The story of the continuing Irish freedom struggle is incomplete without a reassessment of the role of James Connolly. Connolly was prominent in the Irish, British, and U.S. labor movements, a Marxist socialist, and a militant Irish patriot. Executed by the British as a leader of the Easter Rising in 1916, he was also one of the first theoreticians of the labor movement to come from the working class.
Connolly's dramatic career corresponded roughly to the life span of the Second International (1889-1914). His dedication to Irish socialist politics began with the founding of the Irish Socialist Republican Party in 1896. He was the first to link the fight for socialism in Ireland to the struggle for national liberation. In the United States from 1903 to 1910, Connolly learned strike strategy working as an IWW organizer and contended with Daniel De Leon over socialist priorities.
On his return to Ireland, the evolution of his thought placed him in the left wing of the Second International during World War I and led to his participation in the Easter Rising. Connolly wrote primarily on immediate issues, but dimensions of his thought survive. In addition to Irish independence and revolutionary theory, political problems relating to religion and to the emancipation of women were of serious concern to Connolly. Above all, Connolly's intellectual legacy makes an outstanding contribution to a socialist understanding of the national question. --Publisher's summary.