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1916 - Connolly, blood sacrifice and defeating British imperialism

category national | history and heritage | feature author Monday April 24, 2006 22:49author by Andrew Flood - WSM 1916 Working Groupauthor email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

For the actual 90th anniversary

featured image
British troops barricade a street in Dublin

The Easter rising began at mid-day today 90 years ago. Traditionally the anniversary is marked as being on the Easter Monday rather than the actual date, perhaps in part because of the common theme of blood sacrifice. Histories of the rising tend to focus on the idea of blood sacrifice at both a motivation for the rising and the reason for the creation of the Free State. This article argues that although this may have been an important motivation on the day it was not the reason for the rising nor was the reason for the subsequent rise of the IRA simply found in the execution of the republican leadership after the rising. So using the article to mark the actual '90 years on'' date seems appropriate.

1916 - Connolly, blood sacrifice and defeating British imperialism

At 11.30 in the morning of April 24 1916 Bugler William Oman, a member of a syndicalist workers militia the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), sounded the 'fall-in' outside his union headquarters. This was the start of an insurrection in Dublin which was to see around 1,500 armed men and women seize key buildings throughout the city, and to hold these positions against thousands of British Army soldiers for almost a week. In the course of putting down the insurrection, 1351 people were killed or severely wounded and 179 buildings in the city centre were destroyed.(1)

Around 20% of those who fought were members of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) - who were in an alliance with the nationalist Irish Volunteers. The ICA had been set up in 1913, when employers had locked out members of the syndicalist Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) from their workplaces. The lockout lasted for 6 months before the workers were starved back to work. Near the start, a number of workers were killed or seriously wounded by police attacks on their demonstrations, pickets and homes.

In response, at a rally on November 13 1913 the revolutionary socialist James Connolly had declared "The next time we are out for a march, I want to be accompanied by four battalions of trained men. Why should we not drill and train our men in Dublin as they are doing in Ulster?" An ex-British army officer, Captain Jack White, offered to organise a defence militia of ITGWU members. The ICA kept peace at meetings, protected workers from the police and prevented evictions. (2)

Preparations for insurrection

In March 1914 the ICA was re-organised and a new constitution was ratified. The constitution was republican in character, without any explicit mention of socialism. It did however demand that "the ownership of Ireland, moral and material, is vested of right in the people of Ireland" and for "equal rights and opportunities for the Irish people".(3) The ICA was to be open only to members of a recognised union and the Dublin Trades Council gave its official approval.

The insurrection was planned by the ICA leader James Connolly, who was now also the leader of the ITGWU, and the nationalist leadership of the secretive Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). The IRB had successfully taken many of the leadership positions in the 20,000 strong Irish Volunteers without most Volunteers realising it. Even W.J. Brennan-Whitmore, who was one of the few non IRB Volunteer officers aware that the rising was planned, only learned of the IRB's role on the morning of the rising when he saw the proclamation that mentioned their participation on the morning of the rising.

From 1915 Connolly had been pushing publicly for a rising, he had even converted part of Liberty Hall (the union building) into a munitions factory which made bayonets, crowbars and bombs. He also published a number of articles in the 'Workers Republic' studying the tactics used in previous insurrections in Europe. Commenting on Connolly's article on the 1905 Moscow insurrection, a recent biographer Donal Nevin observes "It is impossible to read without noting the remarkable similarities in the tactics to those used by the insurgents in Dublin eleven years later".

By 1915 the ICA was regularly engaging in training exercises around Dublin. For example, "one night in October , when heavy fog hung over the city, the entire army, men and women, set out at midnight and for two hours engaged in 'attack' and 'defence' exercises around the Castle". (4) The minutes of the Commission on the Rebellion in Ireland include police reports on these armed training exercises.

Connolly and the IRB

Relationships between the ICA and the Volunteers were not always smooth. On October 11 1914 there had been clashes between Irish Volunteers and ICA over rival meetings at Glasnevin to mark Parnell's death. In Christmas 1915, Padraic Pearse said of Connolly
"Connolly is most dishonest in his methods. In public he says the war is a war forced on Germany by the Allies. In private he says that the Germans are just as bad as the British, and that we ought to do the job ourselves. As for writings in his paper, if he wanted to wreck the whole business, he couldn't go a better way about it. He will never be satisfied until he goads us into action, and then he will think most of us are too moderate, and want to guillotine half of us."

It was, however, obvious to Connolly that an insurrection co-ordinated by both bodies would be militarily stronger than one of them acting on its own. Brennan-Whitmore claims to have been later told that
"Around the time of the outbreak of the First World War, James Connolly .. told Cathal O'Shannon .. that he wished to get in touch with the IRB and, if necessary was prepared to take the oath of that body for the purpose of establishing friendly relations between militant nationalism and Irish labour".

By Christmas of 1915, the IRB Military Council was setting Easter 1916 as the probable date for a rising. Connolly, unaware that a date had been set, was concluding that the IRB, like earlier generations of Irish, was taking too long to act. Of the rebels of 1848 he had written "for the most part those who undertook to give it articulate expression were wanting in the essential ability to translate sentiment into action." In January of 1916, Connolly told JJ Burke "that the Citizen Army would move within a week on its own and under his leadership." (5)

Connolly met with the Volunteer leadership January 16. "MacNeill stated that Connolly favoured an immediate insurrection and argued that the seizure of selected buildings in Dublin would ignite the whole country. He insisted that the ICA was prepared to rise alone." (6) Nothing came out of that meeting, but on the 19th Connolly vanished for a three day meeting with the IRB military council at which they agreed joint plans for an insurrection on Easter Sunday. At this point Connolly was co-opted on to the Military Council of the IRB. Nevin says that Connolly "may have been accepted into the IRB the following month." Certainly this was claimed by a IRB member, who at the time was also trying to recruit Frank Robbins of the ICA.(7)

What if?

An interesting question arises as to what would have happened if the ICA had gone out on their own in January 1916, as intended. Did Connolly see such an insurrection as a token gesture doomed to defeat, or did he hope it might spark off a more general rising. Asked if the time was ripe for revolution in Ireland in 1915 he had replied with "You never know if the time is ripe until you try. If you succeed the time is ripe, if not, then it was not ripe." (8) Shortly after the deal with the IRB was reached, he wrote in the Workers Republic (Jan 26 1916) Revolutionists who shirk from giving blow for blow until the great day has arrived, and they have every shoe-string in its place, and every man has got his gun, and the enemy has kindly consented to postpone action in order not to needlessly harry the revolutionists, nor disarrange their plans - such revolutionists only exist in two places - the comic opera stage, and the stage of Irish national politics."

The program of an ICA-only rising would have been different to that of the Easter proclamation. In the previous issue of the Workers Republic, which may been planned as the last one before the ICA rising, Connolly outlined a program for a new revolutionary government as follows
"All the railways at once to be confiscated and made public property, no compensation being given to the shareholders. All necessary ships ought at once to be taken from their owners, without compensation and without apology. Let [the Government] take the factories from the manufacturers, and immediately confiscate all the idle land (the enormous quantity of splendid land lying idle in demesnes and private estates of the nobility and gentry) and put labourers upon it to grow crops to feed the multitude. As the propertied classes have so shamelessly sold themselves to the enemy, the economic conscription of their property will cause few qualms to whosoever shall administer the Irish Government in the first days of freedom."

A lone rising of the few hundred ICA in January 1916 would have had even less of a chance to success than the Easter rising. A clue to Connolly's goals thinking may be seen in his description of the ICA from August 1915; "Its members are, therefore, of the number who believe that at the call of duty they may have to lay down their lives for Ireland, and have so trained themselves that at the worst the laying down of their lives shall constitute the starting point of another glorious tradition - a tradition that will keep alive the soul of the nation". A rising on the program outlined in the Workers Republic may have been intended to "constitute the starting point of another glorious tradition", intended to push the general tone of republicanism to the left.

Might the Easter rising have succeeded?

Another interesting 'what if' concerns the Easter rising itself. Afterwards, the nationalist consensus was that it was a intentional 'blood sacrifice' - a fatal gesture made in order to inspire future generations but there is a counter argument that many saw a chance for success.

The rising took place in the middle of World War One and, as with other Irish republican risings England's difficulty was seen as Ireland's opportunity". Irish politics of the previous thirty years had been dominated by the struggle for Home Rule. In the years before World War One this had seen the formation of rival nationalist and unionist militias, numbering hundreds of thousands, and armed with tens of thousands of smuggled rifles.

Later generations would largely accept that the rising was a 'blood sacrifice', organised to make a statement against the imperialist war or from a purely nationalist's position to keep "faith with the past, and hand[ed] a tradition to the future". But, as historian John A Murphy wrote, "it should be remembered that up to the stage of the final confusion, the Military Council believed the rebellion had a real chance of success".(9)

The First World War meant that the British army in Ireland "stood well below full strength." (10) If all the 20,000 Irish Volunteers had been mobilised they would have outnumbered the army around five to one. It was only at the last minute that MacNeill, the Volunteer leader, realising the depth by which he had been tricked by the IRB, had orders printed in the newspapers cancelling the mobilisation order. German support, which did provide a diversionary Zeppelin raid on London and a naval bombardment of Lowestoft port, also supplied a huge quantity of arms, intercepted at the last minute off the Irish coast.

"On the whole the plans for the Rising were as technically sound as the circumstances and resources available permitted. Given a successful landing of adequate arms, free co-operation and simultaneous action all over the country, they would have gone far in the attainment of the ultimate objective. That they could have resulted in a complete victory for the Volunteers and the Citizen Army is certainly open to conjecture"

"The basic idea was to seize Dublin by a swift surprise attack and immobilise the British forces not so much be dint of the attack as by threat and manoeuvre .. This, it was confidently expected, would gain the necessary margin of time not only to land the arms and distribute them but also to get the provincial brigades properly in motion" (11)

The plan for the rising

The rebels had well thought out military preparations. They had studied street fighting and seized, and fortified, well-chosen positions from which they ambushed the British army. Instead of using the streets to move around, they tunnelled through the walls of adjoining buildings, and barricaded the doors and windows of their strong points. Some units of the British Army deployed against them seemed to have had little or no training for urban warfare, allowing, for instance, a tiny rebel force of less than 17 insurgents at the canal at Mount Street to catch the Sherwood Foresters in a crossfire and inflict over 240 casualties. Despite the vastly better equipment of the British army, including armoured cars and artillery, their better medical facilities, and the fact they outnumbered the rebels 3 to 1 Irish Volunteer and ICA combined deaths were only 40% of those of the British army and police.

