"And finally, let us say that we are sick of the canting talk of those who tell us that we must not blame the British people for the crimes of their rulers against Ireland. We do blame them. In so far as they support the system of society which makes it profitable for one nation to connive at the subjection of another nation they are responsible for every crime committed to maintain that subjection.
If there is any section of the British people who believe that Ireland would be justified in ending the British Empire if she could, in order to escape from thraldom to it, then that section may hold itself guiltless of any crime against Ireland. But if there is any such section, how small and utterly insignificant it is, since it nowhere gives public proof of its existence.
This pirate Empire holds as a subject population, unrepresented in any parliament, one-sixth of the human race. Whosoever is of any of these subject races and dares to aspire to an existence for his country apart from the British Empire is seized as a criminal, and imprisoned or executed by our rulers. India, Egypt, Ireland, have all supplied examples in recent years. Yet this pirate crew who have seized upon and held in bondage this vast mass of humanity, one-sixth of the human race; who treat as a crime the noblest aspirations of freedom amongst that mass, the crew of this pirate Empire have always the enthusiastic support of the people of Great Britain in frustrating any attempt of a subject population to escape from the Empire.
As the glutton who has gorged himself to suffocation demands that everybody else should rise from the table so the ‘noblest minds of England’ declare against further conquests by any of their national rivals. An Empire whose sword is ever drinking blood in some part of the world poses as the champion of the nations against the doctrine of force.
Such hypocrisy! We will believe in the guiltlessness of the British people when their spokesmen dare to recognise publicly that the British Empire cannot last, and so recognise the right of each one of its subject nations to be itself by the aid of any ally it can attach to its side..."
- James Connolly, 25 March 1916
Lenin on the Irish Easter Uprising
“The struggle of the oppressed nations in Europe, a struggle capable of going all the way to insurrection and street fighting, capable of breaking down the iron discipline of the army and martial law, will ‘sharpen the revolutionary crisis in Europe’ to an infinitely greater degree than a much more developed rebellion in a remote colony. A blow delivered against the power of the English imperialist bourgeoisie by a rebellion in Ireland is a hundred times more significant politically than a blow of equal force delivered in Asia or in Africa . . .
“The dialectics of history are such that small nations, powerless as an independent factor in the struggle against imperialism, play a part as one of the ferments, one of the bacilli, which help the real anti-imperialist force, the socialist proletariat, to make its appearance on the scene.
“The general staffs in the current war are doing their utmost to utilise any national and revolutionary movement in the enemy camp: the Germans utilise the Irish rebellion, the French, the Czech movement, etc. They are acting quite correctly from their own point of view. A serious war would not be treated seriously if advantage were not taken of the enemy’s slightest weakness and if every opportunity that presented itself were not seized upon, the more so since it is impossible to know beforehand at what moment, where, and with what force, some powder magazine will ‘explode’. We would be very poor revolutionaries if, in the proletariat’s great war of liberation for socialism, we did not know how to utilise every popular movement against every single disaster imperialism brings in order to intensify and extend the crisis. If we were, on the one hand, to repeat in a thousand keys the declaration that we are ‘opposed’ to all national oppression and, on the other, to describe the heroic revolt of the most mobile and enlightened section of certain classes in an oppressed nation against its oppressors as a ‘putsch’, we should be sinking to the same level of stupidity as the Kautskyites.
“It is the misfortune of the Irish that they rose prematurely, before the European revolt of the proletariat had had time to mature. Capitalism is not so harmoniously built that the various sources of rebellion can immediately merge of their own accord, without reverses and defeats. On the other hand, the very fact that revolts do break out at different times, in different places, and are of different kinds, guarantees wide scope and depth to the general movement; but it is only in premature, individual, sporadic and therefore unsuccessful, revolutionary movements that the masses gain experience, acquire knowledge, gather strength, and get to know their real leaders, the socialist proletarians, and in this way prepare for the general onslaught, just as certain strikes, demonstrations, local and national, mutinies in the army, outbreaks among the peasantry, etc, prepared the way for the general onslaught in 1905.”
- Lenin, July 1916