Network X gathering

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Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 13 2011 17:16

It's proposed by some anarcho-Trots and the Meltdown people. Depending on my mood, I either consider it to be a front group for the Trots or more mental breakdown pie in the sky thinking from Meltdown.

That said, if it does gather any sort of momentum, I'll end up going lol...

Spikymike
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Jan 14 2011 17:56

Well on further reading of one of the sites I mentioned above (A World to Win) I noted a plug for a book by one of Gerry Healey's (the infamous) followers so they are even worse than I thought at first glance!

Still we do need to be prepared to deal with their proposals as they come forward at the NX gathering.

no1
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Jan 15 2011 01:31
Spikymike wrote:
Well on further reading of one of the sites I mentioned above (A World to Win) I noted a plug for a book by one of Gerry Healey's (the infamous) followers so they are even worse than I thought at first glance!

They are a trot sect - see http://libcom.org/forums/organise/info-wanted-world-win-07072010and http://libcom.org/forums/thought/quot-a-world-to-win-quot-organisation-any-thoughts.

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Steven.
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Jan 14 2011 19:02

People's assemblies are the strategy currently being put forward by the SWP. Although there intention is to pack the assemblies and basically use them to greenlight their proposals.

I don't say this to criticise the idea of assemblies in general, just that they can be manipulated by well-organised groups of people.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 14 2011 20:03

So the ICC are unsurprisingly not the only organisation to fetishise form over content and without a meaningful assessment of context. twisted

Jason Cortez
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Jan 14 2011 20:10

nuff said.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 14 2011 20:13

but to be fair you can move from form to content and context and back if you are clear about what you hope to achieve. In many ways i think that should be the focus, and folks should expect it to take a while to for that to happen.

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thegonzokid
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Jan 16 2011 00:00

Anything interesting come out of the meetings today? Was preoccupied chatting and drinking out the back. Good to meet you lads and lasses! Hope the London crew managed to find somewhere to kip... red n black star

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Alf
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Jan 16 2011 10:12

Last weekend I attended a meeting of a sub-group of the Birkbeck 'peoples's assembly' event, a group around Chris Knight and Meltdown which wants to prepare for March 26. Certainly true that they tend to have a wildly overoptimistic view of what's possible on that date, up to and including 'dual power', along with a very bourgeois set of proposals for a 'peoples' budget' which apparently could save the country billions. But this is an eclectic rather than a purely leftist milieu, like Network X, and it is possible to discuss genuinely revolutionary ideas within it (an impression confirmed by what I have heard from our comrade who attended the Manchester meeting).
I don't know whether Jason is joking here but there is no question of fetishising 'people's assemblies' and obviously there is huge confusion about what the assembly form really means, plus real efforts from leftists to recuperate the whole thing. Obviously form cannot be separated from content, etc etc. The question is why are so many talking about assemblies and to what extent does this discussion reflect something happening in the real movement. In my opinion all the recent movements internationally, including Britain, have shown genuine tendencies in this direction, eg Greece, France, the discussions at the university occupations in the UK.

John1
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Jan 16 2011 11:50

As you've touched on it here, some things regarding Chris Knight. He has tried and failed to join the CPGB recently. Other tmes he says he's an anarchist. And prior to 'dancing on the grave of capitalism' a couple of years ago he was absolutely convinced capitalism was coming to an abrupt end. Pretty much based upon the moon, myths and some other rabble. I think this guy has mixed up politics cos he himself doesn't know what they are.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 16 2011 13:52

No updates on what's actually been discussed (motions passed, etc) at the gathering? Any outline for structure, decision making, activities...?

