What this paper does...
The left talks about class in ways that are often contradictory and confusing. This paper represented our collective use of class and how we understand exploitation. The scope of what we cover means that it necessarily makes sweeping generalisations but the goal is to sketch what our collective perspective is around these, not to be an educational resource in itself.
What this paper is...
What we summarise below is what the WSM has collectively agreed are the prospects for struggle in the short and medium term both in terms of global and local capitalism but more importantly of the existing movements and struggles and those we think are coming into existence. It should be read in conjunction with ‘The Role of the Anarchist Organisation’ which is the long term strategic view within which these short and medium terms considerations are shaped. Fundamentally we think ‘kick it till it breaks’ leads to burnout and inactivity. Sustained organising over decades requires a collective understanding and identification of the moments of opportunity scattered through the periods of preparation and experimentation.
What is this?
This paper outlines how we the intersections of exploitation and oppressions and what approach the WSM takes in relation to this. Our collective theoretical understanding is framed in the WSM Constitution’s core point of unity number 7: “We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.”
That theory is informed by the individual and collective experiences of WSM members over 30 years and our adaption of anarchism to our local contexts which includes specific experiences of oppression and personal & historical experiences of the anti-colonial struggle in Ireland and elsewhere. The development of this paper involved our own experiences being placed alongside our discussions of the broad set of writings and observations emerging from the anarchist and feminist study of the relationship between gender, class and race and in particular what is often referred to today as ‘Intersectionality’.
On Sunday, a group of WSM and other anarchists took part in the annual March for Justice in Derry which commemorates the civil rights marchers who were shot dead by the British Parachute Regiment on 30 January 1972.
We awake to news that more towns in Ireland are under water due to storm flooding. And that perhaps the sea ice at the north pole might melt due to temperatures rising above zero. The first story is given a lot more prominence in Irish media than the second but strangely at the same time another story is being celebrated. The start of yet more greenhouse gases being pumped out of their safe place far below the sea off the Irish shore to be processed and then released into the atmosphere via the Corrib refinery.
A collectively agreed document on WSM publications as drawn up by National Conference Nov 2015
A photo of the body of 3 year old Aylan Kurdi, drowned on the beaches of Fortress Europe has gone viral and appeared on the front pages of many papers across the world. Aylan died with his brother and his mother. All were apparently fleeing the murderous ISIS onslaught on Kobane
Let's not send gunboats to rescue the drowning, let's send ferries to provide safe crossings for the living.
Let's not build detention camps on Greek islands, let's remove the requirement that airlines check visas before people can board.
1. To popularise the idea that an anarchist society is desirable and that it is reachable if enough people organise for it.
2. To encourage the use of anarchist methodologies in day to day organising efforts.
3. To expose the class nature of capitalist society and to argue that class organisation is fundamental to overthrowing capitalism and creating a new society.
4. To demonstrate the links between the issues that people struggle around and how these struggles often do not stand in isolation from each other.
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.
It is becoming very clear is that there is no national solution to the crisis, even at the level of seizing the wealth of the 1% who live in Ireland. The debt is now too colossal and, in any case, the 1% have been given the needed time to move much of their liquid assets out of the country. The recent payment of a billion dollars in unsecured debt to those who gambled on Anglo is one of the final steps in that process. Confiscation of what they cannot move continues to be needed but there is no longer a radical social democratic solution based on taxing the wealth of the domestic 1%.