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The Irish Left Archive: Anarchist Worker from the Anarchist Workers Alliance, October/November 1979 July 13, 2009

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized, Workers Solidarity Movement.

cover for AWno


Here is a very welcome addition to the Archive, our first sample of anarchist material. It is a fascinating piece dating from October/November 1979. This is I believe also available on the Workers Solidarity Movement website.

It expresses a broad range of concerns, from the necessity for a public housing programme given the front page story which details how the Mansion House was squatted (successfully) by families from East Wall unable to get Corporation housing, a strongly secular approach to education, an emphatic pro-union stance (albeit for an independent union run directly by workers free of the official apparatus) – and note the mention of the CNT. There is also a double page spread on Anarchism and Religion which uses as its starting point the then recent visit of the Pope. All this builds into a coherent ideological approach which is simultaneously rooted in workers struggles on the ground. And with that in mind note the piece on the last page which criticises INLA punishment shootings.

I’m indebted to Alan MacSimon for the following observations…

Anarchist Worker published in the late 1970s/early 1980s and can be regarded as one of the forerunners of the Workers Solidarity Movement. It existed in Belfast and Dublin but was always more of an idea than a reality, with membership never going into double figures! If I remember correctly the print run was about 750.

You can find out more about the WSM here.


1. Garibaldy - July 13, 2009

Interesting document, with some good stuff. I especially liked the article on punishment shootings. That image about sectarian murder with the gunman. I’ve seen that gunman on Republican Clubs material. Does anyone know where it came from? I had assumed it was designed by the Republican Clubs, but maybe not.


2. Maddog Wilson - July 13, 2009


I think at some stage about 1972 the Republican Clubs distibuted a leaflet to every household in the Nationalist areas of Belfast about how to avoid becoming a victim of random sectarian attacks, i think the image comes from that leaflet.

On the Turf Lodge shooting if the woman concerned knew where INLA kept their guns she was probably a member, so it was more of an internal matter in the INLA, i am not saying it was right.

The piece on the causes of crime, i agree with. The only problem there is, it is idealistic, how in the situation in Belfast at the time would anyone have convinced the joyriding fraternity that they were the victims of a ‘ competetive’ Capitalist society and desist. Those guys were impervious to any actions from the Paramilitarys, they used to taunt the Brits as well and quite a few got shot. Even OIRA came out of hibernation round about that time to issue a statement warning of action. It is well meaning though.


3. Fergal - July 13, 2009

Great to see some left-libertarian stuff on CLR.


4. Maddog Wilson - July 14, 2009


Fair enough, but what would you do?


5. Garibaldy - July 14, 2009

Cheers Maddog. I think it might have been on a sectarianism kills poster too.


6. Maddog Wilson - July 14, 2009

I always remember the slogan on the Bridge just before Sandy Row, there for years.


7. Fergal - July 14, 2009

Hi Maddog,
Not sure about your question,”what would you do?” Is it about the joyriding or the general situation in Belfast in the 70s?I think your comment(2)makes a lot of sense and I would agree with it.Idealism is fine but does it work?
If it’s the second question,I honestly don’t know.There’s always a difference between what you’d like to have done and what would really have happened.Hope this answers your question!


8. Maddog Wilson - July 14, 2009

Sorry i misinterpreted your 1st post, bad hair day.


9. Maddog Wilson - July 14, 2009


BTW Thanks for your reply.


10. Fergal - July 14, 2009

Don’t mention it!


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