For Starters


'IDEAS AND ACTION' is a day of discussions happening in Dublin on March 28th. Anarchists active in the successful anti-water charges campaign in the South and in the struggle against the Job Seekers Allowance in the North will share their experiences. Anarchist trade unionists will talk about building workplace organisation and the opposition to 'social partnership'.

Anarchist pro-choice campaigners will look at the struggle for womens liberation today. There will also be discussion about how to build a militant anti-racist movement, debates about direct action Green movements and lifestylism, and a look at how we move from protesting against injustices to changing the system.

'IDEAS AND ACTION' is open to anyone interested in finding out more about anarchism. Childcare will be available and accommodation can be arranged for people from outside Dublin. For more details write to 'Ideas & Action', P.O. Box 1528, Dublin 8 and ask for a programme.

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Red & Black Revolution no.3 is out now. Articles include Dermot Sreenan's account of how the water charges were defeated, Gregor Kerr argues that trade union activity is vital for revolutionaries, historian Fintan Lane takes us back to the origins of modern Irish socialism in the 1880s, Andrew Flood makes a case for building a new anti-capitalist movement, Donato Romito provides an overview of the anarchist movement in Italy today, Kevin Doyle talks to South African anarchists about what has been happening since the fall of apartheid, and Conor Mc Loughlin has a look at how the workers movement can use the internet.

This WSM magazine can be found wherever you bought this paper, or send us £2.00 (inc. postage) and we'll stick one into the mail.

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Within anarchism there are different ideas about how best to achieve the sort of society we want to live in. The Workers Solidarity Movement places itself within a particular current or tradition within the anarchist movement, that known as 'Platformism'. A less-than-exciting name! It refers to the movement that started with the 1926 Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists.

Anarchists, who numbered up to 10,000 without including the anarchist Makhnovist army in the Ukraine, had been involved in the 1917 Russian Revolution. They had been in the unions, in the factory committees, in the soviets of workers, peasants and soldiers. They had their own papers, federations and clubs. Yet their influence was extremely limited and we all know how that revolution turned out in the end.

Nestor Makhno, Peter Arshinov (author of The History of the Makhnovist Movement), Ida Mett (the author of The Kronstadt Commune), Valevsky and Linsky (about whom little is known), wrote the Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists during their exile in France.

It saw the problem of the Russian anarchists, and the movement generally, as its failure to provide a theoretically coherent and organisationally effective alternative to Leninism & the Bolsheviks within the working class. Or to put it plainly, nice ideas were not enough.

The 'Platform' is no Bible full of absolute truths. Anarchists have no need of such things. It is a signpost pointing us in what we believe is the direction of making anarchism the alternative to both the present set-up and the authoritarian alternatives served up by most of the left. It's ideas have been developed and modified in the light of experience over the years. We stand in a tradition that is continually developing, modifying and growing. We have no tablets carved in stone, but we do have a set of ideas from which to work as revolutionary anarchists.

Having found this document useful in the development of our own organisation, we are pleased to see a re-awakening of interest in its ideas. It has been translated into Turkish for the first time, and a new Polish translation (the first since the 1930s) has also been completed. Readers of Polish or Turkish who would like a copy can contact Workers Solidarity.


This article is from Workers Solidarity No 53 published in January 1998