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

97 posts / 0 new
Last post
Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
May 8 2008 09:05
raw wrote:
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?

I don't want to speak for him, but he wouldn't argue that. We do think it's important. But I'd argue we should organise as anarchists to participate and intervene (and spread information about) in these already-ongoing struggles - not to try to start our own mini-struggles, like this anti-mayor one, or bash the rich, say.

Quote:
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?

That sounds good. I've got links with housing workers there with a good record of defend council housing-type stuff - there any info online I can point them to?

raw
Offline
Joined: 8-10-03
May 8 2008 10:50

Link to a demo last December:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/london/2007/11/386420.html

And just to prove local community organising has just its own number of "freaks", the guy below in the rabbit suit is a local taxi driver (lives opposite my estate) who ended up singing in the loudspeaker "you'll never walk alone" - very badly. Bring back the clown army I say!

Thanks for the contact offer. There are already people from Defend Council Housing involved - the group is SWP/respect led currently. When we have details of the meeting I will forward them on to you.

cheers

Ales

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
May 8 2008 14:17

Not got time to write a proper response but just wanted to quickly say, raw, that looks like really good work mate. Impressive stuff. Might stick some of those photos in the gallery when I've got a bit of time, if there are any more developments with the campaign then keep us posted here.. smile

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
May 8 2008 20:33

Generally Im in agreement with Ed, but whatever criticisms I have of Raw, the May 2nd action and the London Anarchists, Im not going to use them as an excuse to disengage with them.

Steven. wrote:
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"

I didnt make accusations - I stated, however clear or not my disdain for those who go beyond the realms of constructive criticism and are happy to slate what passes for political activity from a multitude of theorical angles, yet are strangely absent from most decent political activity. The anarchist movement/scene is shockingly weak and influential, how do you and others suppose we remedy this? We have to use what resources we have availble and construct a much more sincere orientation.

And you havent demostrated anything to be false, instead you waded in with an arguement I rebutted - I mean how many anarchists do you think were on the NUT march the other week? Talking about picking your fights....

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
May 8 2008 21:01
Quote:
The anarchist movement/scene is shockingly weak and influential, how do you and others suppose we remedy this?

Wrong question.

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
May 8 2008 21:13

...though in principle I understand what your saying, I think it depends on how you define anarchism

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
May 8 2008 23:40
october_lost wrote:
...though in principle I understand what your saying, I think it depends on how you define anarchism

Nah, it's not just about how you define anarchism but also what you see yourself as influencing and what the influence would look like. I mean, it might be nice if anarchists were really influential in lots of lefty campaigns but unless they go past the campaign model then what does that influence mean for the working class? I think I said that in a shite way.. but do you get what I mean?

october_lost wrote:
Generally Im in agreement with Ed, but whatever criticisms I have of Raw, the May 2nd action and the London Anarchists, Im not going to use them as an excuse to disengage with them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to disengage with anyone. I don't live in London at the moment, but when I come back I might see what's going on. But then, I'm part of that scene. When I go on holiday I look out for working class history landmarks and I draw analogies between my relationships with ex-girlfriends and Marx's theory of history for fucks sake embarrassed The point is that the May 2nd sort of stunt is putting the cart before the horse in a lot of ways.. demonstrations are supposed to be symbolic of the strength of a movement, but if the movement isn't strong, then what's the point in having demonstrations? It's just depressing and only the most dedicated will fancy it imo. Now the stuff raw put up about housing in Somers Town is a whole lot different, that's our class demonstrating for something tangible rather than an abstract notion of "telling them what we think of them"...

october_lost wrote:
I didnt make accusations - I stated, however clear or not my disdain for those who go beyond the realms of constructive criticism and are happy to slate what passes for political activity from a multitude of theorical angles, yet are strangely absent from most decent political activity.

I guess the question here is 'who are these radicals who criticise but do nothing?'. To be honest, I don't like that kind of argument for a variety of reasons, but one particularly relevant point I reckon is that I think saying stuff like that is often used as a good way to deflect criticism, you know what I mean? A sort of "well, fuck that lot, they do fuck all anyway.." sort of thing. And as Steven does a fair bit (both on libcom and in his workplace) I think he felt like his criticisms were being brushed aside for those reasons.

