The AF and Solfed

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gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 01:16
revol68 wrote:
gentle revolutionary from what i seen you post on libcom so far your a complete cock!

Kush! (a Croatian word:)

Steve
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Oct 18 2005 08:29
gentle revolutionary wrote:
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.

One basic idea of SolFed & anarcho-syndicalism is that decisions are made at face-to-face meetings, openly. Not by secret ballot or electronically. These are simply bourgeois versions of democracy. This applies to the workplace, community or internal SF decisions.

As for inactivity when you see the next IB you’ll get a flavour of the activity from the Locals’ reports perhaps then you may want to apologise to the other members of SF who put in a lot of time and effort.

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JDMF
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Oct 18 2005 08:37
Steve wrote:
One basic idea of SolFed & anarcho-syndicalism is that decisions are made at face-to-face meetings, openly. Not by secret ballot or electronically. These are simply bourgeois versions of democracy. This applies to the workplace, community or internal SF decisions.

how does this work for a national group Steve? I mean, only a small minority can attend to national meetings, right?

And when the group grows, say to few thousand members, would you still support making decisions by few delegates "face to face" over ballots where every member would have a voice (and not forced to reduce for instance locals opinion to just couple delegates).

I don't understand how this works, so please be verbose smile I've always been involved in groups where membership wide ballots are common way of getting the opinion.

Steve
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Oct 18 2005 08:40
Serge Forward wrote:
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.

Once again I agree. Each Local can decide to work with AF. We have in Preston but it was an easy decision as there is no AF group. We do, however, work with Manchester SF on lots of things and through that with AF on the North West Stuff your Boss campaign.

It does seem this merger idea has come out of some peoples frustration about how the anarchist movement is going in there area/organisation or in general. Trying to merge two organisations with different aims and principles is not the answer. It doesn’t address the basic problems of spreading anarchist ideas, it would be a quick fix that would soon wear off and we’d be left with the same problems and tasks but with a weaker organisation of about the same size or smaller.

After the SF Plenary and with recent developments I’m more optimistic than I have been for a long time. I don’t want to waste my energy in pointless discussions about a merger (in fact I feel I’ve already wasted too much time typing this) so count me out and I’ll get on with what I and my Local and SF see as important.

Steve
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Oct 18 2005 08:45
JDMF wrote:
Steve wrote:
One basic idea of SolFed & anarcho-syndicalism is that decisions are made at face-to-face meetings, openly. Not by secret ballot or electronically. These are simply bourgeois versions of democracy. This applies to the workplace, community or internal SF decisions.

how does this work for a national group Steve? I mean, only a small minority can attend to national meetings, right?

And when the group grows, say to few thousand members, would you still support making decisions by few delegates "face to face" over ballots where every member would have a voice (and not forced to reduce for instance locals opinion to just couple delegates).

I don't understand how this works, so please be verbose smile I've always been involved in groups where membership wide ballots are common way of getting the opinion.

Sorry JDMF this is a different thread and at the moment I haven't the time to go into it fully. Why don't you put it on the SF internal list and you'll get a fuller answer or maybe start a thread on here, although I think that would quickly be derailed.

Burt quickly delegates are just that, delegates and need all deisions confirmed by mass meetings in the case of when SF has grown and/or we have the revolutionary union of thousands. Now delegates take a mandate from their local and report back to it.

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 11:35
Steve wrote:
One basic idea of SolFed & anarcho-syndicalism is that decisions are made at face-to-face meetings, openly. Not by secret ballot or electronically. These are simply bourgeois versions of democracy. This applies to the workplace, community or internal SF decisions...

This is an utterly reactionary and technophobic attitude. The still insufficiently explored and developed idea of cyberdemocracy is perhaps the single most important concept working in favour of a direct democratic future.

Steve wrote:
As for inactivity when you see the next IB you’ll get a flavour of the activity from the Locals’ reports perhaps then you may want to apologise to the other members of SF who put in a lot of time and effort.

Bravo to those who are doing stuff. In London SolFed is barely alive (applies to both locals), it has absolutely no influence and is almost completely isolated from the rest of the "movement" (I am sorry for putting the folks from the North in the same basket). If we can't be honest to ourselves we'll never improve our standing.

kalabine
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Oct 18 2005 11:49
gentle revolutionary wrote:

Bravo to those who are doing stuff. In London SolFed is barely alive (applies to both locals), it has absolutely no influence and is almost completely isolated from the rest of the "movement" (I am sorry for putting the folks from the North in the same basket). If we can't be honest to ourselves we'll never improve our standing.

to be fair, one of the north east london SF people is active in defend council housing, and another is in walthamstow anarchist group i believe.

and there is no "movement" also promoting ideas of self organisation in the working class is more impotant than cooperating with the likes of dissent etc

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Steven.
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Oct 18 2005 12:55
gentle revolutionary wrote:
In London SolFed ... is almost completely isolated from the rest of the "movement"

You say that like it's a bad thing confused

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the button
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Oct 18 2005 13:36
John. wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:
In London SolFed ... is almost completely isolated from the rest of the "movement"

You say that like it's a bad thing confused

grin

Well, I've met gentle revolutionary just the once & he was trying to convince us that going on a "Stop the War" demo would be a really good way of launching the South London SolFed local. So draw your own conclusions.

Not that South London SolFed is the dog's bollocks or owt. We've got our problems -- a lot of which seem to stem from the fact that we're virtually all involved in organising at work or where we live and it's very easy under those circumstances for a meeting to turn into Just Another Fucking Meeting.

So clearly the best way to address this is..... more meetings! More activitism! More ...... Oh no, sorry. That's bollocks.

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Oct 18 2005 14:06
the button wrote:
Well, I've met gentle revolutionary just the once & he was trying to convince us that going on a "Stop the War" demo would be a really good way of launching the South London SolFed local. So draw your own conclusions.

my conclusion would be not to never discuss anything with Mr Button in case you may say something wrong and against the high and mighty anarchist experts List Of Approved Things (TM), and then end up being a target of snipy comments on a public forum.

confused

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the button
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Oct 18 2005 14:09

Well, in words that echo around playgrounds everywhere, he started it. tongue

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 17:00
kalabine wrote:
to be fair, one of the north east london SF people is active in defend council housing.

Ah you mean ***. He left SolFed and became a maoist.

Admin edit - personal information deleted

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Steven.
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Oct 18 2005 17:04

GR - don't give people's personal info unless they permit you to.

And as far as I know he has left SF but hasn't become a Maoist - why do you say that?

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 17:04
the button wrote:
John. wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:
In London SolFed ... is almost completely isolated from the rest of the "movement"

You say that like it's a bad thing confused

grin

Well, I've met gentle revolutionary just the once & he was trying to convince us that going on a "Stop the War" demo would be a really good way of launching the South London SolFed local. So draw your own conclusions.

What a silly idea of mine..actually letting people know South London Solidarity Federation exists...The SWP and other Trots must be idiots for thinking they could increase their membership and beat the anarchos via demos...No, wait, they actually are beating us, by a wide margin.

Not that demos are enough, but the fact I have to look for an anarchist with a flashlight at every mass gathering of left-wing people says a lot about anarchist indolence in this country. Meanwhile, all the people who are getting in touch with anticapitalist politics for the first time are signing up to Trots lists and being brainwashed into state socialist thinking.

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 17:13
John. wrote:
GR - don't give people's personal info unless they permit you to.

And as far as I know he has left SF but hasn't become a Maoist - why do you say that?

Cause others from NELSF saw him giving out leaflets about the Proletarian Revolution in Nepal - together with the Maoist bunch (+ they talked to him).

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Steven.
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Oct 18 2005 17:17
gentle revolutionary wrote:
Cause others from NELSF saw him giving out leaflets about the Proletarian Revolution in Nepal - together with the Maoist bunch (+ they talked to him).

Holy shit really eek eek

Er, so are you in north and london solfed then?

gentle revolutionary
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Oct 18 2005 17:37

Basically just in North. I wanted to come to the last SLSF meeting in order to give my contribution to its revival and to see if I could help *** and his mates, but NELSF had a meeting on the same day (and exactly at the same time). Only two people came to the SLSF meeting and it had to be posponed.

Admin edit - stop posting people's private personal details!

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JDMF
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Oct 18 2005 21:42

hey i think i know who you mean, and if this is the case that is a real loss IMO (though perhaps outdated since it is about 5-6 years since i last talked to him - used to write letters - thats how long ago it was grin ).

sad

gangster
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Oct 18 2005 22:16

I don't believe the movement will grow as it is.

I don't believe we should carry on 'as normal' and try and 'work locally'.

I think the entire movement is so off the ball that it is untrue.

It needs to have a large reality check, and then forget about its past (ok, I know I am dreaming) and try and create a better and developing movement, that works together, respects differences, and has real democracy rather than the lip service our movement currently pays to it. At the minute Bakunins invisible hand rules the roost.

Until we grasp that politics IS more than being pure, that it means working with many who disagree with you (whilst maintaining our own principles) and show that we can work in large movements we are doomed. The search for a pure 'anarchist group' will never succeed.

kalabine
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Oct 18 2005 22:37
gangster wrote:
I don't believe the movement will grow as it is.

agreed

Quote:

I think the entire movement is so off the ball that it is untrue.

It needs to have a large reality check, and then forget about its past (ok, I know I am dreaming) and try and create a better and developing movement, that works together, respects differences.

agreed, we have enough democracy though (at least class strugglists do)

Quote:

Until we grasp that politics IS more than being pure, that it means working with many who disagree with you (whilst maintaining our own principles) and show that we can work in large movements we are doomed. The search for a pure 'anarchist group' will never succeed.

um we know this - but that means working with more ordinary people, more working class people - not middle class liberal fuckwits in the activist scene

Mike Harman
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Oct 18 2005 23:19
gentle revolutionary wrote:

The SWP and other Trots must be idiots for thinking they could increase their membership and beat the anarchos via demos...No, wait, they actually are beating us, by a wide margin.

Yeah 'cos the whole point of libertarian communism is to recruit more members to our irrelevant tiny groups than the trots do to theirs. Maybe we should have recruitment targets, or sweepstakes, or referral programs to provide incentives?

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Not that demos are enough, but the fact I have to look for an anarchist with a flashlight at every mass gathering of left-wing people says a lot about anarchist indolence in this country.

You mean every small-medium gathering of liberals and trots don't you?

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Meanwhile, all the people who are getting in touch with anticapitalist politics for the first time are signing up to Trots lists and being brainwashed into state socialist thinking.

Yeah 'cos people new to anticapitalist politics are unable to think for themselves or make informed decisions about political activity, so super-activist anarchists must save them from the evil Trotskyist mailing lists and newspaper sales by doing exactly the same thing themselves.

I frankly don't give a fuck how many people call themselves anarchists - loads of people who call themselves anarchists are misanthropic, anti-social, personalistic, and really have very little interest in social change. To have any real effect we need to develop the potentiality for libertarian communist organisation that exists already in people's lives, not introduce them to a subculture to increase it's numbers and "beat the trots". This means coming up with practical proposals for activity which might actually benefit people and encourage self-organisation, and working with people who share those short-term aims and stand to benefit from the activity directly rather than just other politicos all the time, whilst arguing for libertarian communist long-term aims within those structures as they develop. Some of the differences of opinion on here are frankly arcane to most people, and may well be irresolvable in abstract discussion, I'm as guilty of that as anyone, but realistically they won't make much difference until they're actually put to the test in real situations

Specific ideology can then be applied to those contexts or not as it's appropriate, and will work, or not, in those contexts. Building a movement doesn't mean trying to reorganise roughly the same group of activists every few years into ever more intangible groups that spend all their time discussing how to reorganise themselves, it means trying to change things here and now. Meetings about meetings are no use at all. Theoretical discussion can be useful, networking can be useful, but if the only point of meeting is to have a meeting it becomes little more than a social club, and much less fun.

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one of the north east london SF people is active in defend council housing, and another is in walthamstow anarchist group i believe.

Don't know loads about north london DCH, but as far as I know WAG is pretty detached from movementism - maybe it's a sign that all three of those groups are sensibly cut off, rather than NELSF being "attached".

gangster
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Oct 19 2005 06:49

I am not arguing for unity at all costs, far from it, there must be many working class consciousnesses, requiring different strategies and tactics for liberation depending upon their socio economic history. And we must get on the one road, at the minute we're not even talking to each other... (virtual reality here doesn't count).

I think we need more political organisation, debate, research and practice on a movement level in 'serious' conferences covering many issues... Then we might be in a better postion politically. The bookfair does not do this, and I repeat an idea from the solidarity meeting AF CW AND SF had. That there should be a 2 yearly congress of the class struggle anarchist movement every other Mayday.

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Oct 19 2005 08:22
kalabine wrote:

um we know this - but that means working with more ordinary people, more working class people - not middle class liberal fuckwits in the activist scene

what about the ordinary working class people who are in activist scene? Or does just the participation to radical politics in "activist scene" (whatever that means) automatically make them middle class (perhaps magically changing their profession, education and parents as well?), and inject some fuckwitiness into them?

What bothers me about your elitism is that you view working class as "the ordinary people over there" - i am ordinary working class! What the fuck is making me so extraordinary?!?!? You think "ordinary" working class is incabable to do things what i choose to do with my life?

Moral of the story which relates to the ongoing discussion: we, as in class struggle anarchist, need to let go of some stupid prejudiced view of a homogenous working class and accept its diversity. Some working class people are **gasp** even involved in things which can be labelled as "activism" eek

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Oct 19 2005 10:02

What is the activist community anyway? Is it Dissent and the like? Is it the class struggle @s, when we are being active? I'm an 'activist' and working class, holding down a job etc. There are some people who seem to be full time international activists, a sort of lifestyle choice if you've got the money and few responsiblities.

I'm a bit tired of calls to leave the ghetto. Why don't we just get on with it, where we live and work, when and where we can. And be critically supportive of each other as much as possible?

neutral

red n black star

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Oct 19 2005 10:26
gentle revolutionary wrote:
The SWP and other Trots must be idiots for thinking they could increase their membership and beat the anarchos via demos...No, wait, they actually are beating us, by a wide margin.

Not that demos are enough, but the fact I have to look for an anarchist with a flashlight at every mass gathering of left-wing people says a lot about anarchist indolence in this country. Meanwhile, all the people who are getting in touch with anticapitalist politics for the first time are signing up to Trots lists and being brainwashed into state socialist thinking.

At the current point in history, when class militancy is relatively low and revolutionary ideas are a minority interest, then the trots are always going to have an easier time recruiting new members. Outside of selling trot papers and swallowing weak as piss reformist rhetoric, the trots don't ask for much from new members. Revolutionary anarchists on the other hand, ask a lot more from the potential new member of their organisation. The trots really don't need independent free-thinking class warriors. They want party-line followers. Independent free-thinking class warriors are not something greatly encouraged by society, whereas people who follow the leader are.

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the button
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Oct 19 2005 10:48

I kind of know what you're getting at Serge, but then trot groups are a lot more demanding in terms of paper quotas, pushing slates in union elections, getting resolutions through you union branches, standing for positions, etc. But like you say, a lot less demanding in terms independent thought.

Just thought I'd put this in, which is my favourite bit of the "Introduction to SolFed," which kind of captures for me why I should be a member of a group:-

Quote:
It is not like joining a club, union or political party – rather, it is an opportunity to channel your efforts for change and, at the same time, benefit yourself from the experience.

So no brow-beating & no "Thou shalts."

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Oct 19 2005 12:43
the button wrote:
I kind of know what you're getting at Serge, but then trot groups are a lot more demanding in terms of paper quotas, pushing slates in union elections, getting resolutions through you union branches, standing for positions, etc. But like you say, a lot less demanding in terms independent thought.

Just thought I'd put this in, which is my favourite bit of the "Introduction to SolFed," which kind of captures for me why I should be a member of a group:-

Quote:
It is not like joining a club, union or political party – rather, it is an opportunity to channel your efforts for change and, at the same time, benefit yourself from the experience.

So no brow-beating & no "Thou shalts."

That's a good quote from SolFed.

Yes, I guess you're right about trot groups getting their membership to do some serious donkey work - paper sales, endless meetings, caucuses, campaign groups, front groups, standing for whatever position might give their organisation the slightest potential to have some clout.

But it's also a lot more socially acceptable to be on this or that committee and to hammer away with reformist politics, than it is to build a movement for social revolution. With reformist groups, the end is always just in sight - get your party members on a few committees, double the number of paper sales, recruit here and there... and the "revolution's" already under way.

For anarchists though, the short term aims may well be achievable, but they are never about just getting anarchists on a few committees, selling a few more papers or recruiting new members. Autonomous class struggle, class confidence, effective workplace organisation, communities of genuine class resistance, all tend to come about through a combination of action at the base and tireless propaganda. That in itself can be more demanding and even dangerous than merely selling a few more papers.

And the long term aims, though appealing to many non anarchists, are realistically a long way away.

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Steven.
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Oct 19 2005 17:49
JDMF wrote:
kalabine wrote:

um we know this - but that means working with more ordinary people, more working class people - not middle class liberal fuckwits in the activist scene

what about the ordinary working class people who are in activist scene? Or does just the participation to radical politics in "activist scene" (whatever that means) automatically make them middle class (perhaps magically changing their profession, education and parents as well?), and inject some fuckwitiness into them?

What bothers me about your elitism is that you view working class as "the ordinary people over there" - i am ordinary working class! What the fuck is making me so extraordinary?!?!? You think "ordinary" working class is incabable to do things what i choose to do with my life?

Moral of the story which relates to the ongoing discussion: we, as in class struggle anarchist, need to let go of some stupid prejudiced view of a homogenous working class and accept its diversity. Some working class people are **gasp** even involved in things which can be labelled as "activism" eek

See this is just the kind of thing that pisses me off about this bullshit "class-as-culture" thing around the anarchist movement. All it's used as is insults from one insignificant group to another, that makes no logical sense. Anyone, regardless of their culture, who does pointless activist-ism is wasting their time - whether they watch ITV or Channel 4 (or if they're really middle class, BBC4!).

Your last point JDMF is pretty much true. You can't label all the activist-ist muppets as something different - they're all working class. They're just doing pointless stuff which won't help the class.

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Oct 19 2005 18:00
John. wrote:
They're just doing pointless stuff which won't help the class.

yes like some people i know do pointless stuff like anti-deportation campaigs roll eyes Stupid activists! Like helping some immigrant family to not to be sent to certain torture or death is somehow helping our class angry

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Oct 19 2005 18:10
JDMF wrote:
yes like some people i know do pointless stuff like anti-deportation campaigs roll eyes Stupid activists! Like helping some immigrant family to not to be sent to certain torture or death is somehow helping our class angry

Are you deliberately being a nob? Would I say something like that? No. I said activist-ists, as in subscribers to "activist-ism", action for actions sake. I'm sure you know the kind of thing I mean - leafletting McD's, blockading Esso stations etc.