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Indigo
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Jan 16 2011 14:32

Having been at the gathering most of yesterday and all today so far my overwhelming feeling is that things seem to heading towards a broad 'network' where the activisty types can organise activisty things and class stuggle folks will organise things useful to them, judging from how the meetings have been going there is little to no chance in my opinion of a combiningof effort on any significant scale, which i think was the most promising aspect of this gathering. many of the people here seem to want to plan actions without attempting to establish some common political ground. The proposal put forward by libcom and afed have been discussed and amended by the class-struggle group here (a good third of the total) and this will be taken to the main gathering after lunch. Hopefully it'll be an opportunity to build some political consensus that we can move on from but if be lying if I said I was massivly confident

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 16 2011 14:48

Well, I'm not gonna lie, that's more or less what I was expecting....

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 16 2011 14:50

What's the attendance, btw? Both in terms of raw numbers and groups represented?

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Rob Ray
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Jan 16 2011 16:44

Apparently the class struggle proposal passed, but I don't know any more details on that yet.

knightrose
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Jan 16 2011 16:53

Attendance yesterday was around 250, I'd say.

posi
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Jan 17 2011 11:18

I think it was worth going. The somewhat ridiculously named "class struggle workshop" was the biggest of all the break-out sessions on the second day, including many not already members of AF, SF, or the Commune. Perhaps this reflected the effort that had already been put into arguing for class politics by members of those groups; perhaps a latent frustration with the more extreme hippy nonsense. "The importance of growing our own vegetables was mentioned" [solemn hand fluttering...]

The AF proposal was agreed by the class struggle contingent with minor amendments, and then by the whole gathering - though frankly, I don't believe most of those really understood, or agreed with, what it was trying to say.

More importantly, in my view, the class struggle group agreed to produce a bulletin to build for the 26 Jan day of action, inc. walk-outs. It will be given out en masse on 24th and 25th. I post more info separately - or PM me to get involved in writing or distro.

It is not going to be a Network X publication. Alot of the proposed content was defined by a militant college student present.

T La Palli
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Jan 17 2011 11:32

If it is not going to be a Network X publication, who is to publish it?

posi
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Jan 17 2011 11:38

people who volunteered to help with production at the class struggle meeting will do so. 2 or 3 offered to help with design. It will have to be printed locally. It won't have a name. The crucial thing is that we relate its content to groups of militant college students around the country as much as possible.

I think it'd be good for us to think of this in a vaguely similar way to teabreak... a chance to build a network up for this sort of stuff? Dunno. We'll see.

Spikymike
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Jan 17 2011 12:46

Some additional points:

Agree with Knightrose that 200 to 250 people attended and most of those got involved in most of the two days discussions, (including a few tedious 'process' matters), with the exception of a handful of politico's who preferred their own company.

In terms of the make up of those attending I couldn't be precise but probably:

Age Range predominantly 18 to 25 with a smaller number at either end of the spectrum.
More men than women but with women well represented.
Only a handful of black or asian faces.
A fairly big majority of students (perhaps not suprising given the impetus of the resent student protests).
Organised and other commited anarchist/libertarian communists ( well from the 'class struggle' workshop attendance) probably 60 -70.

(Happy to be corrected on any of the above)

Despite my previous comments, and to my suprise, an anarchist/libertarian communist statement did get overwhelming support from the main gathering due in part to the well organised AF efforts and a bit of compromise wording on the usual trade union issue to satisfy some in the preliminary workshop (mainly individuals I think from the north east May Day group and to a lesser extent comrades from the Commune group). However I asgree with Posi's comment above that this probably went through given limited time to discuss the politics behind it and on a general 'feeling' that it was a reasonably statement on 'anti-capitalism'.

The 'activist' 'were here to organise actions' approach is still fairly dominant in the network I think and is, perhaps partly, because it is not entirely absent from the 'political' anarchists movement either.

The general feeling seemed to be that the student struggle needed to 'reach out' to others struggling against the cuts and whilst working with other people not so 'libertarian' in outlook where possible, to encourage people to self-organise independently of the established parties and unions etc.

There was little discussion in the main gathering or workshops I attended of the potential content of 'peoples' or 'workers' 'assemblies' in the current situation which was a pity given some significantly different political takes on this.

