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(en) Ireland: Workers Solidarity #81 - Building the Anti-War Movement from Below

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 28 May 2004 07:54:31 +0200 (CEST)

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At the end of the year the organisation called the Irish Anti War
Movement went through an internal crisis as some of those
involved tried to democratise it. When the Socialist Workers Party
who controlled the IAWM responded by arranging the expulsion
of some of its opponents from the committee most of the
independent groups reacted by disaffiliating from the IAWM.
The war however goes on and in June George Bush visits Ireland.
The question now is what sort of broad anti-war movement can
be built that is genuinely inclusive and democratic? The first
steps have already been taken with a number of meetings leading
to the launch of Ireland Against War which has provisionally
scheduled its first conference for May 15th.

It is probably safe to assume that this conference will not repeat
the most obvious mistake of the IAWM, that is to allow a single
party de facto control of the organisation. However this is not the
only requirement of building a inclusive and democratic
campaign. These are the other issues we believe need to be

1. Respect for diversity within the coalition and the broader
movement. We have seen how the SWP in the IAWM attempted
with some success to marginalise and under-mine those who
took direct action against the war. It is unlikely that this particular
group would be marginalised in the new campaign but a good
general principle would be to recognise that different groups
favour different tactics and at public events ensure that the
speakers represent the range of tactics and analysis that exist
within the campaign rather that just the majority opinion.

2. Led by activists and not parties. The only influence that
political parties should have within the campaign is that they can
win by arguing their ideas. There should be no automatic seats on
decision making structures for the representatives of political
parties (al-though observers should be invited).

3. Genuine local groups - in order to boost their voting strength at
national IAWM meetings the SWP pretended that its local
branches were in fact anti-war groups or in some cases seems to
have invented groups where none had been active for months.
Groups that have a delegate at decision making meetings should
have had a publicly advertised meeting no more than two weeks
before such a meeting and should have had some form of public
activity in their area within the previous 6 weeks. The simplest
way to ensure this had happened would be to insist that such
events be advertised on the campaign website at least 3 days
before they occur.

4. Decision making - decisions should be made on the basis of
mandated and recallable delegates from active groups within the
campaign. A national meeting of such delegates should take place
every two to three months to decide on the direction of the
campaign with motions for this meeting being discussed locally in
advance so that delegates can be mandated.

5. Officers - some people would have to put in work between
such meetings to ensure such decisions are implemented and
communicated, issue press releases etc. But they should not
decide the direction of the campaign, this should be the function
of delegate meetings. Obviously they will need to make minor
decisions on a day to day basis and from time to time emergency
decisions but as far as possible these should be within the
mandates laid down by the delegates meetings. In addition both
officers and delegates ought to be rotated regularly in order to
guard against a few figures assuming de facto control.

These are some of the key organisational elements that we think
are needed for an inclusive and democratic campaign. There are
very obviously many questions of politics and tactics as well but
lack of space prevents us going into them here. For more on these
and anarchist ideas on organisation see Red and Black Revolution
no 7 or on the web at:


by Andrew Flood

Uesful links

* Stop the so called 'War against terrorism' - end the
occupations http://struggle.ws/stopthewar.html
This page has background articles on all the issues around the
war(s) from Islam to US foreign policy
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'.

We also provide PDF files of all our publications for you to print
out and distribute locally http://struggle.ws/pdf.html

Print out the PDF file of this issue

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