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Saoirse go Deo
15-11-2015, 09:04 PM
Ballynacloghy
Maree
Oranmore
Co. Galway H91 REK6

(091) 792297 | 087 9159787 | [email protected]

October 2015


A chara,
To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising from a socialist perspective I am seeking your support for republishing Republicanism and Socialism in Ireland: A Study in the Relationship of Politics and Ideology, from the United Irishmen to James Connolly, which was written by Priscilla Metscher, a native of working-class East Belfast and former lecturer at the University of Oldenburg in Germany.
The book is a brilliant piece of progressive Irish historical research and well worth republishing. It was first published in the 1980s by Peter Lang, a Swiss publisher normally used by PhD students for publishing their theses. In that limited edition it unfortunately did not reach the audience it deserved. In my view, and that of several political colleagues I have consulted, now is the perfect time to bring this study to a wider public.
For that reason I approached the Communist Party of Ireland, and it has agreed to assist in bringing this project to fruition. I am now seeking forty sympathetic individuals who will contribute €100 each to ensure that the book can be published in 2016. In return—apart from the satisfaction of contributing to this worthwhile project—you will be presented with a copy of this substantial volume.
To give you an idea of the book’s character it is perhaps best to turn to Metscher’s original preface to the first edition of Republicanism and Socialism in Ireland to set out the content of the book. In the opening paragraph of the preface the writer does not hide her own understanding of history: “My approach is based on the precept that the primary motivating force in history, in social formation, is the class struggle.”
The book is in three parts. Part I shows “how the movements of the United Irishmen and Young Irelanders formed the backbone of Irish Republicanism from the late 18th to the middle of the 19th century . . . I have examined the ideas of the United Irishmen and the Young Irelanders against the background of the social conditions of the period. In fact each major part of my work is preceded by a corresponding section on the economic and social changes in Irish society . . .
“Part II is concerned with Fenianism and the Land War, as movements essentially of the lower classes in the second half of the 19th century . . . Parts I and II deal mainly with a peasant society and thus with the political, radical, popular movements which are strongly connected with a rural society. Where possible I have pointed to elements of ‘derived’ ideology (such as the Rights of Man) or certain elements of a proto-socialist or socialist theory as emerged with the Fenian Movement and the Land League.”
With regard to that latter movement there is a section that deals with the political thought of the Land League leader Michael Davitt. An academic and specialist on Davitt informed me a few years ago that Priscilla Metscher’s examination of his political outlook was unique among studies of Davitt.
Part III deals with the political ideas of James Connolly. As Priscilla points out in her original preface, these “cannot be isolated from the republican tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries . . . My emphasis on Connolly is due to the fact that his life and work is the culminating point in the history of radical ideas in Ireland up to the present. The process of the development of his political ideas in relationship to the republican tradition in Ireland is a field of research that has been largely neglected. Much misunderstanding concerning Connolly and the national question arises from the inability or refusal to see his socialist theory within the context of the radical republican tradition.”
I hope this synopsis of Priscilla Metscher’s work gives you an inkling of what the book contains. In its original edition the book came to a sizable 600 pages. This included, however, 100 pages of references, which include excellent thumbnail sketches of relevant political movements, such as the Chartists, and even a comparison of certain aspects of the Moscow Uprising of 1905 with the Easter Rising of 1916.
Finally a brief biography of Priscilla Metscher. She was born in Belfast in 1944, studied German and French at QUB, and was a teacher in Methodist College, Belfast, from 1966 to 1971. She then moved to Germany with her German husband, Thomas Metscher, where she lectured at the University of Oldenburg. She received a doctorate (Dr.Phil.) at the University of Bremen in 1984. She is also the author of the book James Connolly and the Reconquest of Ireland, which was published in 2002. At present she is writing an article on Connolly and 1916 for the journal of the Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School London.
There will be much hullabaloo and hypocrisy as part of the Easter Rising centenary commemorations, and much reactionary material will be published about that seminal event. I believe the publication of this important work, written from a socialist viewpoint, will prove a significant counterbalance to this. It will also give members of the present generation access to an important work of progressive Irish historical scholarship.
May I appeal to you to help in this endeavour by contributing €100 to this project, and if you know of others who you think might support it in similar fashion to let me know their names and contact details.
If you are willing to participate in this project, please post a cheque or money order—made out to Connolly Book Club—to my address (above), or transfer the amount to the bank account (details are given below) with the reference “Republicanism and Socialism in Ireland.” In that case it would be helpful if you would drop me a line by e-mail or post, and I will immediately verify the arrival of your generous contribution.
Is mise le meas,
Niall Farrell


AIB, Capel Street, Dublin (sorting code: 93-11-01)
Account: Connolly Book Club
Account no. 20624254
BIC: AIBKIE2D
IBAN: IE26 AIBK 9311 0120 6242 54
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/c-appeal.html

A worthy, timely idea to republish what sounds like a very interesting book.

Saoirse go Deo
07-07-2016, 12:22 AM
This has been published and is available from Connolly Books for €25. Finished reading it tonight, it's a lengthy book but the language is easy to digest. I read it in a rather disjointed fashion as I've had precious little time to read in the last few months, so no doubt I will read it again.

I highly, highly recommend it... rarely has a book given me such food for thought and "joined the dots" between my various separate readings on Irish republicanism and its political and revolutionary theory. Posters on this forum will definitely find reading the book worthwhile.

If you want an history and analysis of Irish republicanism's left wing and links with socialism this is the book.

C. Flower
10-07-2016, 12:22 AM
Thanks for the recommendation. Where does she stand on the relationship between nationalism and socialism in Ireland ?

Saoirse go Deo
12-07-2016, 04:12 PM
Thanks for the recommendation. Where does she stand on the relationship between nationalism and socialism in Ireland ?

She did not deal too much with constitutional nationalism in any real depth except to discuss Parnell's flirtation with the Fenians and then Connolly's politics in opposition to Redmond.
The book deals with the relationship of Irish Republicanism with Socialism and how Republicanism in Ireland has always been linked with the most progressive and revolutionary politics of each generations epoch.

I read Kieran Allen's new book on 1916 immediately after reading Metscher's book, (not too worthwhile imo) his basic point is that republicanism has always been nationalist and occasionally, when everything else has failed, republicans "tack on" socialist politics in order to propagandize and gain support for their narrow nationalist aims. Metscher, quite comprehensively in my opinion, shows how socialism, labour or whatever you want to term it, has always been a natural part, if at times occupying a minority position, of Irish Republicanism.

