James Connolly

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James Connolly (Irish: Séamas Ó Conghaile or Ó Conghalaigh, June 5, 1868May 12, 1916) was a Scottish-born Irish socialist politician and fighter against British rule. He became involved in the socialist movement while in Scotland, and when back in Ireland founded the Irish Labour Party. He was Commandant of the Dublin Brigade during the Easter Rising, and after being captured by the British, was shot by firing squad.

Quotes[edit]

  • If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.
    • Shan Van Vocht (socialist newspaper) January, 1897. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), "James Connolly - Selected Writings", p. 124.


  • Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.
    • Irish Worker (socialist newspaper) 29 August, 1915. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), "James Connolly - Selected Writings", p. 248.


  • 'Those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword' say the Scriptures, and it may well be that in the progress of events the working class of Ireland may be called upon to face the stern necessity of taking the sword (or rifle) against the capitalist class..."
    • The Worker (socialist newspaper) 30 January, 1915. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), "James Connolly - Selected Writings", p. 210.


  • Under a socialist system every nation will be the supreme arbiter of its own destinies, national and international; will be forced into no alliance against its will, but will have its independence guaranteed and its freedom respected by the enlightened self-interest of the socialist democracy of the world.
    • Samuel Levenson, "James Connolly" (Martin, Brian and O'Keeffe, London, 1973), p. 56.


  • Such a scheme .. the betrayal of the national democracy of Industrial Ulster, would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements while it lasted.
    • P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), "James Connolly - Selected Writings", p. 275.
    • Referring to partition of Ireland.


  • The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour.
    • Workers' Republic (socialist newspaper) 8 April, 1916. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), "James Connolly - Selected Writings", p. 145.


  • Though I have usually posed as a Catholic, I have not done my duty for 15 years, and have not the slightest tincture of faith left…


  • The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system; it must go. And in the work of abolishing it the Catholic and the Protestant, the Catholic and the Jew, the Catholic and the Freethinker, the Catholic and the Buddhist, the Catholic and the Mahometan will co-operate together, knowing no rivalry but the rivalry of endeavour toward an end beneficial to all. For, as we have said elsewhere, socialism is neither Protestant nor Catholic, Christian nor Freethinker, Buddhist, Mahometan, nor Jew; it is only Human. We of the socialist working class realise that as we suffer together we must work together that we may enjoy together. We reject the firebrand of capitalist warfare and offer you the olive leaf of brotherhood and justice to and for all.
    • Labour, Nationality and Religion, in response to Father Robert Kane's lectures denouncing socialism, Catholicism and Socialism


  • We do not mean that its supporters are necessarily materialists in the vulgar, and merely anti-theological, sense of the term, but that they do not base their socialism upon any interpretation of the language or meaning of scripture, nor upon the real or supposed intentions of a beneficent Deity. They as a party neither affirm or deny those things, but leave it to the individual conscience of each member to determine what beliefs on such questions they shall hold. As a political party they wisely prefer to take their stand upon the actual phenomena of social life as they can be observed in operation amongst us to-day, or as they can be traced in the recorded facts of history
    • Socialism and Religion, published by the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP)


Quotes about James Connolly[edit]


  • I said to him, "Will you pray for the men who are about to shoot you" and he said: "I will say a prayer for all brave men who do their duty." His prayer was "Forgive them for they know not what they do" and then they shot him.

External links[edit]

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