1990s >> 1997 >> no-1118-october-1997

50 Years Ago: A Letter To An Irish Worker

I think you’ll agree that all the “heroic” national struggles that have been waged in Ireland have—so far as the Irish worker and his family is concerned—achieved absolutely nothing. Today, behind the brave talk of the politicians, behind the backs of the cultured gentlemen of the Gaelic League and the language revivalists, beneath the cloak of nationality and religion, lies the stark reality of the slum, of rampant disease, of poor wages, of high prices, of dole and emigration queues— poverty is the daily companion and bed-fellow of the majority of men and women in Ireland.

Yes—of course—there have been changes, that strategically-important seaports are no longer the legal property of the British Government, the British Governor-General is gone, the tricolour now flutters triumphantly in the breeze over Government House in Merrion Square . . . Changes? Well, of a sort; changes which certainly haven’t changed your wage-slave position in the least—and, surely, that’s the one thing worth changing?

No, nationalism has nothing to off you—except a change of masters. Whether the Eire Government of De Valera or the Northern Ireland Government of Basil Brooke rules the whole, or only part, of Ireland, whether the flag be the tricolour or the Union Jack, whether partition ends or continues, you, as a worker, will in no wise be any better off.

(From an article by Chris Walsh, Socialist Standard, October 1947)