user preferences

New Events

Ireland / Britain

no event posted in the last week

Belfast: An Anarchist Alternative

category ireland / britain | anarchist movement | news report author Monday May 08, 2006 21:14author by 1st of May - WSM Report this post to the editors

WSM members took part in this years Mayday demonstration in Belfast (as well as those in Dublin and Cork). Below is the text of the leaflet we distributed in Belfast. You can download the PDF version from the link at the end of the file.

WSM banner on Belfat Mayday - picture by Ciarán Ó Brolcháin from indymedia.ie
WSM banner on Belfat Mayday - picture by Ciarán Ó Brolcháin from indymedia.ie

An Anarchist Alternative

Anarchist ideas link a criticism of capitalist society with a vision of a new way of organising human society. Essentially anarchism is a system of socialism which opposes capitalism as well as the state and hierarchy which impose and reinforce capitalism.

An anarchist society can’t be brought about by a small group of people. Even in Ireland a successful anarchist revolution would require tens of thousands of active anarchists. Anarchists living on every street and active in every workplace. One anarchist organisation active in Ireland is the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM). This leaflet allows us to tell you a little about what we do and what we stand for.

We believe that an anarchist society can only be created as a result of the class struggle between the vast majority of society (the working class) and the tiny minority that currently rule. A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. Our role is to help popularise and promote these ideas.

A major focus of our activity is our work within the economic organizations of the working class, the trade unions. As members of the working class it is only natural that we should also be members of these mass organizations. Within the unions we fight for democratic structures so that they can be controlled by the rank and file.

We also see it as vital to work in struggles that happen outside the unions and the workplace. These include struggles against particular oppressions, imperialism and indeed the struggles of the working class for a decent place and environment in which to live. Our general approach to these, like our approach to the unions, is to involve ourselves with mass movements and within these movements, in order to promote anarchist methods of organisation involving direct democracy and direct action.

We reject the idea that society can be changed through ‘good people’ gaining control of the power structures. This means we reject both the electoral strategy of the social democratic and green parties and the ‘revolutionary’ strategy of the various left groups. We oppose imperialism but put forward anarchism as an alternative goal to nationalism. We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers’ movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.

The WSM has been helping to build an anarchist movement since the 1980’s. For most of this time we have been active in Dublin and Cork where we fought against ‘social partnership’ in the unions and have worked in many strike support groups. For our small numbers we played an important role in the fight for divorce and abortion rights in the republic. In both Dublin and Cork we fought against the imposition of bin tax on the working population and helped defeat the attempt to bring the water tax to Dublin. We also helped organize the major protests against the 2004 EU Summit in Dublin. Currently we are active in the anti-war struggle, in particular in opposition to the republic’s policy of allowing US war and torture planes to use Shannon and Baldonnel airports. Our members are taking part in the solidarity camp at Rossport where Shell are trying to force a potentially dangerous pipeline on the local inhabitants and jailed 5 of the locals for resisting this pipeline. We are also involved in struggles to organise insecure and in particular migrant workers.

As the WSM has grown in recent years we are expanding outside of Dublin and Cork. We are currently organizing a branch in Derry but we also want to make contact with people elsewhere interested in anarchism who may want to work with, or indeed join the WSM. If you’re interested contact us.
By Email: wsm_ireland@yahoo.com
By Post: PO Box 1528, Dublin 8

If you would like more information write to us for a membership pack or visit our web site at http://www.wsm.ie
On the web site you will find articles from our free paper Workers Solidarity and our magazine Red and Black Revolution as well as an archive of thousands of articles about anarchism and struggles in Ireland.

A PDF file of this leaflet can be download from http://www.struggle.ws/pdfs/leaflets/maydayBelfast06.pdf - please make copies of it and distribute it locally. If you do let us know via our Contact Us form at http://www.wsm.ie/general_contact_page

Cover of leaflet
Cover of leaflet

author by Kdog - NorthStar Anarchist Collectivepublication date Tue May 09, 2006 09:06Report this post to the editors

I am an amerikan, far removed from the realities of the struggle in Ireland, and I have nothing but the highest regard for the WSM, who I believe continue to make major contributions both theoretically and logistically to the international revolutionary anarchist movement. . . .

BUT, I think it is fair to ask how you can make a foray into the north of Ireland, and say NOTHING about the historic occupation of the north by the British Empire or the resistance to it.

