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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity Movement* Autumn 2005 conference - Our Perspectives

Date Tue, 15 Nov 2005 11:05:59 +0200


1.1 The Workers Solidarity Movement is a relatively young
organisation, in existence since 1984. As has been pointed out
elsewhere we have no native anarchist tradition to draw on nor do we
have any base in the working class we can call our own.
1.2 This situation should not daunt us. All organisations, no matter
what their aim is, start somewhere. Anarchists have time and time
again, in many countries and in the most difficult of circumstances
grappled with the problem of building and maintaining a mass
working class influence. It isn't easy but it can be done.
1.3 More than anything else we have to be sure about what we are
and what our politics are all about - in practice. Likewise we have to
be sure in our minds about our role and about what practical next
steps have to be taken in building the organisation we want.

1.4 It is important that we do not try to take short cuts of any type. If
there is one thing we have plenty of, it is time. We should not fool
ourselves into thinking otherwise. We have the time now to make
mistakes and to learn from them, just as we also have the time to
make small gains without burning ourselves out in the process.

1.5 Anarchist ideas, as a fighting tradition of the world-wide working
class, have a magnificent history. From Russia to China to South
America to Mexico to North America and of course to Spain the
influence has been huge.

1.6 But if history shows us the great influence of anarchism in the
working class, it also shows us its decline and marginalisation in all
but a few countries today. Why did this happen?

1.7 It is important to see that revolutionary ideas ebb and flow in
their popularity; that truly revolutionary ideas like our own are tied in
their fortunes to the fortunes of our class. The working class is only
in existence as the class it is now, for a relatively short historical
period. In that time it has pushed forward and been pushed back.
These changes have sometimes been gradual but at other times they
have been condensed into a few years of revolution and
counter-revolution. Times that see a ripening of conditions for major
world change come (say 1917 to 1922) but if they are lost (as they
were) long and deep reaction follows (as in the 1920's and 30's). The
normalisation of capitalist relations since World War II has inevitably
pushed the working class forward again. The direct experience of
workers and their conflict with ideas that constantly lead them into
unnecessary defeat means that reformism of either the social
democratic or Stalinist variety has come under attack. On the world
stage even greater changes have occurred -the mass mobilisations
that destroyed the Eastern European Stalinist regimes have all played
their part in exposing the myth of Russian "socialism".

More recently we have seen new struggles break out against
neo-liberal policies around the world. The forces drawn into these
struggles are more open to revolutionary anarchist ideas than has
been the case for many decades.

1.8 Such is part of the reason for anarchism's popularity, decline and
marginalisation from the working class and now since the 1960's a
renewed interest and re-emergence of our ideas around the world.
Anarchist groups have appeared in countries where hitherto no
tradition had existed. Organisations have been revamped. The
growing anarchist "movement" is tremendously important. Though
there are huge problems - the most important aspect we should
recognise is the process that this re-emergence is part of.

1.9 The WSM is a small organisation. So are many anarchist
organisations the world over, but the conditions for this to be
overcome are better now that they have been for a long time.

1.10 It is important that we have a proper appraisal of the past, of the
ups and downs in anarchist history and recognise the close
association between it and the ups and downs of the ideas of mass
working class self-activity for social change. If we do so we can see
the reason for anarchism's present marginalisation. Also we will not
be too taken aback by our present small numbers. Then we have a
good chance of not falling into the trap of pretending we are bigger
and capable of more than we are right now. To fall into that trap
would be to substitute wishful thinking for reality; to ignore the
wider social and economic conditions that are real determinants of
growth for revolutionary ideas and organisation. There is no place for
such a tendency in the WSM. It is a recipe for sectism and
irrelevance.

1.11 When the WSM was formed we understood that the period we
were living through was one of a low level of struggle. It was a period
of low levels of confidence among workers, of low levels of activity in
the class struggle. Where struggles break out they are more often
than not of a defensive nature. It was important that we understood
this. If we had not we could easily have disappeared into a
"cul-de-sac" of looking for "alternatives" and imaginary "new areas
of struggle". This in turn would have led to demoralisation. This is
what did happen to those on the left who got caught up in
republicanism "left turns", community politics and counter-cultural
lifestylism. All these were attempts to substitute wishful thinking for
reality.

