Friday, January 22, 2016

Bernie Sanders: abortion

From the Bernie Sanders campaign:

The Supreme Court guaranteed a woman's right to choose in the Roe v. Wade decision 43 years ago today. This was a tremendous step to protect women's health and to affirm their control of their own bodies.

Unfortunately, since the Roe v. Wade decision, extreme right-wing politicians in states have made it more and more difficult for women to actually access abortion care, aided in many cases by the federal Hyde Amendment and other anti-abortion policies. Nearly a quarter of these restrictions have come in the last five years. This is unacceptable.

The extreme right-wing works tirelessly to make it more difficult for women to access reproductive health care. Republicans in office work to shut down clinics while extremists terrorize health care providers and their patients. Making women travel hundreds of miles, wait weeks for an appointment and face harassment at the clinic door is a national disgrace.

So today, on the anniversary of this important Supreme Court decision, we must affirm not only the right to have an abortion, but we must protect the right to access a doctor or clinic who can perform that procedure.

Add your name to mine if you agree we must expand access to reproductive health care and protect Roe v. Wade.

We are not going back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for a woman and her doctor to make, not the government.

We are not going to allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood, we are going to expand it. Planned Parenthood provides vital healthcare services for millions of people, who rely on its clinics every year for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services. The current attempt to malign Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.

We are not going back to the days when women did not have full access to birth control. Incredibly, almost all of the Republicans in Congress are in favor of giving any employer who provides health insurance, or any insurance company, the ability to deny coverage for contraception or any other kind of procedure if the employer had a “moral” objection to it. That is unacceptable.

Under my administration, we will protect and expand the fundamental rights of women to control their own bodies. I promise to only nominate Supreme Court Justices who support Roe v. Wade. Our Medicare-for-all plan would cover reproductive health care, including abortion, because all health care is a right, not a privilege. And I would work to repeal the federal Hyde Amendment, which currently restricts the federal government from spending any money on abortion care. That is wrong, and it will be abolished when I am president.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Bernie Sanders: gun violence

From the Bernie Sanders campaign:

Here is the very sad truth: it is very difficult for the American people to keep up with the mass shootings we seem to see every day in the news. Yesterday, San Bernardino. Last week, Colorado Springs. Last month, Colorado Springs again. Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Isla Vista, Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Roseburg, and far too many others.

The crisis of gun violence has reached epidemic levels in this country to the point that we are averaging more than one mass shooting per day. Now, I am going to tell you something that most candidates wouldn’t say: I am not sure there is a magical answer to how we end gun violence in America. But I do know that while thoughts and prayers are important, they are insufficient and it is long past time for action.

That’s why I want to talk to you today about a few concrete actions we should take as a country that will save lives.
  1. We can expand background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. This is an idea that over 80% of Americans agree with, even a majority of gun owners.
  1. & 3. We can renew the assault weapons ban and end the sale of high capacity magazines — military-style tools created for the purpose of killing people as efficiently as possible.
  1. Since 2004, over 2,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list have legally purchased guns in the United States. Let’s close the “terror gap” and make sure known foreign and domestic terrorists are included on prohibited purchaser lists.
  1. We can close loopholes in our laws that allow perpetrators of stalking and dating violence to buy guns. In the United States, the intended targets of a majority of our mass shootings are intimate partners or family members, and over 60% of victims are women and children. Indeed, a woman is five times more likely to die in a domestic violence incident when a gun is present.
  1. We should close the loophole that allows prohibited purchasers to buy a gun without a completed background check after a three-day waiting period expires. Earlier this year, Dylann Roof shot and killed nine of our fellow Americans while they prayed in a historic church, simply because of the color of their skin. This act of terror was possible because of loopholes in our background check laws. Congress should act to ensure the standard for ALL gun purchases is a completed background check. No check — no sale.
  1. It’s time to pass federal gun trafficking laws. I support Kirsten Gillibrand’s Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015, which would “make gun trafficking a federal crime and provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the streets and away from criminal networks and street gangs.”
  1. It’s time to strengthen penalties for straw purchasers who buy guns from licensed dealers on behalf of a prohibited purchaser.
  1. We must authorize resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study and research the causes and effects of gun violence in the United States of America.
  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 21,000 firearm suicides every year in the United States. It’s time we expand and improve our mental health capabilities in this country so that people who need care can get care when they need it, regardless of their level of income.
Add your name in support of these commonsense measures Congress can take to make our communities safer from gun violence.

Earlier today [Dec. 3, 2015], the U.S. Senate voted against non-binding legislation to expand background checks, close the “terror gap,” and improve our mental health systems. I voted for all three, although each of them came up short.

They failed for the same reason the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey legislation failed in 2013, just months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School: because of the financial political power of a gun lobby that has bought candidates and elections for the better part of the last several decades.

In 2014 alone, the gun lobby spent over $30 million on political advertising and lobbying to influence legislators in Congress and state capitals across the country. And just last month, it was reported that the Koch brothers made a $5 million contribution to the NRA.

Americans of all political stripes agree. It's time to address the all too common scene of our neighbors being killed. It's time to pass a common sense package of gun safety legislation.

With your help, that's what we’ll do when I’m president.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Bernie Sanders: Wall Street

From the Bernie Sanders campaign:

[complete speech as prepared]

Greed, fraud, dishonesty, and arrogance: these are the words that best describe the reality of Wall Street today.

We can no longer tolerate an economy and a political system that have been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans in this country at the expense of everyone else. While President Obama deserves credit for getting this economy back on track after the Wall Street crash, the reality is there is a lot of unfinished business.

That's why today in New York City I announced my plan for taking on Wall Street. We must break up the banks, end their casino-style gambling, and fundamentally change the approach of the financial industry to focus on helping the American people.

When I am president, we will reform Wall Street and our financial system to make it work for all Americans. I want to tell you about what I will do, then ask you to add your name to endorse our plan.

Add Your Name

To those on Wall Street, let me be very clear. Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a promise I will make as president: If Wall Street does not end its greed, we will end it for them.

