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

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Mark.
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Aug 17 2012 09:46
akai wrote:
Just a clarification on PKK. The leader, Ocalan, in taking up democratic confederalism, also criticizes the traditional nation-state model. Thus one can understand that some people reading this can imply that this is a break and heading in the municipal libertarian direction. However there is a bigger question and that is whether as anarchists we recognize the change in the direction of the leader as indicative as a change in the direction of 5 million people.

The leaders who seem to have great power can be influential, so no doubt this idea has been popularized. But I wouldn't make any judgments without seeing it on the ground. Not the least of all because the democratization of society is an important libertarian goal, but not the most important as it doesn't matter too much if crap decisions are taken in a democratic way or not.

Am not totally critical of this change in the PKK though and think it is in a more positive direction. Just think it's a mistake to try and reach and call things anarchist like that.

These are more or less my thoughts too.

-----

Edit: Some links to previous threads touching on this

http://libcom.org/news/interview-anarchist-iraqui-kurdish-05032010

http://libcom.org/blog/interview-kurdistan-anarchist-forum-kaf-%E2%80%8E-01042012

http://libcom.org/forums/news/anarkismo-pkk-14112009

And following on from the last link here's an article by Ocalan himself, which could really do with a critical introduction:

http://libcom.org/library/nation-state-not-solution-rather-problem

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Iskra
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Aug 17 2012 10:04

Few things on PKK issue and I hope my last contribution.

I agree with Akai's attitude, even I'd like to emphasis different things. It's not just about organisations structure, but about it's ideology - what does it stand for. Does PKK stand against capitalism? Does it stand for classless communist society? Subject of PKK's ideology is not working class - it's Kurdish "people". They are fighting for "national liberation" of Kurdish "people". What are their methods of struggle? Is it independent class action, class grouping, building an organisation of working class etc? No, it's parliamentary struggle and guerrilla bollocks. Reason why did they turn into this "democratic confederalism" thing has more to do with repression from Turkish bourgeoisie than with whole organisation becoming anarchist, because in the same time PKK is trying to act more and more legal and parliamentary as they hold few municipalities in Turkish Kurdistan. If they switched to anarchism wouldn't they abandon certain ways of "struggle"?

So, when we are talking about turn in PKK's politics we are not talking about "going anarchist", but just about changing paradigm of bourgeois politics from Stalinism to "regular" liberal-nationalism. I doubt that I have to mention how we also need to question certain aspects of whole this bourgeois ideological package of PKK, for example: patriarchy, religion, tribal elements etc.

I could also remind that PKK stands behind numerous sectarian acts of violence (like murder for example) against other Left groups in Turkey, Kurdistan etc.

Also, I'd like to correct one false impression which probably came out of my posts because I wasn't clear enough. I don't know if PKK, as organisation, consider itself as libertarian. This myth is spread by certain anarchists who claim that they are now. Also, when it comes to PKK's member they don't have 5 million members. Turkish ICC comrade told me that they maybe have up to 100 000 members, and that their electorate is about 2 millions (I'll ask him to jump here if people wanna discuss this further). I think that this claim that there are 5 million anarchists in PKK shows how idealist certain anarchist comrades can go.

To conclude, even I tease Mr. Serge, of course that I don't think that IAF has something to do with PKK. Still, members of PKK and ETA were seen there (I got confirmation from 2 independent sources from Balkans) and people discussed them. PKK guy even invited anarchists to come to their training camps (lol). Now my question is: what are you going to to about similar issues in future? Are you going to allow PKK and similar groups to spread their nationalist bourgeois filth all across anarchist movement or you are going to take a strong stand against them based on material evidences of their politics and ideology instead of idealist dreaming of 5 million armed anarchists in Kurdistan waiting for Appo to give them sign for world revolution?

akai
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Aug 17 2012 10:16

Maybe a separate PKK thread?

That's true. 5 million is definitely exaggerated. It is rather reflecting the population of the area they are influential, not actual membership.

A theoretical question for AF comrades: if, knoch wood, one of your influential members get jailed, and we send her or him books in prison and s/he then declare AFED's new direction is anarchosyndicalism, you just gonna say, OK, we do as you say? Because that's how the authoritarian party movements work, following the personal epiphanies of their leaders, not evolving their positions based on ground level decision making.

Would think this should be obvious.

Mark.
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Aug 17 2012 11:19
akai wrote:
Maybe a separate PKK thread?

That would probably be a good idea if someone wants to start one.

Quote:

A theoretical question for AF comrades: if, knoch wood, one of your influential members get jailed, and we send her or him books in prison and s/he then declare AFED's new direction is anarchosyndicalism, you just gonna say, OK, we do as you say? Because that's how the authoritarian party movements work, following the personal epiphanies of their leaders, not evolving their positions based on ground level decision making.

Would think this should be obvious.

Is anyone from the AF actually arguing in favour of the PKK?

nastyned
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Aug 17 2012 10:30

No, it's sectarian point scoring.

