[Marxism] James Connolly and the "blood sacrifice"

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 10 15:27:33 MST 2019

I wrote this some years back, but various revisionists and
pro-imperialists, including ones claiming to be left-wing, still meddle the

In the early 1900s the national question affected every movement for social
change in Ireland. For the labour movement, particularly those who sought
to lead it in a revolutionary direction, the national question posed the
greatest challenge. If the goal of the working class, in the view of the
revolutionaries, was a social revolution and the establishment of a
workers’ republic, how should the political question of British rule in
Ireland be approached?

Was the road forward for the workers in Ireland, a colonial possession of
an imperial power, the same as that in Britain? What was the relationship
between economic and political issues? Was the job of revolutionaries
simply to provide an analysis of capitalism and/or counsel workers to be
more militant in struggling for better wages and conditions? Was a working
class-based or, at least, working class-led, revolution possible? Given the
weakness of the working class – due to the historical underdevelopment of
capitalism in Ireland and the sectarian divisions which stemmed from this
underdevelopment – were there other social forces which could be drawn to
the workers’ side in a struggle for the revolutionary transformation of

The response of Irish revolutionary socialists at the time, above all James
Connolly, has been a point of debate ever since. In particular, the rise of
historical revisionism has led to the resurrection of the theme that
Connolly abandoned. . .

full at:

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