Network X gathering

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Spikymike
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Jan 4 2011 17:30

Well the Network X invitation includes both political/ideological type groups, straight campaign groups and groups of people currently engaged in particular struggles against cuts such as student protests/occupations, though not many other workers actions it seems.

An effort to help co-ordinate actual practicle struggles and learn from these by means of collective meetings, discussions, newsletters etc must be valuable in potentially defending peoples material interests and possibly weakening the economic/social system (even if those involved start from an ideological perspective).

In this exercise though Network X would not be alone potentially being in competition with other ideologically leftist orientated efforts. (see note added below).

This seems to be one perspective in Network X but other perspectives seem to simply want to duplicate (inevitably on a lower political basis) the same ideological function of existing groups such as the AF, SolFed and others with perhaps an even less sound economic and social analysis. Does this make sense? especially when aspects of the ideologically driven intervention model must at least be suspect in my opinion.

Note added: When I say 'co-ordinate' above I do not mean through any ideologically based group external to the self-organisation of workers and students which is what should be encouraged and as necessary assisted. This would presumably be a point of diferentiation with other leftist type efforts at 'co-ordination'?

action_now
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Jan 4 2011 19:38

Well atleast some of the organisers are used to planning large convergences and networking, opposed to those purists writhing around in the corner on their toblerone....

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jef costello
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Jan 5 2011 00:50
action_now wrote:
Well atleast some of the organisers are used to planning large convergences and networking, opposed to those purists writhing around in the corner on their toblerone....

And it's lucky that those people actually involved in struggles will have all that experience just waiting for them in this new network that they can join.

My local group is going to send at least one person to this and I'd be happy to hear that it is better than I am expecting. Someone from my group spoke to some people involved in organising it and it sounded as if I might be wrong.

Action_now's response sounds like it's from the old songsheet. Hopefully he's just along for the row, like our old buddy raw.

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Jan 5 2011 01:06
action_now wrote:
Well atleast some of the organisers are used to planning large convergences and networking, opposed to those purists writhing around in the corner on their toblerone....

And I'm sure it was the large convergences and networking that got the students to force a major rethink about the most fruitful way to go about opposing the cuts?

I'm with some of the other 'purists' who see this as an attempt by the vague 'activist' scene to find a 'meaningful' way into the 'action'. Anyway the gathering is happening and I would genuinely like to see something positive emerge from it than a massive activist ego stroking orgie.

Whilst they are there some 'class-struggle' types should asked some searching questions about why it is that previously passive and 'unpolitcised' students took only a few weeks to find new tactics to circumvent predictable state tactics (like kettling), where as anarchoid activists have been playing the same traditional role (of kettle fodder) for 10...15 years with out breaking out of their comfortable habits?

action_now
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Jan 5 2011 12:08

No worries, I detest 'activism' and the weird do-gooder attitudes and people that such a culture seems to create and perpetuate. On the other hand, I reckon a body that can pull people together for mass direct action is good, but I certainly won't be advocating teaching the world to wave hands or the martyrdom behind d-locking yourself to something.

raw
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Jan 5 2011 14:08
blackrainbow wrote:
action_now wrote:
Well atleast some of the organisers are used to planning large convergences and networking, opposed to those purists writhing around in the corner on their toblerone....

And I'm sure it was the large convergences and networking that got the students to force a major rethink about the most fruitful way to go about opposing the cuts?

I'm with some of the other 'purists' who see this as an attempt by the vague 'activist' scene to find a 'meaningful' way into the 'action'. Anyway the gathering is happening and I would genuinely like to see something positive emerge from it than a massive activist ego stroking orgie.

Whilst they are there some 'class-struggle' types should asked some searching questions about why it is that previously passive and 'unpolitcised' students took only a few weeks to find new tactics to circumvent predictable state tactics (like kettling), where as anarchoid activists have been playing the same traditional role (of kettle fodder) for 10...15 years with out breaking out of their comfortable habits?

Oh where to start with this........

knightrose
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Jan 7 2011 14:13

Members of the AF who are attending the Network X meeting will be having a pre-meeting on the night of the 14th January. We would welcome any Solfed members or other class struggle anarchists who would like to come along. We want to be able to discuss the agenda and our responses in advance.

