Organise! re-adopt anarcho-syndicalism - amended Aims and Principles

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Deezer
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May 3 2010 17:20
Organise! re-adopt anarcho-syndicalism - amended Aims and Principles

Hi folks, so as of this afternoon Organise! is, once again, an anarcho-syndicalist organisation. The amended Aims and Principles:

Who We Are

Organise! is a working class organisation. We seek to secure for all workers a full and equal share of the wealth and social benefits created by the combined labour of our class. We aim for the abolition of all hierarchy, and work for the creation of a world-wide classless society: libertarian-communism.

To achieve this revolutionary change in society, and to better organise ourselves in our struggle against the bosses, we are striving towards the creation of a new, revolutionary workers organisation – the anarcho-syndicalist union.

Against Capitalism, Exploitation and Oppression

We are fighting to abolish the state, capitalism and wage slavery and to replace them with workers’ control of our industries and communities, ensuring production and distribution for need not profit. To achieve our goal we must relinquish power over each other on a personal as well as a political level.
We are opposed to capitalism; a system based on the exploitation of the working class by the ruling class. By working class we mean the vast majority of humanity who are forced to sell their labour or survive on the pittance offered them by the welfare state.

Organise! is opposed to patriarchal and gender oppression, recognising that hierarchical notions of male domination in the family and beyond have imposed the oppression of females as well as males. This domination has been reinforced by organised religion hand in hand with bourgeois democracy and capitalism. Capitalism uses the “traditional” oppression of women to divide the working class.

We believe that fighting racism must be part and parcel of the class struggle. Libertarian-Communism cannot be achieved while racism still exists. In order to be effective in their struggle against their oppression both within society and within the working class people of various ethnic backgrounds may at times need to organise independently. However, this should be as working class people, cross-class movements attempt to hide real differences and achieve little for the working class.

Inequality and exploitation are also expressed in terms of sexuality, health, ability and age, among others, and sections of the working class can engage in the oppression of others along these lines. This divides us, undermining class unity in struggle, to the benefit of the bosses. Oppressed groups are strengthened by autonomous action that challenges social and economic power relationships.

The Trades Unions and Workplace and Community Resistance

Organise! believes that trade unions cannot be used as vehicles of revolutionary change. After year upon year of attacks on our class both the Irish and British based trade unions continue to offer no strategies for effective resistance. Based on ‘social partnership’ and top down hierarchical control of their membership trade unions have clearly become more and more divorced from the immense potential strength of workers at the point of production. The point of production, the workplace, is where we are exploited as labourers – it is also where we can, collectively as workers, strike back against the employers.

We reject social partnership between union leaders, bosses and government. In these ‘partnerships’ it is always the working classes that suffer. While rejecting the trade unions as beyond reform we will continue to be active in them at a ‘shop-floor’ level to fight for working class interests at work. We will however be promoting workplace resistance not standing in union elections on so-called ‘radical’ platforms.

In building towards a new anarcho-syndicalist union Organise! promote solidarity unionism that seeks to build maximum solidarity among workers across sectional and trades barriers and between different working-class communities. At its most basic solidarity unionism is the building of networks of practical support and resistance. It is on this basis that a new, revolutionary, labour movement can be built.

In industries where workers are not unionised, or in cases where workers have reached the end of their patience with the ‘reformist’ trades union movement, we will together to create anarcho-syndicalist unions. As a precursor to this Organise! are establishing industrial branches and networks in a number of industries. Different unions, branches and networks should federate locally, regionally and internationally with other similar unions; making our struggles more and more effective. They must promote methods of working class activity, which enable us to use all the means at our disposal in the struggle against the bosses.

Nationalism

We are opposed to the ideology of nationalism and national liberation movements, which claim that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination.

We are opposed to all forms of nationalism, be that the British nationalism of Loyalism and Unionism, Irish nationalism or the Ulster nationalist current evident within Loyalism. All have as central to their ideology the nationalist myth that people in an arbitrarily drawn up nation (be it based on an island, region, language, ‘culture’, or religion, or any combination of these or other elements), have common interests which can be represented by the nation state. The nation state is in effect the government over the majority, the working class, by the wealthy few. The working class and those who hold power, the bosses and their lackeys, have no common interests.

