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We’ve already touched on James Connolly’s 1902 Yiddish election leaflet before. Below is the translated version copied from Saothar 13. Also worth reading in the issue is Manus O’Riordan’s excellent article entitled ‘Connolly Socialism and the Jewish Worker’.

The following is the 1902 Yiddish leaflet authored by Boris Kahan, Secretary of the East London Jewish branch of the SDF, as translated for Saothar bu Sid Resnick, of the US Yiddish socialist newspaper, Morning Greiheit, on 12 May, 1987, the 71st anniversary of Connolly’s execution.

Friends!

On 15th January, the Municipal elections will take place and you are asked to consider for whom to cast your vote. But, before your reach your decision we, Jewish Social Democrats, wish to say a few words.

There are three candidates on the list for the Wood Quay Ward: you have here a Home Ruler, another a publican, and one labour candidate of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, James Connolly, who is supported by the Dublin United Labourers Union.

For which of the candidates will you vote on 15th January? For the Home Ruler, the candidate of the bourgeoise?

No, you cannot and you ought not do that! It is the bourgeoise which always has the bag of gold before its eyes. Everything that stands in its way, everything that does not agree with its gut interests it tramples underfoot no matter how sacred that may be. It is the bourgeoise that arouses race hatered, incites one people against another and casuses war. The bourgeoisie is the cause of Anti – Semitism; with its press it provokes hatered of the Jew and seeks to throw the blame for everything upon the Jew in order to deceive the people and conceal its sins against its own people.

No, you cannot vote for the Home Ruler, the candidate of the bourgeoisie! The Home Rulers speak out against the English capitalists and the English landlords because they want to seize their places so that they themselves can oppress and exploit the people. No mater how nicely and well the Home Rulers talk or how much as friends of man they seek to appear or how much they shout about oppressed Ireland – they are capitalists. In their own homes they can show their true colours and cast off their revolutionary democratic disguise and torment and choke the poor as much as they can. And you, Jews, what assurance do you have that one fine day they will not turn on you?

You ought to vote for the Socialist candidate and only for the Socialist candidate. The Socialists are the only ones who stand always and everywhere against every national oppression. It is the socialists who went out onto the streets of Paris against the wild band of anti-Semites at the time of the Dreyfus case. In Austria and Germany they conduct a steady struggle against anti – Semitism. And in England , too, the Socialists fight against the reactionary elements who want to shut the doors of England against the poorer jews who were driven to seek a refuge in strange land by the Russian government’s brutality and despotism.

The Socialist candidate is the only one for whom you ought to cast your vote.

In conclusion, a few words to you, Jewish workers of Dublin. Upon you rests the obligation to support the Socialist candidates as much as you can. The aims of the Irish Socialist Republican Party ought to be close to you. These are your own interests, the interests for which every knowledgeable worker must fight. These are the objectives for which every worker must strive. What does this party want? It wishes to abolish that system of private ownership under which the working class is condemned to labour, to create the wealth of the world and enjoy for itself absolutely nothing It wishes to construct a system in which the worker shall have the right to benefit from his labour and live a free, happy and enlightened life without bosses and rulers over his body and soul.

Jewish workers! No matter how small your numbers as you can achieve much. Do your duty and work earnestly had in hand with your Irish brothers. Canvass for votes, vote yourself and persuade others to vote on the 15th of January for the Socialist candidate, James Connolly.

With Socialist greetings,
The East London Jewish Branch of the
Social Democratic Federation.

You must cast your vote at the New Street School
James Connolly, 26 Fishamble Street, Dublin.

James Connolly (1902)

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To those who missed it last week, you have till November 1st to watch this fascinating documentary about the murders of two Jewish men in Dublin in the early 1920s.

Even though the Dublin of 1923 was a troubled place, recovering from the war of independence and the very recent civil war, the city was shocked by a spate of murderous attacks on Jewish men walking home to the area off the South Circular Road, known then, as “Little Jerusalem”. Bernard Goldberg, a 42 year old jeweller from Manchester and Ernest Kahan, a 24 year old civil servant in the Dept of Agriculture, were attacked and shot dead. Within the space of two weeks, two Jewish men had been shot dead and two more had been badly injured – the tightly knit jewish community in Dublin now feared the worst – that this was the beginning of a cold blooded anti-semitic campaign.

Despite extensive Police investigations – the killers were never found.

