AF Public Meeting in London

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JoeMaguire
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Apr 24 2009 18:50
Battlescarred wrote:
So please don't try to insinuate that I'm trying to get AF to have all the glory, because that would be very silly.

I did nothing of the sort. I thought twice about asking in case it was misconstrued but in the end thought it was safe to ask anyway. So now I know.

trenchone wrote:
More to the point - why is London the only part of the AF that has a problem with the ICC?

Quite simple, its a federalist organisation.

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Alf
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Apr 24 2009 22:13

We are having a discussion about the AF, so far mainly in WR, because we have felt the need to reassess what we have said previously. Positive developments in the AF (for example, internationalist response to the war in Gaza, openness to discussion in various parts of the group) are, I would say, leading us to the view that our past description of the AF as leftist or parasitic was a misapplication of these terms: a mistake.
We think therefore that there is a basis for establishing a more constructive relationship, which is one of the reasons we think it would be positive if we could attend AF meetings anywhere in the country.
In the same way we are discussing the significance of the Commune group. I would say that the general view is that they are genuinely seeking a way out of Trotskyism, but haven't made a thorough break yet. But one of the most positive things about the Commune is the open atmosphere of their meetings which allows for serious political debate. At any rate this is certainly true for their smaller 'discussion forums'.

nastyned
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Apr 25 2009 07:52

God you lot are so opportunistic, trying to make out we've changed not your attitude on how best to recruit from us.

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miles
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Apr 25 2009 09:42
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trying to make out we've changed

At the recent Manchester dayschool, one of the AF people there said to me that the AF had basically doubled in size over the last couple of years. I asked what did he think was behind that, and his reponse was that a certain number of people had come to the AF breaking from traditional Trot groups (SWP etc) whereas others seemed to be attracted to the fact they were more serious and had more serious discussion internally as well as externally. (Again, for many people in leftist groups, the concept of 'serious internal discussion' where everyone is expected to take a part, as opposed to be given 'the line' from the 'leading thinkers' is a difficult concept to handle).

In the last few years there has been a general development of consciousness, however small and insignificant it may appear on the surface. This has manifested itself in a few different ways, one of which has been the development of groups such as the AF, and of course the ICC - something well documented on these boards, most recently with the integration of the Turkish and Phillipino comrades. The other side to this are the apparent difficulties 'traditional' leftist groups have been having. Again this is related to the wider political, economic and social developments in the world - things the traditional leftist explanations fall short on.

So, given all that, it would be most amazing if the AF hadn't undergone a kind of renewal and that the 'best' (from the internationalist, revolutionary perspective) parts of it had come more and more to the fore - which had then lead to it attracting new people interested in revolutionary politics. And where there are new people in an 'old' organisation - especially if, as the guy said, 'we have almost douibled in size' - there must have been significant changes..

As can often be the case, 'internal' changes can be more 'visible' or 'obvious' to others outside. Even if you're formally defending the same positions you have been for a long time (as the ICC has) the understanding you have of those positions can develop - theory never reaches an 'end', it has to continue and reflect material reality.

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Red Marriott
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Apr 25 2009 14:07
nastyned wrote:
God you lot are so opportunistic, trying to make out we've changed not your attitude on how best to recruit from us.

As I understand it, one of the main ways the AF have changed recently is that they have embraced membership of the IWW as a positive act for members - which is something the ICC might normally be expected to denounce as a sign of backward 'degeneration' on the union question.

Battlescarred
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Apr 27 2009 10:51

Apart from that, it is utter tosh to say that the AF has changed its internationalist positions. It has ALWAYS steadfastly maintained such positions, as a cursory glance at our press over the last 20 plus years will confirm.

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madashell
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Apr 27 2009 11:53

Another double post.

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madashell
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Apr 27 2009 11:34
Ret Marut wrote:
As I understand it, one of the main ways the AF have changed recently is that they have embraced membership of the IWW as a positive act for members

It's a bit more complex than that, the general consensus seems to be that if people find it useful to be in the IWW, then that's no bad thing, but that trying to recreate the mass, permenant syndicalist unions of the early part of the 20th century is a bit of a dead end.

