Archive for December 11th, 2009

Review: Conor Kostick – Revolution in Ireland: popular militancy, 1917-1923

11 December 2009

Contributed by Justin Dolan Stover

Conor Kostick, Revolution in Ireland:  popular militancy, 1917-1923 (2nd edition, Cork: Cork University Press, 2009)

Conor Kostick’s revised second edition is a timely release.  The author is up front about his sympathy and identification with the working-class movement in Ireland, and the current adversity that they face.  In his own words, additional research for the book was undertaken ‘with the intensity of enthusiasm that an active socialist brings to a subject of this nature.’

The book confronts traditional historical narratives that the IRA and Dáil Éireann alone forced the British administration toward compromise.  Instead, Kostick elevates the efforts of the Irish working class and its organisers.  For instance, he presents the Belfast general strike of 1919 as a defining moment of the Irish revolution – one which redefined conceptions of nationality and identity, and would contribute to the partition of Ireland.  Kostick explains how strikes of the revolutionary period, not only in Belfast, produced social upheaval and were of much greater concern to the British cabinet than the assembly of Dáil Éireann, or the murder of a few policemen.

Other episodes expose what many would come to label products of the conservative revolution. Read More