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Sir James Connolly.

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Sir James Connolly James Connolly was born to irish parents in Edinburgh in 1868. From an early age, he showed an interesting in history, economics and politics and spent much time reading and studying. perhaps becasue of his Irish parents, he developed and interest in the Irish struggle for Home Rule and in the land question. He spent some time in Ireland with the British army and seeing the people's struggle first nad arose his interest even further. He returned to Edinburgh and spent some time working for a Scottish socialist, John Leslie. He taught him public speaking and effective hand writing, two skills which were to become invaluable to Connolly. He joined the Scottish Socialist Federation and the Independent Labour Party and was blacklisted by the employers of Edinburgh and so was foced to move to Dubln. Here he set up the Irish Socialist Republican Party in 1898. ...read more.


Connolly and Larkin had both hoped that British trade Unionists would stage a cympath strike. When this didn't happen, their hopes were dashed and they struggled to maintain the pace of the strike with the little funds they had. When workers were shipped in from London and England there was little they could do about it. The Irish workers were too weak after months of starvation for a stand-off between the two groups. The strike failed and the workers drifted back to work. Connolly was forced to re-examine the Marxist idea of supra-national class unity. The outbreak of World War I added to his disillusion with class theories. In congress after congress, the international socialist had denounced war as a device used by capitalists to control their workers, yet when the war broke out, all the great socialist parties across Europe called on their members to fight for their respective countries. ...read more.


Whether or not Connolly thought the Rebellion had any chance of succeeding is unclear. The insurgents policy of occupying buildings and waiting to be driven out suggests that their principal aim was to make a gesture. It is also possible that they were influenced by Connolly's belief that the British would never use artillery against them because it would destroy capitalist property. Connolly took on the position of military command of the insurrection, though in the end he directed only the fighting in the G.P.O. Connolly guessed wrong about the British and when they brought in the heavy artillery, the rebellion was quickly crushed. Connolly was executed in a chair because he couldn't stand due to the injuries he sustained in teh G.P.O. However, many believe that it is thanks to his sacrificing his life, along with the other signatries, that the Free State came into being. Connolly's achievements are not highlighted as much as those of Pearse or Larkin, but there is no doubt that he made a major contribution to both the nationalist and labour causes. ...read more.

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