‘Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot.’*
The above quote by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the Soviet leader, encapsulates the situation between Ireland and Britain. Often described as the ‘Irish Problem’ the almost thousand-year struggle of the Irish to get the British off their backs and out of their country should be called the ‘British Problem’, as it’s the colonising country that has caused, and is still causing, the problem.
In all that time the Irish have fought for their freedom, sometimes in an organised and conscious manner, most times just out of frustration and anger. They have achieved some victories, made many mistake and have produced enough martyrs for a dozen countries. But they have never been defeated.
It might have taken a few years for liberation forces to regroup and raise yet again the banner of freedom but there have always been a select few in every generation who have done so.
Although the struggle has been going on for centuries when a revolutionary upsurge occurs it’s always depicted in Britain as having virtually ‘come from nowhere’, that it’s just the fault of ‘hotheads’ or the current buzzword to denigrate the opposition, ‘terrorists’. If the British people don’t really have a great understanding of their own history they have even less understanding of what has happened across the relatively short distance of the Irish Sea. Perhaps it’s a consequence of colonialism, remembering their history is a way that the colonised can maintain their identity.
The aim of the pages on the blog related to this is to attempt to provide a resource for some of the historical material that will enable both the Irish patriots to learn about their own history and struggle as well as making this material available to any others, from the imperial country or further afield, so they might better understand the why of the struggle in the most westerly island of Europe.
Ireland is the British problem in the sense the British state has always been able to divide workers from the two countries based upon ignorance and by using the racism card and thereby the attention of British workers has not been directed against the main enemy, the capitalist state in which they live and from which it is attacking fellow workers in a neighbouring country.
Much of this material was produced (or at least made readily available) in the 1960s and 1970s. The political climate is different now and much of this material might be difficult to access. Hopefully these pages will fill, if only in a minor way, that knowledge gap.
Ireland was Britain’s first colony we should make it its last.
*VI Lenin, The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, Selected Works, Vol 20, p413