Up the Irish
Michael Hogan for Latino Rebels:
For most Mexicans, solidarity with the Irish is part of a long tradition and they remembered the help they received from the Irish and their friendship. In the words of John Riley, written in 1847 but equally true today, “A more hospitable and friendly people than the Mexican there exists not on the face of the earth… especially to an Irishman and a Catholic.”
Riley sums up what cannot be clearly documented in any history: the basic, gut-level affinity the Irishman had then, and still has today, for Mexico and its people. The decisions of the men who joined the San Patricios were probably not well-planned or thought out. They were impulsive and emotional, like many of Ireland’s own rebellions – including the Easter Uprising of 1916. Nevertheless, the courage of the San Patricios, their loyalty to their new cause, and their unquestioned bravery forged an indelible seal of honor on their sacrifice.
Irish-Americans need to remember they were the original wetbacks (and having to cross the Atlantic in coffin-ships, there was a lot more wet on their backs than people who leave their dead in the desert seeking to cross a river), refugees from the economic dislocation created by foreign control of their natural resources. The Mexican and Irish revolutions of the 1910s both were fueled by nationalist sentiment and the sense that their English-speaking neighbors had too much economic and cultural control over their lives.
While neither nation was “successful” in the sense that they wer able to completely achieve complete economic independence from foreign control, they did achieve a large measure of political and social independence, develop a foreign policy that often was completely at odds with the former controlling power, and an internationally recognized cultural identity.