As most people know, in the 1990s and later, financial interests spent billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions to force through Congress the deregulation of Wall Street, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the weakening of consumer protection laws.

They paid this money to show the American people all that they could do with that freedom. Well, they sure showed the American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings.

Meanwhile, the American middle class continues to disappear, poverty is increasing, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider by the day. But the American people are catching on. They also know that a handful of people on Wall Street have extraordinary power over the economic and political life of our country.

We must act now to change that. Our goal must be to create a financial system and an economy that works for all Americans, not just a handful of billionaires.

There are eight points to my plan, and I want to go through each of them here because I think it's important for our campaign to discuss specific policies with our supporters. Some of this may seem a little in the weeds, but I trust our supporters to be able to handle this kind of policy discussion.

Here's my plan for what I will do with Wall Street when I am president:
  1. Break up huge financial institutions in the first year of my administration. Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a “Too Big to Fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks, and insurance companies whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk to the U.S. economy without a taxpayer bailout. Within one year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy.
  1. Reinstate a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to clearly separate traditional banking from risky investment banking and insurance services. It is not enough to tell Wall Street to "cut it out," propose a few new rules and slap on some fines. Under my administration, financial institutions will no longer be too big to fail or too big to manage. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.
  1. End too-big-to-jail. We live in a country today that has an economy that is rigged, a campaign finance system which is corrupt, and a criminal justice system which often does not dispense justice. The average American sees kids being arrested and sometimes even jailed for possessing marijuana. But when it comes to Wall Street executives — some of the most wealthy and powerful people in this country whose illegal behavior hurt millions of Americans — somehow nothing happens to them. No jail time. No police record. No justice.

    Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. That will change under my administration. “Equal Justice Under Law” will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.
  1. Establish a tax on Wall Street to discourage reckless gambling and encourage productive investments in the job-creating economy. We will use the revenue from this tax to make public colleges and universities tuition free. During the financial crisis, the middle class of this country bailed out Wall Street. Now, it’s Wall Street’s turn to help the middle class.
  1. Cap Credit Card Interest Rates and ATM Fees. We have got to stop financial institutions from ripping off the American people by charging sky-high interest rates and outrageous fees. In my view, it is unacceptable that Americans are paying a $4 or $5 fee each time they go to the ATM. And it is unacceptable that millions of Americans are paying credit card interest rates of 20 or 30 percent.

    The Bible has a term for this practice. It's called usury. And in The Divine Comedy, Dante reserved a special place in the Seventh Circle of Hell for sinners who charged people usurious interest rates. Today, we don't need the hellfire and the pitchforks, we don't need the rivers of boiling blood, but we do need a national usury law.

    We need to cap interest rates on credit cards and consumer loans at 15 percent. I would also cap ATM fees at $2.
  1. Allow Post Offices to Offer Banking Services. We also need to give Americans affordable banking options. The reality is that, unbelievably, millions of low-income Americans live in communities where there are no normal banking services. Today, if you live in a low-income community and you need to cash a check or get a loan to pay for a car repair or a medical emergency, where do you go? You go to a payday lender who could charge an interest rate of over 300 percent and trap you into a vicious cycle of debt. That is unacceptable.

    We need to stop payday lenders from ripping off millions of Americans. Post offices exist in almost every community in our country. One important way to provide decent banking opportunities for low-income communities is to allow the U.S. Postal Service to engage in basic banking services, and that's what I will fight for.
  1. Reform Credit Rating Agencies. We cannot have a safe and sound financial system if we cannot trust the credit agencies to accurately rate financial products. The only way we can restore that trust is to make sure credit rating agencies cannot make a profit from Wall Street. Under my administration, we will turn for-profit credit rating agencies into non-profit institutions, independent from Wall Street. No longer will Wall Street be able to pick and choose which credit agency will rate their products.
  1. Reform the Federal Reserve. We need to structurally reform the Federal Reserve to make it a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, not just the billionaires on Wall Street. It is unacceptable that the Federal Reserve has been hijacked by the very bankers it is in charge of regulating. When Wall Street was on the verge of collapse, the Federal Reserve acted with a fierce sense of urgency to save the financial system. We need the Fed to act with the same boldness to combat the unemployment crisis and fulfill its full employment mandate.
So my message to you is straightforward: I’ll rein in Wall Street's reckless behavior so they can’t crash our economy again.

Will Wall Street like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I’m president? You better believe it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bernie Sanders: single-payer health care

From the Bernie Sanders campaign:

I want to talk with you about one of the very real differences between Secretary Clinton and me that surfaced during last weekend's debate, and that is our approach to health care in this country.

I was, and all progressives should be, deeply disappointed in some of her attacks on a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system. The health insurance lobbyists and big pharmaceutical companies try to make "national health care" sound scary. It is not.

In fact, a large single-payer system already exists in the United States. It's called Medicare and the people enrolled give it high marks. More importantly, it has succeeded in providing near-universal coverage to Americans over age 65 in a very cost-effective manner.

So I want to go over some facts with you and ask that you take action on this important issue:

Right now, because of the gains made under the Affordable Care Act, 17 million people have health care who did not before the law was passed. This is a good start, and something we should be proud of. But we can do better.

The truth is, it is a national disgrace that the United States is the only major country that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. Today, 29 million of our sisters and brothers are without care. Not only are deductibles rising, but the cost of prescription drugs is skyrocketing as well. There is a major crisis in primary health care in the United States.

So I start my approach to health care from two very simple premises:

1. Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege -- every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access quality care regardless of their income.

2. We must create a national system to provide care for every single American in the most cost-effective way possible.

I expected to take some heat on these fundamental beliefs during a general election, but since it is already happening in the Democratic primary, I want to address some of the critiques made by Secretary Clinton and Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal directly:

Under my plan, we will lower the cost of health care for the average family making $50,000 a year by nearly $5,000 a year. It is unfair to say simply how much more a program will cost without letting people know we are doing away with the cost of private insurance and that the middle class will be paying substantially less for health care under a single-payer system than Hillary Clinton's program. Attacking the cost of the plan without acknowledging the bottom-line savings is the way Republicans have attacked this idea for decades. Taking that approach in a Democratic Primary undermines the hard work of so many who have fought to guarantee health care as a right in this country, and it hurts our prospects for achieving that goal in the near future. I hope that it stops.

