Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Revising the 1913 Lockout

Options
  • 06-09-2013 10:51pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8


    Okay, so I recently saw that the magazine Business Plus
    was doing an article entitled: "Crushing Larkin: The Tycoon who saved Dublin from Anarchy". I haven't read the article myself, but I'm curious about it. I heard it was written by some historian claiming that William Martin Murphy was the hero of the lockout, which is kind of what I'd expect from the title.

    Now, to me, this sounds like complete nonsense. It goes against everything I ever learned about history throughout school and college. I also realise that a business magazine isn't exactly the place to be looking for serious history writing. Nevertheless, since my knee-jerk instinct was to dismiss it entirely, that's exactly what I'm not going to do.

    I've decided to ask this forum if there is in fact a serious case to be made for this view of the lockout. Have any eminent Irish historians written book or papers which present William Martin Murphy in a more positive light than Jim Larkin? If so, how strong do you think their arguments are, and where can I find them?


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,798 ✭✭✭goose2005


    Kevin Myers (not a historian) has the usual contrarian bit: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/the-union-cult-of-larkin-is-built-on-factually-baseless-myths-29079014.html
    Larkin was certainly not the peaceful pioneer of collective-bargaining, as is now being so preposterously proclaimed, but a syndicalist who ruthlessly used the strike as a weapon to wreck private enterprise. Workers who refused to follow his boycott of blacklisted companies were savagely beaten, even at their homes, while 'The Irish Worker' published the names and addresses of uncompliant women.

    In December 1913, Havelock Wilson of the Sailors and Firemen's Union spoke bitterly of the £60,000 raised by unions for "the victims of Larkin's stupidity and blindness". It was not his union's policy – quoting Larkin – "to destroy the employers of labour . . . and the capitalist system", but merely (and note this, please) "to bargain collectively". Larkin, Wilson added, had broken all his promises.

    Failure duly followed, and Larkin departed for the US; thereafter, the ITGWU prospered. By 1923, it had 100,000 members, an annual income of £130,000 and assets worth £140,000. Larkin returned that year, and launched a violent putsch against the ITGWU, as he and his followers forcibly occupied Liberty Hall and the union offices in Parnell Square. The ITGWU leaders – Thomas Foran, William O'Brien, Thomas Kennedy: all colleagues of Larkin during The Lockout – sued him.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,126 ✭✭✭Santa Cruz


    To a certain degree this entire Lockout commemoration has been very one sided with portraits of Larkin and Dublin working class good, William Martin Murphy bad.
    As with everything there are many sides to it. Larkin has a strong personality and was not a great believer in democracy as a means of running unions, many of the Dublin working class actually ignore Larkin and worked during the lockout. Murphy was a businessman, often benevolent, but determined to beat Larkin.

    The only way to get a firm view is to read a wide spread of material relating to the issue and form your opinion based on this. I read a good bit of history and my views of people like Collins, De Valera, Brugha, Parnell have been changed immensely.
    It's just to easy for lazy people to resort to popular stereotype


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 Biruni


    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    Murphy was a businessman, often benevolent, but determined to beat Larkin.

    To be honest, I've never heard anyone deny that William Martin Murphy was a good employer. It's one of the things that's normally emphasised about him. There was a great quote in one of my old history books, though I can't seem to find it now, about his being a good employer making him a very dangerous opponent. I think it may have been from Yeats. I'll see if I can find it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Like Kennedy said the enemy of truth is not the lie, it's the myth - it sounds like it was intended to be an opinion piece. I think once you go down the road of ascribing notions of heroism and villainy to one or other individuals you start to get very subjective.

    As an aside, I think the way Larkin and Murphy are portrayed has a lot to do with Strumpet City :)

    As @santa cruz suggests, read broadly and make up your own mind.

    Here's some articles on WM Murphy.....

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/23195146?uid=3738232&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102590614921

