Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Report on WSM National Conference - Autumn 2013

The WSM had its Autumn national conference in Dublin on the 23rd November.  National Conference is the ultimate decision making body in the WSM. It happens every six months usually over a day or two.

As well as discussing motions time is also spent on discussing the past six months activity and prospects for the next period. Conference also hears reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups. 

This covered areas like the Irish Anarchist Review, WSM Website, Dublin Anarchist Bookfair and our pro-choice and anti racist work.

Click on the following link:  http://www.wsm.ie/c/report-wsm-national-conference-autumn-2013

Are you an Anarchist?

Some useful stuff here for those Christmas dinner political arguments that foment themselves every year

Click on: Are you an Anarchist?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Lumiere & Part of an Alliance for Choice Art Piece

 Part of an Part of an Alliance for Choice art installation encouraging people to reflect on the situations women with unwanted pregnancies in Ireland, North and South, find themselves in. Was in Guildhall Square tonight installation encouraging people to reflect on the situations women with unwanted pregnancies in Ireland, North and South, find themselves in. Was in Guildhall Square tonight

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Poll shows Northern Ireland needs a change in politics

The recent Belfast Telegraph poll may have revealed cracks in the zero sum sectarian politics that dominates the political landscape in Northern Ireland but if there is anything that cannot be white washed away is the relevance of class.  While we see a reoccurring positive pattern of more liberal attitudes towards issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights as well as growing younger population tuned off by orange/green style of politics, religion still remains the main factor in voting for political parties, while the constitutional question is settled for a generation. (1)

However, the most important distinction in the North and in any capitalist society-namely those that pertain to class are written out of existence which suits the high and mighty in our society. By class I don’t just mean a monolithic identity of blue collar workers in factories, but instead it includes all of us who are forced to sell our labour power to survive. This includes people who are in paid employment, whether in a factory, office, café, unpaid house work or retail store etc. It also includes those who are unable to find paid employment, or have chosen to refuse the drudgery of paid work in order to attempt to live on the meagre benefits supplied by the state, and who provide a vast potential pool of labour that enables the ruling class to further keep wages down.

Anyone who watched the recent programme concerning the tragic quest for justice by families whose loved ones were disappeared by the IRA only served to highlight that the conflict over the last 30 years and its continuing legacy today is largely a blue collar working class experience with areas such as the Malone Road and ‘gold coast’ largely unscathed. Inhabitants in blue collar working class districts of North and West Belfast endured greater levels of political violence than any other part of the six counties. These same areas today still continue to experience intergenerational trauma, unemployment, state violence and the blight of paramilitaries.

While ethno national identity continues to occupy media attention and utilised by politicians for their own selfish and strategic interests, the reality is social class today determines every aspect of our life from quality of housing, educational attainment, life expectancy and employment than whether you are a unionist or nationalist. Recent statistics bear this out as the North still has the highest level of deprivation and lowest average wage in the across these islands. According to recent data produced by the Department of Social Development(DSD) ‘Across the population as a whole there were 422,000 (24%) considered to be in absolute poverty, up from 232,000 in 2010/11. This included 79,000 pensioners and 109,000 children.’ (2)

The problems of capitalism cannot be solved within the system and the limited horizons of nationalism and unionism. The latest stand-off between Sinn Fein and the DUP over an 80 million fund to tackle poverty in which working class communities have not received a penny of it apart from 400,000 going to consultants reveals an ugly Stormont snobbery that has neither the ability nor indeed the intention of creating a just and progressive society on this island. (3)

Radical social change is the ultimate collective instrument which we need to utilise as working people against the hierarchal and exploitative social and economic structure under which we are forced to live. Compromise with capitalism and collaboration with the state through the empty parliamentary process serves only to institionalise misery, injustice and violence in its broadest sense. In answer to the cycle of 'zero sum' game, the need for class politics is as relevant as ever.

  1. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/debateni/blogs/liam-clarke/message-of-belfast-telegraph-poll-northern-ireland-needs-a-change-in-politics-29595871.html
  2. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/a...
  1. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/p...
Words: Sean Matthews

Bloody Sunday: March For Justice 2014

The annual Bloody Sunday March For Justice will take place next on Sunday 2nd February 2014. 

Assemble Creggan Shops At 2.30PM. All in inclusive and all welcome. More details of Weekend Events to follow on the Bloody Sunday March For Justice website.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Rag, Issue #6 is Out Now!

