50 Years Ago: The Way Out For Irish Workers

The main struggle in Ireland is not, and never has been, a struggle of wage workers against masters. Here and there in the history of Ireland there have been minor struggles on the part of the workers, but the greater part of the stage has always been occupied by the national struggle for freedom of enterprise on the part of the various groups that might benefit by greater freedom to exploit Irish industry. As Ireland exists principally by agriculture the small farmers or peasants have figured largely in the strife.

An Irish Sinn Fein Republic will not solve the difficulties of the wage labourers and farmers — it will, in fact, intensify their misery. They will then be under the control of the same people who control affairs now — Irish buyers — Irish capitalists — without being able to salve their wounds by blaming all their troubles upon the English oppressor.

The way out of the difficulties facing the Irish town and country workers is the same as the way their fellow workers have to follow, no matter what country they chance to exist in. That way is to join with their fellow workers the world over in the struggle to put an end to capitalism by introducing Socialism. Anything short of this will only bring in its train bitter disillusion. They who tell the Irish workers to organise for anything less than this are their enemies.

(From an unsigned article “The Communists and Ireland” in the Socialist Standard, August 1922.)