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Fodla32

The Peoples Republic - Comdt. General Liam Mellows

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Liam Mellows (1895-1922)

Comandant General Liam Mellows was born and educated in County Galway where he joined Na Fianna, the republican boys movement, founded by Constance Markievicz.


In 1915 he was arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act and interned for four months in Mountjoy Gaol, Dublin. On his release Mellows went 'on the run' but was arrested in Galway in early 1916, deported to England and interned in Reading Gaol from where he escaped. He returned to Ireland to command the Western Division of the IRA during the 1916 Easter Rising. Mellows escaped to America where he was imprisoned without trial in The Tombs, New York on a charge of partaking in an Irish-German plot to sabotage the allied forces during World War I. He was released in 1918 and went on a lecture tour of America, collecting money for the IRA before returning to Ireland in 1919. Mellows became IRA Director of Supplies during the War of Independence. He opposed the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and on June 25th, 1922 he and fellow republicans, Rory O'Connor, Joseph McKelvey and Dick Barrett, among others took over the Dublin Four Courts. They were bombarded by British artillery, which the Free State had borrowed from the British Army (in fact, the gunners were British army, as none of the free staters knew how to use the guns) and, after two days, the Four Courts garrison surrendered. They were imprisoned in Mountjoy Gaol where Mellows and O'Connor contributed to a hand-written notebook of short stories, poems and articles dated October 26th, 1922 and entitled 'The Book of Cells'.

On December 8th, 1922 Mellows, O'Connor, McKelvey and Barrett were executed by Free State firing squad, allegedly as a reprisal for the shooting of Sean Hales. Mellows' article from 'The Book of Cells' entitled 'The People's Republic' is published here for the first time.



The People's Republic

The Irish Labour party held a large demonstration in Dublin to protest against 'militarism', that is against the Volunteer soldiers who were standing in defence of the Republic against British Imperialism and its dupes in Ireland. The Irish labour party did not define its attitude to British militarism when the 'Treaty' was forced down the throats of weak-kneed Republican deputies under the threat of 'immediate and terrible war'. The 'Treaty' was accepted by those deputies and their followers 'under duress'. The Irish Labour party, swollowing all its pretention to be a revisionist body out for a 'Worker's Republic', has also accepted the 'Treaty' and is now working cheek-by-jowl with the imperialist and capitalist groups in Ireland through the Free State's so called parliament in an attempt to crush the Irish Republic in blood.

And the means at their disposal for the new military have been given them by the British Government. The Irish Labour party talked glibly of a Worker's Republic. It still pretends to have as its objective the establishment of such a state. Veiled threats of 'a big stick' it intends to wield some day are thrown out for the credulous. Professing to be against militarism its leaders try to delude the movement into believing that a some future date they will head a revolution.

Labour played a tremendous part in the establishment and maintenance of the Republic. Its leaders had it in their power to fashion that Republic as they wished - to make it a Worker's and Peasants Republic. By their acceptance of the 'Treaty' and all that it connotes - recognition of the British monarchy, British Privvy Council and British Imperialism; Partition of the country and subservience to British capitalism - they have betrayed not alone the Irish Republic but the labour movement in Ireland and the cause of the workers and peasants throughout the world.

It is a fallacy to believe that a Republic of any kind can be won through the shackled Free State. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The Free State is British created and serves British Imperialist interests. It is the buffer erected between British Capitalism and the Irish Republic.


A Worker's Republic can be erected only on its ruins. The existing Irish Republic can be made the Worker's and Peasants Republic if the labour movement is true to the ideals of James Connolly and true to itself.

The Irish Republic represents Independence and the struggle has a threefold significance. It is political; it is intellectual; it is economic. It is political in the sense that it means complete separation from England and the British Empire. It is intellectual in as much as it represents the cultural expression of the Gaelic civilisation and the removal of the impress of English speech and English thought upon the Irish character. It is economic because the wresting of Ireland from the grip of English capitalism can leave no thinking Irishman with the desire to build up and perpetuate this country an economic system that had its roots in foreign domination.

Ireland does not want a change of master. It would be folly to destroy English tyranny in order to erect a domestic tyranny that would need another revolution to free the people. The Irish Republic stands therefore for the ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland. It means that the means and process of production must not be used for the profit or aggrandisment of any group or class.


Ireland has not yet become industrialized. It never will if in rejecting and casting off British Imperialism (and its offspring the Free State and Northern Parliaments) the Irish workers insist that a native imperialism does not replace it. If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, money and the soil of the country then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever controls the wealth of a country and the processes by which wealth is attained, controls also its government.

Ireland, if her industries and banks were controlled by foreign capital, would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface of the world's money-markets. If social capitalism flourished a social war such as now threatens practically every country in Europe would ensue. Ireland therefore must start with a clean slate.

The Irish Republic is the People's Republic.

http://www.searcs-web.com/mellows.html

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Ireland does not want a change of master. It would be folly to destroy English tyranny in order to erect a domestic tyranny that would need another revolution to free the people. The Irish Republic stands therefore for the ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland. It means that the means and process of production must not be used for the profit or aggrandisment of any group or class.

