August 16, 2016

James Connolly's angry nativist language

James Connolly, by  Mick O'Dea
Hate and racism is a universal trait - it isn't specifically a Protestant or unionist thing. Irish travellers in Southern Ireland were in Southern Ireland what Catholics were in Northern Ireland, second-class, and thet continue to be. As Willie Kealy said, “We [Irish] have always been a bit racist about Travellers.”
An Ipsos MORI poll found that that while 61% of Fine Gael voters favour resettling migrants from the sub-Sahara, 70% of Sinn Féin voters are opposed to welcoming fleeing migrants. It would be useful to remember this next time there’s a racism scandal coming from a loyalist estate. As Kevin Myers said:
"While Shinner leaders speak fluent ANC, their followers think like embattled Voortrekkers."
A report on the Republic of Ireland found that migrants to Ireland face discrimination and assault. As 2016 fast approaches and people talk of the “ideals” of the men of 1916 we should look at the writing on the movement people by one of the main men, James Connolly. The Marxist wrote in early 1916 a three part series entitled, ‘Slackers‘.

In Part I, published February 5 1916, Ireland’s venerated martyr Connolly called migrants to Ireland “hordes” and a “swarm of locusts“, “boys of the bull-dog breed” and “Brit-Huns”. He wrote:
"Ireland is in the throes of a new invasion. But whereas all other invasions have been invasions of fighting men, this last invasion is an invasion of men who have declined to fight. 
Since the passing of the military service law and its coming into force in England this country has been flooded daily with fresh hordes of English and Scotch, who have run away from military service in their own country and settled down like a swarm of locusts upon Ireland."
Are these the “ideals” of 1916? In Part 2 he continued with his highly charged and racist language against immigrants:
"No work in Ireland for Irishmen, lots of work in Ireland for Brit-Huns – every ship that goes to England carrying away Irish men to jobs in England; every ship that comes to Ireland carrying over Brit-Huns to jobs in Ireland. Was ever a nation so beset?"
In Part 3 his hostility to the foreigner continued. He wrote:
"Dublin, Ireland, is rotten with these carrion; our patriotic jingo employers are continually discharging Irishmen and filling up their jobs with English and Scots and Welsh, and these Brit-Huns."
These sound like the rantings of an angry nativist.

David Cameron was excoriated for using the words “swarm” to describe migrants straining to reach Britain. Here we see James Connolly, the holy of holy Irishmen, using exactly the same language with even more venom, writing about migrants as a “swarm of locusts.”

G.K. Chesterton wrote “every sectarian is more sectarian in his unsectarianism.” Gerry Adams shows his sectarianism by saying how unsectarian he is compared to the sectarian royalists. The man who continues to assail colonial Britain for dividing the people is promoting his own division, the civil against the uncivil.

I looked at Connolly's nativist language on Slugger O'Toole, here I also looked at Connolly's contempt for the protestants of Belfast and Ulster.

Like many republicans today. James Connolly was almost unending in his contempt for Belfast and the unionists of the north. The north and the northern Protestants was an irredeemable morass, a target the Labour activist and Citizens Army leader regularly assailed.

As William Walker wrote, Connolly loved to “sneer at Belfast” and used his writing to “attack Belfast and all within its borders” – he was “obsessed with an antipathy to Belfast and the Black North.”

It reminds me of what Newton Emerson wrote of the modern left:
“The infantile contradiction of the modern left, ‘no hatred except for those we hate’.”
Connolly’s chief weapon, “vituperation” as Walker called it, certainly was a strange method for converting Irish monarchists to the cause of an independent Irish republic.

I can give a few examples of Connolly disparaging the north and its thran inhabitants. Connolly wrote in 1911 in an essay, ‘Plea For Socialist Unity in Ireland’:
“It may be assumed that the 12th of July parade in Belfast this year will be exceptionally large, as every effort will be made, and no money spared, to make an imposing turnout in the hopes of, at the last moment, averting Home Rule, but the parade will be as the last flicker of the dying fire which blazes up before totally expiring. A spell of bad trade in Belfast might have enabled Orange orators to stir up rioting among idle mobs, but the rush of good trade we are at present enjoying destroys any chance of such senseless exhibitions. The Orangemen of today may hate the Pope, but he hates still more to lose time by rioting, when he might make money by working, and in this he shows the “good sense which pre-eminently distinguishes the city by the Lagan.” Home Rule, then, is almost a certainty of the future.”
Connolly wrote an essay in March 1914, ‘The War in Ulster,’ and described the faces on the streets:
“Strangely enough, Belfast itself seems bent upon its use lines of strict attention to the business of profitmaking, and when I look around for the “grim, determined faces”, so celebrated in the song and story of the Tory Press, I fail to see them, and see instead… in the faces of the people in the streets the same unimaginative smugness, tempered by the effects of a Calvinistic theology in some cases, and by drink in many more.”
Connolly wrote in another essay:
“For that matter a sense of humour is not one of the strong points in an Orangeman’s nature. 
The dead walls of Belfast are decorated with a mixture of imprecations upon Fenians, and, the Pope, and invocations of the power and goodness of the Most High, interlarded with quotations from the New Testament. This produces some of the most incongruous results.”
Connolly was good at distasteful and politically incorrect attacks on his opponents.

Connolly wrote in early 1916 a three part series entitled, ‘Slackers‘. In Part I, published February 5 1916, Ireland’s venerated martyr called migrants to Ireland “hordes” and a “swarm of locusts“, “boys of the bull-dog breed” and “Brit-Huns”.

These sound like rantings of an angry nativist. This is interesting in the age of the refugee, especially since Cameron was excoriated for using the word “swarms”.

Addressing Connolly’s attacks on Belfast and the north, William Walker wrote in ‘Rebel Ireland:
 And Its Protestant Leaders’ (1910):
“Bunkum, friend Connolly; you are obsessed with an antipathy to Belfast and the black North, and under your obsession you advocate reactionary doctrines alien to any brand of Socialism I have ever heard of.”
Walker also wrote:
"He utilises the first two paragraphs to attack Belfast and all within its borders, and draws a lurid picture of what the “Orange orators” would do, etc., “if trade were bad.” A picture that, however true of 20 years’ ago, is totally false as applied to the present day. For I affirm that it has now become impossible in Belfast to have a religious riot, and this is due to the good work done by that much despised body, the I.L.P."
Walker makes a critical observation about Belfast and advances made under the Union:
"I hold no brief for Belfast, but past bigotry aside, we have moved fast towards Municipal Socialism, leaving not merely the other cities of Ireland far behind, but giving the lead to many cities in England and Scotland. 
We collectively own and control our gas works, water works, harbour works, markets, tramways, electricity, museums, art galleries, etc., whilst we Municipally cater for bowlers, cricketers, footballers, lovers of band music (having organised a Police Band), and our works’ department do an enormous amount of ‘timed’ and ‘contract’ work within the Municipality. With the above in operation, we, in Belfast, have no need to be ashamed of being compared in Municipal management with any city in the kingdom. What does Comrade Connolly say?"
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