|De Valera - President of Ireland, representative of Irish capitalism, kissing Catholic official's ring|
I have written on this Blog on a number of occasions about the reactionary and repressive role of the Catholic hierarchy in Irish society. I have shaken my head in amazement at how people who consider themselves fighters for or even supporters of Irish independence and freedom could belong to the Catholic church. I am amazed when I see people like Adams and co bow their knee to the priests and bishops, agents of a foreign power and foreign state. Then there is this.
When southern Ireland got its partial independence at the end of the civil war there was the question of what class would rule. The Irish working class were handcuffed by its own leadership who accepted the right wing policy summed up in the phrase, "Labor Must Wait." Well if Labor must wait which class must not wait. The only class that existed as an alternative was the Irish capitalist class. But it had played little or no role in the war of independence. It was a weak effete class. Could it rule this new state. Not effectively on its own. It needed help. So it reached out. To whom? This is where the Catholic hierarchy comes in and how it came to be so dominant in the life of the southern Irish state.
The weak Irish capitalist class made a deal with the Catholic hierarchy. If the Catholic hierarchy would preach and organize in favor of capitalism and the Irish capitalist class, if it would organize against any socialist or left movement that would arise, then the Catholic church could have special power and privileges in the new state. The deal also included one other feature. The Catholic hierarchy also had to organize against the rights of women. Not that that male dominated anti women outfit needed any pressure to do that. Have a thought about this.
The Catholic hierarchy wrote the "history" books for the new state. You do not see this information much. An estimated 260 women took part in the 1916 uprising. An estimated 77 were imprisoned. Have you ever heard of them? No the all male Catholic hierarchy wrote them out of history. When the 1916 leaders proclaimed an Irish Republic they addressed their proclamation to "Irishmen and Irishwomen." That is gender equal. Women were included on an equal basis. And it included "equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens." This at a time when women world wide had practically no rights. This was great but in the history of the new state was hardly mentioned.
With the wave of support of the working people for the uprising still influencing events the 1922 constitution contained the right to vote for women as well as men. But the deal was being done. The Irish capitalist class were asserting themselves, the deal was been done with the Catholic hierarchy. Under its pressure from then on, right up until the recent years, it was all down hill for women in the new state.
Laws in 1924 and 1927 largely excluded women from juries. In 1932 a law was passed that forced women who worked as teachers or civil servants to quit their jobs when they married. The 1932 Employment Act limited women's ability to work in industry. But it was the 1937 constitution that was the real blow. Authored by that extreme right wing reactionary Capitalist catholic De Valera, the only commander in the 1916 rising to refuse women the right to take part in the uprising, this constitution made Ireland a Catholic state and women even more were made second class citizens. Imagine how helpful this was to the Unionist Protestant forces in the North. It confirmed what they said about the South being a Catholic state and helped them consolidate the Protestant population to their side.
The 1941 constitution said women's place was in the home. It stated: "by her life within the home women gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved." What a backward reactionary statement. Women's place was in the home. What a weak capitalist class to go along with this. What a dirty deal with the all male anti women Catholic hierarchy. But times are changing.
It is wonderful today to see that Catholic hierarchy being brought to its knees. Wonderful to see Ireland being the first country to vote for same sex marriage in a referendum. The all male hierarchy is being thrown back. This will weaken the Irish capitalist class. It is time for all who want a bright future for Irish working and middle class people to break from the Catholic hierarchy and stand up for the rights of all. I do not see why anybody can be in the Catholic church. But if you cannot bring yourself to leave its threats and promises and pageantry and drama then at least organize an opposition within it. But if you are going to do so, be prepared. The Catholic hierarchy assisted US imperialism and its military cliques in Latin America in slaughtering the Liberation Theology movement which was made up of members of its own church. And this so called pope Francis had his hands in this too.