Irish Anarchist Review

An archive of the Irish Anarchist Review, a magazine published by the Workers Solidarity Movement from 2010-2015. The Irish Anarchist Review followed on from an earlier publication, Red and Black Revolution.

Submitted by R Totale on January 16, 2022

R Totale

2 months 1 week ago

Just to keep things nice and complicated, it turns out that the PDFs of issues 5 and 6 are only hosted on scribd, and so can only be downloaded if you have a scribd account. Does anyone have one? Either that, or someone could ask Andrew or another ex-WSMer if they have the missing PDFs?

Fozzie

2 months 1 week ago

Hey R Totale - if you google "scribd downloader" there are a bunch of sites that will do that for you by sticking the url in a box. I can't remember which one I've used before but it was pretty straightforward.

Also works for yumpu and the other ones that are like that which I forget the names of.

R Totale

2 months 1 week ago

Thanks!

R Totale

2 months 1 week ago

(Although I would add that given I started doing this in January and it's taken me up until now to add issue 4, I hope no-one's waiting too eagerly for me to add issue 5.)

R Totale wrote: Just to keep things nice and complicated, it turns out that the PDFs of issues 5 and 6 are only hosted on scribd, and so can only be downloaded if you have a scribd account. Does anyone have one? Either that, or someone could ask Andrew or another ex-WSMer if they have the missing PDFs?

I might have the original PDF of issue 6 somewhere. I’ll have a look tomorrow

R Totale

1 month 2 weeks ago

Thanks! We did manage to find a way of downloading from scribd, I'm just trying to find the time/motivation to get around to adding them.

R Totale wrote: Thanks! We did manage to find a way of downloading from scribd, I'm just trying to find the time/motivation to get around to adding them.

Great to see them find a home anyway.

Irish Anarchist Review Issue 01 - Summer 2010

Issue 1 of Irish Anarchist Review magazine.

Submitted by R Totale on January 16, 2022

Welcome to the first issue of The Irish Anarchist Review, the new political magazine from the Workers Solidarity Movement. This magazine will explore ideas and practical struggles that can teach us about building a revolutionary movement today. We decided to cease printing Red & Black Revolution, and start this project, aimed at provoking debate and discussion among anarchists and the left. For this purpose, we will be pursuing a non-sectarian approach, taking ideas from various left currents, mainstream discourse, and reflections on experiences of life and struggle. We will take, print, and discuss, anything that we find useful for our needs. We hope that readers will have a similar attitude, and will use the magazine to discuss, debate and develop ideas. We will also welcome submissions and responses to articles.

This issue is shaped by the current financial crisis, and more particularly, by the reactions of the Irish political and capitalist classes, as they pursue an aggressive strategy of cutbacks. We have seen the implosion of the building sector, the foundering of the banks upon corruption and incompetence and the failure of our foreign investment based economic model. Moreover, we have seen that the government response has been to protect the banks and builders by transferring wealth from social services, public pay and increased taxation straight into bank bailouts and NAMAland. This needs to be identified for what it is: an act of outright class warfare.

We are faced with a situation where a strong and organised response to government attacks is absolutely necessary, but is constrained by the prevailing ideology and practice of partnership. The most pressing concern for Irish radicals today is to build a labour movement that rejects the corporatist mentality and service-delivery model of ICTU and poses instead workers self-organisation as the basis for struggle. With this in mind, this and future issues will look for inspiration in revitalising class-based politics.

The weakening of Irish organised labour through the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period is examined by James R’s article, and he poses some requirements for the emergence of a class movement that can deal with the threats of the present while bearing a vision of a better future. Andrew Flood looks at some of the positive elements of recent struggles, emphasising the possibilities for self-organisation and direct action made visible in the recent struggles.

We feature two articles that try to learn from the experiences of radicals internationally. Ronan McAoidh reviews the work of Swedish group, Kämpa Tillsammans!, which argues that affinity between workers, not just union organisation, is the basis of successful struggles. An interview with Alex Foti explores organising tactics that try to deal with the growing trend of flexible working conditions.

The reviews also tie into this theme, assessing the development of an American working-class counter-culture and, by looking at workplace blogging, discussing some ways in which this can be done today.

Overall, this issue attempts to learn from the current weakness of the Irish working class, and explores both the origins of this weakness and some routes towards a combative class movement, capable of disrupting the ruling class offensive on living and working conditions and posing an altogether different vision of society, and, most importantly, a way of getting there.

WORDS : DARA MCAOIDH

Articles

Reflections on the 24th November
On the 24th of November something extraordinary happened. Some 250,000 workers acted together in a day-long strike against the public sector wage cuts planned by the government. The vast majority of these workers had never gone on strike before, yet across almost all workplaces the strike involved 90% or more of those working.

Capitalist crisis and union resistance in Ireland
Late 2008 saw the Irish capitalist class wage a major ideological struggle against the Irish working class. They called for workers to bear the brunt of the capitalist crisis. Print media, TV and radio carried segment after segment where well-paid commentators argued that workers, in particular public sector workers, were earning too much, had overly generous pensions and that the public had unrealistic expectations of public services.

The usefulness of Faceless Resistance
Although Faceless Resistance as a concept has been discussed among radical circles in Sweden for several years, it has only recently begun to be noticed in the English speaking world, primarily due to delays in texts being translated. In this article I will look primarily at the work of Kämpa Tillsammans, who developed the core ideas of Faceless Resistance, but I will also situate these ideas in their historical and social context and introduce other tendencies that have been influenced by and adapted some of the theory.

Mayday had become like a funeral - interview with Alex Foti
In the middle years of this decade, Alex Foti became known across activist circles for involvement in the Euromayday Parades. In a special themed issue of Green Pepper, Foti and the Chain Workers Collective sketched a very attractive understanding of the work discipline of contemporary capitalism. In their understanding, society had found itself in a situation of profound disjuncture with our working pasts - life today was defined by contingent employment rather than the traditional job for life.

The unions after the celtic tiger
A rather strange figure is moving to centre stage in Irish politics, that of the trade unions - absent from mass struggles until recently and weakened over the decades of social partnership, they are now the only possible source of a movement that can confront attemps to transfer the cost of the recession to working people. This statement does not come with out some qualms.

Checkout: Life On The Tills
“Anna Sam”, as you might guess, is a pseud- onym, the handle of a French blogger who decided to put her years behind the till to good use on a website describing the day-to- day experience of supermarket workers in all its tedious glory. In a way it’s refreshing to discover that the psychology of the checkout girl / boy appears to be the same wherever you go - my own days at Centra and the like are well imprinted on the brain, but they could have been an atypical reflection of my general misanthropy, grumpiness and ill will towards the rest of the species.