Fuck, why do I always end up the referee on these boards??? sad

Bob Savage's picture
Bob Savage
Offline
Joined: 15-01-07
May 9 2008 00:47
Ed wrote:
I draw analogies between my relationships with ex-girlfriends and Marx's theory of history for fucks sake embarrassed

libcommunity, right now, go there, and fill us all in on this (not derailing the thread, that's what they call responsibility).

Lone Wolf's picture
Lone Wolf
Offline
Joined: 1-03-06
May 9 2008 01:20
Bob Savage wrote:
Ed wrote:
I draw analogies between my relationships with ex-girlfriends and Marx's theory of history for fucks sake embarrassed

libcommunity, right now, go there, and fill us all in on this (not derailing the thread, that's what they call responsibility).

Seconded. Those analogies sound amazing. cool Repetition compulsion perchance? If you can draw a general inference from your thoughts, you could stick the thread in Theory.

raw
Offline
Joined: 8-10-03
May 9 2008 08:03

Ed, I don't see what we tried to do as abstract. We need to do these things. What would happen if there was a fascist demonstration in your area with the working class in support of it - who will you rely on? That goes for a number of things which (often) most people will fail to respond to but anarchists might do. All I'm saying is that we need to both develop our influences amongst wider class struggles AND have the ability to act AS WE ARE with what moves us to act. We are part of class politics and struggle, we can not substitute for ourselves! The problem is the lack of ability at the moment to circulate ideas and mobilise people as a movement.

I can't understand why its ok for anarchists all over Europe to do this - say on Mayday - but not for us. I for one can't afford to go over to Paris for the Mayday demonstrations or wherever - I want us to have a big anarchist mayday demonstration (thats why I pushed for the bloc on the TUC march in 2006). I don't want to look at Italy and admire their social centres - I want them here (thats why I spend 5 years of my life in London pushing the idea). Why? Because we as anarchists NEED this as a movement to develop, we need people to get involved. And yes what we are after is a strong autonomous working class movement with a bit of fight in it but thats not gonna happen unless some serious ideas and experiences are supported on a large level - I would suggest we build an anarchist movement that can do this and support people consistency not just where we happen to be working or at school.

I'm not the grumpy one, its the grumpy young bastards that have sought to rubbish anything that hasn't fallen within very rigid lines :-0)

Do you think anarchists in other countries have gotten the "why bother doing mayday" attitude? No they don't! They get on doing it, they all turn up and support it.

ales

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
May 9 2008 09:40
Quote:
I don't see what we tried to do as abstract. We need to do these things. What would happen if there was a fascist demonstration in your area with the working class in support of it - who will you rely on?

First off, it wasn't just an anti-fascist demonstration, it was an anti-electoral demo with an anti-fascist slant, no? Hence the 'no copper, no crook, toff etc'. So in that sense it was abstract, it was an anti-concept (concept of electoralism) demo.. not that I don't agree with the sentiments, but it was still abstract.

Secondly, if there was a fascist demonstration in my area, of course I would welcome some anarchos (or any lefties) coming in and giving them a kicking.. I'd probably join them too.. but how much it would affect anything I don't know.. the BNP aren't street fighters anymore which makes me think the tactic of bussing anarchists in to give them a kicking and bussing them out again isn't really a long term strategy.. not that I'm against physical opposition to fascism (you know I'm not) but that removed from the political organising side, then I don't think it means all that much.. locals would probably hear about it and either go 'Yay' or 'Nay' but then get on with their lives.

Last thing, and I know this sounds dead cuntish, but even if May 2nd was an anti-fascist demo, it wasn't in anyone's community.

raw wrote:
I can't understand why its ok for anarchists all over Europe to do this - say on Mayday - but not for us. I for one can't afford to go over to Paris for the Mayday demonstrations or wherever - I want us to have a big anarchist mayday demonstration (thats why I pushed for the bloc on the TUC march in 2006). I don't want to look at Italy and admire their social centres - I want them here (thats why I spend 5 years of my life in London pushing the idea).

But raw, this is what I was getting at when I said these things are putting the cart before the horse. Italy's social centres didn't come about in a vacuum, Italy has arguably one of the most militant working classes in Europe (the world?).. Paris mayday is huge, because when the government tries to pass unpopular laws, there are occupations and strikes and riots across the country.. they have the class to maintain the movement, I feel like you're trying to build the movement before there exists a class to maintain it..

raw wrote:
And yes what we are after is a strong autonomous working class movement with a bit of fight in it but thats not gonna happen unless some serious ideas and experiences are supported on a large level - I would suggest we build an anarchist movement that can do this and support people consistency not just where we happen to be working or at school.