A major part of the book deals with James Connolly and his politics...

I'm never good at conveying an author's opinion or position - I tend to treat books as a learning experience and end up holding on to what I have learned (or have been prompted to think about) from what has been written rather than what the writer expressly stated - sometimes my conclusions can be different from those of the writer.

I learned plenty from this book and it gave me a lot to think about... not to be a shill but this will be right at the top of the list of books I will be recommending to read should anyone ask.

(we should establish an "official" PW.org reading list).

pluralist
12-07-2016, 08:11 PM
A few thoughts off the top of my head.

I've yet to read a decent objective analysis of the Roman Catholic/gangster mafia state subversion of the French revolutionary ideals that inspired Irish nationalism.

(We finally got around to legalising de ghays in 1993, and divorce in 1995 (by a tiny margin) and are now busy patting ourselves on the back because we are allowing the gays to enjoy constitutional rights, so let's not pretend that we weren't essentially ruled by Rome until relatively recently. Paisley had a point on the Dublin rule equals Rome rule thing, if nothing else.)

Most of the critiques of Irish nationalism that I've encountered seem to be apologia for loyalism/imperialism, rather than genuine leftist critiques.

Obviously, any serious leftist critique would have to explain why one fifth of the population emigrated in the 1950s, for example, and also why DeValera started a fully counterproductive and wholly ludicrous trade war against our main trade partner in the 1930s, thus leading to the needless impoverishment of an infant independent state.

It would probably also have to explain why fully 80% of my older first cousins emigrated in the 1980s, either shortly after leaving school or university, or following a few years' work experience in Ireland to that main trade partner, or to other countries.

Saoirse go Deo
12-07-2016, 09:02 PM
The James Connolly Memorial Lecture, 2016, was given on 14 May by Dr Priscilla Metscher on the theme “The consistency of Connolly’s Marxism and his continued relevance.” The talk was followed by the launch of Dr Metscher’s new book, Republican*ism and Social*ism in Ireland: From Wolfe Tone to James Connolly.

For those that missed Dr Priscilla Metscher speaking at the Connolly Memorial Lecture here is a link to a podcast of her delivering her paper to the meeting.


https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/podcast-of-the-james-connolly-memorial-lecture/

Saoirse go Deo
12-07-2016, 09:24 PM
A few thoughts off the top of my head.

I've yet to read a decent objective analysis of the Roman Catholic/gangster mafia state subversion of the French revolutionary ideals that inspired Irish nationalism.

(We finally got around to legalising de ghays in 1993, and divorce in 1995 (by a tiny margin) and are now busy patting ourselves on the back because we are allowing the gays to enjoy constitutional rights, so let's not pretend that we weren't essentially ruled by Rome until relatively recently. Paisley had a point on the Dublin rule equals Rome rule thing, if nothing else.)

Most of the critiques of Irish nationalism that I've encountered seem to be apologia for loyalism/imperialism, rather than genuine leftist critiques.

Obviously, any serious leftist critique would have to explain why one fifth of the population emigrated in the 1950s, for example, and also why DeValera started a fully counterproductive and wholly ludicrous trade war against our main trade partner in the 1930s, thus leading to the needless impoverishment of an infant independent state.

It would probably also have to explain why fully 80% of my older first cousins emigrated in the 1980s, either shortly after leaving school or university, or following a few years' work experience in Ireland to that main trade partner, or to other countries.

It is important to define what we mean by Irish Nationalism. If we are talking about the likes of Daniel O'Connell for instance he was repulsed by the French Revolution.

We need to differentiate between bourgeois Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism.

For example the United Irishmen and the Young Ireland movement in particular were inspired by and adherents to the ideals and ideas of the French revolutionaries but these movements were in decided contrast and conflict with "mainstream" Irish constitutional nationalists of the time, the likes of Grattan and Daniel O'Connell.

Irish constitutional nationalism was not, and has never been, particularly progressive. It has served a domestic elite who never had particularly progressive or revolutionary goals. Emancipation was all about enabling rich natives and Catholics to have the same access to the trappings and rewards of empire and similarly Repeal was all about having a domestic parliament to better aid Irish business classes - hence O'Connell's happiness with the disenfranchisement of the forty shilling freeholders as the price of catholic emancipation. Home Rule was largely the same.

Every so often the Irish Republican undercurrent has pushed mainstream Irish Nationalism in radical directions - Young Ireland built off of O'Connell and he went further than he would have otherwise in his rhetoric to keep up with them and maintain control, Parnell and the Land League is another example as is the alignment of Irish Nationalism with republicanism during the Tan war. It is notable that each of these examples ended with betrayal/compromise/return to form by the Nationalists.

So rather than seeing Irish Nationalism as having been betrayed by the likes of Dev, Fine Gael etc it seems to me that they have merely returned to form and their position post Tan War is pretty consistent with the previous century or so of Irish constitutional nationalism.

pluralist
12-07-2016, 09:46 PM
It is important to define what we mean by Irish Nationalism. If we are talking about the likes of Daniel O'Connell for instance he was repulsed by the French Revolution.

We need to differentiate between bourgeois Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism.

For example the United Irishmen and the Young Ireland movement in particular were inspired by and adherents to the ideals and ideas of the French revolutionaries but these movements were in decided contrast and conflict with "mainstream" Irish constitutional nationalists of the time, the likes of Grattan and Daniel O'Connell.

Irish constitutional nationalism was not, and has never been, particularly progressive. It has served a domestic elite who never had particularly progressive or revolutionary goals. Emancipation was all about enabling rich natives and Catholics to have the same access to the trappings and rewards of empire and similarly Repeal was all about having a domestic parliament to better aid Irish business classes - hence O'Connell's happiness with the disenfranchisement of the forty shilling freeholders as the price of catholic emancipation. Home Rule was largely the same.

Every so often the Irish Republican undercurrent has pushed mainstream Irish Nationalism in radical directions - Young Ireland built off of O'Connell and he went further than he would have otherwise in his rhetoric to keep up with them and maintain control, Parnell and the Land League is another example as is the alignment of Irish Nationalism with republicanism during the Tan war. It is notable that each of these examples ended with betrayal/compromise/return to form by the Nationalists.

So rather than seeing Irish Nationalism as having been betrayed by the likes of Dev, Fine Gael etc it seems to me that they have merely returned to form and their position post Tan War is pretty consistent with the previous century or so of Irish constitutional nationalism.