    http://liverpool.metapress.com/content/xr5206807205jxv4/


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,824 ✭✭✭Qualitymark


    The original demands were that Irish workers should have pay parity with Scottish, I think?
    The employers who locked out thousands of union members were quite vengeful after the lockout; for instance I met someone the other day whose grandfather was an IG&GWU man and was refused re-employment after the lockout; he had to go to Canada to earn and send money back to his wife and family, and died there after a couple of years.
    It's a moot point whether employers like William Martin Murphy - a magnate who owned and controlled the gigantic tram system, the Independent newspaper, prosperous city hotels, etc - were good employers when they barred all union membership. In the case of the Shackleton mill in Lucan, for instance, one working man was instantly sacked when he was seen walking down the street in Lucan wearing a union badge.
    Working and earning conditions in Ireland were a scandal then; some of the first to come out were the barefoot newsboys and newsgirls employed by Murphy, described by Padraig Yeates in his superb book Lockout
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lockout-Dublin-1913-Padraig-Yeates/dp/0717128911/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378553052&sr=8-1&keywords=lockout+padraig+yeates
    (which everyone should read) as being at the more prosperous end of the working class.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    goose2005 wrote: »
    Kevin Myers (not a historian) has the usual contrarian bit
    and that is all that needs to be said.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    To a certain degree this entire Lockout commemoration has been very one sided with portraits of Larkin and Dublin working class good, William Martin Murphy bad.
    The commemoration of the Dublin Lockout is a working class commemoration. If the bosses want to go off and organise a bosses commemoration of Murphy and the rest of the employers then that is their choice. They haven't done it simply because it would be monumentally embarassing for them to expose the exploitation of the Dublin working class in 1913 and it would draw too many similarities with the current situation in the country.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    As with everything there are many sides to it. Larkin has a strong personality and was not a great believer in democracy as a means of running unions, many of the Dublin working class actually ignore Larkin and worked during the lockout.
    This is claptrap. The ITGWU was probably the most democratic organisation in the country at the time and it was built by the efforts of Larkin and James Connolly with the assistance of large numbers of rank and file activists. In the period leading up to the Lockout trade unions comprised primarily of of old fashioned conservative craft unions that had been bought off on the backs of semi-skilled and unskilled workers. The creation of the ITGWU changed the social and industrial landscape in the city and rocked the trade union movement to its very foundations. Murphy and the employers locked out the members of the ITGWU - no other union. Many unions supported the workers during the Lockout (and the workers had massive support from the working class of the city) - some of the more 'compliant' craft unions played their usual role as the lapdogs of the employers.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    Murphy was a businessman, often benevolent, but determined to beat Larkin.
    Murphy was a businessman engaged in the ruthless exploitation of his workforce. Murphy and the Dublin employers initiated a full-scale class war to break the unions in order to protect their power, privilage and wealth.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    The only way to get a firm view is to read a wide spread of material relating to the issue and form your opinion based on this. I read a good bit of history and my views of people like Collins, De Valera, Brugha, Parnell have been changed immensely.
    It's just to easy for lazy people to resort to popular stereotype
    I agree - and maybe you should read a bit more.
    Biruni wrote: »
    To be honest, I've never heard anyone deny that William Martin Murphy was a good employer. It's one of the things that's normally emphasised about him.
    I have only ever seen this claim made once - by Tom Morrissey - a historian who has made a career out of re-writing history from the Jesuit 'industrial relations' perspective. Its a load of claptrap and has zero basis in reality
    The original demands were that Irish workers should have pay parity with Scottish, I think?
    The origins of the Dublin Lockout arose from the decision by Murphy to sack six workers in the tramway company for joining the ITGWU. Workers in Dublin had won substantial pay increases in the first six months of the year and union organisation was spreading into Murphy's companies.
    The employers who locked out thousands of union members were quite vengeful after the lockout; for instance I met someone the other day whose grandfather was an IG&GWU man and was refused re-employment after the lockout; he had to go to Canada to earn and send money back to his wife and family, and died there after a couple of years.
    Yes they were - in a class war no prisoners are ever taken. More than thirty industrial disputes had occurred in 1913 prior to the beginning of the lockout - some over pay - many over union recognition. The workers had been successful in almost every case. The Lockout, from the employers perspective, was payback - they were determiend to smash the ITGWU (something which they actually failed to do).


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,126 ✭✭✭Santa Cruz


    and that is all that needs to be said.


    The commemoration of the Dublin Lockout is a working class commemoration. If the bosses want to go off and organise a bosses commemoration of Murphy and the rest of the employers then that is their choice. They haven't done it simply because it would be monumentally embarassing for them to expose the exploitation of the Dublin working class in 1913 and it would draw too many similarities with the current situation in the country.


    This is claptrap. The ITGWU was probably the most democratic organisation in the country at the time and it was built by the efforts of Larkin and James Connolly with the assistance of large numbers of rank and file activists. In the period leading up to the Lockout trade unions comprised primarily of of old fashioned conservative craft unions that had been bought off on the backs of semi-skilled and unskilled workers. The creation of the ITGWU changed the social and industrial landscape in the city and rocked the trade union movement to its very foundations. Murphy and the employers locked out the members of the ITGWU - no other union. Many unions supported the workers during the Lockout (and the workers had massive support from the working class of the city) - some of the more 'compliant' craft unions played their usual role as the lapdogs of the employers.