Manchester AF will be putting forward a set of proposals to the meeting.

We are still finding a venue. It is likely to be in either Rusholme - on Curry Mile, which is easy to get to from the town centre and certainly has loads of advantages for meetings smile or in a city centre pub (if we can get a room). I'll confirm the details either next Monday or Tuesday. I'll also post up the proposals then.

raw
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Jan 7 2011 14:18

For those of you in London there is a meeting upstairs at LARC on Tuesday 11th Jan, 7pm -- ALL WELCOME!

T La Palli
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Jan 7 2011 15:11

Apparently there have been proposals from Peoples Assemblies, South Coast climate Camp, Queer riot, Disabled Peoples Network, Anti-Militarist Network, Stop Racism and Fascism Network, Autonomous Students Network.

I emailed network x asking for sight of these proposals prior to the event. No reply yet. But I do think this would be useful. Not sure if I will go to the gathering, but it would be good to pass on responses to the proposals via another AF member from our group who might be going. Plus it would give a bit more of an indication and feel as to how groups are coming at this network x initiative. So if, any network x people are reading, can these proposals be made public? Same goes for the AF Manchester proposal, would it not be better to get this to people prior to the gathering, rather than introduce it from the floor.

knightrose
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Jan 7 2011 17:00

I'm at a meeting tonight about network x, I'll pass that on.

As I've said, I'll post up the Manchester proposals on Monday night! That's after we meet as a group to agree them.

knightrose
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Jan 7 2011 21:26

It'll be fine, we'll get it in on Monday.

I've just got back from an organising meeting. Most of those present are new to politics and have been radicalised by the student protests. They are expecting several hundred to attend and expect many from anti cuts campaigns and student occupations to be there. I think it has the chance to be a very positive event, but must be viewed as only a starting point and not an end in itself.
I've just got back from an organising meeting. Most of those present are new to politics and have been radicalised by the student protests. They are expecting several hundred to attend and expect many from anti cuts campaigns and student occupations to be there. I think it has the chance to be a very positive event, but must be viewed as only a starting point and not an end in itself.

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Jan 7 2011 21:39
raw wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
action_now wrote:
Well atleast some of the organisers are used to planning large convergences and networking, opposed to those purists writhing around in the corner on their toblerone....

And I'm sure it was the large convergences and networking that got the students to force a major rethink about the most fruitful way to go about opposing the cuts?

I'm with some of the other 'purists' who see this as an attempt by the vague 'activist' scene to find a 'meaningful' way into the 'action'. Anyway the gathering is happening and I would genuinely like to see something positive emerge from it than a massive activist ego stroking orgie.

Whilst they are there some 'class-struggle' types should asked some searching questions about why it is that previously passive and 'unpolitcised' students took only a few weeks to find new tactics to circumvent predictable state tactics (like kettling), where as anarchoid activists have been playing the same traditional role (of kettle fodder) for 10...15 years with out breaking out of their comfortable habits?

Oh where to start with this........

Ok raw, much of what I said was unfair. I got admit I've been doing my best to be the most negative activist hating person on planet earth recently. I'll see you at network x...with a bag full of soap and a hose pipe.

raw
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Jan 7 2011 22:00
blackrainbow wrote:
raw wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
action_now wrote:
Well atleast some of the organisers are used to planning large convergences and networking, opposed to those purists writhing around in the corner on their toblerone....

And I'm sure it was the large convergences and networking that got the students to force a major rethink about the most fruitful way to go about opposing the cuts?

I'm with some of the other 'purists' who see this as an attempt by the vague 'activist' scene to find a 'meaningful' way into the 'action'. Anyway the gathering is happening and I would genuinely like to see something positive emerge from it than a massive activist ego stroking orgie.

Whilst they are there some 'class-struggle' types should asked some searching questions about why it is that previously passive and 'unpolitcised' students took only a few weeks to find new tactics to circumvent predictable state tactics (like kettling), where as anarchoid activists have been playing the same traditional role (of kettle fodder) for 10...15 years with out breaking out of their comfortable habits?

Oh where to start with this........