We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as they only serve to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated.

Capitalism and the Environment

Organise! recognises the appalling effects of capitalism on the natural environment, and believes this is the natural result of a system which treats both workers, and the planet, as something to be exploited and disposed of at will. We believe that access to a sustainable lifestyle is not a luxury for the wealthy, but something urgent and important that must be extended to the mass of the working people. Sustainable communities cannot arise as a result of reforming capitalism, nor can they be imposed by the state. With this in mind, we demand rational and sustainable practices.

The State

Organise! rejects the notions of various ‘left-wing’ parties, the would-be ‘vanguards’ of the working class, that the state can be ‘conquered’ and used against the bosses. Government, no matter on whose behalf, has always rested on domination and exploitation, is an inherently repressive institution and as such beyond reform. The basic function of the state – that is the courts and prisons, the army and police, civil service and other state institutions – is to defend the interests of the bosses. Government is a top-down institution which puts power into the hands of a few. All efforts at creating a ‘worker’s state’ have only led to further oppression of the workers as those in power consolidated and strengthened their positions Government, no matter in whose name, no matter what jurisdictional boundaries it acts within, for instance UK, Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, offers no alternative for our class.

We believe that the criminal justice system is a product of capitalist society and is an instrumental weapon in the subjugation of the working class. We recognise that this system is only interested in the defence of the state, private property and the interests of the bosses. We must organise to defend ourselves against it (and all kinds of anti-social behaviour, domestic and sexual violence etc) supporting its victims until such a time that it is no longer a threat to our class.

Direct Action and Revolution

We advocate the use of direct action both in and out of the workplace. Direct Action empowers and develops the confidence we need in our continuing struggle against the bosses. It is exactly what it says, any form of action taken directly to effect an outcome - carried out directly by those involved without recourse to professional intermediaries, politicians or managers of conflict. Direct Action demands decentralised control and should be participated in on an equal and direct democratic basis.

Genuine liberation can only come about through the revolutionary self-activity of the working class on a mass scale. A libertarian communist society means not only co-operation between equals, but active involvement in the shaping and creating of that society before, during and after the revolution. In times of upheaval and struggle, people will need to create revolutionary unions controlled by everyone in them. These unions must be outside the control of political parties, and within them we will learn many important lessons of self-activity.

These unions will strive, not only to win improvements within capitalism but, ultimately, to win the class war with the abolition of capitalism through the social general strike. The social general strike will mark the start of a truly social revolutionary transformation of society and the process of workers taking control of our land, factories, workplaces and communities.

Libertarian-Communism

Organise! believes that the emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class themselves. As Anarcho-syndicalists we organise in all areas of life to try to advance the revolutionary process. We believe strong organisations are necessary to help us to this end. Unlike other so-called socialists or communists we do not want power or control for our organisation.

We recognise that the revolution can only be carried out directly by the working class. Libertarian-Communism is the only road to real liberty and equality; setting mutual aid, direct democracy, workers control, federalism and solidarity against all forms of oppression, totalitarianism and centralising tendency.

The class struggle is being waged more and more aggressively by the bosses while the official labour movement sells us short, or sells us out, at every turn. We participate in the class struggle as libertarian communists and organise on a decentralised federative basis. We reject sectarianism and work towards a united libertarian and working class revolutionary movement.

At present it is the role of Organise! to promote solidarity unionism and contribute to the building of an anarcho-syndicalist union movement in Ireland and internationally. As such we are building links with similar organisations internationally.

petey
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May 3 2010 17:26

1: can't say i've followed organise! very closely, how would you describe the orientation before?
2: will there be an xtranormal version of the discussion that went into this?

