Revolting London: anarchists against the Mayoral elections - 6pm 2 May 2008 - City Hall (london)

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David UK
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May 6 2008 15:17

Maybe, but I don't think so.

Simply for the fact that as I have said, I know a fair few anarchists, In london and around it, and none of them really thought about going to this demo. I do know the odd one who did, but the fact that so many didn't isn't a sign of a general decline.

raw
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May 6 2008 16:18
vanilla.ice.baby wrote:
guydebordisdead wrote:
Whatever about the idea behind the demo, mobilising close to 100 anarchists seems pretty dismal. Where has everyone gone?

Most anarchists weren't interested in the demo, because rightly or wrongly they thought it was a pointless idea, the low turnout is not a sign of declining numbers but declining interest in this sort of stunt.

And that is to say other things are going well? My point being is that things going down the tube, nothing is REALLY happening is it? or is there a hidden anarchist movement doing loads of wonderful things that I've missed.

There were dozens of BNP activists openly walking about outside City Hall completely unopposed. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? I'm glad some of us went down their and atleast attempted to bring people down with us - we failed I admit it. But atleast we had those intentions.

And what now? Back to (my) workplace organising (as dire as ever), and (my) community group - just as depressing as anything else.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 6 2008 18:30
guydebordisdead wrote:
David UK wrote:
guydebordisdead wrote:
Whatever about the idea behind the demo, mobilising close to 100 anarchists seems pretty dismal. Where has everyone gone?

Sensible land?

As much as I would like to think that I can't help but wonder if huge amounts of people have just dropped off?

What the fuck? That's mental. Maybe they have but why do you reach that conclusion as a result of this stunt who's only notable achievement is to be even more of a failure than Bash the Rich.

In agreement with the sentiments of Ed and Vanilla Ice, only lacking the patience to explain them to a poster who mainly comes on here to tell us how much he doesn't come on here.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 6 2008 18:33
raw wrote:
There were dozens of BNP activists openly walking about outside City Hall completely unopposed. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?

I dunno...seems to me that elected BNP officials are even more incompetent than elected Trot officials. Plus their rhetoric has largely been recuperated by the mainstream parties so where exactly is the qualitative break between them and Labour/Tories? OK so they number fascists and racists among their activists, but even they're being frozen out by the Griffin lobby's electoral ambitions. I reckon a purge will happen at some point.

Quote:
And what now? Back to (my) workplace organising (as dire as ever), and (my) community group - just as depressing as anything else.

Yep.

Out of interest, if this takes up so much of your time and is so key to your activities, how come you only come on here to talk abotu stuff that you know will provoke unfavourable responses? I can't help but feel your hostility towards Libcom is more personal than political.

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Steven.
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May 6 2008 19:00
raw wrote:
And that is to say other things are going well? My point being is that things going down the tube, nothing is REALLY happening is it? or is there a hidden anarchist movement doing loads of wonderful things that I've missed.

raw, this is the key thing: (you know who I am right? i had to change username)
Your focus is just completely wrong - you are looking at the (tiny) anarchist (non-) movement. You should be looking at the working class.

Just two weeks ago in the UK hundreds of thousands of workers were on strike, in their own interests, in spite of the hardline government stance and the machinations of the unions. More is happening now in terms of workers fighting for ourselves and for each other than has for years: you just need to look away from the corpse of the activistoid subculture at society - and workers - as a whole.

Edit:
I just see I missed all the posts on page 1 after mine, so I see Ed made the same point as me, albeit in a nicer fashion.

October:

october_lost wrote:
Steven. inherent in your comment is that I and others dont get involved in the things you list, what exactly are you basing that on? But hey dont let facts stand in the way of your diatribe....

No, october, I never suggested anything like that. It was actually you who made accusations about "armchair anarchists" which I have demonstrated to be false - so you should watch yourself re "facts" and "diatribe"

raw wrote:
What steven does is what many, many people do everyday (from leftists, to trade unionisits and generally sound class conscious workers) - what we are saying steven is we want an anarchist movement that can gain influence with ideas, actions and methods, we not opposed to this, in fact we see it necessary to build such a movement and hopefully we will achieve this aim sooner rather than latter.