Let me also be clear that a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system will expand employment by lifting a major financial weight off of the businesses burdened by employee health expenses. And for the millions of Americans who are currently in jobs they don't like but must stay put because of health care access, they would be free to explore more productive opportunities as they desire.

So, what is stopping us from guaranteeing free, quality health care as a basic fundamental right for all Americans? I believe the answer ties into campaign finance reform.

The truth is, the insurance companies and the drug companies are bribing the United States Congress.

Now, I don't go around asking millionaires and billionaires for money. You know that. I don't think I'm going to get a whole lot of contributions from the health care and pharmaceutical industries. I don't like to kick a man when he is down, but when some bad actors have tried to contribute to our campaign, like the pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli who jacked up the price of a life saving drug for AIDS patients, I donated his contribution to an AIDS clinic in Washington, D.C.

Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, has received millions of dollars from the health care and pharmaceutical industries, a number that is sure to rise as time goes on. Since 1998, there are no industries that have spent more money to influence legislators than these two. Billions of dollars! An absolutely obscene amount of money. And in this election cycle alone, Secretary Clinton has raised more money from the health care industry than did the top 3 Republicans -- combined.

Now, and let's not be naive about this, maybe they are dumb and don't know what they are going to get? But I don't think that's the case, and I don't believe you do either.

So, what can we do about it?

Changing the health care laws in this country in such a way that guarantees health care as a right and not a privilege will require nothing short of a political revolution. That's what this campaign is about and it is work we must continue long after I am elected the next President of the United States.

And because of the success we have enjoyed so far, I am more convinced today than ever before that universal quality health care as a right for all Americans will eventually become the law of the land.

It is the only way forward.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Oxford English Dictionary: frightfulness2. b. Used during the War of 1914–18 to render G. schrecklichkeit, implying a deliberate policy of terrorizing the enemy (esp. non-combatants) as a military resource.

From The Irish Republic, by Dorothy Macardle (1937, 1938, 1951):

[Note:  These excerpts describing the frightfulness of the English war against the Irish Republic (declared by Dáil Éireann, representing a sweeping majority of the people, on January 21, 1919) are only illustrative and by no means exhaustive, and they do not include the pogroms in Ulster, particularly in Belfast and Derry, to drive Catholics out of their jobs, businesses, and homes (which did not abate after the truce and increased after approval of the free state treaty and partition).]

[Also see:  Ireland in Insurrection, by Hugh Martin (1921).]

* * * * *

A new phase of the hostilities opened in September in County Cork. Here the Volunteers were well led and well armed. Liam Lynch was Commandant of the Cork Number Two Brigade. In Fermoy, on the 7th [1919], with men of his brigade, he attacked a British military party on its way to Church and a soldier was killed. On the following day about two hundred British Regulars were let loose on the town and sacked and looted shops, doing damage estimated at about £3,000.

* * * * *

Dublin Castle employed both troops and police during the autumn [of 1919] in a campaign of incessant activity designed to make life impossible for a population resistant to British rule. They were employed to suppress or break up all the innumerable activities which Dublin Castle had proclaimed. They dispersed meetings, markets and fairs; classes in the Irish language; concerts were “seditious” recitations or national songs might be expected to be part of the programme; exhibitions of Irish produce; sittings of the Commission of Inquiry on Industrial Resources which had been organised by the Dáil; hurling matches or other games which had been organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association. They combined in searching a raiding private houses. They visited printing-presses and dismantled the machinery. They carried out searches for persons suspected of Republican sympathies, and if such persons were were found in possession of Republican literature, conveyed them in armed lorries to jail, where they were detained without charge or trial for an indefinite time, or tried by stipendiary magistrates of courts martial.

On September 5th John O’Sheehan of Roscommon was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for singing The Felons of Our Land. On September 26th P. O’Keeffe, member of Dáil Éireann for North cork, received a sentence of two years for a seditious speech. Numbers of of Republicans were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for reading at meetings the manifesto of Sinn Féin.

Every day had its tale of aggression, only a small fraction which was reported in the censored Press. A typical day – October 27th – showed ten houses raided in county Tipperary; a Cork man arrested for having his possession a copy of the prospectus of the Dáil Éireann Loan; a County Meath man sentenced by court martial to twelve months’ imprisonment for being in possession of a revolver, ammunition and seditious documents; a farmers’ meeting suppressed by police and military accompanied by tanks.

The next day’s list showed the machinery of the Southern Star dismantled; a Cork man sentenced for possession of seditious literature; a hurling match stopped by police and military at Limerick; a boy of fourteen short and seriously wounded by soldiers in county Mayo. On the following day Miss Brigid O’Mullane was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, charged with incitement; a priest was deported, a many sentenced by court martial. On September 20th all Republican Papers were suppressed.

The number of raids on private houses reported in the censored Press during the nine months ending on September 30th was 5,588. … The troops which had sacked Fermoy in September were removed to Cork. There, on November 10th, the soldiers sacked and looted nearly every shop in the principal street of the city. Similar destruction by the military took place in Kinsale and Athlone.

The number of raids on private houses carried out by Crown forces during the years 1917, 1918 and 1919 was computed to amount to 12,589.

Within two weeks in October twenty-two journals which carried notices of the Dáil Loan were suppressed.

On November 25th a Proclamation was issued by which Sinn Féin, the Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic League were suppressed in twenty-seven counties. On the same day Noel Lemass was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with hard labour for being in possession of arms. Five days earlier F. Leonard, a Unionist of Enniskillen, for the same offence had been fined 2s. 6d.

* * * * *

The British régime of suppression was now intensified. Thurles in County Tipperary was a scene of violent police reprisals on January 20th. Outside the town on that morning a constable was shot dead. During the night, police and military rushed through the town, smashing windows, firing shots into houses and throwing hand-grenades into the premises of the local newspaper. They “shot up” about ten houses, including the houses of four newly elected councillors. …

During the month of January over one thousand raids by the Crown forces and two hundred and twenty arrests of Republicans were reported by the daily Press. In the four weeks of February raids numbered over four thousand and arrests two hundred and ninety-six. …

“Frightfulness” was now a definite feature of the British policy; another feature was a systematic attack on the economic life of the country, and particularly on all branches of the reconstructive efforts organised by Dáil Éireann and Sinn Féin. …

An effective blow had been struck at the economic life of the countryside by the suppression of fairs and markets in places under military law. … People coming to market with their produce were turned back. In February an old farmer, Thomas Caplis, on his way to the cattle fair at Nenagh, was arrested, charged with illegal assembly, and sentenced to one month’s imprisonment. …

The unofficial reprisals by police and military in the form of sabotage continued unchecked. Thurles was shot up again on March 1st and on March 7th. On March 12th, in Cork, houses were wrecked by troops. …

Two days after the murder of Tomás Mac Curtáin [Lord Mayor of Cork] soldiers in Dublin shot a young man and a a girl, killing both. On March 29th, in Thurles, J. McCarthy was murdered by police in his own home, and on the 30th, T. Dwyer of The Ragg, County Tipperary, was murdered in his bed by police.

* * * * *

In the late spring [1920] Ireland was full of troops. … The troops and police … tore through the streets and roads of Ireland in armoured cars and lorries, which sometimes carried machine guns; the men were in a savage condition of nervousness, expecting an ambush at every corner. They carried rifles at the ready and sometimes shot recklessly at people on the roads. …

Already, between January and June, besides the armed Volunteers who had fallen in combat thirteen unarmed people had be killed by indiscriminate firing by the Crown forces, five had been deliberately killed by them, and one hundred and seventy-two persons wounded. Fifteen reprisals on towns and villages had been carried out in these six months. ([footnote] January 22nd: Thurles, County Tipperary, sacked by troops. February 27th: three houses in Dublin wrecked by troops. March 1st: Thurles, County Tipperary, partially wrecked by troops. March 7th: several houses in Thurles, County Tipperary, wrecked by troops. March 12th: many houses in Cork City wrecked by police. March 22nd: many shop windows in Dublin wrecked by troops. April 17th: Bouladuff, County Tipperary, shot up by police. April 26th: Kilcommon, County Tipperary, partially wrecked by police. April 27th: many houses in Limerick City shot up by police. May 1st: Limerick City shot up by police. May 13th: houses at Thurles, County Tipperary, fired and bombed by police. May 15th: houses at Bantry, County cork, wrecked by police. May 18th: Limerick city shot up by police. May 19th: Kilcommon, County Tipperary, shot up by police. May 28th: Kilmallock, County Limerick, sacked by police.)

* * * * *

Between June 23rd and 28th acts of destruction by police occurred in Bantry, Limerick, Newcastlewest and Kilcommon. On July 1st, in Limerick City, newspaper offices were wrecked and fired by police. On July 3rd police shot up Union Hall, County Cork. Between July 6th and 22nd they bombed and wrecked houses in county Limerick and Arklow, shops and houses in Tralee, County Kerry, Ballagh, County Roscommon and Leap, County Cork. They fired into houses in Ballina, Galbally and cork City, wrecked a creamery at Emly and a National Foresters’ Hall at Enniscorthy. On July 20th the town of Tuam in county Galway was savagely sacked by drunken constables.

* * * * *

Less “haphazard” was the sabotage of Irish industrial life carried on during the Summer. Creameries had been wrecked during April; others were destroyed during July; now the destruction of the co-operative creameries, mills and bacon factories was systematised; two were burned down on August 6th, one on the 10th, others on the 16th and 17th. On August 22nd, one of the largest creameries in Ireland, that at Knocklong in County Limerick, was destroyed by bombs which were thrown into the engine-room by men of the R.I.C. …

[T]he police as well as the troops became increasingly reckless and savage. If, when raiding for a marked Republican, they failed to find him, they sometimes shot his father or brother instead. At Bantry, in August, a hunchback boy was murdered in this way.

In Hospital, County Limerick, on the night of August 14th soldiers came to the house of a man of forty named Patrick Lynch, ordered him to go with them and killed him the Fair Green. They “wanted” another Lynch, it was believed.

On the 27th, Seán and Batt Buckley, young volunteers, were captured in their home by Cameron Highlanders, guided by a policeman. They were handcuffed, placed on the floor of a lorry and driven along the road to Cork. When in the lorry both were shot, Seán fatally. “Shot while attempting to escape,” was the official formula used to cover the murders of arrested men. …

The Regulations made by the British Administration in Ireland under the new [Restoration of Order in Ireland] Act were promulgated on August 21st. They relieved the military forces in Ireland of almost all the restraints of law. … The British preparations for the final phase of the reconquest of Ireland were almost complete: the Irish nation had been outlawed; members of the Government’s forces had been indemnified in advance for excesses against Republicans; their campaign of terror had been categorically legalised.

On September 3rd, coroners’ inquests were abolished in ten counties and replaced by secret military courts of inquiry. With the following three weeks eighteen murders of unarmed persons were traced to the forces of the Crown.

* * * * *

The military conflict was growing more violent, and especially in the west. During September ambushes and reprisals were frequent; villages were “shot up”; houses of Republicans were destroyed by police and soldiers, there were fatalities on both sides.

