Easter 1916

March 28, 2016 at 9:53 pm (Uncategorized)

Although the actual anniversary isn’t until April 24th, it’s been a century since the Easter Rising in Ireland.  The Rising itself lasted six days before it was put down by British troops and leaders such as James Connolly executed, but the events have continued to ripple through history. Within the Communist movement of the day, differing interpretations were drawn: Karl Radek, who supported Rosa Luxemburg’s position of the national question, denounced it as a putsch, while Lenin, arguing from a position of the right of nations to self-determination, furiously criticized Radek.

In the mid-1980s, I was a member of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International’s Canadian sympathizing section the Alliance for Socialist Action (later Socialist Challenge). One area of work we were involved with was Irish solidarity, which was in part due to one member’s leadership in the now-defunct Irish Freedom Association. While the IFA was not a homogeneous organization (nationalist, Stalinists, and Trotskyists co-existed uneasily), we pretended to ourselves we were influencing and in touch with a Marxist current within the Republican movement.  Of course, there was no such thing. It was nationalism pure and simple.

The International Communist Current recently posted this article on its site which originally appeared in its British section’s newspaper World Revolution in 1978. There’s a lot that’s wrong with this piece – not least its clunky tone and even clunkier periodization of history and revolutionary prospects, yet, it’s worth remembering that the task before us is not national liberation or a rearrangement of the pieces on the chessboard, but the abolition of capitalism itself.

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