Yeah, fair play, I didn't really explain myself well but I don't think we should ignore what's going on outside our own workplaces or communities.. I do think we should an organisation that can support people in struggle and spread libertarian ideas and methods.. however, this group needs to be based on more than just common ideology and common location. It needs to be based on how we can practically help each other and our class.

So take, for instance, your Somers Town demo and campaign: Steven has contacts with housing officers in the area who could help support you lot. This is supporting people outside of his 'everyday life' but its based in yours, and those contacts would come in useful. And if you weren't there, I'd hope that any libertarian socialist organisation would make an effort to contact the campaign to find practical ways to support it. But this practical support can't happen unless we can practically support ourselves on a daily basis. Otherwise its one drowning cunt giving another drowning cunt a toothpick for a life jacket..

Now, when you talk about supporting people not just where you work or study, one thing that springs to mind, for me, is the postal wildcats last year (it springs to mind for me coz I followed the whole thing from out of the country with a boner and crying, not for the first time). Where were the anarchists there? Of course they helped here and there but nothing you could call a movement's response.. that, in my opinion, is a fucking disgrace.. why was there such a poor response from the anarchist movement? I'm guessing you'll say because we don't have an anarchist movement where people turn up to demos etc, in my opinion its because whatever anarchist 'movement' there is spends to much time looking in the mirror to really see the worth in supporting such actions. Certainly, Brighton has a thriving anarchist movement.. but it was only my mates who turned out to support the posties...

raw wrote:
Do you think anarchists in other countries have gotten the "why bother doing mayday" attitude? No they don't! They get on doing it, they all turn up and support it.

Yeah, cool, I'd love to be part of a particularly militant libertarian movement rooted within the daily struggles of the working class (which don't just take place in the workplace, btw). To get that though, we need a working class that struggles daily, and a libertarian movement that orientates itself toward those struggles...

EDIT: Christ that's long, think I spunked my wad writing that one.. gonna lie down for a bit... smile

raw
Offline
Joined: 8-10-03
May 9 2008 10:36

Ed, I do get where your coming from and agree (and have always agreed with that sentiment). Therefore we need to put in place ideas, strategies to do this. Thats why I have been proposing setting up local initiates that can do this. Secondly your right, its not just about "being" anarchists or whoever it is about DOING. There is a link between doing stuff and what you have to offer people. If we are in small numbers we can do very little TBH. Thats why WE have to create these organisational initiatives so we are better placed to do stuff. If there is another postie wildcat strike then us lot in Camden will support it as a group and make connections..etc. As oppose to us just going down to the picket lines as friendly individuals - which we did.

And yes we need a working class that struggles daily, but we are part of that working class no? Our voice is just as legitimate as anyone elses, and what we do is just as legitimate. The issue here is at what extent do people support, get inspired and actively involve themselves within that. Obviously when it comes to struggles within a particular sector of work where we aren't present we need to build links but this needs to be built from experiences of struggle.

When we were ridiculed for our solidarity action with laing o rourke workers in 2004 - by people on these boards - we had links and comrades who worked on that site. We participated in all their meetings, met up with other workers from RMT to discuss strategies, including the struggles at the heathrow T5 (where we were recieving phonecalls from shop stewards for support). All this before the workers themselves decided that they wanted the action to happen - as it was we recieved a lot of support and flyered around 500 workers on that site. It didn't amount to much at the end, but it atleast meant we had an organic and transparent relation with some of the workers their - no doubt this relationship will be referenced upon in the future. i.e we have a legitimate link and connection with it, more so on alot of levels than other political groupings.

Anyway, will stop this now - I think we both have been clear on where we are coming from. Lets see what we can do now we are focusing on building something new in Camden where this can take us.

raw

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
May 9 2008 10:45
raw wrote:
When we were ridiculed for our solidarity action with laing o rourke workers in 2004 - by people on these boards

I don't remember any ridicule about the Laing action. Perhaps you mean this post which was very positive about it? http://libcom.org/forums/archives/predictions-for-the-anarchist-movement-2005#comment-15659

pingtiao wrote:
I supported a Wombles action a few months ago,as did another AFer, where they had made links with the Laing O'Rourke building workers and occupied a crane on their behalf.

edit, or this on the second page?

revol68 wrote:
yes i was pleasantly suprised by the wombles actions in regards to the builders strike
...
and yes the building workers strike solidarity was very good, but as a long term strategy I can see major problems arising

Ridicule of the WOMBLES? Yes. Ridicule about the Laing action? Not as far as I can see.

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
May 9 2008 13:43
raw wrote:
Anyway, will stop this now - I think we both have been clear on where we are coming from.

Yeah, fair enough, it feels like we're just going round in circles.. do keep us informed about the Somers Town stuff though.... smile

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
May 9 2008 22:31
raw wrote:
And just to prove local community organising has just its own number of "freaks", the guy below in the rabbit suit is a local taxi driver (lives opposite my estate) who ended up singing in the loudspeaker "you'll never walk alone" - very badly. Bring back the clown army I say!

No one would deny that - everyone's a fucking freak one way or another. Workplaces are certainly full of them.

Quote:
Thanks for the contact offer. There are already people from Defend Council Housing involved - the group is SWP/respect led currently. When we have details of the meeting I will forward them on to you.

yeah do that, if nothing else if the group looks alright i can def get you money - although if SWP types are in already they'd probably have access to the same sources as me. It might be worth contacting the Shelter stewards - not that much connection but might be useful for a speaker at a meeting or something.

catch - there were elements of the laing action ridiculed. but that's ancient history now.

FWIW as i've argued on here I believe in political organisation, but most likely on a much tighter basis than raw.

Felix Frost's picture
Felix Frost
Offline
Joined: 30-12-05
May 10 2008 12:10
Bob Savage wrote:
Ed wrote:
I draw analogies between my relationships with ex-girlfriends and Marx's theory of history for fucks sake embarrassed

libcommunity, right now, go there, and fill us all in on this (not derailing the thread, that's what they call responsibility).

First time tragedy, second time farce?

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
May 10 2008 21:30
Felix Frost wrote:
Bob Savage wrote:
Ed wrote:
I draw analogies between my relationships with ex-girlfriends and Marx's theory of history for fucks sake embarrassed

libcommunity, right now, go there, and fill us all in on this (not derailing the thread, that's what they call responsibility).

First time tragedy, second time farce?

Nah, its more about dialectics, innit..

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
May 13 2008 10:17
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).

absolutely! with no hard and fast politics on the demo, just a 'fuck all youse lot' ethic, it could have been targetted to ppl who would have come. I'm sure there are plenty of left groups who argue the 'don't ever ever vote' line. This is not a particular criticism of this particular demo, i just really agree with what GD is saying. I recently emailed the industrial contact at the SWP about a demo i was organising, and the result getting a guy from the local TUC down with their branch banner.

Secondly: people elsewhere have characterised this as the 'typical libcom slag fest' or whatever. If they are reading, then i'd ask them to check what's actually being said, cos this is anything but. This is actually a well mannered and tempered debate, engage with the arguments.

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
May 13 2008 16:28
Tacks wrote:
Secondly: people elsewhere have characterised this as the 'typical libcom slag fest' or whatever. If they are reading, then i'd ask them to check what's actually being said, cos this is anything but. This is actually a well mannered and tempered debate, engage with the arguments.

Ditto. This thread has been really impressive and conducted in a commradely manner. It's a rare example of how good libcom could be.

I think English Anarchism is being to get itself sorted. I'm actually kind of looking forward to moving over.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
May 13 2008 16:50
georgestapleton wrote:
Tacks wrote:
Secondly: people elsewhere have characterised this as the 'typical libcom slag fest' or whatever. If they are reading, then i'd ask them to check what's actually being said, cos this is anything but. This is actually a well mannered and tempered debate, engage with the arguments.

Ditto. This thread has been really impressive and conducted in a commradely manner. It's a rare example of how good libcom could be.

I think English Anarchism is being to get itself sorted. I'm actually kind of looking forward to moving over.

woah!

whwn and where mate? PM me grin

winjer
Offline
Joined: 4-05-04
May 13 2008 21:16
Ed wrote:
[Last thing, and I know this sounds dead cuntish, but even if May 2nd was an anti-fascist demo, it wasn't in anyone's community.

