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 The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland

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PostSubject: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:26 pm

It's 90 years since the socialist Democratic Programme for the First Dail was adopted, and given the times we're living it, a good occasion to have a look at it.

"The Democratic Programme was a declaration of economic and social principles adopted by the First Dáil at its first meeting on 21 January 1919. The primary purpose of the programme was to espouse certain values of socialism. A text of the programme was first adopted in Irish, and then in English. Its official Irish title was Clár Oibre Poblacánaighe. On the social front the Manifesto linked the nationalist aim of freedom with the opportunity for equality: ..reasserting the inalienable right of the Irish Nation to sovereign independence, reaffirming the determination of the Irish people to achieve it, and guaranteeing within the independent Nation equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens. On winning 73 seats the Dáil voted at its first session for the Democratic Programme as embodying these ideals and also the Declaration of Independence.

The Democratic Program was primarily written by Thomas Johnson, the leader of the Labour Party, in return for the Labour Party not running in the 1918 election and for its continued support."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Programme

Here is the Programme
(From Wikisource)

Democratic Programme of the First Dáil


We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation's sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation's soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.
We declare that we desire our country to be ruled in accordance with the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice for all, which alone can secure permanence of Government in the willing adhesion of the people.

We affirm the duty of every man and woman to give allegiance and service to the Commonwealth, and declare it is the duty of the Nation to assure that every citizen shall have opportunity to spend his or her strength and faculties in the service of the people. In return for willing service, we, in the name of the Republic, declare the right of every citizen to an adequate share of the produce of the Nation's labour.
It shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland.

The Irish Republic fully realises the necessity of abolishing the present odious, degrading and foreign Poor Law System, substituting therefor a sympathetic native scheme for the care of the Nation's aged and infirm, who shall not be regarded as a burden, but rather entitled to the Nation's gratitude and consideration. Likewise it shall be the duty of the Republic to take .
such measures as will safeguard the health of the people and ensure the physical as well as the moral well-being of the Nation
It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation's resources, to increase the productivity of its soil, to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, and fisheries, its waterways and harbours, in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people
It shall be the duty of the Republic to adopt all measures necessary for the recreation and invigoration of our Industries, and to ensure their being developed on the most beneficial and progressive co-operative and industrial lines. With the adoption of an extensive Irish Consular Service, trade with foreign Nations shall be revived on terms of mutual advantage and goodwill, and while undertaking the organisation of the Nation's trade, import and export, it shall be the duty of the Republic to prevent the shipment from Ireland of food and other necessaries until the wants of the Irish people are fully satisfied and the future provided for.

It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek co-operation of the Governments of other countries in determining a standard of Social and Industrial Legislation with a view to .
a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour

text in IrishClár Oibre Poblacánaighe
http://wikisource.org/wiki/Cl%C3%A1r_Oibre_Poblac%C3%A1naighe

[edit] External links
Historical Dáil debates from official Irish parliamentary website.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Democratic_Programme_of_the_First_D%C3%A1il"[center]

The Dail debates are here - http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/en.toc.dail.html

The Manifesto looks strangely alien to the Ireland of the 2000s, and to me has much to commend it. Could it make a starting point for discussion for a reorientation and reordering of our society and economy?
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:42 pm

bounce
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:43 am

Mostly Poetry as Kevin O'Higgins called it.

Thanks for the post. I never knew that it was written by a Labour Man. I guess that is why noone seems to have paid much heed to it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:18 am

shutuplaura wrote:
Mostly Poetry as Kevin O'Higgins called it.

Thanks for the post. I never knew that it was written by a Labour Man. I guess that is why noone seems to have paid much heed to it.

I think most of the lads were in jail at the time. EVM posted on another thread and I believe it was described on the agenda as "Democratic Programme - a Socialist Tract".

Anyone got a link to the Constitution, on the same agenda?
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:03 pm

Eamon Gilmore was just on the PK Show talking about the Democratic Programme. He made the interesting point that Tom Johnson, who penned the declaration, and one of his colleagues travelled to the Socialist International that was meeting in Berne a few weeks after the First Dáil met. Tom presented the Democratic Programme to the meeting of the SI which then became the first international organisation to formally recognise the Irish Republic.

I think that recognising this strongly internationalist quality to the Dem Prog and the person who authored it is very important. The last sentence of the Programme reads:

Quote :
It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek co-operation of the Governments of other countries in determining a standard of Social and Industrial Legislation with a view to .a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour.

Perhaps we can interpret the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and other international labour treaties as the working out of the call made in this concluding sentence of the Democratic Programme in 1918.
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:36 pm

Desmond O'Toole wrote:
Eamon Gilmore was just on the PK Show talking about the Democratic Programme. He made the interesting point that Tom Johnson, who penned the declaration, and one of his colleagues travelled to the Socialist International that was meeting in Berne a few weeks after the First Dáil met. Tom presented the Democratic Programme to the meeting of the SI which then became the first international organisation to formally recognise the Irish Republic.

I think that recognising this strongly internationalist quality to the Dem Prog and the person who authored it is very important. The last sentence of the Programme reads:

Quote :
It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek co-operation of the Governments of other countries in determining a standard of Social and Industrial Legislation with a view to .a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour.

Perhaps we can interpret the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and other international labour treaties as the working out of the call made in this concluding sentence of the Democratic Programme in 1918.

The document is definitely reaching out to find socialist allies internationally. The information about the meeting is very interesting: thanks. Which Socialist International was it? The Third ?

This is an link to a short essay on the international and national background or revolutionary upheaval in 1919 with Soviets established across Europe and uprisings in the colonies - Soviets were briefly established in Limerick and parts of Waterford and Cork and there was a general strike in Belfast.

Quote :
In an editorial on April 7, 1919, the "Irish Times" summed up the situation aptly: "The mind of the world is still torn between war and peace." During that month of April, Europe held its breath as the old order in Germany, in particular, reeled under a succession of Bolshevik victories. At Munich, Bavaria was declared a Soviet Republic. There were general strikes or soviets in Dusseldorf, Augsburg, Wuerzburg and Regensburg. Thirty eight thousand Ruhr miners went on strike, there was a general strike in the Krups engineering company and the strike movement was said to be spreading.

The April newspapers reported that the Red Army had occupied Sebastopol, in the Crimea, as the Bolsheviks' efforts to drive the Allies out of Russia continued to meet with success. With a Hungarian Soviet Republic already in existence, a Bavarian delegate to the Berlin Soldiers' Council could hardly be faulted for boasting: "....nothing could prevent a red revolution....The whole continent of Europe would become Bolshevik."

Further afield, the aftermath of the Great War was bringing increasing pressure to bear on the British Empire, and fissures were beginning to appear in the imperial structure. In early 1919, Britain faced revolt in Egypt, Afghanistan and India. In the same edition of April 15, that reported the proclamation of Limerick and the ensuing general strike, "The Times" reported very grave disturbances at Amritsar, in the Punjab. An editorial laconically noted a Mr M K Gandhi figuring conspicuously in the reports and described him as a "misguided and excitable person".

http://www.limericksoviet.com/Chapter_One.doc - Highly recommended reading. Dev referred at the Mansion House to the support from Berne.
The article also explains in detail why Labour had not stood in the election.


Last edited by cactus flower on Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:53 pm

cactus flower wrote:
The document is definitely reaching out to find socialist allies internationally. The information about the meeting is very interesting: thanks. Which Socialist International was it? The Third ?

No, I believe it was during the interegnum after the dissolution of the Second International but before the Third was established.

