A photo of Roddy Connolly and Lenin – or is it?

If you have an interest in the history of Ireland and left internationalism in the 20th century, then you have probably seen this photo before. Several sources, including myself on multiple occasions, have cited this image as depicting Lenin and Roddy Connolly. Recently, I tweeted the image after finding it in a 1920 book of…

“Forgotten People” in History

This post is part of my 2020 commitment to writing extended posts based on the thoughts I would normally splurge on Twitter, a platform that I have come to realise is ultimately disastrous for progressive potentialities. I am perhaps more reluctant than most to join the chorus of groans from historians whenever a person or…

Autobiographical Literature of the Comintern Era

This post is both a resource and a request for info. I am compiling a bibliography of communist memoirs for a future project. Please feel free to comment/email/tweet any sources I will have missed. I am particularly interested in Comintern-era autobiography/memoirs (1919-1943) of international activists who spent periods in the Soviet Union. However, I have included some…

How Charlotte Despard Came to Live in Ireland

  While rereading some of my notes recently, I came across a 1932 interview with Charlotte Despard, the Anglo-Irish-teetotal-theosophist-communist- pacifist-suffragette revolutionary, which I had transcribed in full. I thought it would be worthwhile sharing because it has some interesting details about the life of a unique figure from British and Irish History. The interview was…

Claude McKay and the Irish Revolution

In the summer of 1920, Jamaican poet Claude McKay attended a Trafalgar Square rally in solidarity with Irish nationalists. Wearing a green necktie, McKay mingled among Sinn Fein supporters who greeted him enthusiastically as "Black Irish" and "Black Murphy": With both hands and my bag full of literature I had to find time and a…

From Russia to East London — and back again: Eugeníe Bouvier (1865-1933), suffragette and socialist.

The British Newspaper Archive recently added the Woman's Dreadnought to their roster. Edited by Sylvia Pankhurst throughout its run from 1914-24 and later titled the Workers Dreadnought, this East London weekly was a unique addition to the suffrage media landscape. Topics ranged from Marxist analyses of Irish Republicanism to Esperanto vocabulary lessons. Between the pages of the Dreadnought we can also find…

“Too revolutionary for capitalist society”? A 1930 Soviet Profile of an Irish Artist

In August 1930, the Irish Friends of Soviet Russia departed London for Leningrad on board the Soviet ship Kooperatsiya (Cooperation). The delegation included veteran suffragettes Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and Charlotte Despard and two Irish Republican stalwarts, David Fitzgerald and George Gilmore (traveling under a false name). Also amongst the travelers was Harry Kernoff, a young…