The AF and Solfed

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McCormick
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Oct 10 2005 22:58

I think there is probably a minority within the AF who would be in favour of a SolFed-Afed merger. I'm not one of them, but neither do I think differences should be exaggerated.

I'm for a practical unity where possible. And I think this happens in some places.

red n black star

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Serge Forward
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Oct 11 2005 23:27

Why do people have to think in terms of merger anyway? What's actually wrong with a bit of pluralism in the movement?

AF and Sol Fed members work together as and when they can. That's good enough for me.

Far better than all this merger madness is the building of effective class struggle anarchist alliances, whether at the local, regional, national or international level.

Rob

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Oct 14 2005 14:12

Serge, do you think its acceptable that we reproduce the same propaganda, have a few cases of overlapping membership and function in almost identical ways, yet remain seperate?

Steve
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Oct 14 2005 14:20

But we don't produce the same propaganda, we don't have overlapping membership (how many are members of both, and except for London & Manchester, where are there both SF & AF groups) and we do seem to have different ways of functioning internally.

I think Serge is right we should work together where we can but keep our separate identities.

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Oct 16 2005 23:17
october_lost wrote:
Serge, do you think its acceptable that we reproduce the same propaganda, have a few cases of overlapping membership and function in almost identical ways, yet remain seperate?

It's just one of those things... occasionally we might duplicate each other's work, which all goes to show how much we do have in common. And these are the things we can work together on. But it wouldn't be acceptable to just sink our few ideological and organisational differences for a fudged unity.

No doubt some would be happy to be in a marginally bigger organisation, but real differences would soon rise to the surface, and in the end, both organisations would suffer.

Don't get me wrong, even as a long-term member of the AF, I'm not actually very precious about our own political and organisational identity. I like a lot of what Sol Fed says and I'm all for a larger 'umberella' organisation of class struggle anarchists. But at the same time, I can just see the inevitable problems with merger for the sake of it.

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 16 2005 23:34

A CONFEDERATION!

(eg. a joint mailing list for coordinating activities, bimonthly shared meetings where possible, an annual joint conference - maybe even open for public, generally sharing resources for shared projects...possibly with delegates, but not necessarily).

I could try to put this on the agenda of the next SolFed National Conference, if other AF members agreed - it could be presented as an Anarchist Federation proposal.

This isn't quite what they did in Ireland, maybe it would be even better, but I'm positive it would have a great impact on the future of libertarian politics in this country.

So, what do you think?

kalabine
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Oct 17 2005 00:36

i think a confederation of class struggle anarchists, consisting of the 3 feds, plus us non aligned lot would be a good idea...

good luck with trying to get it passed

Steve
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Oct 17 2005 10:53
gentle revolutionary wrote:
A CONFEDERATION!

(eg. a joint mailing list for coordinating activities, bimonthly shared meetings where possible, an annual joint conference - maybe even open for public, generally sharing resources for shared projects...possibly with delegates, but not necessarily).

I could try to put this on the agenda of the next SolFed National Conference, if other AF members agreed - it could be presented as an Anarchist Federation proposal.

This isn't quite what they did in Ireland, maybe it would be even better, but I'm positive it would have a great impact on the future of libertarian politics in this country.

So, what do you think?

If you want to do this it cannot come as a proposal from the AF. You would have to get your local to put it forward at the next Conference (March).

nastyned
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Oct 17 2005 11:03

I'm actually more sceptical of a 'confederation' working than a merger. I'd like to see some actual practical proposals for joint activity. Without them all you'll be doing is having more meetings.

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the button
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Oct 17 2005 11:34
nastyned wrote:
Without them all you'll be doing is having more meetings.

Seconded.

Anarchist Workers Network, anyone?

Thought not.

Steve
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Oct 17 2005 11:44

You know joint activity is already happening in the North West. Instead of meetings & proposals just do it.

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Oct 17 2005 12:39
Serge Forward wrote:
october_lost wrote:
But it wouldn't be acceptable to just sink our few ideological and organisational differences for a fudged unity.

Its not fudged, it would allow for clarity of stratergy and tactics because we would be able to discuss things openly between ourselves. No one as yet challenged me that there is 'practical' work which seperates the different groups, if at a later stage there is a difference of opinion in the creation of libertarian unions, then so be it, but thats not an issue yet on the horizon, nor in the near forseeable future.

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Oct 17 2005 14:54
Steve wrote:
You know joint activity is already happening in the North West. Instead of meetings & proposals just do it.

Exactly.

A bunch of us in libcom always thought it was a shame there were so many different groups with similar politics, and thought it'd be good if they all joined together. But it's balls it doesn't matter. Shared activity's the way forwards.

We decided to do this site, for example and there are people in the af and solfed in libcom (plus analigned) and we get contributions from people in every group under the sun.

So in short if you want the benefits of a merger - get involved in making libcom good cos we link to everyone, and collate all the best stuff from everyone wink tongue

nastyned
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Oct 17 2005 15:30

That's it! I can see it's obvious now - if only we could all contribute to the same website!

knightrose
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Oct 17 2005 18:58
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Anarchist Workers Network, anyone?

Well, why not? The problem I felt with the previous proposal was that it was all worked out in advance. If we were discussing what we as libertarians could do together in the workplaces, then yes. Solfed have their industrial networks. Could they not be opened out to others? Solfed had no problem with involving others in their anti-casualisation campaign. Maybe some kind of relaunch?

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Oct 17 2005 20:17
knightrose wrote:
Solfed have their industrial networks. Could they not be opened out to others?

this is a very good idea IMO and should be discussed more widely. There are a lot of anarchists working in the education sector, social work sector, charity sector, good amount of posties and so on. But not many in one anarchist group (and i would guess most not member of any of the groups).

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 17 2005 21:29
Steve wrote:
If you want to do this it cannot come as a proposal from the AF. You would have to get your local to put it forward at the next Conference (March).

Oh yeah, I forgot, we should let SLOOOW bureaucratic procedures to lead the way.

Why the **** (hell) should we wait half a year when we can do it over the Internet in a week or two?

It's nice saying that we don't need meetings, just joint activities, but how can you expect that to happen if you don't even know the individuals on the other side, don't know what they're doing and don't have the proper communication channels to coordinate, let alone discuss possible activities.

(btw., as a member of both AF & SolFed, I can say that the possibilities of a merger are in the realm of science fiction)

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 17 2005 21:32
knightrose wrote:
Solfed have their industrial networks. Could they not be opened out to others?

The industrial networks where officially disbanded at the last National Conference. So again, lack of communication and coordination screwed everything up.

meanoldman
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Oct 17 2005 21:38
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Why the **** (hell) should we wait half a year when we can do it over the Internet in a week or two?

Many members of AF, and presumably SolFed as well, have little or no internet access so making any significant decision online currently is not an option.

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Steven.
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Oct 17 2005 21:38
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Oh yeah, I forgot, we should let SLOOOW bureaucratic procedures to lead the way.

Yeah or petty considerations like internal democracy.

Steve
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Oct 17 2005 22:26
gentle revolutionary wrote:
knightrose wrote:
Solfed have their industrial networks. Could they not be opened out to others?

The industrial networks where officially disbanded at the last National Conference. So again, lack of communication and coordination screwed everything up.

No they weren't.

Steve
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Oct 17 2005 22:32
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Steve wrote:
If you want to do this it cannot come as a proposal from the AF. You would have to get your local to put it forward at the next Conference (March).

Oh yeah, I forgot, we should let SLOOOW bureaucratic procedures to lead the way.

Why the **** (hell) should we wait half a year when we can do it over the Internet in a week or two?

It's nice saying that we don't need meetings, just joint activities, but how can you expect that to happen if you don't even know the individuals on the other side, don't know what they're doing and don't have the proper communication channels to coordinate, let alone discuss possible activities.

(btw., as a member of both AF & SolFed, I can say that the possibilities of a merger are in the realm of science fiction)

There is a question of accountability and democracy involved. I don't know how long you have been a member but you seem to have problems with the basic principles of anarcho-syndicalism from what I've seen. Maybe you should have tried to make the plenary and dayschool when you could have taken part in the discussions about improving internal & external communication, the industrial strategy and networks.

p.s. I still don't understand why you are a member of AF & SF as you cannot possibly agree with both federations' aims and principles at the same time.

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 17 2005 22:50
John. wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Oh yeah, I forgot, we should let SLOOOW bureaucratic procedures to lead the way.

Yeah or petty considerations like internal democracy.

Well, I didn't know there were people who had no access to the Internet (are they even active members? there is an Internet cafe on every corner...), but taking half a year to make an important decision is just plain silly. Not that we're going to get there soon (obviously), but imagine us functioning in a revolutionary situation. That's Monthy Python material.

