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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity issue #93 is - Anti-Imperalism - Thinking About Anarchism

Date Tue, 10 Oct 2006 14:50:04 +0200


Imperialism, in its most basic form involves wealthy and powerful
governments using their military power to invade poorer parts of the
world in order to impose their control upon them. There isn’t the
space to go into all aspects of imperialism here, so I’m
concentrating on the military form.
In modern times, imperial invaders always claim that their invasions
are for the good of the people who they are invading. They claim that
they want to bring civilisation, democracy or freedom to the natives.
In reality, the imperialist ruling class simply want to extend their
power by bringing more of the world under their control and often
their motives are as simple as a desire to get their hands on the
natural resources of the place that they are invading.

Despite their claims to have lofty motives, imperialist invasions are
almost always followed by bloody and brutal campaigns of
subjugation against the natives. From the conquest of Africa in the
late 19th century, to the conquest of the Middle East today, the
rhetoric about freedom and democracy quickly evaporates leaving
nothing but bloody slaughter and oppression backed up by military
might.

Anarchists believe that people should be in control of their own lives
and should have a say in how the resources in the places where they
live are used. Therefore, anarchists are opposed to imperialism and
they are not alone in this. Almost nobody likes it when a powerful
group invades the place where they live, steals all the resources and
orders them to do as they are told and, inevitably, they organise
themselves to oppose the imperialists. Since imperialists use force of
arms to control the countries which they invade, this generally
means that the natives will need to physically oppose them. They
aren’t going to leave just because they’re unpopular, after
all.

Thus, anarchists support people’s right to fight against imperial
invasions. If somebody has decided to control you with violence, you
have no choice but to overcome this violence or else remain a slave.
This is why anarchists call themselves anti-imperialists.

However, unfortunately, anarchists are currently a small minority in
the world. Nationalism has been the most powerful political ideology
in modern times. When people fight against imperialist control, they
also generally fight for some version of nationalist alternative.

Anarchists are opposed to nationalism. We do not think that people
can be neatly divided up into areas where the populations have a
shared culture, history and heritage. The world is much messier than
that and cultures and identities are fluid and intermingled.
What’s more, nationalist movements normally simply try to
replace the foreign imperialist control with control by a local ruling
class, who might be just as bad - or even worse - than the imperialist
rulers. Therefore, while we support anti-imperialist struggles, we
always strive to argue against nationalist politics within them.
Instead we seek to promote the most progressive, libertarian and
socialist strands so that, if we can defeat the imperialists’
control, we won’t just be replacing them with new masters.

In practice, this is a difficult position to realise since conflicts are, by
their very nature, polarising. During struggles against imperialism, it
is very common for people to claim that “you’re either with
us or against us”. So, in Iraq at the moment, both George Bush
and Osama Bin Laden claim that you have to choose one side or the
other. You either support the imperial invaders of the US/UK armies
or you support the Islamic resistance. However, the real world is
always more complex than this. There are currently many groups in
Iraq, and around the world, who reject this choice. In Iraq there are
many groups - workers’ unions, women’s groups and others
who promote civil liberties and democracy that are opposed to the
occupation and opposed to Islamic fundamentalism. Rather than
accepting the binary choice of Bush and Bin Laden, we choose to
support these forces, to offer them whatever assistance we can in
their fight against the occupation and against the fundamentalists.
ximise the impact of
anarchist ideas. Pooling the resources of many people allows us to
distribute over 6,000 copies of this paper every two months, and
1,000 copies of our twice yearly magazine, Red & Black Revolution.
It allows us to discuss the best ways to advance working class
interests, and prioritise particular activities rather than be so widely
dispersed as to have little effect.

Among our activities over the summer was a day of discussions
about the role of women in revolutionary politics. About 60 women
and men debated the experience of women in movements as diverse
as the 1916 Rising and the 1930’s Spanish anarchist
‘Free
Women’ organisation.

Jointly with anarchist gig organisers, Porco Dio, the WSM
organised
a fundraiser for the Israeli group ‘Anarchists Against the
Wall’. A young anarchist had been shot by
Israeli forces during a protest against the construction of the
so-called ‘Separation Fence’ in Palestine.
Matan Cohen, 17,
was seriously wounded when he was shot in the face with a rubber
bullet by Israeli Border Police at Bil’in, in the occupied
West
Bank. Thanks to Emcee Lynx (from the USA), plus Disfunktional,
Project 77 and the WSM’s own DJ Krossphader.

Another fundraiser was by the WSM’s May 1st branch
in
Dublin. A pub quiz took in €346.60 for the three
anti-war
protesters who were fined following a demonstration outside the
Irish Air Corps HQ at Baldonnel.

The August bank holiday weekend saw WSM members from Derry,
Cork and Dublin travel to Mayo for a gathering at the Rossport
Solidarity Camp, to express solidarity with the local community in
their fight against Shell and share ideas about strengthening the
campaign to make the multinational giant build their refinery
offshore.

During the Israeli attack on the Lebanese people we took part in
demonstrations against the slaughter and destruction. Unlike some
of the left, we see no need to take sides between the racist Israeli
state and Islamic religious authoritarians.
Neither is any friend of working people and liberty. As Alan
MacSimoin of the WSM said at an earlier protest against the visit to
Dublin of the British HMS Ocean warship, “Let us also
begin
taking concrete initiatives to assist the progressive, secular and trade
union forces who oppose both the occupation and the terrorism of
the anti-woman and anti-freedom religious bigots”.
Anarchism is still a small force in Ireland, but a start has been
made.
If you want to find out more, get in touch with us.
=============================================
From the anarchist journal Workers Solidarity 93, Sept/Oct 2006
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