September 2013        

Rosie Hackett remembered


It will delight all socialists and feminists that the new bridge over the Liffey will be named after the labour hero Rosie Hackett, a great trade union organiser who jointly founded the Irish Women Workers’ Union in 1911, helped to lead workers out on strike in the great lock-out of 1913, and fought with the Irish Citizens Army in 1916 against British misrule in Ireland.
     However, many people do not want us to remember the real Rosie Hackett. Instead they want us to think of her as some harmless human-rights activist, rather than a revolutionary. What is happening to the legacy of Rosie Hackett has happened to many Irish heroes throughout history; as James Connolly wrote about Wolfe Tone,
He was crucified in life, now he is idolised in death, and the men who push forward most arrogantly to burn incense at the altar of his fame are drawn from the very class who, were he alive to-day, would hasten to repudiate him as a dangerous malcontent. False as they are to every one of the great principles to which our hero consecrated his life, they cannot hope to deceive the popular instinct, and their presence at these commemorations will only bring into greater relief the depth to which they have sunk.
     We can see how true this is as Éamon Gilmore leads the tributes to Jim Larkin and the 1913 Lock-out. The same is true about Rosie. If she were around today she would be the first to protest against this government and its savage austerity agenda, which is destroying the livelihood of so many people.
     We should remember the real Rosie Hackett, the radical socialist who fought to smash the dictatorship of the bosses over working people, and not the harmless Rosie Hackett that the Labour Party hierarchy wants us to remember.
[BG]

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