1913 & 1916: The Irish Chapter of a Global Political Awakening


  • Socialist ReviewThird World Revolution: At the beginning of the last century a series of revolutions in Russia (1905), Turkey (1906), Persia (1909), Mexico (1910), China (1911) and Ireland (1916) announced that the inhabitants of the colonial world were not prepared to be passive spectators of the historical process.
  • La Nacion (Argentina) – Currents of the Arab Revolution: On April 19, 1775, the first battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought on the bridge of Concord, Massachusetts. Recalling this episode, Emerson coined a phrase that Toynbee cited as the basis of his later reflections: “the shot heard ‘round the world.”
    That shot, said Toynbee, traveled round the world. “It had been heard in France [and in Ireland – ed.] before the eighteenth century was over. It was heard in Spanish America and in Greece while the nineteenth century was still young. In 1848 … the sound reverberated, like a thunderclap, over the whole of Continental Europe. … The sound was heard in Paris again in 1871; this time the Commune was Paris’s response to it. Traveling on eastward, the sound touched off the Russian revolution of 1905, the Persian revolution of 1906, and the Turkish revolution of 1908. By that date it had already roused the Founding Fathers of the Indian National Congress. … The Indian Congress Movement has been the mother of all the independence movements in all the Asian and African countries … that, till recently, have been under the rule of West European colonial powers.”
    The echo of that shot continued producing social upheavals: in Mexico, in 1910; in China, in 1911; [in Ireland in 1916 – ed.] in Russia, in 1917; in Turkey, in 1919; once again in China, in 1948; in Cuba, in 1959. It is evident that many of these movements failed and gave way to regimes that distorted the initial objectives. The main thread that Toynbee saw in them, however, is the people’s yearning and search for greater dignity, freedom and equality.
  • Charles GlassSpirit of 1848: the Middle East in the 1920s and intermittently in the 1930s saw almost every Arab population rebelling against colonial rule by France, Great Britain, and Italy. In Europe immediately before that, post-Great War revolutions produced fascism, Bolshevism, and, ultimately, another war.    The flowering of rebellion from Morocco to Iran resembles nothing so much as Europe’s myriad revolutions in 1848. These revolutionaries had little in common with one another beyond a dissatisfaction with the status quo, but they shared the goals of universal (male) suffrage, freedom of speech, and the end of feudal landholders who reduced peasants to rent slaves.
  • Irish Liberty ForumIrish Declaration of Independence: Irish Independence was declared on the 21st of January 1919 by the revolutionary parliament of the Republic of Ireland known as Dáil Eireann. Irish independence was initially recognised by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic but was not internationally recognised until January 1922. This week the official state celebration of the event was held in the Mansion House which is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. However the events are typically not broadcast to the public and unofficially ordinary citizens cannot take part in the celebration. No official reason is given to why Irish people do not celebrate this historic date… Two of Ireland’s major republican influences, the United States of America and France, do not celebrate their independence on the day they officially became republics but on the day they declared their republics. It is important that Ireland continues this republican tradition and celebrates the day of the declaration of the republic.
  • Andrew Gavin MarshallAre We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?: The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening… That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing… The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy [- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former U.S. National Security Advisor, Co-Founder of the Trilateral Commission]
  • Michael Collins‘It is the day of the workers’ (letter to sister, Hannie, 10/November, 1918): ‘Well, things are moving fast. New Republics every day – Russia gone, the Balkans, Austria-Hungary and now Germany. As the “Manchester Guardian” said in a thoughtful leading article last week – “the Generals may make an armistice but who can make peace?” Who indeed? .. The situation is most interesting and it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit to see Bolshevism rearing its head in France “at no far distant date”. It is the day of the workers and even England itself, sedate & careful as its population are, is hardly likely to be left untouched.’
  • The Weekly Worker (UK): “Cracks in the State Apparatus”: … back in the annals of history, there are the police strikes that let to their illegalisation in 1918-19. The first – on August 29, 1918 – led Lloyd George to remark, years later, that “the country was nearer to Bolshevism that day than at any time since”.
    His worry was not without justification.

A list of world-wide uprisings, 10 years on each side of the 1913 Irish General Strike:

(With help from Wikipedia)

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This entry was posted in Civil Disobedience, Geopolitics, History, Ideology, Independence/Nationalism, ireland, War & Peace and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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