For starters


WE ENTERED 1997 with a couple of good reasons for optimism. The defeat of the water charges and the French lorry drivers' victory showed that direct action can deliver the goods. We don't have to sit around passively waiting to be sold out by some politician or by a union official on a salary five times as high as our wages. To move from opposing things (like low pay, service charges, cutbacks, unemployment...) to fighting for a better way of running society we can point to the victories won as proof that ordinary people are quite capable of overcoming what appear to be stronger forces.

What is missing, for most people, is the idea that real change is possible. We need a lot more of our readers to join with us in explaining the anarchist idea and showing that with the methods of direct democracy and militant action we can take on the task of ending the rule of the millionaires. If you like what we say you have a role to play. Write to us for more information, take an extra copy of Workers Solidarity and show it to a friend, come to our meetings.

******

When the trade union leaderships rushed - with almost indecent haste - into a ballot on 'Partnership 2000' (the latest three year deal to tie workers to the interests of employers and government) without allowing the opposition point of view to be put to members in most unions, WSM activists in the unions joined with others to produce thousands of leaflets putting the case for rejection.

Beyond the immediate campaign against this deal a rank & file movement strong enough and confident enough to remain independent of the union leaders and willing to openly defy the anti-union laws is needed. It won't be built overnight but there is no time like the present for getting people thinking on these lines. Anarchists will be there arguing for libertarian structures, for participatory democracy and for the anarchist alternative to the present system.

In January we participated in an anarchist contingent at the 25th anniversary Bloody Sunday march in Derry. We did this, along with the anarcho-syndicalists of the 'Organise!' group for two reasons. Firstly, we will not forget the slaughter of civil rights marchers and the subsequent attempt of the British government to whitewash their killers. Secondly, until an anti-sectarian working class movement emerges as a major force in the six counties Orange and Green politicians will keep the working class divided and passive. It is extremely important to show that there is anti-imperialist alternative to nationalism and communal politics.

We also helped to stage a national tour with an exhibition and meetings marking the 60th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution, which explained the positive achievements of the anarchists before they were overwhelmed by the combined strength of Franco's army on one front and the pro-Stalin Communist Party on another. An excellent account of that inspiring struggle can be found in the pamphlet The Spanish Civil War: Anarchism in Action by Eddie Conlon.

In recent months we have increased the print order for our Anarchist News bulletin, thousands were distributed in the anti-water charges campaign and during the bail referendum. With our present small membership and scarce resources (Ben Dunne forgot to slip us a bundle of tenners, again!) we are getting the anarchist message to more people. With more members we could achieve a lot more. We hope you will want to help to promote the anarchist alternative; find out more about us and then consider joining the Workers Solidarity Movement.