    Murphy was a businessman engaged in the ruthless exploitation of his workforce. Murphy and the Dublin employers initiated a full-scale class war to break the unions in order to protect their power, privilage and wealth.


    I agree - and maybe you should read a bit more.


    I have only ever seen this claim made once - by Tom Morrissey - a historian who has made a career out of re-writing history from the Jesuit 'industrial relations' perspective. Its a load of claptrap and has zero basis in reality


    The origins of the Dublin Lockout arose from the decision by Murphy to sack six workers in the tramway company for joining the ITGWU. Workers in Dublin had won substantial pay increases in the first six months of the year and union organisation was spreading into Murphy's companies.


    Yes they were - in a class war no prisoners are ever taken. More than thirty industrial disputes had occurred in 1913 prior to the beginning of the lockout - some over pay - many over union recognition. The workers had been successful in almost every case. The Lockout, from the employers perspective, was payback - they were determiend to smash the ITGWU (something which they actually failed to do).


    It's a pity your bias has undermined your post. Describing other unions as lap dogs and ignoring the widely reported autocratic tendencies of Larkin and Connolly dosent help. General workers are not the only workers that needed unions


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,824 ✭✭✭Qualitymark


    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    It's a pity your bias has undermined your post. Describing other unions as lap dogs and ignoring the widely reported autocratic tendencies of Larkin and Connolly dosent help. General workers are not the only workers that needed unions

    Was Connolly autocratic? Yet in the GPO, for instance, he made no distinction between officers and men.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭jonniebgood1


    The commemoration of the Dublin Lockout is a working class commemoration. If the bosses want to go off and organise a bosses commemoration of Murphy and the rest of the employers then that is their choice. They haven't done it simply because it would be monumentally embarassing for them to expose the exploitation of the Dublin working class in 1913 and it would draw too many similarities with the current situation in the country.

    If you believe that remembering the lockout is simply a "working class" commemoration then you are mistaken. It is much wider than simply honouring a strike. It also entails the conditions these people lived in, conditions that were eventually improved with the involvement of employers. Tenements, poor health & bad sanitation developed over a longer period of time as a result of many things and this was also a part of the protests of 1913. When we consider the wider community that wishes to share in remembering these times we have amongst other groups, descendants of the 1913 workers from a wide variation of society. With regard to your point about exploiting working class Dublin an argument can be made that this was done by the Larkin to build up the ITGWU as a means of promoting syndicalism.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,126 ✭✭✭Santa Cruz


    If you believe that remembering the lockout is simply a "working class" commemoration then you are mistaken. It is much wider than simply honouring a strike. It also entails the conditions these people lived in, conditions that were eventually improved with the involvement of employers. Tenements, poor health & bad sanitation developed over a longer period of time as a result of many things and this was also a part of the protests of 1913. When we consider the wider community that wishes to share in remembering these times we have amongst other groups, descendants of the 1913 workers from a wide variation of society. With regard to your point about exploiting working class Dublin an argument can be made that this was done by the Larkin to build up the ITGWU as a means of promoting syndicalism.

    Jolly Red Giant wouldn't be happy until we are all surrounded by Rashers Tierney types as we sit and enjoy our bowl of coddle provided by the Anarchist Workers Collective (Joshua Nkomo Division)


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    It's a pity your bias has undermined your post. Describing other unions as lap dogs and ignoring the widely reported autocratic tendencies of Larkin and Connolly dosent help. General workers are not the only workers that needed unions
    At the time of the Lockout in Dublin the craft unions operated as a type of labour aristocracy. Craft workers were (and needed to be) organised but they looked down on semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Even the nationalist leadership criticised them for being more interested in sucking up to the British establishment to get offered positions as Justices of the Peace etc - despite the fact that the bulk of working class support for nationalism came from craft workers. Divisions are nothing new within the trade union movement - and the divisions tend to be on a left/right divide. During the lockout many craft unions were highly critical of the struggle of the semi-skilled and unskilled workers who made up the ITGWU. As for your accusation that Connolly and Larkin were 'autocratic' - I would suggest that this requires you to produce some evidence to back it up.
    If you believe that remembering the lockout is simply a "working class" commemoration then you are mistaken.
    It absolutely is a working class commemoration. The Lockout was a class struggle between labour and capital in a class war initiated by the capitalist class (in the same way that the current class war by the ruling elites in Ireland was instigated by them to foist the cost of the gambling debts on the Irish working class). Labour history has been buried for decades - relegated to the sidelines as the ruling elites dictated the history that should be acknowledged. Any attempts by the likes of Gilmore to claim the heritage of the Lockout must be resisted.
    It is much wider than simply honouring a strike. It also entails the conditions these people lived in, conditions that were eventually improved with the involvement of employers. Tenements, poor health & bad sanitation developed over a longer period of time as a result of many things and this was also a part of the protests of 1913.
    And who were the people who were living in the slum tenaments? who were the people suffering the poor health? the workers of the Lockout and their families.

