Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Irish Day. Catholic Church. Republicanism. Joyce.

As a Socialist I am prepared to do all one man can do to achieve for our motherland her rightful heritage – independence; but if you ask me to abate one jot or tittle of the claims of social justice, in order to conciliate the privileged classes, then I must decline." - James Connolly 

 by Sean O'Torrain

I am from Donegal in Ireland but I now live in Chicago. Here they dye the river green on the 17th of March. The powers that be cannot celebrate the real tradition of Ireland which is rebellion and revolution. If they did they would get a "bad name" and this would make it harder for them to claw their way up in US capitalist society. This green river is their alternative. It is an embarrassment.  I stay away from all official Irish so-called celebrations. Instead I celebrate the life of Fred Hampton who was murdered by Chicago cops many of whom are Irish American.

I was thinking about a few other things in relation to my home country the other day. I am always taken aback how the Republican movement with very few exceptions supports and are active participants in the Roman Catholic church. British imperialism ruled and to some extent still rules Ireland and robs it blind. But close behind in robbing and dominating the country has been the Catholic church. Yet the Republican movement follows the Catholic church and its leading figures and its membership have their children named, themselves married and themselves buried by the full time organizers of this foreign organization with its head quarters in Italy.

When the war of independence ended in 1921/22 the national Irish capitalist class were not in a good position. They had played no real role in the struggle. They were weak and without any significant base. They needed an ally. They got this in the Catholic church. They made a deal. The Irish national capitalist class through both its parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, gave the Catholic church control over schools and hospitals and veto over any social legislation. In return for this the Catholic church indoctrinated its membership in support of capitalism and opposition to any idea of socialism and women's rights.

An example. When the Irish capitalist class moved to break the strike wave in Ireland in the late 1960's early 1970's it turned to the union leaders and brought them into the national wage agreement arrangement. This was like the team concept in the USA. The Catholic church had its priests and bishops and cardinals preach support from their pulpits for the national wage agreements. The Catholic church leadership took every step they could to pull in and indoctrinate the trade union leadership. They set up a committee in Dublin to determine the wages that priests should get. They put Donal Nevin,  a top leader of the trade unions on this committee. This body then decided on the wages priests should get. The amount they decided was three times that received by a single mother with three children. And the priests of course did not have to pay rent or buy food and had a servant. As well as anything else, imagine what kind of mentality this trade union leader had to do this. the Catholic church leadership had indoctrinated him well.

Then there are the old Brehon Laws that existed before Christianity imposed itself on Ireland. When it did impose itself it crushed these laws. Under these Brehon Laws divorce was allowed if a man left a bruise on a woman's skin or if he became too obese. Then there were the laws against rape. One of these defined rape as a man telling a woman lies as a way to have sexual relations. There is the legend that so-called St. Patrick was being driven in his chariot and a woman stepped out and asked him to stop taking her rights away. He is reputed to have ordered his driver to drive over her.

On this Irish day as well as celebrating Fred Hampton I will read a bit of Joyce, the greatest writer of the last century. He broke from the Catholic church alright. I have no room here to deal with the Protestant churches which of course even more so supported British imperialism in Ireland. I will do so at a later date. The Protestant churches did not like Joyce either. In fact I have not heard of too many of them which even mention his name. He was a threat to them also. That genius.

No comments: