By Geoffrey Bell
Geoffrey Bell’s Hesitant Comrades is the 1st background of the guidelines, activities and attitudes of the British operating classification move in the direction of the Irish nationwide revolution of 1916–21. Drawing mostly on basic resources, Bell brings to gentle vital incidents in British and Irish historical past, together with how the leaders of British exchange unions have been complicit in Belfast loyalist sectarianism; the stricken nature of the Labour Party’s family members with its Irish neighborhood; and the way the Bolsheviks criticized British Marxists over their inactiveness on eire.
Bell additionally considers socialist debates at the compatibility of Irish nationalism with socialism and the contentious ‘Ulster question.’ He additionally discusses key figures reminiscent of British Labour social gathering chief Ramsey MacDonald and major suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.
in accordance with in-depth learn, with resources starting from newly found socialist writings to experiences of police spies, Hesitant Comrades is a scholarly, provocative, and hugely attractive standpoint at the fragile courting among the British left and the Irish revolution.
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Additional resources for Hesitant Comrades: The Irish Revolution and the British Labour Movement
73 Boyce’s research will be briefly summarised here, as will one original source acknowledged by him, an unpublished account of the Peace With Ireland Council provided by George F. H. Berkeley,74 one of the Council’s principle organisers and one of the few Irish people centrally involved in that organisation. In addition, the work of the ISDL will be outlined, an organisation which although rather neglected by subsequent researchers was, as will be shown, capable of widespread week-by-week activity and, on occasions, of mobilising large public demonstrations.
The following month, the government put forward its own solution with the introduction of the Government of Ireland Bill. This sought to establish two parliaments, one with jurisdiction over the six north-eastern counties, the other with authority in the remaining 26. A Council of Ireland, with no legislative or executive powers, was also envisaged for consultation on matters of common interest between the two parliaments. The powers of the two parliaments were to be limited. Defence, foreign relations, the police, even the Post Office were all to remain under the control of the sovereign British parliament.
79 Much as they disagreed with Carson for Pearse and Connolly neither Carson nor his Tory supporters were the principle villains, as they were for Laski and others; the principle villains were the British government and the Irish Nationalists. A rather different analysis was offered by some on the British left. Forward, while accepting that ‘If Great Britain had the good sense to adopt Home Rule in 1885 or 1893’ the Rising ‘would not have happened’, added: On the other hand since Ireland has been able to express herself freely in the democratic way by a powerful party in the British Parliament her course was clear.
Hesitant Comrades: The Irish Revolution and the British Labour Movement by Geoffrey Bell