    It is utter nonsense to suggest that the improvement in living conditions came about because of some 'benevolence' of the bosses in this country. If the William Martin Murphy's of this country had their way the working class would still be living in slums and suffering abject poverty. The reason why conditions have improved is precisely because of the battles fought in 1913 and in subsequent years. It was because of the fighting spirit of the Irish working class that improvements in housing, wages, and public services were made.
    When we consider the wider community that wishes to share in remembering these times we have amongst other groups, descendants of the 1913 workers from a wide variation of society.
    The overwhelming majority of the decendants of those who fought in the Lockout are still working class people. Irish society is one of the countries that has the least social mobility between the social classes.
    With regard to your point about exploiting working class Dublin an argument can be made that this was done by the Larkin to build up the ITGWU as a means of promoting syndicalism.
    Please explain what you are arguing here - it appears to be that you are arguing that Larkin manipulated the situation in order to further his own agenda. I suggest that you need to produce evidence for what you appear to be implying in this statement as it bears no relationship to the truth.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    Jolly Red Giant wouldn't be happy until we are all surrounded by Rashers Tierney types as we sit and enjoy our bowl of coddle provided by the Anarchist Workers Collective (Joshua Nkomo Division)
    I am not an anarchist and I have no desire to live in poverty. If the government / EU / IMF have their way the Irish working class will be driven back to the conditions of 1913.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 122 ✭✭Nitochris




    The overwhelming majority of the decendants of those who fought in the Lockout are still working class people. Irish society is one of the countries that has the least social mobility between the social classes.


    I agree with you but you have to remember that not only do the middle class co-opt everything but a fairly large segment of the upper working class have convinced themselves that they are middle class. With the lockout specifically this comes from the 1916 Rising with the decidedly middle class leadership and demands alongside the ICA, because the lockout through commemoration is turned into the lead up to 1916 it gets taken in to the primarily middle class nationalist myth. That's not to say that at some level the lockout on the striker's side did not include those at other societal levels, Jack White who co-founded the ICA being an obvious example, but the drive the energy the lockout was the working class.
    In other words it should be a working class commemoration but it isn't as the middle classes have already co-opted it and are making it safe for national memory.

    I am not an anarchist and I have no desire to live in poverty. If the government / EU / IMF have their way the Irish working class will be driven back to the conditions of 1913.
    I am an anarchist (anarcho-communist in the Kropotkinite tradition) and I also have no desire to live in poverty.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 122 ✭✭Nitochris


    Biruni wrote: »
    Okay, so I recently saw that the magazine Business Plus
    was doing an article entitled: "Crushing Larkin: The Tycoon who saved Dublin from Anarchy". I haven't read the article myself, but I'm curious about it. I heard it was written by some historian claiming that William Martin Murphy was the hero of the lockout, which is kind of what I'd expect from the title.

    Now, to me, this sounds like complete nonsense. It goes against everything I ever learned about history throughout school and college. I also realise that a business magazine isn't exactly the place to be looking for serious history writing. Nevertheless, since my knee-jerk instinct was to dismiss it entirely, that's exactly what I'm not going to do.

    I've decided to ask this forum if there is in fact a serious case to be made for this view of the lockout. Have any eminent Irish historians written book or papers which present William Martin Murphy in a more positive light than Jim Larkin? If so, how strong do you think their arguments are, and where can I find them?

    The writer of the magazine article you mention is himself an economic historian and was one of the writers of An Economic History of Ireland. (I have the magazine haven't read the article yet)


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,126 ✭✭✭Santa Cruz


    What is this obsession with the label working class. I know many sons and daughters of people who were in ordinary jobs, factory workers, county council labourers etc. who have been able to avail of third level education and are now in good employment, living in good standard accommodation and have a good lifestyle.
    I admit that it may have been a financial struggle but it can be done.

    They are not "traitors to their class" They just used their ability and with family support did well for themselves.
    Check the background of many successful people in this country and you will see they came from fairly ordinary backgrounds. They didn't get a hang up about class. Some people use class as a means of doing nothing to improve their lives


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 122 ✭✭Nitochris


    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    What is this obsession with the label working class. I know many sons and daughters of people who were in ordinary jobs, factory workers, county council labourers etc. who have been able to avail of third level education and are now in good employment, living in good standard accommodation and have a good lifestyle.
    I admit that it may have been a financial struggle but it can be done.