This is true - however people must do those things while trying to get people to rely only on themselves: not on unions, or parties, or activists. This is the key difference between a revolutionary and a leftist approach.

raw
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May 6 2008 20:31
Steven. wrote:
Just two weeks ago in the UK hundreds of thousands of workers were on strike, in their own interests, in spite of the hardline government stance and the machinations of the unions. More is happening now in terms of workers fighting for ourselves and for each other than has for years: you just need to look away from the corpse of the activistoid subculture at society - and workers - as a whole.

Its your projection on to me Steven (I am aware who you are), it always has been - you base your knowledge on other anarchists activity through what you read on the internet not from any real life discussions.From your post above, you have a very rosy view on where workers struggles like this lead. I'm not optimistic myself. The social democratic mechanism which exist in the UK to contain workers struggles like the one you mention, will more than likely contain this one. I understand that everything has to start from somewhere but to be honest we've seen these public sector strikes come and go - it doesn't necessarily mean that it is a new cycle of struggles that are unfolding especially if the belief in trade unionism, or the inability to go beyond it, continues.

And whatever you say Steven, it is about what is done and not what is said that will make the difference.

redandblack17
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May 6 2008 20:40

i went down and took some picture with me girl, couldnt stay long though, just got to london, owt happened after 7ish? took yer time to get down

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playinghob
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May 6 2008 22:11

I dont really want to get into who's doing or not doing what. Folk talking about organising here and organising there and didnt think it was important to go to city hall or whatever. When it comes to elections, the London election is pretty important in the grand scheme of things. I went down to City Hall for two reasons. Firstly, and most importantly for me - I really hate fucking fascists - in my fifty odd years I cant remember a time when I didnt. Since the 70's I've been on dozens of anti-fascist actions - and kicked shit out of numerous nazi scum (and received a fair few knocks myself). At the London elections these vermin were once again standing, and one of their number got elected to the Assembly - fucking unprecedented. On the night BNP'ers were strolling around unmolested . In years gone by, not only anarchists, but other anti-fascist militants would mobilize, and yes, kick shit out of them. (I was personaly involved in the battle of Waterloo in 1992 - we scared them shitless.) Is militant anti-fascism outside of the anarchist organisational remit? Had more people bothered to turn up, the fascists would have learnt that we havnt forgotten about them, and maybe the police would not have pushed us around so easily. Yes, the anarchists were there, creating an anti-fascist presence - and not one other left group - years ago the place would have been teeming. No platform for fascists!

Secondly, why not mock these farcical elections? They dont represent the interests of working class people - lets reinforce this "If voting could change the system it would be illegal"/ "No matter who you vote for the government always gets in" etc etc . Historically and traditionally, the majority of anarchists have opposed voting in elections. Previous anarchist groups I've worked with over the years have always done a "Dont Vote" leaflet.

On the night, a large % of those in attendance came straight from work where they organise and campaign.

Consider nights like this to be extra-curricular activities!

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Steven.
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May 6 2008 22:49
playinghob wrote:
Secondly, why not mock these farcical elections?

I of course didn't vote, but when 2.5 million people do, and 70 turn up to "mock" them with banners saying "our London" it just looks a bit silly.

raw wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Just two weeks ago in the UK hundreds of thousands of workers were on strike, in their own interests, in spite of the hardline government stance and the machinations of the unions. More is happening now in terms of workers fighting for ourselves and for each other than has for years: you just need to look away from the corpse of the activistoid subculture at society - and workers - as a whole.

Its your projection on to me Steven (I am aware who you are), it always has been

No, I quoted your post:

raw wrote:
My point being is that things going down the tube, nothing is REALLY happening is it?
Quote:
From your post above, you have a very rosy view on where workers struggles like this lead.

Not at all - where have I commented on where they'll lead? They are usually defeated by a combination of unions and state, as will probably happen again. But that there is a big upswing in struggle is encouraging. You can feel the anger in the workplace, and more people are beginning to feel maybe they can do something about it.

Quote:
I'm not optimistic myself. The social democratic mechanism which exist in the UK to contain workers struggles like the one you mention, will more than likely contain this one. I understand that everything has to start from somewhere but to be honest we've seen these public sector strikes come and go - it doesn't necessarily mean that it is a new cycle of struggles that are unfolding especially if the belief in trade unionism, or the inability to go beyond it, continues.

Of course - which is why workplace activity can't be left to those "many, many people", the trade unionists and the leftists you mention because they will always lead workers to defeat, unless they have faith in anything except their own power and self-activity.

Quote:
And whatever you say Steven, it is about what is done and not what is said that will make the difference.

