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Was the Irish revolution/rebellion from 1916 extremely conservative?


james5001

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When looking at the changes in structure of Irish politics and society from before the Irish revolution/rebellion to after it, I notice how very little of the power structure changed and the radical beliefs and policies proposed by many of the rebels didn't come into being when the Free State was in its infancy and even beyond.

The Democratic Programme of the First Dail put in place a vision which was generally socialist in belief, i.e.
''the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland'',
''to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter'',
''It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation's resources... in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people''.
The rhetoric-laden Programme turned out to be just that- rhetoric.
An insight into the thinking of some of the prominent Irish politicians of the day can be seen in W T Cosgrave's private remarks in 1921. Cosgrave was SF's Minister for Local Government at the time.

People reared in workhouses, as you are aware, are no great acquisition to the community and they have no ideas whatsoever of civic responsibilities. As a rule their highest aim is to live at the expense of the ratepayers. Consequently, it would be a decided gain if they all took it into their heads to emigrate.
This kind of thinking shows how some members of the government viewed those on the edge of society, trying to survive; more of a burden than of a problem which needed addressing immediately. This mindset is in stark contrast to the Programme of 1919, with its wish in-

abolishing the present odious, degrading and foreign Poor Law System, substituting therefor a sympathetic native scheme for the care of the Nation's aged and infirm, who shall not be regarded as a burden, but rather entitled to the Nation's gratitude and consideration
The centralised control of the Irish government proceeding the revolution/rebellion brings forward the question of whether the newly elected politicians really wanted to give Irish citizens the right ''to the unfettered control of Irish destinies'' or was it just about getting into power and holding onto power?
 

ruserious

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''the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland'',
''to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter'',
''It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation's resources... in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people''.
That's not socialist. It's called being a good person.
 

james5001

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That's not socialist. It's called being a good person.
''The right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland''

''It shall be the duty of the Republic to adopt all measures necessary for the recreation and invigoration of our Industries, and to ensure their being developed on the most beneficial and progressive co-operative and industrial lines.''

''It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek co-operation of the Governments of other countries in determining a standard of Social and Industrial Legislation with a view to a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour.''
 

truthisfree

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People reared in workhouses, as you are aware, are no great acquisition to the community and they have no ideas whatsoever of civic responsibilities. As a rule their highest aim is to live at the expense of the ratepayers. Consequently, it would be a decided gain if they all took it into their heads to emigrate.
This attitude has not changed one bit....
 

james5001

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This attitude has not changed one bit....
“we shouldn’t be defeatist or pessimistic about it. We should be proud of it. After all, we can’t all live on a small island.”
Brian Lenihan, Tanaiste, 1987, quoted as saying this in Newsweek.
 

oggy

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Heading rapidly to old age and have yet to meet a human being who wasnt born a conservative . Humans have the habit of conserving what is right and of value and nervous of change.
Have yet to meet a natural born liberal, any people I have met with liberalism tended to be conservatives with a brain
 

Heligoland

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There was a counter revolution. It's not taught about in schools, but it happened.

 

Analyzer

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Sovereignty lasted until the Treaty of Maastricht.
 

The Owl

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I think it is genuinely hard to try and place ourselves in the Ireland, the world in fact that existed back then. Obviously, like all politicians, the shower were trying to please various factions and needed to ensure that (a) the ordinary people would stand with them but more importantly (b) that those with money, power and status both here and abroad would note that this new Irish Government would use what funds were made available to them to promote the markets and build an economy that would benefit the rich which would make them more inclined to invest, hence the disgusting (nowadays) remark about those unfortunates in work-houses. Probably the equivilant of those posters here who attack those on social welfare and talk of them as if they were of no moment. Putting on display their stall, so to speak.

I know from my own grandparents and mother that life was bloody hard for a very long time for the ordinary people. Alfie Byrne promising "running water on each landing" for the tenaments in Dublin. Even the huge undertaking of building Corporation Houses in the early 1930s in the suburbs of Dublin, like Crumlin, was an eye-opener for me. A bath in the kitchen. The toilet outside the back door off the kitchen in a porch and no electricity running into that room where the toilet was, so no light. But why would one need light when one brought a bucket up to the landing every night. These houses were mansions to the people who moved out of the tenaments into "the country" as they used to say

So looking at documents or films from the far past is foreign to us, and strange. The only thing we would recognise are the politicians. A special breed they are. Neither socialist or conservative but rather whatever fits their backers and their own pockets, of course.
 

Analyzer

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We are enthusiastic socialists now.

The state owns the banks. The state amounts to more than half national income, even though it produces no products, and a lot of dodgy services.

And then we have socialism for gamblers holding Seanie Bonds.

We also had a very liberal approach to finance in the past twenty years. Both at a micro level, and at a macro level.

Whatever about 1916, we are definitely something different now.

We had ambition, humility, an eagerness for action, and a directness when we went working on achieving our freedom.

That seems to have morphed into a silliness, pretensciousness, arrogance, narcisism, intellectual laziness, and a willingness to follow compromised media influence, in the 1990s.
 
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It was a very conservative revolution indeed - the socialists were given lip-service but effectively marginalized. De Valera, Collins, and Griffith were all well to the right of centre. The Democratic Programme only passed because most representatives were on the run or in jail.

We had an opportunity to build a new Ireland from scratch, but chose instead just to have a native elite take over where the foreign elite had left off.
 

DaveM

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It was a very conservative revolution indeed - the socialists were given lip-service but effectively marginalized. De Valera, Collins, and Griffith were all well to the right of centre. The Democratic Programme only passed because most representatives were on the run or in jail.

We had an opportunity to build a new Ireland from scratch, but chose instead just to have a native elite take over where the foreign elite had left off.
The Democratic Programme was the quid pro quo for Labour not fielding candidates in the 1918 and allowing SF a clear run. Thomas Jacobson was the primary author of the document. SF never had any real intention of implementing it.
 

oggy

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Lucky FF was around from 1926 as who knows where we would have ended up with Labour looking to Russia and then when FG came along they were looking to Germany
 

True Republican

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Lucky FF was around from 1926 as who knows where we would have ended up with Labour looking to Russia and then when FG came along they were looking to Germany
Even I don;t believe Labour were a communist party in the 20's and 30's and FG were certainly not a fascist party apart from the idiot O'Duffy.
 

ruserious

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Lucky FF was around from 1926 as who knows where we would have ended up with Labour looking to Russia and then when FG came along they were looking to Germany
After the last FF government, many are looking into the drain.
 

oggy

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Ed O'Leary

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Its wasn't a revolution- the time for that had passed decades before.

the breaking up of the large estates allowing the establishment of a rural owing property class in a primarily agrarian economy and rural dwelling society, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland allowing the Catholic Church primacy in Education and its defacto position as the most powerful organisation in the country and the emigration of millions ensured that Ireland was a conservative country long before the turn of the century

It would be more accurate to liken what happened to the American war of independence - it was a guerilla war of independence conducted by no more than 1600 individuals at the most - with the rest of the population sitting on the sidelines to see who would come out on top.

the democratic programme was thrown in as a sop to the times (Russian revolution) and as a bribe in the same way Political parties throw in fantastic populist rubbish that they know there isn't a chance on gods earth of it ever being acheived

There was no revolution - there was never an opportunity to start from scratch - nationalism was the driving force - not socialism or anything like it.
 
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True Republican

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socialism doesn't work, as the kevin o'higgins rightly described this document as "pie in the sky".
 

PO'Neill

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The Democratic Programme of the First Dail put in place a vision which was generally socialist in belief, i.e.

The rhetoric-laden Programme turned out to be just that- rhetoric.
Coming from a Marxist - that's something :roll: “Workers of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!” :roll:
 

Rocky

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The Democratic Programme was the quid pro quo for Labour not fielding candidates in the 1918 and allowing SF a clear run. Thomas Jacobson was the primary author of the document. SF never had any real intention of implementing it.
Very true. Michael Collins described it as nothing but poetry.

There was a few exceptions but in general, SF & the IRA were conservative revoluntaries who had no interest in any social revolution, but a political revolution and the establishment of an Irish democratic and capitalist state. Even throughout the WOI they generally were very respectful of property rights and the owning classes.

Most major figures in Sinn Fein, had a chance to implement their polices in an Indpendent Ireland either through CnaG/FG or FF and both were conservative.
 
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