Deezer
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May 3 2010 17:32

1: class struggle anarchist in recent years, specifically anarcho-syndicalist in the past - for a while the Irish section of the IWA.
2: it would possibly not make for the most exciting ever xtranormal film and would have more than twice as many participants as is currently possible in an xtranormal production (my 1st instinct was to write 2: fuck off this is not libcommunity - that still stands as you may well have derailed this right from the first response. Thanks roll eyes )

petey
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May 3 2010 17:59
Deezer wrote:
(my 1st instinct was to write 2: fuck off this is not libcommunity

a reasonable response, i hesitated but thought the addition of the first, quite serious question would cover it. if the mods want to remove that bit i won't quibble.

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oisleep
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May 3 2010 22:21

surely the former implies the later and vice versa?

(momentous news indeed though)

Deezer
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May 3 2010 22:28

Um, in my opinion its really a catch up on our theoretical position and what our practice has been for a long time.

There are some changes we will be trying to make in the coming months as well - nothing thats much of a 'theoretical' leap but we will definately be trying to refocus on workplace and community organising and making anarcho-syndicalism relevant and accessable to working class struggles.

Deezer
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May 3 2010 22:27
oisleep wrote:
surely the former implies the later and vice versa?

(momentous news indeed though)

Yes indeed. Not sure its momentous though, I sorta thought it was obvious this was on the cards for some time. Momentous would be it translating into succesful organising - and that we will have to wait on. Will will of course be aiming for momentous. Especially now - I mean we would not want to disappoint oisleep!

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Volin
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May 4 2010 22:26

Interesting development. What do Organise! mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union? Do you broadly agree with Solfed's approach? What about 'Strategy and Struggle?

Cheers

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888
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May 4 2010 23:55
Deezer wrote:
Yes indeed. Not sure its momentous though, I sorta thought it was obvious this was on the cards for some time. Momentous would be it translating into succesful organising - and that we will have to wait on. Will will of course be aiming for momentous. Especially now - I mean we would not want to disappoint oisleep!

What kind of organising do you think could be successful? Do you think there could be potential in, say, SeaSol-style methods? groucho

Deezer
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May 5 2010 01:14
Volin wrote:
Interesting development. What do Organise! mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union? Do you broadly agree with Solfed's approach? What about 'Strategy and Struggle?

Cheers

I think we outline what we mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union above but as for broad agreement with SolFed I'd give that a qualified yes. Is strategy and struggle a specific publication? If so I haven't read it. If not (and if so as well really) we are working on a publication that will go into more detail on what we mean by solidarity unionism and anarcho-syndicalism that draws on our experience of supporting and being involved in workers struggles over the years.

We don't see an anarcho-syndicalist union in terms of the OBU style syndicalism often associated with the IWW and recognise that outside of a revolutionary situation such a union is likely to remain a minority union. Such a union can provide an important poll of opposition, an alternative way of organising and inspiration. We have no problem with such an organisation being 'permanent' however.

Yes 888 the sort of struggles and tactics used by SeaSol look extremely useful.

st0gey
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May 5 2010 12:03

There's nothing wrong with the organisations (I.W.W, Solfed) that already exist. Forming new organisations, especially ones that, and lets be honest here, essentially follow the same agenda as the ones that already exist, only waters down the already diluted solidarity of the left.

I think we're far too fractured already. Lets not make it worse!

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May 5 2010 17:01
st0gey wrote:
There's nothing wrong with the organisations (I.W.W, Solfed) that already exist.

SolFed doesnt organise in Ireland, there is plenty wrong with the IWW these days, and in any case this is not a new organisation.

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Joseph Kay
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May 5 2010 17:23

Yeah, I'm a SolFed member and we're certainly not faultless, nor do we organise in NI/ROI. and as notch8 says Organise isn't a new group, they've simply modified their A&Ps.

(fwiw I agree anarchists have a tendency to reinvent the wheel, just this isn't an example of it)

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May 5 2010 19:10
Deezer wrote:
Volin wrote:
Interesting development. What do Organise! mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union? Do you broadly agree with Solfed's approach? What about 'Strategy and Struggle?

Cheers

I think we outline what we mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union above but as for broad agreement with SolFed I'd give that a qualified yes. Is strategy and struggle a specific publication? If so I haven't read it.

