WSM Points of Unity Explained: 4 - Platformism (2)

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This magazine is dedicated to understanding the contemporary political, economic and social situation that confronts us, and finding ways to advance alternatives.</span></p>\r\n<p>\r\n <a href=\"http://www.wsm.ie/sites/default/files/Irish%20Anarchist%20Review%202.pdf\">Download The Irish Anarchist Review Issue 2</a><br />\r\n <br />\r\n <span style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\">Our first issue was released in the aftermath of major strikes across the public sector. Despite decades of partnership, a deflated union movement and an intense barrage of media bile, Irish workers showed their willingness to take to picket lines to fight the Government.</span><br />\r\n <br />\r\n <span style=\"font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;\">Now, however, we can see that the union leadership were not willing to fight - they quickly demobilised strike action to return to the bargaining table, squeezing out a disgraceful deal in Croke Park negotiations. Now, without opposition, the Government calmly talks of four-years of &lsquo;hair-shirt&rsquo; budgets to restore the national finances.</span></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.02902966461054018\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7781\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:25:\"Irish Anarchist Review 9 \";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:2965:\"<div>\r\n <img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/IAR%209%20cover.jpg\" style=\"width: 300px; float: right; height: 371px\" />\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">Welcome to Issue nine of the Irish Anarchist Review, published for the 2014 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair.</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">EDITORIAL:&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\"><span id=\"docs-internal-guid-190bca18-63de-9052-6ec9-e71bba2d1e54\"><span style=\"background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; white-space: pre-wrap; color: rgb(0,0,0); font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline\">We&#39;ve been hearing scare stories about the damage being done to the environment by co2 emissions for decades now. Terms like &ldquo;climate change&rdquo;, &ldquo;greenhouse effect&rdquo;, &ldquo;the ozone layer&rdquo; (more importantly, the holes in the ozone layer) and &ldquo;global warming&rdquo;, are part of everyday language. We know that the polar ice caps are melting, causing sea levels to rise and we know that the weather is doing crazy things in parts of the world that are usually temperate. And, we know that all this is being caused by the stuff we produce and how we produce it. What has our response been?</span></span></p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <br />\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\"><span id=\"docs-internal-guid-190bca18-63de-9052-6ec9-e71bba2d1e54\"><span style=\"background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; white-space: pre-wrap; color: rgb(0,0,0); font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline\">By and large, we&#39;ve done nothing. In fact we&#39;ve done the opposite. We&#39;ve continued to create stuff. More and more stuff. We produce enough food to feed the world at least twice over and a third of it is wasted. We produce gadgets we don&#39;t really need, war machines to subjugate people, we plan obsolescence so that we have to keep producing things to replace other things so that the wheels of the global economy keep turning and profit keeps accumulating. Billions of humans, across the planet, spend a large chunk of every day, doing things they&#39;d prefer not to to produce things they don&#39;t need in a process that is making the planet unfit for their habitation.</span></span></p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">&nbsp;</p>\r\n <p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt\">\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.030476423008811124\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:73;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:2;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:1;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1566303702, expire = 1566304002, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:a81c5b2d52af9e9b584105b59542ff7d' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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'4. The core ideas of this tradition that we identify with are the need for anarchist political organisations that seek to develop:

  1. Theoretical Unity
  2. Tactical Unity       
  3. Collective Action and Discipline       
  4. Federalism’

Federalism is an organisational structure based on “the free agreement of individuals and organisations to work collectively towards a common objective”. It is finding the best balance between independence and coherence. This means, for example, that all decisions are made by those affected by them as opposed to centralism, where decisions are made by a central committee for those affected by them. Or that while all WSM branches are united under a common national policy, they can make their own local decisions. It also means that we have no leaders or officials with higher authority than others. Rather, we have 'officers' who are delegated temporary authority to perform certain tasks as mandated by the membership (for instance, to be treasurer).

Theoretical Unity means simply that if you fundamentally disagree with someone, don’t be in a political group with them. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree all the time but there does need to be a certain baseline amount of ideological unity – for instance in the WSM's nine points of unity. Otherwise, basic ideological disagreements will frequently break out and make effective organising very difficult - are we communists or mutualists, do we work in the unions or not, etc. Further to this, theoretical unity also means developing a more advanced collective political understanding which carries over time. The WSM does this formally by producing substantial 'position papers' on certain topics (like racism, or ecology). Though it is not required to agree with every point, these position papers represent the collectively agreed politics of the WSM. This theoretical unity allows us to act more decisively, to concentrate our resources and hence have greater influence.

Tactical Unity means that the members of an organisation should struggle together as an organised force rather than as individuals. Once a strategy has been agreed by the collective all members should work towards ensuring its success, saving resources and time and multiplying our effect as individuals by concentrating in a common direction. For example, making intervening in a particular campaign the main focus of our collective activity, or forming a working group to host an event.

Collective Action and Discipline means that there is a minimum expected commitment of each member, that they should take part in the collective decision-making process and respect the decisions of the collective, and also that the organisation is accountable to the individual.

In this manner we try to tackle some of the problems that have faced the anarchist movement, which we believe are partly due to lack of organisation, while at the same time being consistent with the libertarian ideas of free association, self-management, and democracy.


This is one in a series of short articles explaining the WSM Points of Unity.
To listen to all these pieces together, click here.
To read all the WSM Points of Unity, click here.
To read about the next Point of Unity - Trade Unions - click here.

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