1.12 The overthrowal of the Eastern European regimes meant the
death of the orthodox Communist Parties as a serious political force
within the working class movement. The so-called "existing
socialism" of pre-1989 Eastern Europe is no longer seen as a model.
The whole Bolshevik/Leninist tradition has been called into question
by many of its former supporters. Because they believed the Eastern
European regimes to be a form of socialism (even if a 'deformed'
one), they saw in its defeat a sign that capitalism was triumphant,
possibly invincible. Hence many disillusioned Leninists disappeared
or merged into 'modernised' social democracy. They came to
support 'market socialism' and deny the possibility of revolutionary
change.

The collapse of the Eastern European regimes, coming during a
period of low levels of class struggle, fuelled the drive to declare
socialism a 'failed idea'. This has had a major effect on those people
who looked - in however general a way - towards Eastern Europe
and social democracy, towards the state as a mechanism for bringing
about social change. It has also disoriented much of the Trotskyist
movement. All of this contributed to the sense of defeatism which
pervaded much of the 'left' in the 1990's

1.13 The 1990's was a decade of real defeats. The redundancies in
the previously secure state and semi-state sectors, the erosion of
shop-floor organisation, the lowering of expectations to such a
degree that CE schemes were regarded as a good thing, and so on.
But this does not turn us into defeatists. We know that the possibility
of revolutionary change will occur. It will probably not occur in the
near future but the nature of capitalism makes it certain that the
possibility will rise at some stage.

1.14 The end of the 1990's saw the growth of a new radicalism
around the issue of globalisation. Anarchists played a significant part
in building this movement and in giving it an anti-capitalist pole. Key
to this was a move from protest about the policies of the World Bank
etc, to action against the conferences of these institutions whether of
a 'non-violent' form as with the blockade of the WTO in Seattle or
the more confrontational black bloc tactics of Quebec and Prague.

This meant the rapid growth in numbers of activists who described
themselves as anarchists or as being close to anarchism. Because
these activists were overwhelmingly young people and because of
the nature of the summit protests they had no strong connection
with local struggles, either on the community or workplace level. In
many English speaking countries the existing anarchist movement
played little or no organisational role in the development of this
movement which meant that there was little or no growth in the size
of the existing organisations. In some cases new organisations were
formed but for the most part this movement did not develop beyond
loose networks that were active around the summit protests.

1.15 We cannot predict the future with any precision but we can
learn a few lessons from the past.

* Even a minor pick up in the economy can revive confidence and
see a rebuilding of rank & file organisation. The "mini-boom" does
not have to be huge. The economic recovery here in the late 1960's
after decades of recession and emigration, saw us leap to the top of
the international strike league.

* Sometimes the bosses have to push beyond what workers will
accept. So far the bosses have not been able to push wages
(throughout the European economy as a whole) down to a level that
can guarantee them a revival of massive profits. They are pushing us
back slowly but when they push too hard they have often met with
resistance. Despite the dominance of ideas which promote (or at
least accept) the 'market forces' argument within both the working
class and society generally, there has been resistance. The most
dramatic was the Zapatista uprising in Mexico. At home we saw
thousands of poorly paid and part-time workers in Dunnes Stores
fight back against the rule of market forces in their workplaces.
Wherever there is oppression there will be resistance. The bosses
risk an explosion of anger as they push for more and more cuts in
our standard of living.

* Sometimes it is a political crisis that sparks things off, e.g.. Spain
in 1936. At home we saw the creation of unofficial shop stewards
committees that were able to call for (limited) strike action in several
towns when the union leaders condemned the 1981 H-block
campaign.

While understanding the above, we must also understand that in
order to sustain resistance and spread it; and move from the
defensive to the offensive the working class needs a goal of its own.
Only with a vision of a new society can we combat the 'logic' of
authoritarianism and the market economy.