If there are enough people who feel strongly about an issue, there has to be a way of speeding things up (whatever the issue involved is).

It could be either a special conference, comrades with Internet access discussing the issue involved with those that don't have access (printing out the discussion from the web for them...) and then voting by post etc. If we can't make direct democracy function efficiently why should anyone believe us?

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 17 2005 22:53
Steve wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:
knightrose wrote:
Solfed have their industrial networks. Could they not be opened out to others?

The industrial networks where officially disbanded at the last National Conference. So again, lack of communication and coordination screwed everything up.

No they weren't.

I could swear they were, don't know where my minutes are. It was said sth in the style of networks not existing in real life and therefore there being no point in keeping them on paper.

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 17 2005 22:57
Steve wrote:
There is a question of accountability and democracy involved. I don't know how long you have been a member but you seem to have problems with the basic principles of anarcho-syndicalism from what I've seen. Maybe you should have tried to make the plenary and dayschool when you could have taken part in the discussions about improving internal & external communication, the industrial strategy and networks.

Don't patronise me, I know anarchosyndicalist principles very well, but they're not an excuse for bureaucratic stalling and inactivity which made SolFed what it is today.

I was out of the country during the plenary and the dayschool.

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Oct 17 2005 23:01
gentle revolutionary wrote:
If we can't make direct democracy function efficiently why should anyone believe us?

Sorry GR, all those things you propose are massively time-consuming, and with postal voting (which would be necessary) - expensive. Letting any nutter who submitted any crackpot idea force the entire federation to go through all this would break any organisation very rapidly.

I think you should try to calm down a bit, you're constantly going on about how important this or that latest idea you've had is, and how nobody else is doing enough.

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Oct 17 2005 23:02
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Don't patronise me, I know anarchosyndicalist principles very well, but they're not an excuse for bureaucratic stalling and inactivity which made SolFed what it is today.

So if everyone else in SF does nothing except you, can I ask what industrial network or rank and file workers' group you've started?

I think you should take some time out, dude, and consider what is actually realistic for people to do, in terms of their activity.

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Oct 17 2005 23:33
gentle revolutionary wrote:
John. wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Oh yeah, I forgot, we should let SLOOOW bureaucratic procedures to lead the way.

Yeah or petty considerations like internal democracy.

Well, I didn't know there were people who had no access to the Internet (are they even active members? there is an Internet cafe on every corner...), but taking half a year to make an important decision is just plain silly. Not that we're going to get there soon (obviously), but imagine us functioning in a revolutionary situation. That's Monthy Python material.

If there are enough people who feel strongly about an issue, there has to be a way of speeding things up (whatever the issue involved is).

It could be either a special conference, comrades with Internet access discussing the issue involved with those that don't have access (printing out the discussion from the web for them...) and then voting by post etc. If we can't make direct democracy function efficiently why should anyone believe us?

Like how did Makhno, Durruti, etc, cope without t'internet??? And just think, all the time I wasted in me yoof, cranking out murky propaganda sheets on an old gestetner... when I should have really just waited for the internet cafe to come along.

Seriously, there's no reason why your local group couldn't make its own desicion about this at it's next meeting. If other locals want to make their own decisions about it, then they will. Then, if enough members in the organisation as a whole think there's sufficient reason for a special conference, then there'll be one. And if they don't, there won't be one.

And abracadabra, that's how anarchist communism works! If necessary, things can happen reasonably quickly. But what you're suggesting seems just a tad vanguardist.

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oisleep
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Oct 17 2005 23:38

this thread is hilarious (to an outsider you understand)

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 01:16
John. wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:
If we can't make direct democracy function efficiently why should anyone believe us?

Sorry GR, all those things you propose are massively time-consuming, and with postal voting (which would be necessary) - expensive. Letting any nutter who submitted any crackpot idea force the entire federation to go through all this would break any organisation very rapidly..

Yeah, that's why I said if enough people are interested in the issue.

John. wrote:
I think you should take some time out, dude, and consider what is actually realistic for people to do, in terms of their activity.

Yeah maybe you're right, I don't aim to offend people or anything I just feel very strongly about the issues and about all the exploitation & suffering that's going on - and instead of agonising over how pathetically weak and disorganised we are while the mechanisms of their force and control are developing (and more and more it seems like a race against time) - I'm trying to figure out ways in which we could step up the level of approach and counterbalance it at least to a relatively decent extent.