The othe rname that Eamon mentioned as the delegate to the SI in Berne was Cathal O'Shannon:

Quote :
Life 1889-1969; b. Randalstown, Co., Antrim; raised in Derry; ed. St. Columb’s College; mbr Gaelic League and IRB; fndr-mbr. Irish Volunteers; organiser for ITGWU for James Connolly; sub-ed. The Irish Republic; interned in 1916, though non-combatant, having mobilised 100 Volunteers who dispersed without orders; anti-conscription campaigner, 1918; unsuccessfully urged that Labour Party should contest election of Dec. 1918; worked on early drafts of Democratic Programme of first Dail; Irish delegate to Socialist International Conference, Berne, presenting Irish case for self-determination (Irish at Berne); ed. The Voice of Labour, 1918-19, and The Watchword of Labour, 1919-20; arrested March 1920; fndr.-mbr Socialist Party of Ireland, and expelled with William O’Brien; TD Meath-Louth, June 1922; lost seat, 1923; ed. Voice of Labour and Watchword, 1930-32; workers’ representative at Labour Court from its establishment, 1946; ed. Fifty Years of Liberty Hall (1969).


Last edited by Desmond O'Toole on Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Democratic Programme for the First Dail - A Socialist Vision for Ireland   Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:00 pm

This is the Wiki entry for the Berne International:

Quote :
Berne International
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The term Berne International refers to the skeleton continuation, formally called the International Socialist Commission (ISC), of the socialist Second International after the latter's break-up due to World War I. It was based in Berne (the capital of Switzerland).

When World War I began, most members of the Second International supported their national governments in the conflict, betraying the principles of international working class solidarity that had animated the International. This led to a break between the "social patriotic" and reformist right-wing leaderships of the parties (see social democracy), on the one hand, and anti-war elements, on the other. The latter included pacifists, the revolutionary left, and "centrists" who vacillated between reformist and revolutionary positions. After a Vorkonferenz (preparatory conference) at Berne in July 1915, the anti-war groups came together in September 1915 at Zimmerwald, near Berne in neutral Switzerland, in an International Socialist Conference. The Conference was chaired by Robert Grimm of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. The Conference met again in Kienthal in April 1916. The centrist current, known as the Zimmerwald Centre, of which Grimm was a leading member, were dominant at both meetings. The centrists, notably Clara Zetkin, also dominated the International Women’s Socialist Conference concerning the attitude to be adopted towards the war in March 1915 in Berne.[1]

The Swiss delegates took on the task of maintaining the organisation of the International.

After the war, veterans of the Second International called for its restoration. They called a conference, known as the Berne conference, at Berne from February 3 to February 10, 1919. The conference debated the status of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. The majority of delegates, led by Karl Hjalmar Branting of the Swedish Social Democrats, welcomed the revolution, but were critical of the path taken by the Bolsheviks after the revolution, while a minority, led by German Social Democrats Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein, were critical of the revolution itself. A third faction, to the left, led by French socialist Jean Longuet were more pro-Bolshevik and advocated the new international not taking a position on it. The Berne conference undertook to send a delegation to Moscow to investigate the question, including Kautsky, Rudolf Hilferding and others, but the delegation never went.[2]

During the First Congress of the Third Communist International, the Berne conference was criticized by Lenin, in particular its support of imperialist intervention and war in Soviet Russia, who described it as a "yellow international".[3]

The remnants of the Second International who had met at Berne in 1919 met again in Lucerne in August 1919 and Geneva in July 1920. This last meeting officially relaunched the Second International. The centrists, however, did not join it, and went on to form the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP), known as the "Two-and-a-half International". The IWUSP met in Berne in December 1920 and was formally launched in Vienna in February 1921. The two finally merged in 1923 to form the Labour and Socialist International.

Note: After the break of the anarchists from the majority First International at its Hague Congress (1872), an alternative libertarian First International, known as the Anarchist St. Imier International was formed. This held its 1876 congress in Berne, sometimes known as the Berne Congress, and by the anarchists as the Eighth Confress of the First International.[4]

[edit] External links
Lenin's speech to the ISC at Berne

The problem with the Second International, as Lenin pointed out during the war and after, was that when it came down to it, it was not international.
It disbanded itself in 1914 so that its members could go and slaughter each other by millions, and then, from what the Wike said, it ended up supporting military attacks on the infant Russian soviet.

It looks as though its best move was to recognise the Irish State.
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