“Out of all this turmoil and fighting the Irish working class movement has evolved, is evolving, amongst its members a higher conception of mutual life, a realisation of their duties to each other and to society at large, and are thus building for the future a way that ought to gladden the hearts of all lovers of the race. In contrast to the narrow, restricted outlook of the Capitalist class and even of certain old-fashioned trade unionists, with their perpetual insistence upon ‘rights,’ it insists, almost fiercely, that there are no rights without duties, and the first duty is to help one another. This is, indeed, revolutionary and disturbing, but not half as much as would be a practical following out of the moral precepts of Christianity.”
Here we get some measure of the man and of his creed. To the part he played in the Easter Week Rebellion I must refer in its own proper place. That the Dublin Strike and its consequences had a profound effect on later events, this quotation from “AE” will show. In a famous “open letter” to the employers he declared:
“The men whose manhood you have broken will loathe you and will be always brooding and scheming to strike a fresh blow. The children will be taught to curse you. The infant being moulded in the womb will have breathed into its starved body the vitality of hate. It is not they—it is you who are blind Samsons pulling down the pillars of the social order.”
The poet oftentimes has the vision to see in clear outline what the politician and the Pharisee cannot even glimpse.
At any rate this may be asserted, that from the year of the Dublin Strike dates the uprise of Labour in Ireland. Connolly became a martyr for his principles, whilst Larkin has been hunted from one end of the world to the other because of his doctrines, undoubtedly of an extremely revolutionary character. But able men have arisen to continue the work they inaugurated and Labour in Ireland has now formally insisted on its right to be a political Party as well as a social organisation. It no longer circumscribes its aspirations to purely industrial issues and social concerns, but it takes its place on the stage of larger happenings and events and is like to play a great part in the moulding of the Ireland that will arise when the old vicious systems and forms are shattered for evermore.
CARSON, ULSTER AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
With the nearness of the time when Home Rule must automatically become law, unless something happened to interfere, events began to move rapidly. The Tory Party, largely, I believe, through political considerations, had unalterably taken sides with Ulster. The Liberal Party were irresolute, wavering, pusillanimous. Mr Redmond’s followers began to be uneasy—they commenced to falter in their blind faith that they had only to trust Asquith and all would be well.