The Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) was politically very close to Ireland’s Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM). Discussions around common ties led to the development of a common “Anarchist Platform.” After the WSF dissolved in 1999, the WSM decided to use the “Anarchist Platform” as the basis for an email list, linking similar groups. As time went on, the “Anarchist Platform” was also developed as a baisc pillar of the international Anarkismo.net project, which links dozens of Platformist and especifist anarchist groups worldwide.
The points of the anarchist platform arose from discussion between the Irish Workers Solidarity Movement and the South African Workers Solidarity Federation (which has now dissolved). Because of this background the points assume a common understanding of what anarchism is. Probably the book Anarchism by Daniel Guerin contains the best detailed explanation of anarchist history and theory from this perspective.
After the dissolution of the WSF the WSM decided to use the points agreed to launch the Anarchist-Platform email list. The purpose of the list is to bring together anarchists who agree with the points both for the exchange of information but also in the hope that they will meet up with others on the list in their geographical region and engage in common work. As such list members are expected to actively pursue this agenda and not simply lurk (a common feature of other lists).
We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the ‘Platformist’ tradition within anarchism which includes groups and publications such as The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists , the Friends of Durruti and the Manifesto of Libertarian Communism. We broadly identify with the organisational practise argued for by this tradition but not necessarily everything else they did or said. That is it is a starting point for our politics and not an end point
The core ideas of this tradition that we identify with are the need for anarchist organisations that seek to develop
- Ideological Unity
- Tactical Unity
- Collective Action and Discipline
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’.
We work within the trade unions as the major focus of our activity where this is a possibility. We therefore reject views that dismiss activity in the unions. 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).
We also see it as vital to work in struggles that happen outside the unions/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 wherever the greatest number are found and within this movement to promote anarchist methods of organisation involving direct democracy.
We actively oppose all manifestation of prejudice within the workers movement and identify working alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the success of the elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre- revolutionary period.
We oppose imperialism but put forward anarchism as an alternative goal to nationalism. We defend grass root anti-imperialist movements while arguing for an anarchist rather then nationalist strategy.
We identify a need for anarchist organisations who agree with these principles to federate on an international basis. However we believe the degree of federation possible and the amount of effort put into it must be determined on success at building national organisations capable of making such international work a reality rather then a matter of slogans.