You have read it - it was the pamphlet they Brighton SF did last year wheer you were puzzled by their apparent 'fear' of the word union I think wink

Deezer
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May 5 2010 22:36
Choccy wrote:
Deezer wrote:
Volin wrote:
Interesting development. What do Organise! mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union? Do you broadly agree with Solfed's approach? What about 'Strategy and Struggle?

Cheers

I think we outline what we mean by an anarcho-syndicalist union above but as for broad agreement with SolFed I'd give that a qualified yes. Is strategy and struggle a specific publication? If so I haven't read it.

You have read it - it was the pamphlet they Brighton SF did last year wheer you were puzzled by their apparent 'fear' of the word union I think ;)

Shit, I'd better read it again then and refresh my obviously failing memory. Strategy and Struggle isn't its full name though is it? As I recall there were a few things in the document that I was concerned about. But Organise! do not have a position on the document as we have never discussed it as an organisation. Perhaps we should.

Joey OD
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May 9 2010 19:24

imo there is nothing wrong with One Big Union so long as it is made up of/ is a free federation of independent small unions themselves made up of etc to the point of free and equal individual workers.
The IWW just comes from a different tradition than ASs, one which accomadates Marxists and electoralists.
What is important is union structures - right to recall, rotation of posts amap, unpaid recallable delegates and officers for the purpose of communication, and where agreed cooperation and coordination of activities and events with others, but all major decisions made by the rank n file at the base, in other words delegate democracy and direct democracy.
It is these structures that are crucial, and should be emphasised by way of comparison and contrast to criticise the current general unions and to influence the IWU in this direction.
I'm glad Organise! is again syndicalist. I'm also glad Organise! is working with the IWU who claim a syndicalist influence. Maybe we can be a healthy influence. But they really need to cut out any remaining Leninist tendencies like the cancer this is. I have no problem working with libertarian Marxists but Leninists are a step too far (remember Kronstandt).
This of course in no way stops us working with our fellow anarchists in Ireland the WSM. Hopefully as time goes on it will be more clear to all members of both Organise! and the WSM what exactly is syndicalism and platformism, what are the differences and why they matter if they do. red n black star circle A

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May 10 2010 13:24

Who're the IWU? Is it just a typo for IWW or are they a different group?

Yorkie Bar
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May 10 2010 21:18
Quote:
What is important is union structures - right to recall, rotation of posts amap, unpaid recallable delegates and officers for the purpose of communication, and where agreed cooperation and coordination of activities and events with others, but all major decisions made by the rank n file at the base, in other words delegate democracy and direct democracy.

Surely what's important is winning gains through struggle? All of the above is just a way of doing that. What's most important is what gets done, not how we decide to do it.

That's the One Big Problem with the One Big Union imo. It sees the means to an end as the end in itself.

nastyned
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May 10 2010 21:41

What does this mean for Organise! in practice? Are there any plans to organise industrially?

If I remember rightly when the AF in Ireland and the ASF were having their merger talks one the major points on which agreement needed to be reached was whether a proposed education workers' industrial network would be a part Organise! or be initiated by Organise! but have a life of its own. The later was agreed upon at the time, but the all new Organise! is obviously now going for the former.

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May 10 2010 22:45
nastyned wrote:
If I remember rightly when the AF in Ireland and the ASF were having their merger talks one the major points on which agreement needed to be reached was whether a proposed education workers' industrial network would be a part Organise! or be initiated by Organise! but have a life of its own. The later was agreed upon at the time, but the all new Organise! is obviously now going for the former.

Leaving aside Orgainse!, the relationship between the industrial networks and the AS proto union body is a very nuanced issue, and well worth an entirely new thread IMO.

Joey OD
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May 10 2010 23:26
Quote:
Surely what's important is winning gains through struggle? All of the above is just a way of doing that. What's most important is what gets done, not how we decide to do it.

That's the One Big Problem with the One Big Union imo. It sees the means to an end as the end in itself.

yes, of course that's what's important, and while i may have thought that was obvious, stating the obvious is sometimes necessary. But the means are as important as the ends, the way of doing it is as important as winning gains, how we decide to do it is as important as what gets done, why? Because without the means we don't get the ends, we don't win gains. Basic anarchism. Elect union reps who are in a paid postion for a long time who then appoint bureaucrats, elect politicians: shabby results. Direct democracy, direct action: better results and the only way to liberate ourselves from wage slavory and exploitation. We don't see the means to an end as an end in itself. Slander. I've heard this line so many times but i see no evidence for it among syndicalist propaganda. Just to be clear: the means are not an end in themselves nor or they more important than the end but they are just as important

Joey OD
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May 10 2010 23:43
Quote:
If I remember rightly when the AF in Ireland and the ASF were having their merger talks one the major points on which agreement needed to be reached was whether a proposed education workers' industrial network would be a part Organise! or be initiated by Organise! but have a life of its own. The later was agreed upon at the time, but the all new Organise! is obviously now going for the former.

if there was an education workers network in practice then whether they affiliated to Organise! or not is up to them. Surely Organise! would support such an initiative regardless. If they did affiliate to Organise! they would still have a life of their own as an autonomous section of a federation. Organise! is in practice a propaganda group but i suspect would like to be a network of networks, a federation of federations, a union of unions, without diminishing the autonomy of each network/fed/union. Whether Organise! itself becomes such a network or merely promotes another into being doesn't really matter and is up to the autonomous sections if they ever get off the ground, just as its up to Organise! but I don't see anyone having a problem with Organise! developing this way, like Solfed has to an extent, and what's wrong with that. Of course this is just what we hope and for now remains philosophical musings. the revolution is not inevitable just bloody hard work

Joey OD
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May 10 2010 23:49
Quote:
Leaving aside Orgainse!, the relationship between the industrial networks and the AS proto union body is a very nuanced issue, and well worth an entirely new thread IMO.

fair point sorry if i digressed, just guessing here but surely yeez have already flogged this one to death on a previous thread or two?

Yorkie Bar
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May 11 2010 01:14
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But the means are as important as the ends, the way of doing it is as important as winning gains, how we decide to do it is as important as what gets done, why? Because without the means we don't get the ends, we don't win gains.

The trouble is, the structure itself can be used for a variety of different things. Your means could be used by struggling workers, but exactly the same system could be used to organise a political party, or a religious group, or a racist lynch mob - or a representative union which acts as a mediator between the workforce and management.

When you say that we need to focus on building these structures, I think that's very mistaken - we need to focus on class struggle, and any organisational forms we build should be subservient to the needs of that struggle. One Big Struggle, instead of One Big Union, as it were.

If we focus on union building, we're putting the cart before the horse - building up our structure before we need it. This means that either it'll fail to materialise, or it'll end up fulfilling a quite different function - for example, representing its workers instead of being a vehicle for their self-organisation.

Am I making sense?

~J.

Joey OD
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May 11 2010 03:05

yes you are, sorry. You're right, these means could be used for reactionary ends. Which is why i said they were both equally important.
I'm tempted to say i agree with you but i'd rather say it's both, we should not lose sight of either the means or the end.
Yes the struggle, the One Big Struggle is just as important as whatever structures we choose.
Currently societies structures are piss poor even as defence mechanisms - trade unions etc.
When I said "we need to focus on these structures" I didn't mean to the detriment of the struggle or our goal (libertarian communism), rather, I meant as oppossed to other structures (elections from below, appointments from above, decision making removed from the base).
So i'm saying both are equally important so no cart horse analogy.
Then again I agree that the means should be subservient to the needs of the struggle. That is their whole purpose. It's just that I cannot concieve of any alternative means which would work. Let's say both the cart and horse are necessary to get the apples over the hill. One is no use without the other and vice versa (the possesor of the cart is too weak to carry the cart, there's not enough room on the saddlebags of the horse, bloody hell I'm labouring this point) so in that sense they are equal. But i agree with you 100% the horse goes before the cart. The means are subservient to the needs of the class struggle. Am I making sense.
If not, in my defence it's daybreak and i need to go to bed.

Yorkie Bar
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May 11 2010 16:09

Yeah, fair enough.

