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View Full Version : Ireland's greatest: an overlooked candidate



antiestablishmentarian
25-10-2010, 05:10 PM
I was recently fortunate enough to pick up one of the original first 150 copies of Édouard Dolléans 1912 work Le Chartisme for the steal price of €1 and have been reading it with great interest since. The book itself is a description of the roots of the Chartist Movement and that Movement's history, but one of the things I was surprised to learn upon reading it was the effect upon the development of that movement that one James 'Bronterre' O'Brien had. The man was by all accounts a genius- he spoke French, Latin, Greek and Italian by the age of 9 and was an orator of outstanding ability, able to speak for 3-4 hours at a stretch. There are a number of things that have struck me about him from what I've read so far.

1. His recognition of the class nature of capitalism and the power possessed by the capitalist and aristocratic class over the working and labouring classes by their control of the means of production and accumlation of the workers produce- not too dissimilar from the ideas of a certain German economist.
2. His emphasis on the need for independent working class action and his point that the interests of the workers and capitalists were not reconcilable.
3. He was a great struggler for the removal of property rights for voting and a champion of universal suffrage and the free press.

He seems to have been forgotten and indeed was forgotten in his own lifetime after the end of the Chartist movement, dying bedridden and in poverty in London in 1864, where he's buried today in Abney Park Cemetery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronterre_O'Brien

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/JamesBronterreOBrien.jpg

C. Flower
25-10-2010, 05:21 PM
Fascinating, thanks, Anti-E.

I'd be interested if you have time to post some more when you've finished the book on Chartism.

antiestablishmentarian
25-10-2010, 07:05 PM
Fascinating, thanks, Anti-E.

I'd be interested if you have time to post some more when you've finished the book on Chartism.

Will do that Cactus, and it's fascinating to learn about the roots of the workers movement in Chartism. Might post something on that again.

whydontwe
25-10-2010, 07:23 PM
antiestablishmentarian, interesting stuff....so, have you read Kropotkins revolutionary pamphlets...? Whenever I referred younger people to such writings I was told ..."ah sure...that was over a hundred years ago....not pertinent"!! Strange how things come around....some youg people are taking account of "old" writings now!

Sam Lord
25-10-2010, 11:54 PM
Daniel O'Connell and the Chartists

(from Ireland her Own by T. A. Jackson)

O'Connell's attitude to the Chartists was embittered by personal hostility between him and the Chartist leaders James Bronterre O'Brien and Fergus O'Connor; but this hostility itself arose from a fundamental political antagonism. Both O'Brien and O'Connor were argarian revolutionaries who wished to make an end to landlordism altogether. O'Connell, himself a landlord, who envisaged Utopia as a place where landlords did their duty indulgently, hated on instinct everything that O'Brien and O'Connor fought for. O'Brien applauded every stage of the Tithe War, and blamed O'Connell for spoiling it by his interference. O'Connor applauded the "glorious deeds of the Whiteboys" - whom O'Connell thought "miscreants" who ought to be exterminated. And O'Connor, inordinately proud to be the nephew of a leading United Irishman (Arthur O'Connor) always thought and spoke in terms of just such a revolution as the United Irishmen had envisaged. O'Connell's fanatical hatred of revolution in general and the French Revolution in particular extended without abatement to the "Jacobin" United Irishmen. Thus, at every point O'Connell's outlook was radically incompatible with those of all the Chartist leaders - except, possibly. the "moral force" Chartists. Fot these reasons he used his every endeavour to keep the Chartist movement out of Ireland, and he was careful on principle never to embarass the Government with Irish agitation when they had anyrhing to fear from the Chartists.

It was with genuine pride that he boasted in Parliament (July 1840) that, when England had been faced with a Chartist rising, in November 1839, Ireland remained perfectly tranquil ......

Sam Lord
26-10-2010, 12:06 AM
Feargus O'Connor should not be overlooked in terms of Irish influence on the Chartists.

Born in County Cork, I think. Protestant background. Educated at Trinity. Brother was a General in Simon Bolivar's army.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feargus_O'Connor

Both O'Connor and O'Brien were members of the London Workingman's Association.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Working_Men%27s_Association

Design for Life
26-10-2010, 06:13 AM
Would I be wrong in thinking that Irish influence or participation in the Chartist Movement hasn't really been figured into the general train of Irish History much? Ye know, what's written int he history books, the school books or whatever. 800 million years of protestant oppression was the source of all evils and the scourge that a few rebellions had to fight against etc. etc.

I only really recently learned a bit about the Charists. It's a bit sickening that politicians today use one of their aims as justification for their exorbitant wages and perks - the one about actually paying politicians a wage!

antiestablishmentarian
26-10-2010, 10:22 AM
Would I be wrong in thinking that Irish influence or participation in the Chartist Movement hasn't really been figured into the general train of Irish History much? Ye know, what's written int he history books, the school books or whatever. 800 million years of protestant oppression was the source of all evils and the scourge that a few rebellions had to fight against etc. etc.

