Library

A text produced externally which is of interest for political, historical or contextual reasons. No political agreement can be assumed.

Practical Directions: Explanation of Leading Terms

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The extract is from the opening of Thompson's last book before his untimely death, "Practical Directions for the Speedy and Economical Establishment of Communities, on the Principles of Mutual Co-operation, United Possessions and Equality" of 1830. In the main was a practical "build your own community" manual and the bulk of it was taken up with practical matters. However the necessity of squeezing in a summary of the political and economic bases of the projected community, means that this "Explanation of Leading Terms" at the beginning of the work remains the most abbreviated version of his analysis available

Preliminary Observations (on the Distribution of Wealth)

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"Preliminary Observations" is the introduction to his first, and possibly most important book, the lengthily entitled "An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth most conducive to human happiness; applied to The Newly Proposed System of Voluntary Equality of Wealth" of 1824. It is this work of which the anarchist historian Max Nettlau remarks: "[this] book, however, discloses his own evolution; having started with a demand for the full product of labour as well as the regulation of distribution, he ended up with his own conversion to communism, that is, unlimited distribution". This preface piece shows signs of being originally written before his own conversion to communist distribution with supplemental additions after that change. In it Thompson lays out his approach of applying the critical method of utilitarianism - the re-examination of all social institutions with an atheist skepticism of all received truths, judging outcomes on the basis of "the greatest happiness for the greatest number" - to the theories of Political Economy.

On the present state of the distribution of wealth

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The piece is the crucial fifth chapter of the Inquiry. This is the turning point of the book where Thompson accepts that his original project of creating a liberatory economics on the basis of classical liberalism, albeit taken far further than any previous exponent had dared, had been overtaken by an acceptance of the limits of even the most perfected system of "free" exchange. This chapter starts with an admission that he has dumped the previous written version for this new departure. In passing he gives the section headings for the original text, covering the demands necessary for the achievement of his original goal of "free exchange". The crucial section of this chapter is his dissection of the faults of even the most perfected system of exchange. His seminal framework of 5 points is still capable of enriching contemporary critique of exchange, despite the datedness of some of the problems which have to some extent been mitigated in the intervening 180 or so years by the gains of workers' and women's struggles and the subsequent development of consumer capitalism and the welfare state.

The struggle of the Land League and for Home Rule as seen from London

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A collection of articles from the British anarchist newpaper freedom about the home rule and land struggles in Ireland from 1887-88

Inaugural Manifesto of the Irish Socialist Republican Party (1896)

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The Irish Socialist Republican Party was set up by James Connolly in May 1896, the initial meeting was held in the snug of Pierce Ryan’s public house at 50 Thomas Street. This Inaugural Manifesto was issued in September 1896 and was probably distributed at the places where the ISRP held regular public meetings; the Customs House, the Fountain in James st, in the Phoenix Park and at Forster place. They also had a Club room at 67 Middle Abbey street

The Easter Proclamation

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Easter Proclamation, read by Pádraig Pearse outside the GPO, Dublin at the start of the Easter Rising, April 24 1916.

Constitution of the Irish Citizen Army

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As agreed at a public meeting, held Liberty Hall 22 March 1914 from a draft prepared by Sean O’Casey.

The Only Hope of Ireland

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Writing shortly after the execution of James Connolly for his part in the 1916 rising the Russian/US anarchist Alexander Berkman published 'The only hope of Ireland' in his paper 'The Blast'. He argues that British policy towards the leaders of the rising was typical of British policy elsewhere and in particular in India. He also attacks the timidity of Irish American who only organised protest meetings against the executions suggesting that instead "A British Consul ornamenting a lamppost in San Francisco or New York would quickly secure the respectful attention of the British lion".

Ulster’s Solemn League and Covenant

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This is the text of the 'Ulster’s Solemn League and Covenant' launched by Carson, Craig and the northern Unionist elite on 28 Sept 1912. Some 218,206 men were to sign it. Women were not able to sign it but 228,990 women did sign a declaration in solidarity with the men. The sermon delivered bu Dr William McKean included “We are plain, blunt men who love peace and industry. The Irish question is at bottom a war against Protestantism; it is an attempt to establish a Roman Catholic ascendancy in Ireland to begin the disintegration of the Empire by securing a second parliament in Dublin”.

The Proclamation of Independence 1803

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This is the text of the proclamation issued at the start of the second United Irishmen rebellion of 1803. led by Robert Emmet. Its noteworthy that the first act was to declare "church lands are the property of the nation." and point 13 declares "the people elect their officers up to the colonels" even if the introduction reassures "we do not make war on property"

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