Welcome to the tenth instalment of the Irish Anarchist Review, published for the 2014 London Anarchist Bookfair.
Five years ago, the Irish Anarchist Review replaced Red and Black Revolution as the magazine of the Workers Solidarity Movement. It’s mission was to fill a vacuum in Irish radical circles, to be a publication that raised questions and provoked debate, rather than laying out blueprints for success, as had been the norm in the more theoretical work of the left. It was established at a time where a fightback was believed to be imminent, when the expectation was that as the (economic) beatings continued, morale would improve.
The intervening years produced a series of false starts. The big ICTU demonstrations in the infancy of the crisis proved to be safety valves for the expulsion of steam from the rank and file, and were tightly controlled by the bureaucracy. The Occupy phenomenon was a reaction against that type of protest, and it did release a wave of creative energy, but it’s structurelessness ultimately had the same effect, and that energy escaped into the ether. There have also been strikes and occupations, the Unlock Nama campaign, the campaign against household and water taxes (CAHWT) and a massive resurgence in the campaign for abortion access.
The articles in the pages of this publication, have been the result of theorising our experiences as participants in these struggles, of trying to find a better way to resist all forms of authoritarian rule, be it that of capital, the church or the state. Now in our tenth issue, we can’t say that we have found all the answers, but we can say that we have contributed to a larger debate about revolutionary praxis. The IAR has always had two symbiotic elements, ideas and action; We act on our ideas and form ideas about our actions.
Right now a fightback against the water charges is developing. On Saturday 11th October, between sixty and one hundred thousand marched in Dublin in opposition to this draconian measure. This, at the moment is a very different type of movement to the CAHWT. Some unions are involved, and many of the actions carried out against meter installation have been spontaneous and community based, following the “networked protester” model of drawing inspiration from actions seen on social media. We will of course be following these developments and trying to draw conclusions, at the same time warning against allowing any campaign to be used as a platform for electoral opportunism, as was the case with CAHWT.
In addition to celebrating five years and ten issues of the IAR, we are also marking the thirtieth anniversary of the WSM. Over that time, the world has changed more than it had since the second world war, which has presented gargantuan challenges for the left in general and anarchism in particular. To try to meet these challenges, the WSM, not for the first time, is evolving. We remain committed to our libertarian socialist principles, to the fight for freedom and equality but we realise that our tactics can not remain the same, when facing an enemy that has shown the ability to recuperate left demands, to shift the goal posts when it looks like left wing ideas are gaining traction.
For that reason, even in the age of the “networked individual”, when the political terrain we stand on can alter many times over in the space of hours, we feel publications like this, that take a step back and coolly analyse the campaigns we have been involved in, our tactics and actions and those of the other side. We hope that you have enjoyed reading our output to date and that if you are involved in activism and have a left libertarian perspective, you would consider contributing to this project in the future, with articles of your own. From all of us on the editorial committee, thanks for reading.
Hope, Friendship and Surprise in the Zombie Time of Capitalism: An interview with Gustavo Esteva - Tom Murray
Turnips, Hammers and the Square; Why workplace occupations have faded - Andrew Flood
Futurism or the Future: A review of the Accelerationist Manifesto - Aidan Rowe
History: The first three years of the Workers Solidarity Movement
Fighting Back: Paris Bakery and EF Language School Workers Speak Out - Gregor Kerr
If you Hoist the Green Flag - Middlement and Market Rule in Ireland: An interview with Conor McCabe - Paul Bowman
A Prison by any Other Name: Fighting direct provision - Paul McAndrew
Review: Caliban and the Witch - Maria C
Editorial Committee: Mark Hoskins, Brian Fagan, Aidan Rowe, Aileen O' Carroll
Thanks to all members of the WSM for contributions, discussion & feedback.
Layout: Brian Fagan.