By Matt Treacy
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Extra info for The IRA 1956-69: Rethinking the Republic
Indd 30 1/12/2011 10:42:29 AM The ideology of traditional republicanism 31 it was easy to point out where the new elites were failing in their duty to promote social justice. That may also have fed into a cultural antipathy towards social elites that could at the same time be egalitarian and opposed to what were regarded as malign modernising influences, including socialism, which were perceived as threats to an organic conception of Irish society in which distinctions of class were less important than communal solidarity.
There were proposals to divide large holdings, and a Proudhonian one to ‘establish the wage-earners of the towns and cities as owner workers of the shops, factories and industries in which they toil’. In a piece entitled ‘The Land for the People’, ‘Fear Domhainn’ outlined a scheme to divide the country into three hundred administrative units within which all the land would be divided to ensure an average of 27½ acres for each family, allowing 2,280,000 people to be settled on the land. Michael Traynor, who remained a prominent member of the movement until he resigned in 1962 in support of McLogan, recommended a system of industrial unionism, similar to the syndicalist idea, as an alternative to parliamentary democracy.
Despite that, left-wing ideas did become more acceptable in Ireland to the extent where the Labour Party felt comfortable styling itself as a socialist party and Communists sometimes cited Catholic clerics. Deasún Breathnach, a former member of Ailtirí, claimed that to engage in class struggle was a ‘Christian duty’34 and when the Pope died in 1963 the United Irishman said that he had moved the Church ‘to the left’. 35 Republicans were also influenced by anti-colonial movements in Africa and Asia.