This just comes across as a sort of a post-hoc apologia for political violence (the 'Tan war'?). It hasn't answered any of my questions, with all due respect to you.

C. Flower
12-07-2016, 11:05 PM
She did not deal too much with constitutional nationalism in any real depth except to discuss Parnell's flirtation with the Fenians and then Connolly's politics in opposition to Redmond.
The book deals with the relationship of Irish Republicanism with Socialism and how Republicanism in Ireland has always been linked with the most progressive and revolutionary politics of each generations epoch.

I read Kieran Allen's new book on 1916 immediately after reading Metscher's book, (not too worthwhile imo) his basic point is that republicanism has always been nationalist and occasionally, when everything else has failed, republicans "tack on" socialist politics in order to propagandize and gain support for their narrow nationalist aims. Metscher, quite comprehensively in my opinion, shows how socialism, labour or whatever you want to term it, has always been a natural part, if at times occupying a minority position, of Irish Republicanism.

A major part of the book deals with James Connolly and his politics...

I'm never good at conveying an author's opinion or position - I tend to treat books as a learning experience and end up holding on to what I have learned (or have been prompted to think about) from what has been written rather than what the writer expressly stated - sometimes my conclusions can be different from those of the writer.

I learned plenty from this book and it gave me a lot to think about... not to be a shill but this will be right at the top of the list of books I will be recommending to read should anyone ask.

(we should establish an "official" PW.org reading list).

Good idea. Should it be a "recommended to read" thread, or do you suggest a different format ?

On nationalism - I heard Gerry Adams today on the radio saying that (can't remember the exact words used) he has great admiration for British governments because of the way they look after the national interest.

This is not the viewpoint of a socialist, who would see these governments as expressions of imperialism, looking after the British interest at the expense of millions of impoverished and oppressed people worldwide and who would not express admiration.

Socialism and sovereignty are very different. I support efforts for sovereignty when they undermine the interests of imperial blocs.

pluralist
12-07-2016, 11:35 PM
Good idea. Should it be a "recommended to read" thread, or do you suggest a different format ?

On nationalism - I heard Gerry Adams today on the radio saying that (can't remember the exact words used) he has great admiration for British governments because of the way they look after the national interest.

This is not the viewpoint of a socialist, who would see these governments as expressions of imperialism, looking after the British interest at the expense of millions of impoverished and oppressed people worldwide and who would not express admiration.

Socialism and sovereignty are very different. I support efforts for sovereignty when they undermine the interests of imperial blocs.

Whether intentional or otherwise, this post is I think a good example of the drivel that spouts from the micro-left.

It's almost beyond satire at this point.

Saoirse go Deo
12-07-2016, 11:46 PM
Good idea. Should it be a "recommended to read" thread, or do you suggest a different format ?

On nationalism - I heard Gerry Adams today on the radio saying that (can't remember the exact words used) he has great admiration for British governments because of the way they look after the national interest.

This is not the viewpoint of a socialist, who would see these governments as expressions of imperialism, looking after the British interest at the expense of millions of impoverished and oppressed people worldwide and who would not express admiration.

Socialism and sovereignty are very different. I support efforts for sovereignty when they undermine the interests of imperial blocs.

I would suggest a format where posters suggest a book, but in order for it to be included in the list two other members, who must have read it also, recommend it too, or something to that effect? That way we can have a very select reading list.

With SF, with whom I'm still somewhat associated, the lines between what is actual policy and what is tactical maneuvering are extremely blurred. SF members would want to go further left, but perhaps think it's unwise to "rock the boat" when things are going well. Not something I altogether agree with.

Saoirse go Deo
13-07-2016, 12:06 AM
Whether intentional or otherwise, this post is I think a good example of the drivel that spouts from the micro-left.

It's almost beyond satire at this point.

It seems to me that you are more interested in arguing than having a useful discussion.

I shan't waste time arguing and bickering with strangers on the internet - not when there is the possibility of enlightening and worthwhile conversation.

So play nice... otherwise your posts will merely end up being juvenile interruptions of reasoned discussion. If you disagree with what someone says, that's fine; but be polite and explain why - otherwise what's the point in you being here?

That's all I'll say on that score.

Sam Lord
13-07-2016, 03:51 PM
This just comes across as a sort of a post-hoc apologia for political violence (the 'Tan war'?). It hasn't answered any of my questions, with all due respect to you.

An inability to comprehend an answer should not be interpreted as the lack of an answer.

C. Flower
13-07-2016, 04:51 PM
It is important to define what we mean by Irish Nationalism. If we are talking about the likes of Daniel O'Connell for instance he was repulsed by the French Revolution.

We need to differentiate between bourgeois Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism.

For example the United Irishmen and the Young Ireland movement in particular were inspired by and adherents to the ideals and ideas of the French revolutionaries but these movements were in decided contrast and conflict with "mainstream" Irish constitutional nationalists of the time, the likes of Grattan and Daniel O'Connell.

Irish constitutional nationalism was not, and has never been, particularly progressive. It has served a domestic elite who never had particularly progressive or revolutionary goals. Emancipation was all about enabling rich natives and Catholics to have the same access to the trappings and rewards of empire and similarly Repeal was all about having a domestic parliament to better aid Irish business classes - hence O'Connell's happiness with the disenfranchisement of the forty shilling freeholders as the price of catholic emancipation. Home Rule was largely the same.

Every so often the Irish Republican undercurrent has pushed mainstream Irish Nationalism in radical directions - Young Ireland built off of O'Connell and he went further than he would have otherwise in his rhetoric to keep up with them and maintain control, Parnell and the Land League is another example as is the alignment of Irish Nationalism with republicanism during the Tan war. It is notable that each of these examples ended with betrayal/compromise/return to form by the Nationalists.

So rather than seeing Irish Nationalism as having been betrayed by the likes of Dev, Fine Gael etc it seems to me that they have merely returned to form and their position post Tan War is pretty consistent with the previous century or so of Irish constitutional nationalism.

I don't think I believe it is possible to sever Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism from each other in any cut and dried way. Irish Republicanism, and nationalism due to the historic circumstances, had no option other than to be thrown into conflict with the world's biggest Imperial power. It was that factor that was most radicalising and progressive. Left to themselves we see a rapid relapse of nationalists and republicans (in the Republic) into bourgeois alliances against their own people and petty bourgeois gombeenerey.