Eh? Please elaborate.

winjer
Offline
Joined: 4-05-04
May 13 2008 21:24
raw wrote:
As I recall, we were shoved and pushed in the pen.

That wasn't how it looked, the TSG only seemed to be on one side, looks that way on video as well.

It was also the first impression of a few people who'd come down out of curiousity: "So, why did they all let themselves get penned?"

Quote:
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.

Well, it seemed the initial plan was presented as a done deal, and way too late.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
May 13 2008 22:30
winjer wrote:
Ed wrote:
[Last thing, and I know this sounds dead cuntish, but even if May 2nd was an anti-fascist demo, it wasn't in anyone's community.

Eh? Please elaborate.

oh come on. What is your best guess as to what me means by that?

raw
Offline
Joined: 8-10-03
May 14 2008 09:42
winjer wrote:
raw wrote:
As I recall, we were shoved and pushed in the pen.

That wasn't how it looked, the TSG only seemed to be on one side, looks that way on video as well.

It was also the first impression of a few people who'd come down out of curiousity: "So, why did they all let themselves get penned?"

If your asking was it possible not to not get penned then - yes is the answer. However some people were trying to push the cops back and thats why some people got penned.

winjer wrote:
raw wrote:
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.

Well, it seemed the initial plan was presented as a done deal, and way too late.

The initial plan was for an antifacist march to City Hall. Later got turned into a stationary picket - which I agreed. The "done deal" was the date and the location.

cheers

ales

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
May 14 2008 15:48
Tacks wrote:
I'm sure there are plenty of left groups who argue the 'don't ever ever vote' line.

really? like which?

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
May 14 2008 17:30

I missed MAyday here but it usually is pretty big and there is usually a fairly sizeable anarchist bloc, mainly from the CNT. I'd argue though that what does the CNT good is its actual suport of workers on a day to day basis rather than marches. I think that their workplace activism (leave criticisms aside for the moment) brings in and keeps more militants and helps more workers than the marches.
A march isn't always a show of strength (even if it is massive), and one that is policed and negotiated in advance is almost certainly not. It was really sad watching solid CGT militants marching during the strikes, the march was organised so that old school militants would feel like they'd fought, so that the union could claim to have done something, all the while selling out their members.
The strength of the working class doesn't come from the fact that they can organise a big march, they can organise a big march because they are stronger. This is largely, in my opinion, because people here are much more used to discussing and organising. The idea of calling an assembly in a workplace when bosses try to change conditions or when workers are unhappy is pretty well-accepted, whereas in England it isn't. The organisations (political groups etc) here are stronger and their capacities are greater because workers are more militant and organised and this means that self-organised or spontaneous movements are stronger too.
One of the weaknesses of last year's student strikes was that they had a similar number of militants but that they failed to make the connection with other students. At my work there were two major confrontations, one was an early morning attack on the pickets which the police unsurprisingly won easily. The second was when the police were sent against the blockade, they won because of superior strategy and equipment. But also because the movement simply wasn't supported. If the 1000 -2000 students watching 100-150 students get charge by the police had been sympathetic then things would have been different. As it was the police had a moment of panic when some students got angry with the police actions, those students weren't involved in the stirke or the blockade but didn't want to see the police beating people on campus.

Sometimes the actions of a small group can inspire people, but this is generally a more private thing. I think people need a better basic awareness before they will join in a lot of things. Also police are scary. One of the problems that was brought upo during the school children's strikes recently was that they kept running from the police. They'd try to leave the planned route (which I'm always in favour of) but due to a lack of experience and in many cases sheer size they find themselves face to face with riot cops and shit it. And that's among people who are already fairly anti-police for the most part. And the average person in the UK, in my experience, is far less anti-police than in France.

Sorry if that's a bit long and waffly.

Ed. are you trying to say you used the dialectics/threesome move? That's fraught with peril.

winjer
Offline
Joined: 4-05-04
May 18 2008 23:54
Tacks wrote:
oh come on. What is your best guess as to what me means by that?

I've seriously no idea. As far I'm concerned everywhere in a city is someone's community.

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Jun 2 2008 21:15

Jef, what your saying is obvious and parellels are important, but with what we have now how do you propose we get more involved in the workplace? There is a good undercurrent in LA that is involved in some of the more pracitical LCAP stuff, but time and time again the rehtoric here is that 'the scene' in general is so unworkable that its better to cut adrift and lament about how anarchists are the problem.