DANIEL GUERIN DIED on the night of April 13th last (1988). He was 84 years of age. The news reached us when the summer issue of Workers Solidarity was already in preparation, hence this belated obituary. One of France's best revolutionary activists and thinkers, he was best known in Ireland as the author of books such as Fascism and Big Business, 100 Years of Labour in the USA and Anarchism.
A statement issued in 1988 after internal disagreements within the WSM had led to its partial collapse. Those whom remained and rebuilt the organisation in the following years offered this analysis of what had been acheived and what had gone wrong.
ALEXANDER BERKMAN was no mere theorist. All his life he was an active anarchist militant. Born in Russia, by the age of fifteen he had been expelled from school for membership of a group which met to read radical books. By the age of nineteen he was in America and active in a revolutionary anarchist group.
Is Sinn Féin swinging to the left? It is as clear as day that there have been huge changes in the Republican Movement since the 1981 Hunger strike. What do these changes add up to, what sort of party is Sinn Féin today, what are its politics, what is its goal?
THE "DEFEND THE CLINICS Campaign" is running out of steam. The recent Information Picket on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge attracted only 20 people. It is unable to mobilise large numbers. Even those political parties with a pro-abortion policy are running scared of even raising the issue. It is not too surprising. It is only five years since the "pro-life" amendment to the constitution was voted through 2:1, and it is debatable how many of those who voted against were actually voting in favour of abortion rights. Since then there has been a further shift to the right in Ireland. Even the promotion of condoms as a means of preventing the spread of AIDS was a matter of great controversy.
WE ARE BACK. It is almost a year since the last issue of Workers Solidarity and you want to know what happened. Ireland has little or no anarchist tradition so rather than just learning from those who went before us we had to make a fair few mistakes while we were developing our politics and building the Workers Solidarity Movement. The biggest mistake we made was putting too much emphasis on day-to-day activities at the expense of achieving a deeper and clearer understanding of the anarchist idea; it's libertarian values as well as its socialist goal.
Articles from the three issues of Workers Solidarity published from the Summer of 1988 to the Spring of 1989. In this period it was a 20A4 page magazine in format. This is a selection of the articles, once we scan the remaining ones we will add them to the site.
As said earlier Anarchists are against the state - all states, whether they be liberal democratic, monarchist or totalitarian. Anarchists view the state (the standing army, police, government, bureaucracy) as the organ through which the ruling class maintains its control over the majority of the population. Central to anarchism is the belief that the state must be smashed and replaced by a system based on workers' and community councils. Delegates from each workplace and community would go to regional councils which would then send delegates to a national and, eventually, international council. Delegates would be clearly mandated and all major decisions would be made at assemblies of workers.
The behaviour of the Spanish Communist Party and the United Socialist Party of a Catalonia (PSUC) had more to do with what was in the best interests of Stalin than what was in the best interests of the Spanish working class. They went out of their way to deny that a revolution had taken place. Then they did all they could to repress this revolution they pretended had not happened. As far as they were concerned the Civil War was only about restoring democracy to Spain. To see why they took this attitude we have to look outside Spain.
Anarchism is a most misunderstood set of ideas. It is constantly portrayed as meaning chaos and violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists believe in creating a classless society. They oppose capitalism as a system that puts the profits of a small minority of bosses before the needs of the vast majority. It is a system based on the exploitation of workers, a system that inevitably causes poverty starvation and war. Anarchists oppose authority in the sense of opposing the 'right' of any small minority to have power over everyone else. They oppose the State (meaning government, army, police, courts) as an institution whose purpose is to enforce the will of a minority on the majority.