There is no room for major economic concession and reform in the
modern capitalism of today. Recession and crisis leave the ruling
class less room for manoeuvre than they had twenty years ago.
Instead they are moving towards a division of the major industrial
countries into three blocs (centred on the EU, NAFTA and a
Japan/Australia axis). Trade rivalries between these will increase. As
in the past, trade wars could become military wars as competing
blocs fight for resources and markets. Internationally, the largest
movements of rebellion against the 'logic' of capitalism have been
expressed in reactionary forms: religious fundamentalism and the
growth of the far right. All of this permits us to say that the
long-term choice for humanity is between anarchism and barbarism

1.16 We don't know the exact conditions under which the tide will
turn. But we are confident that it will turn. And when workers begin
to move into action again there will be a lot of stored up anger to be
brought out.

2 2.1 Having stated our assessment of the times we are living in, we
also have to look at the condition of the WSM. We have done a lot
that we can be very proud of but we have also made bad mistakes in
the few years after our formation and it is these we had to identify.
Though serious errors occurred we survived and gained a deeper and
clearer understanding of our politics. There is nothing wrong with
making mistakes as long as we learn from them and are better
prepared in the future.

2.2 We were encouraged by the destruction of the Eastern European
regimes and the resultant increase in interest in anarchism. However
we accepted that our situation in Ireland made it is very hard to build
in the 1990's. We were able to hold the WSM together with its
libertarian socialist politics intact. Our level of activity must be
compatible with the numbers we have and must ensure that the
discussion of our ideas and tradition is not neglected.

2.3 In the 1984-1987 period we had presumed that anyone who
joined the WSM had a clear understanding of anarchism, of its
methods and its values. So we underestimated the importance of
education about anarchism and concentrated almost exclusively on
discussion of strategy and tactics. Branch meetings should always
include a lead off and discussion on some relevant topic. We can
never learn too much and it is important training in communicating
ideas. It is left to branches to decide on how many meetings they
wish to advertise to non-members.

2.4 We aim to build an organisation of workers and working class
people around the ideas of anarchism. In doing this we realise that
there is an intrinsic link between what we do now and whether we
will achieve our anarchist goal. We have to be clear in our minds that
our ideas will only grow in so much as they are based on the direct
day to day needs and struggles of our class. Our orientation around
this, especially in the next while, is crucial. It will show that we have
learnt from the past and are forging an identity separate from the
other organisations on the left.

2.5 i) Over the last couple of decades, the outline of the left and left
politics has altered substantially. Elsewhere we have analysed that
this re-arrangement is being driven by a number of forces a) the
collapse of Stalinism b) the prolonged attack by right-wing forces
and market driven politics that began in earnest in the late 70s, and
c) the collapse of social democracy as a movement as it achieved
power in a host of countries in the 80s and 90s.

ii) The combined effect of all this was a sharp reduction in the size of
the left as well as a crisis of confidence within it as a movement. The
'left' now is quite different to that which existed in the late 70s and
early 80s - in terms of size but also capability and confidence.

iii) Organisations such as our own - and the SP and the SWP - that
had been disregarded in the past, increasingly found themselves
filling a real vacuum that exists. This was clearly visible in some of
campaigns fought in the 1990's particularly in the Water Charges
and over Abortion Rights.

2.6 We do want to recruit more members - but that is not an end in
itself. New members have to be won on a clear understanding of
anarchism and of the general orientation and strategy of the WSM.

2.7 We know that when we apply our ideas we will have to work
alongside other forces that will have different and more reformist or
right wing ideas. Some will be openly hostile to anarchism. It is by
forming united fronts around specific issues that we will create an
audience for our politics. On a day-to-day level we have to be
capable of combining a "hardness" on politics with an ability to
initiate action with people who don't share all our ideas. We have to
be confident about our politics and be seen as good militants.

We understand that that the process of changing society depends on
mass debate, mass participation, mass politics. We will do what we
can to encourage this by relating positively to such developments
and by always emphasising the value of participatory rather than
representative politics. It is only through involvement in such politics
that people gain a sense of their own capabilities, that we break
down the passivity and dependence that have allowed elites to take
control of popular movements and channel them into yet another
episode of changing rulers instead of changing social relations.