… On September 20th, men of the Constabulary, Military, and Black and Tans wrecked houses in Carrick-on-Shannon and in Tuam. On the same night it was the turn of Drumshambo and Galway City, and Tuam was attacked again. On the 22nd, in County Clare, shops and houses were wrecked and ricks set on fire; Lahinch, Ennistymon, and Miltown-Malbay suffered reprisals and three young men were murdered. On the same night John Lynch of Kilmallock, a member of the Limerick County Council and Director of Elections for Sinn Féin, was murdered by military in his room in a Dublin hotel. …

Twenty-five houses in the village [of Balbriggan] were destroyed that night [of September 20th] and the smaller [hosiery] factory burnt out. The people fled to the country and lay hiding in ditches and barns. … Within the week following the sack of Balbriggan, destruction of the same kind was carried out by the police in the south, the midlands and the west. In Trim, a small market town in County Meath, Auxiliaries did damage estimated at £50,000. In Mallow, County Cork, as a reprisal for a successful attack on the barracks, military wrecked the Town Hall, did damage to the value of £200,000, and shot and wounded two men. In towns and villages in almost every county of Ireland now, people whose homes had been deliberately wrecked by the Crown forces were living in stables and barns.

* * * * *

On the day on which Kevin Barry was hanged in Dublin [November 1st, 1920] Ellen Quinn was shot dead in County Galway by police. She was sitting on her garden wall in Kiltartan with a child in her arms when they came tearing past in a lorry and fired. The only investigation made was a military inquiry at which the firing was found to have been “a precautionary measure.”

On the following day Thomas Wall of Tralee was killed by Crown forces; on the 4th John and Tom O’Brien of Nenagh were killed. … On the 5th the Crown forces killed Miss O’Connell and Michael Maguire of Ardfert; on the 6th William Mulcahy of Cork; on the 8th John Cantillon and Michael Brosnan in County Kerry; on the 10th Christopher Lucy of Cork and Frank Hoffman in County Kerry; on the 12th P. McMahon, J. Walsh and John Herlihy of Ballymacelligott. On the 13th, in Dublin, Annie O’Neill, aged eight, was killed when shots were fired from a lorry into a group standing in a gateway. A week later the body of another of their victims, Father Michael Griffin, was found in a Galway bog.

In the Intelligence Room of Dublin Castle ill-treatment and even torture of prisoners was being resorted to in the effort to secure information. …

Seventeen Irishmen were murdered in October … The number of Irish men and women killed by Crown forces during the month of November, other than the Volunteers killed in action, was thirty-three.

Among the operations conducted by the British forces in Ireland during November was the sacking of Granard in County Longford by men who arrived in eleven lorries with bombs and petrol and set four shops ablaze, and of Tralee in County Kerry where uniformed men came out of the police barracks armed with crowbars and hatchets, rifles and revolvers and supplies of petrol, and attacked the home of Republicans.

* * * * *

In Cork city on the following night [December 11th] fires broke out. They broke out first in Patrick Street, the principal business street of the city. On after another the shops blazed up. Later in the night, across the river, about a quarter of a mile away, the City Hall burst into flames. This hall, the centre of the Municipal Government, and the Free Library adjacent to it were completely demolished. The Fire Brigade was impotent against the terrific conflagration. Two members of the Brigade were wounded by bullets while at work. The damage done in that one night was estimated as between two and three million pounds. The streets were full, all night, of military and police.

On the following morning what had been the main thoroughfare of the city was nothing but a scene of wreckage and smouldering debris. Thousands of people had been thrown out of work. …

On the 14th a Proclamation was issued by the British Military Authorities in the counties under Martial Law to the effect that after December 27th any person convicted by a Military Court of certain offences would be liable to suffer death. The offences included the possession of arms, ammunition of explosives; wearing Irish Volunteer uniform or “clothing likely to deceive” and “harbouring and aiding or abetting” rebels – an offence with which nearly every member of nearly every family in Munster was chargeable at this time. …

On December 26th police broke into a dance hall at Bruff, County Limerick, and killed five young men and wounded seventeen.

The number of unarmed persons killed by Crown Forces in Ireland during the twelve months of 1920 reached two hundred and three; this included six women and twelve children under seventeen years of age. Sixty-nine were persons deliberately killed in the streets or their own homes; thirty-six were men killed while in custody; the rest were victims of indiscriminate firing by the Military and Police.

* * * * *

On New Year’s Day, 1921, seven householders in Midleton, Co Cork, received notice from the British Military authorities that in one hour’s time their houses would be destroyed. They had permission to remove valuable but not furniture. An ambush had been carried out in the neighbourhood and the inhabitants, it was officially stated, had “neglected to give information to the military and police.”

… By a proclamation of January 3rd [Major-General Strickland, Military Governor of Cork], commanded the people to refuse food and shelter, aid and comfort, to the Irish Volunteers, and to report to the British authorities any person suspected of being in possession of arms. Citizens failing to obey were to be prosecuted by Court Martial or “dealt with summarily.” An attitude of neutrality, the Proclamation stated, “is inconsistent with loyalty and will render the person liable under the order.”

The first execution under the new ordinance took place on February 1st, when Cornelius Murphy, charged with being in possession of a revolver and seven rounds of ammunition. was shot. His brother was arrested for failing to inform against him. … Internment camps, capable of holding thousands of prisoners, were set up at Ballykinlar, Gormanston and elsewhere. …

On February 28th, John Allen and five other young Irishmen, sentenced by Court Martial for possession of arms, were executed by shooting in Cork. …

Outside the Martial Law areas, also, executions continued. On March 14th, in Dublin, six Republican prisoners were hanged.

* * * * *

At Clonmult in County Cork, in February, a party of fifteen Volunteers was surrounded in a cottage by Auxiliaries and troops. They resisted, firing from windows, for about two hours, until the thatch was set ablaze. A military officer then called on them to surrender, promising that they would be properly treated, and the fifteen men came out, unarmed, with their hands up. The Auxiliaries fell on them, “like wild beasts,” one Volunteer said afterwards, killed nine of them, wounded five and tore from the dead and wounded watches, pens, religious medals, shouting and cursing the whole time. … Six of the Volunteers who had survived the surrender at Clonmult were court martialled and sentenced to death.

… In Limerick, in one night during Curfew hours, three of the leading citizens were killed – George Clancy, the Mayor; the former Mayor, Michael O’Callahan, and Joseph O’Donoghue.

