Insurrections - the armed rising of the people - has always been close to the heart of anarchism. The first programmatic documents of the anarchist movement were created by Bakunin and a group of European left-republican insurrectionists as they made the transition to anarchism in Italy in the 1860's. This was not a break with insurrectionism but with left-republicanism, shortly afterwards Bakunin was to take part in an insurrection in Lyon in 1870.
The Easter 1916 rising in Dublin is often portrayed simply as nationalist blood sacrifice but it can also be examined as an insurrection which was seriously planned to defeat the British army. It is credited with transforming political attitudes in Ireland, leading to the partally successful war of independance but nationalist histories tend to understate the other reasons why the situation was transformed and to completely ignore the wave of workers struggles that broke out during the war.
This article is an anarchist analysis of the 1916 insurrection and the war of independence in the context of the struggle for socialism in Ireland and internationally. It concentrates on the ‘unknown’ but intense class struggle that ran alongside the war of independence and the role republicanism played in the suppression of that struggle. It asks ‘what is freedom’ and shows how anarchism originated amongst earlier European left republicans as an answer to the limitations of republicanism
On the 23rd of May 1798 the largest popular republican rising in Irish history began. Across the island tens of thousands fought under the banner of the United Irishmen. Hundreds of thousands had been sworn into the organization in the preceding four years. On four occasions revolutionary France sent thousands of troops to aid the rebellion, the United Irishmen had built contacts with revolutionary republicans across the globe, including the USA, France, Hamburg and England. The response of the British state to the rise of the United Irishmen was a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that stirred up sectarian conflict on the island. 1798 thus came to shape much of the political struggles that took place in the following centuries. [Article in Spanish]