From Davitt to Connolly: ‘Internationalism from Below’ and the challenge to the UK state and British Empire from 1897-1895 By Allan Armstrong Published by Intfrobel Publications, £7.99

Allan Armstrong’s new book From Davitt to Connolly: ‘Internationalism from Below’ and the challenge to the UK state and British Empire from 1897-1895 was launched to a warm reception at Edinburgh’s Wordpower bookshop last November.

While the idea for the book had first come to him many years ago, Allan said that it was only now in his retirement that he had been able to devote the necessary time to write about a period which he had long been fascinated by.

Talking on why he believed this often forgotten part of working class history is of particular significance today, Allan spoke of the strong parallels between the current situation and the increasing imperialist competition of Davitt’s era where the UK was beginning to lose its dominance over world trade much as the USA is now. The book details how the roles played by figures such as Davitt during struggle in Ireland was linked to the success of others elsewhere and in doing so suggests that change can come from below and successfully spread across national borders.

Throughout the launch Allan, describing himself as a republican, Scottish internationalist and communist, interspersed his talk with anecdotes from his own experience in the socialist and trade union movements. These were enjoyed by the crowded room, filled mainly by those who fought these battles with him. He also spoke of his many visits to the sites mentioned in the book and how these experiences had inspired him.

Allan said that as he investigated the subject deeper, he began to realise that there was far more material than it would be possible to fit into one book. As a result, he now intends to write a series of publications under the banner of ‘Internationalism from Below: Reclaiming a hidden communist tradition to challenge the nation-state and capitalist empire’. The first of these, The Historical Development of Nation-States and Nationalism up to 1848, will be available online at Internationalism From Below later this