The Left

Identity Politics is a Four way Conflict

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Discussions about Identity Politics (IdPol) absorbs a huge amount of energy across the political spectrum.  Discussion on the left however is often complicated and made overly hostile because they take place along the single axis of oppression which means proponents of IdPol get lumped in with Hilary Clinton while opponents get lumped in with Donald Trump.  This understandably encourages bad faith discussions that throw a lot of heat and very little light. Here we are going to argue that a much more useful exchange can happen when we instead create a plot where one axis is oppression and the second is exploitation as that puts both Trump & Clinton a good distance away from socialists. [Audio of this article]

Rojava: Eyewitness to a women's revolution - report back from a May 2018 trip at #DABF 2018

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The 12th Dublin anarchist bookfair heard this account from Wendy, a Human Rights & immigration lawyer who visited Rojava in May 2018 as part of a fact finding delegation. [audio]

The Legacy of Occupy - an audio interview with author Mark Bray at #DABF 2018

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An in-depth interview with Mark Bray, author of ‘Translating Anarchy’, a book which tells the story of the anti-capitalist anti-authoritarians of Occupy Wall Street who strategically communicated their revolutionary politics to the public in a way that was both accessible and revolutionary. [Audio]

Post referendum - Together for Election?

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So now that the referendum is won and the government is moving towards enacting legislation that allows limited access to abortion, we're starting to hear questions being raised about Together for Yes activists running in elections. [1] For many people, the conspicuous endpoint of any political campaign is for the political activists to put forward one of their number to run for political office. We are going to argue against that for a number of reasons.

What We Believe - WSM Points of Unity Explained (Audio)

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This is a series explaining the 9 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 9 short points which outline the anarchism the WSM stands for.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 1 - Class Struggle and Leadership of Ideas

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'1. Anarchism will be created by the class struggle between the vast majority of society (the working class) and the tiny minority that currently rule. A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. Our role is to make anarchist ideas the leading ideas or, as it is sometimes expressed, to become a ''leadership of ideas''.’

We're usually told that class society is a thing of the past. After all, aren't we all middle class now? But this isn't true, and there still very much exists a severe division between people based on property and work, a hierarchy which is a basic fact of the economic system known as capitalism.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 2 - Power Structures

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'2. We reject the idea that society can be changed through 'good people' gaining control of the power structures. This means we reject both the electoral strategy of the social democratic and green parties and the 'revolutionary' strategy of the various left groups.'

The WSM is working towards a free, equal, democratic society. We believe the only way to achieve this is by people taking their destinies into their own hands, forming grassroots mass movements, and creating new truly democratic institutions.

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 6 - (Other) Mass Movements

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'6. We also see it as vital to work in struggles that happen outside the unions and the workplace. These include struggles against particular oppressions, imperialism and indeed the struggles of the working class for a decent place and environment in which to live. Our general approach to these, like our approach to the unions, is to involve ourselves with mass movements and within these movements, in order to promote anarchist methods of organisation involving direct democracy and direct action.'

While the workplace is of course a critical site of political activity, there is a much broader terrain on which to strive for our liberty, to enrich our shared world. Ultimately, we want a world where all people are free and content. And, of course, we face many obstacles to that free world apart from challenges in our workplace, or that can be solved by our unions. So, everywhere that we are ripped off, suppressed, attacked, sidelined, or degraded, is a place for us to fight back and band together with others. In a social order which thrives on us keeping our heads down and being passive, resistance in its many forms is to be encouraged and supported. Whether or not that resistance is as radical or as 'pure' as we would like, we should engage, of course with our anarchist heads screwed on. While being a purist sect on the sidelines can feel satisfying to the initiated, ultimately it is a redundant way to make change.

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.'

Human beings are complex. We have many sides, many needs, wishes, strengths and weaknesses, many different obstacles and opportunities in life. So while acknowledging the huge harm caused by capitalism and the state, our concerns naturally do not end there. The Workers Solidarity Movement are anarchists because we want the total liberation of humankind, the full realisation of our need and wish to fed, sheltered, clothed, respected, in charge of ourselves, within a real community, to be our true selves, and the rest of the rich tapestry which makes a good life. 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, that we are stifled, attacked, are important forms of oppression and marginalisation in their own right which must be eradicated. 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 replaced by healthier relations between people.

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’.

Anarchism, Oppression, and Exploitation

        A Workers Solidarity Movement Position Paper

 


 

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