Revolutions are seldom made in favourable circumstances. Russia 1917 emerged from the mass slaughter of WWI and the disintegration of an economy under the pressure of the supply demands of that war. Spain 1936 emerged from a well planned and executed fascist coup amongst a powerful military backed and armed by international fascism. Schemas for revolution that depend on quiet times and plenty may well be doomed from the start.
That said it’s hard to imagine more impossible conditions for revolution than that of Rojava. A brutal civil war, 3 small areas of territory that were kept in a state of low development by the previous regime and are not even linked to each other. A fanatic army of barbaric religious extremists armed with captured looted US heavy weaponry attacking from one side, a hostile state quietly backing that army and closing its borders to the good guys on another and waiting in the wings the old regime and its long history of brutal counter insurgency. And above all this the tactical and strategic intervention of an imperialist power whose manipulations have devastated the land to the South East over a period of almost three decades.
The Syrian revolution is a revolution that began as a struggle for self-determination. The Syrian people demanded to determine their own destiny. And, for more than two years, against all odds, and in the face of massive repression and destruction from the Assad regime, they persevered. In the course of the revolutionary process, many other actors have also appeared on the scene to work against the struggle for self-determination. Iran and its militias, with the backing of Russia, came to the aid of the regime, to ensure the Syrian people would not be given this right. The jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham and others, under the guise of “fighting the Assad regime,” worked against this right as well. And I feel the same way about any Western intervention.
On the 30th January 1972 British soldiers opened fire on protesters in the city of Derry, north-west Ireland. Twenty six unarmed protesters were shot, 13 died immediately or within hours, one more died just over four months later. Derry was in the section of Ireland claimed by the British state and the shootings happened in the context of the suppression of a growing civil rights movement demanding equality for Catholics in the 6 of Ulster’s counties claimed by Britain.
Ireland has an indigenous revolutionary tradition that successfully mobilized tens if not hundreds of thousands in the struggle for more freedom over the 200 years since 1798. Irish republicanism has always included a radical democratic and leveling element and which continues to provide part of the culture of resistance of the most down trodden sections of the working class. Many believe this makes it the best base to build from, at the fifth Rethinking Revolution meeting Andrew Flood asked if they are right? This article contains the draft text of the talk and the audio recording of the meeting.
The Workers Solidarity Movement is calling for a No vote in the Lisbon referendum. It is a treaty for the rich, people in Ireland can do a lot better than a choice between the clowns in the Dáil or those in Brussels.
We oppose the EU's policies of privatisation, militarisation and attacks on workers' conditions but don’t insult people’s intelligence by saying that our current society in Ireland with its severe recession, diabolical public services and corruption is anything better. The major lack of democracy in our lives is not between us and the EU but between the Irish government and us.
The upcoming Lisbon vote is one of the rare occasions that the people get a direct say. But it’s only a very limited say. We get to choose between either a gombeen republic or an embryonic European state, neither of which makes for an exciting prospect.
Whichever way the vote goes, there is no indication that either a yes or a no vote will substantially alter the exclusion of the public from major public decisions. That requires a rethinking of the kind of society we want.
The problem is not the treaty alone but the EU as an institution.We call on people to Vote No to Lisbon but also to organise to take more control of our lives and to build real democracy in our communities and our workplaces.
This is a collection of articles published in Workers Solidarity Movement publications about Palestine over the last decade, articles written by our members for publication elsewhere and material re-published elsewhere in publications our members edited. Together they provide the start of an anarchist analysis of the roots of the conflict and paths out of it.
On the June 2007 Hamas against Fatah conflict in Palestine, the possibilities of the liberation struggle ahead and the responsibility of the international solidarity movement. Those who think that they’ll break the will to struggle through black mail, through carrot and stick, through hunger forget the fact that, as very few people in the world, the Palestinian people literally have nothing to lose but their chains.
The Workers Solidarity Movement position paper on Capitalist Globalisation and Imperialism, as ammended at July 2004 National Conference
WSM position paper on the partition of Ireland. Last debated and updated at the April 2009 conference.
Across the globe millions of people mobilised against the war in Iraq. On February 15th 100,000 people marched through the streets of Dublin in the biggest political protest in Southern Ireland for over 20 years. Around 15,000 demonstrated in Belfast on the same day.
The turnout on these demonstrations showed that the battle for public opinion had been won. Massive numbers of people opposed Bush and Blair's drive to war and the Irish government's role in it. But they seem to have had very little effect on the war. The governments concerned simply ignored them. In every country the anti-war movement was thus faced with the question of what to do next. After February 15th we should have expected to see the various movements internationally working on ways to stop the war despite the fact that their respective governments were ignoring them.