Episode 12-Hunger Strikes During the Irish War of Independence


In this episode, we discuss the role of hunger strikes during the Irish War of Independence, including the story of Thomas Ashe, the Mountjoy Prison and General Strike of 1918, and Terence MacSwiney.

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Irish Women Who went on Hunger Strike

Hunger strikes are a familiar weapon in the war against colonial policies and wrongful imprisonment. Although today it is associated primarily with Gandhi or with the IRA, like Bobby Sands, it is an old tactic practiced all over the world and by all genders, such as revolutionaries in Imperial Russia, suffragettes in Britain and the U.S., and men kept in Guantanamo or the U.S.’s concentration camps on the American-Mexican border.

The tactic of voluntarily giving up food until a political demand is won, originated with the Russian Revolutionaries in the 1890s. It is a versatile weapon that requires utmost dedication from the striker while placing all the moral and legal responsibility on the oppressor and highlighting the wretched conditions that enables a striker to go on hunger strike in the first place.

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