What is the class base, in your view, of Republicanism, and where is it going politically ? Does it in your view have any remaining relevance as a progressive political force outside Ireland, for example ?

C. Flower
13-07-2016, 06:01 PM
A few thoughts off the top of my head.

I've yet to read a decent objective analysis of the Roman Catholic/gangster mafia state subversion of the French revolutionary ideals that inspired Irish nationalism.

(We finally got around to legalising de ghays in 1993, and divorce in 1995 (by a tiny margin) and are now busy patting ourselves on the back because we are allowing the gays to enjoy constitutional rights, so let's not pretend that we weren't essentially ruled by Rome until relatively recently. Paisley had a point on the Dublin rule equals Rome rule thing, if nothing else.)

Most of the critiques of Irish nationalism that I've encountered seem to be apologia for loyalism/imperialism, rather than genuine leftist critiques.

Obviously, any serious leftist critique would have to explain why one fifth of the population emigrated in the 1950s, for example, and also why DeValera started a fully counterproductive and wholly ludicrous trade war against our main trade partner in the 1930s, thus leading to the needless impoverishment of an infant independent state.

It would probably also have to explain why fully 80% of my older first cousins emigrated in the 1980s, either shortly after leaving school or university, or following a few years' work experience in Ireland to that main trade partner, or to other countries..

Emigration and population decline from Ireland continued from the mid 1800s up to the 1960s.

We have a thread here on Marx and emigration from Ireland that goes in to the reasons for this in some depth. Laying it at the door of nationalism doesn't really wash, particularly when you have not provided any logical case for that.

Saoirse go Deo
13-07-2016, 08:30 PM
I don't think I believe it is possible to sever Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism from each other in any cut and dried way.
They are connected yes, but they are distinct political ideologies in themselves.

Irish republicanism, and revolutionary politics in general in Ireland has always consisted of a very small minority which has had varying degrees of influence in the mainstream constitutional nationalist political stream. Republicanism itself is a broad enough school also, how does one define it? I generally understand Irish Republicanism to be at is core, certainly historically, a revolutionary form of politics. That is to say, not bourgeois nationalism.

The central issue of foreign suppression aligned them at times but republicans always wanted to go further - Irish constitutional nationalism always looked for accommodation within empire, not outright separation. The only times when they came close to advocating that was due momentous historical events which ushered them in the republican direction. An example of this is the split in the repeal movement, the Young Irelanders, who refused to denounce outright revolution and the possible use of violence to attain these ends were very much in the minority at first and denounced by O'Connellites as enemies of the catholic faith, bloodthirsty warmongers etc. However the revolutions of 1848 shunted a large portion of constitutional nationalists in their direction, for a time at least...


Irish Republicanism, and nationalism due to the historic circumstances, had no option other than to be thrown into conflict with the world's biggest Imperial power. It was that factor that was most radicalising and progressive. Left to themselves we see a rapid relapse of nationalists and republicans (in the Republic) into bourgeois alliances against their own people and petty bourgeois gombeenerey.
Left to themselves bourgeois nationalists will again become bourgeois nationalists, for example, to stick with my examples from 1848, Charles Gavan Duffy. But what of republicans? Would the likes of James Fintan Lalor for instance have "relapsed"? Or James Connolly? Or those various fenians with labour leanings? (who have been shamefully neglected, their program was quite progressive at times)

What happened post Tan War was a counter revolution where the minority Irish republican thread, which had momentarily gained ascendancy, was defeated and sidelined, and those of the constitutional nationalists gene pool reverted to type.


What is the class base, in your view, of Republicanism, and where is it going politically ? Does it in your view have any remaining relevance as a progressive political force outside Ireland, for example ?
I think republicanism in Ireland, as a revolutionary tradition in Ireland, has very much gone back to it's minority position.

Sinn Féin for example are a nationalist party who have some republican members. The fact that the majority of the membership accepted the GFA and are happy to propagate the "IRA fought for civil rights" line, and accept this demonstrates their bourgeois credentials. (I dislike using this word but I can't think of another which will communicate my point... any suggestions?). As I said earlier, "accommodation within Empire".

There were three excellent occasions over the last 250 years for revolutionary change in Ireland where Irish republicans pushed mainstream nationalism in a revolutionary direction.

1. 1798
2. 1848
3. 1919-21

There were two other periods where there might have been a chance to direct things that way, 1969 to 71 and to a lesser extent 1981.

These were all occasions when ordinary nationalism left its natural railway line and aligned with the progressives, Ireland's revolutionary tradition, that is, Irish Republicanism. However there was never a success.

Left to its own devices Irish nationalism was happy with accommodation; Catholic Emancipation, the Land Acts, Home Rule, Partition, the GFA.

The politics of Connolly still has relevance... but the epoch of Monarchy is gone, bourgeois democracy, which was denied, is a given in the Western world. There are very few Kings left to decapitate, we have Dennis O'Brien's instead so perhaps Irelands revolutionary tradition has evolved beyond the term "republican". We need to remember that in the 1790s bourgeois republicanism by its very definition was revolutionary and was the most prpgressive and revolutionary politic of that epoch. What is it today?

Today I think its socialists, Marxists and the like who have inherited Ireland revolutionary tradition of "Republicanism". However they are terms which are too broad as they would include the likes of the SWP, SP etc which as their record would indicate is certainly not the case. Hence I still call myself a republican.

C. Flower
13-07-2016, 09:03 PM
They are connected yes, but they are distinct political ideologies in themselves.

Irish republicanism, and revolutionary politics in general in Ireland has always consisted of a very small minority which has had varying degrees of influence in the mainstream constitutional nationalist political stream. Republicanism itself is a broad enough school also, how does one define it? I generally understand Irish Republicanism to be at is core, certainly historically, a revolutionary form of politics. That is to say, not bourgeois nationalism.

The central issue of foreign suppression aligned them at times but republicans always wanted to go further - Irish constitutional nationalism always looked for accommodation within empire, not outright separation. The only times when they came close to advocating that was due momentous historical events which ushered them in the republican direction. An example of this is the split in the repeal movement, the Young Irelanders, who refused to denounce outright revolution and the possible use of violence to attain these ends were very much in the minority at first and denounced by O'Connellites as enemies of the catholic faith, bloodthirsty warmongers etc. However the revolutions of 1848 shunted a large portion of constitutional nationalists in their direction, for a time at least...


