[Marxism] Constance Markievicz 1868-1927

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 28 19:31:06 MDT 2019

Constance Markievicz led a remarkable life, traversing the social and
political landscape from daughter of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy to
bohemian artist in Paris and London to a founding leader of the workers'
militia known as the Irish Citizen Army in Dublin and the main founder of
the first republican paramilitary organisation of 20th century Ireland (Na
Fianna Eireann).  She was second-in-command of the insurrectionary forces
at Stephen's Green in the centre of Dublin during the 1916 armed Rebellion
and sentenced to death for her part.  Because she was a woman, her sentence
(death by firing squad) was commuted to penal servitude to life.

Markievicz was James Connolly's closest political co-worker and personal
friend and attempted to continue the struggle for a worker's republic.
Markievicz also trained  the first paramilitary group (the Fianna) in how
to use weapons and blow stuff up.  She herself was often well-armed so that
Connolly once described her as "looking like a walking advertisement for an
enterprising small arms manufacturer".

In November 1918 she became the first woman elected to the British
parliament, standing as an Irish republican and socialist.  She became the
first female cabinet minister in Western Europe, serving as minister of
labour in the underground Irish parliament.  She opposed the 1921 Treaty
and fought on the anti-Treaty side in the civil war.  Her speech in the
Dublin parliament against the Treaty was the only one which drew clear
class lines.  She died in 1927 of complications arising from peritonitis.

Below are just some of her writings that I collected back in the late 1980s
and which I began sticking up on The Irish Revolution blog when I started
it in 2011.

Starting with the statement issued by James Larkin's Workers Union of
Ireland upon Markievicz's death:

Markievicz speech in the Irish parliament against the 1921 Treaty:

Markievicz speech in the Irish parliament in favour of women's franchise
(the Treatyites were thinking of delaying women's franchise because they
feared women would be majority opposed to the Treaty as the the vast
majority of female republican activists were):

1923 Markievicz pamphlet *What Irish Republicans Stand For:*
(This was written not long after the conclusion of the civil war)

Below is the oration she gave on the second anniversary of the murder of
two Fianna lads by the Free State regime:

Markievicz on some of the women who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising:

Two articles on the conditions of women in English jails:

Here Markievicz looks back at her youth in the Sligo aristocracy and her
road to the Irish revolution:

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