C. Desmond Greaves
C.Desmond Greaves, although born in England, was one of Ireland’s leading historians, author of biographies of James Connolly, Liam Mellows, Sean O'Casey and other works.
A strenuous opponent of European integration, he regarded the EU as an assault on the democratic nation state, which is the principal agency that history has devised for advancing the common good, imposing social controls on capital and restraining "the furies of private interest".
Greaves believed that the peaceful way to end the partition of Ireland was to secure maximum equality between Nationalists and Unionists in Northern Ireland, thereby removing any rational basis for Unionism as an ideology that justified domination over Nationalists and opening the way for Unionists to rediscover in time the political implications of the common Irishness they share with their Nationalist fellow countrymen and women.
As an activist in the Connolly Association, London, and editor from 1948 to 1988 of its monthly newspaper, The Irish Democrat, he pioneered the idea of a campaign for civil rights as the way to shatter Unionist political domination in Northern Ireland, which was taken up by the l960s Civil Rights Movement there.
He held that the British democratic and labour movements, which the Irish community in Britain can significantly influence, are important potential allies for the cause of democracy, national independence and national unity in Ireland.
Theorist of the national question, historian, scientist, newspaper editor, political organiser, poet, orator and wit, Desmond Greaves was an extraordinary man. His two-million-word Journal is an important historical and human document which is being made available to the public, with index, on this web-site for the first time. Parts of his Table-Talk bears comparison with that of Goethe, Johnson or Coleridge.
The Greaves Weekend Summer School is held each September in Dublin to examine his political legacy.