The IRB military leadership made a considerable attempt at keeping the specific plans for the insurrection secret. The historian Max Caulfield, who interviewed many survivors for his history of the insurrection, noted that some of the rebels taking part that morning "presumed .. this was only an ordinary route march, or, at best, a tactical exercise." (12). Of course the planned mobilisation was not itself a secret, in fact "Practically everyone in the city who knew anything about nationalist affairs was aware, for days ahead, that the Volunteers and Citizen Army had planned a full muster parade through the principal streets for Easter Sunday." But the political background of the previous years meant that both the British authorities and the general population were used to the sight of armed bodies of men drilling in public, in fact "To lull officialdom, many marches and mock 'manoeuvres' had been held in the city from time to time." (13)

Why the Castle failed to act

However, despite these efforts, British intelligence knew a good deal about what was planned and when it was timed. On April 19 an informer reported that Thomas MacDonagh had said "We are not going out on Friday, but we are going on Sunday .. Boys, some of us may never come back." (14) The directions to the German navy had been intercepted, and the British were expecting the arms landing over Easter. This "now open evidence of the connection of the Irish Volunteers with Germany led Lord Wimborne to insist on Sunday night that from sixty to one hundred of the leaders be arrested .. Nathan however postponed the arrests until permission was given by the Chief Secretary, Augustine Birrell, in London. Permission was only received on Easter Monday." (15)

The hesitation was because although the British knew something was up they feared the consequences of a premature move against the rebels. Chief Secretary Augustine Birrell "saw as his paramount task the need to keep a balance between prevention of a nuisance and the inflation of nuisance value into something more important that that it was" (16) The Castle hoped that the interception of the German guns, and the subsequent countermanding of the mobilisation order by MacNeill, meant that the threat of a rising was over. They had spent the evening before the rising debating moving against the rebel HQ at Liberty Hall but had concluded they did not have sufficient forces to hand. On the first day of the rising, Lord Wimborne could only regretfully write that "If we only had acted last night with decision and arrested the leaders as I wanted, it might have been averted." (17)

Part of the reason the British administration in the Castle felt secure was that they knew that the rebel cause was not that popular with the population. A huge number of Irish men were serving in the British army, 170,000 Irish men had enlisted, 41% of the male population between the ages of 10 and 44. Around half were from Ulster and many of these would have been loyalists, but of the 40,000 to 50,000 killed in the war at least half were Catholic. (18). Even the ITGWU, the syndicalist union from which the ICA had emerged, believed that half of its 1914 membership had joined the British army by 1916 (19).

The lockout, ending only months before the outbreak of war, meant that many of the strikers were driven by poverty into the army. Connolly also claimed that one of the major employers, Jacobs, had dismissed all men of military age at the start of the war. Writing in the Workers Republic of February 26 1916 he recognised that "The trenches in Flanders have been the graves of scores of thousands of Irishmen, a large proportion of whom were born and reared in the slums and tenement houses of Dublin, slums notorious the world over .. From out of these slums these poor misguided brothers of our have been tricked and deluded into giving battle for England." The Castle reckoned, not without reason, that the relatives of these soldiers were unlikely to look favourably on a rising.

The rising

The military events of the rising are well known. The rebels successfully seized most of their objectives. Then, over the following six days, the British army brought in re-enforcements, including artillery and the gun boat Helga, and proceeded to destroy selected rebel positions, in particular the GPO and O'Connell Street area. The British army were "occupying strategic positions, possibly throwing up barricades and drawing a ring of fire tighter and tighter around us. We had no effective reply to that plan." (20)

Brenan - Whitmore's eyewitness account of the start of the rising demonstrates that not all Dubliners were hostile. He recorded that "as we marched up to the junction with O'Connell Street pedestrian traffic paused to let us pass and we received several cheers." And that, while initially fortifying the GPO, "We had not long been at this work when a great cheer from the crowd outside informed us that the tricolour had been hoisted on the top of the building fronting the street." (21)

He also claims that when commanding the North Earl street position, on the first night "I could have quadrupled my little garrison in a short time if I had taken in all those who were volunteering their services." He turned those who were not already members of the ICA or Volunteers away, but in the GPO those taken in included a Polish and a Finnish sailor as well as a British conscientious objector (possibly called Allen) who wore the button of the international syndicalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He was wounded during the evacuation of the GPO and died on Saturday. (22) Also on Friday a "cockney socialist called Neale" (23) was mortally wounded. Although the rising was nationalist even some of the leaders, including Connolly, had been born outside of Ireland. Padraic Pearse's final words to his pupils were reported as being remember if we succeed it was the son of an Englishman who set you free.

Many of the British army units involved in the suppression of the rising were Irish regiments, this meant that members of the same family were on both sides of the barricades. One of the first British casualties was Lieutenant Gerald Neilan, shot by a sniper on Ushers Quay. His younger brother Anthony was taking part in the rising. (24) In the South Dublin Union's fierce fighting Richard O'Reilly was one of the first casualties on the rebel side, he had another brother was also in the SDU but two other brothers were in the British army. "That day there were two of us fighting for England, two of us against." (25)

Reasons for public hostility

The insurrection took place on the first anniversary of the 2nd battle of Ypres, in which the Dublin Fusiliers, which many of the ITGWU men would have joined, had suffered very heavy losses. Eyewitness James Stephens noted, in his account written just after the rising, that
"It is considered now (writing a day or two afterwards) that Dublin was entirely against the Volunteers, .. Most of the female opinion I heard was not alone unfavourable but actively and viciously hostile to the rising. This was noticeable among the best-dressed classes of our population; the worst dressed, indeed the female dregs of Dublin life, expressed a like antagonism, and almost in similar language. The view expressed was 'I hope every man of them will be shot'." (26)

Towards the end of the rising, as Brennan-Whitmore's unit tried to sneak through British lines near Sean MacDermott Street, he recalls the ICA men present saying "we were in the middle of a very hostile area, being full of 'dependents' allowances' women who would certainly betray us." They were betrayed while hiding in a tenement, where "the majority of the inhabitants of the tenement had congregated on the first landing and showered curse upon us as we appeared. Several of the women called on the soldiers to shoot the '**** Sinn Feiners'." (27)

Max Caulfield wrote that as the rebel prisoners where being marched away the poor working class women attacked them, "'Shoot the traitors they cried' .. the shawlies pelted them with rotten vegetables, the more enthusiastic disgorging the contents of their chamber pots." On a more measurable level, Caulfield points out that during the rising "Not a single trade, political or municipal society anywhere in Ireland had declared for the republic". (28)

A terrible beauty is born?

Despite this initial public hostility, within two years the republicans were to win the overwhelming majority of seats in the 1918 election, and within five years the British were forced to sign a treaty and then leave 26 of the 32 counties. The 1916 insurrection almost seems designed as a perfect case study of how an insurrection can radicalise the population and change public opinion.

Even during the insurrection James Stephens noticed that public opinion was changing. He wrote that on the Wednesday "There is almost a feeling of gratitude towards the Volunteers because they are holding our for a little while, for had they been beaten the first or second day the City would have been humiliated to the soul." (29)

After the rising, the British establishment made up for their lack of action beforehand; 3439 men and 70 women were interned, 92 sentenced to death (30). 'Only' 16, including Rodger Casement, were executed, but many observers recorded public opinion changing as the executions were dragged out. When they culminated with the execution of Connolly on May 12, who was so wounded that he had to be shot sitting in a chair, the foundation was laid for the nationalist myth that it was the insurrection, and in particular the blood sacrifice of the leaders, that had 'freed Ireland'.

What really built the IRA?

Here I will sketch out an alternative explanation, details of which will be developed in future articles. The executions certainly gave the public cause to think again, but it was the slaughter of World War One, and the need for the British army to conscript Irish men to fight its war that really recruited for the IRA. This is recorded in Kerry police estimates that "the rate of affiliation to the republican movement was highest between October 1917 and November 1918 when the threat of conscription loomed largest." (31) Ernie O'Malley who rose to OC of the Second Southern, the second largest division of the IRA was in Donegal at the other end of the country. He recorded the same phenomenon there in reverse, that once "Fear of conscription passed away with the European war. The numbers in the Volunteer companies decreased and we had more opposition." (32)

Michael Collins reckoned the IRA never had more than around 5,000 active volunteers during the war while the British administration built up a force of tens of thousands of armed men. In comparison with World War One, British casualties were so light as to be insignificant. Foster gives figures for the War of Independence showing only 400 police and 180 soldiers killed. In comparison, the British armed forces lost one million men during World War One (33).

Yet, by 1921, the British ruling class was in a panic. Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson recorded in his diary for 18 May 1921 "I said that directly England was safe, every available man should go to Ireland that even four battalions now serving on the Rhine should ought also to go to Ireland .. I was terrified at the state of the country, and that in my opinion, unless we crushed the murder gang this summer we shall lose Ireland and the Empire." (34)

The cause of the British panic

Two things combined in to create this panic. Across the world these were years of revolutionary struggle for the working class. In most countries workers were defeated by the forces of 'law and order'. The republican armed struggle in Ireland, which was largely directed at making it impossible to police the country, created a 'law and order' vacuum. By the end of April 1921 800 police barracks and courts had been attacked. (35) Into that 'law and order vacuum' created by the IRA's military campaign, the working class stepped and occupied land and workplaces. The unique situation in Ireland meant in the southern 26 counties the force of law and order that were able to repress workers struggles elsewhere were largely ineffective.

