Around 100 people attended a public meeting in Derry on Monday night [July 26], organised by the Free Derry Collective, to mark the 100th anniversary of James Connolly’s return to Ireland via the north-western city.
The crowd was first addressed by labour historian Emmet O’Connor, who gave a critical account of Connolly’s time in Ireland from 1896 until he went to the United States, and then spoke about his return and the events leading up to the 1916 Rising. He argued that Connolly’s influence on the development of socialist republicanism within the Irish labour movement of the day was often overestimated to the detriment of his fellow trade union leader Jim Larkin.
Republican ex-prisoner and trade union organiser Tommy McKearney spoke next, talking about Connolly the trade unionist. He spoke on the work done by Connolly and Larkin in organising the unskilled workers who many considered to be unorganisable and about the necessity of this kind of radical trade union consciousness in the present day.
Veteran civil rights activist Bernadette McAliskey was the final speaker. She talked about the importance of organising ourselves today, of agitating and educating, and of standing with every oppressed group against every oppressor.
The evening concluded with a discussion and then a session of workers’ ballads.
Different Name, Same Aim
Campaign for British withdrawal
We Only Want the Earth!
No British Royal Visits!
Workers in Struggle
Reclaim The Republic
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