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Announcement :: International
Forum: James Connolly: Socialist, Internationalist, Ireland's Finest
17 Mar 2006
Modified: 04:02:39 PM
To honor the 90th Anniversary of the Easter Uprising & 25th of the Hunger Strikers
Click on image for a larger version

To honor the 90th Anniversary of the Easter Uprising & 25th of the Hunger Strikers

March 19 -- 11 AM

"James Connolly:
Socialist, Internationalist, Ireland's Finest"

Ed Childs, an organizer with Irish Northern Aid and UNITE HERE Local 26, has traveled extensively to Ireland, Cuba, Iraq & Vietnam reporting for Workers World newspaper. He will address Connolly's role in the 1916 rebellion, his legacy in regard to the national question and his seminal work, Labor and Irish History.

Bryan Pfeifer is an SEIU Local 509 steward and independent journalist. He will address Connolly's contributions to the U.S., Irish & international labor movements and how these impact today's labor struggles-- or could. A special focus will be on Connolly's labor organizing in the U.S. from 1903 to 1910.

-- 30 --
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The Fenian: John Devoy
17 Mar 2006
Born a Rebel

John Devoy was a persevering, courageous man — involved in every aspect of Irish revolutionary politics for over 60 years. He was born to a fiercely nationalist family in Kill, County Kildare, in 1842; and all his life he retained an unwavering passion for Irish freedom — the first recorded incident of Devoy’s strong republican convictions being a beating he suffered at age 10 by a schoolmaster because John Devoy refused to sing ‘God Save the Queen’!

Irish Republican Brotherhood

At age 18, Devoy joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He was arrested in 1866 for recruiting British soldiers into the IRB and spent several years in prison before being released and deported to the United States in 1871. There he, along with Daniel Cohalan and Joseph Mc Garrity, helped organise Clan na Gael — the IRB’s American counterpart, also known as ‘The Fenians’. [See also: A Brief History of the IRA]

Clan na Gael

Legend has it that Devoy once said he, “didn't feel like touching Irish affairs again,” but yet he continued and never once yielded to despair or resignation. He incited growth and direction into Clan na Gael, despite American complacency during the 1890s. And, he oversaw Clan na Gael’s rescue of convicted Fenians from a remote Australian prison (the Catalpa).

The Catalpa

On August 19, 1876, the whaling ship Catalpa was given a tumultuous welcome as it sailed into New York harbor.

She had no whales on board, but a far more valuable cargo, six Fenian prisoners from England's Western Australia penal colony. John Devoy, with the help of his friend John Boyle O'Reilly, who had once escaped from Australia himself, planned the escape. The two had arranged to buy and crew a whaler purchased in New Bedford, Massachusetts, for the attempt. The Catalpa set out in April 1875 with most of the crew unaware of their actual mission.

In March 1876, they reached Australia and soon had the six Fenians — James Darragh, Martin Hogan, Michael Harrington, Thomas Hasset, Robert Cranston and James Wilson — safely on board.

The British gunboat Georgette overtook the Catalpa the next day and fired a shot across the ship's bow.

The British demanded that the prisoners be turned over. Captain George Anthony raised the American flag and defied the British to fire on it; they didn’t but instead retreated.

The Easter Rising

Eventually Devoy's persistence in educating Americans about the movement would pay off for Ireland. Devoy, along with Roger Casement, was responsible for the drawing together of the American and German threads in the years leading up to the Easter Rising. Devoy's Clan na Gael became the largest single financier of both the Easter Rising and the War of Independence.

The Greatest of Fenians

Often described as egotistical and temperamental, Devoy had numerous long-running disputes with many Irish leaders, including James Larkin — whom Devoy believed was a British agent — and Éamon de Valera — whom Devoy saw as a dangerous amateur in American affairs, causing diminished support from Irish-Americans during his US visit in 1919.

Yet, despite his supposed stubbornness and egotism, Devoy never wavered in his quest for Irish freedom. He is considered by many to be the greatest of Fenians. He accomplished what he set out to do — it was John Devoy who made the Irish cause an international issue; and it was John Devoy who was able to enlist American public support on behalf of the small island of Ireland. Devoy asked America to give only what it demanded of itself — “genuine democracy and authentic republicanism”.
Family Tree
20 Mar 2006
"John Devoy was a persevering, courageous man"

And he was my dad.