Born: June 5, 1868 in Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 12, 1916 in Dublin
James Connolly was born to Irish Catholic parents who had left Ireland to live in Scotland. They were quite poor and that doubtlessly shaped Connollyís political beliefs from early on. He worked as Secretary of the Scottish Socialist Federation and he moved to Dublin to organize the Dublin Socialist Club. He also hoped to assist in an Irish labor lockout in 1913 and he established the Irish Citizen Army. This Citizen Army had many members of the working class as well as a few members from the upper-crust. Its purpose (primarily) was to offer security to workers when they went on strike. Police had attacked a crowd of protesters during a strike in 1913 and it became apparent to Connolly and others that some form of protection was needed. When James Larkin, a political colleague, was imprisoned, Connolly saw to it that he was released by closing Dublinís port. Before the Easter Rising, James Connolly joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and supported the goal of Irish independence. A number of Irish Citizen Army members fought with Connolly in the Rising. He was one of the commanders on the forefront of attacking the General Post Office. The wounds he suffered were so severe that he could no longer stand. One account says that his ankle had been totally shattered by a bullet and that is why he had to remain lying or sitting. It was Connolly who had to be strapped to a chair in order to face the firing squad on his execution day.
For more on James Connolly, please visit the James Connolly Society or Marxists.org.
For more on the Irish Citizen Army, please see http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/cc1913/ica.html.