What the WSM Believes


Points of Unity

The WSM regularly discussed, debated and decided on what our collective political approach is. All members took part in this process and the results are preserved in the position papers you will find linked to below.  These papers defined our collective approach, we don't require that every member agree with every point in them but they do describe the politics the WSM will implement. [PDF of these points]

All members broadly agree with points 1 to 9 below which outline the core of our collective view of anarchism.

  1. Anarchism will be created by the class struggle between the vast majority of society (the working class) and the tiny minority that currently rule. A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. Our role is to make anarchist ideas the leading ideas or, as it is sometimes expressed, to become a ''leadership of ideas''.
  2. We reject the idea that society can be changed through 'good people' gaining control of the power structures. This means we reject both the electoral strategy of the social democratic and green parties and the 'revolutionary' strategy of the various left groups. Instead we advocate for direct, participatory, democratic institutions which will make the state obsolete.
  3. We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the "platformist", anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism. We broadly identify with the theoretical base of this tradition and the organisational practice it argues for, but not necessarily everything else it has done or said, so it is a starting point for our politics and not an end point.
  4. The core ideas of this tradition that we identify with are the need for anarchist political organisations that seek to develop:
    • Theoretical Unity
    • Tactical Unity
    • Collective Action and Discipline
    • Federalism
  5. A major focus of our activity is our work within the economic organisations of the working class (labour organisations, trade unions, syndicates) where this is a possibility. We therefore reject views that dismiss activity in the unions because as members of the working class it is only natural that we should also be members of these mass organisations. Within them we fight for the democratic structures typical of anarcho-syndicalist unions like the 1930's CNT. However, the unions no matter how revolutionary cannot replace the need for anarchist political organisation(s).
  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.
  7. We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against, for example, racism, sexism, religious sectarianism, queerphobia, intersexphobia, and ableism, as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.
  8. We oppose imperialism but put forward anarchism as an alternative goal to nationalism. We defend grassroots anti-imperialist movements while arguing for an anarchist rather than nationalist strategy
  9. Revolution must aim to bring human society into harmony with the rest of nature, for our own basic quality of life and for the sake of other species. This aim is not fundamentally opposed to technological development or mass society, which are always expressions of the current social system. Rather, we strive for a libertarian, ecological, technology.

Short explanations of these points of unity:

  1. Class Struggle and Leadership of Ideas - (1:00)
  2. Power Structures - (7:40)
  3. Platformism 1 - (12:30)
  4. Platformism 2 - (17:30)
  5. Trade Unions - (21:00)
  6. Other Mass Movements - (27:00)
  7. Oppression and Intersectionality - (30:00)
  8. Imperialism - (36:30)
  9. Ecology and Technology





Introduction to the Position Papers

This introduction is to briefly clarify what exactly the purpose of these documents is. We have found that many people, especially if fairly new to politics and/or anarchism, may initially be a bit daunted by the size of the collection and the amount of detail in some documents. Their first reaction may be "Do I have to learn this off by heart and agree with every word before I can become a member?" The answer is "no".

Others having been through the pressing plants of Leninism and social democracy wish to know if this is some sort of transitional programme or blueprint for revolution. Once again; "no"

The documents here are Position Papers - they argue for our ideas about specific issues and give some guidelines or activity. In recognition of a need for a closer connection of political analysis and the direction of organisational activity, they will be supplemented by Sectoral Analysis & Orientation papers, which will look at specific sectors of society, analyse the balance of powers, and direct the organisation's intervention.

Most of documents here such as women's oppression, the trade unions, the environment, racism, etc. are general statements of policy on a range of issues. Our policy has been hammered out since the WSM was formed in 1984 by democratic debate across the organisation involving all the members. We are not a party of leaders and led. We are not looking for good parrots or paper sellers to join.

These positions are not carved in stone. Ideas must constantly be debated and, even more importantly, tested in action. Indeed we believe that many of these position papers need to be returned to and re-examined. Without new ideas there can be no progress. There is always room for disagreement on policy and for the expansion of policy.

The constiution outlines how members are expected to implement policy in their political activity. If members were to find themselves in major disagreement on several major areas of policy we would encourage them to leave. We are not an organisation which attempts to hold together people of widely differing ideas.

No one can predict or plan in advance how a revolution will occur. The working class as a whole most exercise its democratic control and no organisation can substitute itself for the class. We are certainly not one which would attempt to do so. These are a set of ideas which we hope will win influence within the class. They are not any kind of programme or carefully planed blueprint for revolutionary success. Only the workers themselves can guarantee that.

WSM Constitution - the key document that outlines the processes of decision making, delegation and reporting across the WSM

Position Papers

Current 'position papers' are:

Administration Documents

These documents describe how the WSM operates and what the roles of various officers and sub groups of the WSM are.

No Longer Relevant

Position papers that were written for specific historical events or which for some other reason are no longer in force. Position papers that have not been debated after three years must be ratified or they are moved to this section.

PDF of WSM Points of Unity122.58 KB