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Fall Back
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Aug 17 2012 10:40
Quote:
A theoretical question for AF comrades: if, knoch wood, one of your influential members get jailed, and we send her or him books in prison and s/he then declare AFED's new direction is anarchosyndicalism, you just gonna say, OK, we do as you say?

What are you talking about? One of the most absurd comments I've ever read on libcom, get a grip.

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Iskra
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Aug 17 2012 10:59

You're missing the point of akai's comment.

She's just tried to explain her position on PKK with example from AFED. So, PKK "become anarchist" just because Oclan said so (cause he was reading Bookchin in prison)... So, if AFED had such a great leader (and no-one is implying that it does) and if he read books about anarcho-syndicalism and decided that this was right path, would whole organisation suddenly become anarcho-syndicalist and in the end would that make it anarchist at all.

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Fall Back
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Aug 17 2012 11:05

No she didn't. She said

Quote:
A theoretical question for AF comrades

Therefore it was directed at the AF posters, as if they had somehow embraced the PKK as anarchist. Which they haven't. In fact the only AF person to have mentioned the PKK said this was the first they'd heard of it.

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Iskra
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Aug 17 2012 11:13

Well, she's discussing with them...

You make a fuss out of nothing.

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Fall Back
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Aug 17 2012 11:20

It's "discussing" in the same way "have you stopped beating your wife" is a "discussion" of gendered violence.

It was a clumsy attempt to stump AF members about something none of them had said, based on either a chronic misreading of the thread or a desire to snipe at other organisations, depending how charitable you are feeling.

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Theft
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Aug 17 2012 11:42

This thread is the reason I don't post here that often.

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georgestapleton
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Aug 17 2012 12:14
akai wrote:
I just mentally imagined the folks from St. Imier all sitting around in the nude.

There was a point where some Brazilian punks were singing songs and dancing and then got naked.

Kontrrazvedka wrote:
Also, Stalinists are actually good company. I dislike Trots thou, cause they tend to be pretentious hipsters.

I have never met a Trot hipster. I've met trots who wear leather jackets, listen to Led Zeppelin and probably think they are hipsters but that's slightly different.

PKK meeting

I was at this. It was bizarre. There was a well dressed Kurdish guy talking to about 100 punks about how today "there is no hierarchy" in Kurdistan. I could have gone a long with something like 'Kurdistan has a long history of patriarchy and we are making real progress in defeating this. Today women do xyz where as they didn't previously. Also in many of the towns xyz are run as workers cooperative and xyz is provided to people free of charge. Its is not enough and we are continuing to struggle but we are making progress'. But to go so quickly to "there is no hierarchy". Call me cynical, but I have my doubts.

Also an alternative PKK thread would probably be useful.

WSA

The guy from the WSA was really lovely. I was hanging out with him a fair bit. Actually you might want to flag up the Bristol AFed thing because if that guy is who I think he is your comrade in the WSA might want to know because the three of us were hanging out together.

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Serge Forward
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Aug 17 2012 12:17
Mark. wrote:
Is anyone from the AF actually arguing in favour of the PKK?

That would be utterly bizarre.

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Serge Forward
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Aug 17 2012 12:22
georgestapleton wrote:
The guy from the WSA was really lovely.

Seconded.

akai
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Aug 17 2012 15:04

Since this guy Serge wrote:

Quote:
Mind you, if PKK were genuinely libertarian communist and no longer nationalist, why would their involvement be a problem?

, I certainly understood that to be considering the possibility that PKK could be a libertarian communist group. Thus I don't think my question is out of order, because PKK can become a libertarian communist group by having their leader read Bookchin in jail and writing some declarations as much as AF or any other group can change their politics that way. Unless you recognize autocratic leadership, it's not possible and, if changes are made from the top down, what liberatarian communism are we talking about.

Quite unbelievable that this has to be explained to anybody, even twice as Kontr already correctly understood and explained what I meant.

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Theft
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Aug 17 2012 15:09
Quote:
Mind you, if PKK were genuinely libertarian communist and no longer nationalist, why would their involvement be a problem?

That word is the key, PKK isn't so it really doesn't matter, unless it's really all about political point scoring.

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Serge Forward
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Aug 17 2012 15:16

Ah... sorry... I see the misunderstanding. The conditional I used there grammatically implies very low probability... in other words, it's very unlikely the PKK would be libertarian communist but in the very remote offchance, what would be the problem? Also bear in mind that I have absolutely no knowledge of how the PKK functions, how it is structured or whether their glorious leader reads Murray Bookchin or Murray Rothbard in prison.

akai
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Aug 17 2012 16:07

OK, hope that is cleared up. BTW, I would also like to state that I was not attacking the AF in that example because of course my assumption was also it is a very remote possibility you work that way. smile A little less paranoia please. smile

Quite off topic from St. Imier, but I think that it is a good thing that at least some people are not falling for this. That said, I've been through a lot of those areas myself, and I do see that in the given conditions, there are prospective for developing more regional autonomous democratic structures. It is also connected with a rather simple social and economic structure in some (but not all) of those areas. I just don't equate that with anarchism though.

