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AYN, Enrager, Libcom...

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wheresmyshoes's picture
wheresmyshoes
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Jul 20 2005 10:02
Thora wrote:
Jack wrote:
You could have pinks bows and EVERYTHING.

And talk about knitting and kittens and controlling gender ratios!

Kittens!! I'm calling mine rabbi

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Steven.
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Jul 20 2005 17:19

Yeah a history of it is not written but it is being done. I was involved in AYN, and found out there had been an AY Federation in the 80s or something, but they didn't write anything about their experiences and I bet we repeated all their mistakes - which were basically the mistakes of anarchists in the UK generally - no formal organisation, class analysis, theoretical unity, or any fucking clue what to do at all really!

I didn't even get to see anyone eat food with a spanner... Still I learnt a fair bit about organisation, and radical movements in general.

At its peak in London we had 30-40 people a fortnight at meetings, and about 12 local "groups", which mostly existed on paper only. AFAIK almost everyone were just people who came along cos it was "cool" or something, and all who remain of it are the the Manchester AYN group who now populate this forum's NW section, GT and some of the libcom group.

I thought that old site had been deleted, cos we had a couple of other ones since then. Tommy Ascaso is to blame for that text grin

LiveFastDiarrea
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Jul 20 2005 22:27
Steven. wrote:

At its peak in London we had 30-40 people a fortnight at meetings, and about 12 local "groups", which mostly existed on paper only. AFAIK almost everyone were just people who came along cos it was "cool" or something, and all who remain of it are the the Manchester AYN group who now populate this forum's NW section, GT and some of the libcom group.

Me and shoes too. Bastard.

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wheresmyshoes
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Jul 20 2005 23:56

Innit brah

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Steven.
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Jan 7 2007 16:57

Well I thought I'd bump this cos I've been in a bit of an AYN nostalgia mood for some reason. There is now a bunch of shit in the library in our new Anarchist Youth Network archive.

There will also very shortly be a personal history/analysis of what it was, what happened and what went wrong.

I was maybe going to send out a bunch of mini-questionnaires to lots of the people involved to see what they thought about it in retrospect as well, to put online also.

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Steven.
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Jan 7 2007 17:09
guydebordisdead wrote:
Anarchist Youth in Ireland has folded after a year of activity.

Ah, I had wondered about that.

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jef costello
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Jan 8 2007 01:10
guydebordisdead wrote:
Kids are fickle and have short attention spans.

Like those working class fools who won't fight The Man!

Quote:
The politics were a lot less ropey than some of the AYN people which was probably because of the involvement of wsm members from the start. The remaing core of AY are now joining the WSM so it was certainly an interesting and worthwhile experiment.

grin

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Steven.
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Jan 8 2007 09:41
jef costello wrote:
Quote:
The politics were a lot less ropey than some of the AYN people which was probably because of the involvement of wsm members from the start. The remaing core of AY are now joining the WSM so it was certainly an interesting and worthwhile experiment.

grin

That's probably true. While AYN was started by two class struggle anarchists in the AF - gawky being one - he buggered off immediately, while the other one plus the rest of had come from the activistoid milieu. So even those of us whose politics were actually ok had no idea of how to put them into practice. I'll put up my recollections tomorrow probably...

Beltov
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Jan 11 2007 23:16

Good to read about the early days of the AYN. Brings back some memories from my early days.

And BTW, this isn't that very same spanner is it?

http://www.redanarchist.org/images/title.jpg

wink

B.

Admin - big pic turned to link

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Steven.
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Jan 12 2007 13:52

The same spanner as what?

Jason Cortez
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Jan 12 2007 14:15

the one used to eat food with Steven, i shouldn't wonder. Never heard of that group Beltov any links, its looks a laugh.

Beltov
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Jan 12 2007 17:16

http://redanarchist.org/

US based it seems. I think some of them post on Revleft. Not sure if any of them are on Libcom.

B.

petey
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Jan 12 2007 17:38

i think they're out of philadelphia?

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Devrim
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Jan 12 2007 17:44

I think Leo knows them from when he lived in the states.
Devrim

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OliverTwister
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Jan 13 2007 05:38

I think one of them posts on LibCom

Catch 22
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Jan 13 2007 06:20

I like RAAN. I think of em like SHAC folks except with good politics. They could do a lot of good running direct actionist type campaigns against class enemies. Imagine a SHAC style campaign against union busting firms?

Beltov
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Jan 13 2007 10:00

Who are SHAC?

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pingtiao
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Jan 13 2007 10:17

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty

powertotheimagi...
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Jan 13 2007 10:26

Their like SHAC? Sounds good, what do they do, run in and liberate workers?