I only really recently learned a bit about the Charists. It's a bit sickening that politicians today use one of their aims as justification for their exorbitant wages and perks - the one about actually paying politicians a wage!

I'm not too surprised by that DFL: the official histories tend to have an annoying habit of omitting anything that doesn't conform to the present orthodoxy. There is nothing in the leaving cert honours course about the wave of strikes and soviets that took place all across the country during the War of Independence or of the role played by the IRA in breaking strikes during that conflict.

antiestablishmentarian
26-10-2010, 10:38 AM
antiestablishmentarian, interesting stuff....so, have you read Kropotkins revolutionary pamphlets...? Whenever I referred younger people to such writings I was told ..."ah sure...that was over a hundred years ago....not pertinent"!! Strange how things come around....some youg people are taking account of "old" writings now!

I'm afraid I haven't had the chance to read Krotopkin yet...I'm busy reading this work on Chartism and the collected works of Jean Jaures, a reformist French socialist from the turn of the 20th century. It is interesting alright how these things change: I suppose people probably never thought these things would be relevant to them again, but when you re-read them they explain things in such a clear manner, ie how the system works, and in a manner which remains clear and relevant despite the passage of time.

Andrew49
26-10-2010, 04:04 PM
I was recently fortunate enough to pick up one of the original first 150 copies of Édouard Dolléans 1912 work Le Chartisme for the steal price of €1 and have been reading it with great interest since. The book itself is a description of the roots of the Chartist Movement and that Movement's history, but one of the things I was surprised to learn upon reading it was the effect upon the development of that movement that one James 'Bronterre' O'Brien had. The man was by all accounts a genius- he spoke French, Latin, Greek and Italian by the age of 9 and was an orator of outstanding ability, able to speak for 3-4 hours at a stretch. There are a number of things that have struck me about him from what I've read so far.

1. His recognition of the class nature of capitalism and the power possessed by the capitalist and aristocratic class over the working and labouring classes by their control of the means of production and accumlation of the workers produce- not too dissimilar from the ideas of a certain German economist.
2. His emphasis on the need for independent working class action and his point that the interests of the workers and capitalists were not reconcilable.
3. He was a great struggler for the removal of property rights for voting and a champion of universal suffrage and the free press.

He seems to have been forgotten and indeed was forgotten in his own lifetime after the end of the Chartist movement, dying bedridden and in poverty in London in 1864, where he's buried today in Abney Park Cemetery.

Bronterre_O'Brien Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bronterre_O%27Brien)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/JamesBronterreOBrien.jpg

Fascinating character - someone to be proud of I think. How out on their own were people like him ... much of what we take for granted today had to fought for tooth and nail by people like this .... and it appears these things can be taken away too with little thought for the consequences.

I found Édouard Dolléans 1912 work Le Chartisme online Open Library (http://www.archive.org/stream/lechartisme1830102dolluoft/lechartisme1830102dolluoft_djvu.txt) but in French ... is there an English translation?

Formats - Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/lechartisme1830102dolluoft)

antiestablishmentarian
26-10-2010, 04:20 PM
Fascinating character - someone to be proud of I think. How out on their own were people like him ... much of what we take for granted today had to fought for tooth and nail by people like this .... and it appears these things can be taken away too with little thought for the consequences.

I found Édouard Dolléans 1912 work Le Chartisme online Open Library (http://www.archive.org/stream/lechartisme1830102dolluoft/lechartisme1830102dolluoft_djvu.txt) but in French ... is there an English translation?

Formats - Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/lechartisme1830102dolluoft)

Very true: those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. As for the Dolléans work, it's not available in english to the best of my knowledge and its the french I'm reading myself.

culmore
26-10-2010, 07:48 PM
Never heard of him

Sam Lord
26-10-2010, 09:13 PM
Never heard of him

There you go. You learn something new every day ...

C. Flower
26-10-2010, 09:28 PM
Very true: those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. As for the Dolléans work, it's not available in english to the best of my knowledge and its the french I'm reading myself.

Did he write it in French?

Sam Lord
26-10-2010, 10:16 PM
Did he write it in French?

Hmmmm ...

Édouard Dolléans.

I wonder now.

C. Flower
26-10-2010, 10:33 PM
Hmmmm ...

Édouard Dolléans.

I wonder now.

Oops. My mind was on O'Brien. I suppose I'll have to translate it now, as a penance :o

Design for Life
04-11-2010, 03:30 AM
I am one of those who from experience has learned that consideration of foreign interests has been forced upon us by neglect of our domestic resources: and I believe that overgrown taxation for the support of idlers and the unrestricted gambling speculations upon labour, applied to an undefined and unstable system of production without regard to demand, is the great evil under which manual labourers are suffering

This was spoken by Feargus O'Connor in the 19th century. Still pretty relevant to today I think.