    None of which excludes them from being working class, I have two degrees and am finishing my third and I am still working class.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    They are not "traitors to their class" They just used their ability and with family support did well for themselves.
    Check the background of many successful people in this country and you will see they came from fairly ordinary backgrounds. They didn't get a hang up about class. Some people use class as a means of doing nothing to improve their lives

    Who is saying anyone is a traitor to their class? We would have to class Countess Markievicz, Jack White, Oscar Wilde, Pyotr Kropotkin, Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone etc. as class traitors if we went down that route and I doubt the left would go down that route.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭jonniebgood1


    Nitochris wrote: »
    None of which excludes them from being working class, I have two degrees and am finishing my third and I am still working class.

    Education is used by many as being a means of determining class. Your education suggests that you are not what most people would classify as 'working class' despite your own assertion that you are. To me working class is not a state of mind but rather a situation. Although of course there are exceptions to the rule but for the sake of argument some assumptions are made. For example by the centre for working class studies suggests
    One way of defining the difference between the middle class and the working class is level of education. College graduates are more likely to be middle class. http://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/who-is-working-class/

    A narrower definition is one who earns an income doing manual work. In any case the point I made previously was that the 1913 lockout is commemorated by people of all classes as our history is not mutually exclusive nor divided on a class basis.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭jonniebgood1


    It absolutely is a working class commemoration. The Lockout was a class struggle between labour and capital in a class war initiated by the capitalist class (in the same way that the current class war by the ruling elites in Ireland was instigated by them to foist the cost of the gambling debts on the Irish working class). Labour history has been buried for decades - relegated to the sidelines as the ruling elites dictated the history that should be acknowledged. Any attempts by the likes of Gilmore to claim the heritage of the Lockout must be resisted.

    The lockout is commemorated by much more than people classified as working class. Reference the many discussions on RTE as proof that this is the case. You may prefer they did not commemorate it but that is a separate matter.

    It is utter nonsense to suggest that the improvement in living conditions came about because of some 'benevolence' of the bosses in this country. If the William Martin Murphy's of this country had their way the working class would still be living in slums and suffering abject poverty. The reason why conditions have improved is precisely because of the battles fought in 1913 and in subsequent years. It was because of the fighting spirit of the Irish working class that improvements in housing, wages, and public services were made.
    It is you that mentions benevolence in reference to W M Murphy. The reality is that the lockout failed and it took many years for conditions to improve. The improvements were not based on one class acting on its own. To believe so is naïve.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭donaghs


    It's a moot point whether employers like William Martin Murphy - a magnate who owned and controlled the gigantic tram system, the Independent newspaper, prosperous city hotels, etc - were good employers when they barred all union membership.

    Murphy did recognize the craft unions and apaprently had good relations with them. His print and tram workers were well paid by the standards of the time.

    It would seem that his objection was to organizing unskilled workers, and a fear and loathing of Larkin in general.

    While I would disagree with Murphy's stance on the lockout, its still important to understand the complexities and shades of grey. The Lockout has most definitely been painted in black and white colours. While I think the Lockout a far more significant issue, I think a lot of the venom from opinion formers derived from the tiff with intellectuals like WB Yeats over the Hugh Lane galleries/paintings.

    Someone on this forum once described Murphy as a Unionist. He was in fact an Irish Nationalist, and at one point an MP for the Home Rule party. He fell out with John Redmond, over Redmond's willingness to make concessions to the Union in order to get Home Rule.

    As a Catholic Nationalist, to reach the top of the Dublin business community was impressive, considering how much of it was still Protestant-dominated (e.g the Banks) until the 1960s.

    The lockout is commemorated by much more than people classified as working class. Reference the many discussions on RTE as proof that this is the case. You may prefer they did not commemorate it but that is a separate matter.

    It is you that mentions benevolence in reference to W M Murphy. The reality is that the lockout failed and it took many years for conditions to improve. The improvements were not based on one class acting on its own. To believe so is naïve.

    I've read that conditions for working people and unions improved soon after due to World War One. People got sucked into the Armed Forces and those who remained got better pay and conditions. The UK government also gave greater recognition to unions in order to avoid industrial unrest and keep war industries going.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭pedroeibar1


    The Lockout was a class struggle between labour and capital in a class war initiated by the capitalist class (in the same way that the current class war by the ruling elites in Ireland was instigated by them to foist the cost of the gambling debts on the Irish working class). Labour history has been buried for decades - relegated to the sidelines as the ruling elites dictated the history that should be acknowledged. Any attempts by the likes of Gilmore to claim the heritage of the Lockout must be resisted.
    ...........If the William Martin Murphy's of this country had their way the working class would still be living in slums and suffering abject poverty. The reason why conditions have improved is precisely because of the battles fought in 1913 and in subsequent years. It was because of the fighting spirit of the Irish working class that improvements in housing, wages, and public services were made.................Irish society is one of the countries that has the least social mobility between the social classes.

