Report of Spring 2006 WSM National Conference


The Workers Solidarity Movement recently held its Spring 2006 conference in Dublin. The conference was comparatively low key with debates on a number of details of position papers in comparison to recent conferences that spent much of the time on major redrafts of position papers. Around two thirds of the membership attended.

Conference opens with questioning the reports given by various office holders, editorial committees etc. A summary of these reports follows - quite a lot of details and indeed areas involving relationships with other groups have been removed, as these were not written for public consumption.


National secretary’s report

This period has seen a modest growth in membership made more significant because one of them is from Derry which is the first time ever we have had a member living outside of Dublin or Cork. Our current membership is divided into two Dublin branches, one Cork branch and one member in Derry.

Delegate Council
The major success of this period has been implementing the new Delegate Council structure that came out of the October National Conference. This has successfully dealt with a lot of the tedious bureaucratic decisions as to how it would function and has adopted standing orders on these for the future. As well as a number of good discussions it also managed to agree a leaflet for Irish Ferries (a couple of thousand of which were distributed), agree a new ‘Join the WSM document’ and insert a number of new sections into the short term sections of position papers. In addition by holding the DC meetings in Limerick and Waterford delegates were able to play a valuable role in promoting meetings there for the National Speaking tour.

National Speaking Tour
The tour has been quite successful to date with good meetings being held in Derry, Dun Laoghaire, Waterford and Limerick. More meetings for the National Speaking Tour should be taking place in Belfast, Galway, Maynooth and Kilkenny in the coming months.

Jack White branch are to be congratulated for doing a very good job of organising the 1st Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. I would estimate in the region of 400 people attended it at some point during the day.

Chomsky meeting
1st of May branch did a good job of contacting and organising a meeting with Noam Chomsky when he was in Dublin. Limitations set by his tour organisers meant that the meeting was during a working day and that we could not advertise it but all the same up to 90 libertarians attended the meeting and around 60% stayed for a discussion of the future of anarchism in Ireland that followed the meeting. A video should be coming out that was shot during the meeting.


International secretary’s report

We sent a donation towards the printing of a pamphlet in Hindu on the Hay Market Martyrs and a parcel of back issues of Red and Black Revolutions and Workers Solidarity to a comrade in Brazil.

In June we are organising a Lynx gig to raise some cash for the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall.

In the discussion of this report we discussed the lack of activity around International Libertarian Solidarity (SIL) and resolved to implement our decision to start sending activity report to the SIL list as a way of encouraging others to do the same.

We wanted to get a delegate to the London Mayday 06 meeting but couldn’t given the short notice given. We felt that the ESF in Greece was not an official priority


Anarkismo report for National Conference for period May 2005 - April 2006

Anarkismo is a new international anarchist communist project that arose out of discussion involving WSM members and other anarchist communists involved in the earlier Anarchist-Platform project. It publicly launched just under a year ago on Mayday 2005. See

At the time of launch the internal decision making structure was composed of the individuals involved in the site. Over the following 6 months it recruited a number of other individuals from anarchist communist groups. By the autumn it was ready to hand over decision making to those groups who had indicated they agreed with the Anarkismo goals and editorial statement.

Delegates make decisions on the future of the site from WSM, OCL (Chile), ZACF, OAD (Greece), FdCA (Italy). COAG (Brazil). We have individuals involved as ‘helpers’ (they work on the site but have no vote) from NEFAC (USA and Canada), ACL (Mexico), OSL (Argentina) AKI (Turkey), AL (France), MACG (Australia), as well as individuals from Norway and Britain.

Traffic has grown considerably over the year; stats from November indicated around 3500 visitors a day. We are listed on google news, which means that a fair proportion of this is not from anarchists.

Overall I think developments in the first year have been very positive in particular considering the many technical difficulties that have to be overcome. It would be useful if the WSM could delegate a member or two as active helpers on the project in addition to our delegate.

The discussion agreed to delegate a helper to Anarkismo


Red and Black Revolution Report

The October issue came out in time for the London Bookfair. The Jack White branch also had a launch of it.

The May issues is still a work in progress, and will be late. Part of the difficulty is Christmas, which makes the timing of deadlines awkward. Next year I will suggest that the first deadline fall in the first week of December so we can take the month of December out of our calculations all together. The issue should be out at the beginning of June.

The discussion centred around the problems we have having getting effective distribution of Red and Black Revolution.


Bookservice report

The most popular titles were Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (11 copies), ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman (10), For Workers Power by Maurice Brinton (6) and Misfit by Jack White (8).

The biggest sales were at the Grassroots Gathering and the WSM Day School. Most others were by post or to members and callers to the office.

A NEW CATALOGUE will be out (on the web site at ) soon – I’m trying to make sure that we only advertise titles which are likely to be in good supply for the year.


Cork branch report

Currently active in Shell to Sea campaign both locally (Public meetings, protests, stalls) and with forays to Solidarity camp where one member has been a regular.

In the Cork Auntonomous Zone we have been aiding expansion with acquisition of upstairs (2 new rooms plus kitchen and bathroom)

One member finished his yearlong stint on the Independent Workers Union National exec and we regularly attend branch meetings and are active in projects.
We have links with Chase and have attended some actions.
Three members now part of Barracka Books workers co-op

One member travelled to G8 protests in Scotland

WSM local work
Last public meeting was on the G8. There were a few open meetings the best would be the NEFAC one. We now distribute 1000 approx WS. We completed a serious branch review over winter and early spring. We restructured meetings and positions. We streamlined the branch and gave it more focus. Now working on affinity and group dynamics. This is an ongoing process.