… On April 25th Thomas Traynor was hanged in Mountjoy, and on the 28th four Volunteers, Patrick Sullivan, Patrick Roynane, Thomas Mulcahy and Maurice Moore, were executed by shooting in Cork. Patrick Casey was executed in Cork on the 2nd May and Dan O’Brien on the 16th.

* * * * *

The British Military, on the plea that a state of war was raging in Ireland, were hanging and shooting their prisoners. … Thomas Keane was shot in Limerick on June 4th. On June 7th, Edward Foley and Patrick Maher, charged with the shooting of a sergeant at Knocklong in May, 1919, were hanged.

Twenty-four Irish Volunteers were executed between November and June. In the first half of the year – between January and June, 1921 – Republicans killed, untried, while in custody were believed to number one hundred and thirty-one, and the people killed by indiscriminate firing to include seventeen children, five women and sixteen men.

The total number killed on the Irish side since the first meeting of Dáil Éireann in January, 1919, including civilians and volunteers, was estimated at about seven hundred. ([footnote] Between January 1st, 1919, and July 12th, 1921, 752 killed and 866 wounded. Estimate probably below the actual figure as numerous casualties were never reported.)

The unequal combat was rendered more unequal by the difference between the attitude to prisoners on the two sides. More than eight hundred members of the British Forces, captured by the I.R.A. between January, 1919, and June, 1921, were released unhurt; but, while the Volunteers, proud of their cause and eager to show themselves its worthy soldiers, were scrupulous in their treatment of captured combatants, no such ideal hampered the British Auxiliaries. An example of the difference which impressed English as well as Irish observers was the case of Commandant Seán McKeon.

Commandant McKeon, whose columns were active in County Longford, received a warning that he was to be shot at sight. On January 7th he saw police closing round Miss Martin’s cottage where he was living. In order to avert a fight in the house he rushed out, firing. there was an exchange of shots; District Inspector McGrath of the R.I.C. was fatally shot and Seán McKeon escaped. The Police seized five women as hostages and burned the cottage.

On February 2nd McKeon ambushed a reprisal party in lorries near Ballinalee; after a fight lasting three quarters of an hour, in which two Auxiliaries and a District Inspector of Police were killed, the surviving fifteen, of whom eight were wounded, surrendered and laid down their arms. The uninjured prisoners were released and given one of the captured lorries in order that they might convey their wounded comrades to hospital.

A month later, Commandant McKeon was captured and handcuffed; attempting to escape he was shot and wounded; he was recaptured and beaten with rifle butts. While in prison he was elected a member of Dáil Éireann for Longford and Westmeath. On June 14th he was charged before a Field General Court Martial in Dublin with the murder of District Inspector McGrath and sentenced to be hanged.

* * * * *

Truce: July 11, 1921

“Free State” treaty (with partition and loyalty to King):
  • Signed, under threat of immediate and merciless war of “re-conquest” and without consultation with Dublin: December 6, 1921
  • Ratified by U.K. Parliament: December 16
  • Approved (narrowly) by Dáil Éireann: January 7th, 1922
Constance (Countess) Markiewicz:  “It is the capitalists’ interests in England and Ireland that are pushing this Treaty to block the march of the working people in England and Ireland.”

January 14, 1922:  Southern Parliament (remainder of Dáil Éireann for 26 counties) approves treaty, selects a Provisional Government for transfer of British Powers; Provisional Government starts usurping powers and funds of Dáil Éireann and the Republic as well, including the abolition of Republican courts on July 25 in Dublin and on October 27 in the rest of the country

July 28:  Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, at bidding and with support of English, attack the Republican Army in Dublin

August 11:  Last Republican-controlled town taken

August 12:  Arthur Griffith dies

August 22:  Michael Collins killed

October 25:  Republican Army and Éamon de Valera form a new Dáil Éireann; Free State constitution passed by Provisional Government

September 27:  Army Emergency Powers enacted by the Provisional Government to allow its forces to operate without law

October 10:  Irish Bishops condemn anti-Treaty Republicans, denying them communion

October 15:  Military Courts begin: all acts of rebellion against the Treaty, including possession of arms or ammunition, punishable by death

November 17:  Executions begin; continuing through May 2, 1923, they totaled 77, 55 of them before January 31, 1923

December 5:  U.K. approves Free State constitution

December 6:  Irish Free State established, neither treaty nor constitution having been put before voters

December 7:  Northern Ireland removes itself from the Free State, and thwarts a Boundary Commission

March 1923:  “The number of military prisoners in jails and internment camps in the Free State was estimated now as about twelve thousand. As a result of prolonged hardship and confinement the majority were in a low state of health. The practice of interrogating prisoners to the accompaniment of sever beating, kicking, and other forms of punishment was generally practised. Guards frequently fired into the prisoners’ cells and compounds. Mary Comerford was fired at and wounded in Mountjoy Prisons; Patrick Mulrennan was mortally wounded by an officer in Costume Barrack in Athlone [October 6, 1922], and eight men were killed in this way. The sufferings of men and women from cold, malnutrition, insanitary conditions and the lack of medical appliances increased with the overcrowding of the prisons and camps. … In the early morning of March 7th nine prisoners, one with a broken arm, another with a broken wrist, were taken in a lorry from Tralee prison to Ballyseed Cross, where a log with a mine beside it lay on the road. There the hands of each prisoner were tied behind him and each was tied by the arms and legs to the man on either side. A rope was passed around the nine men, holding htem in a ring, their backs to the mine which was in the centre. The soldiers then moved away and exploded the mine. … On the same day five prisoners were taken from Killarney prison to Countess Bridge where a mine had been placed against a barricade of stones. There the soldiers exploded the mine and then threw bombs. … At Cahirciveen on March 12th five prisoners were killed in the same way …”

April 30, 1923:  (7 years to the day after the final surrender ending the Easter Rising in Dublin) Republicans cease military actions, but Free State government continues activity against them, demanding surrender of arms and keeping loyalty oath to deny them political participation

May 1923:  “[T]he defeat of the Republicans was a victory for England, not for Ireland; the leaders who had achieved it had defeated their own cherished ends. They, too, had desired the Republic; they had agreed to the Treaty only for fear that refusal would bring another war on Ireland, and, in consenting, had brought war on Ireland themselves … they had accomplished for the English what the English might have failed to accomplish for themselves.”

