An Phoblacht/Republican News, Vol. 13, No. 13
Organisation: Sinn Féin
Publication: An Phoblacht
Issue:Volume 13, Number 13
28 Márta / Thursday, 28 March, 1991
Contributors: Info
Liam Ó Coileáin, Dara MacNeill, Hilda MacThomas, Peter O' Rourke
Collections:1916 Easter Rising: Anniversaries and Commemorations, Music in the Irish Left Archive
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: 1916 Easter Rising

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

15th June 2009

This edition of An Phoblacht is devoted to the 75th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising. And therefore it provides an encapsulation of the Sinn Féin position at a time prior to the ceasefires and yet when the political dynamic was moving slowly towards a context where they would become possible. In this light the editorial is of particular interest. Added to this was the necessary legitimation of their then positions in the context of 1916, as when it explicitly argues that “IRA same then as now”.

In 1991, there are those who do not wish to remember 1916 because they fear the link will be made between the Irish Republican Army of today and its predecessors of Easter Week. There are others who will pay lip-service to 1916 and claim that the IRA of today is fundamentally different and not fighting in the same cause. Both are wrong. The Irish Republican Army which came into being on the bullet-swept streets of Dublin in 1916, is the same IRA, fighting in the same cause, as that which confronts British rule in arms today.

From the perspective of the archive it is difficult to say that this is an explicitly left document although it is infused with language that tilts towards leftist concerns. Consider this quote from the editorial:

In decades of opposition to partition and upholding the ideals of the Proclamation, republicans have sacrificed much. They have also been proven right. Justice, equality and peace are not and never were possible in a partitioned Ireland. This is as true today as when partition was first imposed; the record of poverty, violence, unemployment, sectarianism, discrimination, unemployment, emigration - symptoms of political, social, economic and cultural failure in both states, proves the point.

And it concludes…

In one of his last messages during Easter Week, James Connolly paid tribute to all his comrades when he said: “Never had man or woman a grander cause, never was a cause more grandly served.” We repeat that message today and are confident that the cause of Connolly and Pearse and all ho have followed them will triumph in the ’90s.

Yet it would be wrong to say that there is no overt hint of leftism. Perhaps most tellingly in the form of a two page article on leathanach 14 which deals with “James Connolly - the practical visionary”. By contrast Pearse is given a single page. The Connolly article rebuts the idea, which it argues is put about by “revisionist historians” that … “James Connolly’s participating in the 1916 uprising is the ultimate proof of his abandonment of socialism”. The analysis offered there attempts with varying degrees of success to argue the correctness of Connolly’s actions, arguing that while a breach with ‘classical’ Marxism it was ‘a thoroughly socialist perspective, similar (though not identical) to the strategy then being followed by Lenin in Russia’. And it concludes with the proposition that Labour in its various manifestations ducked away from the possibilities offered in the post-1916 period through to the establishment of the Free State, and has done so ever since.

There’s much more to say, but perhaps others will give their opinions on the document as a whole.

Apologies for file size. Am I correct in assuming most of us are now on broad band? Or are there some toiling away on dial-up? Please tell me so I can tailor, as best as is possible, PDFs to suit.

This text and these files are a resource for use freely by anyone who wants to for whatever purpose – that’s the whole point of the Archive (well that and the discussions). But if you do happen to use them we’d really appreciate if you mentioned that you found them at the Irish Left Online Document Archive…

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