I am in general agreement with what I understand the WSM's position to be regarding the occupation and imperialism in general (opposition to imperialism. but for anarchist not nationalist resisrtance to it). I was quite happy to see the WSM attempt to establish a more all-island presence. But comrades, this feels a bit opportunist to not say a word about the occupation in the flyer. Surely this must have been result of a discussion within the group.

Would it be out of order to ask for a brief on y'alls discussion? Cuz it don't feel right.

Again I would say that because many of us look to the WSM as a model and inspiration that this is an important question.

author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Tue May 09, 2006 19:17Report this post to the editors

The text itself is based on our minimum points of agreement found at http://www.wsm.ie/index.php?obj_id=2063 (these are also almost identical to the Anarkismo statement in 'About Us' at http://www.anarkismo.net/docs.php?id=1 ).

The text was rewritten some to make it less technical but at the layout stage there was a disagreement over the dropping of one reference to anti-imperialism. However as there wasn't time to resolve this the objector dropped it on the grounds that it was better to have a text with a minor flaw for distribution then nothing at all. Basically the whole thing was a bit of a last minute rush job by one branch - the specific issue of the use of language in propaganda for this sort of event has not yet been addressed at any formal level within the WSM.

All that aside we are now building a branch in Derry ( http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=2268 ) and for the last 20 years our members in the south have regularly engaged in political activitiy in the north both around the libertarian movement and workers, anti-imperialist and civil rights issues. In that time we must have distributed tthousands of pieces of litreature. We also leaflet republican events in the south ( http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=2865 ) and engage in debates with republicanism ( http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=2861 )

I don't find a political approach based on trying to get every important point into every bit of text useful. It tends to produce lots of repetitive and wordy articles that are too expensive to distribute free or brief leaflets that are simply collections of slogans saying nothing to those not already in agreement with you.

So while I think there is room for improvement with this text I actually don't think going into the occupation would have made any sense in this context (a leaflet for the Belfast mayday march). Putting forward a clear anarchist position that would distinguish us from the various republican splinters in a meaningful way to many of the march participants is not something that could be done in a page of text. For instance the formulation you use would almost certainly be read as support for the dissidents not on cease fire, really not the sort of misreading that would be useful in any context.

A second point is that building anarchism in the north will be through class politics rather than an identification with or support for one side or the other in the nationalist conflict. So while anarchism requires an anti-imperialist element that element is not the way to build anarchism in the north - that would leave us as a rather exotic fringe of left republicanism. We are not left republicans seeking to meld class struggle and nationalism, we are anarchists.

A final point, and the most political. The changes of the last decade have been very significant, as were the changes of the 3 decades before that. Apart from anything else for the first time there is a constitutional set up that says the presence or absence of the British state is up to the people of northern Ireland rather than the parliament in Westminister. Anarchists need to recognise these changes - its one of the reasons why last year we put a lot of effort into producing a new position paper on partition ( http://struggle.ws/wsm/positions/partition.html )

It is no longer the 60's, 70's. 80's or even 90's so the political positions of those times no longer fit so well today.

author by RepSoc - IRSMpublication date Wed May 10, 2006 06:04Report this post to the editors

Yes, the GFA enshrines the issue of 'consent' in the occupied six counties, and we have to recognise this change. However its only a change in tactics by Britain and nothing more. The Unionist veto means that sectarian privelage still runs rampant and is in some ways even worse. And I've never known of a vote on national liberation for an oppressed group ever being at the expense of the consent of the oppressing group!

It's also misleading to put forth the idea that the gfa reforms even change the nature of day to day administration over the north, as the six counties are under more direct rule from London than ever before.

Our north American comrade is correct that anything less than a principled stand against partition is to court irrelevance. A revolutionary movement of workers will not be built on bread and butter campaigns alone.

author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Wed May 10, 2006 18:27Report this post to the editors

Actually we are no fans of the Good Friday Agreement specifically because we see it as institutionialising sectarianism - you'll find a pretty complete list of articles we published on the 'peace process' at http://struggle.ws/wsm/peaceprocess.html but most relevant here is probably the 1988 article Hobson's choice : The "Good Friday Agreement" & the Irish Left at http://struggle.ws/rbr/rbr4_hobson.html

There is every reason to not take British imperialist policy at its word - and indeed it can shift depending both on its perceived needs and who is in power. But I personally believe that the shift in imperialist policy to saying it is up to the population of the north to decide its constitutional status is an enormous one that pretty much ends the argument for nationalist armed struggle on any but the more reactionary grounds.