August 15:  De Valera arrested at campaign appearance, held in solitary confinement until July 16, 1924

August 27:  Despite many still in prison, the rest threatened with arrest, and their campaign activities violently suppressed and sabotaged, Republicans (including de Valera) win 44 of 153 seats in Dáil, pro-treaty party (now called Cumann na nGaedheal) 63 – but Republicans barred by oath; Republicans up to 48 seats by March 11, 1924

October:  Republican prisoners, including 10 members of Dáil, start hunger strikes

January 16, 1924:  Free State government renews power to keep Republicans imprisoned without trial

April 3:  Treasonable Offences Act passed with only 30 out of 153 votes, joining and joined by other laws to exclude Republicans from public life – reminiscent of 18th-century Penal Laws

November:  Boundary Commission keeps nationalist areas of Ulster (Tyrone, Fermanagh, southern Down and Antrim, Derry City) in Northern Ireland, adds parts of Donegal to surround border towns

December 3:  Free State executives submit to partition and debt payments – passed by House of Commons November 8, House of Lords and Northern Parliament November 9, Free State Dáil December 10; “We have been burgled and we have bribed the burglar” (Maurice Moore)

March 1926:  After failing to persuade Sinn Féin Republicans to work within the Free State Dáil, de Valera forms Fianna Fáil, which also becomes much more centrist

June 9, 1927:  Fianna Fáil wins 44 seats in Dáil, Cumann na nGaedheal 47, Labour 22; Fianna Fáil deputies sit but refuse oath

July 10:  After murder of Minister of Justice Kevin O’Higgins, Fianna Fáil forced to take oath

February 1932:  Fianna Fáil wins 72 seats in Dáil, Cumann na nGaedheal 57 – remains largest party until 2011

March 7, 1932:  De Valera becomes Prime Minister

September 1933:  Cumann na nGaedheal absorbs National Centre Party and far-right Blueshirts to form Fine Gael

July 1, 1937:  Voters approve new Constitution, which takes effect December 29

April 18, 1949:  (Easter Monday) Ireland becomes a Republic

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Executed Republicans, Ireland, 1916–1923

(by English)

May 3rd
P. H. Pearse
Tom Clarke
Thomas MacDonagh
May 4th
Joseph Plunkett
Edward Daly
William Pearse
Michael O’Hanrahan
May 5th
John MacBride
May 8th
Eamon Kent [Ceannt]
Michael Mallin
Con. Colbert
Sean Heuston
May 12th
Sean MacDermott [MacDiarmada]
James Connolly

Cork, May 9th
Thomas Kent

Pentonville Prison (London), August 3rd.
Roger Casement (hanged)

(by English)

Kevin Barry, hanged in Dublin, November 1st, 1920.
Cornelius Murphy, shot in Cork, February 1st, 1921.
Thomas O’Brien, shot in Cork, February 28th, 1921.
Daniel O’Callaghan, shot in Cork, February 28th, 1921.
John Lyons, shot in Cork, February 28th, 1921.
Timothy McCarthy, shot in Cork, February 28th, 1921.
Patrick O’Mahony, shot in Cork, February 28th, 1921.
John Allen, shot in Cork, February 28th, 1921.
Thomas Whelan, hanged in Dublin, March 14th, 1921.
Patrick Moran, hanged in Dublin, March 14th, 1921.
Thomas Bryan, hanged in Dublin, March 14th, 1921.
Patrick Doyle, hanged in Dublin, March 14th, 1921.
Frank Flood, hanged in Dublin, March 14th, 1921.
Bernard Ryan, hanged in Dublin, March 14th, 1921.
Thomas Traynor, hanged in Dublin, April 26th, 1921.
Patrick Sullivan, shot in Cork, April 28th, 1921.
Maurice Moore, shot in Cork, April 28th, 1921.
Patrick Ronayne, shot in Cork, April 28th, 1921.
Thomas Mulcahy, shot in Cork, April 28th, 1921.
Patrick Casey, shot in Cork, May rnd, 1921.
Daniel O’Brien, shot in Cork, May 17th 1921.
Thomas Keane, shot in Limerick, June 4th, 1921.
Edward Foley, hanged in Dublin, June 7th, 1921.
Patrick Maher, hanged in Dublin, June 7th, 1921.

(by pro–UK treaty Irish; this list does not include those murdered after capture)

November 17th
James Fisher
Peter Cassidy
Richard Twohig
John Gaffney
November 24th
Erskine Childers
November, 30th
Jos. Spooner
Patrick Farrelly
John Murphy
December 8th
Rory O’Connor
Liam Mellows
Joseph McKelvey
Richard Barrett
December 19th
Stephen White
Joseph Johnston
Patrick Mangan
Patrick Nolan
Brian Moore
James O’Connor
Patrick Bagnel

Kilkenny, December 29th
John Phelan
John Murphy

Dublin, January 8th
Leo Dowling
Sylvester Heaney
Laurence Sheehy
Anthony O’Reilly
Terence Brady

Dundalk, January 13th
Thomas McKeown
John McNulty
Thomas Murray

Roscrea, January 15th
Fredrick Burke
Patrick Russell
Martin O’Shea
Patrick MacNamara

Carlow, January 15th
James Lillis

January 20th, 1923
James Daly
John Clifford
Michael Brosnan
James Hanlon
Cornelius McMahon
Patrick Hennessy
Thomas Hughes
Michael Walsh
Herbert Collins
Stephen Joyce
Martin Burke

