This video is about Constance Markievicz.
19 November 2005
Moira Nolan opens our series on women who fought back with a portrait of Irish revolutionary Constance Markievicz
When I was told this I challenged my teacher, arguing that Constance Markievicz was elected as Sinn Fein MP for St Patrick’s Dublin in 1918.
I was told she did not count, because she never took her seat in Westminster.
Of course, nobody ever explained why Constance Markievicz refused to take her seat.
Along with 72 other Sinn Fein MPs elected in Irish seats that year, Markievicz refused to recognise the right of Westminster to rule over Ireland.
She viewed her election as part of the powerful campaign to overturn 400 years of British occupation.
Markievicz was a revolutionary socialist and leading figure in the Irish Republican movement during the critical years of the early 20th century.
She was an unlikely revolutionary, born Lady Constance Gore-Booth into a class of aristocratic British landlords determined to keep Ireland firmly under their rule.
But a combination of her personal experience of oppression and her revulsion at contemporary political events led Markievicz away from her background and into the movement for change.
Her constant frustration at the restrictions placed on women in Victorian society led her to join the women’s suffrage movement.
And her anger at the brutality of British imperialism during the Boer War in South Africa led her to define herself as Irish and join Sinn Fein at the age of 40 in 1908.
Markievicz — now married to a Polish count involved in the revival of Gaelic culture — began to see how the struggle for women’s equality had to be connected to the movement for Irish independence.
“There can be no free women in an enslaved nation,” she declared.
This experience helped clarify her ideas about how the various causes she championed – especially equality for women and justice for Dublin’s poor — could be linked through the wider struggle for socialism.
Read more here.
On Connolly: here.
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