Spikymike
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Apr 27 2009 18:18

The ICC approach to pro-revolutionary groups, outside a very narrow spectrum of left communists, has blown hot and cold over the years, with epithets ranging from anti-proletarian, parasitic, confusionist, counter revolutionary etc being applied, usually the nastier the closer the politics might have appeared to the unbiased outside observer. These past approaches were a reflection of a very dogmatic view of how political ideas and their organised expression develop in the real world. Given that history it is difficult to be other than suspicious of the current more friendly turn.

However, I can see little point in seeking to bar them from public political meetings of the AF or any other pro-revolutionary groups. Their contributions at the AF organised Day School on the crisis in Manchester were useful and measured as have some of their (and their friends) contibutions to Libcom and they should be judged on that basis.

The long, time consuming, meeting hogging and repetitious 'interventions' we have experienced from them in the past seem to have been abandoned now.

Given the outward similarity of a number of their political positions to those of anarchist communists it is more important to confront those important areas of disagreement in open debate and discussion.

As to the AF and it's approach to the IWW, this does need some proper explanation by them, but of course having the 'right' position doesn't always help in difficult practical situations and I expect their explanation to address that problem, eventually?

knightrose
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Apr 27 2009 18:56

Sorry, you'll have to wait just a little bit longer for that position. But not much smile

As I recall Subversion also told the ICC they weren't welcome at our meetings because they tried to use them to recruit to their grouplet.

Manchester AF take the view that we are long enough in the tooth and/or politically clued up enough that we can deal with ICC interventions as long as they are constructive and don't deviate from the point. (Maybe we should take that view with all contributions smile)

I doubt any of our groups would turn them away as long as they behave themselves. We do, however, reserve the right to exclude people whose sole aim is to be a parasite.

Spikymike
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Apr 27 2009 20:31

I just wanted to add a comment to my earlier contribution above, which occured to me from reading this thread and attending the midlands discussion group on the weekend, which was attended by, amongst others, both the ICC and 'the Commune'. (I refer separately to this in an addition to the CWO's contribution in the theory thread on this site).

I noted Alf's comment about 'positive developments in the AF' and Nastyned's understandably irritated response.

This same sort of attitude was expressed by both the ICC and the CWO at the Birmingham meeting in relation to criticism from others about their past development and current attitude to 'the party' question.

They assume that any problems in their past that they may be willing to admit to have now been overcome as a result of their internal reflections and theoretical and organisational changes. That they have somehow evolved in a continueous and positive way from past errors to current enlightenment, seeminglingly unable to recognise that organisations can regress as well as progress and sometimes wobble back and forth over a long period of time.

They thus view any changes in other groups as positive, purely from the perspective of movement towards them and not as a potentially two way process of political development within the wider pro-revolutionary movement.

This is not a collective learning process but a rather one sided teacher mentality.

But let's be honest. Is this not a problem for all the small pro-revolutionary groups struggling to survive and hoping to grow in influence in a hostile world, and dare I say it, suseptible to the ideological influences of the competitive capitalist world we inhabit. I'm sure the AF is prone to the same approach to changes in other groups attitudes to at least some extent.

I think Libcom for all it's faults has perhaps helped a little to break down some of these attitudes but we need to see a less arrogant and generally healthier atmosphere of debate accross the whole pro-revolutionary scene.

We all have more to learn in a changing capitalist world and no one tiny group or tendency can claim all the answers.

Hope that makes some sense.

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Devrim
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Apr 27 2009 21:03
Battlescarred wrote:
Apart from that, it is utter tosh to say that the AF has changed its internationalist positions. It has ALWAYS steadfastly maintained such positions, as a cursory glance at our press over the last 20 plus years will confirm.

I can remember the A(C)F from the start, and as far as I am aware, it has always maintained internationalist positions just as BS says above.

Devrim

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Apr 27 2009 21:46
Battlescarred wrote:
Apart from that, it is utter tosh to say that the AF has changed its internationalist positions. It has ALWAYS steadfastly maintained such positions, as a cursory glance at our press over the last 20 plus years will confirm.

No one said you had changed your positions - I said :

"So, given all that, it would be most amazing if the AF hadn't undergone a kind of renewal and that the 'best' (from the internationalist, revolutionary perspective) parts of it had come more and more to the fore"

in fact I explicitly recognised the opposite:

"Even if you're formally defending the same positions you have been for a long time (as the ICC has) the understanding you have of those positions can develop - theory never reaches an 'end', it has to continue and reflect material reality."

