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Michael Davitt and the Land League

The reason this surprised me was because when we talk of Irish socialists, it is always James Connolly or maybe James Larkin. What we seem to forget is that Ireland has always been a hotbed for anti-capitalism.

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So, seeing Michael Davitt’s history sparked my interest. After looking at much of his policies and radical beliefs, I think it’s pretty safe to call him a Communist. He was evicted with his family at the age of 4, began work at 10 in a mill and then had to have an arm amputated after a work accident. He tried throughout his life to complete land reform and in his words,

“the land question can be definitely settled only by making the cultivators of the soil proprietors”

essentially, he’s advocating for worker ownership of the means of production. Alongside this, he also called for free education, workers’ councils, the right to vote for all (particularly women), labour unions, Irish and British working-class solidarity, secular education and state and improved working conditions such as shorter working days and supplied housing. The reason this surprised me was because when we talk of Irish socialists, it is always James Connolly or maybe James Larkin. What we seem to forget is that Ireland has always been a hotbed for anti-capitalism. Just to name a few, we have Oscar Wilde, Sean O’ Casey, Connolly, Larkin, Davitt, Countess Markievicz, Séan Garland, William Thompson, Liam O’ Flaherty, Sean Murray, Bernadette Devlin, James Joyce, Michael Collins, Jack White, the Limerick Soviet, the Irish Citizens’ Army, the Irish Republican Army, etc. 


In the late 1870’s and particularly in 1879, the potato crop begun to fail again in the West (in 1877,’78 and ’79), Davitt, after discussing with Devoy on land reform during his time in the US, came up with his policy of the “New Departure”. This was essentially establishing Parnellism with Charles Stewart Parnell by electing land agitators and constitutionalists into parliament. The Parnellites were influenced by the tactic of obstructionism by giving long speeches in Parliament. He established the Mayo Land League and later the National Land League and began boycotting landlords to abolish landlordism in Ireland and establish a nationalisation of land in Ireland with the slogan “the land of Ireland for the people of Ireland” and “the land question can be definitely settled only by making the cultivators of the soil proprietors”. The moderate stance of Parnellism allowed for popular support and little backlash. It called for the 3 F’s; Fair rent, free sale (reach full ownership) and ­fixity of tenure (unfair eviction). The Land War as it was titled lasted from 1879 until 1882. This crop failure was particularly devastating because of the economic depression that was currently happening, this left Irish tenants unable to migrate like they did in the Famine. Thus, landlords raised rents due to the depression. As you can see, if this escalated any further, it could be hugely devastating.


Davitt was completely anti-clerical, he viewed the Church as an entity for oppression and wished for the separation of Church and State, much like the Irish Republican Brotherhood at the time. Too, he grew disillusioned with Parliament in the UK, he departed in 1896 and claimed,

“no just cause could succeed there unless backed by physical force”

Irish clericalism grew in the next generation of Fenians however, this is why Ireland was a Catholic state when it gained its independence and still is today.


He was ardently anti-imperialist, understandably since Ireland was a victim of it. On top of this, he was an internationalist, unlike most others at the time, even among socialists. Weirdly, I did see someone say that this anti-imperialist stance was hypocritical because he supported the Russians in their conflicts with the Japanese, the Japanese had begun the Meiji Restoration and centralisation of power under the Emperor, they put the military first and claimed that they were the spreaders of civilization and enlightenment, much like the “white man’s burden”. He supported oppressed Jewish communities in Limerick after they were boycotted and wrote on the Russian attitude toward Jews and the Kishinev pogrom where a community was massacred, the Russian state denied the massacre where 51 were killed and 400 injured, dozens of women were raped, children orphaned, 10,000 Jewish refugees fled the city and a third of the buildings damaged. He opposed the First and Second Boer War against the Zulus in South Africa by the British and claimed it was clear imperialist aggression, he said that it was simply a “stockbrokers’ war”. Gandhi has said that he was inspired by Davitt’s Land League. Side note: Ho Chi Minh witnessed news of Irish guerrilla warfare while in London and decided to utilise it during the wars with France, Japan and the US.


