Emmet O'Connor lectures in history and politics in the University of Ulster, Magee College. He has written widely on Irish labour history, and recently completed the biography James Larkin.
In August 1922, at the height of the Civil War, when the Communist Party of Ireland could count on barely 50 activists, two agents of the Communist International held a secret meeting in Dublin with two IRA leaders. The four signed an agreement providing for the transformation of Sinn Fein into a socialist party. In return, Moscow was to assist with the supply of weapons to the IRA. The incident illustrates what made the Comintern a beacon of hope to beleaguered revolutionaries or an object of sometimes hysterical suspicion. From February 1918, when over 10,000 thronged central Dublin to acclaim the Bolshevik revolution, to July 1941, when the Party in Eire was dissolved by the votes of just 20 members, communists were involved with every radical movement, and demonised in every pulpit. Based on former Soviet archives, Reds and the Green shows why Irish Marxists and republicans turned repeatedly to Russia for support and inspiration, what Moscow wanted from Ireland, and how the Comintern was able to direct an Irish political party.
- Labour and Bolshevism, 1917-19
The race for Moscow, 1919-21
Civil War communism. 1921-2
A fistful of Marxists
- the demise of the CPI, 1922-4
An infernal triangle
- Larkin, London and Moscow, 1924-6
The search for a counterbalance, 1926-9
Bolshevising Irish communism, 1929-31
Between the hammer and the anvil, 1931-3
Back to the fronts, 1933-6
Spain, decline and dissolution, 1936-43
"O'Connor's book is salutary for republicans to gain an historical perspective on one of the many Marxist groups that have attempted by stealth to influence republican policy."
An Phoblacht Nov 2004
"tells how, 80 years ago, the fledgling Soviet Union tried to co-opt the IRA into its goals of world revolution. O'Connor's trawl through the Moscow archives of the Comintern has unearthed documents that speak from the past of hopeless idealism, wasted journeys and ruined dreams."
Financial Times August 2005
"Emmet O'Connor has produced a unique history of the relationship between the left in Ireland and the Comintern which has been lacking so far ... essential reading for anyone attempting to understand the story of the Left in Ireland."
Irish Democrat Aug/Sept 2005
"certainly worth a read, especially given its use of the Moscow archives. It is also salutary for republicans to gain an historical perspective on one of the many Marxist groups that have attempted to influence republican policy."
Economic and Philosophic Science Review 2005
"O'Connor's book is a singular achievement, based as it is on a prodigious mining of the huge communist archives that became available after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and of a wide range of archival material in Ireland and Britain. The consequence of the author's painstaking research is that this study, unlike any previous work on Irish communism, is able to successfully situate, and minutely describe, the handful of Irish activists as part of a Moscow-centred global movement..."
Irish Economic and Social History 2005
"These are persuasive judgements, and their implications go well beyond a small country in which an organised communist movement was never more than a marginal presence."
English Historical Review XCCCI Feb 2006