There were 5 general strikes in Ireland between August 1918 and August 1923, and 18 general local strikes, twelve of these in 1919. For example, the general strike of 14th April 1920 saw workers take over the running of the country and it had been called overnight by the union leadership. The Manchester Guardian reported from Waterford that
"the City was taken over by a Soviet Commissar and three associates. The Sinn Fein mayor abdicated and the Soviet issued orders to the population which all had to obey. For two days, until a telegram arrived reporting the release of hunger strikers, the city was in the hands of these men." (36)

In January 1919, the London Times wrote of fear that the radicals would "push aside the middle class intelligentsia of Sinn Fein, just as Lenin and Trotsky pushed aside Kerensky and other speech makers." (37). The ruling class really started to panic when the loyalist workforce of Belfast started using similar tactics during the great Engineering strike of 1919. Mutinies also broke out in the Irish Regiments of the British army stationed in India.

In Glasgow, pitched battle were fought in George Square and 6 tanks and 100 lorry loads of troops with machine guns were brought in to prevent rallies. (38) it is not hard to see why the British ruling class was in something of a panic. The Director of Intelligence at the Home Office Basil Hugh Thomson wrote "During the first three months of 1919 unrest touched its high-water mark. I do not think that at any time in history since the Bristol riots we have been so near revolution." Winston Churchill recorded "We had a considerable number of mutinies in the army .. We had a number of strikes and a great many threats of strikes .. there were serious riots in Glasgow which required the presence of a large number of troops."(39)

The cost to the British establishment of pursuing the war in Ireland was not military but political. They felt that
"If England goes on like this she will lose the Empire .. The coming year looks gloomy. We are certain to have serious trouble in Ireland, Egypt, and India, possible even with the Bolsheviks. At home those who know best say we are going to have a strike of the triple alliance and the Post Office. This will be a direct threat and attack on the life of the nation." (40)

Panic leads to compromise with Sinn Fein

The level of panic from the British state about the threat of revolution shows why the Sinn Fein leadership came to be seen by the British state as a reasonable alternative that could be treated with. They reckoned - correctly as it turned out - that a sufficient amount of the leadership would settle for a deal that left key British interests, including the naval ports protected. Through the land courts, Sinn Fein was demonstrating that it posed no threat to capitalism in Ireland. In 1921 the treaty offered a way of stabilising a dangerous situation at little apparent cost.

The treaty led to the civil war, and as the Free State government won this civil war it used the forces of the Free State to crush the workers movements. Labour historian Emmet O' Connor describes how thousands of paramilitary police (Special Infantry Corps) were deployed so that by the Spring of 1923 "military intervention was becoming a routine response to factory seizures or the disruption of essential services". During the Waterford farm strike of 1923 "600 SIC were billeted in a chain of posts throughout the affected area."

By the Autumn these forces were being deployed to defeat a postal strike, triggered by the Free State government rejecting the findings of its own commission of enquiry into the cost of living for postal employees. During the strike the government used armoured cars to disrupt pickets and arrest officials. "Numerous arrests and re-arrests of pickets were made until the right to peacefully picket was asserted in the courts. Even then, troops continued to intimidate strikers with armoured vehicles and rifle fire. On 17 September a lady telephonist was shot in the knees. Raids took place on union offices and arrests of officials continued." (41) This was to demonstrate to the workers that 'law and order' had returned, as the Post Master General described it "at this critical juncture to smash such a well organised strike was a salutary lesson to the general indiscipline which just then seemed to run riot through the land." (42).

Conventional nationalist histories of the period after 1916 do not provide a rational mechanism for how British imperialism was defeated. There is almost no mention of mass struggles, of the general strikes and of the occupations. Instead we are to believe that the 'blood sacrifice' of a few men transformed public opinion and then that the actions of another gallant few in fighting the black and tans imposed a military defeat on the British Empire. The real force, in Ireland and internationally that imposed a compromise on Britain are carefully hidden away.

1 The Easter Rebellion, Max Caulfield, Gill and Macmillan, 1995, p283
2 James Connolly 'A Full life', Donal Nevin, Gill & Macmillan, 2005, p554
3 Constitution of the Irish Citizen Army, 22 March 1914, online at http://www.wsm.ie/story/717
4 James Connolly 'A Full life', p591
5 James Connolly 'A Full life', p628
6 James Connolly 'A Full life', p629
7 James Connolly 'A Full life', p634
8 James Connolly 'A Full life', p574
9 The Insurrection in Dublin, James R Stephens, 1916, Intro John A Murphy, p xv
10 The Easter Rebellion, , p16 + p28
11 Dublin burning; The Easter rising from Behind the Barricades, W.J. Brennan-Whitmore, Gill & Macmillan, 1996, p16
12 The Easter Rebellion, p7
13 Dublin burning, p6
14 James Connolly 'A Full life', p637
15 James Connolly 'A Full life', p637
16 James Connolly 'A Full life', p636
17 The Easter Rebellion, p94
18 A History of Ulster, Jonathan Bardon, The Blackstaff Press, 1996, p461
19 Syndicalism in Ireland 1917 - 1923 Emmet O' Connor, Cork University press, 1988, p21
20 Dublin burning, p87
21 Dublin burning, p41
22 James Connolly 'A Full life', p646
23 The Easter Rebellion, p260
24 James Connolly 'A Full life', p646
25 The Easter Rebellion, , p80
26 The Insurrection in Dublin, p36
27 Dublin burning, p110
28 The Easter Rebellion, p184
29 The Insurrection in Dublin, p39
30 Conor Kostick, Revolution in Ireland: Popular militancy 1917 to 1923, Pluto Press, 1996, p23
31 The IRA in Kerry 1916 - 1921, Sinead Joy, The Collins Press, 2005, p32
32 On another Man's Wound, Ernie O'Malley, Colour Books Limited, 1936, p88
33 BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/wwone/lions_donkeys_01...shtml
34 The Real Chief: Liam Lynch, Meda Ryan, Mercier Press, 2005, p46p92
35 Revolution in Ireland, p97
36 Revolution in Ireland, p123
37 Revolution in Ireland, p139
38 Revolution in Ireland, p56
39 Revolution in Ireland, p54
40 Sir Henry Wilson quoted in Conor Kostick, Revolution in Ireland, p27
41 Syndicalism in Ireland 1917 - 1923, p159
42 Syndicalism in Ireland 1917 - 1923, p159

View of GPO after the rising
View of GPO after the rising

View of Liberty Hall after rising
View of Liberty Hall after rising

Site of the ambush at Mount Street bridge
Site of the ambush at Mount Street bridge

A barricade near O'Connell st
A barricade near O'Connell st

author by iosaf mac diarmadapublication date Mon Apr 24, 2006 21:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I blame religion myself, for what was in effect "the first street snuff art spectacle in Europe". Quite - it was God's fault. God and Jayzhus. & of course now that we know better, it was the fault of Judas as well and the Magadalene for letting Jayzhus get up to all the radicalism and not keeping him in on the foot stool more, and thus letting him get crucified and starting the whole Easter bollox off.
But religion didn't just cause "have-a-go" types in Dublin to go for the spectacle of slaughter, imperialism did too.

Francis Ledgewedge was born in Slane, County Meath, Ireland, 19 August 1887. He was killed on 31 July 1917 on the opening day of the third Battle of Ypres. He had been one of the founding members of the Slane branch of the Meath Labour Union. He Served with 5th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the Dardanelles in August 1915 to December 1915, when he got away from the trenches to a hospital in Manchester where he heard of the April 1916 rising,and the death of his friend and fellow poet the signatory of the proclamation Thomas MacDonagh which was posted on the GPO this day 90 years ago.

he wrote this:-

He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky where he is lain
Nor voices of the sweeter birds
Above the wailing of the rain.

Nor shall he know when loud March blows
Thro' slanting snows her fanfare shrill
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.

And when the dark cow leaves the moor
And pastures poor with greedy weeds
Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.

After which he was court-martialled and stripped of his rank in May for overstaying his leave and insubordination. He spent 7 months in penal custody in Derry. That done, & he a better man for the punishment in the eyes of his superiors, he went back to the front where he died on the first day of the battle of Battle of Passchendaele better known as "Ypres version 3" Half a year later approximately 250,000 men serving the Kaiser, 300,000 for the British Empire (of whom 36,500 were Australians) had been slaughtered in the mud. No more than 3 km of which had changed side. 90,000 "British" and Australian bodies were never identified, and 42,000 were never recovered. An aerial photograph of Passchendaele taken after the battle showed over half a million shell holes in one half square mile (1.3 km²) area.

The Dubliners of 1916 did not start looting shoes till the 26th of April 1916, by which stage a ceasefire had been organised to clear away the festering remains of the first victims of the IVF's guns - the horses on their Sunday trooping. Eva Gore Booth (for some reason still remembered as her husband's wife and thus a "countess") had put her men to digging trenches in Stephen's Green and was to then later organise a casefire so the ducks could be ushered to safety.

& there you have it.
1916 was BAD for horses.
REALLY SHIT for men.
NOT TOO BAD for ducks.

author by Laurence Coxpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A good article I thought, sketching out the important parts of a left analysis of the Rising. I look forward to the promised follow-ups!

A question which has been bugging me recently about the Rising (without enough time to follow it up seriously, so the answer may be well known) is why Connolly of all people oversaw a rising which (as the article documents) was as far as possible restricted (not only in initial planning but also once it had started) to members of the Volunteers and ICA.

This is following not only the Lockout and the 1905 Revolution in Russia, but also the Paris Commune ... all events which had seen massive participation by the working class, going far beyond those who were formal members of the ICA or Parisian National Guard. It's strange (particularly since, as the article documents, by no means all working-class opinion was hostile to the Rising and people were willing to take part spontaneously) that there was AFAIK no systematic attempt made to bring out working-class Dublin more generally. By contrast, as I understand it, many of the Volunteers expected risings in rural Ireland which would presumably have gone far beyond membership of the Volunteers.

