Re.: Parting Company - Ending Social Partnership

James Daly james.irldaly at
Mon Jan 27 06:52:20 MST 2003

The day when those whom George W. Bush calls "the so-called weapons
inspectors" report may not seem an appropriate one to bring up the Irish
struggle again: but, in success or defeat, the revolution is one and
indivisible. The recent exchange about the fate of the Irish "social
partnership" brings to my mind the magnanimous opinion of the editor of the
Irish Times in the Seventies, Douglas Gageby, a Christian Scientist: he said
they should not be called national wage agreements, since they only referred
to the 26 counties.

The complacent swapping of "favourite quotations" from Connolly draws from
me this quotation (hardly a "favourite"):

"a local majority, in Belfast or Derry, for instance, are to be given the
power to wreak their hatred upon Ireland by dismembering her, by cutting
Ireland to pieces as a corpse would be cut upon the dissecting table".

This is as relevant today as it was then. As the inhabitants of Belfast's
"upper Ardoyne" issue death threats against the pathetically inoffensive
school governor Fr Troy, and prepare to pour urine over six-year-old girls
and throw bombs at them (under Israeli flags, whereas the children come from
an area where the Palestinian flag is flown) I remember Connolly's correct
prediction that the partition of Ireland would lead to "a carnival of
reaction, North and South", and that talk of "blending the Orange and Green"
was "claptrap".

Connolly's anti-imperialist writings have been so much bowdlerised that I
ask the moderator's permission to reproduce in full this short article,
written less than two years before Connolly's execution, about what Lenin
called "the Carsonite Black Hundreds":


The Carsonite Position

Irish Worker, 8 August, 1914.

>From the collection: Ireland Upon the Dissecting Table, Cork Workers' Club

Transcription & HTML Mark-up: Einde O'Callaghan for the Marxists' Internet

Of late, sections of the advanced Nationalist [nowadays called Republican --
JD] press have lent themselves to a desperate effort to misrepresent the
position of the Carsonites, and to claim for them the admiration of Irish
Nationalists on the grounds that these Carsonites were fearless Irishmen who
had refused to take dictation from England. A more devilishly mischievous
and lying doctrine was never preached in Ireland. The Carsonite position is
indeed plain - so plain that nothing but sheer perversity of purpose can
misunderstand it, or cloak it with a resemblance to Irish patriotism. The
Carsonites say that their fathers were planted in this country to assist in
keeping the natives down in subjection that this country might be held for
England. That this was God s will because the Catholic Irish were not fit
for the responsibilities and powers of free men and that they are not fit
for the exercise of these responsibilities and powers till this day.
Therefore, say the Carsonites, we have kept our side of the bargain; we have
refused to admit the Catholics to power and responsibility; we have manned
the government of this country for England, we propose to continue to do so,
and rather than admit that these Catholics - these "mickies and teagues" -
are our equals, we will fight, in the hope that our fighting will cause the
English people to revolt against their government and re-establish us in our
historic position as an English colony in Ireland, superior to, and
unhampered by, the political institutions of the Irish natives. How this can
be represented as the case of Irishmen refusing to take dictation from
England passeth all comprehension. It is rather the case of a community in
Poland, after 250 years colonisation, still refusing to adopt the title of
natives, and obstinately clinging to the position and privileges of a
dominant colony. Their programme is summed up in the expression which forms
the dominant note of all their speeches, sermons and literature:

"We are loyal British subjects. We hold this country for England. England
cannot desert us."

What light or leading then can Ireland get from the hysterical patriots who
so egregiously misrepresent this fierce contempt for Ireland as something
that ought to win the esteem of Irishmen?


Connolly, with experience of labour organisation in Belfast and Dublin (as
well as the United States), worked out a working-class socialist
revolutionary anticolonial position in Ireland. Unfortunately bourgeois
republicans have treated anti-Orangism as anti-Protestantism, just as
Zionists treat anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism (or miso-Judaism). They have
always attempted the impossible, to blend the Orange and Green -- for
instance in the Republic of Ireland's flag -- with consequences that were
predictable and predicted. I watched a prominent film critic from the six
counties protest from a London TV studio against director of "Some Mother's
Son" Terry George's airbrushing the Protestant population out of his film,
making it a confrontation only between republicans and the British. In an
under-the-counter realism however the Seventies republicans spoke sotto voce
of the danger of a "Congo situation" in Ireland (or rather in the six
counties). They attributed the original Congo situation to the Belgians'
leaving too quickly -- in fact it was due to the Belgians' *not* leaving,
but staying on covertly with American help to destroy Lumumba and his
anti-imperialist Republic.

I should point out to Danielle that Eamon McCann has a cheek to criticise
Gerry Adams for being in Washington. McCann was one of the architects of the
American-supported six counties solution.


James Daly

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list