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Is Ireland embracing the ‘anarchy of Bolshevism’?
A German poster warns: 'Bolshevism brings war, unemployment and famine.' Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Is Ireland embracing the ‘anarchy of Bolshevism’?

Rathmines, 27 February 1918 - Ireland has been infected by the ‘anarchy of Bolshevism’, the Irish Times has claimed.

The newspaper has today devoted an editorial to the evils of Bolshevism and how, through the Sinn Féin movement, it has taken root in Ireland and is destroying a country that has heretofore been ‘conservative ... by instinct, tradition, and creed’.

The publication of the editorial follows reports from a meeting of the Rathmines and Rathgar Sinn Féin Club where, with Dr Kathleen Lynn presiding, speeches were delivered in praise of the Bolshevik example.

One of the speakers, Countess Markievicz, declared that she was in favour of the republic envisioned by James Connolly, a kind of co-operative or socialist republic. However, the countess denied that such an aspiration was revolutionary; rather it was more like ‘evolution’.

Not so, according to the Irish Times, which has accused Sinn Féin of both espousing ‘crude theories of Republicanism’ to appeal to the ‘greed and jealousy of the poorer classes’ and of elevating ‘barren hatred’ to the dignity of patriotism.

The newspaper sees evidence of Bolshevik influence everywhere: in the practice of the hunger-strike, that apparently owes less to the recent example of women suffragists than to a ‘Leninite theory of passive resistance’; in the raids for arms; in the seizure of land ‘in the name of the Irish Republic’; and in the ‘widespread contempt not only for law, but for decency’ that didn’t exist in Ireland before.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.