Ok raw, much of what I said was unfair. I got admit I've been doing my best to be the most negative activist hating person on planet earth recently. I'll see you at network x...with a bag full of soap and a hose pipe.

ha ha! No worries T, see you Manchester!

knightrose
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Jan 10 2011 22:37

Manchester AF are hosting a meeting for class struggle types who are attending the Network X event. This will be on the Friday evening before - that's the 14th. We'll be meeting up at the Town Hall Tavern, Tib Lane, M2 4JA. We'd like to invite all those who frequent Libcom and their friends/comrades.
We are putting forward a proposal for the meeting which will go on here as soon as the revisions we agreed tonight are typed up.

no1
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Jan 11 2011 01:22
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
There are a load more details on the blog including some of the proposals that have been put forward:

http://networkxuk.wordpress.com/

Interesting. The first of the political principles includes a very clear rejection of feudalism (as well as capitalism and imperialism).

mons
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Jan 11 2011 02:00

I went to not one but two meetings tonight which talked about Network X!

I get the impression most of the people are going are activist types, but they seem to be very critical of past activism, especially Climate Camp, Dissent, etc. The focus of the self-criticism was on being so insular and not outward reaching mainly, but beyond that a bit as well. It's not the first time I've heard activisty types say this recently. I haven't been around long, does this happen often and are people saying it elsewhere? I think this can only be positive - it doesn't mean they're suddenly class struggle anarchists who renounce activism, but it's interesting anyway.
They see Network X as a gathering of activisty people, but going in a very different direction to past ventures. I got a lot of jazz hands when I said that I hoped Network X wouldn't be a group of activists doing 'actions' to some target anyway...

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Jan 11 2011 08:46

I was at one of the same meetings as mons above and I got exactly the same impression. At least in the meeting I attended, there seemed to be a consensus that activist politics as they stood were not working and that a new direction needed to be found.

If that kind of feeling is widely prevalent at Network X (a big 'if', admittedly) then I think an alternate viewpoint put by class struggle anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists could really have a positive influence.

raw
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Jan 11 2011 09:14
Auto wrote:
I was at one of the same meetings as mons above and I got exactly the same impression. At least in the meeting I attended, there seemed to be a consensus that activist politics as they stood were not working and that a new direction needed to be found.

If that kind of feeling is widely prevalent at Network X (a big 'if', admittedly) then I think an alternate viewpoint put by class struggle anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists could really have a positive influence.

I will be in Manchester and would want to know what the "class struggle anarchists" are proposing - if anything at all.
Its usually the case that the "class struggle anarchists" leave these gatherings at the first site of the "jazz hands" and go and sit in the pub bitching at all the "activists". If you are going at least make the distinction between those who have a solid class analysis AND who are not in AF/SolFed - and those that don't have any sort of class analysis ( activist types ). Otherwise you will come across as patronizing to people like my self.

knightrose
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Jan 11 2011 11:31

If you are around on Friday night, come and meet up with us at the Town Hall Tavern (see above). We will be discussing all these matters.

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Jan 11 2011 12:11
no1 wrote:
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
There are a load more details on the blog including some of the proposals that have been put forward:

http://networkxuk.wordpress.com/

Interesting. The first of the political principles includes a very clear rejection of feudalism (as well as capitalism and imperialism).

Huh? Those political principles are just the PGA (Peoples Global Acton) hallmarks, slightly rewritten with "austerity" instead of "globalisation". surprised confused

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peoples%27_Global_Action

posi
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Jan 11 2011 13:06

Some of us in/around the commune have produced this text to give out:

http://thecommune.co.uk/2011/01/11/leaflet-for-network-x-gathering-movement-beyond-actions/

I hope it is not understood as patronising. It could be that we have totally misunderstood who will be there, and what the background political assumptions will be - and everyone will be like "yeah, duhh". But we nonetheless thought it worthwhile to produce something, in case these ideas still do need raising.

I have proposed within the commune that we make a proposal something like this:

Quote:
Since we cannot hope to beat cuts by organising ‘actions’ ourselves, part of our role should be to propagandise for our ideas amongst the working-class for mass, self-organised direct action, and against capitalism (not just against cuts). We should produce printed (and other) material with this aim; politically honest, low on jargon, and based on real working-class experience (not just giving ‘the line’).

* We should produce a Network bulletin which can be distributed to relevant section of the working class at potential flash points: e.g. 6th form students in early February, council workers before April. We should all help distribute it.
* We should encourage any industrial networks to produce relevant bulletins, and support their distribution. Bulletins could potentially also be produced for individual work-places or in local areas.

