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National Conference Workers Solidarity Movement Ireland

category ireland / britain | anarchist movement | news report author Sunday September 03, 2017 21:37author by Nic - WSMauthor email nicstorck at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

The Workers Solidarity Movement held our national conference in Dublin, Ireland on the 22nd July. What follows is a brief report on the day’s proceedings.

What is WSM National Conference?

National Conference is the ultimate decision-making body for WSM members. It happens every six months and takes place over a day or two. We discuss motions on collective policy, reflect on the past six months of activity and map prospects for the next period.

Conference normally begins with reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups.  This might cover areas like current campaigns, publications, education, engagement and administration as well as organising the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. We then move on to an open discussion of our perspectives before discussing amendments to our position papers.

We interrupted National Conference this year in order to take part in an anti-fascist demonstration outside the Holiday Inn, O’Connell Street. 

Reports

The National Secretary reported on activities since the last national conference where the WSM had an active, organising presence, including Jigsaw, WSM educationals/conversations, RAMSI solidarity dinners, Working Class Queeroes bloc at Dublin Pride, the Anarchist Gathering, the Strike4Repeal + Rally4Choice, Dublin Central Housing Action, Derry's first ever Radical Bookfair and the solidarity vigil for Umut Firat in Turkish prison. Activities where WSM members participated included Jobstown Not Guilty demos, Mayday 2017, Lá Dearg, choice demo at rogue ‘pregnancy counselling’ clinic, Water Charges April 8th demo, Bloody Sunday march in Derry, Belfast Anti-Fascist demo, Dublin Women’s march, Apollo House occupation, and Kurdish Solidarity events.

The National Secretary also reported a continued rise in the number of people engaging with the WSM across all our social media rising to 85,799 in 2017. This represents an increase of 10,104 followers (or c. 13%) from 2016. This includes Facebook WSM Page (67, 100); Facebook Solidarity Times (9,549); Twitter (7,488); Youtube (797); Mixcloud (865)

The Treasurer reported that the organisation is in a sound financial position. He acknowledged donations from members, supporters, and ex-members as well as people who donated money for specific events this year, including the Anarchist Gathering 2017.

After contributions from Dublin and Belfast branch secretaries, there followed a discussion on ensuring we engage with new contacts directly and in a timely manner. National Conference acknowledged the great work being done by new WSM members in Belfast and Kilkenny, participating in local pro-choice and refugee/migrant solidarity campaigns.

Perspectives Discussion

Our perspectives discussion covered a wide range of struggles, hopes and fears. In particular, we discussed the seriousness of the looming ecological crisis, the absence of ‘degrowth’ politics, and the prospects for local struggles and anarchist interventions. We discussed past WSM involvement in Shell2Sea as a good combination of the community/local with the activist/national. A further point of discussion was the housing crisis and, more generally, the crisis of affordability within cities, notably Dublin, insofar as wages are not keeping up with a rising cost of living. In the past, this has mobilised ‘right to the city’ campaigns. In general, we discussed need for combining abstract/theoretical propaganda work (the vision) with the need for practical networking/solidarity actions/organising on the ground (the practice).

Motions
National Conference then moved on to discuss and vote on the motions members had submitted. Motions concerning the following position papers were discussed:

  1. Motion: Retire 'Fighting Racism' paper
  2. Motion: New WSM anarchism & elections paper
  3. Motion: Amend WSM Code of Conduct
  4. Motion: Amend 'Work and Workplace Organising'
  5. Motion: Amend 'Towards Women's Freedom' position paper
  6. Motion: Amend 'Abortion Rights' position paper
  7. Motion: New 'Patriarchy' & ‘Sex, Gender, and Sexuality’ position Papers
  8. Motion: 'Delete WSM Practice' Administration Document
  9. Motion: Amend Point of Unity #4
  10. Motion: Amend 'Relations with Other Left Groups in Ireland'
  11. Motion: New 'The Function of Position Papers'
  12. Motion: New 'Platformism and the WSM' position paper
  13. Motion: New 'State and Democracy' position paper

WSM policy is based on the WSM position papers. The updated set of WSM position papers can be accessed on the WSM website at http://www.wsm.ie/content/position-papers-wsm.

Elections and Close

Conference then moved on to elections for all national positions and national committees. No one can hold any of these positions for more than 3 years but in practise positions tend to be rotated more frequently than this. A new Publications Committee was also elected.

Conference closed with a closing circle where members said how they had found the conference. This was overwhelmingly positive. 

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