Workers Solidarity no.28 (Summer 1988)

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WS28 coverclick here to download

This 24 page issue marked the reappearance of Workers Solidarity after an absence of almost a year.  It had changed from a monthly 8-page paper to a quarterly 24-page magazine.  The new format saw a move away from labour exchange and Friday night pub sales to a greater concentration on events attended by people who already had some sympathy for radical ideas.  The print run was reduced to 500 and the new format saw a move away from labour exchange and Friday night pub sales to a greater concentration on events attended by people who already had some sympathy for radical ideas.

More interestingly, the editorial explains that this change was due to a loss of members who had “found it difficult to come to terms with the temporary lull in the momentum of the class struggle that we have seen in the last few years.  Instead they started to look for short cuts to socialism and eventually rejected anarchism”.  It goes on to say that “after much discussion we identified much of what went wrong and now are in a position to step up our level of activity”.   The WSM also published a statement about this, which is still online here

Among the articles are
– The fight for abortion rights five years after the 1983 “pro-life” amendment was put into the 26 county Constitution;
– An interview with the then Old Vic barman on BBC TV’s Eastenders, actor Tom Watt;
– The adoption by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions of a “radical policy document” on Lesbian & Gay Rights in the workplace.  This was at a time when gay sex was still illegal and technically punishable with life in prison;
– An explanation of “The anarchist idea: socialism and freedom”;
– Looking at Sinn Féin’s “socialism”, and concluding that it was “based on the Cuban/Russian model, which has shown itself time after time to be just as repressive as Western style capitalism.  They draw inspiration from third world National Liberation Movements, which once they have won power have shown no mercy in oppressing their on workers”.  [Since the collapse of the Soviet Union they have moved into the political mainstream and would now be happy to go into a coalition government with Fianna Fail];
– The first ‘Thinking about Anarchism’ column, which ran for twenty years.  This one tackles the question of what is the State, and why anarchists want to abolish it;
– A history of May Day, and it’s origins in the 1886 execution of anarchist trade unionists in Chicago for their part in the struggle for the 8-hour day.

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Dublin Anarchist Group, May Day (1978)

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click here to download

This was the first leaflet from the Dublin Anarchist Group, and below is a sneering and very inaccurate report from a Stalinist journal of the time.

The DAG only lasted for a year or so before it had a friendly split. The minority got together with some likeminded people from the Belfast Anarchist Collective and formed the Anarchist Workers Alliance. That can be seen as a forerunner of the Workers Solidarity Movement (formed in 1984).

The majority, who favoured a looser and less politically defined group, went on to establish the ABC bookshop in Marlborough Street and published two issues of a magazine called Resistance. Proving that Dublin is a small place, they shared that building with the Socialist Labour Party and the 32 County Feminist Federation.

The DAG’s membership included Jackie Crawford, Hugh McPartlin, Patricia McCarthy, Joan Stephenson, Alan MacSimoin, Don Bennett and Valerie McCarthy

This snippet comes from superSPI, the often humourous magazine of the Socialist Party of Ireland.  This had no connection to today’s party of the same name.  It was a small hardline Stalinist split from from the Official Republican Movement in 1971, which sought to win the Moscow franchise away from the Communist Party.  Over its 11 years of life it never spread beyond Dublin and the remnants ended up in the Labour Party.

Getting three things wrong in just two sentences wasn’t bad going! The leaflet was not distributed in Trinity College but on that year’s Dublin May Day march. The Dublin Anarchist Group didn’t have an office in Rathmines, and not having an office it couldn’t have been courtesy of the Student Christian Movement.

The real story was far less interesting. The Dublin Anarchist Group had been formed a couple of months previously. The Student Christian Movement allowed a multitude of campaign groups to use their address for mail, and the DAG asked if they could also use it for a few weeks until they sorted out their own.

I don’t think there were any Trinity students involved (though I could be wrong), though there was a WUI shop steward from Trinity. There were a couple of students from UCD but a good few of the 25 or so members of the group were ex-republicans (both provo and sticky) or union activists. I can remember people from the CIE works in Inchicore, Dublin County Council, and Ardmore Film Studios.

And whilst talking of ‘interesting’ things, the SPI who covered Ballymun and Tallaght with anti-Provo “Isolate the Gunmen’ posters, had originally funded themselves by an armed raid on Ballymun post office.

**superSPI is available for download at the excellent Left Archive of the Cedar Lounge Revolution blog: cedarlounge.wordpress.com/category/irish-left-online-document-archive/socialist-party-of-ireland-spi

The Rebel Worker (Cork) no.1 (March/April 2008)

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This local newsletter was published by the Cork branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement, who announced that “Rebel Worker will be appearing bimonthly (when possible) and will be distributed both on its own and as an insert in the WSM’s long-standing free newspaper, Workers Solidarity”.  However this plan was abandoned and only this one issue was produced.

click here to download

Articles covered ‘co-location’ private hospital plans in Cork city, a short piece on preparations for the 2008 May Day parade in the city, and an interview with an abortion rights activist from the Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group.

Red and Black Revolution 8 – 2004

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Article descriptions as given on the WSM website

The ideas of James Connolly by Oisín Mac Giollamóir
James Connolly is probably the single most important figure in the history of the Irish left. He was an organiser in the IWW in the USA but in Ireland is best known for his role in building the syndicalist phase of Irish union movement and for involving the armed defence body of that union, the Irish Citizens’ Army in the 1916 nationalist insurrection. This left a legacy claimed at one time or another not only by all the Irish left parties but also by the nationalists of Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.

After the Dust Settles – Lessons from the Summit Protests by Jack White
Despite the very real problems associated with the idea of ‘summit hopping’ and spectacular protest these manifestations have provided a public face of anarchism and at least as importantly have given anarchists an opportunity to work together.

Summit protests and networks by Andrew Flood
The major advantage of the network form of organisation is that it allowed the rapid development and growth of a movement of tens of thousands from a tiny base without significant resources But no single form of organisation, unless it is one that involves the majority of workers, will ever be able to take it on in a straight fight.

Media Mayhem – Anarchists and the Mass Media by Chekov Feeney
This article examines the mainstream media and looks at the various factors which ensure that it effectively works as a propaganda tool for the powerful. It looks at ways in which anarchists can deal with this situation, by creating our own media, but also by challenging the hostility that they habitually encounter from the mainstream. It is mostly based on the experience of the 2004 Mayday protests in Dublin.

Playing the Media Game by Kevin Doyle
Perhaps the two biggest problems in dealing with the media are firstly that the media can, through the questions they ask and the pressures they bring, begin to set the political agenda of the group. Secondly servicing the media machine can take up all a group’s time and energy (to the detriment of the other activity).

Workers Without Bosses – Workers’ Self-Management in Argentina by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
The original battle cry of Argentinean people “Que se vayan todos” – We want all of them out – that expressed the will to break with the corrupt bureaucracies, with the political class, turned out with all of them staying in the end. These experiences also highlight many of the problems anarchists elsewhere face in the wake of popular risings and they show us that the building of a libertarian society is not a matter of repeating clichés and slogans.

Review: No Global – The People of Ireland versus the Multinationals by Kevin Doyle
No Global appears at a vital time. Anyone who wants to see how the bigger picture has unfolded to date can read in detail about the numerous struggles. But No Global is less clear and less persuasive when it comes to dissecting the political ideas within the environmental movement and the problems these caused