Anarchist International

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madlib's picture
madlib
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Jan 10 2011 08:05
Anarchist International

Anarchist International, as a forum project for anarchists, is a part of the larger Anarchy Planet hub. The site's international scope hasn't been established in an organizational sense. It is international in the sense that it is truly open to the general discourse and affairs among the anarchist milieu, and is willing to accommodate international features. Currently, at the time of this introductory post's authoring, there is no popular board that provides an open ended forum for the anarchist milieu as a whole. Some other anarchist message boards have arguably had some success in this but these projects are often either eclipsed by a larger, more successful and complex project, and its specific challenges, or they have failed to provide an adequate means of sustaining dissimilarity in the overall relations between the particular, but always diversifying, discourses and ideas concerning contemporary anarchists. Therefore they don't seem to have struck a balance between intensity of interest and, most importantly, differing orders of interests and activities unhindered in their capacity to deal with their differences and display brilliance in their own ways; all the while, providing some level of open ended service to their users and their own projects. (Apologies for any erroneous generalizations, but I need something like bravado for this project to finally work.)

I'm not going to lie, I don't see the forum becoming a massive hub for anarchists the world over. I wouldn't even know where to begin in really handling something of that size. However, my own intuition guides me to respond to fears, uncertainty, or indifference by stating simply that instead of endeavoring to collect a massive user base and becoming a huge, unwieldy project, Anarchist International would be better understood as a tentatively coördinated tool that, like all useful things, can be picked up when needed and then put down. "Tentatively…" mainly because I have never done this before, but also because I don't want this message board to simply be a vanilla forum that never tries to be something more than whatever stereotype one might apply to it; that never tries to live up to my repeated emphasis of its experimental qualities. This press release is not only an invitation to participation, but also collaboration and commitment to improving the project. Re: Security—Do make a note of the fact that the forums organized for collaboration on projects are only accessible—or viewable, for that matter—by registered users. That is to say, general announcements and regional forums will be open to the public on a read-only basis, but the forum(s) tailored for projects that have necessitated the use of a forum will be protected. I'm not sure how reassuring that is, but at the very least these sort of things aren't open to any person who walks in on the board.

These forums, while having already been named as part of a larger online based project, will only fail to the extent that people do no take a serious interest, do not commit themselves to the nature of the project, and do not contribute to the project; all Anarchy Planet projects stand apart from each other. This has been demonstrated before in that this board failed once because of a lack of interest and a resultant lack of sustainable obligation by its sponsors, and has been resurrected. I, and others involved, are anticipating that this board will be part of a larger movement towards experimentation and dissemination of the skills necessary to establish inspired projects by other anarchists or their fellow travelers.

I am fully open to technical collaboration and association with other online projects anarchists have generated. In fact, I am aspiring to it because, frankly, this project won't be able to succeed on its own and with merely me organizing it. Libcom is, without a doubt, among the most successful anarchist sites among english speaking radicals. So I have already made sure that Libcom's library, blogs and news RSS are featured (if only in an improvised fashion, for now) in the General Forums. They are open to incorporation into the user's activity, and I'm looking forward to cross-pollination.

Welcome to Anarchist International,

madlib (the site's administrator)

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Steven.
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Jan 10 2011 10:04

Thanks for the RSS feeds.

But I'm not sure what you are hoping will be different about this forum to some of the other, much bigger forums already in existence (like libcom, flag, infoshop, ABC…)?

madlib's picture
madlib
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Jan 10 2011 20:18

Well, just off the top of my head…

Flag.blackened is a piece of shit. Its design is awful and, just like the Infoshop board, most of its forums are superfluous. Something's very wrong when you browse a site and it takes forever for the pages to load simply because there's too much clutter and graphics. Beyond that I can't say too much of it simply because I've never actually posted there. But I'm fairly certain this is a common theme among anarchists who do frequent the internet. So, I'll let the silence speak for itself.

Infoshop's message board is mostly eclipsed by the news service it provides. That's why any commentary that ever has a chance of being interesting coincides on Infoshop News and not Infoshop forums. And, again, whoever organized the Infoshop forums was clearly neurotic about categorization. Most of the forums on that site haven't been used in years, but the site's admin still keeps it as is. In my mind, the smaller, more orderly forums are the better chance they have of being put to use.