IrrationallyAngry
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Jan 13 2007 17:20
guydebordisdead wrote:
Anarchist Youth in Ireland has folded after a year of activity. It peaked with around 30kids involved at one point but there was only ever a dedicated core of maybe 6-8 people. Kids are fickle and have short attention spans.

The politics were a lot less ropey than some of the AYN people which was probably because of the involvement of wsm members from the start. The remaing core of AY are now joining the WSM so it was certainly an interesting and worthwhile experiment.

This was always likely to happen. In fact I'm surprised that AY lasted as long as it did before most of the people around drifted off and a core moved into the WSM.

Youth organisations are difficult to sustain because the core people get older or get involved in different things. When that happens in a stand-alone youth organisation there are rarely enought new people committed to the organisation to take up the slack and the whole thing just sort of fades away.

Youth organisations connected to adult groupings can be a bit more stable because the adult organisation provides continuity and can also shoulder some of the organisational burden. Even then it's not easy: just look at the number of youth organisations on the left over the years and how few of them survive for any length of time:

The Connolly Youth Movement was resurrected a couple of years back and is now invisible again. The Republican Socialist Youth Movement also seems to be semi-defunct. The SWP have had a couple of goes at setting up Revolutionary Youth, to no avail. Anarchist Youth has just bitten the dust. Socialist Youth's run (it must be six years old by now) looks amazingly long by comparison.

It's a bit different in mainstream politics, where party youth wings provide a starting point for careerists and the like.

guydebordisdead wrote:
It probably helped that we had an ex-trot in the group who had a lot of experience with proper organising.

!

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Jan 13 2007 18:13
Catch 22 wrote:
I like RAAN. I think of em like SHAC folks except with good politics. They could do a lot of good running direct actionist type campaigns against class enemies. Imagine a SHAC style campaign against union busting firms?

geddouttahere!! Really? Gotta link?

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Jan 13 2007 18:23

on a general point, there is nothing wrong with youth groups in y view provided they are started by actual youth, preferably 14 - 18. If u r to accept a youth network is worth organising itself on its own - which i think i do - you can't have the initiative coming from people who aren't really youth. People up to 22 could be involved but it would confuse things. The best, and perhaps only good thing about a youth group is the ability for kids to work things out for themselves, amongst themselves. I think it helped the ex-AYN(UK) develop their political skills immeasurably.

If kids wanted to start a group, they should be supported by the feds, but there's no need to kick off a groip without any demand for it.

Irrationally Angry - on your list of deceased youth groups, bare in mind Revolution and ISR, the workers power and SP groups respectively. They are both going after dunno, a decade? Revolution has been very successful for WP and allowed them a presence in a lot of anti-capitalist events they wouldn't have otherwise been at. Revolution has apparently even survived the WP split. I'm not so sure how useful ISR have been to the SP but they seem to have a lot of genuinely young people in it on demo's and such.

IrrationallyAngry
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Jan 13 2007 19:52
guydebordisdead wrote:
I don't understand it either, I know a few people who left though and not all of them have nice things to say.

Part of it is that the adult party provides a kind of continuity, meaning that people can move on to other things without causing disruption to the organisation. It also can provide help in terms of resources, advice and encouragement when needed. It's much more difficult for a youth organisation out on its own to survive a difficult period or its founders moving on.

That said, plenty of organisations on the left have launched youth wings without managing to sustain them. That can be fairly easily explained in the cases of the CYM and RSYM: the adult parties, the CPI and the IRSP, don't have much life in them either. It's harder to explain why the SWP couldn't sustain Revolutionary Youth despite having launched it a couple of times. I suspect that they just didn't put enough time and effort into it, didn't allow it any independent life or perhaps they just didn't happen to have a few young people with the necessary drive.

As far as people having nice things to say goes, I'm more surprised if ex-members now drifting around other parts of the left do have nice things to say!

Quote:
Not sure if there's much difference between "mainstream" parties and your lot (you sit in the dail dont you?). Look at Cian in Limerick who obviously has his heart set on a full time job in the SP and probably a shot at the elections ultimately.

Anyone who joins Socialist Youth because of the career opportunities needs to have their head examined! I don't think that spending years as an activist in the hope of getting an opportunity to live in penury as a Socialist Party fulltimer in the future can really be considered a self-interested move. As for wanting to be a Socialist Party election candidate... well let's just say our candidate selection process more closely resembles conscription of the unwilling than it does the struggle for career advancement which takes place in the mainstream political parties.