I do believe that Davitt made some mistakes, however. He was unwilling to use force and militarism to achieve his goals. The tactic of boycotting only worked then because it was relatively new, capitalism had little defence from it. Too, I believe he was too focused on agrarianism and land reform than for lifting up the oppressed in general. To be true, he was for nationalisation of land but he fought more so for fair treatment under the system rather than for the abolition of the system. These such things happen often in revolutionary movements, specifically in Africa, they moved only from European oppressor to African oppressors. I believe that he could have forged closer relationships with the Celtic League nations (Cornwall, Scotland, Wales) against England, the main oppressor. He only did so with the highlanders and labour movements in Britain, leaving it quite separate and divided into its own sections. He continued to distance himself from popular support and his previously gained supporters. Too, revolutionaries distanced themselves from him as he denounced the Fenian bombings. He was too trustful of Parnell and formed the National League which placed land reform as secondary to Home Rule, which, in itself, was too against Davitt’s beliefs and was simply a compromise for actual independence. He should have worked with revolutionaries from the beginning. He was also a Zionist, after the Kishinev massacre, he supported a home for Jews in Palestine. (However, he could not have seen what it would turn into. A settler-colonial state that exemplifies exactly what is was created to stop against Jews.) His hatred for the British clouded his judgement, he supported Boer racism against other Africans and described them as savages. He made anti-Semitic statements too, claiming that the Uitlander population of Boer territory were Jewish conspirators.


Despite his occasional toxicity and absolutist tendencies in many aspects of his politics, I still regard him, rightly, I believe, to be a hero of Ireland and a champion of oppressed peoples. We should realise that none of our heroes are perfect and are all open to scrutiny. Marx was evidently a racist yet his theory is praised and an objective force for good in the world of those he deemed as inferior. History is grey.


I highly recommend that people research more of the Land League and Davitt in general. He has a recognisable name in Irish History yet most people would say nothing other than, “I’ve heard the name”.

“Islam Is Not A Race”

Mutating Capitalism and strengthening it as a claim to Humanism while Islamophobia is the orchestrator.

This rebuttal is so absurd that it genuinely makes my blood boil. Why is it okay to attack someone and have prejudice based on their religion and not their race? Most people are born into a religion, so the choice argument is essentially pointless. The beliefs argument is pointless to because with race naturally comes culture, a set of beliefs. That’s it, it’s just a way of trying to legitimise bigotry and hatred by bringing up race and attempting to make the other feel like they are belittling racism by comparing the two. But wait, then why do they focus on brown Muslims and not black Africans, British or the Muslim Brotherhood? Because racism is under the guise of Islamophobia. But wait again, Islamophobia doesn’t make sense does it? Phobia means to be afraid, they are not afraid, are they? Ah yes, homophobia is non-existent too, is it? This is, again, just a way of avoiding the question of their bigotry by arguing semantics.

But who is saying all this stuff? Conservatives, White Supremacists, Fascists?

New Atheists.

How are they new? Why are they different?

Well, they are new in the sense that they have fundamentally changed what Atheism has been for so long, they have made it into a political movement. They have unaffiliated it with a political ideology and are “progressively” pushing it in the other direction. Toward the cliff edge.

Richard Dawkins has been the person to popularise this use of the sentence. He is a vile character. His career is based off of his incitement to verbal abuse against religious folks, for what? To do what? What will it achieve?

Nothing.

It is simply a way of making oneself feel superior to another. It will never convert someone to stop believing. Do they honestly believe that if you attack someone, that they will listen to your arguments? Do they think that if someone is so vehement in their religion that they have not analysed it and come to a conclusion on their beliefs?

No, they don’t.

Not only is it essentially a superiority complex but it opens the floodgates to a whole swathe of right-wing propaganda. It is a process, starting at a young age, a vulnerable time for boys, typically aged around 12 or 13. They have suddenly entered a phase in their life open to competition for the fight for superiority, like animals battling it out for a mate.

Firstly, they stop believing

Secondly, they criticise religion as a whole

Thirdly, they begin to focus on Islam due to the “they’re the outsider” propaganda

Fourthly, they begin to believe in Social Darwinism due to the “savage” nature of Muslims/Brown people.

