James Connolly: We Only Want the Earth

[Quotes and Insights #20]

A song written in 1907 by the Irish republican socialist James Connolly, who led the Easter Uprising in Dublin, 95 years ago this week.

Connolly  was severely injured in the fighting on Easter Weekend 1916. He probably would have died of his wounds, but the British army took him from the hospital, tied him to a chair, and murdered him on May 12.

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We Only Want the Earth

(to the tune of A Nation Once Again)

Some men, faint-hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch,
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much.

‘Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.

“Be moderate,” the trimmers cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much and people vie
From you aghast in wonder.”

‘Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.

Our masters all a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor,
Their sympathies assure us, too,
If our demands were fewer.

Most generous souls!
But please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask, that is, the earth.

The “labour fakir” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.

Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labour shall march in war array
To realise its own, the earth.

For labour long, with sighs and tears,
To its oppressors knelt.
But never yet, to aught save fears,
Did the heart of tyrant melt.

We need not kneel, our cause no dearth
Of loyal soldiers’ needs
And our victorious rallying cry
Shall be we want the earth!


Posted in Marxist Ecology, Quotes & Insights
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