In this context the usefulness of the phrase the 'unionist veto' really needs to be re-considered by republicans and the left. Historically this referred to the gurantee given prior to partition by British imperialism to Stormont that Stormont would have a veto over any proposed reunification of the island (it didn't allow Stormont to opt for reunification). Historically the left was correct to oppose this but today nearly 90 years have passed and we have to recognise two things

1. Things have changed as outlined above so now the population (rather than Stormont) can opt for reunification through referendum. This is a huge change from the decision being that of the British state with Stormont having a veto over only one of the possible alternatives.

2. Partition has created 'facts on the ground' just as historically this has happened elsewhere. Progressive republicans as far back as 1798 recognised that arguments about who historically owned or worked certain plots of land, who was a native and who was settler descended could only play into the hands of reaction. Today there is no one alive who was an adult when partition happened, even someone who is 100 today would have been only 16 at the time of partition.

In that context the time to base arguments against partition on the grounds that it was unfair or in imperialist interests or designed to divide and rule has ended. All these things are true but for the left and true republicans if you want to argue against partition today that argument has to be positive - that is ending it would result in real benefits for the working class or 'the people' respectively. In other words there should be no room for '4 green fields' nationalism in your rhetoric.

A positive argument has to convince at least a significant section of the protestant population unless your going to go with the 'out-breed' them strategy of the most reactionay elements of SF nationalism. Republicanism, never mind anarchism in the north today needs to primarly address protestants, something that many left republicans are coming to quietly recognise if they have yet to clearly outline. The recent IRSM statement on the protestant working class can only be read in that context.

Has the GFA changed the nature of day to day rule in the north. At the top level no, it only highlights the fact that the imperialists are the ones still in control as the Blair government can suspend and reconvene Stormont as it suits British policy. On another level it is daft to deny that there is no change around issues like policing (I wish we had the equivalent of the police ombudsmen down south for instance). The PSNI is clearly a less sectarian police force that the RUC. Which means no more than then PSNI is much closer to being willing to equally batter 'catholic' and 'protestant' workers and is accountable to an ombudsmen capable of pointing out when they fail to do so. Of course it is still sectarian, it is still largely composed of one time RUC members but lets not pretend nothing has changed.

This is not to say this issue is sorted, as an anarchist I think the concept of policing itself is flawed so that can be no solution anyway. But there have been reforms and these have had affects. And if you used the 1960's as the start date then the transformation across a range of issues has been massive - probably the victories of the late 60''s and early 70's being the most significant ones.

Likewise when Stormont was sitting I see it as pointless to deny that there was no significance in Martin McGuiness and David Trimble being part of the same cabinet. A suggestion in 1972 that there could be a cabinet which would include the then leader of Ulster unionism and one of the leadership of the IRA would have been unimaginable. For the left the real problem here is precisely the day to day 'bread and butter' decision that McGuiness was making. Indeed in terms of Stormont the various constitutional rows that were created were a distraction for the anti-worker policies that were being implemented. There are a couple of examples at http://struggle.ws/ws/2002/ws70/north.html

Finally I never wrote "A revolutionary movement of workers will .. be built on bread and butter campaigns alone" although presumably you find that an easier position to argue against which is why you created that misrepresentation. As above anti-imperialism remains important to anarchist politics anywhere.

But in the context of the north it is bloody obvious that always making this the main issue in your propaganda is not going to address the majority of the working class there in a positive way. Class poltics will not be built through a focus on anti-imperialism but on 'bread and butter issues'. Anti-imperialism is essential in terms of building a class unity that can survive the periodic constitutional crisis but as a focus it can only address what is probably a minority of the 'catholic working class', pre-ceasefire election results suggest most 'catholic workers' are also more concerned with bread and butter issues.

Anyway most of the above is a reflection of discussion within the WSM rather than WSM policy. As this is moving well away from the leaflet it might be useful to continue on the thread of our postion paper on partition which is at

Related Link: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1677
author by Mike Hargis - IWWpublication date Sun May 14, 2006 01:29Report this post to the editors

A question, perhaps provocative but a question nontheless: to quote the leaflet:
"A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. Our role is to help popularise and promote these ideas. " My question: how is this any different from Lenin's dictum that, to paraphrase, left to itself the working class can only attain a trade union consciousness. That socialist ideas have be brought to the class from outside by revolutionaries?

author by nestor - fdca - personal capacitypublication date Mon May 15, 2006 16:14Report this post to the editors