I guess the other thing I'd say is that there are quite a few different structures which have expressed class struggle, in different ways, in different circumstances. I question the logic of saying that there's only one ideal structure for every kind of struggle in every situation.

For example I obviously think that anarchist federalism is a useful way for workers to organise in the UK, right now - but in other situations our kind of organisation might be impossible or unnecessary. Similarly, mass industrial unions might make sense in a certain historical context, but in another might not be.

Obviously there are certain common themes - direct decision making, accountability, individual and collective autonomy, and so on, but the details of the structure, imho, have to be specific to the situation.

nastyned
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May 11 2010 18:43
Joey OD wrote:
if there was an education workers network in practice then whether they affiliated to Organise! or not is up to them. Surely Organise! would support such an initiative regardless. If they did affiliate to Organise! they would still have a life of their own as an autonomous section of a federation. Organise! is in practice a propaganda group but i suspect would like to be a network of networks, a federation of federations, a union of unions, without diminishing the autonomy of each network/fed/union. Whether Organise! itself becomes such a network or merely promotes another into being doesn't really matter and is up to the autonomous sections if they ever get off the ground, just as its up to Organise! but I don't see anyone having a problem with Organise! developing this way, like Solfed has to an extent, and what's wrong with that. Of course this is just what we hope and for now remains philosophical musings. the revolution is not inevitable just bloody hard work

I guess industrial networks didn't come up for discussion then.

Joey OD
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May 12 2010 00:11
Quote:
For example I obviously think that anarchist federalism is a useful way for workers to organise in the UK, right now - but in other situations our kind of organisation might be impossible or unnecessary. Similarly, mass industrial unions might make sense in a certain historical context, but in another might not be.

Obviously there are certain common themes - direct decision making, accountability, individual and collective autonomy, and so on, but the details of the structure, imho, have to be specific to the situation.

I fail to see the difference between anarchist federalsim and mass industrial unions, remember that mass industrial unions which are also anarchist unions are federations of smaller industrial unions, while mass regional unions are federations of smaller local unions. Mind you I also fail to see the difference between workers councils and workers unions, or between council communism and revolutionary syndicalism or between revolutionary syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism or between anarchist communism and libertarian Marxism, between anarcho-syndicalism and platformism, many of the supposed differences seem to be based on misunderstandings.

Quote:
I guess industrial networks didn't come up for discussion then.

do you mean at the Organise! congress? Dunno, left early.

Deezer
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May 12 2010 02:07
nastyned wrote:
What does this mean for Organise! in practice? Are there any plans to organise industrially?

If I remember rightly when the AF in Ireland and the ASF were having their merger talks one the major points on which agreement needed to be reached was whether a proposed education workers' industrial network would be a part Organise! or be initiated by Organise! but have a life of its own. The later was agreed upon at the time, but the all new Organise! is obviously now going for the former.

Some things have been changed and others haven't. It remains important for Organise! that we distinguish between any potential collection of Organise! members in an given industry and the development of an industrial network. That has not changed. Our constitution allows for the formation of industrial branches by Organise! members. These branches may be involved in the formation of broader industrial networks but they are not those networks. Of course we'd like to see such networks develop along anarcho-syndicalist lines and 'federate' with like networks in other industries.

Joey has said he is in favour of the OBU and then argued for a federal decentralised structure that I don't think the IWW have in practice. I think the OBU and the call to organise every worker into the OBU is outmoded and never was a practical or realisable goal (outside, perhaps, of a revolutionary situation).

I do not, however, allow the fact that members of Organise! have come together in the same organisation blind us to the reality that we are also working class. Anarchos seem to have made a habit of talking about the class as something separate from them (perhaps because for many of them it is) and talk of the needs of the class struggle as if it is some uniform, consisting of some almost sentient mass always concious of the needs of the class as a whole. It isn't, our class is riven with conflicting tendencies, currents, and forms of organisation that consciously (to greater and lesser degrees) reflect different (or not so different) ideologies. In the membership of the existing unions we see a desire to organise, to come together for collective action, that is hampered by the prevailing form of organisation and the deliberate fostering of a small 'i' ideology of knowing your place, a stifling replication of getting your 'betters' to sort it out for you and of knowing the 'limits' of what is acceptable in our struggle. Of course we can fight unfair dismissal and say the boss is a racist until the law says we can't or we can fight newly proposed legislation until it becomes law and we go home to lick our wounds. This sort of shit pervades the 'revolutionary' left.

