Wednesday, February 10, 2010
James Connolly - the strategist
James Connolly was a Marxist and yet a Catholic. He tried to reconcile the two. He was born in a poor Catholic neighborhood in Ulster. He was put down and even fired from his job for being a Catholic. Communism provided an ideological solution to his hatred of the Protestant majority in Ulster. Yet, he received commiuunion regularly from the Church. He believed he could be both. However, to his dying breath, he remained a devout Marxist Catholic. He attempted to convince the priest administering confession to James prior to his execution. James' ideology was the forerunner of what is now called liberation theology. He never waivered.
During the Rising, James led the Headquarters Battalion from Liberty Hall to the General Post Office and commanded military operations there throughout the week. He supervised the construction of defences, determining and adjusting strategy, summoning reinforcements, and deciding on the disposition of his forces. He was the brains of the Rising.
He was wounded and had gangrene in his legs. No one would have thought that General Maxwell would execute a wounded soldier, surely the articles of war prohibited such a thing. However, the British dealt differently with the Irish. The French and German soldiers captured during WWI were not executed, only the Irish from the Rising.