    If the government / EU / IMF have their way the Irish working class will be driven back to the conditions of 1913.


    Yet another example of a biased, cliché-ridden diatribe which can easily be construed as revisionism with its emotive redactional comments.

    William Martin Murphy actually is a very good example of social mobility in Ireland. He came from small farmer stock, his father Denis William Murphy started out as a stonemason in Castletownbere before opening a store/building business in Bantry. He became a successful contractor and sent William to lodge with friends in Dublin while he attended Belvedere (supposedly the fees at Clongowes were too much).

    Murphy senior died when doing some work for Lord Dunraven, William aged just 19 and fresh out of Belvedere took over the family business, finished the work and so impressed Dunraven that he gave young Murphy more work. The patronage and support of Dunraven led Murphy back to Dublin, where in 1870 aged 25 he became involved in the development of tramways, later expanding into railways. He was self-made, one of Ireland's biggest exporters and a nationalist..

    What this country needs are more people like him, who get off their arses and do things (like work and create employment) and less of those who rant and rave about ruling elites, the working class and its struggles.

    As for social mobility, (Viscount) Brendan Bracken’s father also started as a stonemason. Tony Ryan who founded Ryanair was the son of a stationmaster and grandson of a train driver. Pat Kenny’s father was a zoo keeper, and even RTE’ s high earner Joe Duffy is from the tenements of Mountjoy square.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    The lockout is commemorated by much more than people classified as working class. Reference the many discussions on RTE as proof that this is the case. You may prefer they did not commemorate it but that is a separate matter.
    Like they have done since the establishment of the state, the ruling elites are attempting to usurp the struggle of the Irish working class in 1913 to bury the real history of the labour movement. It is not a case of whether I prefer things one way of the other - it is the responsibility of historians and activists who do not accept the hegemony of the Irish establishment to resist the current efforts to portray the lockout as some precursor to 1916 and to tell the story from a working class perspective.

    It is you that mentions benevolence in reference to W M Murphy.
    I didn't actually - Santa Cruz rasied it in post #3
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    Murphy was a businessman, often benevolent,

    and
    The reality is that the lockout failed and it took many years for conditions to improve. The improvements were not based on one class acting on its own. To believe so is naïve.
    I don't know what you mean by the 'lockout failed' - The employers locked out the workers for trying to join the ITGWU. The workers movement was defeated in the lockout but the employers failed in their objective of smashing the trade union movement in general and the ITGWU in particular. It resulted in the utter exposure of the naked class aggression of the Irish nationalist employer class and thought the Irish working class the ultimate lesson of class struggle.

    As for the 'improvements' - by 1918 (five years after the lockout) the ITGWU had begun to flourish and wrestle substantial pay increases and improvements in working conditions from employers. Improvements in social services began in the 1930s again under pressure from the working class.

    The ruling class only ever consents to improvements under pressure from the working class and at the first opportunity attempts to take back any concessions that have been wrestled from them. This is what is happening in the present day - in order to pay for a crisis they created, the ruling elites are engaged in a slash and burn approach that has and is destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs, slashing wages, increasing working hours, worsening working conditions and destroying welfare and public services. Since the crisis began the richest 10% of the population have seen their incomes and wealth increase year on year while the remaining 90% of the population (the working class) have seen their incomes slashed.

    There is a constant class warfare going on - often under the surface of society - but occasionally breaking out into naked class conflict. This is inevitable in a society based on competition and the struggle for resources and wealth. It is naive to believe that society has some sort of benevolent or paternal rich father figures who 'look after' the poor. Since the day in neolithic times when someone put a fence around a field and declared it his property - this class conflict has been unending.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    William Martin Murphy actually is a very good example of social mobility in Ireland. He came from small farmer stock, his father Denis William Murphy started out as a stonemason in Castletownbere before opening a store/building business in Bantry. He became a successful contractor and sent William to lodge with friends in Dublin while he attended Belvedere (supposedly the fees at Clongowes were too much).

    Murphy senior died when doing some work for Lord Dunraven, William aged just 19 and fresh out of Belvedere took over the family business, finished the work and so impressed Dunraven that he gave young Murphy more work. The patronage and support of Dunraven led Murphy back to Dublin, where in 1870 aged 25 he became involved in the development of tramways, later expanding into railways. He was self-made, one of Ireland's biggest exporters and a nationalist..