There is an awful lot that can be gone into here but I don't have the time. However, there are conflicting currents in the organised labour movement - of which for too long anarchists have been content to remain a small and largely irrelevant part. We can and should be promoting 'new' and more effective means of organising to those sections of the working class who have become more and more disenchanted of the existing unions. I don't see this as building a monolithic OBU I see it more in terms of providing, in a period of low level and defensive class struggle (on the part of the working class not, unfortunately, the bosses) a pole of resistance. An example of a better way to organise and take responsibility for our own struggles. A pole of resistance that once established may take the 'revolutionaries' amongst us by surprise in its ability to appeal to larger sections of the working class as they increasingly come under attack.

In Ireland we have had splits from the reformist Trades Unions over the last couple of decades. While the organisations that were thrown up as a result retreated into (initially more militant) craft unionism (the Irish Locomotive Drivers Association) or have gathered together a milleu of working class activists from republican backgrounds (which is largely the case with most of the membership and supporters of the Independent Workers Union in the north) who are increasingly disillusioned with republican party politics and whose syndicalism seems more like an aspirational general unionism there can be no doubt that there is an increasing disillusionment with party politics and the existing trades unions that could allow working-class anarcho-syndicalists to make some headway.

We have also seen that a small group of anarcho-syndicalists can have an impact in a city like Belfast to the extent that they can through their actions push others further to the left (if only out of fear that we may be beginning to be better placed to build on the small victories we've been involved with helping other workers achieve). There are increasing opportunities for anarcho-syndicalism and while these opportunities are small they should not be ignored while we debate the nicest sounding theories and whether the council communist tendency is as worthy or not of our adherance. These conversations increasingly make me think of anarchos with heads up arses.

If ned wants to see something different, something he obviously sees as a 'retreat' into anarcho-syndicalism, thats up to ned. I clearly also disagree with biglittlej (though I agree with some of what he says in the post following this one). I won't lose much sleep other either. And of course hope that those two comrades don't either.

Yorkie Bar
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May 12 2010 00:52
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I fail to see the difference between anarchist federalsim and mass industrial unions,

Surely the difference is obvious. The AF is clearly not a mass industrial union. Conversely, the CWU is clearly not an anarchist federation.

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Mind you I also fail to see the difference between workers councils and workers unions,

Again, I think the difference is obvious. The Kronstadt Soviet was obviously different to the IWW. One was a council of delegates mandated by the workers of Kronstadt; the other was a union of industrial unions organised by workers across America.

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or between council communism and revolutionary syndicalism

Well, the obvious difference is that council communists criticise unions for their representative function. Revolutionary syndicalist criticism of unions is restricted to them not being democratic enough - being too bureaucratic, etc. etc.

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or between revolutionary syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism

Um... well, anarchosyndicalism is anarchist, and has anarchist politics; revolutionary syndicalism isn't, and doesn't.

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or between anarchist communism and libertarian Marxism,

"Libertarian Marxism" means very little to me. Do you mean left communists? Dauve? The situs?

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between anarcho-syndicalism and platformism,

Surely the obvious point of disagreement is the Platform itself?

I really think there are meaningful differences between all of the above currents. I think you're maybe whitewashing a fair bit here, and it does a disservice to the richness of the history of the workers' movement. The diversity of struggles and tactics that have emerged from that history are something to be celebrated and learned from; lumping them all together into an undifferentiated mass runs the risk of reducing them to the lowest common denominator, ignoring what makes each current unique.

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revol68
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May 12 2010 01:05
Quote:
Well, the obvious difference is that council communists criticise unions for their representative function. Revolutionary syndicalist criticism of unions is restricted to them not being democratic enough - being too bureaucratic, etc. etc.

Give us a laugh and expand this point.