Strikes and Revolution
The Workers’ Republic, 24 July 1915.
From P.J. Musgrove (ed.), James Connolly: A Socialist and War (1914-1916), London 1941, a collection of Connolly’s anti-war articles published on behalf of the Communist Party of Great Britain shortly before the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Transcription & HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Proofread by Chris Clayton, August 2007.
We wish this week to congratulate our Welsh Comrades upon the successful outcome of their resistance to the attempt of the Government to dragoon them into submission. We congratulate them all the more heartily because we realise that had the Government succeeded in terrorising them we might all have bidden a long farewell to our industrial liberties. Successful in Wales, the capitalist class that runs these islands would have been ruthless in Ireland. We are aware, of course, that the people of this country do not possess the same public rights as are freely exercised in Great Britain. But we also know that the measure of liberty enjoyed in Great Britain has a direct bearing upon the measure of liberty permitted in Ireland.
That which the people of England enjoy as a right we in Ireland are sometimes permitted to exercise as a great favour, but if the people of England can only enjoy it as a favour then we will never be allowed it at all. Every loss of freedom in England entails a still greater loss in Ireland; every victory for popular liberty in England means a slight loosening of our shackles in Ireland. This is humiliating, as everything in Ireland is humiliating to-day. But we do not destroy the humiliation by refusing to recognise it. The humiliation is part and parcel of the price we pay for the degradation of being members of a subject nation – fit only to fight the battles of their conquerors.
The Welsh miners have attested the value of solidarity. They demonstrated that the Government feared to prosecute any resolute body which defied them, and to the cautious whispers of those who declared that the Government desired to make an example of them, they fearlessly answered that they were ready any time that the Government wanted to try that sort of thing.
This was the right spirit. It proves again that the only rebellious spirit left in the modern world is in the possession of those who have been accustomed to drop tools at a moment’s notice in defence of a victimised or unjustly punished comrade. The man who is prepared to lose his job in defence of a comrade is prepared to lose his life in the same or a greater cause, and out of such willingness to sacrifice the perfect fighting army of revolution may at any moment be fashioned.
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Last updated on 28.9.2007