Libcom simply isn't a general interest site for anarchists. It definitely doesn't pretend to be that, at least. Its preponderance of activity is centered in "class struggle anarchism", and this is reflected in that it serves as a sort of nesting ground for many organizations related to that milieu. In this case, the International Communist Current, the Anarchist Federation, Solfed, Worker's Solidarity Alliance, etc. The core moderator group itself is entirely comprised of apparently closely knit individuals who all share the same political circles and came from the same activist background. Now, this isn't to say any of this is a problem but only to say that Anarchist International really, actually intends to be something like a forum open to anarchists all over the world. We're not a "big tent" site in the sense we want everyone to play nice or that I'll personally streamline my own principles merely to generate more activity and interest in the site, but from a technical and administrative standpoint we're not going to build a forum simply to have it play out as a haven for some anarchists to go where they can be safe from all the other anarchists. Libcom functions opposite of this. This site isn't open to mixed company merely by the nature of the way it has organized itself and the intra-organizational interests invested in it. That's fine, but it isn't what many anarchists are looking for. And obviously these Libcom forums are a part of a much larger, more outstanding site altogether. There's only so much you can do when you have a library, blogs, a news service, publications, and such to worry about alongside forums.

Anarchist Black Cat shares the same qualities as Libcom, but even more so because, as far as I know, their forums weren't even publicly available until 2008. Up until then it was specifically built to house forums for the Worker's Solidarity Movement. And the administrative policies have reasonably been described as cumbersome. Plainly, its a site made by and for specific sects in the anarchist alphabet soup, and it will stay that way. That's their prerogative, and again there's nothing in and of itself wrong with that, but it is a very different site from @ International. Although, they do deserve props for opening up a french-language forum. I'm hoping they'll be able to share advice and know-how in regards to creating a multilingual message board.

But my own central idea concerning @ International is that it simply isn't helpful for anarchist affairs centered in online activity to have to rely on a limited assortment of miscellaneous sites. The more anarchists indulge in experimenting with generating their own online projects, the more divergence accelerates and difference becomes obvious, and even encouraged, the more everyone will get out of it, I suppose. This is probably paradoxical coming from the admin of a would-be international message board, but like I said in the announcement; the site itself isn't meant to provide a basket for all the anarchists to put their eggs in, but is simply a platform for whatever it is these people need a forum for in the first place. Reading groups, interest in critical theory, organizational communication, pure argumentativeness, international correspondence… so on and so forth.

Truthfully, I'm just making shit up now to make it sound good, but I hope I addressed your inquiry reasonably well. smile

tigersiskillers
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Jan 10 2011 20:54

But I still don't understand. I read Libcom precisely because it has a class struggle orientation, Why should I care what someone else who calls themselves an anarchist thinks when we have almost nothing in common? Why would an individualist or a primitivist care about my opinions?

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Jan 10 2011 20:57

It's a sytnthesis forum, probably end up with similar atmosphere as anarchistnews

madlib's picture
madlib
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Jan 10 2011 21:28
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Why should I care what someone else who calls themselves an anarchist thinks when we have almost nothing in common?

You don't have to. It really isn't my problem how you relate to other people based on politics and ideology. But sites like this simply aren't capable of housing a forum that's open to anarchist discussion, projects and collaboration internationally. At some point, some anarchists will need a forum for some reason and if they're not in this club then where do they go? You don't seem to care, so why take an interest?

I'd reckon most people don't even go to forums to agree with people's opinions in the first place, if that's what you're getting at. Agreement has little value in internet forums. I mean, this discussion wouldn't even be happening if you thought this project had any value. You disagree with it, and I can state the obvious and say that we're not the same at all. I'm not a "class struggle anarchist". (Then again, I'm not a primitivist or an individualist either.) But I'm still managing to address you, and endeavoring to make my own terms, and my own interest in this project clear. Agreement, on an online forum, is the termination of discussion more often than not.