I would find it quite positive if anarchism was promoted more in those areas. I think the Bookchin model is not a good one, as it allows for injustice to remain as long as it is democratically administered, but I understand the attraction of it there.

Also, I wouldn't be against it if some rank and file PKK members were in attendance because they got interested in anarchism, but I dislike the tendency of some anarchists to try and make anarchists out of other people and other movements.

I don't know why a PKK member would be any more objectionable than a nudist esperantist vegan primitivist ranting about the non-existence of the working class.

Android
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Aug 17 2012 16:42

From conversations with a Swiss Trot friend, my impression is that there is a Kurdish community in Switerzland. That might explain the attendance of supporters of the PKK. But I am not sure why it would explain them being given a lecture/workshop slot. Apart from the event being a big tent anarcho event where all claimants to the label have equal access.

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Between Your Teeth
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Aug 21 2012 22:13

.

rooieravotr
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Aug 17 2012 18:02

Separate thread in the PKK, as desired by several participants here: http://libcom.org/forums/middle-east/pkk-political-evolution-17082012

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boozemonarchy
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Aug 18 2012 12:45

Hey y'all,

Its the WSA guy cool, I thought you were all very lovely as well. Thanks for everyones kindness. i was of course travelling without a crew and thus, attached myself to different groups and always felt welcomed and my company appreciated. It was really nice, and your company was always solid gold. If you were there, and you meet me, I'm talking about you. I seriously failed to meet a single asshole, though I could tell there were some assholes about.

I'm doing a longer write up of my experiences that I'm posting internally. After I wrap that up I'll truncate my experiences and share them here.

I've been as informed as I need to be on the situation regarding the detention/interrogation. Fucking horrible shit, WSA is on the case, you can expect to hear from us about it soon.

What is the PKK? Was that the group of punks in the tent next to me up all night burning trash in their fire? P.arty K.amp K.ids ? Fuck they pissed me off. angry

Cheers,
B

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klas batalo
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Aug 21 2012 00:52

they sound cooler than the PKK if that is possible...

Battlescarred
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Aug 23 2012 13:35

despite the nay sayers I echo Serge Forward in saying that the pluses far outweighed the minuses.
All the meetings and roundtables with AF speakers went very well with large attendances and good debates/question and answer. The Federation of Organised Anarchists (Slovenia) were admitted into the International of Anarchist Federations and the situation with the FLA in Argentina was sorted out. We developed our contacts with comrades in Macedonia and agreed to a solidarity campaign with the Belarus comrades. The AF sold £250 plus of literature at the 3 day bookfair and met many interesting people. The meals provided were well organised with bread being baked on site for every day of the events. Romanian comrades present are now moving towards establishing a specific organisation as are Austrian comrades from different towns who met up with each other for the first time.
Of course the lifestylers were annoying, especially when one had to be among them en masse. but that was a minor fly in the ointment. More could have been done about disabled access and it would have been probably better for the IFA Congress not to have been organised at the same time ( if just for the sanity of the French FA comrades involved in organising both main events and congress).

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klas batalo
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Aug 23 2012 18:19

Federation of Organised Anarchists (Slovenia) joined IFA!

Great to hear. I was wondering about them, they seemed more independent, which would have been fine as well. They just always interested me, and I was hoping they'd keep on kicking.

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Serge Forward
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Aug 23 2012 22:42

The FAO people seemed really sorted as well cool

Quote:
despite the nay sayers

Well, some people is jus too kool for skool, innit.

Battlescarred
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Aug 24 2012 06:26

George Stapleton: "I have never met a Trot hipster."
Well in Britain the late Peter Sedgwick and the late David Widgery both members of IS and then SWP were the closest I ever saw to Trot hipsters, Widgery writing for the hippy magazines OZ and IT and both enjoying various substances. Widgery was my GP for awhile ( he was crap).
Oh and by the way, this thread is in general deeply depressing, like much else on libcom these days. Reason why I post very little.

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AndrewF
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Aug 24 2012 09:45

I wrote up a public report which is at
http://www.wsm.ie/c/delegation-international-anarchist-gathering-st-imie...

If you looked at it earlier this week its been updated with an estimated peak attendance figure of 4,000 which I got from one of the organizers

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little_brother
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Sep 3 2012 22:46

Visit http://i-f-a.org/ for various translated docs relating to gathering. Currently includes statement from IFA Congress, solidarity statement for comrades in Peru and Belarus and also about arrests in England following Gathering. More coming soon including summary of resolutions in multiple languages. Also see link to new IFA member FAO (Federation of Anarchist Organising, Slovenia) website and publications - in Slovenian, but if you ever get a copy of their magazine Avtonomija it has English language content including a short English language summary of every article.