Finnegan slams Cowen's view of shared history

Cowen's vision seeks to ignore 1913 Dublin lockout whilst rehabilitating imperialism's 'Great War'

"We Serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland"
The clear message of Connolly and his comrades

Michael Finnegan, Workers' Party President, has slammed Brian Cowen's view of history as outlined in his speech 'A Decade of Centenaries: Commemorating Shared History'.


"Brian Cowen", said Mr Finnegan "has outlined a list of events from the decade 1912 to 1922 which undoubtedly are of importance. But it is the events which he has omitted which reveal his mindset and his narrow nationalistic view of Irish history"


"While we in the Workers Party would share the Taoiseach's concern that these anniversaries would not be used to justify sectarian attacks or a return to narrow nationalism, we do not accept his analysis which would drape our collective and individual histories with a blanket of shallow sentiment"


"It is revealing that in a major speech dealing with 1912 to 1922 that Brian Cowen could omit the Dublin Lockout of 1913. This event transfixed and polarised society throughout Ireland on a class basis. This was the event which initially put the names James Connolly and Constance Markiewicz into the wider public domain. This was the event which led, on an immediate basis, to the formation of the Irish Citizen's Army. This was an event that showed the true nature of society at that time, as was so brilliantly captured on both paper and TV, by James Plunkett's Strumpet City."


"Brian Cowen wants to pretend that class division no longer exists in this country.  We are numbed by his constant repetition of the mantra "we are all in this together". That was a lie in 1913 and it is still a lie. In 1913 the bosses had their leaders in William Martin Murphy and their willing lackeys in the Freeman's Journal, Arthur Griffith's Sinn Fein, and the Irish Parliamentary Party. Today the bosses have a myriad of organisations ranging from IBEC to the Construction Industry Federation, and a host of political mouthpieces across Fine Fail, Fine Gael, Bord Snip, and the media."


"The Workers Party would also strongly oppose any attempt to rehabilitate the Great War of 1914-1918 as some kind of natural disaster which befell Irishmen from North and South.  As James Connolly, Lenin and others correctly identified at the time the "war to end wars" was an immoral war for empire and for control of the rising capitalist markets.    There was no part of Ireland in the war which was either wrong or right - it was the capitalists of Europe using the workers of Europe as cannon fodder. And as WW1 and the death of over 10 million people in Europe cannot be justified, much less now must it be used to inure people to imperialist wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or to propagandise for the creation of a new EU imperial army."


"In his speech Brian Cowen happily declares himself an Irish Republican. The pity is" concluded Mr Finnegan "that his republicanism is modelled on Ronald Reagan rather than Padraig Pearse, Wolfe Tone, or James Connolly".


Issued 20th May 2010

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics