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Extra info for The IRA 1956-69: Rethinking the Republic
The icon of the republican left James Connolly, however, had ridiculed Leo’s critique of socialism, although he did cite historical and scriptural references where it suited his purpose of blunting the Church’s political attacks. Interestingly Patterson refers to Connolly as having been partly responsible for creating the paradigm through which republicans could try and camouflage their social objectives under the rubric of Catholic social teaching. 7 Of course a similar dichotomy existed in other Catholic countries between ‘egalitarian’ and ‘elitist’ advocates of Catholic social teaching and fascism.
While the movement was too small and dispersed to claim that it had anything approaching what might be termed a social base, some leading republican activists were small business people and so naturally concerned about issues like retail taxes that affected themselves as well as others in their situation. Republicans had failed, after the split with Fianna Fáil in the 1930s, to retain the support of any substantial section of Irish society. It was the failure to win working-class support that particularly motivated the modernising left within the movement to alter the policy and organisation of the IRA and Sinn Féin.
48 It is clear from the United Irishman that the views expressed after 1962 reflected a wide range of ideological leanings outside of the one common commitment to the traditional republican aim of separation from Britain. A regular contributor like Mac Dara, who in his youth had been a member of Ailtirí na hAiséirghe, was capable of sounding conventionally left- or rightwing depending on the topic. People who had widely divergent social and economic opinions felt a bond of solidarity that outweighed for a time any affinity they might have had to individuals of like mind outside the IRA or Sinn Féin.