The birth of the anti-globalisation movement

On the first of January 1994, an army marched out of the Lacedon jungle in the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico and seized control of four towns including the regional capital of St. Christobal de las Casas. This uprising was seen as particularly significant by anarchists due to the nature of the rebel army,…

Guilt, sacrifice and purgatory points

Guilt is the primary fuel from which left wing parties [1] derive the energy to power their activities. This guilt is much more mundane and immediate than the “middle class” guilt that is often projected onto such groups by their critics. In my experience, it is fairly rare for members of left parties to feel…

Reds in tooth and claw

When people look at the confusing patchwork of organisations and ideologies that exists on the far-left, a common reaction is to wonder why they fail to unite. On an ideological level, they have much in common, especially when compared to non-socialist political ideologies. On a practical level, they have even more in common. They all…

Anarchy through strict formal structures

In 1998 when I joined the Workers Solidarity Movement, it was firmly situated within the culture of the far left. This provided the organisation with conventions which structured its political activity: internal meetings, street paper-sales, public meetings, participation in demonstrations and protests, and involvement in left-wing trade unions and various ‘progressive’ campaigns - the avenues…

The leadership of ideas

Anarchists generally believe that the major flaw of the most prominent socialist movements in history – from the Bolsheviks to the Labour Party and Syriza – is a failure to account for the corrupting influence of power. In anarchist thinking, the state is a vehicle for domination of society on behalf of a small elite.…

Joining the WSM

June, 1998. I’m sitting on my own in the corner of the upstairs lounge of the Bachelors Inn, feeling slightly foolish. Five minutes ago, I had stood up and announced to a meeting of a half-dozen members of the Workers Solidarity Movement, in the dark and dingy back room of the pub below, that I…

The socialist model: limitations and pitfalls

In the first part of this article, I discussed the basic socialist worldview. In the second part, I examined the predictive power of the model. This, the third and final part, looks at some of its limitations and pitfalls. Given its extreme simplicity, the socialist model has proved good at predicting - in broad brushstrokes…

Socialism: a predictive model

In the first part of this article, I discussed the basic socialist worldview and how it differs from the dominant liberal-democratic alternative. This article continues the theme and looks at the merits of the socialist model as a theory of social dynamics. To recap briefly. The socialist worldview (shown in diagrammatic form above) considers the…

Arise comrade Chekov

O’Connell Bridge, which connects Dublin’s Southside to its less affluent Northside, is as close as one can get to the very centre of the city. On this early evening, in February 1998, it is thronged with cars and pedestrians as usual. North of the bridge, 50 metres Westward along Bachelor’s quay, sits a pub called…

The socialist worldview

When people have basic differences in the internal model that they use to navigate the world around them their behaviours and opinions can easily seem irrational and senseless to one another. Understanding somebody’s basic world-view is necessary in order to make any sense of their behaviour: at some level all belief systems that humans adhere…