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The Great Convention and After.

Labour in Ireland.

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Labour in Ireland. I NTER ESTI NG R E-ISSUE OF JAS CON- NELLY'S WORKS, 1VJiy DID THE FIRST IRISH SOCIALIST MARTYR BECOME A REVOLUTIONARY LEADER? r' Layout in Ireland; Labour n Irish HiBtory; T?(? .1.?.e(,ollqtiest of Ireland," by James Con- ÏlIy; ,ith an introduction by Robert Lynd VTT XXVII.; 334 pp.: 4/6 nett (cloth). Cfel and Company, Ltd., Dublin and Lon- doll.?in(i Coiiij),,tiiy, Ltd.,T)uljlin and L,on- Tllc|Ve are two ways in which a hook reviewer ? si ?n?? ?? work. Ordinarily it is enough if 1{¡iâlr:\n the Gover. read the first, last and two ? "0£1 page8, ?"? then write. That is one way; h g0o^ C ?? because it slaves a lot of time, and prod :<n original ?.'?ression adaptable for Wat ?? any school or masureof criticism. ?O! n L other hand there occasIOnally comes along oo "z tll?it (,oitil)e l s, oiie', ?at? ?? compels one's closest attention, and at °n completion one hesitates to sc?t pen to ? comment, lest justice be not done to ? ?.?<M'k. Unhesitatingly, I place the re-issue Conolly's ?Labour in Ireland; Labour ill HIstory, and the He-conquest of Ire- '? the latter category. The book has t rill n'-eat deal for me, besides intensifying to 1 ^sorntable problem of how Connollv came ?r Ireland's first Sociaist ma-rtyr in the Eas- 0,Klay hisurrection of 1916. That alone 11i' \lId fOl'm the basis of an interesting two col- 'Utttftv U any paper, but after reading the book iiilv ptl)i?i,, I)ut after rea,dingtlie hook Q()lh}e{.OJ:i('S of SllhSl(h,ry llnportancel  Oon- ?.' ? Wl'itten word. First, that word gives a f /'ollceptim of Connolly's place amongst the ? Sf .-?,'???'"K philosophic exponents of scienti- ?o? ??'?"i; and amongst historians of the ^OQt ?? Second, it brings home to one as QIt Qr "j1 Ur ?ook on Ireland or Irish history ever ")' } the 1'01'(1: of tha,t, traffic couutl'  ?' ?e recor d s of that tragic conntry ?s n lftt^er than ?ny other to prove the sound- 0j:i )1: ? <'?'s of Socialism and the Marxian jUateri. b conception—the ruling SpirIt of the bool- (-;iti nevoi- iiiore be to the. iii-?tji \th '"?"d can never more be to the man ?tty  ?nolly the home of colleens and a a'ea '1 swinging brogue-speaking frJas'antM +Birmingham and others have asa,nu t, ia? ]iiriii i ng l iztiii and otlie,,rs have  ? It becomes a tragic battlefield on Miieh it, ??? few glamours, and little tlilsi, tt-lfe of possessing class against Vid-lw, rvic Elsewhere the screen on ??ch po"seT',Isf?wliei-e the screen on Jured and'rUfgle in history is t h rown is ?? ,? ?'?? and out of focus; Ireland's Ci'«en-)viftii7v „ ??'' the touch of Conollev be- %111 1 lln( er the touch of Conal ev Je- Allies '-is V '? ? brilliant and a« sparkling a lijoli.pl'tSS ,<:mejtta's screening of \i Fox t ¡''l('ase. ??-?T?d'??? of rhe <350 pages of which de i" is^hopeless to attempt igh'1\ adeq:¡<ltTIy ?? ??? section, but we U to the mYstery of ConnoII?-'s ?? T?'?' j '? ?? insurrection profitabh* ?'? i? ?'?- The??ts Hmt lead up to  t(JO l1111<:h ? ?'o ? ;?t i .1''? ???unately, too much do\il,r Ph i,lid 'T?'? to ? correct appre- ^tion of ii..1181ftncance' absolutely necessary to t} ,lCU slgnL eane8. ahsolutely neeessan- ^Qnoliarrivil.. "1 proper conclusion of 'Olll1oIlv's < ,a t. a. J,ust :In( propel' eone1usio of tq"t pal t in It; hut. generall., Spenkm<r  ?- '? generally speaking, election was accepted by the more thoughtful section of our people—those who did not believe the red-herring story of German in- fluen.ce-as the revolt of the Irish against the policy of the British Government in vacillating with the question of Home Rule. I am now doubtful of that hitherto satisfying explanation, and I believe that the foundations of the insur- rection, when they are uncovered, will prove to be economic and not political; otherwise Con- nolly's place in it is inexplicable..For Con- nolly had no deceptions as to the founders and movers in the Home Rule movement, or as to the purely negative economic effects of a change from Westminster to Tower Bridge so far as the workers, industrial or agrarian, are concerned. Let us see what he himself has to say on this point: "The Irish aristocracy being of foreign oi- traitor origin, Irish patriotic movements fell entirely into the hands of the middle class, and became, for the most part, simply idealised ex- pressions of middle-class interests. "Hence the spokesmen of the middle-class, in the Press and on the platform, have consistently sought the emasculation of the Irish National movement, the distortion of Irish history, and, above all, the denial of all relation between the social rights of the Irish toilers, and the politi- cal rights of he Irish nation. It was hoped and intended by this means to create what is termed 4 a real National movement'—i.e., a movement in which each class would recognise the rights of the other classes and laying aside their contentions would unite in a national strug- gle against the common enemy—England. Need- less to say, the only class deceived by such phrases was the working; class. When questions of class interests are eliminated from public controversy a victory is thereby gained for the possessing, conservative class, whose only hope of security lies in such elimination. Like a fraudulent trustee, the bourgeois dreads nothing so much as an impartial and rigid inquiry into the validity of his title deeds. Hence the bour- geois press and politicians incessantly strive to inflame the working-class miiid to fever lieatl upon questions outside the range of their own class interests. War, religion, race, language, political reform, patriotism-,apart from what- everintrinsc merits they may possess—all serve in the hands of the possessingdass as counter- irritants, whose function it is to avert the catas- trophe of social revolution by engendering heat in such parts of the body politic as are furthest removed from the seat of economic enquiry, and consequently of class consciousness on the part of the proletariat. That extract, which, by the way, will give an idea of the charm of style which is characteris- tic of the whole work, gives briefly the oft- reiterated view of Connolly on "Nationahsm" and "Nationalist" movements. He writes lu- cidly on this spirit, attributes to it the failure of the revolution of each generation of Irish- men, and points out that because of its non- economic basis these revolutions never did men- ace the possessing class. How, then, could the philosophic-historian of Irish Socialism become a leader in one of these very insurrectionary movements Y Robert Lynd in his preface, one of the most sympathetic and loveable biographic sketches I have ever read, advances a theory; but I cannot accept it. The whole thing is a mystery which nothing but the future puolica- tion of all the facts can clear. If that does not clear it, then the whole question will remain im- mersed in impenetrable darkness. I admit that in the foregoing I have been in-I veighled into peeping at what is to me a most entrancing problem, but one quite subsidiary to the importance of the economic-historic truths and revelations of the book. Partly, this is due to cowardice in so faj4 as I feel altogether the inadequacy of doing justice to the book in a space short of that of the book itself and partly due to inclination—the line of least resistance. I would at least have liked to deal fully with Connolly's "The First Irist Socialist "—William Thompson, who Connolly describes—and justifies his description—as n, "pioneer of Socialist thought superior to any of the Utopian Social- ists of the Continent, and long ante-dating Karl Marx in his instence upon the subjection of labour as the cause of all social misery, modern crime, and political dependence, as well as in his searching analysis of the true definition of "Capital." The later Socialist characters are beautiful niiniatues of great men, from a niaster equally great as themselves, and of rare sympathetic in- sight; miniatures that should form a course of study for all British, nay, International Social- ists. Even more than Labour in Irish Histoi,v proves Conolly one of the greatest of, our his- torians, does the "Re-conquest of Ireland" throw Conolly up as one of the clearest and most illuminating original thinkers of the movement in our day. It is a. crime that we of the move- ment should have been unacquainted with Con- noly until after the forces of oppression and re- pression had removed him from amongst us; but even so we should be deeply thankful to Messrs. Maunsel and Co., Ltd., Dublin and London, for having entombed the best of Connolly's thought for ii, ii-i such an admirable, volume having prefaced it by such an excellent sketch of Con- nolly's loveable personality as that of Robert Lynd's, and having turned out the volume at a price (4/6, I believe) which will allow it to find its place on every Socialist's bookshelf. Pelr- | smiaHy, I do not know of any work of a British ■Socialist- that contains so much satisfying fare. There is no book of such importance on Irish i history, and no work easily accessible that can com pare with it for a general statement of the outlook and aspirations of Irish Democracy. It is a, bowk that all should buy, because it is a book that one win continua lly an few siifitnu. lance. ,v ,u A. P.Y.

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