This is a story of intrigue, mystery, scandal, divided loyalties and cover up. For over 80 years the details of the story have remained shrouded in secrecy. For the first time on television CSÍ will piece together what really happened. Who the chief suspects were and what happened to them. And we uncover the trauma that the murders inflicted on the families of those left behind, trauma that ripples on to this day.

 

Map of Dublin’s “Little Jerusalem” (Adapted from Educational Jewish Aspects of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” 5)

 

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Without a doubt, C.S Andrews penned one of my favourite books.

Dublin Made Me covers two lives. One, the life and memories of a Dublin youth. The other, a life within the revolutionary movement, serving as adjutant to Liam Lynch during the traumatic Irish Civil War. On reading it, I was struck by Andrews account of the day he made his Confirmation, at the Holy Faith in Dominick Street.

Anyway, on the great day, my mind was more preoccupied with football than with religion because my father had promised to take me to a cup match that afternoon between Bohemians and Shelbourne at Dalymount Park and I was afraid that the ceremony would not finish on time.

At the time, as Andrews noted, Shelbourne and Bohemian F.C were the only senior soccer clubs in the city, and he notes that “the people on the south side followed Shelbourne” He went on to write that the supporters and indeed players of the game were “..exclusively of the lower middle and working classes.” Men would travel north to see one of the Dublin sides take on Linfield, Belfast Celtic, Glentoran, Distillery, Cliftonville or Derry Celtic. These were the first ‘Away Days’, the roots of what we still do today.

Football has a habit of popping up in any account of growing up in Dublin. A love of the beautiful game was not only to be found among native Dubliners, but within immigrant communities too. Nick Harris touched on the love of the game in the Jewish community of ‘Little Jerusalem’, as Clanbrassil Street became known. His account of growing up there, Dublin’s Little Jerusalem ,is a Dublin classic. The local lads, he noted, tended to follow Shamrock Rovers. In the book he recounts stories of away trips, noting his brothers would follow the Hoops all over Ireland.

Once in Sligo, when Rovers were playing Sligo they were leading one goal to nil and Sligo were awarded a penalty. As the Sligo man was about to take the kick, Hymie(his older brother) jumped over the fence and kicked the ball away from the spot.

The Jewish youth evem established a team among themselves, naming it New Vernon, a nod to a “Jewish club that played in Dublin some years earlier”. They played frequently in the Phoenix Park, and Harris noted that the team “… played some great matches with various non-Jewish teams, and we were often applauded by people who stopped to watch the game.” Recently when passing through what was once the Jewish area of Dublin, I spotted a child kicking a football against a wall and was reminded of this tale. Harris also remembered a raid on the house next door by Black and Tans in 1921. The family next door were the Clery’s, one of whom was a footballer for Bohs. “From the noise that was going on, it sounded as though they were playing football” he noted. They were, with a football they found in one of the rooms.

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Edit: Here is the translation.

A 1902 election leaflet for James Connolly, Wood Quay ward

Serious praise is due to Tomás O’Riordan and all involved with the University College Cork MultiText Project in Irish History , which has become an online home to many rare Irish historical photos and texts from the revolutionary years, ranging from characters like Jim Larkin and James Connolly to WB Yeats and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington.

The above find is undoubtedly one of my own personal favourites.

Some great insight into the election of 1902 can be found in Samuel Levenson’s fantastic biography of Connolly.

“As usual, Connolly’s campaign consisted for the most part of open air meetings, his favourite location being in New Street. The support of the Trades Council did not do much to make Connolly respectable, he recieved the usual amount of vilification. Sermons were preached in which he was termed an anti-Christ, and Catholics were forbidden to vote for him under pain of excommunication. It was charged that his children attended Catholic school only to camouflage his own beliefs”

Connolly was one of three Irish Socialist Republican Party candidates. None of the three managed to get elected on the day, with the other two candidates losing by decisive majorities. Connolly ultimately polled 431 votes, while the winning candidate achieved 1,424 votes.

An address made by Connolly “to the electors” and “fellow workers” of Wood Quay can be read online here

“…remember how the paid canvassers of the capitalist candidate – hired slanderers – gave a different account of Mr. Connolly to every section of the electors. How they said to the Catholics that he was an Orangeman, to the Protestants that he was a Fenian, to the Jews that he was an anti-Semite, to others that he was a Jew, to the labourers that he was a journalist on the make, and to the tradesmen and professional classes that he was an ignorant labourer; that he was born in Belfast, Derry, England, Scotland and Italy, according to the person the canvasser was talking to”

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