Intersectionality

What We Believe - WSM Points of Unity Explained - Audio

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This is a series explaining the 8 Points of Unity of the Workers Solidarity Movement - an anarchist organisation active on the island of Ireland. [Download PDF of these explanations]

The WSM regularly discusses, debates and decides on what our collective political approach is. The Points of Unity are the most basic political agreement necessary to be a WSM member or supporter. They are 8 short points which outline the anarchism the WSM stands for.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 7 - Oppression and Intersectionality

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'7. We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.'

While acknowledging the huge harm caused by capitalism and the state, our concerns do not end there. The Workers Solidarity Movement are anarchists because we oppose all forms of exploitation and oppression. All of the degradation, marginalisation, and violence, in this society. And so we recognise that patriarchy, racism, queerphobia, ableism, religious domination and sectarianism, xenophobia, and every way that joy is sucked out of our lives, are oppressive social systems in their own right which must be overthrown. While capitalism and the state are instrumental in spreading these oppressions, and while these oppressions are instrumental in sustaining capitalism and the state, they have their own independent existence and reasons to be wiped out.

Towards Womens Freedom

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The WSM's collectively agreed position on women's freedom as amended by the July 2017 WSM National Conference.

This position paper sits under the Patriarchy paper and does not repeat that material here.

Anarchism, Oppression & Exploitation - WSM position paper

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What is this?

This paper outlines how we the intersections of exploitation and oppressions and what approach the WSM takes in relation to this.  Our collective theoretical understanding is framed in the WSM Constitution’s core point of unity number 7: “We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.” 

That theory is informed by the individual and collective experiences of WSM members over 30 years and our adaption of anarchism to our local contexts which includes specific experiences of oppression and personal & historical experiences of the anti-colonial struggle in Ireland and elsewhere.  The development of this paper involved our own experiences being placed alongside our discussions of the broad set of writings and observations emerging from the anarchist and feminist study of the relationship between gender, class and race and in particular what is often referred to today as ‘Intersectionality’.

Trump & the myth of the progressive but misled 'white working class' voters

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Once it became clear that Trump was going to become the president of the USA, my Facebook feed became cluttered with attempts to understand how that could possibly happen.  How could a white supremacist, misogynist and utterly transparent snake oil salesman accumulate so many votes?  Those on the left both inside and outside the borders of the USA struggled to understand what had happened.

[Listen to the audio of this entire article]

A common conclusion in too many of these pieces is that the left needs to reach out, and listen to the concerns of, those who voted for him as a priority.  In a similar fashion to how sections of the left evaluated Brexit, they see a working class anti-establishment rebellion in the Trump vote from what they term the ‘white working class’. They believe that component was won by Trump because it has been neglected by the left - often, they will assert, because the rest of the left was distracted by what they call identity politics.

Theresa May elected but there can be no such thing as a feminist Tory

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Theresa May has just become the UK’s latest Prime Minister and the second ever woman Prime Minister. She’s certainly a decent orator paired with a comedian of a speech writer who wrote a statement filled with faux concern about making the “UK a country that works for all and not just the privileged few” – it’s as if she thinks we don’t know she’s a member of the privileged-few-loving Conservative Party, or as she reminded us, Conservative and Unionist Party (I’m not sure that’s supposed to make us feel better about the Tories…).

Why we say Black Lives Matter and not All Lives Matter

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Black Power salute in front of Black Lives Matter banner outside GPO in DublinThere's a funny glitch in both US and Irish society that whenever 'Black Lives Matter' (BLM) is said, inevitably there's an echo of 'All Lives Matter' (ALM). Like good social technicians let's try and fix that glitch.

Black Lives Matter is variously accused of being 'racist', 'divisive', and 'distracting' from what's 'really' happening and 'real' issues. But this is mistaken.

'Black Lives Matter' is not a statement made in a vaccuum, out of nowhere - 'Black Lives Matter' is a response. It's a direct response to every killing of a black person by the police, as agents of the white supremacist state. Every killing, and the subsequent indifference of (white) society and impunity of the killers, is a message: BANG, BANG, 'Black Lives Don't Matter'. 'No' is the reply, 'Black Lives Matter'.

Making sense of the Brexit tide of reaction and the reality of the racist vote

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The Leave / Brexit vote in the referendum came in the end as a surprise, a narrow win for Remain was expected. This may be because the core Leave vote was in the run-down white working class communities of the now desolate English and Welsh industrial zones. A population trapped in conditions of long-term unemployment and poverty who no one really pays much attention to anymore.

Some on the left have seized on the makeup of this core vote to suggest that there was some progressive element to the Brexit vote despite the campaign being led by racist hatemongers and wealthy US-oriented neoliberals. Mostly that’s a mixture of wishful thinking and post hoc justification for having called for a Leave vote in the first place, but it is true that a section of the working class, C2DEs in marketing speak, voted to Leave in close to a 2:1 ratio. Is the class composition of that vote enough to automatically make it progressive regardless of content? And what does it tell us that a section of the radical left seems to think the answer to that question is yes, that it is enough to be anti-establishment?

Refusing to Wait: Anarchism and Intersectionality - "Without justice there can be no love."--bell hooks

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Anarchism can learn a lot from the feminist movement. In many respects it already has. Anarcha-feminists have developed analyses of patriarchy that link it to the state form. We have learned from the slogan that "the personal is political" (e.g. men who espouse equality between all genders should treat the women in their lives with dignity and respect). We have learned that no revolutionary project can be complete while men systematically dominate and exploit women; that socialism is a rather empty goal--even if it is "stateless"--if men's domination of women is left intact.

A Basic Introduction to Anarcha Feminism

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“Women of all classes, races, and life circumstances have been on the receiving end of domination too long to want to exchange one set of masters for another.” - Carol Ehrlich

Anarchism is the idea that no one is more qualified than what you are to determine your own life and that you should have self/personal determination. It is the belief that power structures are oppressive and that only with the abolition of power will we be free. There is no end goal as there will always be power dynamics in our lives that need to be addressed and abolished in order to arrive at a society that is coercion free, community based and operating on the principles of direct democracy. Anarcha-feminism is the application of these anarchist policies to the Black Feminist theory of intersectionality.

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