1st Edition

The British Left and Ireland in the Twentieth Century

Edited By Evan Smith, Matthew Worley Copyright 2021
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    This collection explores how the British left has interacted with the ‘Irish question’ throughout the twentieth century, the left’s expression of solidarity with Irish republicanism and relationships built with Irish political movements.

    Throughout the twentieth century, the British left expressed, to varying degrees, solidarity with Irish republicanism and fostered links with republican, nationalist, socialist and labour groups in Ireland. Although this peaked with the Irish Revolution from 1916 to 1923 and during the ‘Troubles’ in the 1970s–80s, this collection shows that the British left sought to build relationships with their Irish counterparts (in both the North and South) from the Edwardian to Thatcherite period. However these relationships were much more fraught and often reflected an imperial dynamic, which hindered political action at different stages during the century. This collection explores various stages in Irish political history where the British left attempted to engage with what was happening across the Irish Sea.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal, Contemporary British History.

    Introduction: the British left and Ireland in the twentieth century

    Evan Smith and Matthew Worley

    1. Divided sisterhood? Nationalist feminism and feminist militancy in England and Ireland

    Sharon Crozier-De Rosa

    2. ‘They’ll never understand why I’m here’: British Marxism and the Irish Revolution, 1916–1923

    Charlie McGuire

    3. ‘As imperialistic as our masters’? Relations between British and Irish communists, 1920–1941

    David Convery

    4. The Connolly Association, the Catholic Church, and anti-communism in Britain and Ireland during the early Cold War

    Gerard Madden

    5. Two flags in the sand: anti-Communism in early Cold War Northern Ireland

    Stephen J. Goss

    6. Northern Ireland and the Far Left, c. 1965 – 1975

    Marc Mulholland

    7. Intersectional solidarity? The Armagh women, the British left and women’s liberation

    Brodie Nugent and Evan Smith


    Evan Smith is Visiting Fellow in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia. He has written widely on political extremism, social movements and national security in Britain, Australia and South Africa.

    Matthew Worley is Professor of modern history at the University of Reading, UK. He has written widely on British politics and culture in the twentieth century. His latest monograph, No Future: Punk, Politics and British Youth Culture, 1976–84, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.