Review: The IWW and The Making of a Revolutionary Working Class Counter culture
The book can be read in a number of ways; on one hand it rescues the IWW from Stalinist critics that fashionably flounced after Russian Bolshevism; it gives insight to the politics and personalities of the union itself and rescues Hill the man. But as suggested by the subtitle, it’s Rosemont’s treatment of how the IWW built a counter hegemonic working class culture that is the most interesting facet of this brick thick work.

Extras

We couldn't fit all the articles written for IAR1 into the printed version. Here are additional articles that were just published online:

Shifu and the possibilities for Chinese Anarchism

In July 1914, the Shanghai Association of Anarchist Communist Comrades published its statement of principles, concluding with the resolution that, "the implementation of anarchist communism depends on the strength of our party. If we wish to increase our party's strength, uniting as a whole body and advancing together is our most important task today. Wherever they are, all our comrades should unite with those who share the same purposes and establish groups in free association.” The key member of this group was a Chinese anarchist known as Shifu who was to die a mere nine months later. Although the group carried on after his death, the core concept of this paragraph was never to be implemented.

Shifu and the possibilities for Chinese Anarchism

An article about the life and political development of Chinese anarchist Liu Shifu and his impact on the early Chinese labour movement.

Submitted by Reddebrek on September 21, 2016

In July 1914, the Shanghai Association of Anarchist Communist Comrades published its statement of principles, concluding with the resolution that, "the implementation of anarchist communism depends on the strength of our party. If we wish to increase our party's strength, uniting as a whole body and advancing together is our most important task today. Wherever they are, all our comrades should unite with those who share the same purposes and establish groups in free association.” The key member of this group was a Chinese anarchist known as Shifu who was to die a mere nine months later. Although the group carried on after his death, the core concept of this paragraph was never to be implemented.

Edward S. Kreb's 'Shifu, Soul of Chinese Anarchism' is a study of the life and politics of Liu Shaobin, the man who would later take the name Shifu. Like many of the first generations of Chinese republican revolutionaries, he was born into an elite family and began his political engagement as a radical nationalist involved in assassination politics. Following a premature explosion in Hong Kong, he was jailed in 1907, and began reading 'New Century', a journal produced by a group of Chinese anarchists in exile in Paris.

His conversion to anarchism was not immediate and on his release from prison in 1910 he returned to nationalist assassination attempts. In October 1911, his group played a key part in sparking the republican revolution when they assassinated General Fengshan with an enormous bomb on the streets of Guangzhou and within a couple of weeks Liu was riding into the city at the head of an army of 10,000 revolutionaries.

The republican revolution ended the Manchu dynasty's centuries of rule, but, like many revolutionaries, Liu rapidly became disillusioned with the regime that followed. As happened in the preceding generation to the European left republicans, this led him and others to break with republicanism and become anarchists. Assuming the name Shifu, Liu made the break with a group of comrades at a retreat at West Lake in Hangzhou, forming the 'Conscience Society.’

This organisation oriented itself towards engagement with the Socialist and Chinese Socialist Party, both mass organisations whose programs already contained many anarchist concepts, and this can be seen in the Conscience Society's program, which outlined rules that would make better revolutionaries, including proscriptions on everything from eating meat to joining a political party. This concern flowed from the experience of the corruption of the revolutionaries that made up the new regime but also because the anarchists over the past decade had put forward a critique of traditional elite Chinese culture that would culminate a few years later in the New Culture Movement. Shifu’s initial activity was taken up with polemics over the nature of socialism with the leaders of the Socialist parties, and later, with a Buddhist Monk called Taxiu, he attempted to win over one of the largest monasteries to anarchism, reform movements in Buddhism in the period suggested the possibility of winning over large numbers and resources to the anarchist movement. Taxiu was a significant figure because he was one of the few revolutionaries from that period who was from a proletarian background, most were the sons and daughters of the elite.

In the summer of 1912, Shifu organised the Cock Crow Society in the province of Guanghzou and began a phase of more widely-directed propagandism and education, publishing anthologies of anarchist writings in print runs of 5000, as well as teaching Esperanto . At that time, Guanghzou had a very radical republican government which had banned foot binding and its main figure, Chen Jiongming, was very influenced by anarchist ideas. The aftermath of the republican revolution and the huge size of China meant that for a period local government could carry out such radical experiments before the imposition of the central state and the warlord period that followed brought an end to this period. Although Jionming forbade Shifu from his distribution of anarchist anti-militarist texts among the soldiers, but his tolerance allowed the group some space to develop until he was replaced in 1913 by Long Jiguang, the personal appointee of republican ruler Yuan Shikai.

The politics of the group rapidly developed in this period and the first 'Cock Crow Record', published late in the summer of 1913, listed communism, labour unionism, opposition to militarism, religion and the family, vegetarianism, language unity and world community as its goals.(1) Parts of China were then under foreign occupation, and Shifu argued for a worldwide people's revolution to end western imperialism, insisting that the national revolution against imperialism should not have priority.

Following the arrival of Long, Shifu’s group fled to Shanghai in February 1914, where they established the Association of Anarchist Communist Comrades. Here they were visited by the US anarchist Alexander Berkman and the Japanese anarchist Yamaga Taiji. In Shanghai, the Association published ‘The Voice of the People’ setting out the goals and methods of the Anarchist-Communist Party(2), a complete anarchist communist program for a new society.

In the pages of ‘Voice of the People’ Shifu advocated the methods necessary to reach that society. He emphasised the production of propaganda to spread an understanding of anarchism alongside anarchist involvement in acts of ‘resistance’, such as strikes, and in ‘disturbances’ like riots and insurrection. These methods would build momentum towards the "the great revolution of the people", leading in turn to the "great world revolution." Shifu suggested that this revolution would start in a European county, naming Russia as one possibility, predicting that then, "Labour unions will strike, armies will mutiny, and the European governments will fall one after the other; our people in North and South America and in Asia will also rise in rapid succession." (3)

By October 1914, 'Voice of the People' was reporting on strikes in Shanghai, and although Shifu became sick and died early in the following year, his comrades carried on the struggle, and 'Voice' reported on the Shanghai foundry and textile strikes of 1916. In early 1917, members took jobs in the tobacco and shipping industries, as both an entry into the labour movement and from economic necessity.(4) Liang Bingxian went on to found the journal Labour in 1918 which declared "It should be workers themselves who organized, from the bottom upward and from locally outward. There should be no leaders, only those who take care of business; the principle of equality should be upheld. Labour organization should be for the ultimate purpose of social revolution, not to achieve political power."