If you become an SP candidate you have years of backbreaking labour to look forward to with little chance of ever getting elected to anything. I can only think of one person who ever angled for the chance to stand as an SP candidate, and he never became one.

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Steven.
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Jan 13 2007 20:08

Sign me up!

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Steven.
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Jan 14 2007 14:25

Right I've posted my thoughts on this to the library now here

I was gonna make some changes maybe - so anything inaccurate or you disagree with, let me know and I may edit the article accordingly.

IrrationallyAngry
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Jan 14 2007 15:13

It sounds like a hideous waste of time and energy. The Israel related stunts seem particularly ill-judged and to be frank you are lucky that there weren't more serious consequences.

I have four questions though:

1) Are there any accounts from the other (non class-struggle) wing of the AYN of what they think went wrong? For that matter has anything been written by people who had your "activistoid" class struggle politics?

2) What were your decision making structures like? Was it all "consensus" and the like? And did people who didn't do anything have as much of a say as those who actually ended up doing the work?

3) What were your relationships like with other political groupings? You make reference to a certain younger sibling style relationship to the Wombles, but what about the AF, Solfed and Class War? What about Workers Power and Revolution and the rest of the 57 varieties?

4) This is related to the above question and is as much a point as a question, but what the hell were the AF thinking? Their members set the AYN up, they have a coherent politics of their own, why weren't they making a sustained effort to get in an around the AYN and win as many of its members to their politics as they could?

I mean say what you like about the WSM but they have come out of the Irish Anarchist Youth experience with most of its core half dozen activists as members of the adult group. The AYN was much bigger than AY and I can't see why the AF shouldn't have come out of the whole thing with say 20 consolidated new members. Other than obvious reasons of course - standard issue anarchist fear of recruitment and inability to intervene as a group. (For AF, feel free to insert Solfed for that matter).

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Jan 14 2007 16:38
John. wrote:
Right I've posted my thoughts on this to the library now here

A cracking read, thank you. One query is about the ativistoid scene recquiring and more militancy to 'fit in' or ganing approval - maybe its not the same people, but i've never experienced that, even on attempted 'riots'. Namechecking the RAF and ELF in that context seems... dunno.


ha ha ha, glad someone snapped that grin

now its all in the past mate, i also lined that AYN sticker on the tube and wrote 'Revo' over it, then lied when you cried about it on urban75 tongue

ATB,T smile

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Jan 14 2007 19:13
tax wrote:
One query is about the ativistoid scene recquiring and more militancy to 'fit in' or ganing approval

I have definitely expierenced that, at the same time as Steven. Even if its not always explicit, its something which is definitely there.

IA wrote:
1) Are there any accounts from the other (non class-struggle) wing of the AYN of what they think went wrong?

I dont think any of us have ever seen any.

Quote:
For that matter has anything been written by people who had your "activistoid" class struggle politics?

There might be a couple of things floating around which came from the same approach as J.

Quote:
2) What were your decision making structures like? Was it all "consensus" and the like?

Yes it mostly was "consensus" based, at first at least iirc.

Quote:
And did people who didn't do anything have as much of a say as those who actually ended up doing the work?

Yes i think they did, again up until a point at least.

Quote:
3) What were your relationships like with other political groupings? You make reference to a certain younger sibling style relationship to the Wombles, but what about the AF, Solfed and Class War?

The AF, SF and CWF (like all other @ groups) were supportive I think, and out relationship with them was good. Socially at least. And I imagine all groups paid an interest to a certain extent because they saw the AYN as a good place to look for new people coming into the scene.

Quote:
What about Workers Power and Revolution and the rest of the 57 varieties?

WP/Revo was a strange relationship. As a few AYNers had been involved with Revo and quite a few others dumped revol for AYN. They kinda seemed like the main 'competition' at one point. But the relationship was quite antagonistic at points, and the word 'sectarian' was used quite a lot by Revo etc.

Quote:
4) This is related to the above question and is as much a point as a question, but what the hell were the AF thinking? Their members set the AYN up, they have a coherent politics of their own, why weren't they making a sustained effort to get in an around the AYN and win as many of its members to their politics as they could?

I think as the article mentions, quite a few AYNers were reluctant to get involved in what they saw as an "older left", a reluctance which probably grew from encouragement from certain other people within the movement who also disliked AF etc.

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Jan 14 2007 19:16
Quote:
Saturday 14th July – loose theme of “What do we want the group to be?”
· Our long term aim is to destroy capitalism…

Bless! grin

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Jan 14 2007 20:13
rkn wrote:
quite a few others dumped revol

grin