Frankly, for me, there are 2 key points out of this debate:

1. Regarding 'disruptive/parasitical' behaviour or comments - what does this actually mean? Does asking 'awkward' questions or saying things that the people formally holding the meeting disagree with, per se, consitute 'disruptive' behaviour? Is it a weakness in the positions of the hosts, a lack of confidence in their positions?
I would argue that many of the statements on Libcom where various groups / individuals have accused the ICC (or others) of 'disruptive' behaviour over the years was really a reaction to the positions put forward.
I would also argue that some of the older comrades on here are a bit stuck in the past. I spoke to Knightrose in the pub after the Manchester dayschool and virtually the first thing he said to me was along the lines of "did you know the Icc used to come to our meetings and preach about decadence??". Not a word about the dayschool we'd spent 4/5 hours talking about!
The problem is seeing things in a static way (something you couldn't accuse the ICC of, seeing as we think 'things have changed').
I'm not saying we've never done anything wrong in the way we put ourselves forward over the years, we know we've made mistakes and had mistaken positions (as Alf pointed to above), but then, to quote the bible, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'. The way people carry on here it's as if they've never done anything wrong. The ICC has become a convenient scapegoat.

2. How to move forward in the debate? I partially agree with the comments of Spikymike that places auch as Libcom provide an opportunity for a clash of positions (although I would add that it's easy to forget the 'atmosphere' of a few short years ago when slander and abuse were unfortunately too common - now we're at a point where we can have serious debates, seriously).

The basic question is about the necessity to create a culture of debate within the revolutionary milieu - the idea that even when we don't agree on particular points (sometimes minutae) we should still be able to continue to have a discussion in a fraternal manner. It's not something that's 'obvious'. Just over a year ago we wrote an internal text, which we've since published to try to understand this question in a more historical framework (the text is here) on this topic - maybe the admins can set this up as a seperate discussion?

An example : The ICC has recently (in the last year or so) published a major text trying to put forward the different positions on an internal debate on the post war boom - and we invited contacts / readers / groups to submit positions for discussion within the pages of our international review. We know there'll be things that many in the ICC will disagree with but the key point is to have clarity.

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Apr 27 2009 22:55

I am not a member (nor sympathiser) of the ICC, but I can see no justitification for excluding them from public meetings. Surely it is down to the chairperson to ensure that their interventions do not wander off the topic or occupy excessive time? Nobody could criticise the ICC behaviour at the recent meeting in Birmingham called by the Midlands Discussion Forum. Perhaps they have changed - perhaps they have recognised a new period and new responsibilities? What have we all to lose by opening up to fair and honest debate?

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Apr 27 2009 23:02

I remember a number of years ago there was a conference on local organising in London and a tiny grouplet turned up to basically state to all and sundry that organising locally was some kind of sub-reformism and they disrupted the meeting until they were asked to leave.

Needless to say this was anathema to lots of people including myself, as I had taken on an ardous journey of five hours to get there with two other activists who had enforced a musical policy which basically amounted to playing non-stop Abba for the whole length of the trip, so imagine the dedication to getting to this event if you can. So when I learned in retrospect that it was the ICC gatecrashing the event I thought their behaviour was oddball and disruptive then.

Every other time I have come across them in a political context* I think parasitic is a fair comment, pretty much online with what knightrose as said. Are you wanting to add to the collective worth of whatever on going endeavours there are or just wrestle for which bits interest you? One would assume as Paul Marsh once said that to the ICC humour and socialising must be bourgeois. If they actually looked into that side of things I think people would stomach them a bit better frankly.

*I met Alf one evening over a beer and I have nothing but good words to say.

nastyned
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Apr 28 2009 08:18

These bolshies don't like it up 'em do they?

I don't really care if the ICC now has an official 'try and look sane' policy, they're still the same organisation they always were.

knightrose
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Apr 28 2009 11:37

I'll try and give some perspective on things for Miles about the ICC's past behaviour to try and help show why people are suspicious of them. I'll start by saying, though, that the contributions he and his comrades made at the Manchester meeting were very helpful and welcome.

