WSM Internal Education and Training

Date:

Policy on internal education in the WSM. Last updated Feb 2013.

 

a Workers Solidarity Movement policy statement

 

Internal Education and Training’

 


Internal Education and Training’

A coherent internal education policy is essential for the WSM, as for other groups. The purpose of this education, however, is not to ensure that everyone knows the 'correct line' on an issue, since policy is not passed down from above but decided by all members equally. Rather, internal education is necessary for ensuring that knowledge about different areas spreads through the organisation and for giving every member experience in researching and presenting information.

The list of topics for talks will be decided at a quarterly meeting. Those with the most support should then be undertaken by members with the time and ability to give an introductory talk. However, we must be able to react to what is going on around us and be prepared to drop what is on the educational discussion agenda for a discussion on a current event. It shall be the responsibility of the branch secretary to ensure that each member gives a talk at least twice per year. This is to ensure that everyone develops the necessary skills and confidence.

Talks will be presented at branch meetings, and subsequently published in the IB. Periodically, instead of the talk being given by one member, four members will be delegated to research an agreed topic, and each will deliver a short lead-off from their own view-point (rather than an agreed view between the four). If there are more than twelve present, the meeting will consider breaking into two or more groups for discussion, to ensure a greater flow of ideas and debate.

The internal discussions shall be collated together, and Education folders, containing articles on specific folders should be developed and maintained. This would be a resource which WSM members could draw on and add to as time goes by. At least we should have folders on Imperialism, Women's Oppression, Economics, and Racism. A 'Further Reading' List should be drawn up. This should list books that are both a good read and useful in developing our political education.

We need to develop a coherent internal education programme. This breaks down into a number of areas as follows

1) Basic stuff we all need to know to argue positions. We should be aiming for the situation where all members can write an article for WS or present a basic talk on any policy area.

2) A knowledge of the arguments and theories of both conservative parties and the left so that we can demonstrate our differenced with them and the superiority of Anarchist communism. This includes Leninism, reformism, left republicanism etc.

3) A knowledge of the arguments surrounding various "single issue" or minority campaigns. For example what the different strands of feminism represent, their good and bad points etc.

4) A historical knowledge of periods of major international struggle. Particularly Spain 1936 and Russia 1917-21. These need to be developed to considerable depth.

5) A good enough economic understanding to be able to discuss and analyse economic theories like imperialism, state capitalism, downturn etc.

6) A knowledge of past industrial and community struggle in Ireland and England so we can argue tactics in the light of past experience in campaigns.

Most of this we have to a certain extent already. We need to adopt a planned approach overall and to make sure all the members are taking part in the debate, not just some of us.

For this there are a number of things we can do. These include

1.There are areas where we are very weak on e.g. economics. These need to be identified and tackled as an organisation one by one. I would suggest we start with economics and the issues surrounding it, aim to have one branch meeting/month in connection with this and after a number of months have a dayschool to consolidate what we have learnt. Obviously this can be combined with 1) above.

2. There are areas where little anarchist work has been done which puts forward a useful anarchist perspective. One such area is womens oppression/liberation. These should be tacked by a couple of members who would co-ordinated reading/branch meetings with the aim of adding to the anarchist theory through pamphlets/articles in WS. The importance here is in co-ordinating this work within the organisation rather then going off and doing it as individuals.

3. The areas where we all need knowledge on can be dealt with be getting individuals to research an area and report back through the IB and branch meetings.

4. From time to time we should select one other current of left though, present material on it in the IB and do a branch meeting on it. These arguments need not even have anything we might agree with in them eg degenerate workers state analysis. The purpose is to equip each member with the necessary confidence and knowledge to argue against other left ideas and groups. This is no academic exercise, but vital to our ability to argue our ideas.

5. There should be two educationals a year which look at gender issues.

7. We will post useful articles to the internal website and use that for discussion.

8. People who are close and have expressed an interest in joining can be asked along to all branch meetings except those in week 3.

Internal Training

One of the primary goals of the revolutionary organisation is to assist the tendencies of self-organisation within the working class. We aim to do this through concrete involvement in struggles both on individual or organisational bases. To this end, the organisation will ensure that its members have the basic skills and knowledge necessary to actively support such struggle. Further, to become fully active in the organisation and ensure that no informal hierarchy can emerge, all members should be capable of being active in internal activity and debate.

1. The organisation will aim to ensure that all members are capable of becoming involved in the areas of social struggle that are viewed as important, i.e. workplace organising, community organising and social movement and campaign organising. Competence in each of these areas will include:
a. An understanding of the basic framework (rules, rights, definitions etc.)
b. An overview of the history of WSM involvement in each area
c. Specific analysis of case studies in each area, focusing on methods and models of intervention and responses to common situations.

