Cromwell etc

jbm7 at jbm7 at
Sun Aug 8 12:18:32 MDT 1999

>>In this connection I recall the comment of Oliver Cromwell to the
>of Parliament" as to his policy for the New Model Army in 1640 that:
>(paraphrased from memory): "I would prefer a russet-coated Captain who
>what he fights for and loves what he knows to what you call a gentleman
>is nothing else." <<
Mark Jones
>Paddy, what a thread to start! It would be wonderful to celebrate our very
>own English Revolution....

There was an interesting television documentary on the English Revolution
introduced by Jeremy Hardy. Hardy`s column in the Guardian is one of the
most interesting ones available. I believe he is close to the SWP. It
showed how Cromwell at first extended the revolution but when it
threatened to go beyond the limits imposed by him he acted to crush the
Levellers amongst others. It was great to see the precursors of the
Proletarian revolution to come argue their point of view.They were groping
towards Babeuf.

The question of Ireland loomed large. A myth of largescale pogrom of
Protestant settlers was the excuse for the intervention in Ireland.The
native Irish were Catholic as were the various waves of settlers from the
Norman invasion with the exception of the Scottish settlers in the North.
Irish Catholicism was a synthesis of formal Catholicism and pre Christian
beliefs. The Irish saints like Brighid were christianised versions of old
Celtic Goddesses and Gods. The propaganda in England about the Irish truly
demonised them. The Levellers refused to go and were crushed.The beginning
of the end of the English revolution was the Cromwellian invasion of
Ireland. It was a pity that the best of the Irish generals Eoghan Roe
O`Neill died before he got a chance to face Cromwell.

There are a number of unpublished notebooks by Marx on Ireland as well as
his published ones.

Interesting that Trotskys writings on Britain used the English revolution
to polemicise against the reformists who believed that violent revolution
was not in the English character. And Deutscher compared his task of
rescuing the reputation of Trotsky to Clarendons similar work on Cromwell.

I, also, feel the the high point of the French revolution passed through a
similar phase over Haiti and the attempted reconquest of Haiti marked the
point where the French revolution began it`s retreat. I am influenced here
by C. L. R. James classic "The Black Jacobins". If only the Napoleonic
armies had come to Ireland? But Napoleon was not interested in liberation
but conquest.

Perhaps Lenins concerns on the national question in his last writings
especially re the Georgian question was influenced by the parallels.

The new Model Army was bribed by land robbed in Ireland. Robbed because
not only were the Anglo-Irish aristocracy dispossessed as well as the
remnant of the Gaelic aristocracy ( these holding their lands according to
pre feudal norms in part) but the native Irish were chased to Connacht (
the poorest of the land.) They of course drifted back.The Irish who
drifted back saw the level of exploitation increase. In the North a rough
rule of thumb is that the poor land is nationalist. Along with this
increased level of exploitation the end of a Gaelic speaking ruling class
made the language of the people an outlaw language where there was no
patronage to sustain the Fili a sort of pre modern intelligentsia. This
began the long death agony of the Irish language which can only be saved
by the cultural uplift an International Socialist Revolution could give.

By the time of the 1798 rebellion the Irish peasantry were probably the
poorest and most exploited in Europe.

The concept of free land which was part of American history was started in
Ireland. For the successive plantations of Ireland set the norm for the
Americas.That which was done to native Americans was tested in Ireland.

Jim Monaghan

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