38 James Connolly Quotes from the Irish Republican

James Connolly was a Marxist union leader and a famous personality in the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Dublin.

After moving to Dublin in 1896, he co-founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party and later lived in New York City from 1903 to 1910 where he helped organize the Industrial Workers of the World.

He also co-founded the Irish Labour Party and the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union with James Larkin playing a major role in labor movements and strikes in Ireland.

James Connolly Quotes

During World War I, he led the union and opposed the Allied war effort.

Connolly joined forces with the Irish Republican Brotherhood leading a 200-member Citizen Army in the 1916 Easter Rising.

After the uprising’s defeat he was court-martialed sentenced to death and executed by firing squad.

Connolly is remembered as both a republican hero and a pioneer of militant Irish socialism.

Here are some of the most famous quotes by James Connolly.

Top 10 James Connolly Quotes


Only the Irish working class remains as the incorruptible inheritors of the fight for freedom in Ireland. ~ James Connolly.


No revolutionary movement is complete without its poetical expression. ~ James Connolly.


Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class. ~ James Connolly.


Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on. ~ James Connolly.


The Irish people will only be free, when they own everything from the plough to the stars. ~ James Connolly.


No individual can develop all his powers if he is even partially under the control of another, even if that other sincerely wishes him well. ~ James Connolly.


We believe in constitutional action in normal times; we believe in revolutionary action in exceptional times. ~ James Connolly.


There can be no perfect Europe in which Ireland is denied even the least of its national rights. ~ James Connolly.


Without the power of the Industrial Union behind it, Democracy can only enter the State as the victim enters the gullet of the Serpent. ~ James Connolly.


Apostles of Freedom are ever idolised when dead, but crucified when alive. ~ James Connolly.

Famous James Connolly Quotes


We who hold his (Wolfe Tone) principles believe that any movement which would successfully grapple with the problem of national freedom must draw its inspiration not from the mouldering records of the past, but from the glowing hopes of the living present, the vast possibilities of the mighty future. ~ James Connolly.


However it may be for others, for us of the Citizen Army there is but one ideal – an Ireland ruled, and owned, by Irish men and women, sovereign and independent from the centre to the sea, and flying its own flag outward over all the oceans. ~ James Connolly.


Whenever the clergy succeeded in conquering political power in any country, the result has been disastrous to the interests of religion and inimical to the progress of humanity. ~ James Connolly.

The liberty we have in Bartholdi’s statue is truly typical of liberty in this age and country. It is placed upon a pedestal out of the reach of the multitudes; it can only be approached by those who have money enough to pay the expense; it has a lamp to enlighten the world, but the lamp is never lit, and it smiles upon us as we approach America, but when we are once in the country we never see anything but its back. ‘Tis a great world we live in. ~ James Connolly.

The Irish Republic must be made a word to conjure with – a rallying point for the disaffected, a haven for the oppressed, a point of departure for the socialist, enthusiastic in the cause of human freedom. ~ James Connolly.


The cause of Labour is the cause of Ireland, and the cause of Ireland is the cause of Labour. ~ James Connolly.

Though I have usually posed as a Catholic, I have not done my duty for 15 years, and have not the slightest tincture of faith left… ~ James Connolly.


I can always guarantee that the Irish Citizen Army will fight but I cannot guarantee that it will be on time. ~ James Connolly.

The Irishman frees himself from slavery when he realizes the truth that the capitalist system is the most foreign thing in Ireland. The Irish question is a social question. The whole age-long fight of the Irish people against their oppressors resolves itself in the last analysis into a fight for the mastery of the means of life, the sources of production, in Ireland. Who would own and control the land? The people, or the invaders; and if the invaders, which set of them – the most recent swarm of land thieves, or the sons of the thieves of a former generation? ~ James Connolly.

Best James Connolly Quotes


When questions of ‘class’ interests are eliminated from public controversy a victory is thereby gained for the possessing, conservative class, whose only hope of security lies in such elimination. ~ James Connolly.

Whoop it up for liberty! After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn’t that worth fighting for? ~ James Connolly.

Ireland, as distinct from her people, is nothing to me; and the man who is bubbling over with love and enthusiasm for “Ireland,” and can yet pass unmoved through our streets and witness all the wrong and the suffering, shame and degradation wrought upon the people of Ireland-yea, wrought by Irishmen upon Irish men and women, without burning to end it, is, in my opinion, a fraud and a liar in his heart, no matter how he loves that combination of chemical elements he is pleased to call Ireland. ~ James Connolly.


The worker is the slave of capitalist society, the female worker is the slave of that slave. ~ James Connolly.

Such a scheme.. the betrayal of the national democracy of Industrial Ulster, would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements while it lasted.
~ James Connolly.

The interests of labour all the world over are identical, it is true, but it is also true that each country had better work out its own salvation on the lines most congenial to its own people. ~ James Connolly.

Popular James Connolly Quotes

Don’t be ‘practical’ in politics. To be practical in that sense means that you have schooled yourself to think along the lines, and in the grooves that those who rob you would desire you to think. ~ James Connolly.

All these mountains of Irish dead, all these corpses mangled beyond recognition, all these arms, legs, eyes, ears, fingers, toes, hands, all these shivering putrefying bodies and portions of bodies once warm living and tender parts of Irish men and youths – all these horrors in Flanders or the Gallipoli Peninsula, are all items in the price Ireland pays for being part of the British Empire. ~ James Connolly.

Under a socialist system every nation will be the supreme arbiter of its own destinies, national and international; will be forced into no alliance against its will, but will have its independence guaranteed and its freedom respected by the enlightened self-interest of the socialist democracy of the world. ~ James Connolly.

Just as it is true that a stream cannot rise above its source, so it is true that a national literature cannot rise above the moral level of the social conditions of the people from whom it derives its inspiration. ~ James Connolly.

If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs. ~ James Connolly.

If you remove the English army to-morrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. ~ James Connolly.

Wise James Connolly Quotes

Irish tory employers hide their sweatshops behind orange flags, and Irish home rule landlords use the green sunburst of Erin to cloak their rack-renting in the festering slums of our Irish towns. ~ James Connolly.


The British govt has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, never can have any right in Ireland. ~ James Connolly.

Our demands most moderate are – We only want the earth! ~ James Connolly.

State ownership and control is not necessarily Socialism – if it were, then the Army, the Navy, the Police, the Judges, the Gaolers, the Informers, and the Hangmen, all would all be Socialist functionaries, as they are State officials – but the ownership by the State of all the land and materials for labour, combined with the co-operative control by the workers of such land and materials, would be Socialism. ~ James Connolly.

The mind accustomed to political kings can easily be reconciled to social kings – capitalist kings of the workshop, the mill, the railway, the ships, and the docks. ~ James Connolly.

If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst! ~ James Connolly.

So these were the 38 famous quotes about James Connolly.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Joey Jordison quotes and Rocky Marciano quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar