WSM Points of Unity Explained: 5 - Trade Unions

Date:

'5. A major focus of our activity is our work within the economic organisations of the working class (labour organisations, trade unions, syndicates) where this is a possibility. We therefore reject views that dismiss activity in the unions because as members of the working class it is only natural that we should also be members of these mass organisations. Within them we fight for the democratic structures typical of anarcho-syndicalist unions like the 1930's CNT. However, the unions no matter how revolutionary cannot replace the need for anarchist political organisation(s).'

Throughout history the trade union movement has been a vitally important mass movement. In the face of bitter hardship and repression - even state murder - the downtrodden have banded together and demanded more, driving society forwards in the process. For instance, in Ireland we can thank the union movement for the end of child labour and for the 'weekend'. However, unions are not a relic for museums. Recent victories for better conditions and pay are a practical proof of that, not to mention participation of some fairly large unions in wider grassroots political campaigns. In spite of the relative decline of trade unions in the past neoliberal decades, their role today is still greatly important, as long as there are zero-hour contracts, wage cuts, pay freezes, lay-offs, unpaid overtime, long days, workplace bullying, and capitalism itself.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 7 - Oppression and Intersectionality

Date:

'7. We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] 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.'

While acknowledging the huge harm caused by capitalism and the state, our concerns do not end there. The Workers Solidarity Movement are anarchists because we oppose all forms of exploitation and oppression. All of the degradation, marginalisation, and violence, in this society. And so we recognise that patriarchy, racism, queerphobia, ableism, religious domination and sectarianism, xenophobia, and every way that joy is sucked out of our lives, are oppressive social systems in their own right which must be overthrown. While capitalism and the state are instrumental in spreading these oppressions, and while these oppressions are instrumental in sustaining capitalism and the state, they have their own independent existence and reasons to be wiped out.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 6 - (Other) Mass Movements

Date:

'6. 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.'

While the workplace is of course a critical site of political activity, there is a much broader terrain on which to strive for our liberty. Ultimately, we want a world where people are free and content. So, everywhere that we are ripped off, suppressed, attacked, sidelined, or degraded, is a place for us to fight back and band together with others. In a social order which thrives on us keeping our heads down and being passive, resistance in its many forms is to be encouraged and supported. Whether or not that resistance is as radical or as 'pure' as we'd like we should engage, of course with our anarchist heads screwed on. While being a purist sect on the sidelines can feel satisfying to the initiated, ultimately it is a redundant way to make change.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 4 - Platformism (2)

Date:

'4. The core ideas of this tradition that we identify with are the need for anarchist political organisations that seek to develop:

  1. Theoretical Unity
  2. Tactical Unity       
  3. Collective Action and Discipline       
  4. Federalism’

Federalism is an organisational structure based on “the free agreement of individuals and organisations to work collectively towards a common objective”. It is finding the best balance between independence and coherence. All decisions are made by those affected by them as opposed to centralism, where decisions are made by a central committee for those affected by them. This means, for example, that while all WSM branches are united under a common national policy, they are also autonomous, i.e they can make their own local decisions. It also means that we have no leaders or officials with higher authority than others. Rather, we have 'officers' who are delegated temporary authority to perform certain tasks as mandated by the membership (for instance, to be treasurer).

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 3 - Platformism (1)

Date:

'3. We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the "platformist", anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism. We broadly identify with the theoretical base of this tradition and the organisational practice it argues for, but not necessarily everything else it has done or said, so it is a starting point for our politics and not an end point.’

The WSM practices a form of anarchism which strives to be highly organised and coherent.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 2 - Power Structures

Date:

'2. 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.'

The WSM is working towards a free, equal, democratic society. We believe the only way to achieve this is by people taking their destinies into their own hands, forming grassroots mass movements, and creating new truly democratic institutions.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 1 - Class Struggle and Leadership of Ideas

Date:

'1. Anarchism will be created by 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 make anarchist ideas the leading ideas or, as it is sometimes expressed, to become a ''leadership of ideas''.’

We're usually told that class society is a thing of the past. After all, aren't we all middle class now? But this is false, and there still very much exists a severe division between people based on property and work, a hierarchy which is a basic fact of the economic system known as capitalism.

Ireland's Richest 300 Doubled Wealth in the Crisis (300 of Us on €30k Would Take 11,000 Years to Make the Same)

Date:

Welcome to the land of saints and hoarders. The richest 300 people in Ireland have doubled their wealth from €50Bn to €100Bn in the last 7 years. That means the number of people who’d fit in a large pub have enough money to have paid the original bank bailout of €64Bn outright (and still be so rich they wouldn’t have to work a day).

 

March this Saturday - The water charges were not defeated at any Oireachtas committee

Date:

This Saturday at 2pm, Right2Water has called a national anti-water charges protest through Dublin city starting at Connolly and Heuston Station.  Many are seeing this as the final shot of the long war against the water charges, they have been suspended for the last year because a mass boycott made them impossible to collect.  

That boycott was part of a massive decentralised campaign that also saw hundreds of direct actions as communites around the country blocked water meter installations, leading to hundreds of arrests and dozens of ongoing prosecutions.  And Saturday is just one of many huge mobilisations that have brought as many as 80,000 onto the streets on multiple occasions.

March on April 8th to Abolish water charges - WSM newsletter for the day - Many Battles Won, With the War Yet to Win

Date:

The Workers Solidarity Movement have called an anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc to join the Water Charges march Saturday 8th April in Dublin. This bloc will meet at Connolly Station at 2pm . Look out for the red and black flags.   We will be handing out several hundred copies of this 4-page leaflet produced by the WSM, which includes content on the water charges, housing, and the pro-choice struggle, and are looking for folks to help us distribute these on the day. [PDF to download]


 

Many Battles Won, With the War Yet to Win

We’ve come a long way. Against the forces of the State and global finance the anti-water charges movement has held the line, and through years of direct action, community organising and mass mobilisations we’ve pushed the government to the point of defeat on water charges. 

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter