Ireland, Colonialism and the Unfinished Revolution with Robbie McVeigh and Bill Rolston

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In this episode we interview Robbie McVeigh and Bill Rolston, authors of the book Anois ar theacht an tSamraidh: Ireland Colonialism and the Unfinished Revolution, a work that may be unparalleled in its analysis of the history of colonialism and modes of anti-imperialist struggle across Irish history.

It covers 800 years of history of colonialism in Ireland, and pays particular attention to the various colonial forms British Imperialism imposes upon the people of the island.

It also takes a deep dive into examining the contradictions of each of the Irish states that emerge from partition, an undemocratic and colonial imposition that the Irish people have yet to dismantle.

Along the way the book also deals with important questions of race, gender and the position of Ireland in relation to the British Empire.

At its core the book demonstrates that Ireland has not achieved decolonization even in the 26 counties in the South, but argues that self-determination for Irish people is within reach, perhaps closer now than it has been in a century.

In our conversation we explore many of these topics as well as An Gorta Mór, the British starvation of Ireland often misnamed/misunderstood as the "Potato Famine." We talk about the unexpected possibilities and contradictions created by the UK’s reactionary Brexit maneuvering. We talk about resonances between Ireland and other sites of settler colonialism, and discuss how racism and religious sectarianism are interwoven in the Irish context.

We also ask Robbie & Bill about the legacy of Irish anti-imperial struggle, which is significant and innovative, but is also checkered by a history of figures who failed to demonstrate solidarity to other anti-colonial struggles and marginalized peoples. They also discuss the complexity of Irish involvement in colonial management, and racial regimes outside of the Irish context.

We want to give a special shout-out to Liberated Texts (you can order volume 1 here) and Chris Beausang for the review which alerted us to the existence of this book.

And just note that you can order it directly from Ireland at Beyondthepalebooks.com. And if you’re listening in North America I’ll just add that the good people at leftwingbooks.net have ordered some copies so you should be able to order it there soon as well.

One more note, Dhoruba Bin Wahad is mentioned in passing during the show. Dhoruba who has lived a life in struggle for Black Liberation is currently battling stage 4 cancer and has a gofundme to support his treatment and care. We have contributed and we encourage you to do the same.

Lastly, if you like what we do and want to hear more conversations like this, please support us on patreon. Our listeners are our sole source of income for the show, and you can become a patron for $1 a month or whatever you can afford to contribute.

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