It's particularly strange to find Connolly (by 1916 a Marxist, with a background in the IWW) responsible for these tactics. Maybe the answers to this are already well known, of course.

author by Barry - 32 csmpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Im not entirely sure what youre getting at but I would imagine the events of Emmets rebellion , which ended in undiscplined ignominy with some rebels committing murder on the streets of Dublin left the rebel leaders concerned about exactly who and when they were going to start handing out rifles to , not that they exactly had many to go around. Emmets rebellion was instrumental in the entire 1916 plan and the embarassing manner of its failure weighed heavilly on the minds of the 1916 leaders - hence the appeal about " cowardice , inhumanity and rapine" in the proclamation.

Its also worth remembering that originally the Volunteer movement was a mass one . And the bulk of it opted to go with Redmond , WM Murphy , Joe Devlin etc s advice and volunteer for the British army , taking much of the Howth rifles with them too . Joe Devlin had pleaded those rifles were necessary to protect nationalists in Belfast . As soon as his people got them they joined the Brits . By that stage Pearses and other peoples faith in mass movements was probably well down the drain and unsurprisingly so . Half the ITGWU was in the Brits as well .

Of course the rifles from Germany were caught on the eve of the rebellion , so we dont know what might have tanspired had they been landed sucessfully . Its quite likely the leaders found it ridiculous to ask untrained people without rifles to fight the British army .

author by Barry - 32csmpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 13:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for a start well done to Andrew Flood for an extremely well written and researched article , that deserves better than that frankly weird review of it by iosaf .

Its certainly true that the myth of " blood sacrifice" which was attached to the rising afterwards was little more than half baked and distasteful propaganda . Just as inaccurate as the description by the British of the " Sinn Fein" rebellion , when Sinn Fein played absolutely no role in it , zero , zilch . The 1916 leaders finally surrendered in Moore street , not at the GPO . Their intent was to break out of the military encirclement and head to the countryside were guerilla warfare could be prosecuted . They were the Provisional government of Ireland and fully intended setting up headquarters elsewhere . This does not remotely fit with the weird nonsense about launching a rising with the intent to casually hand themselves in afterwards to be shot and rouse the country.

Much of this ridiculous myth was propagated by idiots like WB Yeats in his pathetic rambling attempts to write himself into the 1916 narrative afterwards despite playing zero role in the enterprise in the slightest . Pearse , Connolly and Clarke wouldnt have touched that pathetic cowardly, conceited clown with a bargepole , yet their difficulty was his opportunity - after 1916 Ireland was pretty short on poets. The greatest tragedy of 1916 was not only its military defeat but its misrepresentation by others with vested interests ever since . As thats the case its of no surprise the entire narrative has been riddled with myths and self serving nonsense since the last century .

I also agree with the author that the role of workers movments in the failed struggle for national sovereignty ,1916-23 , has been a much overlooked part of the discourse. However I think were the article falls down is his attempts to overemphasise it at the expense of everything else . For example as regards the analysis of the build up of the IRA . The IRA around the time of the conscription crisis was a very different animal to the IRA afterwards . During threatened conscription it was basically a paper tiger , more akin to the mass drilling and uniformed parades of the previous volunteer movement . Accounts of that period tell of some volunteers trying to scrape money together for arms only to have some idiot decide to spend it on elaborately tailored uniforms for the mass parades . As soon as WW1 was over the uniforms and the idiots disappered like snow off a ditch.. Once that threat had passed many of its number disappeared . . Andrews reference to Ernie OMalley seems to regard this as something which only happened in Donegal . I suggest he reads Tom Barrys account in Cork , or JBowyer Bells Secret Army were hell soon see it was a nationwide phenomenon . The conscription crisis may have served merely to alienate much of public opinion to the point of open deiance for a period but it was not instrumental in the events which occured post 1918 .Any reading of the personal acounts of those who remained after the 1918 war make clear that the hardcore at the centre of the organisation were determined to embark on revolutionary conflict And 1916 and republican seperatism was at the heart of their analysis .
So you have a very different type of military organisation from that point on . And its the fact that these people who engaged the British militarily prosecuted that campaign successfully to the extent they broke British army morale which was instrumental in their military withdrawal ( albeit leaving a puppet state behind to look after imperial interests) . The workers movements , like everyone else certainly contributed to that break down .

Secondly while the workers movements certainly had a role to play in the general destabilising of the country they were also part of the general boycott throughout the country of the British state and forces , not standing remote from it as trade unionists/syndicalists with their own agenda. Such as the train drivers refusing to transport armed British forces on the railways or deliver goods for them . And dont forget many of their number were IRA volunteers also . The workers movements themselves cannot be divorced from the IRA and the national struggle as it appears to me the writer tries to imply . No more than the right can divorce the IRA from the workers movements either And this would be my major criticism of the piece - dogma . The writer has given an analysis of 1916, the conscription crisis , the tan and civil war and only once used the word " republican" in the entire piece , at the very beginning . Instead he opts for the term " nationalist" to describe the rebellion and the aftermath . To me this is the dogmatic approach once more , trying to bash the square peg of republican seperatism into the round hole ones particlar ideology demands it should go . The article expresses surprise that Connolly , born in Edinburgh would want any part in a "nationalist rebellion" . Yet to republican seperatists its no surprise because it wasnt a nationalist rebellion , it was a republican one . The struggle for sovereignty cannot be divorced from the struggle for ownership of the national wealth and resources , its one and the same thing . William Martin Murphy , Devlin and Dillon were all nationalists but ideologically in a different orbit from the rebel leaders . Republican seperatism is a synthesis of people motivated by so many different strands of the sovereignty issue it cannot be defined by the casual " nationalist" label and analysis that many on the left are impelled to place it in . And thats why I believe they continually fail to understand it . As Connolly pointed out to his wife Lily on May 11 1916 , just prior to execution " The Socialists will never understand why I am here , they will all forget I am an Irishman"

This results in the biggest failure at the end of the piece - that Irish forces forced a compromise on the British . Surely Its the other way round , and that Irish forces made that utterly fatal compromise. They compromied on sovereignty , and with that they compromised all that sovereignty entails . British imperialism was not defeated , it simply switched tactics , highly successfully as it turns out . The republican seperatist project , Irish sovereignty , was crushed quite ruthlessly . Yet the anarchist analysis agrees here with the state one , that British imperialism was defeated and the state after 1922 was the sum total of what 1916 and the tan war was all about .

I have to fundamentally disagree , but a well written piece nontheless .

author by iosafpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But 1916 does seem weird to me and always has. Sean macDiarmada succeeded in convincing Connolly and the ICA to abort their military rising the year before and join the "religious blood sacrifice gig" = " Why Easter? Why not Xmas?", and the last meeting of the IRB on the 23rd of April, saw 2 prime problems/anomolies emerge, both of which have been as twisted by memory and propaganda as any gospel tale of Judas or the Magdalene. #1 "P.O. Neill's signature" #2 "the failed taking of Dublin Castle". Fact is the inept action by the ICA hastened the military collapse of the whole rebellion. "Why didn't they take the Castle if they had been told it would be near empty? and content themselves with the utterly useless City Hall?" Other weirdnesses include the behaviour of the "rahilly" who since has been comemorated with a brass plaque at his death place complete with "bronze fasces" on the palimpset and of course the non-execution of "Yankee De Valera" who if I remember correctly didn't get born on the Lousitania.
1916 was :- bad for horses. really bad for poets. very very shit for men.not too bad for ducks. Quite good for looted kiddies shoes.& after 1913 not many of the kids had shoes. But no-one remembers 1913 do they? because it wasn't religious enough?
& thus was our state born, of course it took another war of attrition against demobbed pyscopaths (the black & tans) who did more than the 1916 volunteers to raise national consciousness, and then a ridiculous story of "pleni-potentiaries", and then a civil war, and finally De Valera down south and Orange Supremacism up north, till of course "P.O'Neill's signature" came back. How weird could you get?
It amazes me people believe any of this shite.

author by Barrypublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

probably firstly because it was a holiday , which meant 1000s of men could be brought out to parade without telling them beforehand there was a rebellion . The time it was taking to acquire and import german arms as well as recruit an Irish brigade from amongst Irish POWs too .
as pointed out it wasnt intended as a religious blood sacrifice gig , it was intended to be a success .
Your British oath bound state was born in Westminster and whitehall , not the GPO . The limited home rule which was afforded was precisely what Britain had offered to the nationalists pre WW1 , and which the 1916 guys rejected out of hand . Hence a rebellion , nothing weird about it . And yes your obsession with ducks is quite weird Im afraid .

author by iosafpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 22:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look at the title of Andrew's article. Read it carefully. Then look at your explanation for "why Easter?" - coz thousands of men could be brought out thinking it was just a holiday and not a rebellion. Wow.
Well thats one reason why we shouldn't encourage kids to join armed militias isn't it? Not that we have the right to bear arms anymore. But anyway. You have just implicitly admitted that the majority of Irish Volunteers were coerced ( or tricked ) into a military action organised by infiltrates to their organisation. A military action which had little chance of success and which ran counter to the oaths they had taken when joining that armed militia - "to protect the introduction of Home Rule" from a mutiny by Crown forces ( and / or) other armed militias, meaning the Ulster volunteer force. They didn't choose to join the IVF to go prancing around behind Boer War veteran & "military expert" Rahilly shooting up horses, digging trenches in the Green ("coz thats what the papers tell us war is really like") and wasting their ammunition so "Yankee DeValera" could end up in the rolls royce 25 and 50 years later taking salutes, or 90 years later - Ahern & 9mm Willie o'Dea could end up claiming a 120,000 spectator participation (more than double the possible physical capacity of urban area open to the public) whilst you and your mates dressed up kids in IVF uniforms on the same day, or even that Eva Gore Booth who signed herself _in her own life_ with that noble enough name _alone_, would only be remembered by a piscine in her husband's name . Barry & anyone else reading -
1916 is all bollox. your state is bollox from revered false beginning right to present day. It is expert bollox, the finest of British and Irish propaganda have combined a gift for lying to hide a momentous criminal act of sacrifice of signatories and innocents alike which copperfastened British rule of this island. I suppose you believe in the moon landing as well .

author by Barrypublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 23:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I havent admitted anything , merely stated pretty much well known historical fact .The 26 co state is no more my state than the British one is . By 1916 and the Redmond split all members of the Volunteers were well aware of the IRB infiltration for about 2 years . They were also well aware the organisations militant leaders werent remotely interested in Home Rule . All volunteers that day could simply refuse to fight , there were no guns in their backs , a few did refuse .