WSM members are active within the mass organisations of our class
(i.e. those organisations which people join because of their economic
situation, particularly the trade unions). While we understand that
sometimes there may be no alternative to forming breakaway
minority organisations, and we always uphold the right of people to
freely associate as they see best, we do not advocate the formation of
'revolutionary' alternatives to the existing mass organisations.
Instead we bring our politics into the bodies where people are already
organised.

The mass organisations will not become revolutionary (or lead to the
formation of widespread new forms of revolutionary organisation)
until we begin moving into a revolutionary situation. In a general
way, the ideas dominant in the mass organisations reflect the current
level of class consciousness and confidence. Our task is to bring
anarchist ideas to our work colleagues and neighbours, not to
separate from their organisations.

2.8 We know there is a need for concrete international links with
other anarchist-communist organisations, and we seek to utilise the
contacts we do have with other organisation within the ''platformist''
tradition. We should also take note of other class struggle anarchist
groupings abroad with whom we certainly do have real differences
but also share many things.

We recognise that syndicalism is the largest organised current in
anarchism. We locate its major weakness in its failure to develop a
systematic political opposition to authoritarian ideas in the broader
working class movement, and to recognise the need for the working
class to take complete power in a dual-power situation. And it is a
very serious weakness - the defeat of the Spanish revolution was the
greatest defeat ever suffered by our movement. However this must
not blind us to the positive aspects of syndicalism. It is based on the
needs and struggles of our class, and it organises in such a way as to
break down the division between activists and passive followers,
leaders and led.

We certainly see it as inadequate for the task of overthrowing
capitalism. We also see it as part of the same movement as
ourselves. Elsewhere the WSM has outlined its disagreements with
the syndicalists. These relate to its strategy and tactics. As to the
kind of society it wishes to create, its orientation to the organised
working class, and its advocacy of direct action - we are in
agreement. Accordingly, we wish to maintain and extend our
dialogue with unions like the SAC and CGT, and with the affiliates
of the IWA.

3 3.1 Before entering into any activity we must first work out, given
our size and other commitments, what we can do. There will
sometimes be campaigns with which we fully agree and would love
to get involved in. However, given our size we would not be doing
either the organisation or the particular campaign any good by
over-stretching ourselves. We are under no obligation to get involved
in everything progressive that is happening. We have only so much
energy, so many members, so much time. Where we take on a
project we should ensure that we can give it our full attention and
available resources.

Members who attend campaign meetings on behalf of the
organisation do so as delegates, reporting back and keeping a written
record of who attended meetings, what was decided, political
points/issues raised by other political groups, etc. As often as
possible we will send two delegates to campaign meetings, one being
"permanent" and the other rotating. This will ensure that everyone
can feel part of the campaign and not just a foot soldier for dishing
out leaflets, doing stalls or whatever. Where a campaign is ongoing,
a discussion on where it is at and the issues likely to come up over
the next few weeks will be held at least once a month, preferably at
the IB meeting to allow input from outside Dublin.

3.2 As it becomes possible to build branches it will be necessary for
experienced members to give a lot of time in the initial months,
attending their meetings, giving advice and educationals, helping
them with practicalities of political activity. It would be unfair and
irresponsible to leave a new branch to 'sink or swim'. None of this
precludes people joining the WSM in areas where there is not
already a member.

We must ensure that we stay well informed about local community
based protests (especially where we have a member/candidate
member/contact), and - where resources permit - have a presence
where we agree with what is being fought for.

3.3 Where it is practical we should organise public meetings which
are well prepared and well publicised. This means extensive
postering, contacting sympathisers and other publicity; in addition to
well prepared speeches and, where possible, follow-up activities.

3.4 Youth have not been through as many demoralising experiences
as their elders, they have energy & enthusiasm. A movement
without youth is doomed to decay. As an organisation which would
refuse to segregate youth into a 'junior' section, and which holds to
revolutionary and anti-authoritarian ideas, we must seek ways of
building up our profile among younger people.

3.5 We need to make growth a major priority. All sympathisers
should be contacted before any demonstration we are attending,
relevant campaign meeting or public meeting. Asking sympathisers
to join the WSM will be discussed at least once a month at branch
meetings.

