The Politics of James Connolly

The Politics of James Connolly

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By Kieran Allen

James Connolly, the founder of the Marxist movement in Ireland, is firmly in the pantheon of nationalist heroes, yet his work and ideas are rarely discussed and still less understood. Too often they have been used and distorted to justify particular political positions. Beyond Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, conservative Irish nationalists and the Church have also claimed Connolly as their own, going to great lengths to downplay his commitment to international socialism. And for the Irish left the dilemma remains of how to interpret Connolly's nationalism. The Politics of James Connolly makes no such attempt to claim Connolly for a particular tradition. Approaching Connolly's ideas from a revolutionary socialist perspective, Kieran Allen assesses both the strengths and weaknesses of his revolutionary strategy, arguing that, ultimately, Connolly's enduring relevance derives from his anti-imperialism. Any socialist movement today ignores this at its peril.