    What this country needs are more people like him, who get off their arses and do things (like work and create employment) and less of those who rant and rave about ruling elites, the working class and its struggles.

    As for social mobility, (Viscount) Brendan Bracken’s father also started as a stonemason. Tony Ryan who founded Ryanair was the son of a stationmaster and grandson of a train driver. Pat Kenny’s father was a zoo keeper, and even RTE’ s high earner Joe Duffy is from the tenements of Mountjoy square.
    Wow - I'm impressed - you have done well - you have managed to name five (5) people over 90 years that have managed to claw their way out of poverty.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭pedroeibar1


    Wow - I'm impressed - you have done well - you have managed to name five (5) people over 90 years that have managed to claw their way out of poverty.

    Another inane post. I sometimes wonder if you are a creation of Boards.ie and exist solely to drive traffic on this site.:rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    Another inane post. I sometimes wonder if you are a creation of Boards.ie and exist solely to drive traffic on this site.:rolleyes:
    Have you got any more little anecdotes to amuse us?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,126 ✭✭✭Santa Cruz


    Wow - I'm impressed - you have done well - you have managed to name five (5) people over 90 years that have managed to claw their way out of poverty.

    This comment shows your ignorance and arrogance to anyone who may hold a different opinion to you and is typical of the blind stupidity of those who push this facile argument of the class struggle.
    Do you want the posters to name every person in this country who came from humble backgrounds and improved the living standards just to keep you happy?
    While there were many who progressed well in the early days of this State since the introduction of free secondary education in the late 60s the door to higher level has opened for all who have the ability to enter same. I am not saying that it is financially easy but with hard work it is possible.
    I come from a town where there were a number of long established industries related to the agricultural sector. The sons and daughters of many of the ordinary industries workers have been able to avail of third level education be it university of Institutes of technology. This has resulted in them achieving a higher standard of living for themselves and their offspring. Their increased income opportunities have mean money has gone back in to the economy. Of course there will always be a small minority of people who actually believe this class struggle rubbish. They are happy to be lectured to by people who have availed of the thirds level opportunities themselves but still see a need to keep the majority of the proletariat down.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    Do you want the posters to name every person in this country who came from humble backgrounds and improved the living standards just to keep you happy?

    No - what I want people to do is use factual - not anecdotal - evidence. I argued that social mobility is restricted in Ireland. The evidence exists to back this up -
    The Republic of Ireland provides an excellent example of a situation in which social change does offer substantial opportunities for advancement, as reflected in absolute mobility rates, while the privileged classes respond to such change in a manner that leaves their relative advantages intact.
    (Christopher Whelan, Social Mobility in Ireland in the 1990s, The Economic and Social Review, Vol. 30, No.2, April 1990, p.156)

    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    While there were many who progressed well in the early days of this State since the introduction of free secondary education in the late 60s the door to higher level has opened for all who have the ability to enter same. I am not saying that it is financially easy but with hard work it is possible.
    Social mobility is not related to educational attainment. Many jobs that could be secured in the 1970s by having a Leaving Certificate now require a Masters Degree. Wage rates have patterned the norms of previous decades.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    I come from a town where there were a number of long established industries related to the agricultural sector. The sons and daughters of many of the ordinary industries workers have been able to avail of third level education be it university of Institutes of technology. This has resulted in them achieving a higher standard of living for themselves and their offspring. Their increased income opportunities have mean money has gone back in to the economy.
    More anecdotal evidence.

    I come originally from a small town in the west of Ireland. One winter's evening when we had nothing better to do myself and my father sat down and went through all the businesses in the town, who owned them and how they got to own them. Of the 140 businesses (shops, pubs, etc) 138 of them were inherited from family members. Only two people in the town had successfully established new businesses. Now - again - this is anecdotal evidence - it does not disprove social mobility no more than your anecdotal evidence proves it.