As for the rest of your ranting , it has now alteranted to something about moon landings , as opposed to your previous fixation with ducks and before that shoes . But 1916 copperfastening British rule is the exact same bullshit espoused by another mouthy exile who equally thinks 1916 was bollocks . John Bruton also happens to be a bit of a weirdo with a bee in his bonnet about 1916 who thinks everyone should agree with him and goes into weird rants when they dont . As youve stated you believe the whole subject to be a load of bollocks maybe youd just be as well keeping your nose out of it . Youve certainly added sweet eff all thats worth reading to the analysis . Stick to the ducks .

author by mac diarmadapublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 00:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Barry, fact is there has only been 3 ceasefires in military history worldwide to secure safe transfer of animals caught in the conflict zone. 1 of those was negotiated during the Easter Rebellion to transfer the ducks from Stephen's Green, obviously you're not a Dubliner or else you'd know how precious those little ducks are. I'd think thats something worthy of an Irishman's diary wouldn't you?

Fact is, the anomolous exception of De Valera from the list of "executed leaders" paved his way (as in set him up) for founding the Eire state, and his previous anomolous mis-interpretation of the status of "pleni-potentiaries", not to mention his incredible (literally) escape from Frongoch. I thought a republican like you would see the point being aluded to - the "yankee" wasn't executed, the "yankee" set up the civil war, the "yankee" founded the partitionist republic, (which isn't your state). oh why did all those poor bastards die? and leftist republicanism in these islands with it?

Fact is :- it was a blood sacrifice which reflected the warped religious sentiments of those who took part, a hollow farce, a display of proto-fascism which resulted in a bunch of misfits, have-a-go types, poets & military fantasists, paying Mr Christopher Brady the small and nominal sum of several shillings to print a few copies of their "proclamation", of which they were so proud they put their names in capital names at the bottom. And all you need do to see evidence of such warped religious morality is look at two of the lines of that poster - "We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine". Oh yeah, the Kaiser had just put all of Belgium to rapine hadn't he?

Fact is :- Dubliners looted shoes for their kids. Because they didn't have any shoes.
Dubliners didn't give a flying f*uck for Almighty God's blessing or the taboo of dishonouring the republic by going to their nearest cobblers and stealing boots for their kids. And all that happened the same year that Kitchner saw printed his millionth copy of the recruitment poster "Your Country needs you!".

Fact is :- Eva Gore Booth signed herself Eva Gore Booth and not Countess Markievicz. Yet for some reason those who protest the visit of a British Queen still remember Eva with a Polish landowner's title. BOLLOX ISN'T IT?

Now what part of the Moon Landing do you have problems with?
the timing of the telephone calls?
the dust in the boot prints?
the flapping flag?
the numbered moon rock?
the artificially lit shadows?
the incapablity of the fortran computer programming language to calculate the route _there and back_?

author by eeekkkkpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 00:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A family member once used his usually hidden charm to set a trio of us up for a summer of fun with some beautiful companions by looking at the self same ducks in self same place and (very out of charachter as said family member is quite grumpy and not fond of poetry of any kind) quoting to them in a portentious tone

behold the duck
it does not cluck
a cluck it lacks
it quacks
and whenever it dines or sups
it's bottoms up my friends

valuable ducks indeed

generations have quoted the same line in same place

author by Barry - 32csmpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 01:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Theres plenty of divorced women in my locality who still get called by their married name years later . Nothing to do with 1916 . Some husbands even get called by their wives names because their wives are good singers/musicians . Shit like that happens, big deal .

No Im not a dub , thank christ . Round here we shoot ducks on sight , eat them or gibve them to our neighbours as gifts . Along with fish and the odd spud or 2 ..

Making reference , twice , to God in a proclamation , once at the start and once at the end in a country were virtually everyone believed in God one way or another does not make you a religiously warped proto facist by any means . Balls to that . Their names were signed simply because they were the provisional governemnt , the only alternative to a foreign one going on the day . But I suppose even forming any type of governemnt makes them facists or something like that . And as was pointed out to you they thought they were in with a chance , events didnt go the way theyd planned so they got caught just like others before them . They werent intentional blood sacrifices and neither was this attempt . One that stood a good a chance at the start as any of the others .
Fact , Dev was never in Frongoch a sprawling intrnment camp ., he was in Lincoln jail , well away from prying eyes of republican inmates .. His escape wasnt incredible it was downright bloody suspicious . Highly dubious . Because he had the key to the jail in his pocket . His files from the courtmartial go missing too. And then he becomes Irelands hero .Him and Aiken the last men seen near Liam Lynch before a million to one lucky shot from a free state rifle half a mile away supposedly drops him and resistance to the puppet state ends , Fianna Fail begins to get discussed , Dail loans in the states go into his back pocket . Many republicans have mused on this for decades and come to their own conclusions . Mine is he was an agent , just like Gerry and a few others .

All these poor bastards died because of British interference in a country theyve no business interfering in .Just as more will die in this country , Iraq , Iran and god knows were else because Britain keeps interfering in places theyve no business interfering A much greater number than in 1916 died by far off trying to kill Germans and turks who meant them no harm at all because the British were interfering in this place theyve no business interfering . And an even greater number than that died 50 years earlier because they had nothing to eat , never mind shoes . One reason why so many never forgave the evil empire that murdered them like that ..

Im a left republican , as is everyone else I know in my outfit . But no doubt youll tell me im not really , I only think that . And that to struggle is pointless , only you know the true path but people like me are too dim to understand you or something or ever .

So balls to that , balls to yer rubbish about blood sacrifices , and balls to the ducks too.

author by 1916 = 911 = bolloxpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 01:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

to the theory being considered by fine minds in today's international cyber space that éirí as amach 1916 was all on the same level of blood sacrifice as that religiously twisted proto fascistic nationalist barbarism daily seen when any young person who today lives in a society or state occupied by an imperialist power or proxy, records a video (instead of printing up a poster) and calls on Almighty God (living in a society where most believe in God) and then straps on explosives and enters a post office or other building to which the public have access is exactly the same as 1916?

no ducks.
no H5N1.
no polish landowner titles.
no yankee De Valera.
we will even forget the Afghani Zoo transfer of animals for the moment Barry.

just straight compare and contrast = if you say the blood sacrifice of 1916 was different to the blood sacrifice of 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.., then ok.
If you can admit its the same - then we'll make mujahadeen of ye 32 county sovreignity heads yet ;-)
Whose side are you really on Barry (& all who sail with you) ???

author by Barrypublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 02:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

or medication . Your way too weird to understand never mind argue with . It appears from deciphering your comparing 1916 and islamic reistance and condemning both as equally facist and horrible and nasty . To me thats just more Brutonese that I dont need to go near Indymedia to read . The indo will tell me that nearly any day of the week , if i bothered reading the thing .

I suppose some would look up to you as an eccentric genius or something because youve a funny name , use weird phraseology and analogies and like ducks and live foreign . Just goes to show we live in a small country I suppose . Youve probably a point in there thatsays a bit more than " I hate 1916 and youre all a shower of bastards that dont agree with me" but Im fecked if i can find it . Unlike Andrews article this stuffs just way too over my simple unsophisticated stay at home uninteresting head .

author by Quackpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 02:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If iosaf consumed less of the mushrooms and more of the ducks then he would not be inclined to go so over the top in his writings.

author by risiblepublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 05:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fact is :- it was a blood sacrifice which reflected the warped religious sentiments of those who took part, a hollow farce, a display of proto-fascism which resulted in a bunch of misfits, have-a-go types, poets & military fantasists,

Always distrust someone that starts off with a "plain, simple, statement of fact". The original article has a whole, fairly convincing section arguing that those taking part in the rising believed they had a chance of success, not that it was some "blood sacrifice". I must say I see Barry's interpetration of the "blood sacrifice" stuff as being WB Yeats and associates' efforts to write themselves into history as very plausible.

The duck thing is just a canard.... ho ho ho

author by Barry - 32csmpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The evidence strongly suggests it was no such thing . Particularly their desperate attempt to fight their way through the cordon in Moore street . Those were hard headed determined men with a coherent yet risky plan that ultimately failed militarily . They were prepared to sacrifice themselves ultimately , knowing it could go wrong but they believed they stood a fair chance and had things gone their way who knows what might have happened .

Would we call the Vietcongs Tet offensive a blood sacrifice ? Held on a religious holiday , fighting an overwhelmingly superior world superpower ,the strongpoints seized , the population dont rise in support of it . Militarily vanquished . Not much difference . The viet cong were prepared to make sacrifices yet their plan was military victory just as 1916 . In fact it drew its inspiration from 1916 and Robert Emmetsplan that influenced Pearse and Connolly .

author by Barry - 32 csmpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The leaders of the Rsing had hoped that after seizing the strongpoints , paralyzing the colonial administration , and with a general insurrection throughout the country , the German army would assist them . Germany itself looked unbeatable in 1916 prior to US intervention in the war .

This plan was heavily influenced by Robert Emmets plan which again had been to seize the British administrations strongpoints , paralyze it , set off general insurrection around the country and then France would aid them in stabilising the country and ridding it of British rule .

