Source: Published in Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922 (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/897-to-the-masses), pp. 1094-1095.
Translation: Translations by John Riddell
HTML Markup: David Walters & Andy Blunden for the Marxists Internet Archive, 2018
Copyright: John Riddell, 2017. Republished here with permission.
The Fourth Congress of the Communist International vigorously protests the execution of five national revolutionaries by the Irish Free State on 25 November. It draws the attention of all the world’s workers and peasants to the bestial excesses of pervasive and vile terror in Ireland. Already more than six thousand brave fighters against British imperialism have been thrown into prison and exposed to dreadful conditions. Many women have been compelled to go on hunger strike. Five months of struggle against the terror have produced examples of horrible atrocities, similar to those of the Black and Tans, the fascists in Italy, or the thugs used by trusts in the United States. This has claimed 1,800 lives.
The Free State has not hesitated to use the artillery, munitions, rifles, and ammunition supplied by the British government. It has even used airplanes with death-dealing machine guns against revolutionaries, both armed and unarmed. And it has capped off all this by executing the five revolutionaries, on the feeble grounds that they had weapons in their possession. This desperate shooting of prisoners is the direct result of the admitted bankruptcy of the Free State, its last resort in breaking the resistance of the fighting Irish masses against their enslavement by the British world empire.
The crushing of the Republicans can result only in firmly establishing an imperialist and terrorist government. Such a government will not hesitate a moment in using these same brutal weapons against the Irish workers’ movement, the moment it gives the first indication of advancing to power or of fighting for better conditions.
Given this indisputable fact, the action of the Labour Party majority led by Johnson in approving the executions represents a betrayal beyond anything that these betrayers of the working class have ever done before. That was graphically demonstrated by the fact that even Ireland’s most reactionary capitalist newspaper, which in 1916 demanded the blood of Connolly, deplored the government’s action.
The Communist International warns the working class of Ireland against this betrayal of the ideals of Connolly and Larkin. It points out to the Irish workers and peasants that the only means of escape from Free State terrorism and imperialist oppression is an organised and coordinated struggle in political, economic, and military arenas. Armed struggle alone, without its extension and support through economic and political actions, will end in failure. In order to achieve success, the masses must be mobilised against the Free State. This can only be done on the basis of the social programme of the Communist Party of Ireland.
The Communist International sends fraternal greetings to the struggling Irish national revolutionaries and expresses its confidence that they will soon take the path to true freedom, the path to communism. The Communist International will support all efforts aimed at conducting a struggle against this terror and at assisting the Irish workers and farmers to victory.
Long live the Irish national independence struggle!
Long live the Irish workers republic!
Long live the Communist International!
1. The creation in January 1922 of the Irish Free State, with restricted self-government, in the southern part of Ireland was followed by a year-long civil war between those who accepted the agreement with Britain partitioning the island and the revolutionary wing of the Irish republican movement.