Left to themselves bourgeois nationalists will again become bourgeois nationalists, for example, to stick with my examples from 1848, Charles Gavan Duffy. But what of republicans? Would the likes of James Fintan Lalor for instance have "relapsed"? Or James Connolly? Or those various fenians with labour leanings? (who have been shamefully neglected, their program was quite progressive at times)

What happened post Tan War was a counter revolution where the minority Irish republican thread, which had momentarily gained ascendancy, was defeated and sidelined, and those of the constitutional nationalists gene pool reverted to type.


I think republicanism in Ireland, as a revolutionary tradition in Ireland, has very much gone back to it's minority position.

Sinn Féin for example are a nationalist party who have some republican members. The fact that the majority of the membership accepted the GFA and are happy to propagate the "IRA fought for civil rights" line, and accept this demonstrates their bourgeois credentials. (I dislike using this word but I can't think of another which will communicate my point... any suggestions?). As I said earlier, "accommodation within Empire".

There were three excellent occasions over the last 250 years for revolutionary change in Ireland where Irish republicans pushed mainstream nationalism in a revolutionary direction.

1. 1798
2. 1848
3. 1919-21

There were two other periods where there might have been a chance to direct things that way, 1969 to 71 and to a lesser extent 1981.

These were all occasions when ordinary nationalism left its natural railway line and aligned with the progressives, Ireland's revolutionary tradition, that is, Irish Republicanism. However there was never a success.

Left to its own devices Irish nationalism was happy with accommodation; Catholic Emancipation, the Land Acts, Home Rule, Partition, the GFA.

The politics of Connolly still has relevance... but the epoch of Monarchy is gone, bourgeois democracy, which was denied, is a given in the Western world. There are very few Kings left to decapitate, we have Dennis O'Brien's instead so perhaps Irelands revolutionary tradition has evolved beyond the term "republican". We need to remember that in the 1790s bourgeois republicanism by its very definition was revolutionary and was the most prpgressive and revolutionary politic of that epoch. What is it today?

Today I think its socialists, Marxists and the like who have inherited Ireland revolutionary tradition of "Republicanism". However they are terms which are too broad as they would include the likes of the SWP, SP etc which as their record would indicate is certainly not the case. Hence I still call myself a republican.

In the US, it has incorporated Bush and Trump.

There have been socialists and revolutionaries who have fought alongside republicans, but they are not the same thing.

Connolly surely identified himself primarily as a socialist not a republican ? Republicanism is about a society of citizens, who rule themselves, rather than are ruled by a monarchy. If it does not involve a revolution in which the working class gain power then it will remain a bourgeois nationalist society.

The lesson for me of the Arab Spring is that we are living in an era in which a bourgeois revolution is not possible and that only the masses of the working class can create a revolutionary democracy through establishing power of the majority.

Sam Lord
14-07-2016, 06:53 AM
In the US, it has incorporated Bush and Trump.


Omg. It's like saying that socialism has incorporated Hitler. Hugely ignorant ...




There have been socialists and revolutionaries who have fought alongside republicans, but they are not the same thing.


Often have been ..... in Spain as well as Ireland. It's to do with the history of the country. The problem for Trotskyites is that countries have no histories .. everywhere is the same so they can happily apply their cookie cutter formulas. Another problem for them is that they are trained to think of the world in terms of boxes with labels ... A,B,C,D, etc. You pick up up something and determine what letter it corresponds to and put it in that box. That something might be both A and B presents huge problems ....




Connolly surely identified himself primarily as a socialist not a republican ?


Connolly founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He did not separate the two things.



The lesson for me of the Arab Spring is that we are living in an era in which a bourgeois revolution is not possible and that only the masses of the working class can create a revolutionary democracy through establishing power of the majority.

This is just jargon .. sorry... some formulaic stuff. Most of the countries of the Middle East are entirely devoid of "masses of the working class" for a start and then to characterise the uprisings there as "bourgeois revolutions" is just wrong. Start with a specific country and make your analysis .. don't start with a formula full of irrelevant terminology and apply it universally ...

C. Flower
14-07-2016, 09:43 AM
Omg. It's like saying that socialism has incorporated Hitler. Hugely ignorant ...
Well, no, it is not like that at all. It makes the point that a movement that is socially progressive at one stage of history can turn into its opposite. Hitler and co. deliberately misappropriated the word 'socialist' to deceive workers. It was not a question in Germany of (as in the US) a formerly revolutionary and progressive movement degenerating over time or becoming historically outmoded (no longer progressive).


Often have been ..... in Spain as well as Ireland. It's to do with the history of the country.

In Ireland, it is to do with continued Imperialist rule and influence, that impinges on all classes, not only on the working class. In Spain, it was the threat of fascism, in Spain and elsewhere, that drew the Left and bourgeois Republicans into alliance. As you say, it is to do with the history of the country - which is not the same in Ireland as in Spain.


The problem for Trotskyites is that countries have no histories .. everywhere is the same so they can happily apply their cookie cutter formulas. Another problem for them is that they are trained to think of the world in terms of boxes with labels ... A,B,C,D, etc. You pick up up something and determine what letter it corresponds to and put it in that box. That something might be both A and B presents huge problems

This is so much nonsense. Many things are both A and B, but the A and B are internally in conflict within the thing, and it is not static. In fact, when you object to "boxes and labels" it appears to me that you are objecting to class analysis which says that it is the working class and not the middle class that is the class that can take on the task of making social revolution and bringing about socialism. That does not mean of course, before, you rush in to claim I'm saying it, that the working class and its parties don't need to make alliances. Of course they do.


Connolly founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He did not separate the two things.

He made it clear that he would not concede one jot of socialism to Republicanism, in order to placate the middle classes and the rich. Just to remind you, I'm going to post his "Socialism and Nationalism" (1897) in full, in a separate post.


This is just jargon .. sorry... some formulaic stuff. Most of the countries of the Middle East are entirely devoid of "masses of the working class" for a start and then to characterise the uprisings there as "bourgeois revolutions" is just wrong. Start with a specific country and make your analysis .. don't start with a formula full of irrelevant terminology and apply it universally ...

Extraordinarily ignorant and western-centred in outlook to dismiss the existence of the working classes of North Africa - the Tunisian and Egyptian working classes (where do you think Ireland's cheap cotton clothing came from, for decades?) were the bedrock of the Arab Spring movements - Even Robert Fisk observed that it was the Egyptian cotton workers who en masse took the ground at the outsets of occupations. There was a prolongued and powerful strike wave that led up to the occupations, and a further strike wave in Egypt after they finished, in factories, hospitals, banks, the public sector....
The Arab Spring was of a different, smaller and more fragile character in those States (Bahrain, for example) with smaller or less well organised working classes.