This was also the Vietcongs plan , who essentially imitated Emmet and the 1916 plans . Their plan was identical , paralyse the administration , general insurrection throughout the south and then the regular NVA would move in .

The nonsense of deliberate blood sacrifice is an affront to the memory of those killed in 1916 , their aims , ambitions and their intellect . The Viet cong had no electoral support but they werent proto facists either hell bent on blood sacrifice . Perhaps one service all radicals and anti imperialists could do for those killed in 1916 is help put an end to the nonsensical myth of deliberate blood sacrifice . We can do that for them at least throughout the run up to the 100th anniversary .

author by iosafpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 13:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

& like it or not, 1916 was one of them.
If you can't see that - you haven't read the proclamation & its all important last line.

Nor have you any understanding of Easter in the Roman Catholic tradition, especially as understood by late nineteenth century minds. As for Kaiser Billy throwing in his lot with the "provisional government" - which Casement diary did that come from? Who would have gone to negotiate as plenipotentiary with Berlin?

Maybe it is not a fact, merely an opinion -
Today's equivalent of that sacrifice, and warped religiosity mixed witrh nationalism, is the presence or armed militias in many occupied states where young people rather than print up posters, see videos made, the same calls to Almighty God, to bless their "august" struggle, and the same attacks are made on public buildings.
The 1916 signatories were an early 20th century type of Jihadist / Mujahadeen.

But then again, what amazes me is that someone who can be intellectually rigorous enough to reject the Good Friday Agreement such as Barry, may continue not to parse the farce of 1916. I mean no dishonour to the republic, (which we mostly can see is an ideal rather than a reality) or to those who died between 1914 and 1993 (even up to little cock robin of 2006), I rather think we would have had a better alternative future if "yankee De Valera" had not been set up through their folly.

sin é.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 19:05author email risible at indymedia dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The question is: what evidence is there that the leaders of the rising intended to fail and the article and Barry's comments adduce some strong evidence that they didn't. They saw it as a worst possible case and hoped that it wouldn't happen. In return you pour out hieratic scorn derived from some impenetrable hermeneutic reading of the events. Your comments take away from any possibility of a serious discussion and seem designed to irritate and provoke rather than illuminate. A shame when there's such a good original article.

author by ugly ducklingpublication date Wed Apr 26, 2006 21:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sorry Andrew!
I'm also sorry Barry for taking the royal mickey!
But that much said, the last line of the proclamation mentioned sacrifice, and the timing of the event at Easter for the minds and metaphsical disposition of those taking part meant - "sacrifice". & to be jesuitical, I don't see why I need argue they intended it to fail, as long as there is no good argument that they thought it would succeed. & in 90 years there has been none.

I note Barry didn't respond to key criticisms of the republican myth or accept for the majority of Dubliners, the destruction of their city by the gunboat Helga was assauged by the mass looting of footwear for their kids, something which entered ordinary working class Dubliner's folklore. Nor that to this day, Countess markievicz is still remembered not by her own name, but that of her Polish landowning husband.

& @ least the article has stayed with lots of comments at the top of the comments list.

Read it all oh faithful reader. make your own mind up about what really happened.
& please wonder at the anomoly of "yankee" De Valera's survival and later career, compare and contrast it with that of Eva Gore Booth.

Andrew! I hope you quickly publish the follow-up & I will try my best not to disrupt the comments.


author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 03:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've been following this discussion and have been educated by it. You folks may disagree with each other, but you've made me see facets of my history that firstly I didn't see before and secondly in a way that I hadn't thought about before.

As to the argument was it a blood sacrifice?

On paper yes (propaganda is an ancient tool, and the pen was always the mightiest) and I'd believe that even some of the talk at the time probably would have evolved about living in the 'now.' On the other hand, to fight with the courage and ferocity that they did and then to surrender when victory was seen to be impossible does not in my opinion show that the actual intent of these people was a blood sacrifice. At least not in the suicidal sense of it.

I always thought De Valera to be a traitor, but I always set the timeline of this after he'd gotten out of/been let out of prison. You've given me much food for thought on this Iosaf. It opens lots of doors to ugly places.

I hope neither of the two of you make this personal with each other. I'm thouroughly enjoying it, and as I said it's educational. And that's what it's all about.

As for the ducks. The ducks got personified cause neither side could afford to personify the real people. They were and continue to be the real blood sacrifice.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suspect you will be serving Duck à l'Orange!

Anyway there was a good secular reason for an Easter Rising: the Fairyhouse Races. This was a major event on the sporting calendar and the rebels knew that a large number of British Army Officers, senior RIC officers and senior civil servants would be attendance and away from their bases, stations and offices. That is also why the rebels were keenly scouring weather reports as bad weather might well result in the race meeting being cancelled.

author by gcopoleen - equestrian knowledge.publication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 14:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fairyhouse is 12 miles outside of Dublin on the Navan road. That puts it at between 4 hours marching time, or less than half hour full gallop. The Curragh barracks (& home to the 16th Lancer horse regiment who had in 1914 joined the only mutiny in British Military history, which went for the most part undisciplined...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curragh_incident ) is 32 miles outside of Dublin. = 8 hours march, probably a 3 hour canter.

But of course, despite the contemporary zeitgeist of "behold the Boers!", the similarity between any military rebellion planned for Dublin against the British Empire and that of the Boers is thin. I ask you to note the influence of the Boer war on the uniforms, the presence of Boer War veterans considered "the most military able" and the background noise of the Last Boer uprising (not Boer War) against the Union of South Africa which had sought assistance from the Imperial German forces in what is now "Angola". The similarity is thin for one very imnportant reason & difference :-
Dublin is a port, and in 1916 no part of the city lay outside of range of sea-fired ordinance of the British Imperial Navy. To ensure the success of any military rebellion, the combined forces of the IVF and ICA not only had to cordon the city, (as is generally believed was their intention, and is equally attributed as a plan to both Plunkett and Connolly) they also had to close 2 main access routes further from their cordon to the city, and ensure communication links with that second cordon or at the very least sabotage these roads. - The Navan road and the Naas Road.
No attempt was made to sabotage these roads. If the Navan road had been made impassable, the nearest alternative the Slane Road would have slowed any reinforcements from the North at the Boyne River bridge. The gradient of that road was too steep for light artillery. Despite the low forces available to the insurgents, there was one important factor - "time". They had enough time to sabotage & frustrate the enemy, they didn't use it. Instead they dug trenches...
Furthermore no attempt was made to blockade the port and engage the enemy at sea or frustrate their obvious final point of anchorage whence the Helga bombarded the city. Considering the number of very able seamen (&women) amongst the Irish republicans, the failure to blockade the port is a a glaring mistake. i'd go further and suggest that that failure was of more importance than neglecting to occupy Trinity College, I'd put it on a par with the failure to take Dublin Castle.

Now can we talk more about yankee De Valera ?

author by Barry - 32csmpublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the rebellion was not supposed to be a Dublin event . It was supposed to be an all Ireland event until an equally dubious character Mr MacNeill issued a countermanding order at the last minute cancelling the manouvres throughout Ireland . The officers at Fairyhouse were to have been unable to get back to their barracks . No doubt many roads would have been impassible , 20,000 german rifles , heavy machine guns and millions of rounds of ammunition were to land off Kerry with the promise of more as well as artillery detachments of the German army if the rebellion looked like it was successful .
No blood sacrifice at all . A shibboleth that deserves being firmly debunked . The plan was for military victory , as every other rebellions plan had been for the exact same thing .

author by Barrypublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 16:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

James Connolly was key a military strategist in the rebellion . For ideological , and understandable reasons he believed that the capitalist British government were unlikely to pound the second city of the British empire with artillery and ruin their fellow empire loyalists and capitalists financially , saying how firmly they were behind the imperial war effort that Britain was on the verge of losing at the time . He figured wrong and is even thought to have been heartened at the initial use of artillery by the British as a sign of their utter desperation .

author by Barrypublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mac Neills last minute countermanding order had left the volunteers in utter disarray throughout the country . 1000s of volunteers had prepared to mobilise all over Ireland and at the last minute were left in utter confusion . Instead of the administration being paralysed as the rebels had hoped the volunteers themselves were paralysed as a result of MacNeills cowardice and perhaps even deliberate treachery . It took days for news to filter out there was a definite rebellion in Dublin by which stage many volunteers had simply gone home unsure of what was happening and what to do . The rebels in the GPO had severed the cabe through which telegraph communication was routed .

But actions took place elsewhere . In Cork the volunteers belatedly mobilised as a result of Mac Neills actions but unsure of what was actually happening , as to whether there was an actual rebellion or not and didnt go on the offensive . The late and confused mobilisation resulted in an armed stand off with the British forces who were by that stage very well aware of the rebellion and ready and waiting for action in Cork. Nevertheless the British were reluctant to engage with the sizable Irish force . Eventually the Bishop of Cork intervened and the Volunteers agreed to place their arms in the safe keeping of the Lord Mayor and dispersed on the news of the rebellion having failed . Despite the agreement reached crown forces descended on the home of the Kent family , resulting in a ferocious engagement that led to deaths on both sides and numerous injuries among the British forces .

In Tyrone 100s of volunteers mobilised on the eve of the rebellion but dispersed with the countermanding order confused as to what was happening . By the time they were aware of what was happening crown forces had control of the roads and towns and the rebellion was nearly over , with identical scenes at centres of planned mobilisations throughout the country . In Tipperary volunteers mobilised but were divided and unsure as to what to do . Sean treacy urged immediate action but others were unsure . Eventually one RIC man was shot dead in an attempt to begin a round up of local volunteers by the British but no significant actions took place . In Co Louth a number of volunteers set off for Dublin on their own initiative once they heard a rebellion was definitley in full swing . They got as far as Castlebellingham and ended up in an engagement that left a British officer wounded and an RIC man dead before returning home with no casualties .