Dear RAG followers,

We are overjoyed to announce that after three long years, the newest edition of The Rag is complete!

It was touch and go, and there were a few late nights put in, but everyone rallied together and Rag #6 was born!

There are so many great articles in this issue, it would be difficult to only name a few.

For readers in Derry/North West: If you would like a copy of RAG #6 you can PM Derry Anarchists to book yours in advance as we will be distributing the magazine locally after its launch (more on that later!).

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Documentary Filmmaker seeks Irish women with crisis pregnancies

If you or someone you know is facing traveling from Ireland for an abortion and is open to documenting the experience, please get in touch with this very talented filmmaker (details in the link below).

Documentary Filmmaker seeks Irish women with crisis pregnancies

Solidarity, Engagement & the Revolutionary Organisation

Over the last couple of years the WSM has been going through a process of re-examining the way we relate to people interested in what we have to say. Alongside this we have recently begun to try and get a better understanding of what it is we do. Both these processes have some major implications in reaching an understanding of what the usefulness of a revolutionary organisation is in the modern era of broad and loose social networks.

What does WSM do?
Part of what the WSM does is easy to see and understand. We publish a newspaper Workers Solidarity, a magazine Irish Anarchist Review and maintain a website at WSM.IE. These are all very visible. We organise the annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair and periodically hold meetings & speaking tours in our own name. Again very easy to see and understand. However most of our activity is much less visible and at times this means that people presume what has already been listed is actually the limits of our activity.

We are dual organisationalists - a specialist term that indicates those groups within anarchism that implement the bulk of their campaign, community & union activity through broad mass organisations rather than setting up their own unions, front groups etc. Unlike some on the left we don't attempt to make our presence very visible in such struggles by demanding speakers on every campaign platform or turning up with hundreds of branded placards for every demonstration. That's because we recognise that this sort of behaviour is generally counter productive for winning on that particular issue and we don't put the interests of our organisation ahead of the interests of the struggles we are involved in.

One major negative side effect of this though is that it makes our involvement in struggles hard to see unless you know who our members are. To an extent you can construct a picture of what we are probably involved in through carefully following our press, Facebook and Twitter output. Although even this won't give a complete picture as it’s dependent on the members involved writing up experiences and advertising events, something that often won't happen.
What might perhaps be surprising is that even internally we don't have a very accurate picture of the range of our activity beyond some broad generalisations.

This is because most of our campaign activity is generated from members’ individual initiatives and informal linkages between members working in the same area. We maintain coherency not because we have a centre directing our activity (most of the left has a layer of 'full timers' who fill this role) but because we operate off a common collectively agreed set of political position papers. This means that in almost all cases the answer to 'what should be done' is fairly obvious, at least in a broad sense.

At times we do focus in on particular issues and operate in a more coordinated fashion where this is needed. Most frequently this will tend to be in mass struggles where the manipulations of left parties mean that there is a requirement to micro-manage a collective response, to avoid being blind-sided. The Campaign against the Household Tax (CAHWT) was one recent example. But as an all-volunteer organisation that seeks to work on a wide range of issues, including struggles against racism and sexism (what today is called an intersectional practice) we simply don't have the time resources for detailed coordination on every one of those issues. Many things inevitably happen on a looser, ad hoc basis.

At the start of the summer we held a WSM members discussion weekend in Cashel and as part of that attempted to map out what the activity of our members over the previous year had been. We are not a large organisation, we had around 34 members nationally at the time of the Cashel meeting, but all the same even internally it turned out that no one had anything approaching a full picture of our broad range of activity. We knew the most about activities that were regularly reported on by members, either publicly or through internal reports. But we might collectively know nothing about similar levels of work that were being conducted elsewhere, but not being reported on.

The method used was simple. Every member was asked to write down those external organisations they have been involved in at the level of attending organising meetings over the previous year. One piece of paper was used for each member’s involvement in each organisation. Then in Cashel we physically laid the pieces of paper out, the size of any stack for an organisation representing the amount of collective effort that had gone in. The stacks were moved around into natural groups, for instance the unions were grouped together as were the anti-racist groups. The resulting patterns were used for discussions about engagement that are beyond the scope of this article.

After Cashel I used photographs of the resulting maps to create the Cloud diagram seen here. As you can see it’s pretty complex with very many organisations represented, so to reduce the complexity I had to remove the information about the number of members involved in particular organisations. I also removed a lot of individual social networking initiatives, things like Facebook pages and profiles. The diagram is incomplete as not every member was able to attend the Cashel meeting and not everybody who didn't make it responded to a request to supply the information afterwards. But it is a first approximation of an answer to the 'What does the WSM do' question that we opened this section with.

Article continues here:  Solidarity, Engagement & the Revolutionary Organisation

Creating an Anarchist Theory of Privilege

Privilege and the theory around it is a significant topic of debate at the moment among those interested in radical social change. Touching on many issues dear to the hearts of anarchists, it is hard to avoid.(i) Yet, the two are not fitting together as well as they should and there is a sense of unease about this. (ii) Much of this is because privilege theory has emerged from US academic circles rather than anarchist ones and, ironically, has been co-opted to protect middle- class privileges. (iii) This is a situation in need of repair if we are to maintain our links with feminist, anti- racist and other struggles against oppression. If we are to create a mass movement capable of social change then it has to be able to engage with everyone in the first place.

Solidarity cannot be built on blithe assumptions we are getting it right by virtue of being anarchists, or that every oppressed group is our natural ally. Nor is not sustained by being patronising or repeating forms of oppression in daily interactions. Anarchist should sidestep the mistakes of liberal NGOs and policies that are more about assuaging guilt than genuine mutual aid. That requires recognising privileges we take for granted. Often privilege theory is nothing more than a useful tool for pointing out unacknowledged assumptions and behaviours that liberal-capitalist-patriarchal society has instilled and which ultimately throw up barriers between those who should be allies.

Article continues hereCreating an Anarchist Theory of Privilege

Monday, 28 October 2013

Give Poots the Boot!

Give Poots boot urge protesters: Irish News Fri. Oct. 18th 2013 Rally: 

Representatives from PBP, Foyle Pride, The Rainbow Project, Alliance for Choice & WSM held a 'Give Poots the Boot' protest in Derry's Guildhall Square.

Derry remembers tragic death of Savita Halappanavar

 As part of a country wide day of action in remembrance of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, activists in Derry stray painted a message of solidarity on Free Derry Corner, one year on from the death of Savita after being refused the right to terminate her pregnancy in UCG.

Workers Solidarity Movement & Savita
Irish Times Link

If Voting Changed Anything, They'd Make It Illegal!

Love him or hate him: Russell Brand, comedian and actor has taken discussion on voting and capitalism to another level following his appearance in News Night when he declared 'I've never voted, never will'.

Brand slated the current capitalist system expressing just how millions of working class people feel about successive left/right governments, their electoral system, their democracy, their capitalist system as well as those left 'alternatives' who continue to churn out the notion that our class can achieve real change or revolution through their ballots.

For an insight in to how we as anarchists view the current system and in particular the voting system follow the links below.

Anarchism & Elections

Brand on Newsnight

Direct action - an introduction

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Derry Rally against Poots

On Thursday a range of organisations and members of the public rallied in Derry's Guildhall Square to demand the resignation of Health Minister Edwin Poots. An estimated 50 people gathered on the steps of the newly renovated Guildhall demanding Poot's immediate resignation following a number of controversial decisions.  

In a week which a High Court Judge ruled that Edwin Poots’ ban on gay blood donation was ‘irrational’ and that he had ‘breached the ministerial code’ The rest of the UK has already lifted the all-out ban on gay blood donation, but Edwin Poots has consistently refused to do so here, even though blood from elsewhere in the UK, which includes the blood of gay men, is being imported to the North.  

The protest was supported by representatives from People Before Profit, Foyle Pride, The Rainbow Project, Alliance for Choice and the Workers Solidarity Movement as well as a number of trade unions.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Anarchist Review 8 is Out Now!

The 8th issue of Irish Anarchist Review is at the printers and 1,500 copies will be distributed at this weekends London Anarchist Bookfair. If you are going to the book fair (and if you are anywhere near London you should be) visit the WSM stall and pick up a few copies to distribute to people around you. If you'd like to pick up an entire bundle (50 copies) post a comment here to let us know to expect you.

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.

The contents of this issue are below

• Solidarity for ever?
• Apartheid, Irish style
• Horizons of our Imaginations: Anarchist & Educations
• Many shades, second sex.
• The conquest of Robots
• Creating an Anarchist Theory of Privilege
• Interview: Anti-Deportations Ireland.
• Solidarity, Engagement and the Revolutionary Organisation.
• Why I became an anarchist.
• Spanish Civil War walking tour.
• Book review.
• Interview: Quebec student movement.
 Facebook link: Irish Anarchist Review

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Give Poots The Boot!: Protest to take Religion out of our Health Care

Take religion out of our Health Care!
Equal rights for gays and straights!
Equal rights for women!

Edwin Poots, the DUP Health Minister is once again in the spotlight regarding his bigotry. A few days ago, a High Court judge accused Poots of breaching the ministerial code with regards to his policy on banning gay men from giving blood. 

The Gay Blood ban is very simply, a bigoted discriminatory ban, which remains in Northern Ireland (the rest of the UK have lifted it) because of Mr Poots personal prejudices. He is enforcing his own religious views on to government policy. The ban, is homophobic, it sends out a grossly homophobic message, and so helps to keep homophobia alive and well in Northern Ireland. It is a disgrace, it should be lifted, and Poots should resign. 
Guildhall Square,
Thurs. 17th Oct.
@ 1.30pm

Facebook event

Monday, 7 October 2013

Derry Anarchists have reached its limits!

Derry Anarchists have reached its limits.. of Facebook friends that is. 

We have reached 5000 friends. We would ask all our friends to click on the link below and like our main Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland) page which to date has an estimated 11,541 likes.

Derry Anarquistas ha llegado a su limite de amig@s en Facebook, 5000. Pedimos a nuest@s amig@s que hagan click en el enlace de abajo para 'gustar' nuestra pagina principal WSM (Irlanda) Movimento de Solidaridad de Trabajador@s que de momento tiene alrededor de 11,541 amig@s.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Belfast Anarchist Bookfair Success

Yesterdays Belfast Anarchist bookfair was a great success with organisers estimating between 100 and 150 people came through the doors. Photo is of one of the many meetings, this one titled Transitory Economics with Dr Conor McCabe - it was mostly about feminist economics, neoliberalism and social reproduction

Photo by Andrew Flood http://500px.com/AndrewFlood

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Anarchy in Derry

Anarchists in Derry hold twice monthly meetings which are informal and relaxed with the emphasis on organising locally. Some recent street activity centered around putting up posters and stickers on anarchism, anti-war or anti-cuts. 

We are also organising friendly and open discussions for people who are new to anarchism & seek answers to basic questions.

Conversations about Anarchism is our friendly discussion based sessions designed for people who are new or fairly new to anarchism and want a chance to ask and hear answered some basic questions.

It's open to anyone with an interest in finding out more about anarchism and will take place in the city centre as well.

If you wish to come along and get involved then please contact us before hand via our facebook page or email address: derryanarchists@gmail.com.

For more information about the Workers Solidarity Movement click on this link.

Monday, 30 September 2013

6th Belfast Anarchist Bookfair: Sat. 5th Oct.

The 6th Belfast Anarchist Bookfair promises to be packed with stalls, discussion and great craic. 
This year we are pleased to be hosting the 'official' launch of the Belfast Local of the Solidarity Federation, an affiliate of the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers Association.

The event takes place at the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2FG.
To book stalls at this years event please contact us by email via belfastsolfed@gmail.com
12.30 Social Housing - Co-operative Alternatives - speaker from North Belfast Housing Co-op Ltd,

1.30 Anarchists and the Abortion Struggle in Ireland - Suzanne Lee, WSM and SolFed,

2:30 Transitory Economics - Dr Conor McCabe (including discussion, Q&A )

3.30 The Uprising In Turkey- An International Anarchist movement - Andrew Flood, Workers Solidarity Movement

4.30 Rudolph (was a punk) Rocker - the relationship between anarchism and punk - Jim Donaghy.
5.15 Anarchist Tendencies in Ireland - speakers from WSM and SolFed Belfast Local.

There will be stalls throughout the day from a wide variety of groups selling books, handing out free materials and plenty of people happy to talk and share ideas.

