St-Imer International Gathering: Who's participating? Who's Going?

150 posts / 0 new
Last post
akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 15 2012 20:28

I didn't say there was no mention of class, just that it came down the list. I would assume that for those types of anarchists who put more focus on that issue, they would disagree with the order in which the issues come.

I think I was rather clear that people's experiences there probably depended on what they made of the event. As for judgment of the value, its always subjective. I have a right to say that I am not a fan of seeing hundreds of people listening passively to lectures about geography and son on and far fewer doing any concrete work towards mobilizing, building combative movements etc.

Sorry if wanting to get down to business on issues that I prioritize depresses you but you know I don't really care. smile

nastyned
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Aug 15 2012 20:42

LOL!

plasmatelly's picture
plasmatelly
Offline
Joined: 16-05-11
Aug 15 2012 20:45

Nastyned - sorry mate, but it sounds like you just don't like what you're hearing.To tell the truth, neither do I. But I can trust between Serge and Akai that there were some good stuff and some of the piss poor stuff that passes for anarchism. A little research should reveal that many of the groups of attendees wouldn't pass for anarchists in britain or anywhere else, and are in fact good old dye-the-wool liberal reformists. Now, if you go to a no-dogs-allowed anarchist gathering and find that there are a plethora of people there who want to convince you that you are wrong, they are right and that anarchism is in fact a philosophy that endorses a social-democracy and wishes to organise around that philosophy - then you might be forgiven for sounding disgusted. On the plus, we can take away positives - there were some great groups attending, not least of all AF from britain, and I understand some constructive discussions were held to. But - not wanting to sound unkind to the sensible, class-struggle comrades who were frustrated by some of the fruit-loops they met - are we really surprised?

nastyned
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Aug 15 2012 20:59

You're right, I don't like hearing constant negativity.

I'm sure there was a right mix there, including people I'd actively avoid. I decided to avoid many London anarchist events as I didn't think it would be a useful way to spend my time, and they depressed me even more than libcom!

But you know, this was a big event, there were lots of people there. It would be nice to hear something positive, as I'm sure there was a lot of positive stuff there too.

Anyway, I must get back to writing my ultra-left critique of akai's support for the bourgeoisie concept of 'rights' wink

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 15 2012 21:08

What is ironic here (at least for me), is that, OK, I prioritized here the syndicalist meetings, because that is my thing. But I mostly ignored all the events because the topic weren't interesting and the one scheduled thing I wanted to see was the IFA Congress. I really didn't think I would go to this at all, you know, after years of going to this type of thing and getting more and more frustrated at the different weird kids. (I used to be one myself. Not really total negativity towards them, but just a feeling I wanna spend time working in one direction.) So the only thing I really thought might be worth my time looking in on was the IFA Congress, because, despite differences in the focus on our federations, at least they were sitting and trying to work.

I don't report anything here about that Congress, because I was a guest, an observer. Didn't go there as a participant and didn't interfere with anybody's business. I think that if the AF people here have positive impressions, of their own event or in general, they can write about it. Certainly they should report about their own event, in St, Imier, not me.

Really don't understand what the guy is LOLing about. Seems defensive to me. Anyway, still don't care if you don't like my assessments. I obviously found the greatest value in what I was most directly interested in and meetings on that subject.

By the way, I would have liked to have some discussion about workplace organizing or anarchosyndicalist issues with the IFA groups, but no such issue was on your agenda. On the other hand, I know some of the groups are interested and some individuals also participate in anarchosyndicalist groups. Well, I suppose that we should make the next step in having more concrete discussions about this.

plasmatelly's picture
plasmatelly
Offline
Joined: 16-05-11
Aug 15 2012 21:29

Akai wrote -

Quote:
By the way, I would have liked to have some discussion about workplace organizing or anarchosyndicalist issues with the IFA groups, but no such issue was on your agenda. On the other hand, I know some of the groups are interested and some individuals also participate in anarchosyndicalist groups. Well, I suppose that we should make the next step in having more concrete discussions about this.

You made some sound points there, but this bit I pulled is quite important. There's no secret that several IFA group have close affinities to anarcho-syndicalist organisations - indeed, these groups have warmed significantly to a/s. Although it's frustrating that there wasn't more discussion around this upsurge in interest - especially as the IWA attended at the IFA's request. But this is early days, and we're seeing more and more convergence between genuine class-struggle anarchists, especially as reformist organisations are being found out for what they are.
Also - for those wondering - the IFA Congress ran alongside, separate from the gathering.

nastyned
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Aug 15 2012 21:42

As I understand it the IWA is invited as a matter of course to IFA congresses.

And if I remember rightly from a congress I went to years ago (late 90s?) there are two positions held by IFA members federations. One is that all work place activity should be though IWA affiliated unions (no prizes for guessing which federation holds that position) and the other is that a broader approach should be taken. I don't suppose anything has changed over the years!

