Relations with other left groups in Ireland


The Workers Solidarity Movement administration document on Relations with other left groups in Ireland.

Made in 1990s, last amended at WSM National Conference, July 2017.


a Workers Solidarity Movement policy statement


Relations with other left groups in Ireland.


1. In Ireland to-day there are at least 3 Social-Democratic groups, 8 Leninist groups and 2 Anarchist groups. This is at a time when the left is very weak, in the past there have been more organisations. Historically the left in Ireland and internationally has been dogged with sectarianism. It is not unusual for members of an organisation to have an attitude of hatred for any other left organisation that rivals their hatred for capitalism. This may not seem a bad thing to Leninists as they fight to be the party but anarchists should have no time for this sort of attitude.

2. When discussing other groups with non-members either formally or informally we should avoid name calling or personal attacks. Criticisms should not be based on crude charactures of their positions or history. This may currently be standard practise on the left but for anarchists it should be unacceptable.

3. When debating or intervening at public meetings name calling etc should also be avoided. The other traditional tactics of rolling your eyes, heckling etc when the other person is speaking should not be used. This sort of stuff is very intimidating for anybody new to politics, it also can make it look like you are unable to answer the points being made.

4. When we come across another anarchist or libetarian communist group we should attempt to involve them in discussions to discover where our politics differ. If there are few real differences we should then seek to involve them in long term discussion aimed at merging the groups.

5. Where real differences do exist it is likly that we will still share more in common with such groups then we do with any Leninist or Social-Democratic one. In this case we should try and maintain some form of semi-formal regular contact with them. At all times however we should make it clear that we wish to construct a national organisation (and ultimately an international). For this reason we have little interest in building a national federation of local groups.

6. There are some groups that might call themselves anarchists or libetarian communists whom we would share almost nothing in common. We are under no obligation to work with, march near or otherwise relate to such groups.

7. Overall we regard contact with other left groups as positive. We are not particularly interested in recruiting off them as we do not see the way forward as being through a regroupment of the existing left. Discussion with other groups serves a number of purposes

a) It helps us to develop and test our own ideas.

b) It clarifies the real differences between us and other groups to activists.

c) It has some effect on getting members of those groups to re-think their positions.

8. Where criticisms are published of the WSM we should endeavour to provide a written answer to them. Publication should not occupy a high priority, and will be dependant on time being available. This means replies will normally be published some time after the original criticism.

9. As part of this work we will also publish descriptions and criticisms of the other left groups we have contact with. These should be aimed at being informative and useful to somebody relatively new to politics rather than being aimed at winning over members of the group involved. This work again will occupy a low priority.

10. Although disagreeing on fundamental anarchist strategy we share many points in common with Organise on a day to day basis. It is in the interests of both groups that anarchism grows in Ireland even if some of this growth happens outside either organisation. We should therefore ensure regular formal contact between ourselves and Organise! and encourage contacts to become involved in whichever organisation they are politically closest to. Such an approach is not dependant on a reciprocal approach from Organise! but arises from our recognition of the need for an anarchist/libertarian movement.