Interpreting James Connolly, 1916–23

  • Helga Woggon

Abstract

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

Keywords

Propa Defend Editing Trade Unionism Dock 

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Notes

  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.
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  6. 9.
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  7. 10.
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  8. 20.
    Gerald O’Connor, James Connolly: A Study of his Work and Worth (Dublin and Manchester, 1917).Google Scholar
  9. 20.
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  10. 20.
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  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.
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  17. 30.
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  18. 35.
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  19. 35.
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  21. 37.
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  22. 38.
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  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

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