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 15 2012 22:10

No, I also understand that there are ones that like IWA's approach and.... well, I think I would send the nasty guy into a fit if I used the "r" word. hehe

Personally, I am not one for pro-forma invitations. OK, invited maybe is better than non-invited (unless you are a Groucho Marxist). But it would be worth thinking, really, about having agenda points that the invited people could talk with you about. Because it is weird really to listen to some other people's internal matters and, well, as I said, I was just looking to speak concretely about what I am interested in.

Anyway, the official IFA statement says:

Quote:
Anarchists try to build confidence within the working class in our ability to be successful as quickly and with the least violence possible. We do this through joining with other workers to win small victories. We do this best through direct action not through reforms and negotiation with bosses

I don't take this as a very clear statement of distancing oneself from the reformist groups, but this leans more in our direction than the ones who use reformist means. smile

Good night comrades.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 16 2012 08:56

On reflection I probably should have written somewhere earlier a few positive words about something I thought well of in St. Imier. That is the bookfair.

Last bookfair I went to bummed me out. Because, besides some comrades there was only one other table with good social anarchist stuff and the rest were assortments of squatting, insurrectionalism, post-modernism and the like. You could read brochures complaining that condoms are not vegan and buy really expensive vegan condoms, and definitely I was surprised by the extent of the informal anarchist milieu.

This bookfair was just the opposite. Am happy about all the people doing a good job to put out quality publications, both classics and new titles. Got a load of good books.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Aug 16 2012 11:56

Well I'm no 'bolshevik' but Kontrrazvedka's more reasoned criticism of the IFA statement does have some validity. It's not that the 'sentiments' expressed in the IFA statement are objectionable, but starting with the overblown and presumptious ''address to other exploited and oppressed people of the world'' and then it's ''what we have to offer'' (presumably in opposition to and in competition with the non-anarchist 'opposition') outlining an idealised vision of the future, an appeal to individual self-transformation without any core class based analysis of the current situation and a realistic assessment of the potential for revolutionary change, does leave the impression of a statement produced by way of compromise and reduction to the lowest common denominator of anarchist politics when I know many in the UK AF could do better.

Given that the apparent 'machine translation' of the other alternative statement here was largely uninteligible it's not possible to say if that was any better.

None of this is to suggest that Kontrrazvedka's bolshevik style politics offer any better option.

Obviously I cannot comment on any of the other aspects of the event itself which may still have been worthwhile for those attending.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Aug 16 2012 12:03

Thanks Spikeymike. Now that'san example of comradely criticism, as opposed to the sectarianism from earlier posters. Also, thanks for the belated positive comments, Akai. I have many things to be positive about, and many things I thought were dreadful. But you tend to expect such contrasts at big anarchoid events.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 16 2012 14:03

Anybody who wants a different view of this can look here: http://anarchistnews.org/content/140-years-later-and-were-still-talking-about-same-old-stuff#comment-208991

Some things there true, but you will quickly see the "political" (sic) flavour of the author and realize that some of the comments are ridiculous.

I personally would be very happy if serious anarchists hold their own events, away from the cesspool of the broader "movement".

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Aug 16 2012 14:31
Quote:
Espace Noir (which hosts a restaurant without a single vegan item on the menu) decided to fry sausages in the evenings. Some animal rights activists (who claimed to be the ALF) took this as an opportunity to smear dog shit on the grill on the third day, and on Saturday evening the grill was surrounded by a human chain.

grin

Harrison
Offline
Joined: 16-11-10
Aug 16 2012 15:30
Quote:
Espace Noir (which hosts a restaurant without a single vegan item on the menu) decided to fry sausages in the evenings. Some animal rights activists (who claimed to be the ALF) took this as an opportunity to smear dog shit on the grill on the third day, and on Saturday evening the grill was surrounded by a human chain.

wow that is phenomenally lame

MT
Offline
Joined: 29-03-07
Aug 16 2012 15:44
Quote:
Some of the participants were violently dragged away and slapped in the face.

laugh out loud laugh out loud

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 16 2012 15:50

Am not supporting the general lunacy, but I also don't like places that don't have veggie and vegan food and we boycott them here.

I do support the pie action though and truly regret missing it. smile

Iskra's picture
Iskra
Offline
Joined: 14-07-09
Aug 16 2012 15:55

If I can't have my sausages I don't wanna be part of your revolution!

ocelot's picture
ocelot
Offline
Joined: 15-11-09
Aug 16 2012 15:57

This, from the same source as the above quotes

Quote:
I heard that a lot of non-vegans who attended were actually pleasantly surprised, and that they also received huge applause at the final meeting when they read out their statement. I also heard that for many French attendees this was the first time they had ever heard about animal rights. Surprisingly, it seems like most people - even non-vegans - saw this action in a positive light.