The Arab Spring demands primarily related to basic citizen rights and democratisation. They were written by a small group of bourgeois intellectuals and progressive youth who appropriated leadership of the movement int the absence of any revolutionary organisation ready to lead the working class. I was there to see this first hand. These demands unified the middle classes and working classes for a while ( the main demand was simply that Mubarak should go). But as we have seen ( and not only in the Arab Spring) efforts by the middle classes to democratise are regularly crushed by the global Imperial powers who use force majeure, not local elections, to decide who rules where.
While some sections of the middle class might take that on, they don't have the wherewithal to deal with it, and only the working class in alliance with and leading them have a serious prospect (and historical necessity) to do that.

There you go, more unpalatable formulae for you.

Hostility to Marxist terminology and 'formulae' is commonplace. People who are hostile to Marxism are happy to use and put up with all kinds of politcial assumptions, jargon and verbiage, but throw their hands up in horror if the clear and well established terms of Marxism are used. There is a thread here on how it should all be modernised. However, it seems to me that the modernised versions all lack basis in socialist economic and social analysis (historical materialism and dialectical materialsm) and lead to a mire of confusion. You might as well tell a surgeon or chemist to drop their silly incomprehensible terms.

C. Flower
14-07-2016, 10:00 AM
James Connolly in my view nailed it in 1896


"Socialism and Nationalism"

In Ireland at the present time there are at work a variety of agencies seeking to preserve the national sentiment in the hearts of the people.
These agencies, whether Irish Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping to save from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and characteristics of our people.
Nevertheless, there is a danger that by too strict an adherence to their present methods of propaganda, and consequent neglect of vital living issues, they may only succeed in stereotyping our historical studies into a worship of the past, or crystallising nationalism into a tradition – glorious and heroic indeed, but still only a tradition.
Now traditions may, and frequently do, provide materials for a glorious martyrdom, but can never be strong enough to ride the storm of a successful revolution.
If the national movement of our day is not merely to re-enact the old sad tragedies of our past history, it must show itself capable of rising to the exigencies of the moment.
It must demonstrate to the people of Ireland that our nationalism is not merely a morbid idealising of the past, but is also capable of formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political and economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.
This concrete political and social ideal will best be supplied, I believe, by the frank acceptance on the part of ail earnest nationalists of the Republic as their goal.
Not a Republic, as in France, where a capitalist monarchy with an elective head parodies the constitutional abortions of England, and in open alliance with the Muscovite despotism brazenly flaunts its apostasy to the traditions of the Revolution.


Not a Republic as in the United States, where the power of the purse has established a new tyranny under the forms of freedom; where, one hundred years after the feet of the last British red-coat polluted the streets of Boston, British landlords and financiers impose upon American citizens a servitude compared with which the tax of pre-Revolution days was a mere trifle.
No! the Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth promise of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their efforts on its behalf.
To the tenant farmer, ground between landlordism on the one hand and American competition on the other, as between the upper and the nether millstone; to the wage-workers in the towns, suffering from the exactions of the slave-driving capitalist to the agricultural labourer, toiling away his life for a wage barely sufficient to keep body and soul together; in fact to every one of the toiling millions upon whose misery the outwardly-splendid fabric of our modern civilisation is reared, the Irish Republic might be made a word to conjure with – a rallying point for the disaffected, a haven for the oppressed, a point of departure for the Socialist, enthusiastic in the cause of human freedom.


This linking together of our national aspirations with the hopes of the men and women who have raised the standard of revolt against that system of capitalism and landlordism, of which the British Empire is the most aggressive type and resolute defender, should not, in any sense, import an element of discord into the ranks of earnest nationalists, and would serve to place us in touch with fresh reservoirs of moral and physical strength sufficient to lift the cause of Ireland to a more commanding position than it has occupied since the day of Benburb.
It may be pleaded that the ideal of a Socialist Republic, implying, as it does, a complete political and economic revolution would be sure to alienate all our middle-class and aristocratic supporters, who would dread the loss of their property and privileges.
What does this objection mean? That we must conciliate the privileged classes in Ireland!
But you can only disarm their hostility by assuring them that in a free Ireland their ‘privileges␁ will not be interfered with. That is to say, you must guarantee that when Ireland is free of foreign domination, the green-coated Irish soldiers will guard the fraudulent gains of capitalist and landlord from ‘the thin hands of the poor’ just as remorselessly and just as effectually as the scarlet-coated emissaries of England do today.
On no other basis will the classes unite with you. Do you expect the masses to fight for this ideal?
When you talk of freeing Ireland, do you only mean the chemical elements which compose the soil of Ireland? Or is it the Irish people you mean? If the latter, from what do you propose to free them? From the rule of England?
But all systems of political administration or governmental machinery are but the reflex of the economic forms which underlie them.
English rule in England is but the symbol of the fact that English conquerors in the past forced upon this country a property system founded upon spoliation, fraud and murder: that, as the present-day exercise of the ‘rights of property’ so originated involves the continual practice of legalised spoliation and fraud, English rule is found to be the most suitable form of government by which the spoliation can be protected, and an English army the most pliant tool with which to execute judicial murder when the fears of the propertied classes demand it.


The Socialist who would destroy, root and branch, the whole brutally materialistic system of civilisation, which like the English language we have adopted as our own, is, I hold, a far more deadly foe to English rule and tutelage, than the superficial thinker who imagines it possible to reconcile Irish freedom with those insidious but disastrous forms of economic subjection – landlord tyranny, capitalist fraud and unclean usury; baneful fruits of the Norman Conquest, the unholy trinity, of which Strongbow and Diarmuid MacMurchadha – Norman thief and Irish traitor – were the fitting precursors and apostles.
If you remove the English army to-morrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.
England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.
England would still rule you to your ruin, even while your lips offered hypocritical homage at the shrine of that Freedom whose cause you had betrayed.
Nationalism without Socialism – without a reorganisation of society on the basis of a broader and more developed form of that common property which underlay the social structure of Ancient Erin - is only national recreancy.