I have sat through many meetings where ICC members have come en masse and basically one has carried on speaking after the other. This has led to the meeting being sidetracked into a discussion of their opinions, not the subject of the meeting. SpikeyMike was at these meetings and can confirm what I'm talking about. Devrim would know as well. It reached the point where Subversion decided to ban them from meetings. No doubt this could have been resolved by assertive chairing, but that wasn't how we wanted to hold our meetings. We learned the hard way. This behaviour started when World Revolution was formed - before the ICC was formed (1974 or 5?) - and carried on till the mid-90s (which was when we banned them).

As people like Nastyned and Battlescared also put up with this behaviour, is it surprising that they remain deeply suspicious.

Added to that were regular and repeated articles in WR criticising or condemning us - either as confused, left-wing or "parasitical" depending on how it suited their recruitment policy.

Having met Miles and the others at the Manchester meeting, my view is that they are welcome at our meetings as long as they respect the format we have chosen for them. They are actually a lot easier to discuss with than some people we have to put up with these days. But there will always be suspicion and a lack of basic trust - and all that is irrespective of our dislike of their counter-revolutionary support for bolshevism.

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Apr 28 2009 13:34

I welcome the posts by Spikeymike and Rowntree arguing against the London AF ban on the ICC attending its meetings. October Lost however reintroduces an element of confusion by using the term ‘disrupted’ in a very vague manner. We are perfectly willing to listen to criticisms of our style and method of argument at this meeting but in what sense did any member of the ICC really ‘disrupt’ the meeting he’s referring to (presumably the ‘Community Action Gathering’ of 2005)? I wasn’t personally there but I can’t recall us being asked to leave. Certainly we saw a number of reformist dangers in what we were hearing and criticised them openly then and in the article we wrote about it (http://en.internationalism.org/wr/286_cag.html). But this is not disruption and I think we are getting into the area mentioned by miles when he points out that very often there seems to be a tendency to see the posing of unpopular and uncomfortable questions as being ‘disruptive’ in itself, which is not a good basis for developing a culture of debate.

Moving swiftly on, Spikeymike has this to say about our characterisation of ‘pro-revolutionary’ groups:
The ICC approach to pro-revolutionary groups, outside a very narrow spectrum of left communists, has blown hot and cold over the years, with epithets ranging from anti-proletarian, parasitic, confusionist, counter revolutionary etc being applied, usually the nastier the closer the politics might have appeared to the unbiased outside observer. These past approaches were a reflection of a very dogmatic view of how political ideas and their organised expression develop in the real world. Given that history it is difficult to be other than suspicious of the current more friendly turn”.

This is a really crude explanation which doesn’t get us much further than nastyned’s “they’re just trying to recruit us”. It’s true that over the years there have been changes in our orientation towards other political currents but this is not the problem – who is in favour of totally static positions that never change? The question is whether these changes come about as the result of pure opportunism, whim, or commands from on high, or whether they are the result of thorough-going discussion which tries to develop a serious framework for understanding the problem.

There have not actually been so many changes in the ICC’s approach to other political currents. In the beginning of our existence, alongside a real willingness to engage both with the new elements produced by the upsurge of 1968, and the ‘old’ groups who had been around for a long time (as evidenced by our participation in numerous international meetings in the late 60s and early 70s), there did develop a certain narrowness and sectarianism which tended to limit the proletarian camp only to those who were clear on a whole number of fundamental class lines. This however led to a major discussion in the ICC at the time that Battaglia Comunista called the international conferences of the communist left, clarifying our position on tendencies like the Bordigists (whom some in the ICC initially dismissed as leftists because of their position on national liberation), libertarians, councilists, and others. This gave rise to a resolution on proletarian political groups at the 1977 ICC congress which emphasised the fact that class consciousness is the product of a movement and does not arise fully formed – there is inevitably an area of transition and evolution between the two main classes and their political expressions. Finding the best term to describe this area and its inhabitants is problematic since most of the terms we have used seem guaranteed to cause offense (such as ‘confused groups’ - a term we initially used and then dropped precisely because it does convey the idea that there are some who are just confused and others who have advanced beyond all possibility of confusion, which goes against our view of class consciousness; or the ‘swamp’ or ‘marsh’ which in geography means a zone of transition between water and dry land but in politics seems only to make people think of noxious insects and reptiles). The point remains that this is a real phenomenon and needs to be analysed. Equally important was the resolution’s insistence that when it comes to defining groups who have been part of the proletarian movement but may now be in process of degeneration, the criteria for judging their class nature have to be serious and historical – such as their attitude to major world events like wars and revolutions.

