James Connolly


The Carsonite Position


Irish Worker, 8 August, 1914.
From the collection: Ireland Upon the Dissecting Table, Cork Workers’ Club 1975.
Transcription & HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Proofread by Chris Clayton, August 2007.

Of late, sections of the advanced Nationalist press have lent themselves to a desperate effort to misrepresent the Position of the Carsonites, and to claim for them the admiration of Irish Nationalists on the grounds that these Carsonites were fearless Irishmen who had refused to take dictation from England. A more devilishly mischievous and lying doctrine was never preached in Ireland. The Carsonite position is indeed plain – so plain that nothing but sheer perversity of purpose can misunderstand it, or cloak it with a resemblance to Irish patriotism. The Carsonites say that their fathers were planted in this country to assist in keeping the natives down in subjection that this country might be held for England. That this was God’s will because the Catholic Irish were not fit for the responsibilities and powers of free men and that they are not fit for the exercise of these responsibilities and powers till this day. Therefore, say the Carsonites, we have kept our side of the bargain; we have refused to admit the Catholics to power and responsibility; we have manned the government of this country for England, we propose to continue to do so, and rather than admit that these Catholics – these ‘mickies and teagues’ – are our equals, we will fight, in the hope that our fighting will cause the English people to revolt against their government and re-establish us in our historic Position as an English colony in Ireland, superior to, and unhampered by, the political institutions of the Irish natives.

How this can be represented as the case of Irishmen refusing to take dictation from England passeth all comprehension. It is rather the case of a community in Poland, after 250 years colonisation, still refusing to adopt the title of natives, and obstinately clinging to the position and privileges of a dominant colony. Their programme is summed up in the expression which forms the dominant note of all their speeches, sermons and literature:

“We are loyal British subjects. We hold this country for England. England cannot desert us.”

What light or leading then can Ireland get from the hysterical patriots who so egregiously misrepresent this fierce contempt for Ireland as something that ought to win the esteem of Irishmen?


Last updated on 19.8.2007