WSM National work
Members serving on WS editorial, Red and Black editorial and member attending WSM mna.
Ran public meeting in Limerick and Waterford
Hosted two Delegate Council meetings.
Attended bookfair.

Large anarchist/libertarian pool now in Cork. We are serious and taken seriously. A few more people and we would have a mighty impact.


Dublin – Jack White branch report

Bookfair: Took up most of our organising time till beginning of March. Generally felt to have gone well.

Educationals: Were going okay until March, when the scheduled ones didn’t take place. We had interesting discussions on religion, moneyless economy and insurrectionism. The more advance notice that folks leading off give if they are unable to make it the better. The post-branch talks are a good way for non-members to make contact.


Dublin – 1st of May branch – no report received. This is one of a number of areas for which conference didn’t receive a report.


General perspective discussion

We have found it useful at each conference to spend 60- 90 minutes on a general discussion of perspectives before we move on to the specifics of the motions. This helps give all the members a sense of how we see things generally and is also useful at identifying problems and opportunities that are not otherwise raised.

These are general notes on the discussion.

It was noted that we are at the moment in a fairly low level of struggle. Someone said that we were in a period of defensive fights and needed some criteria of success for our work in campaigns.

We are good at organising projects, but not so good at follow up.

Worries were expressed at the decline in collective work in the WSM. We are still working with the challenge of working as an organisation of a number of branches. The delegate council however was felt to be a success- but isn’t being used to co-ordinate campaign work. We also need branches to discuss how they can implement national decisions on a local basis.

It was noted that little progress had been made on the community strategy.

It was also felt in Dublin that there was little informal contact between the branches and this was a pity.

We did well with the Book Fair and with Chomsky’s meeting.

There seems to be a continuing growth of an anarchist sub-culture in Ireland – anarchist youth, revolt video, the RAG collective, the Polish anarchists and anarchist legal support were mentioned as well as the (not exclusively anarchist) Seomra Spraoi.

It was felt that we needed to have a discussion of Workers Solidarity both in terms of content and our distribution strategy.

As an organisation, some felt we are a bit forbidding.

There was a discussion of what areas to prioritise. Campaigns mentioned were Rossport, Anti-War, Precariety work, anti-electorism.

There was a discussion about moving beyond the anarchist milieu to the general left but some felt that there wasn’t anything qualitively better about the non-anarchist milieu.

There was criticism of our lack of educationals, and the lack of co-ordination of branch work.

In the course of the discussion the ideas of working groups, focused on different campaigns, emerged as a way in which organisational work could be co-ordinated.

After a break for lunch Conference then moved on to discussing, amending and voting on the various motions submitted. The URL at the end of each section is the location of the amended position paper.

WSM policy is contained in our position papers – written documents that can be amended at any National Conference and whose short-term sections can be amended by Delegate Committee. From the previous conference we had decided that any paper that had not been debated in the previous three years would have to come up for ratification at the next conference and it is was not ratified it would be retired. This conference saw a number of old papers being retired (they are still online at ) We also agreed re-dividing the papers into administration and policy ones and updating the description of them to reflect this.

There were three amendments passed, they simplified the way Delegate Council decision making functions, allowed DC to ratify the short term sections of papers and made the WSM web site the place of record for DC minutes.

The Partition of Ireland
A proposed amendment to the Partition of Ireland paper which would have added to the section 23.2 on Orange Order marches in light of the Dublin riot was one of the most discussed items at the conference. In the end conference decided that it preferred the section as it stood and voted down this amendment.

A motion from WSM-mna (women in the WSM) was passed mandating the organisation of a “internal day school on rape, sexual harassment and safer spaces”.

This was one of four motions from WSM-mna which is a group set up by women members of the WSM for women in the WSM.

Our publications
Amendments to this paper included reserving a place for women members on the editorial committees of both Workers Solidarity and Red and Black Revolution, and mandating that articles / graphics by or about women be included. Each committee was also given the role of helping new members write articles, including providing feedback on the editorial process. Finally the Workers Solidarity committee was given considerable flexibility in determining both total print run and the number of issues for each year.

Internal Education
Conference agreed to hold two educations a year on gender issues and to post useful articles to the web site.

Trade Unions
Conference decided to set up working groups wherever there are 3 or more WSM members in a particular industry

Internal bulletin
A number of amendments were passed reflecting the way that the internet is increasingly used to archive minutes etc but preserving the IB as a printed document produced for National Conferences

The internet
In a similar manner a number of amendments were made to this paper to reflect the switch from email to bulletin board style communication. We also scrapped a theoretical online short term decision making structure that had been agreed but never used as Delegate Council now fills this function.

The final session of the conference included looking at new logo designs for the WSM and identifying through a PR vote which designs members were most keen on. The result of this is being used for further work on a new logo.

At every WSM conference every position is open to election. In addition no position can be held by the same person for more than three years. Among other posts that of International Secretary changed hands at this conference. Contact addresses remain the same.

Finally a late motion saying we would make a major effort to get to the Rossport Solidarity Camp event over the June bank holiday was discussed and approved.

The next WSM conference should take place around October/November 2006.