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Connolly and the 1916 Easter Uprising Ted Grant 1966 On 17th April 1916 the Irish Citizen Army together with the Irish Volunteers rose up in arms against the might of the British Empire to strike a blow for Irish freedom and for the setting up of an Irish Republic Their blow for freedom was to reverberate round the world and preceded the first Russian Revolution by almost a year The background to the rebellion was the centuries of national oppression suffered by the Irish people in the interests of British landlordism and capitalism In this they had the support of the Irish landlords and capitalists of the Catholic hierarchy who were linked by ties of interest to the Imperialists and joined with them in fear of the Irish workers and peasants It is impossible to understand the Easter Rising without understanding the ideas of its leader James Connolly who considered himself a Marxist and based himself on the ideas of Internationalism and the class struggle Like MacLean in Britain Lenin and Trotsky Liebknecht and Luxemburg and other Internationalists Connolly regarded with horror the betrayal by the leaders of the Labour movement in all countries in supporting the Imperialist War Dealing with the betrayal of the Second International Connolly declared in his paper The Workers Republic If these men must die would it not be better to die in their own country fighting for freedom for their class and for the abolition of war than to go forth to strange countries and die slaughtering and slaughtered by their brothers that tyrants and profiteers might live Protesting against the support by the British TUC of the war Connolly wrote Time was when the unanimous voice of that Congress declared that the working class had no enemy except the capitalist class - that of its own country at the head of the list Connolly stood for national freedom as a step towards the Irish Socialist Republic But while
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