Proposal For A Better Organised And United Anarchist 'Federation' In Ireland

Proposal for a Better Organised and United Anarchist 'Federation' in Ireland

Hello folks;

I'd like to take this opportunity to throw open a proposal, initially to some of the unaffiliated individuals, who are involved in the Anarchist movement across Ireland. I feel that while the war may well be 'over', at least insofar as this stage of it is concerned (the impact of US imperialism, with the UK as junior partner, on Iraq will most likely lead to a period of long, drawn out and bloody strife and conflict of a lower intensity) that recent events have thrown up some real opportunities for the anarchist movement in Ireland. Opportunities which may only last a short number of months. As such I'd like to suggest that people seriously consider and help develop proposals aimed at building a better organised and united anarchist 'federation' in Ireland. At present we have three organisations in Ireland, two of which with the misnomer 'Federation' in their titles and one of which called a 'Movement', none of these groups are in actual fact a Federation or a Movement on their own. They are small, largely locally based groups, which are attempting to build either a Federation or a Movement through recruitment to their own particular organisations. I do not feel that this is how a Federally structured anarchist movement in Ireland will emerge, and we do have the very real possibility before us of building such a movement.

First lets look at why we need to do this;

We need to structure our movement and use the tactics which will build the potential for libertarian revolution in Ireland, to allow us to best attack the enemy and best defend ourselves from attack, and which will embrace all the positive elements of the political and social life of our class. Liberty, mutual aid, co-ordination, solidarity and social revolution must be the watchwords, the guiding themes, of any effective anarchist organisation. The results we will obtain will depend on our actions or lack of action.

If we declare as our goal the transformation of social relationships and the full development of the individual and the collective to best garantee economic, political and social emancipation and liberation, we must work together to try to reailise this goal.

We must encourage practical activities which lead us closer to the realisation of a self managed society. On a community level we must work together with other working class people to identify and deal with the numerous problems facing us in our everyday lives.

Prisoner support and political education; recent months have shown that we are among a minority of activists who actually have the conviction and principles to act in accordance with our beliefs. We have also seen, north and south, the repressive wing of the state being used specifically and in a targetted fashion against our activists. We have also been made painfully aware that the only people we can rely on to support our own prisoners, and those arrested for using tactics many of us would promote, are ourselves. Some valuable lessons have been learnt, some excellent work has been done (credit where credits due) but in terms of supporting prisoners in anything but a haphazard fashion we are still woefully iIl prepared and badly organised.

I do not believe, personally, that an all island Anarchist organisation/federation, or for that matter anarcho-syndicalist federation/union can be built on the basis of any of those active at present trying to achieve this on their own and in competition with each other. For one organisation or another to talk about itself as being a federation with such low memberships as exist at present is ridiculous. If Anarchists really believe in building an organisation that is federal in structure there first needs to be a basis in reality to build such an organisation on. I believe that the basis for building such an organisation exists at present, in the growing numbers of individuals active in the Anarchist movement across Ireland and yes, in Organise! - ASF in Belfast, Derry and Portadown, in the WSM in Dublin and Cork, Anarchist Support in Dublin, CAZ in Cork, Anarchist Federation in Warrenpoint/Newry and Galway, in various distro and activist based groups. I am also convinced that it would be a great disservice to our goals and ideals, and a terrible loss of opportunity, if we do not now take steps to realise such an organisation in Ireland.

There is also a growing realisation that a small, largely city or town based, groups do not contain all the necessary skills to build upon and that a greater sharing of skills, and resources, is necessary. There is I believe an opportunity to build an organisation which could be much bigger than the sum of the membership of the existing organisations.

I do feel that we have to be talking about an organisation which can reflect the traditions and history of anarchist organising that have existed prior to its 'foundation'. In relation to Belfast I feel that this means staking a claim not only to the work done by Organise! over the years, such as support of the Liverpool Dockers, Montupet strikers, Richardson's occupation etc;, but also going further back and claiming initiatives such as the Belfast Anarchist Collective and Just Books as part of our tradition - a tradition of resistance and Anarchist organising going back in Belfast to 1978 and beyond. This is to use examples which I'm familiar with, there have been other initiatives in other parts of Ireland.

So maybe this sounds like a great idea but you're not convinced everyone will buy into it. Put simply they have to people have to at least start discussing the idea of an Irish anarchist federation.

Personally I would suggest that we base the organisation on affinity groups, collectives and 'factions'. We should aim to create an organisation which everyone can feel is theirs.

Affinity groups, which would be the basis for the federation, could be formed around local areas, membership of the same trade union, be employed in the same industry, or around specific issues or collectives such as prisoner support or book distribution. The presence of factions would allow the AF, WSM and Organise! - ASF the opportunity to maintain an identity within the broader federation. We would need to discuss how this will work in practise when (if) we progress far enough with these ideas.

I would envisage a federation, with a common and agreed aims and principles, which put Anarchism as a revolutionary alternative in Ireland firmly on the map. Such a federation should aim to have affiliated groups in most major cities and could certainly include at least Belfast, Derry, Dublin and Cork. It should aim at producing a common newspaper/publication which could appear once a month with an all Ireland circulation of 10,000. It should become something which we could all belong to and which would provide us with a framework for a stronger, revolutionary anarchist movement in Irealnd. One which could debate and adapt to the challenges we are and will all face in a way which strengthens us all.

If anyone is interested in pursuing this please respond ASAP. I have previously discussed some of these ideas informally with Joanne and Johnny from Anarchist Support. I would be interested in a meeting with people who would be interested in this to discusss the possibility of getting people together in the near future. To look at the areas we would need to concentrate on in order to get the most possible agreement in order to move forward. To discuss areas for inculsion in any Aims and Principles.

For myself to pursue this the project would have to be a 'class struggle' based initiative.

Sorry if this email hasn't been set out in the clearest of forms, I feel I could spark initial discussions in Belfast outside the ASF and hopefully within it. What sort of interest would their be elsewhere?

We can build an organisation that can provide a home for us all. An organisation which is not altogether a 'new' creation but a bringing together of the best of what currently exists to provide a real alternative to mealy mouthed and manipulative trots, the party political system and capitalism.

Could propose more but I think it'd be better to await a response from yourselves.

In Solidarity;

Jason