What is this related to? confused

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playinghob
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May 6 2008 23:00

Steven wrote:

Quote:
I of course didn't vote, but when 2.5 million people do, and 70 turn up to "mock" them with banners saying "our London" it just looks a bit silly.

How would I or indeed anyone have known only 70 would turn up . A thousand might have done! I seriously expected around 500! Had 500 or 1000 turned up would people have viewed it any differently?

raw
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May 6 2008 23:16

Good post playinghob. I really can't understand why people were so negative with this - "oh its a stunt its shit..blah blah" as if they were not any politics behind the event...or indeed purpose. Of course there was a bloody purpose when you have dozens of fascists walking around unopposed. Where were the other anarchists? Reading a pamphlet about spain or cable street?!

Steven, there isn't anything REALLY happening is there.....One Swallow a summer does not make.

Perhaps compared with nothing then it looks like alot! But in the history of class struggle, in an intense period of class conflict things look much more different. So I stick with my original statement.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 7 2008 05:08
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
raw wrote:
There were dozens of BNP activists openly walking about outside City Hall completely unopposed. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?

I dunno...seems to me that elected BNP officials are even more incompetent than elected Trot officials. Plus their rhetoric has largely been recuperated by the mainstream parties so where exactly is the qualitative break between them and Labour/Tories? OK so they number fascists and racists among their activists, but even they're being frozen out by the Griffin lobby's electoral ambitions. I reckon a purge will happen at some point.

Quote:
And what now? Back to (my) workplace organising (as dire as ever), and (my) community group - just as depressing as anything else.

Yep.

Out of interest, if this takes up so much of your time and is so key to your activities, how come you only come on here to talk abotu stuff that you know will provoke unfavourable responses? I can't help but feel your hostility towards Libcom is more personal than political.

C'mon Raw, you answered Steven, give us a go.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 7 2008 05:10

And incidentally, members of my university (allegedly cooperating with Lewisham antifascist campaigners) distributed UAF leaflets in New Cross in the leadup to the election. I was (semi-)publically very critical of them from a militant antifascist standpoint (Gawd help me), but in real terms, I would say their action was of more practical use than this demonstration (which is what it was, despite all the innuendo and nuance towards violence).

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Tojiah
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May 7 2008 05:35

This may be none of my business, but:

playinghob wrote:
When it comes to elections, the London election is pretty important in the grand scheme of things.
...
Secondly, why not mock these farcical elections? They dont represent the interests of working class people - lets reinforce this "If voting could change the system it would be illegal"/ "No matter who you vote for the government always gets in" etc etc

Care to elaborate on the importance in the grand scheme of things of these farcical elections which don't represent the interests of working class?

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Devrim
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May 7 2008 06:02
raw wrote:
Steven, there isn't anything REALLY happening is there.....One Swallow a summer does not make.

Perhaps compared with nothing then it looks like alot! But in the history of class struggle, in an intense period of class conflict things look much more different. So I stick with my original statement.

I don't think that anybody is claiming that this is 'an intense period of class conflict'. There has, however, been a been an increase in class conflict on an international basis.. Today is very different from the 80s.

In Turkey we have seen the biggest strikes since the 80s this year however, you measure it (number of workers-the General strike/strike days lost-Telekom/Length-Telekom). I am sure that people in other countries have observed an increase to.

raw wrote:
]To most people Ed the workplace is just as sad and depressing (in terms of work and class struggle) than what passes as the anarchist movement
raw wrote:
]And what now? Back to (my) workplace organising (as dire as ever),

Nobody is claiming that everything is great. The strength of the working class in the workplace is a good indicator though. In my opinion, the working class is naturally stronger in the workplace compared to other parts of life. If there is nothing going on there chances are there is nothing going on anyway else. Is there is nothing going on there chances are you will organise a demo and only 70 of your mates will come.

playinghob wrote:
Firstly, and most importantly for me - I really hate fucking fascists...
raw wrote:
Of course there was a bloody purpose when you have dozens of fascists walking around unopposed.

Really, what is the point?

Devrim

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Steven.
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May 7 2008 07:36
playinghob wrote:
Steven wrote:
Quote:
I of course didn't vote, but when 2.5 million people do, and 70 turn up to "mock" them with banners saying "our London" it just looks a bit silly.

How would I or indeed anyone have known only 70 would turn up . A thousand might have done! I seriously expected around 500! Had 500 or 1000 turned up would people have viewed it any differently?