Stalls from:

Abortion Rights Campaign
Anarchist Studies
Anti-Fascist Action
Anti-Racism Network Ireland
Art n Anarchy
Heretic Books - Belfast's new anarchist book distributors
North Belfast Housing Co-operative
PM Press
Revolutionary Anarcha-Feminist Group (RAG)
Saoirse Books
Seomra Spraoi
Solidarity Federation
Workers Solidarity Movement

And - A music gig at a secret location - to be announced soon ! 
Watch this space for further details!
Belfast Anarchist Bookfair on Facebook

Derry Action for Choice: Sept. 28th

Derry action which took place at Free Derry Corner on Sat. 28th Sept. to mark International Day of Action for the Decriminalisation of Abortion. Following this event activists distributed leaflets in the City Centre to highlight the continuing campaign. Please Share.

Friday, 27 September 2013

International Day of Action for the Decriminalisation of Abortion

Saturday September 28th will mark the International Day of Action for the Decriminalisation of Abortion , this is an initiative that sprung from Latin America in 1990 to highlight the inhumane circumstances endured by women in countries where access to abortion is partially or totally prohibited.

As part of this global campaign, Alliance for Choice call on the governments North and South to implement access to safe and legal abortion for women as part of their health care. We demand the right for women to control their own bodies and to be able to make the choices that are right for them to be respected and upheld for what it essentially is: a human right.

Photo call at 13:00 at free Derry wall. Everyone is welcome to come along and support the call for women's right to legal and safe abortions.

At 14:00 at Guildhall square for street action as part of the 28th of September global campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion.
Please share and come and show your support!!

CLASSE talk in Magee University

A special thanks to everyone who made the effort to attend this afternoon's talk in Magee University on 'Lessons of the Mass Student Strike in Quebec' by Vanessa the Quebec student union, combative national student union (CLASSE). 
To find out more about the group Classe please visit their site: http://www.studentstrike.net/
For an insight into the recent 7 minutes conversation Vanessa had on Sunday while in Dublin, mostly around Feminist organising and the strike click on to the following link: http://www.mixcloud.com/workerssolidarity/quebec-strudent-mass-strike-2012-sampler-from-tour-around-ireland-with-vanessa/

Monday, 23 September 2013

Derry Public Meeting: Lessons From The Mass Student Strike in Quebec

In 2012 the attempt by the government to Quebec to introduce a 75% fee hike was defeated by the organisation of a mass student strike that lasted over 6 months. That fee increase was part of the global process of imposing the privatisation and commodification of education. Since the victory, organisers of the strike have been being doing speaking tours to aid the process whereby "youth and students everywhere are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to organize as a means to defend education as a social right".

Why is Quebec different

"In Quebec, a student strike isn’t just a bunch of rallies, marches and occupations. The strike is a complete shutdown of all courses on campus : no classes, no exams and no evaluations are to take place while the strike is on. Once the strike is voted in a general assembly and comes into effect, picket lines are erected and classrooms are emptied. Everyone, students and faculty alike, is forced to respect the strike mandate. Universities and colleges affected by the strike see their academic calendars disrupted, and since no classes or grading is allowed to happen, degrees can’t be awarded.

During the 2012 strike, most student unions held general assemblies every week to decide whether or not to stay on strike until the next assembly. While doing so, students meeting each other could also discuss the orientation and the actions of the movement. These regular and populous assemblies were fundamental in creating empowerment and a deep investment into the movement among students." ( from http://www.studentstrike.net/ )

Our speaker Vanessa participated and organised at many levels of the strike in small horizontal and autonomous groups, but also as a delegate for her local student union in the most combative national student union (CLASSE). She says “as a feminist activist I was involved in the organization of many collectives projects directly linked with the strike, and as a delegate elected by my general assembly I was one of the transmitting tool necessary for the practice of direct democracy on a large scale”. “All my analysis of the experience of the strike is formed by my political ideas of feminism, class struggle and anti-hierarchy."

Tour organised by the Workers Solidarity Movement, co-hosted by Socialist Society at Magee University, Derry.

1pm Fri 27 Sept, Minor Hall, Main Building, Magee Campus, University of Ulster, Derry.

Facebook Event Here

Seán Morrin, Presente!

We just heard the sad news tonight that a friend and comrade Seán Morrin who died suddenly over the weekend

Devastating to think that such a social activist, a humanitarian is gone. 

Reading all the messages on Sean's facebook page shortly after news of his death broke, it is true that the LGBT community and Derry has lost a great friend and community activist.

We have posted here a great photo of Sean taken at a recent protest in Derry in solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia who are currently under attack.

Earlier today in tribute to Sean, the rainbow flag was erected on Free Derry corner in Derry, at half mast, in honour/memory him.