What are the most revolutionary ideas today?


A reader on our Facebook page has contributed a posting which from start to end states: “IRA”.

Others in the ‘left wing’ have commented to us in a similar way; about the need for revolution.

We offer the following comment which might be of some interest.



Who are the revolutionaries?

Traditionally they are fighters for the freedom of the people; they examine the conditions of existence of the people, identify the problems and struggle for their resolution.  However, not all are ‘fighters’, many of the greatest revolutionaries were people of ideas – sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword.  By nature, none of the great revolutionaries were ‘for’ violence as such; violence is something contrary to the nature of normal human beings.  Where violence does arise it is normally imposed upon the people to suppress them and deprive them of their rights.  The object and motivation of such suppression is to keep the people down, and to block the peaceful road to progress – this is itself a terrible crime against the people.

This is true of Ireland too; down through the centuries the English tried to suppress every democratic initiative of the people, quickly imposing violence when other methods failed.  Very few people in Ireland are without such experience in their families.

So, what about the problems of today … and revolution?

When faced with a complex of problems, as we are with this economic crisis, with partition and foreign domination, we find that there are political forces and vested interests acting against us.  One needs to examine the relative strength and weakness of these individual problems – in terms of the ideas and political forces sustaining them and how people might achieve progress.

Every chain has a weak link!

One might look at this complex of problems like a chain that is holding us back, each problem compounded because of the others – and all of the problems related, as are the political forces and ideas behind them.  But there is a weak link somewhere in this chain, it needs to be found.

What does it mean to be revolutionary?

The most revolutionary thing is to find and grasp the weakest link in the chain that is holding back progress, and to break it.  If this link or key question or issue can be broken/ overcome then the chain breaks and the path to progress is opened – this would be revolutionary.  Sometimes it takes a revolutionary war to break the chain and sometimes not; always it takes thoughtful analysis of the situation to see where the weakest link exists.

To not make an analysis of the current conditions or to simply repeat a slogan or mantra, however right it may have been in the past, is wrong – it is anti-conscious and plays straight into the hands of the ‘powers-that-be’, the opponents of progress.

Conditions change, responses must reflect this …

To judge whether something is revolutionary, in the good sense, one should consider the conditions and necessity of the times.  For example, what was great about Wolfe Tone is that he didn’t simply repeat what had gone before him – it would have been laughable had he thought to do so – Gaelic chieftains raising an army!  Tone and the United Irishmen correctly saw the emergence of the new modern Irish nation and insisted upon its freedom and independence, their political movement was spurred on by the necessity for “free trade” and basic democracy – that was the key link in the chain at that time.  The same process happened throughout the then developed world, in France, Italy, Germany and America people rebelled against the hang-over from the old feudal oligarchy – their demands were in tune with the needs of the time – the formation of modern independent nations.

Everything in its time …

Since then, another great revolutionary was Karl Marx, he sought out what was new and identified what was holding back social development; his ideas and practical building of revolutionary organisation shook the world and continues to do so – because they reflect objective reality.  James Connolly took up the ideas of Marxism and applied them in Ireland, he united with Pearse and the general patriotic movement; they were the first ‘IRA’ … their ideas (long since hidden from us) were revolutionary – they reflected the needs and represented progress at that time.

The greatest revolutionaries in history have come to be that because of the ideas that they embrace or develop, in so far as these ideas reflect the needs of the time in which they exist.  Unless one has such modern ideas then being a “revolutionary” is wrong and merely hands the initiative over to the oppressor in our society.

Sometimes the most revolutionary deed one can do is to read a book or write one – but to keep searching for the truth and the best path in the times and conditions that we live in is most important.

Empowerment of the people and democratic renewal.

People today face a whole range of problems, economic, social, political and otherwise.  We consider that to solve these problems ordinary people must themselves exercise political power, taking it away from the vested interest and the current line-up of political parties.

As a people we do not control our own democracy, north or south, this is where we must turn our attention, we must set our own agenda, maybe this is where the weakest link in the chain lies?

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A revolution, in literal terms, would never work. A popular uprising would simply be suppressed. I dont agree with anyone supporting the IRA anymore. Its time to forget about reclaiming Northern Ireland by force, its a ridiculous notion. I truly believe that, given the right leadership, we can make this a truly great country. And if that happened, Northern Ireland would be more than willing to re-unify. I’ve thought about it quite a bit. The only reason, in modern times, that any country stays loyal to a union like the UK, is that they are better off doing so. Look… Read more »
Our point is to identify what is the requirement of today – what would be ‘revolutionary’ today – what would advance society? We are also highlighting that to be revolutionary is certainly NOT to simply repeat some formula from the past, because of idealistic or sentimental feelings. You seem to realise that we have a great country if the “right leadership” is in control. But, who is the “right leadership”, and by implication, who are our current, therefore “wrong leadership”? Our contention is that the “right leadership” is the mass of ordinary people, exercising their power in a system of… Read more »
The biggest problem lies with the education system. We’re not educated to learn, we’re educated to become workers within the system. The entire educational process is geared toward us attaining as much of a skill as possible to generate money rather than focusing on anything we might actually have a latent talent for. Why is it that we are told to keep our natural skills as “a hobby” when they are clearly what we do best? The answer is simple, they don’t generate any or enough money, therefore we are compelled with a need to focus on a career. Most… Read more »
Dave, That is an excellent passage and for me strikes a powerful chord. I would post that on the Facebook page if you can. You have hit the nail right on the head. Our education system disempowers us as human beings and creates machines awaiting orders. It has destroyed generations in this country in terms of their confidence and self-belief. It forced many to put those in power on an undeserved pedestal and destroyed many people’s abilities to question those in positions of power, indeed to question full stop or think outside of the box. It has also managed to… Read more »
Frank Chaney
I suggest to you that a truly democratic revolution, requires the acceptance that any ideology such as capitalism, socialism, and Marxism, is potentially divisive, and counter-productive, Give me 100 men or women who believe in DEMOCRACY, and share a love for the Irish people or what we commonly call the Irish Nation, and I will show you a draft constitution which could ignite the flame of revolution you and many of your contributors speak of. But before you respond, read article 1 of Buntreacht na hEireann, and if you cannot fully support that article, then don’t bother to reply. I… Read more »