We have not abandoned the basic approach contained in the 1977 resolution, nor the seriousness with which we take the question of accurately assessing the various political expressions who claim to be on the side of the proletariat. During the 80s and 90s, in the wake of certain internal crises and of a series of external attacks on the ICC (and on the communist left in general), often from elements who formally shared many of our political positions, we looked at various forms of behaviour which had cost the workers’ movement dearly in the past – adventurism (subordinating the proletarian movement to egoistic interests), ‘clannism’ (the formation of groupings that place personal loyalties above political principles), and in particular the phenomenon of political parasitism (destructive political behaviour aimed above all at discrediting communist organisations). Again this gave rise to texts, discussions and theses which were published in our press. The questions were taken very seriously and it was not a matter of ‘blowing hot or cold’. However, the atmosphere of the time (in particular the 90s) contributed to the rise within the ICC of what we call the ‘fortress spirit’, a sort of siege mentality, and in my opinion this led in some cases to the overuse or misapplication of terms like parasitism, as with the AF. Again, these are problems we are seriously discussing in the ICC as we try to get to grips with the demands of a new period and the appearance of a new generation evolving towards revolutionary ideas. Equally, we are convinced that these problems of political comportment are real and won’t go away in the generally more positive atmosphere we can see today. The ICC has written a number of theoretical contributions on problems such as adventurism, parasitism, clans, etc. People may well disagree with our conclusions or even the questions being posed but so far there has been very little attempt even to consider the problems they are raising and to respond to them.

A final point on the possibility of movement. Miles is right to talk about our perception of a change of atmosphere in the AF. This also applies to their position on internationalism. It may be true that internationalist positions were formally part of their basic principles from the beginning. I am prepared to be corrected on this but to a certain extent these principles seemed to remain formal in that they were rarely put forward as the central focus of intervention in a situation of imperialist war in the way that this was done with the Gaza leaflet and the article by Django. This was also accompanied by a much more open attitude to the efforts of others (including ourselves), where internationalism rather than an ‘anarchist’ label seemed to recognised as the most important thing to have in common.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 28 2009 13:35

What an utterly unnecessary, long and pointless post.

I sincerely doubt anyone will read it, other than your mini-army of friends, sympathisers, affiliates, syndicates, posse, crew, banda etc etc etc etc

trenchone
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Apr 28 2009 14:24

The process of clarification is never completed. And going back to look at what happened in the past, what people thought, what groups thought they were doing ... it's all part of the process. Alternatively, you can always throw abuse

If october lost was referring to the CAG of 2005, then, speaking as one who was there, the ICC was not asked to leave, and, after proposing that there be one big meeting, participated in various 'workshops'. These included militant workers concerned about how struggles could develop, as well as others who wanted to build unions, put pressure on councils to change their policies and save the NHS. We heard a few snide remarks about the ICC, but no one rose to the bait as far as I recall.

morven
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Apr 28 2009 15:06

Alan - actually I think Alf's post, albeit long, poses what the real question here is: not who's disruptive (i.e. who disagrees with the majority position), who's patronising or who wants to recruit us (as someone once jokingly said to me: 'the ICC's even harder to get into than the Situationist International') but what in means to clarify,discuss and defend positions over a long period of time.

But I would say that wouldn't I being in his 'gang' roll eyes

FC! Morven

nastyned
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Apr 28 2009 16:47
morven wrote:
Alan - actually I think Alf's post, albeit long, poses what the real question here is: not who's disruptive (i.e. who disagrees with the majority position)

No, no, no. The ICC weren't disruptive because they have (thankfully) minority ideas. They were disruptive because they were disrupitve.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Apr 28 2009 17:04
Alf wrote:
I welcome the posts by Spikeymike and Rowntree arguing against the London AF ban on the ICC attending its meetings. October Lost however reintroduces an element of confusion by using the term ‘disrupted’ in a very vague manner. We are perfectly willing to listen to criticisms of our style and method of argument at this meeting but in what sense did any member of the ICC really ‘disrupt’ the meeting he’s referring to (presumably the ‘Community Action Gathering’ of 2005)? I wasn’t personally there but I can’t recall us being asked to leave. Certainly we saw a number of reformist dangers in what we were hearing and criticised them openly then and in the article we wrote about it (http://en.internationalism.org/wr/286_cag.html). But this is not disruption.