I could've told you less than 100 would turn up. "Actions" called by anarchists rarely get more than 50 attendees, let alone 100. But I don't think that's what's important here

raw
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May 7 2008 08:19
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
And incidentally, members of my university (allegedly cooperating with Lewisham antifascist campaigners) distributed UAF leaflets in New Cross in the leadup to the election. I was (semi-)publically very critical of them from a militant antifascist standpoint (Gawd help me), but in real terms, I would say their action was of more practical use than this demonstration (which is what it was, despite all the innuendo and nuance towards violence).

There is no "militant antifascist position" to take. There is a critique of the popular front model which UAF and Hope Not Hate/Searchlight followed which led many of their "socialist" activists handing out propaganda to vote boris. Atleast we didn't stoop to that level. And in terms of your rationale the Labour Party did more to stop the BNP (by atleast running and taking 880,000 votes) than we did...whoopy fucking do!

raw
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May 7 2008 08:24
Steven. wrote:
playinghob wrote:
Steven wrote:
Quote:
I of course didn't vote, but when 2.5 million people do, and 70 turn up to "mock" them with banners saying "our London" it just looks a bit silly.

How would I or indeed anyone have known only 70 would turn up . A thousand might have done! I seriously expected around 500! Had 500 or 1000 turned up would people have viewed it any differently?

I could've told you less than 100 would turn up. "Actions" called by anarchists rarely get more than 50 attendees, let alone 100. But I don't think that's what's important here

And this was the main problem .You may lump in the last few years dismal record of anarchist mobilisations but they all were organised by different people. i.e. sack parliament were different people to bash the rich which were different and so to May 2nd. I really can't think of an individual that was directly involved in both of these let alone all three.

For me it was the first thing since we decided to do the autonomous bloc on the TUC mayday march - which I thought was well attended, precisely because of our complete lack to mobilise people. There is a rethink happening, and it is already happened, on why this is the case. And no I don't need any pointers from people like Steven or Alan. An abstract call to "look at the workers" means nothing, it never has done.

David UK
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May 7 2008 08:46
playinghob wrote:
Firstly, and most importantly for me - I really hate fucking fascists

We all hate fash I don't see what this has to do with anything.

Quote:
Secondly, why not mock these farcical elections?

Because is substitutionalist.

Because unlike the ruling class we don't have the time or resources to waste on stupid spectacles that aren't even seen by anyone.

Quote:
They dont represent the interests of working class people - lets reinforce this "If voting could change the system it would be illegal"/ "No matter who you vote for the government always gets in" etc etc . Historically and traditionally, the majority of anarchists have opposed voting in elections. Previous anarchist groups I've worked with over the years have always done a "Dont Vote" leaflet.

The only reason I "oppose" voting is because I don't think it will achieve anything. Which is the same reason I oppose stuntism.

I don't want to go and protest voting because my ideology dictates it. Because it's a diabolical waste of time. Most people already know voting is a load of bollocks, but do so because the alternative is standing outside of politics with bed-sheet banners.

So what I want to know is how did this action achieve anythign that votign wouldn't?

yuda
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May 7 2008 09:40

Would there be other non-anarchist leftist groups in London who would support a non-voting demonstration?

Caiman del Barrio
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May 7 2008 10:40

That's not what I'm arguing Raw but nevermind, I'm more interested in this:

Caiman del Barrio wrote:
raw wrote:
Quote:
And what now? Back to (my) workplace organising (as dire as ever), and (my) community group - just as depressing as anything else.

Yep.

Out of interest, if this takes up so much of your time and is so key to your activities, how come you only come on here to talk abotu stuff that you know will provoke unfavourable responses? I can't help but feel your hostility towards Libcom is more personal than political.

EDIT: Apparently the UAF leaflets didn't call for a vote for anyone. I'd assumed they'd be pro-Respect but I'm told not.

raw
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May 7 2008 11:51
guydebordisdead wrote:
Not being funny, but did anarchists ever think of approaching other left groups for support on this? Thatt seems to be a major crime in British anarchism. I have organised anarchist demos in Dublin that got close to 100 people but for the most part I don't see the need for an event to be explicitly anarchist-run. (this is directed at raw and not those of you who think everything is substitutionist or stuntist, i think demos like this have a place in broader strategy, its the broader strategy that seems to be missing though).

