6. Civil War and Retreat


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Civil War period and Irish labour

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6. Civil War and Retreat

  1. 1. Lecture Six: Civil War and Retreat, 1921-24
  2. 2. Lecture Seven: Civil War and Retreat, 1921-24 1. Post-War slump 2. The Nationalist State realized 3. Liam Mellows and call to Labour 4. Larkin and the Labour movement
  3. 3. 1. The Post-War slump - During 1921, Irish manufacturing trade almost halved. By December, over 26 per cent of workers were idle - In Britain, wages were ‘getting back to normal’ following the collapse of the Triple Alliance of railwaymen, miners and transport unions on ‘Black Friday’ and the subsequent isolation and defeat of the miners’ strike against pay cuts
  4. 4. BLACK FRIDAY - 21 April 1921 - Triple Alliance: the NUR, the National Transport Workers' Federation, and the Miners' Federation of Great Britain - Decision by the transport and rail unions in Great Britain not to support the miners in their strike - Black Friday refers to the sense of betrayal felt by ordinary trade union members within the unions - Union leadership went for sectional interests over class interests
  5. 5. 1. The Post-War slump - In Ireland, particularly the South, the effect of ‘Black Friday’ was limited by the political and military situation - Not possible to deploy troops to break trade unions due to the Anglo-Irish truce, July-December 1921, and subsequent civil war. - August 1921, Trade Union Congress pledges to ‘hold the harvest’ of wage gains, and to prioritise unity in the impending struggle. “The Irish Labour Party has advised that in all industries where notice of reduction in wages or attacks on working conditions are made, all the unions in this trade or that industry should come together… and pledge themselves to stand firmly to the bitter end.” Tom Foran, ILP&TUC president, August 1921
  6. 6. - 22 August 1921. Carrigan Tribunal established. - December 1921 – Carrigan report - finds in favour of wage reductions and extenstion of hours - 10 February 1922 – Carrigan Tribunal suspended for six months
  7. 7. 2. The Nationalist State realised - October 1921, abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board - 7 January 1922 – ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty - 26 March ‘22 – IRA members meet and vote to repudiate the treaty. Led by Liam Mellows and Rory O’Connor. - 14 April ‘22 – anti-treaty forces led by O’Connor and Mellows seize the Four Courts, Dublin. - 28 June ‘22 – Collins orders the shelling of the Four Courts, seen as definitive start to the Civil War
  8. 8. 2. The Nationalist State realised - 8 December 1922, Rory O'Connor, Liam Mellows, Dick Barrett and Joe McKelvey are executed in retaliation for the killing of Seán Hales. - 24 May 1923 – Frank Aiken and Eamon deValera call on anti-treaty forces to disarm and return home. "Further sacrifice on your part would now be in vain and the continuance of the struggle in arms unwise in the national interest. Military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic"
  9. 9. 3. Liam Mellows and the Call to Labour NOTES FROM MOUNTJOY - a series of three letters -the first letter is dated 25 August, the second 29 August and the third 9 September 1922) about the current crisis of Republicanism. 1. The Programme of Democratic control (the social programme) - should be translated into something definite. This is essential if the great body of workers are to be kept on the side of Independence - This does not require a change of outlook on the part of Republicans, or the adoption of a revolutionary programme as such. The headline is there in the Declaration of 1919. It is already part of the Republican policy. It should be made clear what is meant by it. Would suggest therefore that it be interpreted something like the following which appeared in the Workers' Republic of July 22nd last.
  10. 10. - is well to note that the I.R.A. Executive had already taken up the question of the demesnes and ranches and had adopted a scheme for their confiscation and distribution. In view of unprincipled attacks of the Labour Party, and because of the landless and homeless Irish Republican soldiers who fought against Britain, it might be well to publish this scheme in whole or in part. We should certainly keep Irish Labour for the Republic: it will be possibly the biggest factor on our side. Anything that will prevent Irish Labour becoming Imperialist and "respectable" will help the Republic. As a sidelight on Johnson, O'Brien, O'Shannon and Co. it will interest you to know that when they called on us in the Four Courts last May they (particularly Johnson) remarked that no effort had been made to put the Democratic Programme into execution.
  11. 11. In our efforts now to win back public support to the Republic we are forced to recognise - whether we like it or not- that the commercial interest, so called, money and the gombeen men are on the side of the Treaty, because the Treaty means Imperialism and England. We are back to Tone - and it is just as well-relying on that great body "the men of no property". The "stake in the country" people were never with the Republic. They are not with it now-and they will always be against it- until it wins. We should recognise that definitely now and base our appeals upon the understanding and needs of those who have always borne Ireland's fight. Even though the decision of the election of 1918 stands; even though the Declaration of Independence remains a fact; even though the election of June 1922 was an "agreed election" at which no issue was put or decided, yet, because of the interpetation put upon it by the Treatyites… it is essential that the Republic be over again affirmed by the people as soon as possible. When that may be no one can tell, but we cannot look too far ahead, in the meantime the Provisional Republican Government should endeavour to "carry on"
  12. 12. 4. Larkin and the Labour movement