It was me who asked you to leave, after the lunch break. Well to be precise asked anyone who wasnt prepared to contribute to discussion of tactics and strategies of community organising, and the entire ICC contingent walked out.

The disruptive nature of your "intervention" was the refusal of ICC members in the workshops/breakout sessions to participate constructively, in a conference that was supposed to be about people actively involved in community organising helping people, and discussing experiences with people who wanted to get involved in such organising.

In the ICC's favour you did leave when asked to without making any further problems, and I for one appreciated that.

trenchone
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Apr 28 2009 19:13

The appeal to "anyone who wasnt prepared to contribute to discussion of tactics and strategies of community organising" didn't really register as being specifically aimed at the ICC... but we had decided to leave early anyway, whether it was after the lunch break or later I couldn't say.

The schemes and tactics that were put forward for "community organising" didn't seem to have a lot to do with workers' self-organisation - but the way that workers organise themselves in response to the situation in which they find themselves remains a valid concern, valid at practically every meeting where there is discussion of the class struggle.

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miles
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Apr 28 2009 20:00
Quote:
The disruptive nature of your "intervention" was the refusal of ICC members in the workshops/breakout sessions to participate constructively, in a conference that was supposed to be about people actively involved in community organising helping people, and discussing experiences with people who wanted to get involved in such organising.

(my emphasis)

Once again, as I said above, this is about a disagreement with what has been said.

nastyned
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Apr 28 2009 20:11

It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. Having a load of loonies stand up in turn and drone on endlessly about an unrelated topic is being disruptive.

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Apr 28 2009 20:27
Quote:
It's not just what you say, it's how you say it.

As both Alf and I have said, there are things we could have put across better. Actually I often think that about various situations I find myself in, as do most other people I know.

I'm sure you've never said anything you've regretted later ned, eh? wink

Quote:
Having a load of loonies stand up in turn and drone on endlessly about an unrelated topic is being disruptive.

Who's more of a 'loony': someone who calls themselves a 'revolutionary' and then bangs on about reformism and inter-classist actions, or someone who calls themselves a 'revolutionary' and tries to keep to those principles?

Actually I always find it a bit amusing when people call me 'crazy' 'loony' etc... as I've said before on these boards, for capitalism anyone who thinks there's any kind of real alternative is, obviously, 'mad'.

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JoeMaguire
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Apr 28 2009 20:41
miles wrote:
Quote:
The disruptive nature of your "intervention" was the refusal of ICC members in the workshops/breakout sessions to participate constructively, in a conference that was supposed to be about people actively involved in community organising helping people, and discussing experiences with people who wanted to get involved in such organising.

(my emphasis)

Once again, as I said above, this is about a disagreement with what has been said.

I think you overlooked the involved in community organising bit. Im not really sinking my time and effort into activities for people who dont want to engage with me as an equal to come along and offer vast overdrawn critiques. Its that simple really.

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miles
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Apr 28 2009 20:58

October you're avoiding the issue. First of all, of all the meetings that may have been going on that weekend why did we choose to go to that one? No doubt there were lots of other (nominally) political meetings happening. We went to that one because it sounded like something interesting, i.e. potentially different from the usual leftist crap a la the SWP etc.

We came to the meeting, we put forward our positions, some (maybe many) of which were critical of the politics and activities being put forward. You didn't like what we had to say - and? Are you saying that because some people, including yourselves, had invested time and effort in setting up the meeting we shouldn't have had the temerity to criticise?

Let me pose a question to all our detractors - have you ever, at work, in your organisation, in any kind of a political meeting - had to put forward a position you knew was not 'in tune' with the majority thinking? I personally get this more or less every day at my workplace - I'm pretty sure many of the other posters here do also. If that is the case, then fundamentally that's no different to what we do, albeit within a particular context.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Apr 29 2009 08:02

The bleating of various ICCers about being unwelcome, or called nasty names or whatever is irrelevent. Anyone who calls a meeting has the right to refuse entry to any named person or organisation at any time, for any reason that they see fit. That's free association.

However the community gathering was not an open meeting anyway it was for people who were involved or who wanted to be involved in community organising, if a group of people had come along to talk in at endless length in every workshop about how we could get aliens in their UFOs to help us we would probably asked them to leave as well.