Newish on the AF website

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little_brother's picture
little_brother
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Oct 29 2018 20:25
Newish on the AF website

New ecology pamphlet, UberEats activism, statement from Balkans Bookfair, Sisters Not Cisters...
http://www.afed.org.uk

Craftwork's picture
Craftwork
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Oct 30 2018 12:12

Why doesn't https work?

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jondwhite
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Oct 30 2018 17:18

How are AF getting on relative to their splinter group

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little_brother
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Oct 30 2018 22:12

OK relatively speaking, jonswhite, but is any anarchist or libertarian socialist organisation doing particularly well in the present political situation? This said people are getting in touch interested in anarchism which is positive sign. My personal opinion at least. We are committed to the move to a more intersectional politics which we've been working on this last year.

Craftwork - We are moving back to https ASAP. (We lost our old server so current hosting is temporary.)

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little_brother
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Oct 30 2018 22:31

I think it's worth adding that the role of libertarian organisations as propaganda instruments is as important as ever and people only contact you if you are saying relevant things. So we are continuing with the effort on paper, web and social media. We are holding local meetings including at the many regional bookfairs. Organise! is being worked on (later this year without the pressure of the London bookfair!) - now we have finished getting the new Ecology pamphlet out.
We are getting stuck into activity locally - and thinking more about coordination. International/transnational organisation is really important. We have the new IFA member feds in Central and South America and an international Congress taking place in the East of Europe in 2019.

Battlescarred
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Oct 31 2018 00:13

I would not call the Anarchist Communist Group a "splinter group" but a relevant (and growing) organisation in its own right

ajjohnstone
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Nov 4 2018 09:04

What was the original membership at formation and what is it now to give a perspective on what is meant by "growing" organisation?

The other question is where did the new members come from, existing sympathisers or new people to the movement?

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Craftwork
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Nov 4 2018 13:24
little_brother wrote:
We are committed to the move to a more intersectional politics which we've been working on this last year.

What does this mean?

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Rob Ray
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Nov 4 2018 15:32
Quote:
What was the original membership at formation and what is it now to give a perspective on what is meant by "growing" organisation?

The other question is where did the new members come from, existing sympathisers or new people to the movement?

I always wonder about this sort of question - what business is it of yours and what answers are you expecting here? If they want to talk about the guts of their membership and organisation that's up to them, but they certainly owe you no explanations or justifications, and if you actually give a damn beyond mere noseyness you can always talk to them direct at a meeting rather than demanding they parade their internal workings for public consumption.

Battlescarred
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Nov 4 2018 20:24

Quite right, Rob

ajjohnstone
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Nov 5 2018 00:31

A claim was made - i simply asked a follow-up question.

My interest is because my impression is that most groups' numbers on the Thin Red Line are either stagnant or in decline. This forum itself may well be cited as reflective of the downward direction our movement is on, when, what are you listening to, and what are you watching, appear to be the main active topics.

If there is any group going against the trend then it would be nice to know what they are doing right to attract new members.

It appears though that rather than engage in transparency, secrecy is once again the policy. It is not like i asked for names and addresses.

As for talking direct at a meeting, i thought it may have been apparent from my past postings that i am not in the UK and rarely visit.

But i will, i think, treat the defensiveness of the replies as a sign that there is no growth of any real substance (other than perhaps poaching members from other similar groups thus weakening these) worth boasting of nor any reason for pulling JonWhite up about for his choice of words and i'm embarrassed for you that fake indignation and bombast is the only response that could be offered to a straight-forward inquiry.

Battlescarred
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Nov 5 2018 17:20

Oh bollox! It's just the old SPGB hostility clause shtick

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Serge Forward
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Nov 5 2018 18:02
ajjohnstone wrote:
A claim was made - i simply asked a follow-up question.

My interest is because my impression is that most groups' numbers on the Thin Red Line are either stagnant or in decline. This forum itself may well be cited as reflective of the downward direction our movement is on, when, what are you listening to, and what are you watching, appear to be the main active topics.

If there is any group going against the trend then it would be nice to know what they are doing right to attract new members.

It appears though that rather than engage in transparency, secrecy is once again the policy. It is not like i asked for names and addresses.

As for talking direct at a meeting, i thought it may have been apparent from my past postings that i am not in the UK and rarely visit.

But i will, i think, treat the defensiveness of the replies as a sign that there is no growth of any real substance (other than perhaps poaching members from other similar groups thus weakening these) worth boasting of nor any reason for pulling JonWhite up about for his choice of words and i'm embarrassed for you that fake indignation and bombast is the only response that could be offered to a straight-forward inquiry.

