One thing that I can never understand is how the how you can have a juxtaposition of religious sectarianism & marxism ideology co-existing.
It does not seem rational.
The IRA are officially non sectarian. Just like many Cuban communists are officially atheists but in reality devout Catholics. Many commies will never be able to accept the 'religion is the opiate of the masses' line...
So whats the deal on their ideology. Its like they have two opposite ideas in your mind at the same time.
I just wonder if there was a rift somewhere within the repubican movement at that time which may explain some of the issues.
Do you mean the IRA? You have to remember that although we/historians divide the people into Protestant and Catholics for simplicity it is not necessarily a fight about religious tolerance or intolerance, but coercion by one side on another, sides which happen to be defined in part but not exclusively by religion. One could easily view the problem in class terms and come up with basically the same divisions, which accounts for the Marxist ideology and the lack of conflict between the two principles you mentioned.
Thats an interesting insight. The IRA are officially non sectarian and I always find it interesting to read or hear when senior Republicans of either the mainstream or dissident bent praise men like Henry Joy McCracken (Presbyterian) or Wolfe Tone (Anglican) for wishing to united 'Catholic, Protestant and dissenter and make an Irishman' (Or something to that effect, a direct quote from Tone's speech from the dock) The origins of Irish Republicanism can mainly be attributed to Protestants and Presbyterians and it emerged in the context of American and European Republicanism which was officially secular and non religious.
Certainly my grandfather had huge differences with former comrades locally in Cork until he died.
Religion wasn't so much an issue in West Cork (between republicans) but sectarianism but it became a huge issue,Sam Maguire etc.
I have always wondered how the labour activists/marxists fitted in. My grandfather was not Marxist. He was a Republican but his outlook would have been free market and democratic.
You seem to have different struggles in different areas.
So when you look at Belfast and West Cork - Smyths assasination caused retailiation/repercussions as would Dunmanway subsequently.
Add that to the Trade Union Movement/ Marxist wing and you have a very loose coalition rather than a unified ideology.
There was more than a free democratic Ireland at play -you had agrarian politics, industrial society politics, sectarian politics and guns. A bit more tribal than a cohesive unified movement.
Issues of class are often overlooked when it comes to studying the war of Independence. We had the Limerick Soviet, rural land grabs and the mass of the soldiers were from poor, often labouring families.
In contrast, the political leadership at both high military and Dáil level were almost exclusively middle class. In many ways the much acclaimed Dáil courts were useful in reaffirming property rights, and punishing land grabbers in the west.
You have to remember that when historians write they think in grand narratives generally speaking, and often tie together loose ends to make it appear as if a unified whole existed. The war of independence was much more roughshod than that. However I agree with Morlar that we should go back on topic, I might split this stuff off in a minute.
The vision of what would happen was different & there was a huge disparity between the aspirations of the participants.
I often think that the reprisals/repercussions on other groups were ignored.
And didnt you have various political groupings surfacing continually.
The remnants of the Home Rule Party and even farners candidates all with differing agenda's/
Pre 1918 Parties
All-for-Ireland League · Catholic Union · Home Government Association · Home Rule League · Independent Irish Party · Irish Conservative Party · Irish Liberal Party · Irish Metropolitan Conservative Society · Irish National Federation · Irish National League · Irish Parliamentary Party · Irish Patriot Party · Irish Socialist Republican Party · Irish Unionist Alliance · National Association · Repeal Association · United Irish League
Post 1918 Parties
Post 1918Ailtirí na hAiséirghe · Aontacht Éireann · British and Irish Communist Organisation · Business and Professional Group · Christian Centrist Party · Clann Éireann · Clann na Poblachta · Clann na Talmhan · Córas na Poblachta · Cumann na nGaedhael · Cumann na Poblachta · Cumann Poblachta na hÉireann · Democratic Left · Democratic Socialist Party · Donegal Progressive Party · Farmers' Party · Independent Fianna Fáil · Irish Anti-Partition League · Irish Independence Party · Irish Workers' Group · Irish Worker League · League for a Workers Republic · Libertas · Monetary Reform Party · Muintir na hÉireann · National Centre Party · National Corporate Party · National Labour Party · National League Party · National Party (1924) · National Party (1995) · National Progressive Democrats · Poblacht Chríostúil · Progressive Democrats · Republican Congress · Saor Éire · Socialist Labour Party · Socialist Party of Ireland · Workers League
Some political Stats 1922 to mid 1940's
This references a 1922 Collins/DeValera Electoral Pact too. A bit cosy.
Grand narratives is a great turn of phrase. Lets set the tone.
The 1916 Rising used the Irish Volunteers and wasn't Eoin NcNeill shown a forged letter by IRB people concerning the supposed arrest of him and other nationalist leaders to gain his co-operation. He recinded his order for "manoeures" only following Casements arrest.
As it happens the IRB were also in league with James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army. How Marxist was their ideology.
So at the very begining it was a looser group with the IRB faction wrestling away control of the volunteers. Were there other dissenters ?
Were there regional/local groups too or how did these alliances work ? You had a Soviet declared in Limerick ,for instsnce, where did you have the concentration of activists geographically.
The war was fought on a regional/local basis. Its the only way the war can be understood and its the main reason there have been so few satisfactory narrative accounts of the war in total. The volunteers swore allegiance to the centre (ie, the Dáil) but only after much prevarication. I'd struggle to call the war of independence a national war. It relied for the most part on good local leaders. For example the only reason longford was a hotspot was because of Seán MacEoin - After his arrest Collins exclaimed that only Cork was left in the struggle.
Connolly and the ICA were very Marxist, although Connolly had a unique way of writing/talking that was Marxist without ever referencing the terms and phrases you might find in an academic paper on the topic.
A number of the 1916 leaders were left leaning (eg Mellowes) but how close they were to Connolly is up for debate. Connolly often lectured the IVF on warfare, and was in contact with members of the IRB for years before the Rising, so although they were each distinct factions, the 1916 rising is possibly the movement where they were closest together.
West Cork seems to have been the only place that had its act together.
The 1921 Northern Ireland Result
<H2>General Election Results
1921: Electorate 582,464; Turnout 88.0%
Sinn Fein 20.5%
So there was less than an enthusiastic national support and on an Island level the Anti Treaty side definately did not have anything like an elecoral mandate.
Add to this the Collins/DeValera Pact they seem as representative as Gaelic High Kings.Without the pact you could have seen a substantially different political landscape.
Now my bunch as rural farmers and the like were stuck in the Middle of the Republican side.