Dundalk, January 22nd, 1923
James Melia
Thomas Lennon
Joseph Ferguson

Waterford, January 25th, 1923
Michael Fitzgerald
Patrick O’Reilly

Birr, January 26th, 1923
Patrick Cunningham
William Conroy
Colum Kelly

Portlaoighse, January 27th, 1923
Patrick Geraghty
Joseph Byrne

Maryborough, February 26th, 1923
Thomas Gibson

March 13th, 1923
James O’Rourke
William Healy
James Pearle
Patrick Hogan
John Creane,

Drumboe, March 14th, 1923
Tim O’Sullivan
Charles Daly
John Larkin
Dan Enright

Tuam, April 11th, 1923
James O’Malley
Frank Cunnane
Michael Monaghan
John Newell
John Maguire
Michael Nolan

Tralee, April 25th, 1923
Edward Greaney
Reginald Hathaway
James Mcinerney

April 26th, 1923
Patrick Mahoney
May 2nd, 1923
Chris Quinn
William Shaughnessy

[Source: The Irish Republic: A Documented Chronicle of the Anglo-Irish Conflict and the Prtitioning of Ireland, with a Detailed Account of the Period 1916–1923. Dorothy Macardle. 1937 & 1938 (Victor Gollancz), 1951 (Irish Press).]

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sinn Féin Manifesto, General Election, December 1918

[The manifesto of Sinn Féin, prepared for the general election of December 1918, censored by Dublin Castle.]

Manifesto to the Irish People

The coming General Election is fraught with vital possibilities for the future of our nation. Ireland is faced with the question whether this generation wills it that she is to march out into the full sunlight of freedom, or is to remain in the shadow of a base imperialism that has brought and ever will bring in its train naught but evil for our race.

Sinn Féin gives Ireland the opportunity of vindicating her honour and pursuing with renewed confidence the path of national salvation by rallying to the flag of the Irish Republic.

Sinn Féin aims at securing the establishment of that Republic.

1.  By withdrawing the Irish Representation from the British Parliament and by denying the right and opposing the will of the British Government or any other foreign Government to legislate for Ireland.

2.  By making use of any and every means available to render impotent the power of England to hold Ireland in subjection by military force or otherwise.

3.  By the establishment of a constituent assembly comprising persons chosen by Irish constituencies as the supreme national authority to speak and act in the name of the Irish people, and to develop Ireland’s social, political and industrial life, for the welfare of the whole people of Ireland.

4.  By appealing to the Peace Conference for the establishment of Ireland as an Independent Nation. At that conference the future of the Nations of the world will be settled on the principle of government by consent of the governed. Ireland’s claim to the application of that principle in her favour is not based on any accidental situation arising from the war. It is older than many if not all of the present belligerents. It is based on our unbroken tradition of nationhood, on a unity in a national name which has never been challenged, on our possession of a distinctive national culture and social order, on the moral courage and dignity of our people in the face of alien aggression, on the fact that in nearly every generation, and five times within the past 120 years our people have challenged in arms the right of England to rule this country. On these incontrovertible facts is based the claim that our people have beyond question established the right to be accorded all the power of a free nation.

Sinn Féin stands less for a political party than for the Nation; it represents the old tradition of nationhood handed on from dead generations; it stands by the Proclamation of the Provisional Government of Easter, 1916, reasserting the inalienable right of the Irish Nation to sovereign independence, reaffirming the determination of the Irish people to achieve it, and guaranteeing within the independent Nation equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens.

Believing that the time has arrived when Ireland’s voice for the principle of untrammelled National self-determination should be heard above every interest of party or class, Sinn Féin will oppose at the Polls every individual candidate who does not accept this principle.

The policy of our opponents stands condemned on any test, whether of principle or expediency. The right of a nation to sovereign independence rests upon immutable natural law and cannot be made the subject of a compromise. Any attempt to barter away the sacred and inviolate rights of nationhood begins in dishonour and is bound to end in disaster. The enforced exodus of millions of our people, the decay of our industrial life, the ever-increasing financial plunder of our country, the whittling down of the demand for the “Repeal of the Union,” voiced by the first Irish Leader to plead in the Hall of the Conqueror to that of Home Rule on the Statute Book, and finally the contemplated mutilation of our country by partition, are some of the ghastly results of a policy that leads to national ruin.

Those who have endeavoured to harness the people of Ireland to England’s war-chariot, ignoring the fact that only a freely-elected Government in a free Ireland has power to decide for Ireland the question of peace and war, have forfeited the right to speak for the Irish people. The green flag turned red in the hands of the Leaders, but that shame is not to be laid at the doors of the Irish people unless they continue a policy of sending their representatives to an alien and hostile assembly, whose powerful influence has been sufficient to destroy the integrity and sap the independence of their representatives. Ireland must repudiate the men who, in a supreme crisis for the nation, attempted to sell her birthright for the vague promises of English Ministers, and who showed their incompetence by failing to have even these promises fulfilled.

The present Irish members of the English Parliament constitute an obstacle to be removed from the path that leads to the Peace Conference. By declaring their will to accept the status of a province instead of boldly taking their stand upon the right of the nation they supply England with the only subterfuge at her disposal for obscuring the issue in the eyes of the world. By their persistent endeavours to induce the young manhood of Ireland to don the uniform of our seven-century old oppressor, and place their lives at the disposal of the military machine that holds our Nation in bondage, they endeavour to barter away and even to use against itself the one great asset still left to our Nation after the havoc of the centuries.

Sinn Féin goes to the polls handicapped by all the arts and contrivances that a powerful and unscrupulous enemy can use against us. Conscious of the power of Sinn Féin to secure the freedom of Ireland the British Government would destroy it. Sinn Féin, however, goes to the polls confident that the people of this ancient nation will be true to the old cause and will vote for the men who stand by the principles of Tone, Emmet, Mitchel, Pearse and Connolly, the men who disdain to whine to the enemy for favours, the men who hold that Ireland must be as free as England or Holland, Switzerland or France, and whose demand is that the only status befitting this ancient realm is the status of a free nation.

Issued by the Standing Committee of Sinn Féin.