Irish Land League Launches Rent Strike

This article, which was reprinted in the Plattsburgh Sentinel () trumpets the rent strike called in Ireland against the English landlords:


The Land League have issued a manifesto declaring that only one constitutional weapon now remains in the hands of the League. It is the strongest, swiftest and most irresistible of all. We hesitate to advise our fellow countrymen to employ it until the savage lawlessness of the English government has provoked a crisis in which we must either consent to see the Irish tenant farmers disarmed of their organization and laid once more prostrate at the feet of the landlords, and every murmur of Irish public opinion suppressed with an armed hand, or appeal to our countrymen to at once resort to the only means left in their hands of bringing this false and brutal government to its senses. Fellow countrymen, the hour to try your souls and redeem your pledges has arrived. The executive committee of the National Land League is forced to abandon its policy of testing the land act, and feels bound to advise the tenant farmers in Ireland from this day forth to pay no rents under any circumstances to their landlords until the government relinquishes the present system of terrorism, and restores the constitutional rights of the people. Do not be daunted by the removal of your leaders. Do not let yourselves be intimidated by threats of military violence. It is as lawful to refuse to pay rents as it is to receive them.

Against the passive resistance of the entire population the military power has no weapon. The funds will be poured out unstintedly to all who may endure eviction in the course of the struggle. Our exiled brothers in America may be relied on to contribute, if necessary, as many millions in money as they have thousands, to starve out the landlords and bring the English tenantry to its knees. You have only to show you are not unworthy of their boundless sacrifices; one more crowning struggle for your land, your homes, your lives, a struggle in which you have all the memories of your race, all the hopes of your kindred, and all the sacrifices of your imprisoned brothers.

American anarchist Benjamin Ricketson Tucker praised this strike in an article for Liberty, saying that the Land League was “the most potent and instantly effective revolutionary force the world has ever known so long as it stood by its original policy of ‘Pay No Rent,’ and which lost nearly all its strength the day it abandoned that policy.”