Alan MacSimóin

A collection of articles by the Irish anarchist writer Alan MacSimóin

Anarchism and the Trade Unions

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The Workers Solidarity Movement has, since its formation eight years ago, placed special emphasis on the struggles of trade unionists. Were we right? Why place this special emphasis on trade unions rather than any other organisation or campaign?

The Bank Strike: What went wrong?

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BANK WORKERS went back to work on April 27th. After three weeks on strike they voted narrowly to accept a revised offer from the big four banks.

The dispute began with a claim for a wage increase of 6.5%. The settlement only allowed for a 3% increase under the 'local bargaining' clause of the PESP, a lump sum of £1,000 in exchange for longer opening hours and one day's extra leave. The hidden agenda was the banks' desire to smash the staff union, the Irish Bank Officials Association.

When the unemployed elected their own TD

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A SURVEY carried out by the Connolly Unemployed Centre at three labour exchanges in Dublin's South Inner City during the recent local elections showed that 90% of respondents would vote for an unemployed party if there was one running. Is this a way forward in the fight for decent jobs for all who want them? It is worth taking a look at what happened in 1957 when an unemployed candidate made it into the Dáil.

What about human nature? Thinking about Anarchism

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A WORLD without war, famine, poverty, racism? A world where there are no bosses ordering us around and living off our work? A world where competition is replaced by co-operation and individual freedom? Sounds nice. Who wouldn't like to see it? But it can never happen, it runs against human nature. How many times have you heard that line? How many times have you been told that people are naturally selfish, greedy, prone to violence and short-sighted?

Industrial Relations Act .. Codes of Practice - Break this Law

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A BAN on strikes in 'essential services'. That was the call from the bosses and conservative politicians in the wake of the ESB workers dispute. The PDs and the Greens made reference to treating the ESB workers 'like the army', TDs from the main parties talked of a ban on strikes in 'essential services', making them more difficult to have, or compensating workers who lost their right to strike.

The Tasks Facing Anarchists in Ireland

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I want to start off by thanking the organisers for providing the Workers Solidarity Movement with this opportunity to put forward our assessment of the tasks facing anarchists in Ireland.

Why the Working Class?

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The Workers Solidarity Movement say that a mass anarchist movement capable of getting rid of the division of society into bosses & workers, order-givers & order takers and building a new society must be based on the working class and its struggles. This is not some abstract dogma but follows on from our understanding of how change can be brought about.

Trade Unionists and Unemployed Against the Programme (PESP)

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OVER 350 SHOP stewards and trade union activists sponsored the unofficial 'Trade Unionists and Unemployed Against the Programme' (TUUAP) grouping which campaigned for a 'NO' vote on the PESP. Over 100 regularly attended TUUAP meetings in the main cities and towns. Many of these had long records as militants fighting against centralised bargaining, for more democracy in the unions and for solidarity with workers in struggle.

An anarchist critique of Lenin

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THE COLLAPSE of the regimes in Eastern Europe has thrown up all sorts of questions about socialism. So let's go back to the beginning. The Russian revolution of 1917 was, initially, a shot in the arm for socialists everywhere. It was possible, it existed and now it only remained to imitate it everywhere else. But as time passed it became obvious that something had gone terribly wrong. Instead of being the inspiring picture of our future, Russia had turned into a squalid class-ridden dictatorship. As purge followed purge and the new rulers allocated themselves the best of everything, the socialist movement in the West floundered as it sought explanations for what had gone wrong.

Class - thinking about anarchism

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WHY IS THE concept of class so important to anarchists? Why are we constantly talking about classes and class struggle? Some of our opponents accuse us of living in the past, they claim the working class is dying out. After all you don't see too many workers wandering around in donkey jackets, cloth caps and heavy boots. So that settles the question, doesn't it? No, it doesn't, so let us get away from silly caricatures and get down to basics.The modern world, like the societies that preceded it, does not consist of a single group of people who have more in common than they have dividing them. Sadly there is no single 'humanity', not yet. In every country there is still a division of people into classes which have conflicting interests.

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