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


'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.

Whether it’s campaigning for free, safe, and legal, abortion, against Church control of our schools, for free public transport, for decriminalisation of drugs, building support for the Palestinian people and BDS, building greater acceptance of trans people in everyday life, protesting the Special Criminal Court and conditions of republican prisoners, decriminalising sex work, combatting domestic violence and rape culture, getting U.S. warplanes out of Shannon, abolishing direct provision, keeping the far-right in its box, or running a social centre, there are so many ways to improve our lives outside of workplace struggle - although of course, they are linked, and unions have a far greater socially progressive role to play than they do currently in Ireland.

In order to affect others who are fighting against power and who envisage a better and fairer society, we should work alongside them and introduce aspects of anarchist organising in practice where appropriate and possible. Through the bonds of mutual respect and comradery that emerge in working and struggling with another person, a more open ear is given to our perspectives which have developed within the anarchist tradition. This is a perspective which is often not listened to by others due to both the deliberate smearing of the word anarchism, and because of just how different anarchist ideas are to the way our society works today. Both through affecting the thinking of our peers and holding a voice in the organisation and decision making of the group we can influence groups toward non-hierarchical organising and accepting sceptical views of all power systems and coercive institutions. It also helps create useful solidarity between different groups and expands our networks well beyond the WSM.

This is one in a series of short articles explaining the WSM Points of Unity.
To listen to all these pieces together, click here.
To read all the WSM Points of Unity, click here.
To read about the next Point of Unity - Oppression and Intersectionality - click here.