This is the importance of Davitt. Davitt is prepared to draw absolutely on these traditions, the Fenian tradition and other things, but he says: “No, we can only realise our aims,” the campaign of ‘internationalism from below’. So there he is, a secular Catholic speaking in Portree. There he is, addressing meetings in England, again another potentially hostile territory, Blaenau Ffestiniog, with it’s Calvinistic Methodism and stuff like that, but he very much sees that. The other thing is how he pushes ... when the Irish parties form for the 1885 elections, he wants a space left for Naoroji, the Indian home ruler, in Ireland, on their slate. He’s also down campaigning for Sylvia Pankhurst, the women’s emancipationist in London, she stands even though she’s not allowed to stand but she runs a campaign. He’s down, he’s making links with woman suffrages. So he relates these traditions but actually these are just local manifestations of a more universal thing, how do we unite these together? And I’ve called Davitt’s strategy ‘internationalism from below’ and that’s how that Davitt ... Conway later takes that up and then eventually ... I’ll get back to Maclean with that as well.

  • Allan Armstrong
Tuesday 25th May 2010