Festival Time approaches!

2015 Festival Progamme - click image to view full size or download

2015 Festival Progamme – click on link in text or via the main menu.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to introduce the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school which begins on Wednesday 29th July and concludes on Saturday night, 1st August.

 

We feel very honoured to celebrate the memory of Mary Harris, known as Mother Jones, in the streets of her birthplace and we know that the speakers, musicians, poets, film makers, artists, singers, actors and the visitors will provide a festival and summer school that is interesting, relevant and challenging. The wonderful community of Shandon in Cork City will again provide a historic and colourful backdrop for the events. We also know that many others across the USA, the UK, Greece and elsewhere will be attending in spirit.

 

The full programme of almost 30 events over 4 days is available to download by clicking on this link: Spirit of Mother Jones programme 2015

The topics and subjects are varied and diverse, yet we are sure Mother Jones would have approved of the debates they will encourage among those attending. We will remember forgotten Cork heroes such as John Dowling and Lily Boole, and others such as Tony Benn, Joe Hill and Rachel Carson. We will hear of injustices perpetrated on the miners at Orgreave or on the Birmingham Six. We will wonder at the bravery of Irish Citizen Army and the labour struggles of the early 20th Century. We will hear of homelessness in our Republic in 2015 and the possible loss of our most precious natural resource.

 

We will listen to the very best of Cork and international music and song from Two Time Polka, Jimmy Crowley, Johnny Nyhan, Richard T. Cooke, William Hammond, the Cork Singers Club,  the Cork Rokk Choir and many, many more.

 

And we will experience Mother Jones herself when the superb Kaiulani Lee takes the stage to perform “Can’t Scare Me…the Story of Mother Jones”. 

 

Virtually all the events are free and open to everyone, (just be early!). For that we have to thank our sponsors, the Shandon community, all those participating and contributing on a voluntary basis and the ongoing work of the members of the Cork Mother Jones Committee to celebrate an inspirational woman. Come along!

 

Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!      

 

 

Press Launch for 2015 Festival

The formal launch of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School takes place at the Maldron Hotel on Thursday July 2nd at 1pm.

Last year's launch: the then Lord Mayor of Cork Catherine Clancy with Michael Lally of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

Last year’s launch: the then Lord Mayor of Cork Catherine Clancy with Michael Lally of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

All are welcome to come along as the fantastic programme of events for 29th July to 1st August 2015 is announced.

Richard T. Cooke with the Cork Shawlies at last year's festival laun

Richard T. Cooke with the Cork Shawlies at last year’s festival launch

The full programme of events can be downloaded as by clicking Spirit of Mother Jones programme 2015 or on the link in the menu bar and side bar of this site.

We are delighted to announce the Irish pre miere of Can’t Scare Me…The Story of Mother Jones written and performed by Kaiulani Lee. This will take place at the Firkin Crane on Friday night 31st July at 8.30pm. Tickets from tickets.ie or 086 1651356. All other events are free and open to all.

 

The Irish Citizen Army and the Road to the 1916 Rising

Members of the Irish Citizen Army outside Liberty Hall, Dublin

Members of the Irish Citizen Army outside Liberty Hall, Dublin

The Spirit of Mother Jones festival will include a series of lectures exploring the  origins and role of the Irish Citizen Army, a workers army, in the Easter 1916 rebellion.   The venue for the lectures will be the Firkin Crane, Shandon, Cork.  Date and Time: Friday, 31st July 2015 at 3.30pm. 

The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic refers to just three organisations, one of which is The Irish Citizen Army (ICA). On Easter Monday morning 1916, over 200 members of the ICA, men, women and boys marched into a revolution in Dublin led by James Connolly.

The Irish Citizen Army comprised almost 30% of those who actually turned up for the Rising on that Monday morning and represented an internal mobilisation of almost 80% of the available and active membership. Some 50 including Connolly, who had played a central role in planning the actual military attacks,occupied the General Post Office. The remainder of the ICA played an active part in some of the fiercest fighting witnessed during the week in places such as St Stephen’s Green, College of Surgeons, City Hall and Dublin Castle.

James Connolly

James Connolly

Copies of the 1916 Proclamation itself was printed by the ICA at the Co-Op Stores at No 31 Eden Quay, alongside Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Considerable quantities of the weapons, bombs and explosives used later in the Rising were stored in Liberty Hall, even the flag which flew over the GPO was created there.