Shifu was seen as one of the key influences on the New Culture Movement that erupted in the aftermath of World War One, and the ideas that he and other Chinese anarchists had advocated became the Movement's core program. Even Mao acknowledged him by name in 1919. However the aim of 1914, of uniting all the anarchists who shared a common purpose never materialized. The number of Chinese anarchists grew massively but they remained divided into tiny and more or less informal groups that were incapable of combating the rapid rise of the Communist Party from 1923 on which meant that many ended up choosing between the two main organized groups when the bloody split happened between them in 1927, the nationalist KMT and the Leninist CCP.

WORDS: Andrew Flood

Further reading
A much longer article on the Chinese Revolution by the same author appeared the North Eastern Anarchist 14. A version of that article can be read online at http://anarchism.pageabode.com/andrewnflood/anarchist-history-chinese-re...

[1] p118, Shifu: Soul of Chinese Anarchism, Edward S. Krebs, Rowman & Littlefield, 1998
[2] Voice of the people 19, p131, Shifu: Soul of Chinese Anarchism, Edward S. Krebs, Rowman & Littlefield, 1998
[3] p131, Shifu: Soul of Chinese Anarchism
[4]p154, Shifu: Soul of Chinese Anarchism

This article is reproduced from Anarchist Writers

The Usefulness of Faceless Resistance

An article that looks primarily at the work of Kämpa Tillsammans, who developed the core ideas of Faceless Resistance, and also situates these ideas in their historical and social context and introduces other tendencies that have been influenced by and adapted some of the theory.

Submitted by R Totale on January 16, 2022

Although Faceless Resistance as a concept has been discussed among radical circles in Sweden for several years, it has only recently begun to be noticed in the English speaking world, primarily due to delays in texts being translated. In this article I will look primarily at the work of Kämpa Tillsammans, who developed the core ideas of Faceless Resistance, but I will also situate these ideas in their historical and social context and introduce other tendencies that have been influenced by and adapted some of the theory.

GENISIS - SWEDEN AFTER ANTI-GLOBALISATION
As with many other countries around the turn of the century, the radical movement in Sweden was massively re-invigorated by the anti-globalisation movement. The highpoint of this movement in Sweden was the protests during the EU summit in Gothenburg in 2001, which culminated in several protesters being shot and a convergence centre being brutally raided. Similar to developments in Ireland, America and England, the momentum and energy aroused by the anti-globalisation movement turned to a period of self questioning and internal discussion as activists began to look for the next step. In Sweden, thanks perhaps to an already existing tradition of syndicalism going back almost a hundred years, this next step took the form of a focus on workplace- based confrontation with capitalism.

At this stage, study groups based in cities around Sweden had already begun to engage with the alternative Marxist tradition, from Italian operaismo trends of the 60s and 70s, to the autonomist Marxism of Harry Cleaver, and back to intensive reading of Marx’s original works. These study groups sometimes formed the nuclei of future movement initiatives; in Stockholm for example, fare-dodging initiative Planka.nu, the Women’s Political Forum, the Rohnin publishing house, strike support group ‘Stockholm United Commuters’ and web-magazine ‘The Daily Conflict’ all developed out of a study group called Stockholm Autonomist Marxists. At the same time a tendency within SAC (the syndicalist union) called Folkmakt (People’s Power) was engaging with different theoretical tendencies and developing a critique of the bureaucracy within SAC as well as the activism of the anti-globalisation movement.

KAMPA TILLSAMMANS & THE OTHER WORKERS MOVEMENT
One group that developed in this fertile environment was a collective with members from Malmö and Gothenburg that became known as ‘Kämpa Tillsammans!’ (Struggle Together!). They started from the position that while the left wing typically sees class struggle on a formal level, consisting of union conflicts, strikes, pickets and negotiations, they ignore the daily experience of work and the struggle against it.

This position was informed both by theoretical perspectives and practical experi- ence in the workplace. After beginning their first permanent jobs in a factory, members joined the union and tried to work within it to improve conditions. However they found the union organisers completely uninterested in their grievances and unwilling to take the conflicts further. The organisers were in fact surprised that these youngsters working temporary contracts were even members at all! Gradually, the young workers decided that the real action was not happening within union structures, but within the informal organisation of workers.

The group’s practical frustration with union-based organisation developed their engagement with Marxist tradition, particularly that which stressed the importance of our daily experience of work for theory. The Italian operaist tradition argues that the composition of the working class is in flux and thus developed the practice of ‘workers’ inquiries’ to constantly renew the vitality and relevance of revolutionary theory. The orientation of such inquiries resonated with Kämpa Tillsammans’ own experiences and they concluded that the most fertile space for investigation, and intervention, lay in what the Indian group Kamunist Kranti called “constant innumerable, insidious, unpredictable activities by small groups of workers” . Such ‘unpredictable activities’ defied acceptance of a passive role in either the production process or in pursuing grievances, and so was constantly hampered by the workers’ own representatives as well as their bosses.

CLASS COMPOSITION
“No methods of struggle or organizational models can correspond to the class composition forever. Regardless, a large part of the left is not able to renew politics when society changes. They stick to their old truths and try desperately to represent an out-of-date understanding of the working class. The class struggle has inevitably left the institutionalized left behind and made old political truths obsolete. This is an important explanation to why communist parties, unions, and other leftist organizations that used to have considerable political relevance in the past, are totally out of touch today.” - Kämpa Tillsammans! No peace in the Class War!

Central to the practice of Kampa Tillsammans is the understanding that radical theory must be closely tied to the actual reality of class composition. As the organisation of the production process changes, in response to diverse factors, from market conditions and new technologies to the development of class conflict, the working class also changes, and this will be embodied in its forms of organisation and methods of struggle.

For example, the early workers’ movement in Central and Western Europe was based upon an organisation of work in which production was carried out primarily by skilled workers, concentrated in factories. These workers organised in craft unions and demanded control of production. Operaist academics argued that both this form of struggle and its goal were related to the specific conditions of work, and not to any objective theoretical ‘correctness’. They pointed out that the resulting struggles forced capitalism to alter this organisation of work, and with the implementation of both new technologies and management techniques (conveyor belt-assembly and Taylorism, respectively), re-arranged the production process, de-skilling work, lessening the skill basis of workers’ power, and thus undermining the hitherto dominant organisational form, the craft union. From this re-organisation older forms of struggle became irrelevant, and new forms developed to suit the changed context.