There is likely to be another NX gathering in a few months time. The Web site may well be expanded as a facilty for the wider anti-cuts movement and some regional networks have been set up which may prove useful in the months ahead.

It will be interesting to see if some wider co-operation is achieved between the various libertarian communist groups and tendencies out of this even if there is limited potential in the wider Network X gathering?

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2011 19:25

The two highlights of the weekend as far as i was concerned was meeting all the SFers from Liverpool, Manc and Oxford and the FE college bulletin. The class struggle workshop (yes I agree it's a ridiculous name) was only useful in that it consolidated a group of people who can cooperate nationally in the future.

Talking to one of the main organisers, he was incredibly frustrated and quite upset by the constant filibustering over process and attempts by some people (not limited to experienced activists incidentally) to manipulate the frankly absurd reliance on consensus in order to block everything. That was when the £1.70 pints came in handy lol...

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 17 2011 20:13
Quote:
constant filibustering over process and attempts by some people (not limited to experienced activists incidentally) to manipulate the frankly absurd reliance on consensus in order to block everything.

Oh, do tell! What sorts of things were they blocking?

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Indigo
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Jan 17 2011 20:15

If I'd known the booze was that cheap I would have probably found the whole thing a lot less frustrating....

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thegonzokid
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Jan 17 2011 23:56
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
thegonzokid wrote:
Anything interesting come out of the meetings today? Was preoccupied chatting and drinking out the back. Good to meet you lads and lasses! Hope the London crew managed to find somewhere to kip... red n black star

We did thanks! Was great to meet you guys, did you get back to Liverpool ok?

Yeah we got back in one piece mate. Looking forward to meeting the rest of the Solfed family from dahn saaf laugh out loud

Next time I'm in the Casa I'll have a word with the dockers about that thing we talked about.

Spikymike
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Jan 19 2011 12:52

I was hoping that after my earlier post there might be others who attended (and participated) on the weekend who would offer their reports/comments/views (good and bad of course) and not just some 'chit-chat' between those who seem to have viewed it primarily as a means to meet up with old friends and comrades - perhaps that is still possible?

posi
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Jan 19 2011 13:01

everything you say is true.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 19 2011 13:42
Spikymike wrote:
I was hoping that after my earlier post there might be others who attended (and participated) on the weekend who would offer their reports/comments/views (good and bad of course) and not just some 'chit-chat' between those who seem to have viewed it primarily as a means to meet up with old friends and comrades - perhaps that is still possible?

Not wanting to get in the way of your voluntaristic superiority complex or anything, but I met a good few new friends and comrades over the weekend, while managing to "participate" in a good few meetings and help kickstart a really useful initiative. You accept that much of the main/big meetings were absolute trash, so it was up to us to network more informally. The folk who came up from Goldsmiths - who were almost all newcomers to this sort of thing - were saying the exact same thing to me (and we weren't in the same meetings). I don't really see why meeting has to be limited to waving hands and bad structure, and can't also include a quiet drink and an exchange of ideas and contacts.

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Awesome Dude
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Jan 19 2011 14:06
Spikymike wrote:
'chit-chat' between those who seem to have viewed it primarily as a means to meet up with old friends and comrades

...so it was a massive activist ego stroking orgie as I suggested in an earlier post?

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 19 2011 14:11

No he's being snide and unfair. a few folk did gather round the bar, but they certainly weren't restricted to seasoned anarchos. i met plenty of interesting folk hovering around and had a lot of interesting, practical conversations pint in hand, much like I've done with you in the past Black Rainbow. The alternative was reading the 4 page handout on how to "do" consensus and then diving into the process/agenda melee unfolding in the main meetings, where PLENTY of people were happy to stroke their egos via blocking, rowing over technicalities, etc.

gypsy
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Jan 19 2011 14:30
blackrainbow wrote:
Spikymike wrote:
'chit-chat' between those who seem to have viewed it primarily as a means to meet up with old friends and comrades

...so it was a massive activist ego stroking orgie as I suggested in an earlier post?

wink