Much more significant actions occured in Wexford . Again in complete diarray due to MacNeills orders the rebels had demobilised initially but by the Thursday after news had filtered through they reformed and went into action . Around 600 men under the command of JR Etchingham , Bob Brennan and Seamus Doyle took up a strong position on Vinegar Hill overlooking Enniscorthy and then proceeded to successfully occupy the town . The British , of course aware all week of what had happened sent 1000 troops to engage them but on arrival balked at the numbers and the strong positions they had taken around Vinegar Hill and in Enniscorthy itself . The British did not engage but instead took up positions in the surrounding areas . Shortly afterwards news of the rebels surrender in Dublin reached the British forces however the Volunteers on Vinegar Hill refused to believe it and thought it a trick . Eventually a British officer who was also a Wexford local and knew some of the Volunteers arranged safe passage for a delegation to travel to Dublin and hear the news from Pearse personally . They refused to believe the surrender order until they heard it from the mans own lips .

In Galway 1000 volunteers under the command of Liam Mellowes successfully mobilised late in the week and set off on a virtual rampage through the county . They moved out on horse back , car and pony and trap to various locations from their HQ in Craughwell . They captured a number of RIC staions and occupied small towns as well as engaging crown forces at a number of points causing casualties and capturing arms . When the news of the surrender reached them they successfully dispersed without capture suffering no casualties whatsoever.

Lastly in North county Dublin a party of around 70 volunteers under Tomas Ashe engaged numerically much superior forces and ended up capturing the whole of Ashbourne and occupying barracks . Large quantities of British arms were captured along with about 20 RIC vehicles . This force again dispersed the day after the surrender was given .

With all the above in mind pople should ask themselves what would have happened had MacNeills last minute stab in the back not occured ? In Dublin and elsewhere the voluntees had proven themselves to be a military force to be reckoned with . Had they acted as one under the original plan the effect on the British forces throughout the country who would have been caught cold would have been catastrophic , initially at least . Add into the equation had the planned manding of 20, 000 rifles along with heavy machine guns took place successfullyand the British would have been in even deeper trouble . Once the British were bogged own in this type of scenario theres little doubt more substantial German assistance would have been committed to the enterprise and any notion of continuing British rule along with the notion of "blood sacrifice" would have disappeared without trace during 1916 .

The 1916 rebellion was a much more deadly and determinedly serious affair than that promoted in the deliberate sacrifice myth . It was extremely well planned but sadly poorly executed due to a number of factors , many of them outside the control of the leaders and those who fought at their sides . But the plan was a good one that stood every chance of success . Reducing those events to some notion of deliberate self inflicted hopeless defeat does no justice at all to those who planned and executed the events . They were serious and determined revolutionaries who posed a real danger to the British empire , not the poetic dreamers with a " born to lose" death wish portrayed in Yeats' myth . Those events had the potential to prove to oppressed peoples everywhere that the most powerful of military machines can be physically beaten if ordinary people apply their intellect to its weaknesses . Perhaps one reason why the powers that be like to promote the myth that it was hopeless from the start and the leaders knew it .

author by Barrypublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 18:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was also an attempt made to seize most of the British armys reserve arsenal ( millions of rounds , 1000s of rifles as well as machine guns and grenades) in a raid on the magazine Fort in the Phoenix park . Again due to MacNeills deliberate sabotage of the plan the rebel force was badly depleted and only a few rifles ended up being taken . But again in the overall context of the plan , were it not for the constitutional nationalist sabotage this could well have been successful . We must factor this event too into the overall notion of doomed blood sacrifice and ask what the outcome would have been only for Mac Neill

author by man of the seapublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 21:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i was 5 years of age,at the all Irish language school in Dublin (c/f http://indymedia.ie/article/73193 when the able and capable of today's youth occupied said building, now disused, and locked some Gardaí in , I was made to write 500 lines as punishment for speaking as bearla ( in English) by a X-ian brother, which translated to english would be "as a mac diarmada bearing the same noble name as a signatory of the rebellion i must not use the foreign tongue again". I was before what the jesuits term "the age of reason", and pretty soon afterwards I would be sent to a "prep school" on the other side of the dreary steeples & class divides of Irish identity and narration, once my "gaeilge" had been installed.
I thought it was bollox. I still do. & I am making it clear in these comments under Andrew Flood's article that I believe its bollox. I don't believe "the republic" is or was bollox, I've written in 5 languages on my concepts of "the republic" for contemporary readerships of the XXI century. So I don't believe the "republic" declared by those signatories was "bollox" but I do believe the poster they comissioned from Christopher Brady betrayed world visions which are alien to anything any Irishman or Irishwoman holds today. I insist, that the idea of sacrifice and religious morality expounded in the proclamation has more in common with those young people who call for God's protection, make a video and strap on explosives today in muslim societies occupied by imperialist forces or their proxies.
I also insist, that there has been a general and regretable lack of connection with 1913, and the facts of life in Dublin at that time. It matters little that there were aborted attempts at Rebellion in various other pockets of Ireland that week. The "supreme moment" of the Republic was clearly set in Dublin.
I insist it was an act of self-sacrifice but have at no stage suggested they "wished to fail" but have left the way open for others to suggest something much worse - they were set up.

In the complete text of comments above, to the excellent article by Andrew Flood (read from start -http://indymedia.ie/article/75643 ) the careful reader of today & tomorrow, will find repetition of the usual Irish nation birth myth, and pointers to serious omissions from our national consciousness, and worse - manipulation & omission.
* the name we remember Eva Gore Booth by.
* the peculiarity of the military planning and its obvious neglect of the sea borne threat, I find it incredible that that neglect doesn't excite more comment or interest. Eva Gore Booth and many other members of the ICA had demonstrated during 1913 their ability to comandere the merchant fleet of Dublin's port, blockading the Liffey would have been very easy for them.
* the socially very important incident with the horses. The first shots were fired from the GPO at horses, if we consult PK Joyce's classic book on "English as spoken in Ireland" of the same period, we find the deep resentment at the use of horses, summed up by then common saying "protestants would be grand if they got off their horses". I suggest that ordinary Irish republicans had internalised the Curragh incident as well as the Boer rebellion and also the Kitchner catholic propaganda of the Kaiser's attack on Belgium and this coloured their miltary planning. It would only be natural. We need only look at the type of comments left on indymedia ireland today in 2006 to see how wider state and commercial propaganda deeply insert ideas. & thus we may understand the trenches dug in the Green.
* the obvious and suspicious wish to gloss over the importance of Easter, then and since then as best demonstrated by the Good Friday Agreement appelation. What seems so natural to some "a catholic moment for a catholic people" at once alienated those Irish then and now who do not share that religious outlook, formation or belief.

The men and women of 1916 were people of astounding abilities & intellects, but they were not solely representative of the astounding abilities and intellects of the Irish people at that time. I wished make that point in the first comment by qouting Ledgewedge's poem to mac Donagh's memory.

They were killed. If not by their own hand, or their own lack of planning, by others. & within 20 years almost to a one, all of talent who had expounded Socialist Republicanism in either Ireland or Scotland or even England were dead as well.

Can't anyone smell that?

illustration -
the Helga was built in Liffey Dockyard in 1908 as a fishery protection cruiser and was named
"Helga II". The men who built her joined the 1913 lockout. in 1915 she was taken by the Admiralty, and renamed "HSY (his majesty's armed steam yacht) Helga" - Lord Kitchner's "your country needs you!" poster had only reached a distribution of 600,000.
She was steamed up the Liffey, a narrow river, and from there using the British Ordinance Survey maps, dropped anchor and shelled the city, starting with an empty Liberty Hall on Wednesday the 26th of April. 2 years later in 1918 she was credited with the sinking of a Uboat off the Isle of Man. She transported contigents of "the black and tans" psychopaths and war scarred survivors of the trenches who did more than anyone else to found the modern Irish national idea. She was handed over to the Irish Free State in 1923, and renamed "LÉ Muirchú". (the Irish Free State paid for the privelage) - "independence didn't come free". She was subject a dail debate in 1933 in which Mr Crosbie expressed his belief she was "fine for protection against poachers" http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/S/0017/S.0017.193312130009.html and then in 1947 she was scrapped.

it stinks doesn't it? Thats the things with Hero's. Give them enough time, and they had virgin births, no verucahs, and ended up in space.

HMS Helga 2, built in Dublin, renamed HMY Helga. shelled Dublin - bought by the Irish Free state renamed LÉ Muirchú
HMS Helga 2, built in Dublin, renamed HMY Helga. shelled Dublin - bought by the Irish Free state renamed LÉ Muirchú

author by myth.publication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 21:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yep. They had the Ordinance survey maps and could fire from either land or sea with an accuracy of 3 yards. & most of the city was brothels in any case, which is why no-one had shoes. If Eva Gore Booth had become your president she wouldn't have let you forget that. Remind me - what was the name of the man who didn't take Dublin Castle and settled for City Hall instead? was it a Connolly?

author by Barrypublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 21:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The rebels fired upon the horses because they were ridden by a troop of British cavalry who just happened to be charging straight towards them , that is attacking them , trying to physically kill them while on horseback . Not because they some how associated horses with protestants . Had they been riding duck drawn carriages theyd have met the same fate as the horses .

What you are promoting is merely your own mindset and view of the world seemingly coloured by a grudge against the christian brothers , who never took part in the rising . ( my own father had an equal hatred of the bastards who beat him mercilessly because his own late father had been an IRA volunteer . I was never educated by them because of that) You seem to just dismiss anything that doesnt tally with your own mindset as an irrelevance . Which is up to you I suppose and pretty harmless .