So, come on Anarchist International and revel in your complete disinterest in most other anarchists! smile

Quote:
It's a sytnthesis forum, probably end up with similar atmosphere as anarchistnews

@news is a news service first and foremost, not a forum. Registration is default on Anarchist International, and some of the forums aren't even accessible to newly registered users. So… no, they're not at all the same. "Synthesis" sounds like "big tent". I don't care about your disposition towards other anarchists, just as long as you can express it and your grievances intelligently. I want good contestation and discussion alongside functionally open ended services for all anarchists, not "Yay! We're anarchists and we're all in this together! Party!"

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Jan 10 2011 21:27

Hi madlib. Thanks for those comments and clarification. Pretty much I agree with your comments on the other forums, including libcom (and yes, we realise that we need to tidy up and reduce the number of our forums as well, it's been on our to-do list for awhile…). However, I would say that I think that what has happened with libcom and ABC (that groups of like-minded people congregate there, with some organisational links as well) is pretty much inevitable with any online community, that the original group forms some sort of general culture and vague set of principles, which then attracts similar people and repels others.

My concern with some new forum projects which start (we see them announced quite regularly on here, but most fail to take off) is that they split up potential posters further, so you end up with more small, not very active and not very diverse forums, whereas potentially you could have a smaller number of bigger, more active and more diverse forums. Best of luck with your project in any case.

tigersiskillers
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Jan 10 2011 22:57

I wasn't setting out to be arsey, I genuinely felt confused over the 'why?' aspect.

I don't particularly see the problem with my disinterest in most other anarchists, as it's not the A-word that's important to me, it's the content of the politics. I often disagree with posts or opinions here, but find it useful because at least other posters are in the same ballpark in terms of analysis, aims and so on. You might have noticed that the forums here amount to more than a poster making a statement and then there being lots of replies in agreement. If I wanted to debate with people I have fundamental disagreements with I could head to Revleft or Indymedia or even a mainstream political forum to talk with Labour or Tory supporters, but I wouldn't find it that fruitful.

But this is just me, maybe other people will feel differently.

(Edited for shit grammar)

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Anarchia
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Jan 11 2011 08:40
madlib wrote:
But sites like this simply aren't capable of housing a forum that's open to anarchist discussion, projects and collaboration internationally.

TBH, that's nonsense. There have been a number of instances of discussion and cooperation across borders here on LibCom, and the same is certainly true of Anarchist Black Cat.

Just for one example - I think it's quite likely that the organisation I am a part of, the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement, would never have come about if it wasn't for LibCom (and since we began in late '08, a number of our contacts with groups outside New Zealand have come through LibCom).

But, primarily, I just have to echo this point which sums up my feelings completely:

tigersiskillers wrote:
But I still don't understand. I read Libcom precisely because it has a class struggle orientation, Why should I care what someone else who calls themselves an anarchist thinks when we have almost nothing in common? Why would an individualist or a primitivist care about my opinions?
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Steven.
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Jan 11 2011 17:24

Thanks for that post Asher.

I would say that another good example of international cooperation which has happened through libcom is our coverage of the CPE struggles in France. When they were going on dozens of participants in France started posting, people on here helps to translate their reports into English, other readers here translated their reports into many different languages for websites elsewhere, including into Spanish, Portuguese, Farsi, German and loads more. Through reading about the struggle here people also organised and advertised international solidarity actions.

Ditto when the Visteon occupation was underway people in different countries read about the dispute, then put together a leaflet to distribute to Visteon workers in the US to build international solidarity.

I could think of a lot more practical examples but I'm sure people get the idea.

Yorkie Bar
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Jan 11 2011 17:34

Exactly. The fact that libcom has actual political principles doesn't mean it's not "open to anarchist discussion, projects and collaboration internationally", exactly the opposite. If it didn't have more-or-less established politics then there'd be so much bickering nothing decent would ever come out of it.

Jared
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Jan 11 2011 19:32

Libcom is by the far the best and most important online resource/forum there is for any anarchist interested in class struggle. TBH I don't check much else, although Black Cat does get a look. Personally speaking, I don't see the value in another anarchist forum — for me it would just be another distraction, and could foster duplication of discussion.

Good luck with your project, but I'd rather encourage peeps to jump onto the libcom forums. It's nice rubbing shoulders with commies of all stripes, rather than discussing the worth of workplace struggle with a primo...