In general, we need to make the case for our politics before a diverse, working-class audience.

We haven't finished discussing it though, and I'd be interested in others' thoughts. The basic thought would be that, whilst it would be good for Network X to adopt formally good politics, some of the benefit of this will be lost if it then makes no effort to project them. I guess it will come under 'strategy'.

mons
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Jan 11 2011 16:30

Great leaflet, just the right tone I think.

no1
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Jan 11 2011 18:43
Shorty wrote:
Huh? Those political principles are just the PGA (Peoples Global Acton) hallmarks, slightly rewritten with "austerity" instead of "globalisation". surprised confused

OK that makes sense. I found it a bit odd that they added the bit about a clear rejection of feudalism - I thought feudalism had been less of a problem in the UK recently.

Spikymike
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Jan 11 2011 19:00

Yes I agree as well that this contribution from posi and friends strikes just the right note in it's friendly but critical approach to the apparent ethos of this gathering and it's likely main participants (though the gathering may attract a more varied group of recently politicised people than the written content has so far suggested).

Whilst in terms of 'politics' and political orientation I cannot really fault that published under the heading 'Against Capitalism, For Libertarian Communism' and would support this as a counterweight and correction to both the Networks published principles and other statements so far published on the site, I think it is a pity in a way that the original Network X organisers chose to use such an extensive and borrowed set of principles since these were really unecessary in terms of the main objectives set down and potentially open up a whole raft of contentious political debate in a number of non-essential areas as far as this particular gathering is concerned. Ideally the principles of any emmerging network might be reduced to some much simpler points regarding capitalism and self organisation of the class struggle.

I still think, as I alluded to earlier on this thread, that there is a tension here between 'assisting' in the process of the self organisation of class struggle and 'intervening' , in the tradtional left political sense at least, which might still be present in the commune/posi statement but that needs some more thought on my part.

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Jan 11 2011 19:33
posi wrote:
Some of us in/around the commune have produced this text to give out:

http://thecommune.co.uk/2011/01/11/leaflet-for-network-x-gathering-movement-beyond-actions/

I hope it is not understood as patronising. It could be that we have totally misunderstood who will be there, and what the background political assumptions will be - and everyone will be like "yeah, duhh". But we nonetheless thought it worthwhile to produce something, in case these ideas still do need raising.

I have proposed within the commune that we make a proposal something like this:

Quote:
Since we cannot hope to beat cuts by organising ‘actions’ ourselves, part of our role should be to propagandise for our ideas amongst the working-class for mass, self-organised direct action, and against capitalism (not just against cuts). We should produce printed (and other) material with this aim; politically honest, low on jargon, and based on real working-class experience (not just giving ‘the line’).

* We should produce a Network bulletin which can be distributed to relevant section of the working class at potential flash points: e.g. 6th form students in early February, council workers before April. We should all help distribute it.
* We should encourage any industrial networks to produce relevant bulletins, and support their distribution. Bulletins could potentially also be produced for individual work-places or in local areas.

In general, we need to make the case for our politics before a diverse, working-class audience.

We haven't finished discussing it though, and I'd be interested in others' thoughts. The basic thought would be that, whilst it would be good for Network X to adopt formally good politics, some of the benefit of this will be lost if it then makes no effort to project them. I guess it will come under 'strategy'.

this all seems sound to me...

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Jan 11 2011 22:47

Proposal submitted by Manchester AF:

Quote:
PROPOSAL: POLITICAL DIRECTION

Submitted by Manchester Anarchist Federation group

NB – the purpose of this proposal is to engender discussion on political direction; while we do not expect it to be agreed in full by the gathering, we hope that it can be the basis of agreement on the nature of the fight we face and the way to win it.

Capitalism is crisis

We live in a time of crisis; economic, environmental and social. This is the normal functioning of capitalism: the shock and misery of crisis, and the shock and misery of 'recovery'. The economy falters and the majority of us suffer the consequences, the economy is readjusted in the aftermath and it is the majority of us who suffer unemployment, cuts, etc to foot the costs. To fight austerity, we must fight capitalism itself.

