Interpreting James Connolly, 1916–23

  • Helga Woggon


This question is put into James Connolly’s mouth by Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden, the authors of a 24-hour dramatic cycle on his life, in the context of the poor support offered by British trade union leaders for the Dublin lockout of 1913. Though written in the 1970s, the puzzlement embodied in this query echoes Connolly’s own words in 1913:

I have spent a great portion of my life alternating between interpreting Socialism to the Irish and interpreting the Irish to the Socialists. Of the two tasks, I confess, that while I am convinced that the former has been attended with a considerable degree of success, the latter has not. At least as far as the Socialists of Great Britain are concerned, they always seem to me to exhibit towards the Irish working-class democracy of the Labour movement the same inability to understand their position and to share in their aspirations as the organised British nation, as a whole, has shown to the struggling Irish nation it has so long held in subjection.2


Trade Union Labour Movement Labour Party Labour Leader Wage System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden, The Non-Stop Connolly Show: A Dramatic Cycle of Continuous Struggle in Six Parts, Vol. 4 (London, 1977–78), p. 88.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Also see Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden, ‘A socialist hero on the stage: some of the problems involved in dramatising the life and work of James Connolly’, History Workshop Journal, vol. 3 (1977), pp. 159–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    Helga Woggon, Integrativer Sozialismus und nationale Befreiung: Politik und Wirkungsgeschichte James Connollys in Irland (Göttingen and Zürich, 1990), p. 289.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    see, for example, Helga Woggon, ‘Not merely a labour organisation: the ITGWU and the Dublin dock strike, 1915–16’, Saothar: Journal of Irish Labour History, vol. 27 (2002), pp. 43–54.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    W.K. Anderson, James Connolly and the Irish Left (Dublin, 1994), p. 13.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    W.P. Ryan, The Irish Labour Movement from the Twenties to Our Own Day (Dublin, 1919), p. 265.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    J. Anthony Gaughan, Thomas Johnson, 1872–1963: Irish Labour Leader (Dublin, 1980), p. 193.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    Gerald O’Connor, James Connolly: A Study of his Work and Worth (Dublin and Manchester, 1917).Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    see Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin, 1978), p. 201Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    Peter Berresford Ellis (ed.), James Connolly: Selected Writings (Harmondsworth, 1973), p. 310.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    Rose MacKenna, A Plea for Social Emancipation in Ireland (Manchester, 1917);Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    Ronald [pseud.], Freedom’s Road for Irish Workers (Manchester, 1917);Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Charles Russell, Should the Workers of Ireland Support Sinn Féin? (Dublin, 1918).Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    Spálpín, Sinn Féin and the Labour Movement (Dublin, n.d. [early 1918]).Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Ireland, 1824–1960 (Dublin, 1992), p. 104.Google Scholar
  16. 29.
    Aodh de Blácam, What Sinn Féin Stands For (Dublin, n.d. [1921]), p. 109.Google Scholar
  17. 30.
    Aodh de Blácam, Towards the Republic (Dublin, n.d. [end of 1918]), p. 31.Google Scholar
  18. 35.
    Aodh de Blácam, The Black North (Dublin, 1938 [3rd edn 1942]), p. 297.Google Scholar
  19. 35.
    For 1925, see Henry Summerfield, That Myriad-Minded Man: A Biography of George William Russell, ‘A.E.’, 1867–1935 (Gerrards Cross, 1975), pp 229–30.Google Scholar
  20. 36.
    S.J. Connolly (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Irish History (Oxford, 1998), pp. 137–8.Google Scholar
  21. 37.
    House of Representatives (ed.), The Irish Question. Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Affairs on H.J. Res. 357, 12 December 1918, 65th Congress, 3rd Session (Washington, 1919) (House Documents, vol. 107, no. 1832), pp. 15–17.Google Scholar
  22. 38.
    James Connolly Literary Society (Boston), An Open Letter to the Irish Working Class Wherever Found, 1 October 1918 (Boston, 1918), p. 4, in NLI, O’Brien Papers, LOP 79.Google Scholar
  23. 42.
    James Connolly Heron (ed.), The Words of James Connolly (Cork, 1986);Google Scholar
  24. 42.
    also see Nora Connolly O’Brien and Eibhlín Ní Sheidhir (eds), James Connolly Wrote for Today (Dublin, 1978).Google Scholar
  25. 43.
    Ross Connolly, ‘Memories of a union organiser in County Wicklow’, Labour History News, no. 2 (1986), pp. 7–10.Google Scholar
  26. 45.
    See Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh, ‘James Connolly and the writing of Labour in Irish History (1910)’, Saothar: Journal of Irish Labour History, vol. 27 (2002), pp. 103–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Helga Woggon 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helga Woggon

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations