by Geoffrey Bell
Pluto Press, 2016
Cloth: 978-0-7453-3665-7 | Paper: 978-0-7453-3660-2
Library of Congress Classification DA962.B39 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 941.50821

Geoffrey Bell’s Hesitant Comrades is the first history of the policies, actions and attitudes of the British working class movement towards the Irish national revolution of 1916–21. Drawing principally on primary sources, Bell brings to light important incidents in British and Irish history, including how the leaders of British trade unions were complicit in Belfast loyalist sectarianism; the troubled nature of the Labour Party’s relations with its Irish community; and how the Bolsheviks criticized British Marxists over their inaction on Ireland. Bell also considers socialist debates on the compatibility of Irish nationalism with socialism and the contentious ‘Ulster question.’ He also discusses key figures such as British Labour Party leader Ramsey MacDonald and leading suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.
Based on in-depth research, with sources ranging from newly discovered socialist writings to reports of police spies, Hesitant Comrades is a scholarly, provocative, and highly engaging perspective on the fragile relationship between the British left and the Irish revolution.