[Marxism] [SUSPICIOUS MESSAGE] Re: Constance Markievicz 1868-1927
gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 29 16:48:47 MDT 2019
Thank you for this Philip.
I once gave a talk on poetic truth and I used Yeats' poem with a very few
remarks about the sisters
In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz
William Butler Yeats <http://secure-web.cisco.com/1VGIK4twalPEbhukquRhaIq3RaL9lst1zL3gSotlCkcCyyT_D1Wqa7Rw5sytbBzYzTynLlak0kq37fisaYCV1rreCrUkHl20wBQ-KR6Fk-OS6HcQxHKdWklmQ53fwb9405rS2aC-96hz0LFQ0w0urzdebBfdb662tlKoKrS8o_RCT8QEOlev-o2EVoN-5S2bNdir05043KOOnlGpiE0XKKL9d2ATTbdYcowyd2ySQJm1FJAUWgQyZ6MPPMAz_2BEWWUhEi8eh-axMQ6X-YHm2a-Pj7hmFoudBENMVPw2Ntfqlsizd3nyFtBWJpXtYZDutyXgx6muRQk51qN7PWrfIjKJivppzc9DWyyNvMz4z5vOBLcZ-AYhIj2kSi6_Y3Dtk/http%3A%2F%2Fpoetry.poetryx.com%2Fpoets%2F37%2F>
The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer’s wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
Conspiring among the ignorant.
I know not what the younger dreams—
Some vague Utopia—and she seems,
When withered old and skeleton-gaunt,
An image of such politics.
Many a time I think to seek
One or the other out and speak
Of that old Georgian mansion, mix
pictures of the mind, recall
That table and the talk of youth,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
Dear shadows, now you know it all,
All the folly of a fight
With a common wrong or right.
The innocent and the beautiful.
Have no enemy but time;
This is a poem about the Irish radicals and sisters, Eva and Constance
Gore-Booth (Countess Markiewicz). The sisters were aristocrats and lived in
a great mansion at Lissadell. Yeats as a conservative did not like their
politics. One was an active trade unionist (Eva) and the other an armed
revolutionary (Constance) and a commandant in the Irish Citizens Army, the
world’s first Red Army. She took part in the uprising of Easter 1916. Both
sisters also agitated for the vote for women.
The central truth claim of the poem – the innocent and the beautiful have
no enemy but time – cannot survive even the most cursory of inspections.
Equally untrue is the claim that Eva’s politics are somehow “withered old
and gaunt”. Yet these untruths come to us in a rhetorical flow which gives
them real power despite their sheer wrongness. One can almost understand
here the Platonic impulse to exclude poets from the Republic
On Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 11:33 AM Philip Ferguson via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
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> 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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