Hellraisers Journal: “An Irish Manifesto,” Irish Socialist Federation Replies to Insult of Rev. Dr. Brann

Irish Socialist Federation, James Connolly, NYC 1908


Hellraisers Journal, Friday May 31, 1907
From the Montana News: Manifesto of Irish Socialist Federation

An Irish Manifesto

Irish Socialist Federation Reply to
Insult of Dr. Brann
—Old Fenian Spirit to the Front

HMP, SLP May Day Cooper Union, Connolly, Dly Ppl p4, May 1, 1907

At a recent meeting of the Irish Socialist Federation of New York (a body composed exclusively of Socialists of Irish birth and parentage) the late uncalled for attack by Dr. Brann upon the demonstration in favor of a fair trial for the imprisoned leaders of the Western Federation of Miners was taken up for discussion. As this statement of this reverend gentleman that there were but few Irishmen in the parade was regarded by the members present as a reflection upon the public spirit of our countrymen, placing them before the American public as being indifferent or hostile to a demand for injustice, the following statement was prepared for publication, in criticism of his position and in vindication of the character of those Irish who marched in the “horde”, as Dr. Brann elegantly terms the flower of the organized workers of New York.

We, members of the Irish Socialist Federation, speaking on behalf of those working class Irish who in every movement for freedom have ever taken a foremost place, who have ever been as pioneers ready to point the way in every movement for progress, or as fighters to lay down their lives for its realization, desire to remind the Rev. Dr. Brann that we as Irish have a history behind us— a history that speaks eloquently against the interposition of clergymen in temporal affairs, a history that warns us of the folly of expecting from clergymen, either wisdom, political prudence, or controversial decency, once they step into the political arena. How often in Ireland have we seen these same individuals when criticised by some opponent, denounce such criticism as an attack upon the church?

Are we to hear gentlemen like the Rev. Dr. Brann hurl insult and abuse at a gathering of 60,000 working men and women, and stand ready to brand as enemies of the church any of the people so attacked who dare to say a word in their own defense? How long are we to have the spectacle of a priest of a church which proudly claims to be Catholic or Universal set himself to sneer at men or women because of their alleged foreign birth and to echo every appeal to the basest passion of the lowest element know-nothingism? As Irish men and women we repudiate with scorn his attempt to represent our race as hostile to the labor movement, or as quiescent in face of social injustice. We affirm our solemn conviction that the language of Dr. Brann is a greater danger to his church than a thousand Moyer-Haywood demonstrations are to free institutions in America. Does the Reverend gentleman believe that theological studies equip clergymen for grappling sympathetically with great political or social problems? Will he permit us to cite for him a few instances culled from Irish history, which, in thunder tones proclaim the contrary.

EGF Girl Socialist w Hat, NYW, Aug 24, 1906

In 1898 all Ireland and all Irish men and women the world over proudly and solemnly honored the memory of the United Irish rebels of 1798, but in their own day these rebels were denounced in the most solemn manner by the whole Catholic hierarchy in Ireland.

In 1848 when scores of the Irish race were perishing of famine in a food-exporting country, the Young Irish Party raised the holy standard of insurrection as the only hope of a perishing people, but they also were denounced from the altar as enemies of religion, and their leaders stoned by mobs of ignorant fanatics led on by priests. To-day the memory of their movement is among the most sacred treasures of our race.

To-day we honor and revere the memory of the Fenians of 1867, and every year tens of thousands of the brightest men and purest women in Ireland decorate the graves of those who have passed away, yet the Fenians were denied the rights of the church, and one member of the Irish Catholic episcopate, the Bishop of Limerick, publicly declared that “Hell was not hot enough, nor eternity long enough for a Fenian.”

But why pile up more examples. Had Dr. Brann had the slightest knowledge of Irish history he would have realized that the Irish are the last to be deterred by priestly thunders from pursuing any path they believe to lead to justice. Long familiarity with such thunders has destroyed their terrors among the thoughtful men and women of our race.

But history is not the reverend gentleman’s strong point, as witness his jointless contrast of the “Star Spangled Banner” with the “Marseillaise,” a hymn, he says, “identified with bloodshed, strife and carnage.” Well, does he believe that the “Star Spangled Banner” was identified in its birth with love and Christian brotherhood among the nations? Does he forget that the “Star Spangled Banner” was born out of the attempt of England to re-impose by force its domination upon the unwilling people of this country, as the “Marseillaise” was born out of the attempt of England and the other monarchies of Europe to re-impose by force and slaughter, a merciless tyranny upon the people of France?