Fifthly, they are now in the “trashcan of ideology” and begin to eat from it until they can fill their stomachs no more.

That sense of community, superiority and aim for a future they crave is inherently attractive to the hormonal nature of a boy that age. The frustration of not being able to get girls at that age yet have a growing want for it leads to blatant anti-woman sentiment in the form of “the rational anti-feminist” and so on and so on.

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This is not something hidden in the shadows either, I have seen it in others and in myself. I know a student in my school that is one of these “Right-Libertarian Rational Skeptics”. He consistently spouts off about the patriarchy and how intelligent he is. He continually claims to know everything on the planet that is both unknowable and knowable. He will give long, elaborate explanations as to what Agnosticism is (without actually saying the word agnostic correctly) like he memorised it off Wikipedia. He has even said to me “Hitler was a Socialist” to which I didn’t respond because he would get a buzz out of it. In reference to me, I almost fell into the trap layed by Dawkins or Bill Maher. I own the God Delusion and by the time I got around to reading it, I really disliked Dawkins and found it to be quite a bad book whose introduction is trying to debunk the idea that Einstein was religious, which, frankly, I don’t care about. I had already formed my beliefs on Islam, so luckily I was not susceptible to falling down the rabbit hole of right-wing ideology. At the time I was annoyed that my friends criticised me for being an Atheist yet now I am glad as it forced to self-criticise. #SelfCritOrGetHit

Do you see how this shift can be extremely damaging to left-wing politics? Leftists are opposed to religion in the sense of its existence is antagonistic between the state and individual. Secularism does not alleviate the problem as what that does is forces the religious to sacrifice his religious acts for the benefit of the state and vice-versa.

So, to conclude, what ia New about these Atheists? Well, they are hostile to individuals and not ideas. New Atheism is a disease to be cured. It is a holdover from the old Socialist states that is incompatible with Capitalism, that has leeched itself into the folds, mutating Capitalism and strengthening it as a claim to Humanism while Islamophobia is the orchestrator. The veins of Capitalism have been carefully filtered to allow this mutation. It can now use this mutation to justify its actions in the Middle East. New Atheism is a tentacle of Capitalism.

Justin “Blueshirt” Barrett and his gang of White Supremacists

That’s already a red flag when the party has the word “national” in it.

So my uncle is a fascist. Yeah…

My uncle joined the National Party of Ireland. That’s already a red flag when the party has the word “national” in it. But what I find interesting about that is the irony, he and his party spout islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric, this rhetoric is often aimed at the “laziness” of the foreigner who “comes to Ireland to get benefits”. Justin Barrett A.K.A “Blueshirt Bastard” (He was in Young Fine Gael so I think that nickname is fair) as I will call him from now on, rose to prominence in his hatred for the “Repeal the 8th” movement, many of you may recognise that slogan or the clothing made to advertise it.

repeal

If you are unaware of the 8th Amendment in the Irish Constitution, it goes like this:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

So yeah, it’s utter bollocks. Big man “Blueshirt Bastard” thinks he has the right to tell women how and why they should treat their body that way. Again, abortion will be another topic I cover later. “Blueshirt Bastard” believes that no matter the circumstance, abortion should be illegal, be it suicidal threats, rape, incest, etc. (Personally, I think even liberals focus on the baby too much and not the future, economic stance, mental health, happiness or opportunities for both the woman and child. There is more to consider than the obligatory religious morality of the situation.) To make things worse, he was the leader of Youth Defence, an anti-abortion organisation in Ireland which also opposes, yes, divorce. Are we living in the fucking Middle Ages? The National Library defines them as “a pro-life organisation and lobby group with strong neo-Nazi links”. I think that says enough about them. Finally, to put a nail in the coffin, they decided to park a billboard truck outside the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre with a slogan reading “The abortion bill won’t make women safer, it will just kill babies” I could say more but you get my point, they are vile.