2. The organisation will aim to ensure that all members are fully capable of participating in the internal functioning of the organisation and contributing to its internal work. This includes:
a. Internal Processes and Procedures
b. Internal Structure and Official Bodies/Positions
c. The skills necessary to contribute to the organisation’s propaganda, including writing skills, research skills, knowledge of the editorial process, submitting feedback to the official bodies etc.
d. Intervention in organisational policy, i.e. how to create and intervene in debate, policy formation etc. and how to gain resources/support for specific projects.

3. The Education Secretary will be responsible (in cooperation with the education/branch secretaries of local branches) for organising a series of day-schools to develop these skills and knowledge across the organisation. These will be held on a regional basis (i.e. Dublin, Belfast & Cork) and should aim to be concluded within a year of the National Conference passing this motion. One day-school will be devoted to the WSM itself, and one to each of the three areas of struggle, workplace community and social movements/campaigns. Following on from that, further such day-schools can be organised as necessary for new members.

4. The Education Secretary will coordinate the production of a specific document on each of these areas, which will summarise the information of the day-school. These will be given to each participant and will be made available throughout the organisation. In the case of the day-school on the WSM itself, the existing WSM Administration Pamphlet will be used and expanded as necessary.

5. People politically close to the organisation who we would look to cooperate with can be invited to attend.

6. Direction for the content of future day-schools will be taken from the closing session of each, to both improve the content of these Core Skills day-schools and to indicate future areas of training.

Technical training
1. Delegate council will supervise the construction of a goal driven step by step training program for all areas where the WSM requires technical skill. These include public speaking, web editing, desk top publishing, article writing, article editing, photography and photo editing, audio recording and editing, video recording and editing,

2. As a first step Education Sec will get an existing member with expertise in each area to draw up a multi-step training program designed to give a novice a set of achievable goals from the most basic to the most advanced skills in their area.

3. This chart will be finalised by Delegate Council and then branch delegates will get each member of their branch to mark their current position on each chart.

4. Each member will volunteer for at least one and no more than two of the technical training programs. DC will balance these applications against the skill needs of each branch of the WSM and of the organisation in general.

5. Branch secretaries will keep a copy of the chart for each training program in which each branch member is engaged in and record their progress. When a job of work comes up in a branch any member for whom this job would be the next goal will be encouraged to take it on with the support of someone who has already completed this goal.

6. The May & November DC's will review the records of progress along the chart and where necessary initiate formal training sessions.

7. The member will keep track of their progress on a copy of the chart that includes the points on the chart at which other members consider themselves at along with contact details for each of those members so that support can be requested from them.

8. Training will happen in the following ways - self achievement of the next step where members have the resources to do so
- periodic formal training sessions given by more expert members
- one on one training where more novice members complete specific tasks with the aid of more expert members

9. New members are invited to sign up for one of these programs by their second meeting as a full member. Anyone attending regular branch meetings with the intention of joining can sign up before this point if they wish.

10. All members are invited to sign up for at least one program.
 

Short Term Perspectives

S1.0 Towards an intersectional anarchism

1.1. Noting the present inadequacy of our understanding of gender and race issues, the WSM
commits to reassessing the position papers of the organisation, with a view to:
1.2 The collective development of systematic analyses of the oppression of women, queers, trans* people, people of colour and migrants, and the ways in which these oppressions intersect.
1.3 Affording a more central role in our theory to gender and race.
1.4. This process will not be effective if a working group, formal or informal, composed of those most interested in the process, whose functioning is separate to the internal life of the organisation, is allocated the task of this reassessment. It must involve a commitment from the whole organisation.
1.5 To facilitate this process,  branches will hold at least one educational relating to gender and race issues. See also S2.1 below.

S2.0 Educational Weekends
WSM should have two internal educational weekend gatherings per year in between national conferences. The coordination of ongoing educational work in the branches and nationally should feed into this process, as should the organisation's media work via IAR, WS and the internet. The focus of these weekends should be to reflect on our theory and praxis and the broader context in which we are active as an organisation.
The responsibility for organising these events in terms of logistics and programme should lie with the educational officer, but a working group consisting of members of each local branch should also be formed to do this work.
The broad content of the programme should be discussed in local branches, collated by the working group and decided on through Delegate Council.
Alternative locations to where we actually have active branches should be considered, so long as they do not hinder any members' capacity to attend.

S2.1 An educational weekend focusing on issues of gender and race will be organised before the Autumn conference.
S2.2. A weekend education & discussion school will be organised to occur immediately after the termination of summer college exams on the topic of 'Revolutionary organisation in the networked age'.
It will looks at publishing, engagement, workplace & community organising with prepared input from the WSM publication groups (IAR, WS, Internet), the Engagement group, and from community & workplace groups comprised of WSM members most involved in CAHWT & union organising.
The output from the weekend will be used to generate motions for Autumn conference generating or refining WSM position papers on these topics and on the role of the revolutionary organisation. [Short term section ammended Feb 2013]

Last updated Oct 2009

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