Socialist political thinking in revolutionary Ireland, 1912-1923
The Irish revolutionary period of 1912-1923 helped stimulate and develop the political thinking and outlook of the Irish left. During this period, Irish socialists and labour movement activists had to frame responses to the movement for independence, the responses of the British state, the rise of unionism, and the threat of partition. There was consensus within the Irish left on the existence of the Irish nation, the need for some degree of independence and a strident opposition to partition. In the period prior to 1916, it did appear as though Irish labour was preparing itself to challenge both unionism and nationalism for political leadership of the country as a whole. In the aftermath of the Easter Rising, however, the Irish left allowed the republican movement to monopolise leadership of the independence struggle. This resulted in the marginalisation of Irish Labour in the south and made it more difficult for activists to resist the pan-class unionist movement in the north.