    The reality is that Irish society has a very small (golden) circle of very wealthy individuals (no more than 3,000-4,000) - the overwhelming majority of whom inherited their wealth. The social mobility that does exist in Ireland primarily comes from shifts within a very small range among working class people - e.g. from unskilled to semi-skilled, skilled or professional workers. Old social barriers in terms of employment have broken down primarily because of the continued demise of the agricultural sector (in particular with the undermining of family farms and the development of ranch farms) and (as you suggested) improved educational opportunities - but again this breakdown of social barriers operates within a very small range. There has been a proletarianisation of sections of the old middle class where the likes of the teaching profession etc have shifted from middle class to working class.
    Santa Cruz wrote: »
    Of course there will always be a small minority of people who actually believe this class struggle rubbish. They are happy to be lectured to by people who have availed of the thirds level opportunities themselves but still see a need to keep the majority of the proletariat down.
    Again - produce evidence for your assertion - you own prejudices do not count.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭pedroeibar1


    No - what I want people to do is use factual - not anecdotal - evidence. I argued that social mobility is restricted in Ireland. The evidence exists to back this up -

    (Christopher Whelan, Social Mobility in Ireland in the 1990s, The Economic and Social Review, Vol. 30, No.2, April 1990, p.156)
    ..........................Social mobility is not related to educational attainment. Many jobs that could be secured in the 1970s by having a Leaving Certificate now require a Masters Degree. Wage rates have patterned the norms of previous decades.

    I’m glad you found Whelan. However, it is a pity that you did not study more of his work; had you done so, (for example his co-authored paper* in ESR Vol. 30 N0. 3 (page 2) you would have read

    In the past thirty years absolute opportunities for educational and class mobility have never been higher and it is not our intention to deny the significance of such change. (Whelan, 1999).

    The simple fact of the matter is that some people prefer to sit on their arses (as I said earlier), growing obese in front of their TVs watching match of the day and coronation street. They blame everybody but themselves, from 'fat cat bosses' to McDonalds.
    You really need to broaden your research horizons and look at life though untinted glasses.


    *Class Inequalities in Educational Attainment among the Adult Population in the Republic of IrelandCHRISTOPHER T. WHELAN and DAMIAN F. HANNAN
    The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭jonniebgood1


    I don't know what you mean by the 'lockout failed' - The employers locked out the workers for trying to join the ITGWU. The workers movement was defeated in the lockout but the employers failed in their objective of smashing the trade union movement in general and the ITGWU in particular. It resulted in the utter exposure of the naked class aggression of the Irish nationalist employer class and thought the Irish working class the ultimate lesson of class struggle.

    I mean the workers went back to work. It did not expose anything in the manner you describe. This sounds like fantasy and you are forgetting later strikes which happened despite the overwhelming nationalistic nature of post WWI Ireland.

    As for the 'improvements' - by 1918 (five years after the lockout) the ITGWU had begun to flourish and wrestle substantial pay increases and improvements in working conditions from employers. Improvements in social services began in the 1930s again under pressure from the working class.

    I think you may have forgotten another significant event over 'by 1918' WWI was a far more significant event in terms of improving working conditions in Ireland and wider afield.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    I’m glad you found Whelan. However, it is a pity that you did not study more of his work; had you done so, (for example his co-authored paper* in ESR Vol. 30 N0. 3 (page 2) you would have read
    However - the problem is that you completely missed the point. The issue is not that more 'opportunities' have been created (any growing industrialised economy will generate more 'opportunities') - the key is that fact that, as Whelan has outlined, the privileged classes respond to such change in a manner that leaves their relative advantages intact.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,577 ✭✭✭jonniebgood1


    However - the problem is that you completely missed the point. The issue is not that more 'opportunities' have been created (any growing industrialised economy will generate more 'opportunities') - the key is that fact that, as Whelan has outlined, the privileged classes respond to such change in a manner that leaves their relative advantages intact.
    We are going off topic here but would working classes not seek to retain their relative gains as opportunity gives.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭pedroeibar1


    However - the problem is that you completely missed the point. The issue is not that more 'opportunities' have been created (any growing industrialised economy will generate more 'opportunities')

    You continue to interpret social data in a biased manner, ignoring that which is not in accord with your perspective. Whelan said
    In the past thirty years absolute opportunities for educational and class mobility have never been higher and it is not our intention to deny the significance of such change.
    Do you not understand what the word ‘absolute’ means in that sentence?
    The simple fact remains - there were/are opportunities, they were/are open to all, some took/take them, others chose not to. A painter does not need capital to set up a business, nor does a carpenter. Education is needed for more 'tech' jobs but the Irish Ed system is free - consider what it was like in the 60's and 70's and college students actually worked in the summer to earn their fees. Back-to-work schemes also provide an income cushion for present-day start-ups. Even during the Celtic Tiger it was impossible to shift some of the proletariat off their arses/dole and we had to import thousands of migrants who were prepared to seize an opportunity.

    What is needed is drive, ambition and hard work. Those are the elements that are lacking in many of the poorer segments of society, and they are kept in that condition by the cant of ultra-left wing idiots waffling on about ‘privileged classes’ and 'ruling elites are attempting to usurp the struggle of the Irish working class'.


Advertisement