James Connolly


Labour and the Budget

Dublin Transport Workers’ Protest


Workers’ Republic, 2 October 1915.
Republished in James Connolly: Lost Writings, (ed. Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh), Pluto Press 1997.
The notes, which are © 1997 Pluto Press, have not been included.
HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

A meeting to “call upon all sections of labour to oppose the attempt of the British Government to heavily tax the food of the people to pay war expenses” was held in Beresford Place on Sunday September 26, under the auspices of the Transport Workers’ Union. [...]

Mr James Connolly remarked that before they were asked to pay the blood tax of the war it was surely right that the Irish race should have been asked to consent to waging war at all. Their representatives should have come to Ireland and laid before them a full and accurate statement of what led to it. Why were they asked to make war upon the German people, and believe that the Germans were their natural enemies – that it was a high and holy and righteous thing and pleasing in the sight of God that they should arm themselves and go out to slaughter men who never did them any harm – (hear, hear) – brothers of theirs in toil and labour, to kill them, to manure the soil with their corpses, and offer up their own lives in the attempt to do so (cheers).

Some had said that Labour should send a candidate forward in the Harbour Division as a protest against this Budget. Who cared about such a protest and what should it avail? One man’s voice against that of 600 and more in the great House of Thieves in Westminster. He could tell them a more effective way of protesting. In the time of war Labour was weak politically, but strong industrially. Let them protest where they were strong. The Government was a rich man’s Government, the Employers controlled it in their own interest. Then let them tell the employers that every increase of taxation upon the necessaries of life must mean an increase of wages, and when the employers learned that they would bring pressure to bear upon the Government to reduce the taxes upon the food of the poor. More taxes must mean more wages.

They were prepared to fight industrially or any other way that became necessary (cheers).


Last updated on 14.8.2003