3.6 'Our Perspectives' and progress on the implementation of the
tasks we have set ourselves will be tabled for discussion at each
national meeting.
4. Short term perspectives

4.1 We have noted elsewhere that there are limitations to what we
ourselves can do in this situation - given our size and our meagre
resources. Moreover, from our point at least, the central issue still
revolves around working-class militancy and organisation, all of
which remain very weak despite some promising signs. (July 2004)

4.2 We have to recognise that right now we are an organisation of
only a handful. We have to face that, at this stage we are only a
handful. Secondly we have to recognise that our tradition has no
historical existence in Ireland, and this means that there are few
others to rely on but ourselves. Thirdly, and perhaps most
importantly, we know that these times are very hard for building
what we are building. Though we may be clear in our politics and
make the best effort to further them, even the most moderate of
successes will be few and far between for some time. (July 2004)

4.3 If we should conclude anything from this it is that over the next
few years we will have to have low expectations (though not
unrealistically low ones) while applying ourselves to what we are
good at. We should concentrate on our anarchism, with internal
education and discussion as well as availing of any public exposure
that comes our way. We should beef up our propaganda arms -
seeking to increase the frequency and circulation of Workers
Solidarity, with more pamphlets and an extensive bookservice.
Alongside this strong emphasis on our anarchist ideas we stress the
participation of WSM members in everyday political work: trade
union work, campaigns and issues that are not just fronts for the
"revolutionary left". Areas where self-activity can be generated and
small victories won by people themselves should be a priority - as
should issues that bring us into contact with new people who may be
interested in our ideas. (July 2004)

4.4 We have to constantly remind ourselves that at present we are
tiny and have no real base in any section of the class. Then we can
properly accept that we have been able to explain and gain respect
for anarchist ideas among a small layer of trade union militants and
other activists. We have demonstrated there is an audience for our
ideas. Our work in campaigns and struggles have stood us in good
stead. We have established a foundation upon which we can
continue and build more support for anarchism. (July 2004)

4.5 [From Trade Unions paper] In the workplaces the employers are
on the offensive. They want to lower wage costs, increase the
authority of management, and weaken grassroots trade union
organisation in favour of the top bureaucrats like the leadership of
ICTU and SIPTU. (July 2004)

Since 1987 the majority of trade unionists have been conned into
supporting 'social partnership' But we must not forget that one third
of trade unionists have consistently rejected these agreements. While
most of them have not done so because they have a principled
opposition to such 'partnership', it is an indication that they know
they are being ripped-off and want a return to a more aggressive style
of trade unionism.

Anarchists must work to generate wider solidarity for workers in
struggle, both through the official union structures and outside
them. Whilst we must not turn our backs on the official structures
such as branch committees, trades councils, etc., we also recognise
that these bodies are becoming more distanced from the members
on the job and are presently incapable of organising much in the way
of solidarity action.

In these struggles it is particularly important that the WSM
argument is heard, for grassroots democracy and direct action as
opposed to the 'broad left' strategy of capturing positions over which
there is no effective rank & file control.

The main tasks facing us right now are:

* working to maximise solidarity action with workers in struggle.

* arguing against the concept of 'social partnership'.

* calling for international shop steward combine committees in
multinational firms. Such delegate committees, not under the thumb
of the top union officials, can lead to a situation where workers
refuse to be played off against each other on a plant-by-plant basis.

4.6. Defeats will outnumber victories until workers assert themselves
at grassroots level in the unions and in all areas of struggle. At the
moment very few have the confidence to do this. All over the world
the ruling class are on the offensive against the working class. They
want increased control and lower wage costs. This translates into
casualisation, part-time working, contracting out, cutting taxes on
profits, reducing welfare entitlements. In short, they want a world
where workers have few expectations, and work on the bosses terms
or not at all. The partial upturn in the economy has given sections of
the working class increased confidence to go on the offensive but
this is still far from being a generalised movement. We must take
whatever opportunities arise for rebuilding confidence but must also
be careful not to substitute our wishes for the real situation
confronting us on a daily basis (July 2004)