In short, the old "I ain't done nuffin" line grin

But for your info, the ACG is steadily attracting new comrades to the organisation.

If you really want to know what we're up to, have a look at our website. You can even subscribe there to the mailing list which tells you what we're doing. Anyway, I'll say nowt else as this thread is meant to be about the AF.

Battlescarred
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Nov 5 2018 20:20

Yes, it's their thread and we only replied to SPGBers cos we had to, Apologies to AF ( i mean that most sincerely)

ajjohnstone
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Nov 6 2018 08:31

So still no clear answer on a very simple question...

What is your membership and where are you recruiting from.

Why the secrecy and don't say it is righteous indignation at the nerve and impudence to be asked such a thing on a public forum when you have already stated that it is steadily attracting new comrades

And just to make sure AF is not left out, perhaps they might be a bit more open about such information and answer.

I never intended it to be about the SPGB but we have had from Jan-June 22 applications for membership but only 9 approved. Compared for the same period last year 35 applications and 7 approvals.

Not exactly sure of total membership but it might be around 280 but with about half that participating in our party polls

But if you were to enquire to my comrades about my outlook for the SPGB you will learn that i am one of the pessimistic members, who believe that the demographics of our members will lead to the extinction of the SPGB as a functioning political party in a generation or two. We'll go the way of the ILP and the SLP. (but what about all our money, eh? where will that go?)

Hence my interest in members numbers of other groups...what are they doing that we aren't, if they truly are growing in strength which i now seriously doubt considering the reluctance to reveal figures.

All i deserved from a genuine question was some snide remarks...certainly not a tactic to foster my interest in either group, but i don't hold grudges smile

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Nov 7 2018 16:34
ajjohnstone wrote:
But if you were to enquire to my comrades about my outlook for the SPGB you will learn that i am one of the pessimistic members, who believe that the demographics of our members will lead to the extinction of the SPGB as a functioning political party in a generation or two. We'll go the way of the ILP and the SLP. (but what about all our money, eh? where will that go?)

If you think its likely the party will go extinct with significant resources why not do a RSL?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Socialist_League_(U.S.)

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Noah Fence
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Nov 7 2018 18:06
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I never intended it to be about the SPGB but we have had from Jan-June 22 applications for membership but only 9 approved. Compared for the same period last year 35 applications and 7 approvals.

This struck me as a bit odd! Of course, I know absolutely nothing about such things but it seems a remarkable ratio of approvals to non approvals. I dare say there are valid reasons but it doesn’t seem that surprising that you are pessimistic about your party’s chances of survival if two of of three applicants are turned down.

ajjohnstone
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Nov 8 2018 01:02

Which link to which RSL, Andrew?

When the ILP ceased to be a political party it became Independent Labour Publications. An option but what to print?

Noah, you are aware that an application for membership is not automatic membership. That there is what is customarily called a knowledge test that applicants need to go through to screen out those who actually do not subscribe to the core ideas of the SPGB. The questions to join are at

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/membership-application/

As for the number of rejected applications i am sure it has something to do with that online process which is becoming more common manner of joining. I think we all agree, though, that face-to-face introductions at our meetings and gatherings are much more meaningful. It was our forte in outdoor meetings that was most fruitful. Past history now. Our occasional indoor meetings are not encouraging an audience other than the usual suspects. Rejected applications become contacts and exchanges still continue where possible.

Another thing to consider is our resignation/death rate. Not sure if new members are compensating fully for the losses I lost the stats on this but they aren't.

Perhaps you can tell me what you know about the average age of your activists. Has Libcom performed any demographic surveys of the list's members? The SPGB did one and confirmed the overwhelmingly elderly membership. And that means less attendance for branch meetings, less participation, less campaigning, less engagement, less new members. What youngster seeks to go to meetings that are centred on nostalgia and reminiscing, even i got bored with such. Even public meetings that have themes and topics commemorating history can be seen as out of touch rather than meeting about contemporary issues that require explanation and action.

Am i wrong in believing that we are getting older and younger people are not joining as they did in the past applies to others on what i call the Thin Red Line (i'm one of the SPGBers who does not use the hostility clause other than against capitalists and state capitalists organisations and personalities) And of course we can also look at the gender and ethnic backgrounds of those in the "movement" and wonder why they are absent.

