Workers Solidarity Movement

Workers Solidarity Movement

The Workers Solidarity Movement is an anarchist organisation in Ireland broadly in the platformist tradition of Nestor Makhno. It was set up in 1984 and publishes the paper "Workers Solidarity" and the magazine "Red and Black Revolution".


Origin and early years

The Workers Solidarity Movement was founded in Dublin in 1984 following discussions by a number of local anarchist groups from Dublin, Cork and Ballymena on the need for a national anarchist organisation. After an initial period of rapid growth it split in the late 1980s, with some Cork members joining or rejoining the trotskyist Socialist Workers Party. At the time of the 1991 Gulf War it was relaunched but saw only a little growth in the early 1990s. In this period it was the main political organisation involved in the Dublin Abortion Rights Group which organised the successful 'X-case' demonstration which pressured the Irish courts to overturn an injunction preventing a pregnant 14-year-old rape victim from leaving Ireland to have an abortion in England.

In 1994, along with Militant, it initiated the Anti-Water Tax campaign in Dublin. This campaign grew rapidly in the three years to 1997 when the attempt to impose the new tax was defeated. At its height it claimed 60,000 households as paid members of the campaign. A WSM member, Gregor Kerr, was the secretary of the campaign and although small the WSM played a role in the defeat of the tax.

The WSM has been involved in a wide range of struggles in Ireland: its members are involved in trade unions; have fought for abortion rights and against the perceived growth of racism in Ireland and have also been involved in campaigns in support of workers from countries as far apart as Nepal, Peru, Mexico and South Africa.

In the 21st century

In November 2001, along with the Irish Mexico Group, Gluaiseacht, the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation, and the Alliance of Cork Anarchists, the WSM organised the first Grassroots Gathering in Dublin. The impetus behind this emerged from members involvement in struggles around globalisation and in particular the summit protest movement. WSM members took part in summit protests in Seattle, Prague, Brussels, Genoa and Seville and helped organise some of the related Reclaim the Streets events in Dublin.

In recent years the better known struggles the WSM were involved in included the 2003 March 1st action against US war planes in Shannon, the 2003 Anti-Bin Tax Campaign in Dublin and the 2004 EU Mayday protests also in Dublin as well as campaigning against the Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland in 2004.

This period has seen a rapid growth in WSM membership from a dozen members to a group with five branches and over 60 activists.

Current activity

WSM members were involved in the Rossport Solidarity Camp as part of the Shell to Sea campaign. They are also involved in the Cork Autonomous Zone, Seomra Spraoi, the Terence Wheelock Campaign,Indymedia Ireland, the Independent Workers Union of Ireland, Anti-War Ireland and the anti-Raytheon campaign in Derry. Although the WSM Autumn 2005 conference prioritised the IWU they also have members in SIPTU, CWU, TUI, IMPACT, CPSU and the INTO.

The WSM has produced over 105 issues of its paper "Workers Solidarity". They distribute 10,000 copies of each issue of their free bi-monthly paper - mostly through door-to-door distribution and, to a lesser extent, at political demonstrations.

In Spring 2008 it published the 14th issue of its magazine "Red and Black Revolution" which targets left-wing activists and has a much smaller circulation than "Workers Solidarity" of 1000 over two to three years. It has also published numerous pamphlets.

The group held the third annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of March 2008. []


In their 2004 pamphlet 'Crossing the Border' Organise! criticised the WSM for being too influenced by Irish republicanism and of using language that threatened to alienate the northern Irish Protestant working class. Organise! have also criticised the WSM for supporting the election campaign of Des Derwin, a SIPTU activist who ran for a national position in SIPTU in 2002.

The role of the WSM in campaigns in Ireland has been attacked by the mainstream media on a number of occasions. On the 19th of October 2003 the "Sunday Independent" Ireland's largest selling Sunday newspaper claimed that the WSM "had infiltrated the [Bin Tax] campaign in significant numbers" [Reilly, J., "Far left pulling the strings on bin charge campaign", The Sunday Independent, Sunday October 19 2003 [ ] ] [" The Anarchists Are Coming!", Anarchist News, November 2003 (WSM response) [] ] . The April 25th, 2004 issue of "Ireland on Sunday" claimed that WSM members were linked with the WOMBLES in England in advance of the EU Mayday protests at the start of May that year. The same paper subsequently attacked another WSM member as an "unreconstructed left-wing die-hard…" who "regularly contributes to anarchist and feminist websites and magazines" after she had appeared on "The Late Late Show".

ee also

*Anarchism in Ireland
*Workers Solidarity


External links

* [ WSM Website]
* [ Old WSM Website] containing archived material from 1986 to 2006

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