No we didn't. All leftist parties were arguing for support of Ken Livingston or the Left List, therefore it was highly unlikely that they would support such a thing. If it had been specifically to oppose the BNP then I'm sure we would have got more non-anarcho politicos down - but not much more.

The problem lies with how we mobilised. It was a thing we wanted to do, knowing that we had only three or so weeks to do it. If we had planned earliar then maybe we would have gotten more people. However the problem lies much deeper in what the anarchist movement is in London. This is something we are trying to address by having monthly meetings to look at a much longer strategy, to have a process whereby we discuss and debate on issues which are wider than just one group or located in just one strategy. It is very much a building process though there has already been some joint work and new local groups started from this. Everyone recognises there is a problem, more so than some of the posters on these boards - hence the "critique" is nothing new and in my mind is misdirected.

Even if we had 400 people there we would have been slated because it didn't directly build the power in the workplace or tenants association or whatever. There is a continued failure to understand that to build a counter-power we would need to build capabilities and influence in MANY different situations. To be obsessed with the production of class consciousness as only existing and manifesting itself on the factory or office floor denies the whole multitude of experiences needed for a more generalised and deeper class struggle. I suggest people look at the interplay between workplace struggles and broader social struggles in the class dynamic before criticism the fact that we intended to develop and mobilise people on a pro-working class, anti-politician demonstration. Yes it failed but so do many, many workplace struggles - it doesn't neccesarily mean we give up completely but instead try to understand the problem and take things from there.

cheers

Ales

Edit: David UK I have included my response to you in the above. We are not substiting anything. I would argue what 4 wobblies on a stalinist trade union march does in building workers power?

winjer
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May 7 2008 13:04
raw wrote:
And this was the main problem .You may lump in the last few years dismal record of anarchist mobilisations but they all were organised by different people. i.e. sack parliament were different people to bash the rich which were different and so to May 2nd. I really can't think of an individual that was directly involved in both of these let alone all three.

But that ignores that the problem is not whether they were organised by the same people, or even whether they are perceived to have been organised by the same people, but that they are perceived to involve the same lack of organisation.

Friday's demo may just as well have been called Bash The Mayor, since by all appearances it followed precisely the model of the previous (Rich, Bobbies) Bash events in having an obvious target and plenty of prop but seemingly no attempt whatsoever to actually organise ahead of the day, with anyone outside of the direct participants expected to just turn up and see what happens, without any indication of potential attendance or tactics. In the absence of a large group of people committed to involvement beforehand this is simply suicidal, and the embarassing spectacle of Bone et al negotiating with the police, or people meekly walking into a pen because they have no other plan is worse than not calling the demo in the first place.

raw
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May 7 2008 13:34
winjer wrote:
raw wrote:
And this was the main problem .You may lump in the last few years dismal record of anarchist mobilisations but they all were organised by different people. i.e. sack parliament were different people to bash the rich which were different and so to May 2nd. I really can't think of an individual that was directly involved in both of these let alone all three.

But that ignores that the problem is not whether they were organised by the same people, or even whether they are perceived to have been organised by the same people, but that they are perceived to involve the same lack of organisation.

Friday's demo may just as well have been called Bash The Mayor, since by all appearances it followed precisely the model of the previous (Rich, Bobbies) Bash events in having an obvious target and plenty of prop but seemingly no attempt whatsoever to actually organise ahead of the day, with anyone outside of the direct participants expected to just turn up and see what happens, without any indication of potential attendance or tactics. In the absence of a large group of people committed to involvement beforehand this is simply suicidal, and the embarassing spectacle of Bone et al negotiating with the police, or people meekly walking into a pen because they have no other plan is worse than not calling the demo in the first place.

As I recall, we were shoved and pushed in the pen. I do take on your points. I'm not defending the lack of organisation at all, the opposite in fact. There are many issues to discuss. It does start from the political will, not many people wanted to get involved in this - it was a very short run-up and perhaps the first plan wasn't the best.

ftony
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May 7 2008 14:09
raw wrote:
Edit: David UK I have included my response to you in the above. We are not substiting anything. I would argue what 4 wobblies on a stalinist trade union march does in building workers power?