4.7 The main organisations on the far left are now, ourselves, the SP
and the SWP. While we are, numerically, the smallest, we are
separated by a large chasm from the other two in terms of core
politics. Over the next period of activity we must do everything we
can to make these differences clear within the campaigns and work
we do. Our opposition to Trotskyism (and what it stand for in terms
of analysis and solutions), as well as our principled objection to both
the SWP's and SP's electoralist strategy is something we should
keep on the agenda. (July 2004)

i) This should not be a recipe for sectarianism or not working with
these organisations in practice. On the contrary, the real differences
between anarchism and Leninism that are likely to emerge and
become important in the future are far more likely to be based on
day-to-day "real issues" rather than issue of 'theory' - as was often in
the case in the past. (July 2004)

ii) This is a test for us in as much as it is for them. But in order to
emphasis our difference, and to make the choice sharper, we must
make our libertarian character clearer in our publications and
leaflets, as well as our practice. Issues where our differences are
easily described - around standing for the Dail for example - are one
thing, but we must also look to draw out our differences on other
issues - for instance, the current campaigns on anti-racism is already
revealing tensions. In practice, within the WSM, our libertarian
politics needs to be sharper still in the next period. If we are able to
do this we stand to win more in both the short and long term. (July
2004)

4.8 For the next while the organisation will have to rely on
individuals to a great degree if it is to survive. This is not a good
thing but it is our reality. We have to avoid burdening anyone to a
level they can't cope with. We have to keep this in mind and guard
against it - things have a habit of running away with themselves
leaving the whole organisation over-committed. Also as libertarians
we see the potential danger to individuals and to the organisation of
building in a self-sacrificing and evangelical manner. We ask that no
member do more than he/she feels capable of. The WSM should not
be the be-all and end-all of members lives. If such ideas were to gain
a foothold within the organisation it could be a recipe for
authoritarianism. (July 2004)

4.9 At present we are primarily a propaganda organisation for
libertarian socialist/anarchist ideas. Though it is our aim to change
this by stepping up the involvement of the WSM (as an organisation)
in the day-to-day struggles of our class, we recognise this will be a
slow process. Furthermore we recognise that the period ahead will
be hard for the organisation and not generally conducive to this
process. We should expect growth in numbers and influence, but at
the other side of this recession we may be only slightly larger. (July
2004)

4.10 The real test of how much we have learnt from recent events
will be the extent to which the WSM puts into practice its claim to
be "different from all the rest". Our policies are different, our
methods are different. (July 2004)

4.11 Over the last few years we have achieved the initial goals we set
for ourselves. We have informed a small layer of activists about
anarchism, and gained their respect. We have also given the WSM a
more stable base as members learned more about anarchism and its
history, gained more experience in struggles and began to put that
knowledge into practice in an organised manner. Our next step is to
move beyond the 'left' and make contact with new layers of people.
We have to recognise that there are big difficulties facing us. With
the collapse of the Stalinist dictatorships, it was not only Stalinism
that fell, for many the very idea of an alternative - any alternative - to
the present system also fell. The 'old left' is collapsing. The decline
of authoritarian 'socialism' is a good thing but in the short to
medium term it will present us with a problem. In the past social
democracy sand Stalinism threw up large movements from which
the best militants moved on to anarchism.

Today the task of interesting people in the very idea of an alternative
will fall to a much greater degree to people like ourselves. This is a
problem because, with our present small numbers, there is a limit to
how much we can achieve in any given period. We are confident that
support for anarchism will grow but we are also aware of the reality
we face at present. (July 2004)

4.12 We must do all we can to spread knowledge of and support for
anarchism. This can never be downplayed in importance. Our small
size stops currently us being an 'agitational' organisation (i.e.
bringing a few ideas to many people as an introduction to our wider
politics). We can, however, bring many ideas to a few people - and
that is our primary task at this stage. (July 2004)

* Workers Solidarity will continue to be a paper whose primary
purpose is to bring our politics to people who have have had little or
no contact with the 'left'. As such it will continue to carry features on
anarchism, in-depth analysis of strikes and campaigns, world
anarchist news, "thinking about anarchism", etc.

Workers Solidarity is our public voice. Its brief is to explain
anarchism, make it relevant to people's immediate concerns, make
suggestions for taking struggles forward, let others know of
examples of self-activity, analyse campaigns. It is very important, a
vital part of our activity.

