WSF (1996): “International Anarchist Conference”
From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 1, first quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here
The red and black flag of Anarchism flew high in Spain in August 1995. The occasion was an international conference of class- struggle Anarchists and anti- authoritarian socialists.
More than 100 delegates were present. The comrades came from many countries, including Italy, France, Switzerland, Lebanon, Poland, Ireland, Sweden and Spain. The conference included debates about the unions, and discussions on the way forward in the fight against racism and other oppression.
From France came delegates of the Libertarian Alternative group. This organisation is prominent in many campaigns. These include struggles against homelessness, unemployment, nuclear testing, and for abortion rights. The comrades are also active in the unions, for example, in the radical independent SUD union of postal workers.
Members of the Libertarian Socialist Organisation from Switzerland spoke about their involvement in squatters movements, and in struggles against racism, militarism and government attacks on the unemployed.
Libertarian Alternative of Lebanon is a relatively new group. It has to work in very difficult circumstances. Lebanon has emerged 17 years of civil war, and is partly occupied by Israel. Also, there are religious conflicts and increasing repression of dissidents.
The comrades have translated the book Anarchism: from theory to practice by Daniel Guerin into Arabic. They intend to distribute about 4000 copies. The book is an excellent introduction to Anarchism.
Unlike the other organisations, the Polish Anarchist Federation is a loose coalition of Anarchist groups who have little in the way of a shared programme.
Activity by the members have included big actions and ongoing campaigns against the Russian invasion of Chechnya, pensions cuts, anti- racism/ anti- fascism (four people were murdered by Nazi skinheads in 1994), and anti- militarism.
The Workers Solidarity Movement discussed the situation in Ireland. This included the issue of the division of Ireland into “independent” and British- ruled sections. The comrades also discussed their own activities in the unions, and in such campaigns as abortion rights.
REVOLUTIONARY TRADE UNIONS
Also present were three Anarchist- Syndicalist unions. These were the Central Workers Organisation from Sweden, and Workers Solidarity and the General Confederation of Labour from Spain. These organisations are proof that Anarchism can win workers in their tens of thousands.
A draft declaration was drawn by the delegates. This will be sent to the participating organisations for discussion. The declaration calls for joint work on various issues. These include co-ordinating anti- sexist struggles, campaigning against nuclear weapons, and actions protesting unemployment. The declaration will also commit the Anarchist political groups (but not the unions) to further discussions, translation of texts, and further meetings in 1996 and 1997.
BUILD AN ANARCHIST INTERNATIONAL
We believe that there is a concrete need for to build an international Anarchist organisation, with agreement on ideas and tactics. The bosses and rulers are organised internationally, we must be as well. This conference is a positive step in this direction. Debate, discussion and joint work can only help us move forward. We wish our comrades in Europe every success with this venture.