[Marxism] Freedom and the Irish | Current Affairs

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Sep 9 06:54:10 MDT 2018

(Gerald Horne covers these distinctions in great depth in "The 
Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism")

There was a sharp social division between Montserrat’s predominately 
Irish laboring class and the English and Anglo-Irish planters who 
governed the island. Still more Irish arrived in Montserrat starting in 
1649, when the armies of Oliver Cromwell, then Lord Protector of 
England, defeated the rebelling Irish Catholic gentry, and the English 
government began deporting political prisoners to the Caribbean. Other 
Irish criminals and so-called “sturdy beggars” were transported to the 
island, too, as a penal measure. Unlike other Irish bonded laborers, who 
“voluntarily” sold their freedom for a period of years, these deportees 
were sent to the New World against their will. On arrival, the 
prisoners’ labor was purchased for a specific period of time, usually 
for 10 to 12 years. Though this term of indenture was long, it was, at 
the very least, finite. The same could not be said for the African 
chattel slaves who began to be imported around the same time. They had 
virtually no hope of earning or waiting out their freedom.


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