Many of the active participants in the Rising had spent the Easter weekend in and around Liberty Hall, and marched from there to seize various buildings. Liberty Hall itself was bombed by the British initially as they immediately understood that the rebellion had been organised from there, the building was wrecked during the attack.

Sean Connolly of the ICA fired the first shot of the Rising, which killed Sergeant James O’Brien at the gates of Dublin Castle. In a strange twist of faith, Connolly himself was the first casualty on the rebel side when he was killed by a sniper an hour later. At the very end, Elizabeth O’Farrell of the ICA was with Padraig Pearse at the formal surrender of the rebels near the GPO, while she also carried the orders and dispatches which confirmed the cease fire and surrender elsewhere in Dublin.

Dr. Leo Keohane's book on Jack White

Dr. Leo Keohane’s book on Jack White

Yet they were pushed to the margins of history soon afterwards and virtually disappeared from the narrative of Irish history for a considerable time, even during the 1966 commemorations. Who were these working class men and women, so many of whom were killed or injured in the Rising or imprisoned or impoverished in its aftermath?

By any standards The Irish Citizen Army was central to the 1916 Rising itself. It provided thecatalyst which set off the explosion leading to eventual Independence. Its origins among workers in the 1913 Lockout, its first Commandant ….. a Boer War hero, its voice unique and its participants brave, its discipline and ideological stance which set it apart in Ireland even in a period of dissent and conflict.

The Irish Citizen Army by Ann Matthews

The Irish Citizen Army by Ann Matthews

 

The Army was led by one of the greatest socialist agitators and thinkers of the 20th Century. Yet why is its legacy so uncertain, why is its central contribution considered a curiosity of history and why were its beliefs swamped by the conservative ideology which followed?

Earlier on the 1st August 1915, by order of James Connolly, the Irish Citizen Army had also gathered initially at Liberty Hall to participate alongside the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in the funeral procession for the Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, (born in West Cork and a “Freeman of Cork City” who had died on 29th June 1915 in America) to Glasnevin Cemetery.

 

Led by the James Fintan Lawlor Band, The Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers marching side by side put on a hugely impressive show of force accompanied by the trade union movement, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Cumann na mBan as they marched north to the Cemetery.

Liberty Hall in ruins after the 1916 Rising

Liberty Hall in ruins after the 1916 Rising

In the climax to his oration at the grave, Padraig Pearse threw back his head sharply…..….”but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

Standing nearby, Connolly could see the Rising as a reality.

 

Almost 100 years to the day, on Friday evening 31st July 2015 at 3.30pm, the Cork Mother Jones Committee will hold a series of lectures at the Firkin Crane entitled “The Irish Citizen Army and theRoad to the 1916 Rising”.The lectures and discussion will explore the origins, the progress and the eventual participation of this workers’ army in the 1916 rebellion. How important was its contribution, the role of James Connolly, what caused its subsequent political isolation and relative obscurity in Irish history?

Under the chairmanship of Theo Dorgan, poet and author, those participating include;

Dr Ann Matthews, author “The Irish Citizen Army” Mercier Press 2014.

Dr Leo Keohane, author “Captain Jack White, Imperialism, Anarchism &The Irish Citizen Army” Merrion Press 2014.

Scott Millar, author and journalist with Liberty, the newspaper of SIPTU (formerly the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, founded by Jim Larkin)

 

 

 

Festival programme for 2015 released

2015 Festival Progamme - click image to view full size or download

2015 Festival Progamme (front) – click image to view or download

The full brochure for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2015 is now available on this website.  The festival takes place from Wednesday 29th July to Saturday 1st August 2015 in the Shandon area of Cork city.  This year’s programme is jam-packed with an exciting range of lectures, performance, films and music.

You can view or download the brochure by clicking on the image at the top of this article or by navigating to the Festival Programme 2015 page and following the links.  The brochure is laid out in print format and appears as two pages on screen – scroll down the pdf for the 2nd page.

 

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2015 – Music

 

MJmusicposter

 

The music programme for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2015 has been released.  The above poster features the full list of musical performances during the festival which will be held from Wednesday, 29th July to Saturday, 1st August.  The two venues will be the Firkin Crane and the Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

A host of talent, new and old, will be on display at the festival over the four days.   A downloadable version of the music poster in PDF format will be added here after the weekend.

Chris Mullin to speak at Cork Mother Jones Festival 2015

Chris Mullin was a member of the British House of Commons for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010. He studied law at the University of Hull and trained as a journalist. He wrote Error of Judgement – the truth about the Birmingham Bombings, which was later made into an acclaimed drama documentary by Granada Television and  contributed hugely to the success of the campaign to free the Birmingham Six.

Chris Mullin

Chris Mullin

 

Chris was a great supporter of the late Tony Benn and regularly gives public talks and lectures about a man he holds in the highest esteem. He has described Tony Benn as a “life enhancer, a man who fizzed with ideas, who constantly questioned why the world is as it is”. For 35 years he was a friend and colleague of Tony Benn’s and edited two of his books, Arguments for Democracy and Arguments for Socialism.

Chris Mullin was often savagely attacked in the tabloid press but he continued to write, as an activist and being regularly the very first MP to be declared elected to Parliament in each general election.

In 1982 he wrote the novel“A Very British Coup” which portrayed how a radical left-wing government was destabilised by the conservative forces in the United Kingdom. The television version of this book, which made a huge impact won BAFTA and Emmy Awards and has been shown in more than 30 countries.

He has also written three volumes of his diaries, including “A View from the Foothills” in 2009 about his time in Government.

He served as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in a number of government departments from 1999 to 2005 and was also Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. He was the Africa minister in the Foreign Office and regarded his time in this office as thoroughly enjoyable.

Chris Mullin has lead a very varied career which has embraced political activism, defender of human rights, advocate of social justice, a sharp observer of and commentator on political events and he has also found fame as a noteworthy and acclaimed author. In addition he spent 23 years in Parliament and eventually announced his retirement in 2010. He is very much regarded as an independent thinker, a man who like Mother Jones is utterly fearless in saying what he believes in and what he stands for.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is honoured to announce that Chris Mullin will speak at the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which takes place in Shandon, Cork City from Wednesday 29th July until Saturday 1st August 2015.

See Chris Mullin’s website: www.chrismullinexmp.com

“Get off your knees” – the Rosemary Feurer lecture 2014

At the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014 an important paper was delivered Professor Rosemary Feurer of Northern Illinois University.  Prof. Feurer, who had also spoken at the inaugural festival in Cork in 2012, examined the parallel activities of Mother Jones and the great Irish socialist leaders James Connolly and “Big Jim” Larkin, in particular looking at the similar paths they followed, both geographical and philosophical and conclusions they reached.

You can download the full text of Prof. Feurer’s lecture by clicking on the link below:-

Get Off Your Knees Feurer

 

 

Rosemary Feurer

Rosemary Feurer in Cork, August 2014 with the banner of Women Against Pit Closures from the UK Miner’s Strike 1984

Rosemary Feurer is Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.  She co-directed “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman”.  Author, she writes extensively on labour history.  Rosemary is Administrator of www.motherjonesmuseum.org website and Mother Jones Lives.  She attended the inaugural Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork in 2012 and delivered the above lecture at the same festival on August 1st, 2014.   You can download the full lecture by clicking on the link below:

 

Gareth Peirce – a lifetime defending the underdog

 

Gareth Peirce

Gareth Peirce

Gareth Peirce is well known and respected for her legal defence work in cases involving miscarriages of justice in the British legal system. She is best known in Ireland for her indefatigable work in the 70s and 80s in securing the release of Judith Ward, the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. The dramatic television pictures of whose releases have become defining images of a broken and perverted justice system. She also campaigned against the detention of striking miners during the 1984 Miners Strike.

In more recent times she has defended the British Muslim community who have been at the receiving end of State injustice.

Gareth is known to many British Muslims simply as “al-Umm” or “Mother”.

Ms Peirce initially worked as a journalist before taking a law degree and joining the legal firm of Benedict Birnberg. She is today the senior partner of Birnberg Peirce & Partners in London.

The legendary commitment to her clients is very evident, her meticulous pursuit of the inconvenient truth and her razor sharp legal analysis has ensured freedom and justice for many people who placed their faith in Gareth Peirce. She has displayed a deep respect for the experiences of ordinary people or people who may be vulnerable and will relentlessly expose a situation where she believes a blind eye has been turned to suspect methods used to obtain unsafe convictions.

The publication “Dispatches from the Dark Side – On Torture and the Death of Justice” is the definitive work on the abuse of power by some State institutions. Utterly fearless and relentless in pursuit of truth and justice and in the defence of civil rights, Gareth continues to detail the experiences of a new suspect community of young British Muslims and point to the similarities of their experiences to those of the Irish community in Britain a few decades ago.

In a series of cogent and perceptive essays from 2008 to 2010 for the London Review of Books she examined the threats to the justice system, which arise from within. Ms Peirce is adamant that where the law is used for political ends, it will lead also to the subversion of justice itself. Arguing that to protect ourselves for the future, we need to know and examine what has occurred in the past resonates with many people who recognise how true that is in the Irish context.

Her good friend Gerry Conlon passed away recently and at his funeral in Belfast on Saturday 28th June last, Gareth Peirce in her funeral oration described him as a “victorious human being who had stated the truth and finally many people woke up to the injustice”. Gareth Peirce’s words about Gerry could be equally applied to her own huge impact on people and why everyone should question legal injustice.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is honoured that Gareth Peirce will speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School on Wednesday evening 30th July at 7.15pm at the Firkin Crane Centre.

 

 

 

Day 2 of Festival – “The Legacy”

Today (Wednesday, 30th) is Day 2 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork city.   Proceedings begin at 11.00am at the Firkin Crane theatre, Shandon when lecturer Luke Dineen will tell the story of the Cork Harbour Soviet which occurred during the Irish independence struggle in 1921 when militant striking workers flew the red flag over the city’s harbour authority offices and took control of the port for a period.

At 12.0 Noon, David Joyce, development officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will give a lecture on “Qatar… a World Cup graveyard?” in which he will outline the appalling level of well over 1,000 workers to-date, the use of virtual slave labour and other ill-treatment of workers in the building of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup which is due to be held in Qatar.

That will be followed by lunchtime music at the Maldron Hotel by Cork’s own James P. McCarthy.

In the afternoon at 3.00pm back at the Firkin Crane, Claire McGettrick will speak about the Magdalene laundries and the ongoing campaign for justice for women who lived and worked there under conditions of detention and slave labour.

The major event of the evening, also at the Firkin Crane,  will be solicitor Gareth Peirce‘s speech under the title “Defending the Underdog” (see adjacent article for more details).

At 9.00pm at the Firkin Crane the 2014 Mother Jones Gala Concert will take place with Richard T. Cooke and Friends, featuring the Cork Rokk Choir, Cork Shakespearean Company, Aoife Delaney, Kieran McCarthy, William Hammond and many others.

At 10.30pm, to wrap up a very full day, the Mother Jones Céilí Band will perform at the Maldron Hotel.

 

Mother Jones festival begins today!

Members of the committee of Cork Mother Jones Festival and guests with Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mary Shields

Some of the guests at this year’s Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, along with committee members, being received at Cork City Hall today, by the Lord Mayor Mary Shields.

Cork's Lord Mayor, Cllr. Mary Shields with some  members of the Cork Mother Jones Commitee at City Hall this morning (L-R): James Nolan, Cllr. Ted Tynan, the Lord Mayor, Michael Lally.

Cork’s Lord Mayor, Cllr. Mary Shields with some members of the Cork Mother Jones Commitee at City Hall this morning (L-R): James Nolan, Cllr. Ted Tynan, Lord Mayor Shields, and  Michael Lally.

mj_fanfare

The third annual Spirit of Mother Jones opens tonight, heralding the start of a four-day festival of film, debate, music and more in the historic Shandon area on Cork City’s Northside. The festival is the culmination of months of preparation and effort and puts in place an event which has now become established as one of Cork’s most unique festivals, recalling the life and legacy of Mary Harris / Mother Jones, Cork’s rebel daugthter, America’s venerable campaigner.

Today’s events, under the heading “The Gathering”, are as follows:-

Tuesday, 29th July 2014

5.00pm – Official Festival opening at the Maldron Hotel

6.00pm – “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman” – a film by Rosemary Feurer (at the Firkin Crane).

7.30pm – The Cork Mother Jones 2014 Lecture with Professor James Greene of the University of Massachusetts, Boston and author of Death in the Haymarket and the West Virginia Mine Wars.

9.30pm – Cork Singer’s Club perform at the Maldron Hotel.