It would be tantamount to a public declaration that our oppressors had so far succeeded in inoculating us with their perverted conceptions of justice and morality that we had finally decided to accept those conceptions as our own, and no longer needed an alien army to force them upon us.
As a Socialist I am prepared to do all one man can do to achieve for our motherland her rightful heritage – independence; but if you ask me to abate one jot or tittle of the claims of social justice, in order to conciliate the privileged classes, then I must decline.
Such action would be neither honourable nor feasible. Let us never forget that he never reaches Heaven who marches thither in the company of the Devil. Let us openly proclaim our faith: the logic of events is with us.

Sam Lord
14-07-2016, 01:01 PM
Well, no, it is not like that at all. It makes the point that a movement that is socially progressive at one stage of history can turn into its opposite. Hitler and co. deliberately misappropriated the word 'socialist' to deceive workers. It was not a question in Germany of (as in the US) a formerly revolutionary and progressive movement degenerating over time or becoming historically outmoded (no longer progressive).


Well, if you don't like that example you can take the example of the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe which after the 20th Congress of the CPSU were transformed step by step in to capitalist parties. Out take the so called Communist Party in power in China today. These parties were all historically progressive but are no longer.

According to your logic this discredits communism. But it no more does this than The Republican Party in the USA discredits Irish republicanism.



In Ireland, it is to do with continued Imperialist rule and influence, that impinges on all classes, not only on the working class. In Spain, it was the threat of fascism, in Spain and elsewhere, that drew the Left and bourgeois Republicans into alliance. As you say, it is to do with the history of the country - which is not the same in Ireland as in Spain.


I never said it was the same. You are answering some argument you posed to yourself.




This is so much nonsense. Many things are both A and B, but the A and B are internally in conflict within the thing, and it is not static. In fact, when you object to "boxes and labels" it appears to me that you are objecting to class analysis which says that it is the working class and not the middle class that is the class that can take on the task of making social revolution and bringing about socialism. That does not mean of course, before, you rush in to claim I'm saying it, that the working class and its parties don't need to make alliances. Of course they do.


I'm not objecting to class analysis at all .. again this is some red herring of yours. I'm very much in favour of class analysis. What I'm objecting to your claim that you can't be a socialist or communist and a republican which is where the patent nonsense in all this lies. I'm a communist and an Irish republican, for Gods sake. Communists in Ireland have always been republicans. Half the IRA after the civil war and up to the 1930's was probably composed of communists. I bet if you approach any member of CPI today and ask if they are republicans they will say yes. Of course the SP and SWP will run like hell from such a description but that is easily understood in terms of the history of Trotskyism. Trotskyites object to Republicanism because it is objectively anti-imperialist.



He made it clear that he would not concede one jot of socialism to Republicanism, in order to placate the middle classes and the rich. Just to remind you, I'm going to post his "Socialism and Nationalism" (1897) in full, in a separate post.


I have no problem what what Connolly writes here. In fact, I am a big fan of Connolly. You are the one who who has sought to dismiss him on the forum in the past.

But, in terms of this discussion, what you should really take on board from what you have posted is that he lays out for the reader his ideal of a republic.

"No! the Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth promise of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their efforts on its behalf."

"It may be pleaded that the ideal of a Socialist Republic, implying, as it does, a complete political and economic revolution would be sure to alienate all our middle-class and aristocratic supporters, who would dread the loss of their property and privileges."

He stands for a socialist republic .. republicanism recast in terms of the requirements of his time and there is nothing in what he writes to support your assertion that you cannot be a socialist revolutionary and a republican. In fact, just the opposite. For Connolly the two things were inseparably intertwined, "Labour is the cause of Ireland, Ireland is the cause of Labour" .. etc.




Extraordinarily ignorant and western-centred in outlook to dismiss the existence of the working classes of North Africa - the Tunisian and Egyptian working classes (where do you think Ireland's cheap cotton clothing came from, for decades?) were the bedrock of the Arab Spring movements - Even Robert Fisk observed that it was the Egyptian cotton workers who en masse took the ground at the outsets of occupations. There was a prolongued and powerful strike wave that led up to the occupations, and a further strike wave in Egypt after they finished, in factories, hospitals, banks, the public sector....
The Arab Spring was of a different, smaller and more fragile character in those States (Bahrain, for example) with smaller or less well organised working classes.

The Arab Spring demands primarily related to basic citizen rights and democratisation. They were written by a small group of bourgeois intellectuals and progressive youth who appropriated leadership of the movement int the absence of any revolutionary organisation ready to lead the working class. I was there to see this first hand. These demands unified the middle classes and working classes for a while ( the main demand was simply that Mubarak should go). But as we have seen ( and not only in the Arab Spring) efforts by the middle classes to democratise are regularly crushed by the global Imperial powers who use force majeure, not local elections, to decide who rules where.
While some sections of the middle class might take that on, they don't have the wherewithal to deal with it, and only the working class in alliance with and leading them have a serious prospect (and historical necessity) to do that.


I did not dismiss the "existence of working classes in North Africa" .. again you are answering your own thing. Firstly, I spoke of the Middle East. Secondly, I was objecting to your blanket talk of "masses of workers" while ignoring the class composition of the societies. You have talked about only Egypt in response but even in Egypt I would suspect that the majority of the population lives in rural areas. So we are talking about a lot of peasants and peasant families. Of course, there is a developed working class in Egypt but to talk about "masses of workers" and ignore the broad social composition of the society is quite facile imo. And, of course, Egypt is not the whole Middle East .. go to Yemen, for example, (which does have a rich socialist history for all that)and find the industrial working class for me.

In terms of the demands of the Arab Spring, again you cannot take Egypt as representative of everywhere. In Tunisia, where everything started, for example, the demands were much more economic based .. reflecting the influence of Tunisian communists in the movement. Of course, in Egypt the demands were for rights and freedoms and were essentially dictated by the middle strata but I'm not sure this is correctly characterised as "a bourgeois revolution". For a start, the middle strata is not the bourgeoisie and then who crushed this "bourgeois revolution" .. some feudalists?

You wrote that only with the working class leading the middle class can there be successful revolutions in the ME. I would think, however, that you might more usefully think of the working class in alliance with the peasantry.




Hostility to Marxist terminology and 'formulae' is commonplace. People who are hostile to Marxism are happy to use and put up with all kinds of politcial assumptions, jargon and verbiage, but throw their hands up in horror if the clear and well established terms of Marxism are used. There is a thread here on how it should all be modernised. However, it seems to me that the modernised versions all lack basis in socialist economic and social analysis (historical materialism and dialectical materialsm) and lead to a mire of confusion. You might as well tell a surgeon or chemist to drop their silly incomprehensible terms.