This analysis has a direct consequence for revolutionaries; since class consciousness and methods of struggle are constantly shifting, revolutionaries cannot simply accept the theories of past generations. We have a duty to investigate this changing composition in order to circulate the lessons from it, and derive theory to match the reality. Thus the centrality of the workers’ inquiry; in this process, militants constantly engage with the experiences of class struggle to challenge their own preconceptions and create a constantly evolving revolutionary theory.

WORKERS’ INQUIRIES OR STORIES?
While traditional workers’ inquiries tend to be quite formal, often involving questionnaires and formal interviews, the members of Kämpa Tillsammans chose instead to document their own (often humorous) work experiences, draw lessons from them and publish them on the internet. They deliberately chose the medium of story-telling because they wanted workers to engage with the stories in a way that is not possible with formal surveys. Kim Muller of Kämpa Tillsammans explains that they wanted to change the popular idea of what it was to be a worker; workers do not communicate with each other via “written pamphlets or leaflets but by talking and storytelling”, thus stories provide a far better way to develop a new workers’ discourse than dry analysis and documentation.

This practice has since become popular in the Swedish workers movement, with many militants reporting on their workplaces online on sites such as forenadevardare.se (for health workers) or Arbetsförnedringen (for job seekers). The practice of workplace blogging can easily spread work experiences, showing the political dimensions in daily conflicts as well as giving clues about the changing composition of the working class.

One such blog, ‘Postverket’ is written by Postal Service workers. They see it as a way of developing the discussions that start in the canteen or on the shopfloor and circulating them among other workers in different sections and in other parts of the country. In turn, the discussions on the blog can serve as the basis for further discussion and action within the workplace.

The writers have found that, once introduced to the blog, their co-workers start to read it and discuss it with other workmates, helping to develop their ideas and sharpen their criticism of the bosses and the work.

Thus for the Swedish movement, workplace blogging has a number of different functions. On the one hand, by publishing online, workers can transcend their individual workplace to connect their experiences and ideas with those of other workers on the other side of the country. It allows for the deepening of political arguments and critique. On the other hand, workplace blogs can create a new discourse of work, and help to form the basis of a new working class identity. For many people, the mention of ‘working class’ summons up a dozen grey clichés, none of which are relevant to their experiences. Stories and experiences from modern workplaces can help to popularise a more relevant conception of work and class, that can in turn help to propel working class mobilisations.

STRUGGLE TOGETHER
These struggles, or practices, that struck management directly and made our lives immediately easier we came to call “faceless resistance” for lack of a better name. This was during a time when the left, our political environment, to a large degree saw that it was “calm” or “peace” at the workplaces, in stark contrast to our understanding of our situations at the workplaces. I still argue that an everyday class war is occurring and no peace is possible as long as capitalism exists.

SELF ACTIVITY AND STRATEGY
What Kämpa Tillsammans found in their investigations led them to develop the term Faceless Resistance. This referred to all of the small acts of workplace resistance that go unnoticed by the traditional left, but are vital to their understand- ing of class struggle. This list is nearly endless, but can include things things such as taking extra toilet breaks, stealing cash or other things from the workplace, clocking out early or calling the boss an asshole behind his back. While these examples may seem trivial, they are important since they represent the struggle between our aspirations for a decent human life, and the constant pressure to reduce our lives to simply another input into the production process. What’s more, struggling in this way can supply their reward immediately, as, for instance, as instead of going through a protracted union negotiation for less work hours, by skipping out early one achieves this goal directly and becomes conscious of one’s own power in so doing.

Of course, this is not to imply that class struggle does, or should, consist solely in these small isolated acts of defiance; but that these small practices build collectivity between workers that can then be the basis of larger struggles. This ‘worker’s collective’ has much in common with the ‘affinity group’ style of organising that members of Kämpa Tillsammans had learnt from the anti-globalisation movement. They suggest that the collective can be built up in 3 stages: 1) work together, 2) have fun together, 3) struggle together!

In the workplace we often naturally develop a sense of solidarity, as we co-operate to solve problems and pass the time. However, there are nearly always barriers between workers that limit the development of collective action such as hierarchies based on race, sex, work roles and seniority. Management frequently exploit these divisions by, for example, assigning different jobs to men than to women, or giving foreigners the worst jobs. It is necessary to break down these hierarchies in order to develop the solidarity between workers, and open the door to collective action.
The affinity between workers can be developed by playing around and having fun, inside or outside the workplace. While many companies try to use evenings out and ‘fun events’ for building team spirit and good relations between management and employees, Kämpa Tillsammans argue that having fun together away from the bosses is vital for building a strong workers’ collective. Of course, the point of that these actions is not to be best friends with all your co-workers; this is a ‘politics of small steps’, by starting with these small actions one can build the solidarity and trust between workers that will allow progressively bigger struggles to be taken on.

STRUGGLE IN, WITH OR AGAINST THE UNIONS?
One of the unusual features of the Swedish labour market is its high level of union organisation (80% of workers in 2005) in comparison to England or Ireland. This of course raises the question of how the ideas of Faceless Resistance relate to union organisation; do they oppose it, complement it or ignore it? The presence in Sweden of the SAC, a large syndicalist union, throws this question into sharper relief. Kämpa Tillsammans tend to remain ambiguous on the question of union organisation, stating that they are neither for or against union organisation; unions are a fact of life for workers in capital, and so long as people have to sell their labour, unions will be there to handle the deal.

For Kämpa Tillsammans focusing on the question of union organisation is a mistake, the real power in a conflict comes from workplace militancy, regardless of whether this is expressed through a union or not, arguing that ”regardless of the view on the role of the trade unions, every successful struggle at workplaces came from the solidarity between workmates; a strong workers’ collective.” Thus the role of revolutionaries should be to build the workers’ collective, rather than building the union organisation. The union framework for disputes can be used by the workers when it is appropriate and discarded when it is not, but the foundation for struggle must always be the solidarity and organisation of the workers.

Despite this ambivalent attitude towards union struggle, the ideas of Faceless Resistance have proven adaptable to a union context both within SAC and the LO (the main union confederation). Kämpa Tillsammans’ ideas helped to influence the recent re-organisation of SAC, which shifted the union’s orientation away from a service model of unionism, based on the management of disputes, and towards a more combatative position, giving workers more power over their own conflicts and increasing the role of the local sections. This went hand in hand with an opposition to ‘organisational chauvinism’, i.e. a recognition that helping to win conflicts rather than members should be the primary activity of the union.

Meanwhile a network of workplace militants organised within the LO called Folkrörelselinje have incorporated ideas of Faceless Resistance into their own trade union practice, which works within the union to build strong workplace collectives. For them, Faceless Resistance can be another tool in the organisers handbook, that can be pulled out to suit certain contexts where other tools might not be appropriate.