 

Ireland, if her industries and banks were controlled by foreign capital, would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface of the world's money-markets.

 

Exactly what happened. The 'narrative' of Irish history accepted by most today is how conservative a country Ireland was until 60s/70s when the influence of the church began to wane.

 

The truth is that the men and women of our grandparents our great grandparents generation were often more rebellious, revolutionary and radical than many Irish people today.

 

I think many people think because they are against racism, homophobia, sexism etc that makes them somehow radical or left wing. These arent left wing posotions. The Tories, FG etc all comprise of people who genuinely take up such positions. Anti racism, anti homophobia etc are all common sense positions that the majority of people take. They are no threat to the capitalist establishment.

 

To want to revolutionise society and take the ownership of Ireland into the hands of the Irish people and create a Workers Republic is radical. The likes of Liam Mellows are an example to people about revolutioanry politics should be about.

 

As Fodla says, its no wonder they felt they had to murder the man, as they did Connolly and many others.

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I'm just reading a book by Jacques Ranciére, called Staging the People - The Proletarian and his Double, and one of the chapters describes how the labour movement in France immediately capitulated to the Nazi invasion and joined with the Vichy régime. The head of France's version of the ICTU was made the first Vichy Minister for Labour. Before long, they were condemning the French Resistance as criminals, and the main trade union newspaper, L'Atelier, was singing the praises of National Socialist Europe, and condemning any trade unionists that wanted to stir up trouble as Jews.

 

The justification they gave for all this was very simple - and very familiar - trade unions are above politics. Their only function is to get as high wages and conditions for their members as possible. And to do this, they do not dare to kill the goose that lays the golden egg - in the opinion of the trade unions, the bourgeois classes.

 

Well, nothing has changed. We saw David Begg sitting on the board of the Central Bank, during a time when incredible excesses of criminality were passing under his nose every day of the week. He didn't want to kill the golden goose either, by opening his well paid mouth. As Liam Mellows says above, the Irish Labour Party immediately joined with the Fascists of Cumman na nGael, and then with the Blue Shirts. Now Labour, under Eamon Gilmore, is supporting Fascist gangs in Syria, who force children to hack off the heads defenseless prisoners with machetes. Of course, in 1922, Labour supported the murder of 77 POWs in free state prisons, including Mellows himself.

 

Can anybody expect anything good from such a craven gang?

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Sounds like an interesting book fodla. Suprised at the attitude of the French Trade Unions during the Nazi occupation, I always thought the French unions were radical and socialist (not sure what that was based on). Like you said though if their leaders were the calibre of the leadership we have in Ireland, eg O'Connor, I shouldnt be suprised really. Trade Unionists were locked up in Germany and elsewhere by the Nazis. Out of curiosity, after reading the book, was it the whole union leadership that collaborated with the Nazis or was it that particular union?

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Sounds like an interesting book fodla. Suprised at the attitude of the French Trade Unions during the Nazi occupation, I always thought the French unions were radical and socialist (not sure what that was based on). Like you said though if their leaders were the calibre of the leadership we have in Ireland, eg O'Connor, I shouldnt be suprised really. Trade Unionists were locked up in Germany and elsewhere by the Nazis. Out of curiosity, after reading the book, was it the whole union leadership that collaborated with the Nazis or was it that particular union?

 

I haven't finished the book yet, a chara, but it was the vast majority of the trade union leadership. What's actually interesting is that Pétain himself came across as more of a Socialist than the likes of Jack O'Connor or Eamon Gilmore do today. He spoke about a Revolutionary society, that would break the power of the employers over the workers, and giving equal power to the different classes. Of course, he agreed with having different classes, but - as with social partnership today - he proposed an equality of power between the classes, with the trade unions being part of the management of that society. Social Partnership is actually typical National Socialist ideology. The similarity between how Pétain and Bertie Ahern actually operated is very striking, except that Ahern never expressed any willingness to "take on" the power of the Irish comprador class.

 

This quote, from the trade union paper Au Travail, discussing May Day 1941, is fairly typical of French trade union thinking under Pétain (and Irish trade union thinking under Ahern, and still today.):

 

In an earlier age, May Day was less easy. The Chicago martyrs, the innocent victims of Fourmies, the prisoners of Clichy, all you who paid with your lives or your freedom for asserting the necessity of improving the proletarian condition, you can see this year your sacrifices were not in vain. The truths that you were only wrong to proclaim too soon have now triumphed. The plutocracy, the big capitalism that we have struggled against ever since the workers movement existed, have found a new opponent of substance in Marshal Pétain.

 

So, there you have it a chara. Vichy France was everything the workers movement had ever struggled for, and Marshal Pétain was the defender of the working class. I'll bet you never knew that...

 

But, at least, now we know where Adams & Co. learned their writing style - and their collaborationist logic...

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