well for starters there were about 15 wobblies on the march, but that's not the issue at hand tongue

i don't think it is substitutionist in the way that David is saying. i would have been there had i not been out of town friday to monday (in fact, at least half a dozen wobs were there). the question is whether or not someone organises something to materially change their situation and that of others, or as a display of discontent with a certain issue. i'd put this may 2nd thing in the latter category. the other question is that of resource use and its relative value to struggle. that's a bit of a subjective issue. personally, i feel there is a (quite important) space for things like the may 2nd demo, and indeed the may 1st demo. that, however, has to be balanced with other priorities and that balance has to be done with the recognition that the wide variety of struggles are intimately intertwined with and implicated in each other.

raw
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May 7 2008 14:14
ftony wrote:
raw wrote:
Edit: David UK I have included my response to you in the above. We are not substiting anything. I would argue what 4 wobblies on a stalinist trade union march does in building workers power?

well for starters there were about 15 wobblies on the march, but that's not the issue at hand tongue

i don't think it is substitutionist in the way that David is saying. i would have been there had i not been out of town friday to monday (in fact, at least half a dozen wobs were there). the question is whether or not someone organises something to materially change their situation and that of others, or as a display of discontent with a certain issue. i'd put this may 2nd thing in the latter category. the other question is that of resource use and its relative value to struggle. that's a bit of a subjective issue. personally, i feel there is a (quite important) space for things like the may 2nd demo, and indeed the may 1st demo. that, however, has to be balanced with other priorities and that balance has to be done with the recognition that the wide variety of struggles are intimately intertwined with and implicated in each other.

Hi ftony.

I wasn't having a pop at IWW. Just making the point that rarely are things we do (going on demos, actions, pickets) directly making an impact but atleast they have a presence or try to. If people are against demonstrating at all then fine but misses the point that if we have less power to be effective in whatever we do we atleast try to have the ability to gather people with us and our political ideas.

cheers

Ales

ftony
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May 7 2008 14:48
raw wrote:
ftony wrote:
raw wrote:
Edit: David UK I have included my response to you in the above. We are not substiting anything. I would argue what 4 wobblies on a stalinist trade union march does in building workers power?

well for starters there were about 15 wobblies on the march, but that's not the issue at hand tongue

i don't think it is substitutionist in the way that David is saying. i would have been there had i not been out of town friday to monday (in fact, at least half a dozen wobs were there). the question is whether or not someone organises something to materially change their situation and that of others, or as a display of discontent with a certain issue. i'd put this may 2nd thing in the latter category. the other question is that of resource use and its relative value to struggle. that's a bit of a subjective issue. personally, i feel there is a (quite important) space for things like the may 2nd demo, and indeed the may 1st demo. that, however, has to be balanced with other priorities and that balance has to be done with the recognition that the wide variety of struggles are intimately intertwined with and implicated in each other.

Hi ftony.

I wasn't having a pop at IWW. Just making the point that rarely are things we do (going on demos, actions, pickets) directly making an impact but atleast they have a presence or try to. If people are against demonstrating at all then fine but misses the point that if we have less power to be effective in whatever we do we atleast try to have the ability to gather people with us and our political ideas.

cheers

Ales

yeah i know, was just being silly... hence the tongue

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Ed
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May 7 2008 15:22

Raw, just a few points to come back to you on:

raw wrote:
Even if we had 400 people there we would have been slated because it didn't directly build the power in the workplace or tenants association or whatever.

It depends. If it was 400 anarchists connected to nothing apart from these sort of activist stunts, then yeah, I'd still slate it. If it was 400 anarchists all actively engaged in working class struggle (and your attempt to hedge it in terms of 'workplace' or 'community' is a misnomer imo, there are a multitude of things which people can get involved in, the point is, as GDID points out, that this doesn't happen) then the action would represent something else, no?

Also, when you say this..

raw wrote:
And what now? Back to (my) workplace organising (as dire as ever), and (my) community group - just as depressing as anything else.

I feel it hints at a couple of things. Firstly, that organising amongst our class is difficult. True. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. As Steven points out, if we do leave that sort of organising to the leftists then of course they'll not go further than the 'social democratic machinations of the trade unions'. And there have been successes recently: Steven can tell you more about his workplace stuff, organising at Sussex university has been really good over the past three years with real links being developed between radical staff and students, weekly mass meetings (200-250, weekly) of students against the encroaching marketisation at our uni and (this ones for you raw) the successful defense of our No Platform policy which brought out members a lot of people not usually involved in political campaigning. That's just what's been going on where me and Steven are, no doubt there is a whole shitload more out there too. So cheer up grumpy boots, you're acting like a goth wink

Second, I feel (now this could just be my projection onto you) that your statement represents a fear of taking your ideas out of the ghetto. Sure, you took anarchism 'Out to the streets' but you didn't have to engage with anyone (as far as I could see). It's a classic reaction to times of low class struggle, to retreat into subcultures, but its not healthy in terms of building a movement.