The working class pays

Austerity is nothing more than an attack on the living standards of the working class. Class ultimately is not about having a manual job, education level or accent, it is about our relationship with the economy. Either you live off your ability to work now (wages), your ability to work in the future (a student loan), or, unable to work, you are allowed to scrape by on the dole. Those with the wealth and power to be above these 'choices' will be untouched by austerity. Instead, we will pay the price through layoffs, wage cuts, attacks on working conditions, cuts to benefits and services and student loan hikes.

Mass struggle is the solution

We can't rely on anyone but ourselves to fight austerity. The major parties, Labour included, differ only on the specifics of how our living standards are to be attacked. The trade unions have colluded with the bosses on implementing the cuts, have shafted their own members and have scabbed on one another during disputes. They can be expected to continue to do so. Vanguards fighting on our behalf, and substituting their party, clique or scene for the struggle of the working class must be rejected. Sucessfully resisting austerity will require:
-Mass direct action: Strikes, occupations, and other tactics which will disrupt the economy.
-A Mass movement: Students, workers and the unemployed share the same struggle, and cannot fight alone.
-Fighting divides: Race, gender, union membership, workplace, nationality, migrant/'indigenous' worker, etc.
-A movement from below: Directly democratic control from the bottom-up; mass meetings and use of recallable delegates instead of stagnant committees."

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Jan 11 2011 23:03

Both the Commune proposal and the AF proposal look good to me.

Sadly I won't be along, but it looks like Class-Struggle Anarchism is going to give a good account of itself there.

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Jan 11 2011 23:11
Quote:
it's the one the libcom group put forward

I had my suspicions wink

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Jan 12 2011 07:38

Reading the Manc AF and the libcom proposals, I have to say that I think the two are very similar and that some merging might be in order (??).. I don't know how the voting will work and ultimately it'll depend on those attending (I'm not in the country so can't make it myself) but even though I (unsurprisingly tongue ) prefer the libcom proposal, I think the 'Mass Struggle' bit of the Manc AF one is good and prob ends stronger..

I also agree with spikeymike on the need to walk on the right side of the 'assisting self-organisation' vs. 'intervening' divide.. what ideas do people have for this?

Spikymike
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Jan 13 2011 17:01

I also note that there is a proposal posted on the Network X site in favour of 'Peoples Assemblies' as an organisational strategy.

The proposal itself whilst containing a couple of positive points seems to err towards a fetishization of formal democracy and seems to include some vague ideas for 'building alternatives' within the shell of the current capitalist system, (both approaches not generally favoured on Libcom)

Being out of the country for a couple of months isn't really an excuse but I seem to have missed any reporting or discussion of this concept as it has appeared most recently, at least on Libcom? I have checked it out on a couple of web sites promoting the idea which referred to a recent national gathering in London - again reports of this indicated a very wide and confused range of politics represented, if a lot of genuine angry oposition to the current austerity measures and a desire to fight back.

As someone schooled in the Council Communist tradition and in favour of 'Workers Councils' and a movement towards 'dual power' I struggle with the populist language used in these websites but recognise some possible points of contact. Unfortunately it all reminds me of past comrades equal fetishization of the Council's movement in leaflets titled 'Build the Workers Councils Now' etc.

If the term 'Peoples Assemblies' is simply shorthand for regular gatherings/forums of the most militant participants in a variety of organised struggles against the current round of austerity measures with the aim of promoting 'solidarity, co-ordination and eventually unification of struggle' then I suppose that's OK but it's promoters seem to have a whole other rather misplaced agenda besides?

The Network X initiative does bear some similarities to the London meeting in it's current appeal and initial range of participants (though fortunately excluding the Right to Work Campaign).

Developing a mass movement against austerity will inevitably mean people with a certain variety of politics working together. It seems however that a full blown comitment to 'Libertarian Communism' as expressed in other proposals, the content of which I generally support, is probably as unlikely to garner any more substantial support at the NX gathering than a wholeharted commitment to the full range of the 'Peoples Assembly' programme.

Hopefully the time set aside for political discussion (which should perhaps be moved forward on the agenda) can fruitfully dlineate both the areas of agreement as well as disagreement without the whole thing falling apart from the start.

Can anyone here point to previous discussion of these issues on LibCom or help clarify things better in advance of this weekends gathering?