The state that you despise , as I do , was the exact same state the British would have planted in Ireland had 1916 not happened . The republic proclaimed in 1916 , and voted for in 1918 stands diametrically opposed to it . 1916 can be , and still is, held up in principled opposition to it and principled non recognition of the puppets states legitmacy and claim of our allegiance as Irish citizens ., As we did on Easter Sunday when the 32s were the only other people who took to the streets of the capital with an alternative 1916 parade to the government one . And will do so every year from now on under the auspices of the National 1916 Commemoration Committee ( trademarked and copywrited that one is)

1916 was about the sovereignty of the Irish people . The sovereignty of the Irish people being inalienable , control of their own destinies and ownership of their own resources was central to the Proclamation , repeatedly mentioned in the documents central thesis but you concentrate on the fact they said God , once at the very start and once at the very end . The free state , devised in Westminster and Whitehalll stands clearly for the denial of those rights laid down in 1916 , fought for and voted for .

author by yawnpublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 23:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You don't need to tell us, you go check your first article announcing your commemoration entitled "reclaim 1916" I wrote the "everyone thinks they can play the reclaim game" comment.

What we are adressing now is the anomolies of the 1916 event. We're not criticising the republic. We're not saying what they died or were executed for was bad. What we're doing is asking -
Was it just a blood sacrifice with perverse religious overtones akin to the acts of mujahadeen today?
Was it poorly planned thus leading to the loss of the finest republican minds in Ireland of the time, and thus hampering the establishment of the very republic we all want and wanted?
& of the last 24 hours a new element has been introduced, which till the 100 year release of British State papers may not be "properly answered" - were they set up?

& for your information - the cavalry were not charging at the GPO. They were moving at a trot. (slower than a canter) from Rutland Square (now called Parnell square) as they did every Sunday. They were not even aware that a military rebellion had begun. If they were charging they would have been at gallop and the dead horses resulting from the first volley of shots would have been cleared from in front of the GPO, unless the volunteers in the GPO had been able to bend their shots around Nelson's Column (which stood where the spire is now). & indeed protestants fought their part. Plunkett had a very "protestant" accent, and though he had planned much of the action, was almost shot for that accent by an enthusiatic volunteer lad, _who had shoes_ . Have you forgotten that ?

& thats just one example of -
* distortion.
* myth.
* omission.
* lie.

I recall writing a while ago in the comments above, that 1916 and its memory saw the finest of dissemblance combined - both British and Irish have a wonderful capacity to lie, distort, and remember selectively. Even unto this day - it was not physically possible for 120,000 people to watch the 2006 commemoration of the 1916 rising.

Now lets talk about "yankee De Valera"!

author by Barrypublication date Fri Apr 28, 2006 00:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If youre going to keep using multiple user names I doubt for your sanity . "WE" MY ARSE . Its the one guy ffs !!

As regards the horses the cavalry riders lined up in all their splendour to make the charge . The volunteers , over excited opened up too early and in a scattered fashion rather than a volley and only dropped some of them . How the feck do you not notice 100s of armed men behind barricades in the middle of OConnell street.

And if you want to divert this subject to your opinion on Devalera start a thread about it instead of continually wrecking this one by Mr Flood that was very well written and researched . Do one of yer own thats at least half as good . And why anyone calling themself " yawn" incessantly carries on feigning boredom , calling it all bollocks but wont fuck away off from wrecking the whole thread with ducks and dildoes...that just bugs me .
Do an article on Devalera and present it at least half as well as Andrew Flood did and make whatever point you have to make there ffs .

author by By Any Means Necessarypublication date Fri Apr 28, 2006 00:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Was it just a blood sacrifice with perverse religious overtones akin to the acts of mujahadeen today?"

A nationwide plan to give Irish nationalism a wake up call, which was stifled by Eoin MacNeill. Imagine, guerrilla warfare supported by Germany ( in arms and supplies ) occurring in Ireland in 1916, even for a couple of weeks. The revolutionary action of 1916 was not a 'blood sacrifice' but an alternative to the parliamentarian road to home rule which saw thousands of Irish soldiers dying in France as a blood sacrifice for self rule...

Were they set up..? Is your ma your da?

The battle for Dublin surprised the British and in 1919-1921 made them think twice about full engagement..1916 showed that patriots and republicans could fight just as well for their republic as those loyal to the crown showed by their sacrifices fighting in france.

Badly planned, look at the casaulty rates among the Brits, look at the ratio of brits to revolutionaries, imagine if what Thomas Ashe's actions had been repeated in other areas of the country?

Just as the IRA took on the forces of the six county state and the british establishment to force equality, despite being outgunned and out numbered, its actions forcing Irish republicanism onto the political agenda, so the 1916 revolution sought to establish more than a home rule parliament, granted by a "paternal british empire". Britain not Germany was the enemy, fight the war in ireland not france, good sound politics of the era.

How do you get the mujahadeen in Iraq and the 1916 patriots into the same sentence, that takes some twisted right wing thinking !!!! I

author by gurgglepublication date Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

with those who played such a vital role in the beginning of Ireland's national consciousness, (one which has failed to give us a united - sovreign - socialist -secular - independent republic) then you are the one who is suffering from right wing brainwash. It is interesting how so many at the 1916 hoer martyr altar make reference to the Kaiser's support. Yet the banner of the ICA, Connolly (both of them) and Gore Booth gathered their men (& women) quite clearly said "neither King nor Kaiser". Less than ten years later, yankee De Valera would bore us to a partitioned - satelite - conservative - proto-theocratic - endebted - farce of a state through debating the "Oath".

Careful readers please note in the comments above we now have adressed 8 common misconceptions and myths of what actually occured in 1916. & one of the most important questions for anyone interested in why we don't have a a united - sovreign - socialist - secular -independent republic ought examine those anomolies

author by kneeling at the altar of deathpublication date Fri Apr 28, 2006 13:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Easter Rising (one week 1916):-
The total casualties for the weeks fighting came to over 1200. Sixty four rebel volunteers were killed and 16 more were executed after the Rising. The British Army suffered 140 killed and 318 wounded. The police (RIC and DMP) suffered 17 deaths. At least 220 civilians were killed and 600 wounded.
Considering that the insurgents occupied non-military buildings & took up defensive positions with good lines of fire, controlling main access roads, the deaths of crown forces at ratio of 2:1 is not that impressive at all. Also do note the insurgents failed to take the one building which was under military guard - Dublin Castle. In today's society a bunch of crusties can occupy a biscuit factory or offices of Nestle with more firepower available to its security staff than Bolands had on the 24th of April 1916. De Valera took pride in the myth that his mathematical mind had improved shooting from his vantage points by use of triangulation. Thats probably a lie as well along with the impossibly clever key in the cake copied from a silver bromide photo escape from Lincoln Jail- just as silly a notion as the artificial illumination & impossible shadows on the Apollo mission photos.

Its crap. now we've 10 years to undo this crap which has poisoned our own national self-consciousness or we can go on with our unhealthy myths and omissions. I venture to think those brave men and women would prefer us to remember the truth.

a secular - socialist - sovreign - independent - republic - without regard to creed - gender - class.
no cakes - no horses - no martyrs - no ducks - no yankee de valera - no magdalene homes - no judas. The problem is, for too many there would be no Glory in that.

author by Brian Borupublication date Fri Apr 28, 2006 19:26author email mango2002 at imagine dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

But surely it was in large part a Nationalist rebellion? The Easter Proclamation says "IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.". So there is a reference to "nationhood" here. I agree that other bits in the Proclamation, particularly close to the end, include socialist ideas like "The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally", but it cannot be credibly denied that nationalism was the underlying impulse behind 1916.

Certainly I wouldn't call Padraic Pearse a socialist. He called for an Ireland "not free merely by Gaelic as well". I don't think he would be too happy with what is happening now, whereas the socialists praise "multiculturalism". Yes I want a 32 county republic, but I reject socialism. We are not simply workers, we are Irish too. I support capitalism. We are Irish first and workers second as far as I am concerned. I also interpret Connolly's remarks about "the Socialists will not understand....they will forget I am an Irishman" as indicating that even for him, nationalism was the underlying reason he took part in 1916. I resent the implication by some that you are only a real republican if you are also a Socialist.

author by Barrypublication date Sat Apr 29, 2006 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Prior to partition the Gaelic culture and language was seen to have the potential to unite both religious traditions in a common identity , one of the reasons Pearse and others , such as Douglas Hyde sought to promote the idea of a gaelic Ireland to replace the bitterly divided anglicised one . In many areas the catholic church was outright hostile to it , preventing parish halls from being used to teach the language and forbidding their parishioners from attending . So it wasnt exactly exclusively associated with catholicism .
But of course the ballsology this thread has been plagued with now suggests Pearse would have been calling for the blacks to be expelled today as well as being a proto facist would be suicide bomber jihadist .

But sure why not talk some more weird shite rather than go and properly research something to make whatever point it is your ttrying to make .

author by iosafpublication date Sat Apr 29, 2006 16:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Barry is right on the gaelic language and cultural revival. All you need do is visit the site of the Royal Irish Academy http://www.ria.ie and note the religious affiliation of those who revived and studied our national language, music and customs. It was not till the troubles of northern Ireland did the language become "politicised" lamentably by those who still can not understand what occured in 1916.

Unfortuanately elsewhere he really is wrong.
the 21st century equivalent of printing a poster, meeting your mates in the armed militia on a sunday afternoon of a religious festival invoking God's help, and engaging in blood sacrifice is indeed - joining a militia, making a video, invoking God's help and doing your best to fight imperialism.

It really begs the question how barry sees insurgents elsewhere doesn't it?
early "20th century terrorists" are "patriots and poets". And early 21st century terrorists are "ballsology".

dear reader goto the top.
read it all again.

author by Yawwwwwnnnnnnpublication date Wed May 03, 2006 20:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting to see how every single substantive point is demolished by Barry. It turns out that there wasn't any intention to fail and become a "blood sacrifice", the horses were shot because they had armed men on them attacking the rebels etc.

Weird to see how someone like Iosaf can write so much and communicate so little.

author by Jupiter kidpublication date Thu Oct 25, 2007 19:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Im doing a special topic for Leaving Cert History and I need sources of information about this particular area of 1916 as it is all Im interested in. This article was very insightful but I need something more clossly directed at the idea of the "blood sacrifice".Please help if you can???...

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