Let all the Dr. Banns take notice that the working class is on its march that its march is not the carefully organized bluster of a few politicians and their hirelings, but the spontaneous manifestations of a class, conscious that it holds the future of society in its hands, and resolved to tolerate no further outrages from the beneficiaries of a system they know to be hurrying headlong to its downfall. In that onward march of the working class, the sons and daughters of the Esmerald Isle are taking and will take the part worthy of the traditions of a race that never faltered in the face of danger, that for over 700 years has never surrendered in its struggle against injustice.

Fellow countrymen: In our own land we have long seen the packed juries give our best and bravest to the hangman’s rope, shall we stand idly by while the same atrocious crimes of power are consummated here?

Elizabeth G. Flynn,
Thos. O’Shaughnessy,
John Mulry,
Pat. L. Quinlan,
James Connolly.
Committee Irish Socialist Federation.
John Lyng, Sec.

[Photographs added.]


Montana News
“Owned and Published by the
Socialist Party of Montana [SPA]”
(Helena, Montana)
-May 30, 1907

HMP, SLP May Day Cooper Union, Connolly, Dly Ppl p4, May 1, 1907
EGF Girl Socialist w Hat, NYW, Aug 24, 1906

See also:

Irish Socialist Federation [SLP]

Re Flynn and Connolly at May Day demos in NYC:
The New York Times
(New York, New York)
-May 2, 1907

SOCIALISTS ASSAIL PRESIDENT. Parades in Manhattan and Brooklyn Champion Moyer and Haywood. ASSERT ROOSEVELT SEEKS THEIR DEATH

To protest against the attacks made by President Roosevelt on Moyer, Haywood, and Pettibone, the officials of the Western Miners’ Federation, who now await…

Re mass Moyer-Haywood protests in NYC on May 4:
New York Times of May 5, 1907

20,000 PARADE FOR ACCUSED MINERS; Socialists Predominate in the Moyer-Haywood Street Demonstration. ANARCHISTS BARRED OUT Speaker at Mass Meeting Warns the “Capitalist Class” Against Unfairness in the Trial. Police Have an Easy Time. Warn the “Capitalist Class.” No Big Demonstrations. Anti-Millionaire Song. How Street Appeals Were Made. Cheer “Revolutionary Flag.” Takes Slap at Roosevelt. 10,000 IN BROOKLYN PARADE. Speakers at Mass Meetings Declare Indicted Miners Innocent.

Re comments on Socialist made by Dr. Brann:
New York Times of May 6, 1907

DR. BRANN REBUKES SOCIALIST PARADERS; He Says Moyer-Haywood Demonstration Was an Incitement to Revolution. ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH Many of Those In Line, He Believes, Were Dupes of Unscrupulous Politicians.

The Rev. Dr. Henry Brann, Rector of St. Agnes’s Roman Catholic Church, in his sermon yesterday morning rebuked those who attended the Moyer-Haywood demonstration in the Grand Central Palace on Saturday night. Dr. Brann’s church is in Forty-third Street, between Lexington and Fourth Avenues, in full view of the Grand Central Palace, so he was in a position to observe every detail of the demonstration.

“Declaration of Principles of the Irish Socialist Federation”
-by James Connolly
New York, January 1908

James Connolly Archive

Fellow Workers and Friends:
I.W.W. Free Speech Fights as Told by Participants

-ed by Philip Sheldon Foner
Greenwood Press, Jan 1, 1981

Page 222, Note #40:

In 1907 George B. McClellan, mayor of New York City, boasted in describing his constituency: “There are Russian Socialists and Jewish Socialists and German Socialist! But thank God! There are no Irish Socialists!” Concerned lest they be overlooked, James Connolly, Tom Flynn, his daughters Elizabeth Gurley and Kathie, and other Irish Socialists formed the Irish Socialist Federation. Annie Gurley Flynn, Elizabeth’s mother, sewed a large green and white banner with the Irish slogan, “Flag an Bealach” (Clear the Way) in a field of harps and shamrocks. To paraphrase Connolly’s viewpoint, the Federation was formed “not out of national sentiment but in estimation of the needs of socialist movement growing in a cosmopolitan environment.” Fifteen-year old Kathie Flynn became secretary of the Irish Socialist Federation.

James Connolly, the Irish revolutionary who was later martyred during the Easter uprising in 1916 in Ireland, then lived in New York and published The Harp to publicize the struggle for Irish freedom and efforts to organize dock workers within the I.W.W. It was through Connolly that Elizabeth Gurley Flynn learned of the work of the I.W. W.