Irish history

Rendezvous in Northern Ireland?

Martin McGuinness shaking the Queen's hand offended socialists because of our contempt for the institution of monarchy but his motive at least was progressive, and also republican in the sense defined by the founder of modern Irish republicanism Wolfe Tone — “to replace the name Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter with the common name Irishman”.

In a hugely symbolic moment on 27 June, during a royal visit to Northern Ireland to mark her jubilee, the former commander of the IRA shook hands with the Queen.

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An Irish Trotskyist Programme for Irish Unity (1948)

This leaflet was produced by the Irish Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Socialist Party in 1948. A section of the Cannon-Pablo-Mandel Fourth International, the RSP had adopted the politics of the Workers Party USA, the Shachtman organisation. The “coalition” referred to is the Dublin government formed after the the February 1948 election in the 26 Counties by Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talmhan and the National Labour Party. It replaced De Valera's Fianna Fail, which had been in office since 1932.


Fine Gael takes hostages

This leaflet was produced by the Irish Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Socialist Party in 1948. A section of the Cannon-Pablo-Mandel Fourth International, the RSP had adopted the politics of the Workers Party USA, the Shachtman organisation.

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Connolly and the Unionists

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Michael Johnson

Part nine of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.


The prospect of the Third Home Rule Bill sparked a widespread mobilisation of Ulster Unionists in opposition to the measure, backed to the hilt by the Tory establishment who hoped to use Ulster to defeat Home Rule for Ireland as a whole.

Part nine of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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Connolly and the Dublin lockout

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Michael Johnson

Part eight of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.


While the Home Rule crisis raged in Ulster, the southern Irish labour movement was about to engage in a class battle of unprecedented militancy.

Part eight of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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Connolly, the rise of Irish labour and Home Rule

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Michael Johnson

By January 1908, Connolly finally had an organ of his own once again, when he founded The Harp as the newspaper of the Irish Socialist Federation (ISF) in the USA.

Part seven of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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The life and politics of James Connolly

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Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson's series on the life and politics of James Connolly has been serialised in Solidarity.

All of the editions of the series so far are listed below:

Michael Johnson's series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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James Connolly, Irish nationalism and the socialist republic

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Building on the ideas of John Leslie (of the Social Democratic Federation) in his 1897 pamphlet Erin’s Hope, Connolly claimed that the essence of the national question in Ireland was a battle over “fundamentally different ideas on the vital question of property in land”. Between, on the one hand, a supposed Irish “primitive communism” and, on the other, an “alien social system” of private ownership.

The fourth part of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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James Connolly: Home Rule and the Gaelic Revival

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.


Connolly's period in Dublin coincided with the period of the Gaelic Revival, and the rediscovery (and re-invention) of Ireland's historical, literary and cultural past. It also led to a deepening of Connolly's understanding of Irish history and the Irish national question, establishing some themes which, in various form, would be present throughout his political life.

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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Uniting the Dublin socialists

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.


When Connolly arrived in Dublin in May 1896 he had his work cut out for him. The situation for the working-class was even worse than in Edinburgh. Overcrowding and tuberculosis were rife, and the city had the fifth highest recorded death rate in the world.

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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