If we are weaker comparative with the past, it is something we should acknowledge and all begin to address and not engage in any pissing contests and pretend with false hope. We have no presence within the working class to speak of, even less than we did in past times and that has to be changed.

I have been brutally honest and within my own party have carped on and on about reviewing our attitudes.

But as been pointed out, this is not the place to discuss these issues.

But some here thought i was just being nosey or engaging in some sort of upmanship...Humfff

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AndrewF
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Nov 9 2018 11:19
ajjohnstone wrote:
Which link to which RSL, Andrew?

Ah apologies the link got broken because of the full stop in it, I'll try again [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Socialist_League_(U.S.)]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Socialist_League_(U.S.)[/url]

In case that doesn't wok I meant the US one and specifically "The RSL disbanded in 1989, with about twenty of its remaining members helping in the formation of Love and Rage Network, a revolutionary anarchist newspaper and organization. The RSL met to disband the day before the founding conference of Love and Rage."

When touring the US in 2007/8 I met some of those people and thought it was quite a smart decision to make when what was an organisation with extremely high demands on member commitment hit a demoralisation and getting older wall as the movements of the 60s and 70s were being defeated. In their act of fading out they provided the scaffold that an entirely new organisation could rapidly emerge from.

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rat
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Nov 10 2018 20:15
Craftwork wrote:
little_brother wrote:
We are committed to the move to a more intersectional politics which we've been working on this last year.

What does this mean?

Craftwork has already asked this question above, but as this thread was originally meant to be about the AF, it would be good to get a clearer sense of what "the move to a more intersectional politics" actually means in practice?

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little_brother
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Nov 11 2018 14:33

AF is getting similar rates of membership enquiries to previous and we already reported it was around 12 members initially who left. I am not going to talk in detail about numbers but it is common knowledge that membership of AF has been between 50-100+ in the past and peaks have occurred during times of struggle such as the student actions from 2010 which also co-insided with anti-austerity activism and Occupy.
I think the general approach to becoming more intersectional is expressed here http://afed.org.uk/2018-in-with-the-new/ and in terms of developing it we have spent the last year thinking about what this means in practice. Most recently we signed the Sisters not Cisters statement, as mentioned at start of this thread, which is on the Freedom website and have been involved in meetings around the GRA. Personally I think it's a lot about emphasis - for example with Brexit how much does the anarchist movement (or the thin red line orgs) appeal to migrant workers aside from words? Actually we have migrant workers in AF (EU and non-EU) and that gives us some insights into what is required to create solidarity that isn't focussed only on the British citizen context. Clearly this is also a now a major focus of base union organising which is outside of AF but some of us are involved as members. I think part of the intersectional approach is always being mindful of aspects of struggle that are different dependent on gender or ethnic background. It's not a given - I remember well when we had to make the case for specific action of IWW membership against deportations for a GEC motion (London 2009 I think) and I think that comes from an internationalist perspective which is of course held by most orgs on this forum, but needs to go further than the idea that all workers must unite across borders but to recognise the specific issues faced by migrant workers and people of colour. In terms of gender this could be about more emphasis on the economic situation for women during the current crisis/austerity. I am hoping some of this will come over in the forthcoming Organise! It's not going to change overnight though.

Spikymike
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Nov 11 2018 18:58

The previous issue of Organise from the AF seemed in terms of it's content to reflect some of the change of emphasis referred to though I thought open to some criticism beyond my earlier brief comments. The effectiveness of continuing further in that direction is at least questionable and yet to be proved.The AF could help by putting more of their separate texts up for discussion on this site even if they have been reluctant to engage here in the past. Their latest new pamphlet on Ecology seems pretty good. In the meantime the former AF members now in the ACG are proving themselves pretty busy with a useful pamphlet titled 'Fight for the City' and another promised on Health and the NHS which could also be good if it reflects on some of the contributions to their recent 'Day School'. If presently smaller than the remaining AF they seem well organised and are also picking up new members - of course size isn't everything. As usual I remain critical of both but unlike some I continue to find value in the 'thin red line'.

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little_brother
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Nov 12 2018 12:14

Thanks for the comments. We are launching the new Ecology pamphlet with a meeting at Manchester anarchist bookfair so do come and get a print copy - glad you liked it smile
I haven't read the new pamphlet but imagine AF might well review ACG outputs in forthcoming Organises. Certainly London AF would be in a good position to do this for Fight for the City, as I suppose you'll be aware, but others may not be, that London AF collaboration on Rebel City (orginally a local group AF publication initiated by Battlescarred and others, but opened up to others in London over a year ago) has continued.