James Connolly


How to Release Larkin


Irish Worker, 1 November 1913.
Recently republished in Red Banner, No.3 (PO Box 6587, Dublin 6).
Transcription: Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh.
HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

We have always held that when we are at war we should fight according to the rules of war, and that means that the first aim and object of all our activities ought to be to disable and destroy the enemy. Everyone familiar with the history of working class revolts in the past knows that these revolts generally failed through the fact that the revolutionists tried to practise their ideas of humanity before the war was over and their victory assured; they, in short, wished to practise peace in the midst of war. The enemy, the possessing governing classes, on the other hand, having no scruples of conscience and desiring only their own victory, proceeded ruthlessly to the work of extermination; and so naturally and inevitably the established order won over the working class idealists. We do not propose to make that mistake. We are at war. Our enemy is the governing class; the political force of that enemy is the Liberal Government. Next year it may be the Conservative Government, and Sir Edward Carson may be again prosecuting Irish rebels as he did in the past; [1] but this year and this moment it is the Liberal Government that fills the jury box with employers to try strike leaders; that sets policemen to ride roughshod over the law guaranteeing the right of peaceful picketing; who orders the bludgeoning of men and women in the streets of Dublin; that has turned Dublin into an armed camp, in which the citizens walk about in terror of their lives in the presence of uniformed bullies – in short, it is the Liberal Government that has lent itself to the employers to imprison, bludgeon, and murder the Dublin working class.

Therefore, the Liberal Government must go.

Larkin is in prison, jailed by this cowardly gang! [2] We appeal to the workers everywhere in these islands to vote against the nominees of that government at every contested election until Larkin is released. To-day we are sending a telegram to the electors of Keighley [3], asking them, in the name of working class solidarity, to vote against the murderers of Nolan and Byrne [4], against the bludgeoners of the Dublin working class, against the jailers of Larkin. [5]

It is war, war to the end, against all the unholy crew who, with the cant of democracy upon their lying lips, are forever crucifying the Christ of Labour between the two thieves of Land and Capital.





1. Carson, leader of the Ulster Volunteers, set up a few months earlier to resist home rule, had previously been the British government’s Solicitor General.

2. Larkin had just been sentenced to seven months in prison for a seditious speech.

3. Where a by-election was impending.

4. James Nolan and James Byrne were killed by a police baton-charge on 30 August.

5. The Liberal candidate was defeated at Keighley and Larkin was released the following day.


Last updated on 6.10.2003