CONCLUSION
The concept of Faceless Resistance is a very useful one for revolutionaries today. The financial crisis and the cut-backs and redundancies it has entailed has opened up again the possibility of a widespread workplace militancy that had for so long seemed dead, and many young militants now have the opportunity to engage in meaningful organising
in their workplaces. Kämpa Tillsammans’ lessons about building workplace collectives as the basis for struggle seem especially relevant when the failure of the union organised fightback has exposed the weakness of their workplace organisation. A workplace strategy that focuses on organising within the union is not obviously useful in situations where there is no union in a workplace, or where the union exists in name only. This is not to say that revolutionaries should refuse to work within unions, but that this decision should always be a pragmatic one, made on the basis of the specific conditions within the workplace and the tactics most likely to develop militancy among the workers.
The practice of workplace stories and blogging is also very relevant. In a society where discussions based around a traditional class identity have come to seem passé and out of date, the formulation of a new discourse of class is vital. This cannot be predicated on the old bases of class identity, but instead on the daily experiences of work and the often invisible struggles against it. Workplace stories can provide a way for revolutionaries to communicate directly with workers, to construct a new class identity, and help build the movement that will abolish the wage system.

WORDS: RONAN McAOIDH

Links to readings:

A Thematic History of the Swedish Radical Movement Since 2001
First English translation of Folkrörelselinje!
Hamburgers vs value - Kämpa Tillsammans

Irish Anarchist Review Issue 02 - Autumn 2010

Issue 2 of Irish Anarchist Review magazine.

Submitted by R Totale on January 16, 2022

The Workers Solidarity Movement is very pleased to announce the second issue of The Irish Anarchist Review. This magazine is dedicated to understanding the contemporary political, economic and social situation that confronts us, and finding ways to advance alternatives.

Our first issue was released in the aftermath of major strikes across the public sector. Despite decades of partnership, a deflated union movement and an intense barrage of media bile, Irish workers showed their willingness to take to picket lines to fight the Government.

Now, however, we can see that the union leadership were not willing to fight - they quickly demobilised strike action to return to the bargaining table, squeezing out a disgraceful deal in Croke Park negotiations. Now, without opposition, the Government calmly talks of four-years of ‘hair-shirt’ budgets to restore the national finances.

As we noted in the previous issue, the weakness of the Left had much to do with the failure of opposition. It is clear that the Left will need to be much clearer in its strategy if it is to be able to achieve any positions of strength in future. It is in this spirit that we welcome a guest contribution from Alan Davis, arguing for a concerted and serious approach to union and workplace organising. We recognise the continued need for non-sectarian debate among the Left and are open to more contributions.

The surrender of the unions has left the dominant logic of ‘sharing the pain’ unchallenged. Gregor Kerr’s discussion of the housing crisis shows that even in ‘the good old days’ of the Celtic Tiger, the housing bubble was at its heart a scam, a gamble that enriched the few at the expense of the many.

As Ireland is cast to the mercy of international bond investors and other cavaliers of credit, Paul Bowman assesses the origins of the money market, and its role in contemporary capitalism. He argues against any comfortable return to soft-Keynesian dogma and stresses that the global system is a class-system, it cannot be understood, nor confronted without this analysis.

Our reviews take a more hopeful tone, looking at the continuing usefulness of the historical tradition of anarchism and the increasing evidence for its viability. Both of these will be useful as we seem to face a crisis of ideas and hope in parallel to our economic woes.

While we are confronted with an historic crisis and uncertainty about our future, we would do well to remember that another world is possible, but it will not come of its own accord. We need to understand the present, we need to understand the futures open to us, and we must find the way to the one we want.

Irish Anarchist Review Issue 03 - Summer 2011

Issue 3 of Irish Anarchist Review magazine.

Submitted by R Totale on January 16, 2022

Welcome to Issue 3 of The Irish Anarchist Review, produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement. This magazine aims to provide a forum for the exploration and discussion of theories, thoughts and ideas about where we are and where we would like to be in terms of political struggles today.

The task of building a revolutionary movement based on principles of freedom and democracy was never going to be an easy one. As we as a society have faced into probably the greatest ever financial crisis, that challenge appears in many ways to be even bigger. The singular lack of any real fightback by the Irish working class as international capital in the guise of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund systematically dismantles our social services and slashes our living conditions could well prove dispiriting and demoralising.

But demoralisation or discouragement cannot be options for revolutionaries. What we have to do is to continue to look for sparks of fightback and to continue to try to develop ideas and theories which might give people hope.

In this context, Dermot Sreenan’s article ‘Imagining The Future’ is an attempt to look into a post-revolutionary future and imagine what such a society might look like. It is hoped that this will be the first in a series of articles that will try to sketch out the possibilities in terms of a new world where people’s needs would be placed before the rights of financiers to continue to stockpile wealth.

It is in the context of seeking out hope for the future that Kevin Doyle analyses what has happened in the U.S. since the election of Barrack Obama. He looks at the reality behind the ‘Yes We Can’ slogan and the supposed ‘grassroots mobilisation’ that his election campaign involved and details the litany of broken promises left in its wake.

In an article re-produced from anarkismo.net, José Antonio Gutiérrez D. looks at the fight for democracy that has broken out across the Arab world and asks how these struggles can be “more than a sporadic episode” and how they can be developed into real “alternative social projects”.

Looking back as well as forward is important in terms of building for the future. In ‘Project 2013 – Re-building a Trade Union Movement from Below’ Gregor Kerr issues the challenge that “if trade unions didn’t exist we certainly wouldn’t invent SIPTU”. In asking whether trade unions as they exist are fit for purpose, the article invites us to use the forthcoming centenary of the 1913 lockout to reclaim the spirit of Larkin and seek to re-establish a trade union movement which puts its members’ interests to the fore.

The economic crisis in Ireland has presented us with many challenges, none more so than that of making real links with workers in other countries facing similar difficulties. Paul Bowman’s look at the anarchist and opposition movements across the ‘PIGS’ countries is an attempt to draw those common links.

We also publish a number of reviews which we hope will stimulate our readers to further reading, viewing and discussing.

We don’t simply want the ideas in this magazine to be consumed but would hope that they will challenge their readers to develop on them and react to them – whether positively or negatively. In that way the magazine can make a real contribution to the development of new ideas. So read, enjoy and respond. We welcome contributions to future issues of this magazine and hope that at least some of the content of this issue will stimulate thought and debate among you, the readers.

IAR3-web.pdf (8.35 MB)

Irish Anarchist Review Issue 04 - Winter 2011

IAR 4 cover

Issue 4 of Irish Anarchist Review magazine.

Submitted by R Totale on April 18, 2022

Welcome to issue 4 of the Irish Anarchist Review, produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement. This magazine aims to provide a forum for the exploration of theories, thoughts and ideas about political struggle, and where we would like to go and how to get there from the current situation. This magazine also seeks to be a place where people interested in revolutionary politics can read first-hand reports from people involved at the ‘coal-face’ of working-class struggles and perhaps reply to it with an article of their own. We believe there can be no revolution worthy of the name without a genuine sharing of political ideas between people.

The political state of Ireland and the wider world today presents a frustrating yet potentially promising prospect for revolutionaries. A class war is being prosecuted by the world’s richest 1% and public opposition to this in many countries including Ireland has been limited to demonstrations of mass public anger at falling living standards, by crowds of atomized individuals who for the most part remain trapped inside a narrative spoken by politicians and a mass media who are controlled by that same richest 1%. Anger is widespread among our class, but effective action by the 99% seems as remote as it was before the current crises, when the neoliberal illusion was unburst and still had a veneer of plausibility. However, active opposition to austerity and repression in countries like Greece, Chile and Egypt, and the recent protest manifestations like Occupy Wall Street/Dame Street show that resistance is indeed fertile.

Fin Dwyer writes in his essay that a key difference between people in Ireland today and their 19th-century ancestors is popular politicisation and first-person history of mass struggle. The Land War arose from a situation not entirely unlike that faced by 21st-century Irish people, but the response in the former case was shaped by political organisations like the IRB and many individuals with the reach and organising know-how to take that desire for change further than isolated and ineffectual reaction. Fin looks forward to the forthcoming anti-Household Tax campaign as a possible candidate for emulating that successful, if flawed, antecedent of the 1870s and 1880s.

This leads on to Paul Bowman’s article advocating an ‘organiser model’ for developing the emerging campaign against the Household Tax. Paul argues that only a campaign based on increasing the engagement level of members to well beyond the levels usually achieved in most left organising here to date can deliver the scale and personal commitment of membership needed to win the campaign objectives. He outlines a method based on these principles developed by the trade union movement in the United States, where struggles to organise workplaces often have been very hard-fought.

Kostas Avramidis’ piece on current conditions in Greece gives a flavour of what is going on in one of the small number of countries in Europe where there is ongoing mass public action against the austerity agenda. He draws our attention to community campaigns against unwanted capitalist projects, where the traditional political system has been bypassed. Kostas sees this as a symptom of a rising political consciousness among ordinary Greeks, but he poses his own concerns if this will be enough to transform the plight of the Greek working class in a radical way.

Donal O’Driscoll has written an anarchist critique of the Freeman Movement, which has gained some credence (and members) from among the left activist community. Donal stresses that the ‘Freemen’’s dependence on concepts like ‘natural law’ and ‘common law’ are antithetical to anarchism’s rejection of authoritarian laws and the ‘appeal to history’ that is central to Freeman thinking lends itself to social conservatism, support for private property, and political reaction.

Eric Hayes’s article on the Participatory Economics blueprint developed by Michael Albert and others follows on from the theme of ‘imagining the future’ begun in the last issue. Parecon is not universally liked in libertarian left circles, but as a fully-thought-out alternative to the current model of economic activity it is worthy of critical scrutiny by anarchists. Eric gives a description of the main features of the model, and draws the reader’s attention to what he sees are its valuable aspects.

James McBarron’s interview with labour historian and author Conor McCabe discusses the economic interests and agenda of the Irish ruling class since 1922, and how these have changed over that time, while noting that certain interests remain unaltered. They also discuss how the Irish working class has experienced the results of the out-working of these in government policy and in their living standards.

Cathal Larkin offers an anarchist’s perspective on the work of Michel Foucault, a 20th-century French sociologist and political philosopher whose opinions on oppression, crime, punishment, power, agency, and the role of the intellectual in popular struggle has made him particularly difficult to pigeon-hole for ideologues of left and right. Cathal says that while Foucault never called himself an anarchist, much of his political stance commends itself readily to the anarchist tradition.

There are also two book reviews to whet your appetite – Cathal Larkin reviews Anarchism And The City, and Eoghan Ryan does Ramor Ryan’s latest, Zapatista Spring.

We offer these ideas not solely as intellectual nourishment, but hope that these will be of use to you in your political activity and everyday life. We also intend that these writings proke others to respond with ideas of their own, and we look forward to receiving responses from you, our readers out there.

19th Century Resistance & why it ain’t happening today
Irish history has produced such large scale movements of resistance several times over the past 3 centuries but perhaps the prerequisite need of politicisation and political experience were never more obvious than in the 19th century. Twice in that century the ruling class exacted a brutal class war on the poorest in society with very different consequences. One resulted in a catastrophic defeat – The Great Famine, the other a victory of sorts known as The Land War. The difference between these two struggles may explain the lack of organised resistance in Ireland today.

Using the Organiser Model to Beat the Household Tax
The new year brings a new tax from the Irish government and a new fight in the shape of the campaign against this household tax. Although we have beaten such taxes in the past, past victories are no guarantee of future success. In the light of the current low level of organisation and self-confidence amongst our class, we need to re-assess our methods of organisation if we aim to achieve the levels of mass participation needed for a victory. The argument of this article is that the existing traditional models of building local campaigns are not sufficient to the task and that we need to look to a new model of organising - the organiser model.

Interview: Conor McCabe on Sins of the Father
Journalist and writer Conor McCabe’s book ‘Sins Of The Father’ attempts, in the author’s own words, “…to shine a light on the reasons why Ireland has the businesses it has, and why banks and speculators yield so much power and influence.” The book has been acknowledged as a significant contribution to the analysis of the political and economic decisions that have brought the Irish economy to ruin. James McBarron interviewed McCabe for Irish Anarchist Review

Greece & the crisis - Seeds of Hope
There is no doubt that the political history of Greece is full of oppression and political struggle - from dictatorships to political prosecutions, jailings, exiles, shootings, torture, civil war, and countless strikes, demonstrations, occupations and protests that are put down by extreme state violence.

Michel Foucault: An Examination of Power
Michel Foucault is a philosopher whose politics everybody seems to have a differing opinion on. He has been called a disguised Marxist, both a secret and explicit anti-Marxist, a nihilist, a new conservative, a new liberal, a neutral interpretivist, a crypto-normativist, a principled anarchist as well as a dangerous left-wing one, and even a Gaullist technocrat.

IMAGINING the FUTURE: Participatory Economics
In this article of the future society series, I will focus solely upon an anarchist vision of a future economy. This is called participatory economics, often abbreviated parecon, a classless economic system proposed primarily by activist and political theorist Michael Albert and, among others, economist Robin Hahnel.

Resisting the lure of the Freeman movement
The last few years have seen a significant growth in the Freeman of the Land movement. Increasingly, its voice is being heard at environmental and other anarchist based protests and events, from the various UK climate camps to Rossport Solidarity Camp.

Review: Anarchism and the City
The book starts with the growth of Barcelona due to its industrialisation from the 1850s onwards. As the newly formed proletariat were housed in slum-like barris without social services, an “anarchist-inspired workers’ public sphere” began to develop

Review: Zapatista Spring
While Ramor Ryan’s “Clandestines” detailed the myriad adventures of a peripatetic revolutionary, his follow up book, “Zapatista Spring”, concerns itself more with the minutiae, and frequent tedium, of weeks spent in Chiapas demonstrating “practical solidarity”. In his own words, he is “attempting to portray the Zapatistas as they are at the grassroots, beyond the mythologizing of [Subcomandante] Marcos and the public face of the rebellion.”

IAR4-web.pdf (7.97 MB)

Mair Waring

2 months 1 week ago

You saved a PNG rather than a PDF here? Presumably by accident? :)

R Totale

2 months 1 week ago

Thanks for pointing that out, fixed!

Irish Anarchist Review Issue 07 - Spring 2013

IAR 7 cover

Issue 7 of Irish Anarchist Review magazine.

Submitted by R Totale on April 18, 2022

Welcome to issue seven of the Irish Anarchist Review, published by the Workers Solidarity Movement. One hundred years on from the great Dublin lockout, the labour movement in Ireland stands at a crossroads. In this issue, we look at some of the struggles of the past that lead us to this moment in history and consider ways that we can progress the reconstruction of working class organisation. We don’t think there is a magic formula for success; rather we hope this magazine can be a forum for debate for activists who are involved in the struggles that are going on in 2013.

In January, the general president of SIPTU, Jack O’Connor, gave an oration at Glasnevin cemetery to commemorate the sixty sixth anniversary of Jim Larkin’s death. He used the occasion to attack those to the left of him and to try to draw a link between the union bureaucracy’s negotiations with the government on behalf of public sector workers and Larkin’s role in the lockout. “It was precisely because we believed the economy would not grow that we advocated the Croke Park agreement. We were not prepared to lead tens of thousands of workers into an enormous confrontation.” Linking his strategy to that of Jim Larkin and the ITGWU of 1913, he said, “(Larkin) no less than any leader, would not choose to lead vulnerable men and women, and their families into a head-on collision with overwhelmingly superior forces.” If cynicism is your cup of tea, O’Connor’s speech was the whole pot. When Larkin’s union entered a dispute, they organised to win. The current union bureaucracy on the other hand, entered the battlefield waving the white flag. It is clear; we need to rebuild our movement from below.

In ‘Locked Out: Dublin 1913’, Donal Ó Fallúin looks briefly at the politics, ideas and misconceptions around the Dublin Lockout of 1913, and shows that the event is much more complex than it has been allowed to be, by those who would narrow it down to a small event within the nationalist narrative of the period. Putting the lockout in context, he considers the role of syndicalism in the dispute and gives an account of media attacks on the union. He notes that, contrary to the approach of the union leaderships of today, “central to the radical political philosophy of Larkin was the sympathetic strike, something James Connolly would describe as “the recognition of the working class of their essential unity.”

Jumping forward one hundred years, in ‘General Strike: Protest or Process?’ Mark Hoskins looks at the workers’ movement and the left in Ireland today. Taking into consideration the demand for a general strike, he poses the question; what would a general strike mean today, under the leadership of the current union bureaucracy or even under an alternative left leadership? Contrasting the situation elsewhere in Europe with that of Ireland, he notes that “Here, in Ireland, it seems like we’re on a different planet to Greece and Spain. Despite being subjected to five years of austerity budgets, there has been little fight back from the unions… It seems ridiculous to argue for the generalisation of struggle when there is virtually no struggle to generalise.” He argues that we need to popularise the idea of industrial direct action, while building a movement based on the principles of solidarity, democracy and autonomy to be able to engage in a general strike worthy of the name.

When we speak of rebuilding a movement from below, it is important that we do not exclude the voices of the marginalised. In “The Politics of Voices: Notes on Gender, Race & Class”, Aidan Rowe looks at some of the pitfalls we face as class struggle anarchists attempting to build a society without hierarchy. He rejects vulgar Marxist ideas “of the base-superstructure model (that) holds that the base determines the superstructure absolutely and the superstructure is unable to affect the base” and the implication that if we end class exploitation, all other forms of oppression will disappear. At the same time he also rejects “a stultifying and inward-looking liberal-idealist identity politics, concerned with the identification of privilege and the self- regulation of individual oppressive behavior, an approach that excludes organised struggle, which, while amplifying the voices of the marginalised, consigns them to an echo chamber where they can resonate harmlessly” and argues for “bringing together a diversity of experiences and struggles in a spirit of solidarity and mutual recognition”.

Even speaking of the tasks that face us can be mentally challenging. When as activists we devote lots of time and energy to struggle we can get burned out. This can lead to people dropping out of politics altogether, yet it is a problem we rarely face up to. Amber O’Sullivan tackles this issue in “Avoiding Burn out – Self Care and Support in activism” and asks “How can we protest differently? How can we organise ourselves so group cohesion, fun, positivity and self/collective care can be part of our practice?”

With the escalating neo-liberalisation of urban space, the right to the city has re-emerged as a demand among activists. Tom Murray looks back at the struggle of working class people in Dublin in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for decent, affordable housing against the onslaught of property speculation. He describes how “The Dublin Housing Action Committee, combined building voluntary networks of the homeless with holding prominent, public demonstrations aimed at publicising demands for social housing.” Drawing some lessons for the struggle today, he concludes that “If such a politics were to take organisational form, the Dublin Housing Action Committee would approximate a good working model of direct action and co-operative practice that communities, left political parties and non-aligned activists could aspire to.

Over all the forms of oppression and exploitation we face today, debt is cast like a shadow. In “Capital’s Shadow”, Paul Bowman analyses left wing theorisations of debt and concludes that there is a lack in their understanding of “the real nature of money” and poses the need for a “new research project that analyses not only value, but value at risk over time, and through that the role of credit, risk and the world market in the current global regime of accumulation.”

In a wide ranging interview on anarchism in Brazil Paul Bowman talked to Felipe Corrêa (FC) a Brazilian anarchist who is member of Organização Anarquista Socialismo Libertário [Libertarian Socialist Anarchist Organization] (OASL) about anarchist orgainising in Brasil, just how global the crisis really is and the forthcoming World Cup.

RAG is a diverse group of anarcha-feminist women in Dublin. They produce a magazine, The Rag, organise film screenings and fundraisers, host public discussions, conduct workshops and zine distro. 'On the RAG' is a conversation between Clare Butler and Angela Coraccio of the Revolutionary Anarcha- Feminist Group (RAG) and Leticia Ortega of RAG and the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM).

We hope the ideas expressed here can help open up a debate on the kind of movement that is fit for the twenty first century. We would like those who read the magazine to develop on them and perhaps respond with ideas of their own.
Words: Mark Hoskins

Editorial Committee
Paul Bowman, Farah Azadi, Mark Hoskins, Brian Fagan, Dermot Sreenan, Leticia Ortega. Thanks to all members of the WSM for contributions, discussion & feedback.
Big thanks to Brian Fagan for layout.
Cover Artwork: Libcom.org

About the WSM:
The Workers Solidarity Movement was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1984 following discussions by a number of local anarchist groups on the need for a national anarchist organisation. At that time with unemployment and inequality on the rise, there seemed every reason to argue for anarchism and for a revolutionary change in Irish society. This has not changed.
Like most socialists we share a fundamental belief that capitalism is the problem. We believe that as a system it must be ended, that the wealth of society should be commonly owned and that its resources should be used to serve the needs of humanity as a whole and not those of a small greedy minority. But, just as importantly, we see this struggle against capitalism as also being a struggle for freedom. We believe that socialism and freedom must go together, that we cannot have one without the other.

Anarchism has always stood for individual freedom. But it also stands for democracy. We believe in democratising the workplace and in workers taking control of all industry. We believe that this is the only real alternative to capitalism with its ongoing reliance on hierarchy and oppression and its depletion of the world’s resources.

IAR7.pdf (4.54 MB)

Irish Anarchist Review Issue 08 - Autumn 2013

Cover of IAR 8

Issue 8 of Irish Anarchist Review magazine.

Submitted by R Totale on April 18, 2022

This issue of the Irish Anarchist Review, explores the idea of solidarity, beyond the workplace, as it extends to women in struggle, travellers, migrants and others. We look at how, solidarity and mutual aid, should involve, not just supporting the exploited and oppressed, but in assisting them in their struggles, and rather than presenting ourselves as saviors, with the solution to their problems, to listen and help amplify their voices as they work towards their own solutions.

2013 has been a year of commemoration for the labour movement. In official and unofficial celebrations alike, the word solidarity has loomed large. Rather than acting as a beacon of hope, however, it hangs precariously, like a red neon lit sign on a crumbling building. It may feel good as we shout and whoop, “Solidarity!”, it may give us a giddy little thrill, but when the banners are packed away, when we’re back home, with our feet up watching television, do we think about it anymore? Do we concern ourselves with the fact that the solidarity our movement has celebrated has been solidarity for the few. Do we think about those left behind?

The idea of solidarity, for the trade union movement, revolved around the idea that “an injury to one, is an injury to (or the concern of) all”, and the tactic of the sympathetic strike. This notion of solidarity however, while helping to lift the standard of living of a small Irish industrial working class, never extended beyond the workplace. The idea that unions could not be political and could only fight on economic issues took hold.

Those left behind included the thousands of women, including one hundred and fifty five, found in unmarked graves in Dublin, who had suffered sexual, psychological and physical abuse in the Magdalene Asylums, right up until the 1990’s. Though, only then, did the true horrors of what had happened in the “laundries” come out in the open, that these places existed, had been a thinly veiled secret. Women who became pregnant outside of marriage, the sex workers of the Monto, or any other woman who did not confirm to the idea of faith, family and nation, could have their lives snatched away from them as the labour movement cowered in the shadow of the bishops cloak.

In the 1930’s, when workers in Spain fought fascism, died, were imprisoned and tortured in their thousands, the Irish labour movement forgot about any notion of solidarity, as again, they feared the power of the Irish church. If an “injury to one”, was “the concern of all”, then surely, the annihilation of the the working class of the Iberian peninsula at the hands of the reactionary, ultra-catholic fascist regime, should have seen the mobilisation of Irish workers, by those who were best placed to do so.

Today, as the professional union bureaucrats, wax lyrical about the struggles of one hundred years ago, as they laud their ability to protect the interests of their members against the worst aspects of austerity, a suspect claim in it’s own right, they are willing to leave behind asylum seekers who languish in direct provision centers. They refuse to recognise sex work as work, and support the moralistic crusade of an organisation with links to the religious orders who ran the Magdalene Asylums, that would see the standard of living of these workers drastically decline; and still, when around four thousand women a year are traveling to Britain for abortions, the gentlemen of ICTU, refuse to support the fight for abortion rights.

This issue of the Irish Anarchist Review, explores the idea of solidarity, beyond the workplace, as it extends to women in struggle, travellers, migrants and others. We look at how, solidarity and mutual aid, should involve, not just supporting the exploited and oppressed, but in assisting them in their struggles, and rather than presenting ourselves as saviors, with the solution to their problems, to listen and help amplify their voices as they work towards their own solutions.

We hope the articles here, provide some food for thought and we encourage our readers to reply with articles of their own.

IAR team:
Editorial Committee: Paul Bowman, Farah Azadi, Mark Hoskins, Brian Fagan, Dermot Sreenan, Leticia Ortega. Thanks to all members of the WSM for contributions, discussion & feedback.
Authors: Paul Bowman, Mark Hoskins, Farah Azadi, Tom Murray, Leticia Ortega, T.J., Vanessa Gauthier Vela, Nepele, D. Sreenan, Andrew Flood.
Layout: Brian Fagan.

About the WSM:
The Workers Solidarity Movement was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1984 following discussions by a number of local anarchist groups on the need for a national anarchist organisation. At that time with unemployment and inequality on the rise, there seemed every reason to argue for anarchism and for a revolutionary change in Irish society. This has not changed.

Like most socialists we share a fundamental belief that capitalism is the problem. We believe that as a system it must be ended, that the wealth of society should be commonly owned and that its resources should be used to serve the needs of humanity as a whole and not those of a small greedy minority. But, just as importantly, we see this struggle against capitalism as also being a struggle for freedom.

We believe that socialism and freedom must go together, that we cannot have one without the other. Anarchism has always stood for individual freedom. But it also stands for democracy. We believe in democratising the workplace and in workers taking control of all industry. We believe that this is the only real alternative to capitalism with its ongoing reliance on hierarchy and oppression and its depletion of the world’s resources

IARno8.pdf (5.27 MB)