* Workers Solidarity should continue to be sold at union
meetings, political meetings, protests and bookshops. Each member
should also try to develop personal contacts who will buy Workers
Solidarity regularly from them. These contacts can also be offered
pamphlets, invited to public meetings and events, and encouraged to
find out more about anarchism.

* Red & Black Revolution is our magazine of debate and
discussion which takes up issues of interest to
anarchist-communists and others wishing for a more detailed
knowledge of our views. As well as providing explanations of our
views and of events in Ireland and abroad, it will also serve as a
forum for debate.

* The contents of Workers Solidarity and Red & Black Revolution
should continue to be discussed from time to time at branch
meetings. (as should the Internal Bulletin).

* We want to produce a wide range of pamphlets. These are
important in widening the interest and appeal of our ideas. We
should take up modern issues as well as uncovering aspects of our
history.

* While branch meetings are ordinarily every week, in general we
want to steer clear of the situation where branch meetings become
the main political activity of members - they are the basic
organisation of the WSM, not its reason for existence.

* At least half of our branch meetings should be open to
sympathisers where it is felt these people are interested in our
anarchist politics

4.13 The organisation undertakes a countrywide speaking tour over
the next four to six months. (Oct 2005)

Objective to promote the organisation in areas where we have no
branches with a view to recruiting members, building a contact list
and promoting the ideas of anarchism and our particular tradition.

Target areas should be graded and then the best chosen according to
resources available to us in them and what we are capable of
bringing to bear from outside.

* Suggested first choice areas Derry city, Limerick city(and
University of Limerick), Galway city(and UCG)
* Second choice Belfast (and Queens), Kilkenny, Tralee
* Third choice Sligo, Waterford, Dundalk
* Also worth considering are UCD, TCD and UCC

Tasks

* A group of members should be delegated to co ordinated the
securing of venues, dates, help and plan the promotion of the tour
and individual meetings.
* A panel of speakers and theme or themes should be chosen.
* 3 A list of volunteers compiled to do anywork in the chosen
areas prior to the [tour]

4.14 The WSM has dedicated a lot of time, energy and imagination
to the goal of supporting the growth of anarchist and libertarian
networks in Ireland. This work has lead to an anarchist political
culture which has grown in political confidence, in size and is
notably un-sectarian. The WSM will continue in this work. (Oct 05)

4.15 That the WSM should establish research groups (Oct 2005)

4.16 Shared Understanding Proposal... (Oct 2005)

At each branch the following topics are discussed

* Irish Labour Market,
* Workplace organisation / trade unions
* Working Class / Community
* Intervention in popular campaigns

Each branch would have one person prepare the talk, and then the
talk and a summary of the ideas and discussion be submitted to the
national list/ IB.

The talks should happen at the same time &endash; approximately
in all the branches and we should have a perspectives discussion,
(after six months) where the same issues are discussed at a national
level, with a view to developing a shared understanding of the
current society/struggles that we operating in. From this discussions
we can look to raising proposals for the revision/creation of new
position papers.

4.17 Once per quarter each branch will take part in a detailed review
of our work over the previous year and planning for the year to come
under each of the following headings, one per quarter. (Oct 2005)

* Workplace and unions,
* Neighborhood organisation and community struggles,
* Civil Society, the left and the libertarian movement
* WSM internal functioning and propaganda.

Meeting should include each member relating their experience in
the given area over the previous year. Where needed there should be
an opening session for newer members at which background details
and likely jargon should be explained. A summary of the discussion
and a list of any decisions reached should be sent to the national
email list.

4.18 The position paper 'State Capitalism in Russia' will be retired to
the 'no longer relevant' archive of old position papers. A commission
will be set up to organise a dayschool and to draft a new position
paper on The Russian Revolution and Leninism for the February
2006 conference. (Oct 2005)

Updated Oct 2005

Note sections in [ ] are to be further discussed/amended at the next
WSM conference

What is a position paper and more WSM position papers
http://struggle.ws/wsm/positions.html
=======================================
* WSM is an anarchist federation

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