to be found in any European country except Italy, and, without enquiring too closely into the cause of this undue proportion, it may be predicted that its existence will serve the cause of labour in Ireland.23

For Connolly, the nationalist idealism of the intelligentsia could be segued with the instinctive socialism of the proletariat. In light of this, it is not altogether surprising therefore that Connolly joined the Easter Rising of 1916 as a comrade-in-arms of a middle class activist core that drew heavily on Ireland’s intellectual bohemia. It remains to be seen to what extent the struggle for independence after 1916 followed Connolly’s hopes.


  1. marxists.architexturez.net/archive/marx/works/1849/01/13.htm.↩︎

  2. victorianweb.org/authors/disraeli/ireland.html.↩︎

  3. This is a great read: G Locker-Lampson A consideration of the state of Ireland in the nineteenth century (archive.org/details/considerationofs00lockuoft).↩︎

  4. psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/social-psychology-theories/self-affirmation-theory.↩︎

  5. K Kautsky The social revolution and On the morrow of the social revolution: archive.org/details/cu31924052957044/page/n35/mode/2up.↩︎

  6. Internationaler Sozialisten-Kongress zu Stuttgart p83.↩︎

  7. E Bernstein, ‘German social democracy and the Turkish troubles’ Neue Zeit October 14 1896, in H and J M Tudor (eds) Marxism and social democracy: the revisionist debate 1896-1898 Cambridge 1988, p51.↩︎

  8. E Belfort Bax, ‘Our German Fabian convert; or socialism according to Bernstein’ Justice November 7 1896, in H and JM Tudor op cit p64. Compare also E Belfort Bax, ‘The socialism of Bernstein' Justice November 21 1896, in H and JM Tudor op cit p71.↩︎

  9. marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1892/erfurt/ch04.htm.↩︎

  10. archive.org/details/cu31924032592051/page/n59/mode/2up.↩︎

  11. K Kautsky Patriotismus und Sozialdemokratie Leipzig 1907, p6.↩︎

  12. O Bauer The question of nationalities and social democracy Minneapolis 2000, p98.↩︎

  13. Ibid pp95, 410-13.↩︎

  14. Ibid p259.↩︎

  15. marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/self-det/ch04.htm.↩︎

  16. marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/jul/x01.htm.↩︎

  17. marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1896/07/polish-question.htm.↩︎

  18. marxists.org/archive/connolly/1910/lih/chap01.htm.↩︎

  19. marxists.org/archive/connolly/1910/lih/chap08.htm.↩︎

  20. marxists.org/archive/connolly/1910/lih/foreword.htm.↩︎

  21. marxists.org/archive/connolly/1910/lih/chap01.htm.↩︎

  22. Ibid p267.↩︎

  23. marxists.org/archive/connolly/1915/rcoi/chap09.htm.↩︎