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The 1916 insurrection in Ireland and class struggle in the War of Independence
Freedom, left republicanism and anarchism
Article published on 18 April 2012
last modification on 4 April 2012

by r-c.
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In April 1916 in Dublin a combination of nationalist volunteers and a syndicalist union militia (Irish Citizens Army) seized control of key building in the centre of the city and declared a republic. After a week of fierce fighting in which a large part of the city centre was destroyed the British army crushed the rebels. In the weeks that followed they executed the leadership including IWW member James Connolly.

This article is an anarchist analysis of the 1916 insurrection and the war of independence in the context of the struggle for socialism in Ireland and internationally. It concentrates on the ’unknown’ but intense class struggle that ran alongside the war of independence and the role republicanism played in the suppression of that struggle. It asks ’what is freedom’ and shows how anarchism originated amongst earlier European left republicans as an answer to the limitations of republicanism.


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