Almost a century ago, an armed insurrection took place in Ireland to end British rule and to establish an independent Irish Republic. The 1916 Rising was soon accompanied by major popular revolts against World War One across Europe and later emulated by anti-colonial movements across the Global South.
When it comes to remembering the 1916 Rising, why do conservative politicians and historians want to convince us that it would have been better for us if Pearse and Connolly had stayed at home? Why did the state parade lots of military equipment and personnel down O’Connell Street to mark the centenary? Why did so many people turn out to watch it?
This panel attempts to think through the meaning of 1916 for us today, and the politics at stake in how these events are remembered, forgotten, and mis-remembered.
The IRA CEASEFIRE is approaching its first anniversary. That year has been striking for two things, on the one hand the success of the 'peace process' in turning Sinn Féin from demonised pariahs to lauded peace makers. On the other hand, the failure of the process to produce any substantial gains for the nationalist community.
THE 12th OF JULY, always a high point of tension, was used this year by the 'respectable' unionist parties to try to provoke the IRA into breaking the ceasefire. Nothing made this clearer than the events surrounding the attempts of Orangemen in Portadown to march through the Garvaghy Road nationalist estate.
Revolutionary martyrs, being unable to speak for themselves, are liable to be claimed by all sorts of organisations with whom in real life they would have had little in common. When they are of national or international importance, like the Irish syndicalist James Connolly, this also mean that biographies often tend to be very partisan affairs, aimed at recruiting the dead to one cause or another. The story of their life becomes reduced to a morality tale whose conclusion is whatever positions the author holds dear today.
Ken Loaches 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' got its North American release this week. In many ways this film is similar to his earlier film 'Land and Freedom' in seeking to introduce the elements of class struggle in both events to a mainstream audience which would only be aware of them as interesting military conflicts.
Today for the first time since 1918 the population of Ireland, north and south are going to the polls. The questions are somewhat different in the two jurisdictions but they amount to the same thing, acceptance or rejection of the Stormont 'peace' deal.
Sunday 3rd February 2002 saw the 30th Bloody Sunday march, held on the nearest Sunday 30 years after 13 marchers were shot dead by the British army and another 14 wounded (one fatally). Somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people (RTE "more than 20,000 people") followed the original route of the march from the Creggan down through the Brandywell to the Bogside