Hi Mike, One of the most important differences is that anarchist communists are not "outside the class", but an integral part of it. Saverio Craparo explains it well in the FdCA document "Anarchist communists, a question of class":

"For Anarchist Communists, [...] the political organization of the Anarchist Communists, plays a role only within the proletarian movement. In other words, from within the daily struggles, it seeks to develop the class consciousness within the proletariat, to promote (as part of the proletariat's clash with the bourgeoisie) a revolutionary strategy which can allow consciousness of the historical needs to develop among the exploited, starting with their daily needs. In this case, the party does not make the revolution for the proletariat, it does not direct it in the proletariat's interest, it does not govern it for the good of the proletariat. It simply exists within the process of growth and emancipation of the proletariat, seeking to convince the rest of the proletariat that the ideas it promotes are a suitable way of reaching the goal."

Number of comments per page
  
 

This page has not been translated into Türkçe yet.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Verso lo sciopero generale e sociale nel mondo del lavoro, nei territori, nelle piazze

Ireland / Britain | Anarchist movement | News Report | en

Sun 26 Oct, 02:42

browse text browse image

textBrief report from the WSM conference in Ireland 22:04 Thu 16 Oct by Andrew 0 comments

The Workers Solidarity Movement had out conference last weekend at which many of the conclusions from the collections education and discussion process we have had over the last 2-3 years were formalised as policies.

Not actually the book fair poster imageThe Dublin anarchist Bookfair returns to Liberty Hall on Saturday 12th of April this year 19:43 Tue 08 Apr by Andrew 0 comments

There will be discussions, speakers from movements engaged in struggle, home and abroad.  There will be books and stalls and much more.  If you’ve been to one, then you know what I’m talking about, if you haven’t make sure you keep the date set aside, and we’ll be seeing you on the 12th of April. Please mark your attendence on the main Facebook event for the bookfair and invite any friends you think should be interested.  Publicity is one of the big costs of hosting it every year so you contribution in that way really helps.

wslast.jpg imageReport on WSM (Ireland) National Conference - Autumn 2013 20:50 Wed 18 Dec by Andrew 0 comments

The WSM had its Autumn national conference in Dublin on the 23rd November.  National Conference is the ultimate decision making body in the WSM. It happens every six months usually over a day or two. As well as discussing motions time is also spent on discussing the past six months activity and prospects for the next period. Conference also hears reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups.  This covered areas like the Irish Anarchist Review, WSM Website, Dublin Anarchist Bookfair and our pro-choice and anti racist work.

cact.jpg imageCollective Action affiliate to Anarkismo 15:18 Wed 10 Jul by Collective Action 0 comments

We are pleased to announce our affiliation to the international anarchist communist co-operative project, Anarkismo. Our affiliation comes after months of discussion and clarification of Collective Action's political positions as well as the positions of constituent members of Anarkismo.

derry.jpg imageBlack Flag of Anarchism flies over Free Derry - John McGuffin & a history of Free Derry corner 15:12 Tue 01 May by WSM-Derry 0 comments

On the 10th anniversary of the death of former Civil Rights activist and Anarchist John McGuffin, local activists including former friends and comrades gathered in Derry’s Bogside and gave the iconic monument a fitting rebellious make-over with the red and black colours of anarchism. Over the next fortnight the black flag of anarchy will fly over Free Derry corner in a fine tribute. No Gods No Masters!

textThe History of Belfast anarchism 23:55 Fri 09 Sep by Sean Matthews 0 comments

Historian Mairtin O Cathain’s ‘Wee Black Booke’ has now been added to our archive for you to read or download. In it he pulls together reports of anarchism in and around Belfast in the years from 1867 to 1973. With no local movement for much of this period, the pamphlet looks at some individuals whose political activity merited mention in the media of the time. O Cathain’s work stops before the emergence in the late 1970s of the groups from which contemporary anarchist organisations Workers Solidarity Movement and Organise! can trace their roots.

textSolidarity Books (Cork) is up and running! 23:13 Mon 21 Dec by Cork WSM 0 comments

A new, alternative meeting space and bookshop has just opened on Douglas Street, Cork in Ireland. This is early days but we want to get the word out that this new initiative needs you and your support!

dsc01922.jpg imageSuccessful anarchist event in Belfast 22:57 Sat 25 Jul by Workers Solidarity Movement 0 comments

The Workers Solidarity Movement and Anarchist Communist Discussion Group, organised a successful day of discussions and workshops last Saturday in the Belfast Unemployed Centre tackling issues such as fighting fascism and racism from a class perspective, anarchist organisation and our vision of a free, classless, post-capitalist society.

