From: Infoshop News
16 June 2012

The 1916 proclamation, the manifesto of the 1916 rebels, states: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

Torture, Murder & Exclusion: Ireland’s first 10 years of Independence

Irish Anarchist Review #5

The 1916 proclamation, the manifesto of the 1916 rebels, states: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

These noble aspirations would become almost a bible of Irish Republican ideals and within six years, after the end of the War of Independence in 1922, a section of that movement had a chance to implement these ideals. However the society established after the war of independence “The Irish Free State” was a pale shadow of even the most modest interpretation of this document. Civil liberties were almost non existent, citizens were not equal, with women becoming second class while the poor were plunged further into destitution.

The early story of the Irish Free State is one of a dark authoritarian regime based on repression, discrimination and censorship where the elite of nationalist Ireland re-established control over a society that had teetered on the verge of revolution for years. Their deeply authoritarian attitude to politics was underscored by severe catholic morality which stifled culture and allowed no political debate or opposition of any kind. By 1937 the “The Irish Free State” had created a society that had betrayed the ideals of what many had set out to achieve two decades earlier.

Over two articles Fin Dwyer will examine the path which saw revolutionary Ireland descend into conservative authoritarianism, first looking at the establishment of the state through the civil war and its aftermath and then, in the next issue, looking at its social programme in the later 20’s and 1930’s

War of Independence and Revolution

Within a few years of the 1916 rebellion the Irish Republican movement found itself transformed from a relatively marginal group to being one of the key political forces in early 20th century Ireland…

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