Also, I do agree with you on the need for radicals to work together, build networks based on common politics etc. However, these networks have to network something real. It can't just be a handful of people across London united on the fact that a) they're anarchists and b) they live in London. It has to be based on how they help each other expand the concrete struggles going on around them.

raw wrote:
I suggest people look at the interplay between workplace struggles and broader social struggles in the class dynamic before criticism the fact that we intended to develop and mobilise people on a pro-working class, anti-politician demonstration.

I agree. However, a couple of points:
1) This demonstration was not representative of a wider social struggle. Or if it was then I don't know which one. If it had, then it would have been ace (and probably bigger..)
2) It is very difficult (arguably impossible) to mobilise any large number of working class people for a pro-working class demonstration in the absence of a large pro-working class movement. Hence, all your talk of "if it had been bigger would you say the same.." is, to be blunt, irrelevant. It probably won't get much bigger, coz there isn't a big anarchist movement in London, ad this won't get much bigger coz there isn't a big working class movement in London. If we want these things to be bigger (which I do), then we have to start with building a working class movement that will place its faith in nothing but its own power to affect change. Then I'm sure a few of those might decide to become anarchists and come on these sorts of demos.

So yeah, basically, I agree with GDID, I'm not against these sorts of demos as part of a broader strategy.. there just isn't the broader strategy as far as I can see...

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
May 7 2008 18:14

Ed: word.

Except the last bit about no pro-working class movement. There are large numbers of people who see themselves as part of this on some level, but not who would attend an anarcho scene demonstration on a work day, the day after another, bigger, demonstration day.

raw wrote:
Steven. wrote:
playinghob wrote:
Steven wrote:
Quote:
I of course didn't vote, but when 2.5 million people do, and 70 turn up to "mock" them with banners saying "our London" it just looks a bit silly.

How would I or indeed anyone have known only 70 would turn up . A thousand might have done! I seriously expected around 500! Had 500 or 1000 turned up would people have viewed it any differently?

I could've told you less than 100 would turn up. "Actions" called by anarchists rarely get more than 50 attendees, let alone 100. But I don't think that's what's important here

And this was the main problem .You may lump in the last few years dismal record of anarchist mobilisations but they all were organised by different people. i.e. sack parliament were different people to bash the rich which were different and so to May 2nd. I really can't think of an individual that was directly involved in both of these let alone all three.

The individual doesn't matter - it's clear the anarcho scene can't mobilise decent numbers of people.

Quote:
And no I don't need any pointers from people like Steven or Alan. An abstract call to "look at the workers" means nothing, it never has done.

I didn't make any such abstract call.

yuda wrote:
Would there be other non-anarchist leftist groups in London who would support a non-voting demonstration?

No - the left/UAF's position was "vote anyone but BNP" to get their vote to under 5%.

raw
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Joined: 8-10-03
May 8 2008 07:49

Thanks for your point Ed, I agree with it and take them on board.

There are things happening, all the time, I agree. For us to be better placed we can not just exists as a few individuals in our work places or schools we also need as anarchists a space to discuss and plan. Thats why it is crucial we build up the capabilities to organise as anarchists and pose deeper questions (and solutions) to these struggles. You seem to think that when ever people organise as anarchists that it is "subcultural"?? Why is this? Why should it be like this. I wouldnt class anyone who has come involved in the monthly meetings as subcultural. In fact the political basis of that initiative is anything but. May 2nd was anything but.

And yes we need a broader strategy thats why I asked you what are you proposing it is? I would argue that we need to build up an anarchist presence in many different areas of London that can form strategic alliances with other groups and push forward a libertarian and anarchist politics. Do you agree? I also think that organisations like LCAP should be supported by anarchists in London on a much wider level. We are talking about this our Camden group where we are involved in the struggle against the building of the medical research centre on land earmarked for council housing. This struggle is composed of people from several estates in Somerstown, some delegated as reps from different blocks and we meet every two weeks to discuss and plan action - we've been involved in this since september. The launch meeting had over 150 people from the estates. We are planning as part of that group another mass meeting involving teachers, community workers, health workers and other locals in July. Would you class that as subcultural?

ales