Saturday, March 17, 2012

ST. Patricks Day. An Irish Day?

An Irish Day. Not "St" Patricks Day. A Reprint.

"Capitalism teaches the people the moral conceptions of cannibalism are the strong devouring the weak; its theory of the world of men and women is that of a glorified pig-trough where the biggest swine gets the most swill. James Conolly
This Patrick person spearheaded the drive into Ireland of Christianity. Along with British Colonialism and later British Imperialism one of the great destructive forces in Ireland. Along with beginning the break up the clan system ownership of land and opening the door to the landlords Christianity meant the destruction of the place of women in the old Irish culture. Under the old laws women had much greater rights than under Christianity and landlordism and capitalism. Under these old laws for example women could divorce their husbands for seven reasons. These included if he got too fat, if he became impotent, if he talked about them behind their back, if he left a bruise on their skin. Another example was that rape was defined as including telling women lies to have sex with them. There is a legend that a woman went to petition Patrick to ask him to stop destroying womens rights.
The story is that he ordered his chariot driver to drive over her and killed her.

Here in Chicago there is the, "St Patricks Day" parade. I went one time but got so angry that I had to leave. Its run by an Irish American dominated union and local Irish American capitalist politicians. The leaders of the union involved and the local politicians want to claw their way up into American upper class life. This ambition of theirs would not be helped by celebrating the great revolutionary traditions of Irish history. I mean the Chicago bourgeoisie would not trust Daly (the former mayor) to be their front man if he was marching behind a portrait of James Connolly the great Irish revolutionary and socialist. So they have to sanitize the history. To fill the vacuum this creates they have the wee green people, the green river, the green backs pouring into the Irish American pubs. Then there is the pipe bands. I love the pipes but then the main band is the Chicago cops pipe band marching in scottish tartans. Try enjoying the pipes when they are being played by an organization with their history of repression and murder of the Haymarket leaders, the union organizers, the Black Panthers. Its not possible.

But I am managing to celebrate and to consider what it means to have been born in Ireland. I went to a show here where Colin Dunne was dancing and Liz Carroll was fiddling and after read a wee bit of Joyce. To see these artists perform is to be reminded that in spite of everything neither the British ruling classes nor Christianity was able to destroy the Irish culture. When Liz Carroll plays the fiddle its like being home again. And when Dunne struts his arrogant aggressive feet across the stage it is to think of the generations of dancers who kept the dance alive. Now it is leaping out of the straitjacket that anti-sexual Christianity tried to keep it in, and being enjoyed by hundreds of millions across the world in spite of the attempt by the British ruling classes to wipe it out. And to read Joyce is to celebrate the powerful resilience of the spirit and the great drive to speak in our own words and our own thoughts. Wee Joyce was a fighter.

Tonight I am speaking at a meeting and party about the Derry uprising of 1969. This is being organized by the local chapter of the anti-racist action. These young people organize against the Klan and the various racist organizations. To the meeting/party tonight they have invited a Mexican anti-racist skin head group and a Polish anti-racist skinhead group. I am looking forward to speaking about Derry and the events there. Hip Hop music will follow. It will be a wild night altogether. As a concession to my environment I got a friend to make a leprauchaun. But not a bourgeois lep.

You know the bourgeois lep is smoking a pipe, obviously pushing the line of the tobacco lobby and he, its always a he, has a pot of gold. A store of capital in other words. Mine is a revolutionary lep. Instead of clenching a pipe in one hand he has a clenched fist raised above his head and under his arm copies of books by Connolly, Marx and Trotsky. No pot of gold. I am trying to get an artist to make me a female revolutionary lep.

I hope you all have a good time today and a few moments to think about the people who helped keep the culture alive. A couple of years ago here I organized a night of alternative Irish celebration. The theme of it was to say thanks to the struggles of Black America for their role in helping strengthen Irish culture. Part of the inspiration for the uprising in struggle in Ireland in the late 1960's was the Black revolt in America. The struggles that developed in the late 1960's in Ireland gave new vitality to Irish culture. At this time of year along with Connolly and Larkin and Davitt and MacCracken we should remember Malcom X, Huey Newton, Fred Hampton and Martin Luther King. Sean O" T.


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