“Blueshirt Bastard” has contact with German and Italian fascist groups also, the NPD has conceded that they have had contact since ’96 and Barrett was a guest-of-honour many times and appeared at multiple conferences. He says he wishes he were more careful, but, how can you not realise that you are at a Nazi rally? This is what the FN had to say about him:

“As part of the dirty war waged by “liberals” against “nationals”, the greatest exponent of the nationalist front Justin Barrett, he was attacked in a press campaign of the kind to which we were accustomed us in the past. FN and NPD are, in the mind of the accusers, friends whose Barrett should be ashamed”

He is also a proponent of anti-immigration. He is known for his exaggerations of immigration numbers and half-truths, he claims that 837,000 immigrants from EU15-EU28 member states (Eastern Europeans, essentially) have come here, this number is only 1/3 in reality and doesn’t account for emigration from Ireland either, bringing it to almost 1/6 of the claim. Neither does it account for temporary immigration which is typically very common. People like to pretend that immigrants always come for the rest of their lifetime but this is demonstrably false. I see this entire debate as vile anyway, it talks of them as they are somehow more dangerous that native-born people, typically, immigrants cause less crime. We see this as 1-in-3 US-born citizens have a criminal record while 1-in-400 DACA recipients have a criminal record. Also, immigrants are given many disadvantages as Irish-born people are given the upper-hand in employment, being hired before foreigners. This clear bias and nationalism only helps to give rise to xenophobia and rhetoric such as “stealing my jobs” and “they are lazy”. If you are interested, this is a good source: http://www.thejournal.ie/national-party-justin-barrett-immigration-facts-3087878-Nov2016/

In response to being asked if he believes women should stay in the kitchen, he responded:

They are capable of performing employment tasks, with the exception of heavy manual labour, in equality with men but it is unquestionably the case — I can never understand why feminists have a problem with this — that women are much better at minding children than men. In that sense, women are superior.

Even today I heard a story about a Maltese woman who was 5″2 and who could carry out a 20km march across the Irish countryside whilst carrying 60 pounds of luggage on her back. She didn’t even struggle yet the man who told me this was a second-lieutenant in the Irish Army and even he struggled after finishing 18 months of this labour. This false “women are superior” bollocks isn’t even worth mentioning.

ENAR Ireland leader described them as:

“Without a doubt, this is a fascist party and I think that should be the term reserved for organisations which meet certain criteria and this one does.”

“Blueshirt Bastard”, being the delegate of Hell on Earth, calls for the introduction of racial profiling into the already racist, white supremacist Capitalist system and a complete ban on Muslims, because he’s a cunt. Oh, also, he believes in White Genocide. Wanker.

“there needs to be check of all people coming into this country. Most people, at a quick glance, you can tell they are no threat.”

Translation: White people = good, Muslims = bad

“Profiling protects people”

Oh just shut up, I bet Muslims- I mean people love being profiled for their skin colour.

He’s “okay” with people being gay but doesn’t think they should be allowed to publicly show affection or have civil rights. Again, contradictions and yes, he’s a cunt.

He thinks multi-culturalism is evil and that it’s somehow possible to remove. Cunt? No wait I used that one. Bastard – nope. Wanker – nope. Bollocks – nope. Ah fuck I don’t care.

“Consequently we endorse the inalienable right to the ownership of Private Property, and shall defend that right against the equally dangerous encroachment of both State Socialism and Monopoly Capitalism.”

I mean let’s not mention that Monopoly Capitalism is essentially just Capitalism since that is the nature of markets. State Socialism? Oh no! Lmao private property, I just can’t be arsed anymore.

“The National Party demands a complete reform of our criminal justice system, placing the protection of society from criminality as its imperative value, up to and including restoration of the Death Penalty for particularly heinous crimes.”

More politics from the 17th Century, yay! The Death Penalty kills many innocents and is just plain barbaric and hypocritical. It is the hallmark of a backwards society to hold the Death Penalty up as a desired way of criminal justice. It does not work as a deterrent since the US utilises it yet has the highest incarceration rate in the world, holding 1% of its population in prison. (If only it were the other 1% in prison.) With just 4.4% of the world pop., it houses 22% of world prisoners. It’s entirely emotional and not based in reality.

