Irish Anarchist Review no 8 - Autumn 2013

Date:

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.

Contents:
All of IAR8 is now online and linked below.  You can access a high quality PDF on scribd, a lower quality PDF is embedded in this post at the bottom. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get notification when future editions are published.

2013 has been a year of commemoration for the labour movement. In official and unofficial celebrations alike, the word solidarity has loomed large. Rather than acting as a beacon of hope, however, it hangs precariously, like a red neon lit sign on a crumbling building. It may feel good as we shout and whoop, “Solidarity!”, it may give us a giddy little thrill, but when the banners are packed away, when we’re back home, with our feet up watching television, do we think about it anymore? Do we concern ourselves with the fact that the solidarity our movement has celebrated has been solidarity for the few. Do we think about those left behind?

The idea of solidarity, for the trade union movement, revolved around the idea that “an injury to one, is an injury to (or the concern of) all”, and the tactic of the sympathetic strike. This notion of solidarity however, while helping to lift the standard of living of a small Irish industrial working class, never extended beyond the workplace. The idea that unions could not be political and could only fight on economic issues took hold.

Those left behind included the thousands of women, including one hundred and fifty five, found in unmarked graves in Dublin, who had suffered sexual, psychological and physical abuse in the Magdalene Asylums, right up until the 1990’s. Though, only then, did the true horrors of what had happened in the “laundries” come out in the open, that these places existed, had been a thinly veiled secret. Women who became pregnant outside of marriage, the sex workers of the Monto, or any other woman who did not confirm to the idea of faith, family and nation, could have their lives snatched away from them as the labour movement cowered in the shadow of the bishops cloak.

In the 1930’s, when workers in Spain fought fascism, died, were imprisoned and tortured in their thousands, the Irish labour movement forgot about any notion of solidarity, as again, they feared the power of the Irish church. If an “injury to one”, was “the concern of all”, then surely, the annihilation of the the working class of the Iberian peninsula at the hands of the reactionary, ultra-catholic fascist regime, should have seen the mobilisation of Irish workers, by those who were best placed to do so.

Today, as the professional union bureaucrats, wax lyrical about the struggles of one hundred years ago, as they laud their ability to protect the interests of their members against the worst aspects of austerity, a suspect claim in it’s own right, they are willing to leave behind asylum seekers who languish in direct provision centers. They refuse to recognise sex work as work, and support the moralistic crusade of an organisation with links to the religious orders who ran the Magdalene Asylums, that would see the standard of living of these workers drastically decline; and still, when around four thousand women a year are traveling to Britain for abortions, the gentlemen of ICTU, refuse to support the fight for abortion rights.

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.

We hope the articles here, provide some food for thought and we encourage our readers to reply with articles of their own.

 

IAR team:
Editorial Committee: Paul Bowman, Farah Azadi, Mark Hoskins, Brian Fagan, Dermot Sreenan, Leticia Ortega. Thanks to all members of the WSM for contributions, discussion & feedback.
Authors: Paul Bowman, Mark Hoskins, Farah Azadi, Tom Murray, Leticia Ortega, T.J., Vanessa Gauthier Vela, Nepele, D. Sreenan, Andrew Flood.
Layout: Brian Fagan.

About the WSM
The Workers Solidarity Movement was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1984 following discussions by a number of local anarchist groups on the need for a national anarchist organisation. At that time with unemployment and inequality on the rise, there seemed every reason to argue for anarchism and for a revolutionary change in Irish society. This has not changed.

Like most socialists we share a fundamental belief that capitalism is the problem. We believe that as a system it must be ended, that the wealth of society should be commonly owned and that its resources should be used to serve the needs of humanity as a whole and not those of a small greedy minority. But, just as importantly, we see this struggle against capitalism as also being a struggle for freedom.

We believe that socialism and freedom must go together, that we cannot have one without the other. Anarchism has always stood for individual freedom. But it also stands for democracy. We believe in democratising the workplace and in workers taking control of all industry. We believe that this is the only real alternative to capitalism with its ongoing reliance on hierarchy and oppression and its depletion of the world’s resources
 

contact us:
PO Box 1528, Dublin 8
Facebook: Workers Solidarity Movement
Facebook: IrishAnarchistReview
Twitter: @WSMIreland

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