Workers' Liberty #59


What is Irish Republicanism?

What happened when

December 1918: Westminster election. Sinn Fein wins 73 of the 105 Irish seats and sets up a separate Irish parliament, Dail Eireann.

January 1919 - July 1921: War of Independence. Truce in July 1921.

September 1921: Communist Party of Ireland founded.

December 1921: Collins and Griffith, under threat from Britain of "immediate and terrible war", sign a Treaty which gives the 26 Counties of southern Ireland "Dominion" status - like Canada or Australia - but requires them to keep allegiance to the British monarchy and keep British naval bases in Ireland.

June 1922: After the Treaty has been approved by the Dail, and then in a Free State general election, the Free State government launches civil war against the diehard Republicans.

May 1923: The IRA "dumps arms" and abandons the civil war.

October 1923: Moscow launches the "Peasant International" (Krestintern).

Late 1923: The Comintern tells the CPI to dissolve and join the Irish Workers' League, set up by trade-union leader Jim Larkin after his return from the USA.

June-July 1924: At its Fifth Congress, the Comintern codifies a turn towards looking for nationalist movements and "worker-peasant parties" which can supplement the Communist Parties as foreign allies of the USSR.

November 1925: The IRA separates from Sinn Fein. Most of Sinn Fein goes with De Valera into Fianna Fail (1926) and into parliamentary politics. The IRA swings left, to sympathy for the USSR and (Stalinised) communism.

1926: A section of the old CPI reconstitutes itself as the Workers' Party of Ireland, outside the IWL. The Comintern tells them to dissolve and rejoin the IWL. Some do; the rest maintain the WPI for two or three years longer.

August 1927: De Valera's faction of Sinn Fein, now called Fianna Fail, take their seats in the Dail.

1930: The Comintern, giving up on Larkin's Irish Workers' League, reorganises its Irish supporters as the "Revolutionary Workers' Groups" and then (from June 1933) as a new "Communist Party of Ireland".

July 1931: The IRA launches a political party, Saor Eire, pledged to fight "Irish capitalism". It is quickly quashed by condemnation from the Bishops and government repression.

December 1931: The Statute of Westminster concedes almost complete independence to the "Dominions" of the British Empire - the Free State included.

February 1932: De Valera wins a general election. Over the next six years his government levers the Free State into full political independence. The 26 Counties are neutral in World War 2, 1939 to 1945.

Back to the contents page for this issue of Workers' Liberty

Back to the Workers' Liberty magazine index

[ Home | Publications | Links ]