The Irish Famine
Date:July 1995
Organisation: Socialist Workers' Party
Author:Vasco Purser
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

26th August 2019

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This is a 28 page pamphlet written by Vasco Purser and published in the mid 1990s. It is organised into sections such as ‘Ireland Before the Famine’, ‘Free Market Capitalism’, ‘The Famine’, ‘Relief Measures’, ‘Emigration’ and ‘Resistance and Betrayal’.

The Introduction suggests that:

Some commentators, such as Kevin Myers of the Irish Times, claim the Irish famine was simply a natural disaster. Yet the whole of Ireland was then a part of the UK, the centre of the worlds wealthiest empire. This pamphlet aims to give a brief view of what happened, and to look at the response of both Government and Irish politicians to the suffering. Was it really a natural disaster caused by the failure of the potato crop? Or was the famine the result of the free market and the drive for profit?

The Conclusion argues that:

The main lesson to draw from the famine is not a nationalist one, but a socialist one. The right of oppressed nations to self-rule is a simple principle which all socialist support. But on its own independence does not challenge market values.

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  • By: Jolly Red Giant Tue, 27 Aug 2019 18:10:25

    As is common with so much of the writings on the famine – the class struggle of the period is only mentioned in passing when the reality was that it had a significant on the famine period.

    Reply on the CLR