Is total lies. I didn't talk to a single anarchist (not knowing any of the vegans, ovs) who didn't think it was authoritarian, fanatical shite on behalf of the vegan taliban. Also, to be precise, the guy running the sausage stall out the back of Espace Noir was a local villager who the collective asked if he wouldn't mind running a stall, seeing as they'd outsourced all the food production in any case, the other two main feeding setups were German vegan camp cooking collectives, so there may as well be something for us omnivores to eat. Freedom of conscience is one thing. Imposing your anti-human morality on others in the name of fucked-up righteousness, is another - and nothing to do with anarchism, I might add. Vegan taliban, fuck off and die, basically.

Railyon's picture
Railyon
Offline
Joined: 4-11-11
Aug 16 2012 15:59
Kontrrazvedka wrote:
If I can't have my sausages I don't wanna be part of your revolution!

(Some) soy stuff is really good you know...

Maybe we could open a vegan cooking thread for stereotype's sake! One step closer to world revolution, comrades.

Iskra's picture
Iskra
Offline
Joined: 14-07-09
Aug 16 2012 16:03

It is good, but nothing beats kulen, sarma and kebab.

Balkan power!

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Aug 16 2012 16:03

Dog shit on the BBQ action.

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Aug 16 2012 16:20

Dunno why people are pissed off about it, if you organise a week that brings together a peurility of anarchy, then accept that dog shit will always end up in the BBQ.

no1
Offline
Joined: 3-12-07
Aug 16 2012 16:40

so that's the main faultline in contemporary anarchism ? tells you everything you need to know about the "anarchist" "movement".

jura's picture
jura
Offline
Joined: 25-07-08
Aug 16 2012 16:44

Some more gems from that article:

Quote:
In my view, one of the daily anarcha-feminist meetings could have given way to a space for a critique of civlisation. After all, patriarchy is rooted in civilisation.
Quote:
One incident involved a Jamaican guy who got really drunk and became aggressive towards his girlfriend on the campsite. People tried to intervene but for some reason he stepped into a fire and severly burned his legs. The ambulance wanted to take him to hospital but he refused, so they called the cops. However, the anarchists sent the cops away.
Quote:
There were some rumours about a man being attacked by three other men who wanted to rape him, but he used martial arts against all of them and defeated them.

I was thinking about going to the Anarchist Bookfair in London this year, but maybe I should reconsider smile.

MT
Offline
Joined: 29-03-07
Aug 16 2012 16:45

but you can clearly see what is the politics of that guy, so perhaps we should not consider it as some representative "anarchist view". who would anyway?grin

jura's picture
jura
Offline
Joined: 25-07-08
Aug 16 2012 16:53

Sure, sure smile. But I have to admit that at least anarchism manages to keep the image that makes the ruling classes tremble: bomb-throwers in the late 19th century, shit-smearers, self-immolators and rapists in the early 21st!

MT
Offline
Joined: 29-03-07
Aug 16 2012 16:55

you have to be good at least in something laugh out loud

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Aug 16 2012 16:58

Right quick: The WSA delegate seemed to have an alright experiance. This is my impression of his intial internal postings (at this, mainly like I met folks from different orgs., went to IFA and Anarkismo meeting/or something).

Be interesting to see the various views of attendees (who are close to non-fruity-tootie poliitcs) post.

Iskra's picture
Iskra
Offline
Joined: 14-07-09
Aug 16 2012 17:46
Quote:
For the past week, thousands of anarchists from across the world have been converging in St.Imier, Switzerland to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist international. The gathering took the form of a festival and educational, with music, films and entertainment as well as workshops and discussions.
On returning from the St Imier gathering, two anarchists, one a member of the UK Anarchist Federation, were detained for nearly two hours at Heathrow by SO15 (counter-terrorist) intelligence who initially refused to identify themselves to the detainees. During the detention, the anarchists were told that their normal rights did not apply, and had their names, addresses, email addresses, DNA, photographs and fingerprints taken. The detained anarchists were also forced to sign forms – which may or may not be legal – waiving their rights to silence and a solicitor. Police also conducted a thorough search of personal possessions, photocopied literature and passports and took information from phones and cameras.

http://bristolaf.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/anti-terrorist-police-detain-afed-member/

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Aug 16 2012 17:47

jura,

As an aside and picking up on your last quip.......

The London Anarchist Bookfair does, and will always, attract the full range of anarchist politics and 'hangers on' but does tend to be dominated by class struggle anarchist communists and usually has at least a smattering of various libertarian type marxist elements in the bookstalls and meetings alongside the hopefuls selling their wares outside.

There have been a few funny 'going ons' over the many years of it's existence but I have so far always found something of interest worth my attending - but then I don't have to travel as far as you and can usually guarantee meeting up with old comrades to exchange views outside of the bookfair.

Best checking the Bookfair website nearer the time for it's listing of stalls and meetings if you are still considering comming.