We Make Bread Not Profits (FOR EVA N EVA)
Somewhere in Limerick. I have proposed this piece to every open call for EVA since 2007.
2007 –

“On August 26th 1921, the bakery and mills in Bruree County Limerick were occupied by its employees. All staff bar the manager and chief clerk joined the occupation. They hoisted a red fag and declared the “Bruree Soviet Workers Mill” was the property of workers and would sell its food cheap and reduce “profteering”. Union officials claimed the Soviet was able to drop prices, double sales and increase wages. Countess Markievicz threatened to use the IRA to intervene against the Soviet and on the 3rd of September the Soviet ended.” 1

Jim Ricks

The proposed piece is a contemporary laser cut (commercial signage) reproduction of an urgently hand- painted sign from 1921, photograph. It will be fabricated to professional standards and coloured to most effectively stand out from its chosen surface.

On the heals of the 1916 Irish centenary, a year of 'official' state narratives being taught and histories being revised, and a year of arts funding specifically dedicated to this (sort of) beginning of the Irish Republic, I am thinking of creating a monument to a forgotten piece of Irish history, the Bruree Soviet. The soviet formed during the Anglo Irish War, a period marked by increased radicalism in the Limerick region. It was subsequently put down by the conservative Irish Free State government that gained power in 1922.

In post-banking collapse, post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, it is my aim to rekindle some debate about the original issues surrounding the soviet. It will hopefully highlight how far we've come from the type of consciousness that would reject capitalism, lead self-organisation of workers, and then the (near Fascist) reaction that would defeat them.

I am taking a practical and historical approach. I hope to open up the history in a concise archival way. I am drawn to the idea of imagining practical alternatives while simultaneously presenting factual, if not rare, archival material. It immediately brought to mind ideas of alternate political structures; those more democratic and without a single leader, the radical visionaries of the left.

I think the piece could ideally connect to other talks and events.

bread not profits


Jim Ricks