By Gerald O'Conel Desmond
Old pat Kelly was as true a rebel and as honest a fighter for right and justice as ever I knew. Old Pat, in the days before he came to America, took an active part in home rule agitation in Ireland. He fought landlordism and despotism of English officials, and he fought tooth and nail, as is the nature of the Celt. So prominent and daring, indeed, did Old Pat become in the Irish Nationalist movement that he drew upon himself the attention of the powers that were. Rent grabbing landowners and petty bureaucrats marked him down as a dangerous man. Eventually a warrant was sent out for him. For three days he was a fugitive from so-called justice. Finally, to save his liberty and maybe his life, friends smuggled him on shipboard and in the end he landed in America.
Old Pat never forgot his country. His patriotism was of the intense kind. And yet, Old Pat was narrow minded. Hi loved all things Irish and he disliked all things English. He never could be friendly with the Saxon. One can hardly blame him for that perhaps. He met very few English workingmen. He drew his ideas from officials and landlords, and God knows, these, particularly the kind of them that have been associated with Ireland, were and are, enough to make a man hate the whole race. Old Pat hated monarchy, English monarchy in particular, and landlordism, English landlordism especially. I don’t know that he was particularly opposed to the system of monarchy, or to landlordism in the abstract. He would have probably considered that things were pretty near all right if an emperor called “Hennesssey the 1st., had swayed the scepter over Erin, and all the
lords of the soil had been Ryans or Dugans or Blakes.” You see, his conception of liberty was simply a nationalist conception. He worshipped the idea rather than the reality of freedom. Yet, still he was a fighter, a rebel, a true man; he did what seemed right to him and therefore, peace to his ashes.
Young Pat, the son of Old Pat, is a rebel and a fighting rebel. He worthily upholds the family traditions in that way. But young Pat is a modern rebel, an up-to-date undesirable to the tyrant and exploiter. That is to say, he is a
class-conscious socialist. He believes, as his father did, in Home Rule for Ireland, and for all the world; in government of the people by the people for the people. He would rid all countries of foreign despotism, and see too, that no domestic despot was uplifted to be put into the vacant place. He would overthrow landlordism and all other forms of exploitation in all nations and give to the people of all lands the full value of their product.
Young Pat is not blinded by national feeling. He does not dislike a man because he is English. He fights the battle of his class against the capitalist of all races, knowing that an exploiter is an offender, be his name Brown of Ryan. Young Pat is the new type of rebel, the internationalist. To him the workers of all countries are comrades; the tyrants and exploiters, enemies.
There are many in the socialist ranks. Many sons and daughters of those who a generation ago fought for natural independence and national ideals.
With the conquest of the forces of nature the racial and national die. International capitalism creates international socialism, and the proletariat, forgetting boundaries, races and tongues, moves forward to victory for the first time in a compact and united body.
Cotton's Weekly, April 1, 1909