Report on WSM National Conference 2016

Date:

The Workers Solidarity Movement had our Autumn national conference in Dublin on the 22nd October. What follows is a brief report on the days proceedings.

What is WSM National Conference?

National Conference is the ultimate decision-making body for WSM members. It happens every six months and takes place over a day or two. We discuss motions on collective policy, reflect on the past six months of activity and map prospects for the next period.

Conference normally begins with reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups.  This might cover areas like current campaigns, publications, education, engagement and administration as well as organising Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. We then move on to an open discussion of our perspectives before discussing amendments to our position papers.

We interrupted National Conference this year in order to take part in a demonstration outside the Central Bank in support of a 17 year old water charges demonstrator from Jobstown. 

This is direct democracy in action. If this appeals to you, you might consider finding out more about the WSM and what we anarchists are up to. (Not on our contact system? Self register here)

Reports

The outgoing National Secretary reported a rise in the number of people engaging with the WSM across all our social media rising to 75695 in 2016. This includes Facebook (WSM Page 65800; Solidarity Times 8800), Twitter (6571), Youtube (652) and Mixcloud (832). There followed a discussion on ensuring we engage with new contacts directly and in a timely manner.

The Treasurer reported that the organisation is in a sound financial position. He acknowledged donations from members and supporters as well as people who donated money for specific events this year, including the DABF 2016 and the Pro-Choice Buses to Belfast.

National Conference recognised the great work that was done by the bookfair organising committee in organising a well attended bookfair which notably saw important discussion of the Revolution in Rojava and of ongoing movement campaigns in Ireland.

Perspectives Discussion

Our perspectives discussion covered a wide range of struggles, hopes and fears. We discussed the looming ecological crisis. We praised the efforts of grassroots solidarity networks in the context of the EU's inhumane response to people fleeing conflict and hardship in Africa and in the Middle East. We spat upon the rise of the far-right, racist and fascist groups in Europe and in the USA and discussed the dangers this poses for all our struggles. We discussed how their rise was bound up with a popular distrust of elites and a distrust of experts. This attitude can be manipulated into targetting scape-goats such as migrants or ethnic minorities.

Popular movements in Ireland have shifted society somewhat left-ward - in large part due to the mass mobilising brought about in opposition to water charges, and in part due to anti-fascist organising - but this cannot be taken for granted. The crisis in Ireland is particularly severe on the majority of people, both in material terms and job prospects as well as in terms of their mental health and well-being. We discussed struggles for choice, for housing, anti-racism struggles and the prospects for trade union resistance, notably in the public sector.  

A number of members mentioned how their experiences of organising - particularly on small collective projects such as organising the Pro-choice Bus to Belfast or organising a housing action - gave them hope. We also acknowledged that the revolution in Rojava provided inspiration on a much larger scale. In the struggle between socialism or barbarism, we can organise and we can win. 

Motions
National Conference then moved on to take the motions members had submitted

WSM policy is based on the WSM position papers which can all be accessed on the WSM website at http://www.wsm.ie/content/position-papers-wsm. If a member thinks WSM policy should change in a specific area they should propose a motion as an amendment or an addition to an existing position paper, this means that the decision can be stored for future reference and won't be forgotten about.

Motions concerning the following position papers were passed:

1. Towards Womens Freedom

2. Perspectives for struggle & revolution

3. Anarchism,oppression&exploitation

4. Class & Exploitation

Elections and Close

Conference then moved on to elections for all national positions and national committees. No one can hold any of these positions for more than 3 years but in practise positions tend to be rotated more frequently than this. At this conference most of the people holding these positions were changed.

Conference closed with a closing circle where members said how they had found the conference. This was overwhelmingly positive. We look forward to a new year of collective resistance and organising for freedom together.  

 

 

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter