Why did the 'C' go?

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Dumfries
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Aug 12 2005 10:52
Why did the 'C' go?

Why did we drop the Communist part of the name and why can't we have it back?

nastyned
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Aug 12 2005 11:20

There's nothing to stop you describing yourself as an anarchist communist and your politics as anarchist communism whenever you like.

Personally, I think it's a bit long winded unless you're engaged in a fascinating discussion about whether anarchist communism and anarcho-syndicalism are or are not the same thing.

Mike Harman
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Aug 12 2005 13:27

It also leaves things open to confusion with radical liberalism posing as anarchism though.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 11:16

In my opinion, it went in the misguided opinion that it would make us more accessible and more likely to attract new members.

Worked a treat, didn't it??

Also an interesting example of the great North - South divide, if I remember correctly. The southern softies won.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 11:28

got the dog at easter ... waiting for the string

nastyned
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Aug 13 2005 12:54

Actually the dropping 'communism' from our name was because no one outside of politico circles calling yhourself an anarchist communist causes more confusion than just calling yourself an anarchist.

If you're worried that calling yourself simply an anarchist is going to make people think you're a crusty then in fact it's probably you that is spending too much time in activist circles. Try going out an talking to some normal people.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 12:57

I didn't agree then, and don't agree now. But in all honesty I don't think it's made a great deal of difference either way.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 13:10

can't argue with ytou really. But sadly, it was all decided years ago and nobody's interested in it any more.

Steve
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Aug 13 2005 13:18

I can remember the argument when DAM changed to SF. The conference at Blackpool with a list of names slowly being whittled down. Though I'd never get out of that room.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 13:20

at least your name change was for the better!

nastyned
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Aug 13 2005 16:19
revol68 wrote:
dropping the C was silly, all good stuff has three letter abreviations. CNT, IWW, FAI, IWA, IRA wink or if your fancy or german 4, KAPD.

That works for AAUD but what about AAUD-E? wink

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 16:26

I joined the ACF whilst the debate was going on. As far as I could see there were a lot of reasons being put forward. The one you state was one of them, I think. To be honest, I think the main reason was that most ACFers were sick of liberals having hijacked the anarchist label. It was as much an assertion that anarchism and anarchist communism were synonymous as anything. So anyone trying to come into contact with anarchism would come across us instead of the liberals.

Not sure how ewll it's worked, though TYpe "anarchist" into google and we come somewhere near the end of the first page.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 16:34

funnily enough, if you type in anarchist communism we come 4th for the afed.org.uk site and sixth for the af-north.org site. confused

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 16:37

anarchists in manchester puts us at the top of the list. Clearly those better aware oif how google works could help with this lsitings thingy. It's a mystery to me.

Dumfries
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Aug 13 2005 17:39

Can we discuss having it back?

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 14 2005 13:14
Joe Roe wrote:
Can we discuss having it back?

I would also like that. There are other people in London who I'm quite sure would like the communist part back as well. I can understand the reasons why it was changed, although I'm not sure I would have supported the change. From my experience, it seems to me that the people we actually want (and that are most likely to want us) very often won’t describe themselves as “anarchists” in the first place, but will start from a more pronounced class struggle, revolutionary socialist, workerist (in the positive sense of realising their potential strength as a revolutionary subject) perspective – eg. the only guy from the “anarchism without adjectives” scene that I know is quite seriously interested in joining AF has actually started in Red Action. This isn’t always the case, though, and my impression might be totally wrong (there are or have been AF members that are very close to “neoanarchism” for instance).

Yet again, my impression of the people from the (now evicted) Gower Street squat, ULU Antiauthoritarians and the Precarity Network (I know most of them - these are the main neoanarchist activists in London) is that they are highly unlikely to be interested in an organization that is as “traditionally” political like the AF today.

This is also a criticism of AF’s failure to create a real sense of community and friendship that many (especially young) people long for, and that the “non-communist” anarchos have succeeded in creating through directly organizing activists in the universities, establishing social centres, doing gigs and electrifying (albeit symbolic & substitutionist) direct actions. It is also important to notice that the action-based “philosophy” of these young groups & circles indicates their inherent distaste for theories, intellectualism of any kind (with a few, mostly anarcho-autonomist exceptions) , and therefore AFs propagandist focus as well (the somewhat “classical”, unflexible anarcho-communist vibe that we sometimes emanate doesn’t help either).

So basically my points are:

1)The AF is failing to inspire & create community

2)-II- to get rid of the image that we’re a bunch of “Bakuninists” & “Malatestans” (*scratches his head*)

3)Leaving the name as it is isn’t likely to bring us a lot of new anarchos, but it will a priori (don’t underestimate the influence cultural conditioning has on most people) relegate us to the same “anarchist” subculture that we’re trying to transcend as a revolutionary organisation.

On the other hand (correct me if I’m wrong), doesn’t the AF stand as the only anarchist group in several places, a situation which might be difficult to maintain in the event of “C” being reinstated?

More generally, I’m not sure whether our primary task (as AF, a non-syndicalist group which – let’s be frank – can’t do much with regards to ordinary people, at least not alone, outside of a wider coalition) should be to revolutionise neoanarchists or to deflect the most libertarian and nondogmatic elements within “Marxist”-Leninist organizations (also Red Party’s great prospect!). It seems to me there is a fine line to be drawn between the two concepts – the best solution in my opinion would be to return the old name (thus attracting dissident revolutionary socialists), but assume a more creative/”youthful”, countercultural position as well (while preserving the advantages we have compared to neoanarchist groups).

In any case, “Anarchist Communist Federation” would have more legitimacy among "the masses".

Concerning the East London group - I never got an answer – is it just an AF local, a general “East London anarchist group” (in which case people might want to delay the changing of the name for the sake of greater unity among anarchists) or an East London Solidarity Group/Association/… – which would be the most effective and inclusive answer, a platform appropriate both for serious community organising and for attracting Marxists into a non-authoritarian organization commited to direct action, which might be the easiest way of bringing them to our side completely.

nastyned
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Aug 14 2005 15:42
gentle revolutionary wrote:

2)-II- to get rid of the image that we’re a bunch of “Bakuninists” & “Malatestans” (*scratches his head*)

Nothing wrong with being Bakuninist-Malatestians if you ask me! smile

gawkrodger
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Aug 14 2005 23:25
nastyned wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:

2)-II- to get rid of the image that we’re a bunch of “Bakuninists” & “Malatestans” (*scratches his head*)

Nothing wrong with being Bakuninist-Malatestians if you ask me! :)

ditto tongue

the name change had some effect. It certainly played its role in me joining.

Whether that's a good result or a bad one is another discussion entirely! wink

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 15 2005 05:34
nastyned wrote:
gentle revolutionary wrote:

2)-II- to get rid of the image that we’re a bunch of “Bakuninists” & “Malatestans” (*scratches his head*)

Nothing wrong with being Bakuninist-Malatestians if you ask me! :)

I'm more of a Marx man myself (in terms of influence on my thinking and the theoretical methods that I try to employ), although I admire the libertarian spirit of the above mentioned (btw, Bakunin himself admitted he is nowhere near Marx theoretically). Still, I wouldn't want to be defined by some 19th century bloke (who died 122 years ago)!

Anyway, there's much more to my last post than this issue - like the question what should AF's role be and how could we improve it's current position.

nastyned
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Aug 15 2005 09:29

1. In London it would be better if more people could regularly get to meetings so we work (and socialise!) together more. But, like a lot of people, I don't have much free time at the moment so it's not possible. There has been talk of us putting on some benefit nights so perhaps that will help.

2. Bakunin corrected some of the errors of Marx so wins hands down in the 'battle of the big beards' as far as i'm concerned.

3. I just plain disagree with you on this.

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 15 2005 10:55
nastyned wrote:
2. Bakunin corrected some of the errors of Marx so wins hands down in the 'battle of the big beards' as far as i'm concerned.

He did have a better political instinct re. the danger of dictatorships being installed under the name of "socialism". In many other issues he was an idealist, and bloody naive at that. Intelectually, he was no where near Marx.

nastyned wrote:
3. I just plain disagree with you on this.

On what exactly? That we shouldn't be defined by 19th century icons?

...Let's not derail the thread though.

nastyned
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Aug 15 2005 11:13
gentle revolutionary wrote:
nastyned wrote:
2. Bakunin corrected some of the errors of Marx so wins hands down in the 'battle of the big beards' as far as i'm concerned.

He did have a better political instinct re. the danger of dictatorships being installed under the name of "socialism". In many other issues he was an idealist, and bloody naive at that. Intelectually, he was no where near Marx.

Something else we're going to disagree on it seems!

gentle revolutionary wrote:
nastyned wrote:
3. I just plain disagree with you on this.

On what exactly? That we shouldn't be defined by 19th century icons?

...Let's not derail the thread though.

No, your point three.

odessa steps
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Aug 16 2005 18:38

I think that the point about lack of community and activity was spot on. I think we do need to attract people from a class struggle milieu and perspective but we also need a series of 'forms' by which this class struggle can be taken forward. We need to a) we revise our position on organising in the workplace; b) give more effort and priority to the formation of local anarchist groups and libertarian/revolutionary social centres (and I'd also try to offer affiliation and an annual anarchist convention/gathering which would be about all of us as a movement not an issues based thing like the bookfair); and c) focus more on the material struggles of working people (be led more by their issues not ours).

What we call ourself will be important to some, less so to others. They will note our propaganda but will join only because they want to DO something. We need to raise our game in this area - of action - if we want our ideas to be taken seriously.

kalabine
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Aug 17 2005 14:29

i think AFed sounds better...

gentle revolutionary
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Aug 17 2005 16:22
kalabine wrote:
i think AFed sounds better...

People usually just say AF, and ACF then sounds better:)

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McCormick
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Aug 18 2005 17:34

As far as I can recall, one of the reasons we decided to rename ourselves the Anarchist Federation was because there was a general feeling amongst members that we were the de facto anarchist federation in Britain and we were also in the process of investigating membership of IFA (international of anarchist federations). The other reasons were outlined in previous postings. In a perfect world we would be the Libertarian Communist Organisation smile

red n black star

odessa steps
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Aug 18 2005 19:17

Actually, I think there was a very strong body of opinion arguing that if there were any chance of us being mistaken for or people assuming we were trying to be THE Anarchist Federation of Britain that we shouldn't do it precisely because we wanted to remain a specifically anarchist communist group and this would have to be abandoned to be more inclusive. We'd have had to spend all our time explaining why anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-pacifists or individualist anarchists why they couldn't join!

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McCormick
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Aug 18 2005 19:30

There were some members who argued this, I think. However, people such as anarcho-individualists and anarcho-capitalists are extremely marginal, particularly the latter.

May i suggest that anyone who imagines an anarchist society possible without it being simultaneously communist, to be very wrong? Anarchists are communists or they favour some variety of capitalism.

Anyway, this (name change) isn't likely to become a live issue unless we become a subscribed organisation and are forced to have a name change!

smile

red n black star

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Tacks
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Feb 25 2006 15:03

proscribed...? No idea about spelling.