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Jan 11 2011 19:43

Yeah, good luck with your effort, but I also don't see the point. It's probably going to be a place for regular anarchistnews.org commenters to post. I don't have much interest it that nor do I have sympathy or much agreement with people just because they call themselves anarchists.

We'll see what happens. I'm assuming (maybe I'm wrong) that there's going to be extremely loose moderation. How do you see the forums, if used, not becoming a mostly toxic, trolled and disrespectful site for derision and hate such as anarchistnews.org is (I know I'm generalizing).

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 11 2011 22:35
Quote:
I would say that another good example of international cooperation which has happened through libcom is our coverage of the CPE struggles in France. When they were going on dozens of participants in France started posting, people on here helps to translate their reports into English, other readers here translated their reports into many different languages for websites elsewhere, including into Spanish, Portuguese, Farsi, German and loads more.

Wasn't Libcom even being flogged by the Guardian as the best spot to get updates on the French CPE struggles?

Also, I just want to say that Libcom is amazing--certainly as an English speaker--for staying connected with comrades in other countries and even in the same country (the US is bloody freakin big after all). Even when I lived in the US, some of my closest comrades were Canadian and English. I've even done some collective writing with them and none of that would have happened if not for libcom.

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klas batalo
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Jan 12 2011 07:40
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, good luck with your effort, but I also don't see the point. It's probably going to be a place for regular anarchistnews.org commenters to post. I don't have much interest it that nor do I have sympathy or much agreement with people just because they call themselves anarchists.

We'll see what happens. I'm assuming (maybe I'm wrong) that there's going to be extremely loose moderation. How do you see the forums, if used, not becoming a mostly toxic, trolled and disrespectful site for derision and hate such as anarchistnews.org is (I know I'm generalizing).

I'm a moderator wink jk jk jk

knightrose
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Jan 12 2011 09:34

you need to get rid of the link to the Norwegian Anarchist International. They (He?) is a nuisance who pretends to be something they (he?) is not, even going so far as to setting up fake websites for groups that actually exist.

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klas batalo
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Jan 12 2011 15:37

knightrose do you have the WLSN in mind, anarchist international is a new forum started by someone in the northeast USA, no norway

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 13 2011 20:39

http://anarchistinternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6

Quote:
# Libcom Library — What is probably the second largest archive featuring anarchist literature to a mentionable extent, is organized along the lines of libertarian communism and so features many items from the communist milieu that may not adhere to anarchist politics. It lacks the library-oriented character (i.e., ambition and means) of The Anarchist Library, and so isn't as well organized or outstanding in readability or print, but is still an invaluable resource. However, Libcom as a whole is definitely outstanding.

i don't think this is really true

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Jan 13 2011 21:26

Eh, I think that's pretty true. There's a lot of stuff in the library that isn't compatible to the anarchism behind the people of The Anarchist Library. Libcom does not feature primitivist writings, market anarchist or much insurrectionary stuff, among other things that TAL does. And we don't have PDFs of everything like TAL does.

And TAL does have a more "library orientated" thing going on because it is fundamentally an anarchist without adjectives project. Excluding nationa; "anarchists" and "anarcho"-capitalists, it welcomes nearly everything.

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 13 2011 21:51

what i mean is, i think the libcom library is bigger, and i don't think its less organised

edit

if i look here http://theanarchistlibrary.org/text-index.html
there are 1323 lines, so 1323 texts

but if i look here http://libcom.org/library
there are 631 pages with texts on each, so about 6310 texts, although i think book chapters are counted separately, but i don't think these are enough to make up the difference

history also has 173 pages, so 1730 texts, although that might be double counting, i don't know if they are included in the library to

Mike Harman
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Jan 14 2011 06:46

Actually they are now included in the main list at libcom.org/library (along with image galleries). That index is terrible and we need to fix it as part of the redesign. Book chapters may not all appear in that listing, but I can't remember off the top of my head.

"The Anarchist Library" is definitely more library-oriented, looks like they're trying to catalogue things more or less properly, but yeah the aims are completely different - they have a lot of stuff we wouldn't put up (except for possibly in "best of the worst"), and they don't appear to have any interest in non-anarchist writers, and not a lot of historical content either.