He and his party readily welcome people holding signs of “Rape-fugees Welcome”, “Irish White Power” and “Fuck Islam”.

Needless to say, I am delighted that “Blueshirt Bastard” was attacked by ANTIFA Ireland.

My experience with same-sex marriage

I have always been socially liberal, I wouldn’t regard that as anything radical. The first time I had actually been invested in a political topic was when there was the referendum in Ireland for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. If you know or remember the referendum, you may remember that there was one county out of the twenty-six that had an overall majority vote of “No” for legalisation. That was the county I live in, Roscommon. The variety of opinions varied across ages (of course), however, insofar as the idea that millennials are much more socially liberal than the previous generations does not always hold up, it is necessarily just a rule-of-thumb. The opinions were divided almost completely on terms of sex (in my generation). The guys I talked to were always awfully bigoted and wholly opposed to the image of what they perceived this legislation would bring, they would say things like:

“I don’t want to see gays kissing in a bar”

“We’re not born to be that way”

“Are you gay or something? ‘Cus you care too much to be straight”

Anyway, it would always culminate in arguments across the bench in my Metalwork class, where these discussions always began. They were entirely stuck in their views, no matter what statistics I brought up, no matter the reasoning and logic, no matter the refutation and no matter the attempted consolations for their worries; they always came back next week spouting the same rhetoric.


Some of the things I said to them included:

  1. Legalisation will allow for a decline in population after stigmatization is lessened and since our population is already too high, it will benefit us all. ( I realise now that none of this is correct, i.e. Irish population is low, 3rd world is over-populated. Their children will come from surrogate mothers and sperm donations, etc.)
  2. Gay bars exist for a reason, you probably won’t see any difference in your beloved pub, don’t worry.
  3. The stigma in this region is too high for people to openly show their sexuality, don’t worry about it.
  4. You would notice it already anyways, legalisation of marriage won’t change their attitude outside of it.

There is some things that I would say now that I wasn’t aware of then, such as the spectrum nature of sexuality, gender and sex. (Yes, gender and sex are different and yes, sex is a spectrum, however, that’s a different discussion)


My family members were all for the legalisation or same-sex marriage so there were no problems there. The real opposition came from uneducated agricultural workers. This is a cultural aspect of Western Ireland. “Culchies” is what they are typically referred to. It has two definitions depending on the region. Dubliners use “culchie” as a term, sometimes derogatory, to refer to people living in the countryside, this includes villages and small towns. Outside of Dublin and other cities, it means as I stated. I will be using it in the context as I stated. Culchies have a culture of dropping out of secondary school after their Junior Cert, this is about the age of 15/16. They typically take over the family farm from their father or sometimes their mother, depending on the patriarchical nature of most Irish marriages. Due to this dropping out, they get an education which leaves much more to be desired, they don’t move out of their comfort zone, metaphorically and literally. You get my point: the devout Catholic, uneducated, male who knows no struggle. Since they inherit form their parents, there is no reason to believe that their parents did different and therefore also hold bigoted views.


Now, Roscommon, being the agricultural centre of Ireland, is expected to have this phenomenon in abundance. You would be correct. This is the results of the referendum:

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Yes, that one red spot is Roscommon. The same pattern occurs elsewhere, the agricultural centres are the most homophobic. Of course, working-class sectors and areas of a lower-income come into play also. These maps show these correlations.

 

 

Now, these observations are nothing new, of course education and therefore, income play a role in this. But what I’m calling for is a fair distribution of government investment in institutions across the country, particularly in the west and north-west. Conditions cannot improve without government intervention.


Progress does not appear from a politician’s signature but from real investment in education and in people’s lives. The LGBTQI+ community may have the legalisation of same-sex marriage but liberation does not come from concessions from an elite that does not care for us but from empowering us, from our right to narrate our experiences and the complete, unquestionable co-option of us into society as a whole. This does not mean integration per se and not the “acceptance” of our right to marry. Capitalism holds us back from liberation like a spider under the umbrella of a glass, wholly impossible.


 

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