I have no problem with scientific terminology .. not least in social science. What I have a problem with is faulty thinking that seeks to impose something on a phenomena using scientific language rather than study the phenomena and draw conclusions, again using scientific language as necessary.

C. Flower
14-07-2016, 05:37 PM
[QUOTE=Sam Lord;453807]Well, if you don't like that example you can take the example of the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe which after the 20th Congress of the CPSU were transformed step by step in to capitalist parties. Out take the so called Communist Party in power in China today. These parties were all historically progressive but are no longer.

According to your logic this discredits communism. But it no more does this than The Republican Party in the USA discredits Irish republicanism.

If your assumption is that Irish republicanism in 2016 is a revolutionary force, capable of transforming society from its economic foundations to its social superstructure, as it was in France and the US in the 18th century, in the day of Tone, then, yes. Is that what you think?


I'm not objecting to class analysis at all .. again this is some red herring of yours. I'm very much in favour of class analysis. What I'm objecting to your claim that you can't be a socialist or communist and a republican which is where the patent nonsense in all this lies.
Please be clear about this. Of course socialists have been and are part of all kinds of anti-imperialist movements and parties, but, as with Connolly, their socialism came first and they would not compromise it.


I'm a communist and an Irish republican, for Gods sake. Communists in Ireland have always been republicans. Half the IRA after the civil war and up to the 1930's was probably composed of communists. I bet if you approach any member of CPI today and ask if they are republicans they will say yes. Of course the SP and SWP will run like hell from such a description but that is easily understood in terms of the history of Trotskyism. Trotskyites object to Republicanism because it is objectively anti-imperialist.
I would like to hear them speak for themselves. I despise and always have despised the SP and SWP stance, which makes them puppy dogs of British Imperialsm. They are awed by and sucked in by British Imperialsm, hanging on to the coat tails of the British based parties they've spun from. But being awed by contemporary Irish Republicanism in Ireland can also be a problem, although a very different one - and I don't recall that you have been slow to criticise Sinn Fein, either.


I have no problem what what Connolly writes here. In fact, I am a big fan of Connolly. You are the one who who has sought to dismiss him on the forum in the past.
No, I've not dismissed Connolly, but I have criticised a viewpoint that says that Connolly is 'enough' for Ireland, is an icon beyond criticism, and that we don't need to also study Marx, Engels, Lenin and others.


But, in terms of this discussion, what you should really take on board from what you have posted is that he lays out for the reader his ideal of a republic. He does indeed, but in terms that are uncompromisingly socialist, revolutionary, and based on the working class.


"No! the Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth promise of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their efforts on its behalf."

"It may be pleaded that the ideal of a Socialist Republic, implying, as it does, a complete political and economic revolution would be sure to alienate all our middle-class and aristocratic supporters, who would dread the loss of their property and privileges."


Exactly - not any old Republic - a socialist, revolutionary republic.


He stands for a socialist republic .. republicanism recast in terms of the requirements of his time and there is nothing in what he writes to support your assertion that you cannot be a socialist revolutionary and a republican. In fact, just the opposite. For Connolly the two things were inseparably intertwined, "Labour is the cause of Ireland, Ireland is the cause of Labour" .. etc.

You are answering something not said. Many socialist revolutionaries have been in nationalist parties, but they remained first and foremost socialist revolutionaries - or liquidated their political position. The point of Connolly's piece was that he would make no concession to middle class / well-to-do republicanism. He puts a marker down.

I do not think that Gerry Adams is a socialist revolutionary. Do you ?


I did not dismiss the "existence of working classes in North Africa" .. again you are answering your own thing. Firstly, I spoke of the Middle East. Secondly, I was objecting to your blanket talk of "masses of workers" while ignoring the class composition of the societies.

What you said was "Most of the countries of the Middle East are entirely devoid of "masses of the working class" (!!!) for a start and then to characterise the uprisings there as "bourgeois revolutions" is just wrong."

How do you characterise the Occupations ? You have not said anything factual about the class composition of the Arab countries, but many of them have massive working classes of many millions. Russia in 1917 had a huge peasantry, with a much smaller working class concentrated in large factories - not at all unlike Egypt and other Arab countries. The Yemen has a large working class with a history of Trade Unionism (albeit compromised unions) and leftism. I really don't know where you are getting your notions.


You have talked about only Egypt in response but even in Egypt I would suspect that the majority of the population lives in rural areas. So we are talking about a lot of peasants and peasant families. Of course, there is a developed working class in Egypt but to talk about "masses of workers" and ignore the broad social composition of the society is quite facile imo. And, of course, Egypt is not the whole Middle East .. go to Yemen, for example, (which does have a rich socialist history for all that)and find the industrial working class for me.

An interesting article on the Arab economies looking at deindustrialisation and state-destabilisation and how they are affecting the Arab working classes. Explains the merchant class role (on which the MB rests for example), and how it arose.
http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue70/Kadri70.pdf

Your point being ? I mentioned the working class because of their historic role - I agree with you that the peasantry are important too, but in a different way.

Happy to see that the cotton workers in Egypt have continued to strike on the slogan "against poverty and hunger" which coincidentally was a slogan I held up in Tahrir.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/business/2012/10/labor-movement-in-egypt-morsis-economic-policies.html

You remain dismissive of the Arab working class and its potential revolutionary role.



In terms of the demands of the Arab Spring, again you cannot take Egypt as representative of everywhere. In Tunisia, where everything started, for example, the demands were much more economic based .. reflecting the influence of Tunisian communists in the movement. Of course, in Egypt the demands were for rights and freedoms and were essentially dictated by the middle strata but I'm not sure this is correctly characterised as "a bourgeois revolution". For a start, the middle strata is not the bourgeoisie and then who crushed this "bourgeois revolution" .. some feudalists?

You wrote that only with the working class leading the middle class can there be successful revolutions in the ME. I would think, however, that you might more usefully think of the working class in alliance with the peasantry.

I will come back to this interesting question, as I'm out of time for this post, but I do agree with you that an alliance of the working class with the peasantry - with the working class taking the lead, is what is required.


I have no problem with scientific terminology .. not least in social science. What I have a problem with is faulty thinking that seeks to impose something on a phenomena using scientific language rather than study the phenomena and draw conclusions, again using scientific language as necessary.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'social science' but if you mean that Marxist terms and approaches should not be part of everyday discussion, then I profoundly disagree.