This year is the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland. We honour the Irish men and women who rose up against British Rule over Ireland and held the British occupying army at bay in Dublin in 1916. We especially pay homage to those who gave their lives in the fighting or were judicially murdered by British imperialism. Prominent among the latter was James Connolly, badly injured in the battle but nonetheless sentenced to death and ‘executed’ by firing squad while propped up in a chair.
Connolly was a great Irish patriot whose patriotism was made all the stronger by his uncompromising internationalism which recognised, in solidarity, the common cause of workers and oppressed people the world over. His was one of the few parties to support the line of Lenin and the Bolsheviks of using the opportunity of the inter-imperialist war to attack imperialism, by civil war in the imperialist countries and by uprising of the oppressed nations. He led the Irish Citizen Army, which he had co-founded in 1913, to join with the Irish Republican Brotherhood in the Easter Rising.
Many so-called socialists in Europe, who had succumbed to the reactionary renegade position of supporting their own bourgeoisies in the war, dismissed the rising as a “putsch”. Lenin, with the understanding to recognise its true significance, wrote: “Whoever calls such a rebellion a “putsch” is either a hardened reactionary or a doctrinaire, hopelessly incapable of envisaging a social revolution as a living phenomenon.” (The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up, 1916, Collected Works, Vol 22)