Harold H Thompson 1942-2008 imageRemembering an anarchist revolutionary 02:12 Mon 06 Jul by Sean Matthews- personal capacity 2 comments

The passing of US anarchist prisoner, Harold H Thompson last October marked the end of a revolutionary, a fighter for the libertarian ideal, who remained unbowed and unbroken in the face of a social order built on domination and exploitation.

marchingwsm.jpg imageBelfast May Day - anarchists in the sunshine 19:21 Thu 14 May by Andrew & Sean 0 comments

Thirty or so anarchists marched with the WSM and/or Organise! at the Belfast May day march this year. Initially the rally was addressed by trade unionists including John Maguire, Visteon union convenor.

Alan from the WSM described it as "A lovely sunny day with a good anarchist turnout." and reported that "several people I spoke to afterwards thought a minimum of 2,000 people were on the march, the majority of these from the unions with maybe 20% from different left groups"

more >>

textWolnosc: Rozmyślania na temat anarchizmu Feb 27 by Oisin Mac Giollamoir 0 comments

Mówi się o dwóch typach wolności- pozytywnej i negatywnej lub uogólniając, o istnieniu wolność od.. do. Uważam tą dychotomie za nieprawdziwa i mało znacząca. Wolność nie jest słowem opisującym dwojakość, wolność odnosi się tylko do jednego stanu rzeczy.

textRola organizacji anarchistycznej Feb 26 by John Flood 0 comments

Patrząc na dzisiejszy świat trudno jest sobie wyobrazic jak miało by powstać społeczeństwo które chcielibyśmy zobaczyć. Ale zamiast siedzieć z założonymi rękami czekając na upadek kapitalizmu albo nadejście rewolucji, wierzymy w organizowanie sie tu i teraz.

textIs there a need for a new Glasgow /Scotland-wide Anarchist Group? Dec 17 by Dundee United 0 comments

Dublin has an influential anarchist group, the Workers Solidarity Movement. It co-ordinates involvement in local campaigns ('especifismo' social insertion) and distribute a free quarterly news-sheet of 6000+ copies. Glasgow lacks this, but is not lacking in serious community struggles or a need for closer and more structured involvement of anarchists and other socialists in those struggles.

textThe end of the British anarchist magazine Black Flag? Nov 23 by Anarcho 6 comments

Observant attendees of this year's anarchist bookfair may have noticed that Black Flag did not have a stall nor was a new issue out. Some speculation has been made on the libcom.org forums that it is no more. The truth is, perhaps. It depends on what happens next and whether people get involved.

textWhere to Now? Anti-capitalist protest - global and local Jun 24 by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

Debate on the effectiveness of the Black Bloc tactic could well go on forever. It is certainly hard to avoid the conclusion that anti-globalisation protests that avoid direct action will kill off the movement, or at least greatly reduce participation in it.

more >>

imageAnarchists Condemn G8 Scaremongering May 23 0 comments

In response to yesterday’s Irish News (Mon 20 May 2013) front page article, “Police to Occupy hundreds of vacant premises in Belfast during G8”, the Workers Solidarity Movement condemned security forces scaremongering in the media.

imageSolidarity with "Freedom" Feb 05 0 comments

Solidarity Statement with "Freedom"

imageStatement from Liberty & Solidarity 7th Conference Sep 27 L&S 1 comments

Liberty & Solidarity's 7th Biannual conference has taken the decision to disband the organisation. We are still proud of what Liberty & Solidarity has achieved and we hope to continue to work together towards shared goals, engaging with an ever broader range of trade unionists and community activists. Our project, the empowerment of working people within the workplace and society, remains the same.

imageHundreds expected to attend Dublin Anarchist Bookfair May 18 WSM 0 comments

Hundreds of people from all over Ireland are expected to attend the 7th annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair which takes place in Liberty Hall, Dublin on Saturday 26th May. The Bookfair, organised by the Workers Solidarity Movement, will consist of a day of meetings, debates, discussions and films and will also host bookstalls and information stands from a large number of political organisations and campaigning groups.

imageWorkers Solidarity 127 May 15 WSM 0 comments

Anarchist news opinion and analysis from Ireland

more >>
© 2005-2014 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]