Punching out, NYMAA and NEFAC

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booeyschewy
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Mar 2 2007 19:58
Punching out, NYMAA and NEFAC

I saw on the NEFAC website that punching out is a supporter collective? What does that mean? Did they go away, disaffiliate, or something else? Do they have a publication by the way?

I read some post by NYMAA (whoever they are) and they say it's the only organization of its kind that is anarchist in NYC in decades. That seems totally distorted (WSA, NEFAC, ACF), where are they coming from? Y'all know anything about them?

Flint
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Mar 2 2007 20:27

Collectives often change their status based on the amount of work they can currently do. If they don't feel they can do a lot at the moment for a lot of reasons, then they might change their status to "supporter". It works just like individual supporters and members. Punching Out published the Ontario version of Strike! I think a couple of Punching Out collective members moved out of Toronto. I know NEFACers in Ontario are trying to organize some method that works for them.

NYMAA is a synthesist network in NYC.

Arguablly, the New York section of the Atlantic Anarchist Circle filled the same niche as NYMAA.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Mar 2 2007 20:32

Punching Out quietly disbanded awhile ago. There are still a handful of people who are apart of NEFAC in Ontario, but they are spread out across the province. I believe they are in the process of re-grouping as we speak.

As far as I know NYMAA is a citywide network that started as a way to better facilitate communication and mutual aid between groups. Last I knew our NYC group was apart of it in some capacity. I don't really know how it functions on the ground though. Not my city.

petey
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Mar 2 2007 20:43

NYMAA seems to be a sort of clearinghouse

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Bubbles
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Mar 2 2007 22:42
Flint wrote:
NYMAA is a synthesist network in NYC.

well put.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Mar 2 2007 22:47
Flint wrote:
Arguablly, the New York section of the Atlantic Anarchist Circle filled the same niche as NYMAA.

Yeah, that claim of being "the first group of its kind" in NYC is a bit off.

Isn't Moose one of the main people behind NYMAA? Wasn't he even apart of the AAC?

Ah well. If they want to use the "shiny, new, innovative" tag to promote their group all power to 'em, I guess...

syndicalist
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Mar 3 2007 03:05

Perhaps this person who made such a wild claim has no sense of history or reality. Or is simply one of the typical bragarrt which come around from time to time.

Anyway ...NYMAA is a loose collection of various groups and individuals which aims to coordinate anarchist activities in NYC. It is structured enough to be vast improvement over past efforts.

I personally haven't participated with NYMAA, but other WSA folks have. WSA will be sharing our office space with them. We wouldn't be doing it if they didn't seem responsible. If all works out, I'm glad that they'll have access to a well known location and that many more younger folks will be using the space for constructive anarchist activities.

Catch 22
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Mar 4 2007 10:03
syndicalist wrote:
Perhaps this person who made such a wild claim has no sense of history or reality. Or is simply one of the typical bragarrt which come around from time to time.

Anyway ...NYMAA is a loose collection of various groups and individuals which aims to coordinate anarchist activities in NYC. It is structured enough to be vast improvement over past efforts.

I personally haven't participated with NYMAA, but other WSA folks have. WSA will be sharing our office space with them. We wouldn't be doing it if they didn't seem responsible. If all works out, I'm glad that they'll have access to a well known location and that many more younger folks will be using the space for constructive anarchist activities.

Yeah yall should get on talking to some of the SDS/IWW folks who travel in NYMAA circles. Some really good class struggle organizers and activists.

rebelworker
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Mar 5 2007 18:28

Yo what do you guys think of moose?

My collective eneded up working with him,Seth T, and a few others from NYC around the FTAA stuff in quebec. They seemed a bit flaky, but tactically where in a similar place with my crowd at the time.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Mar 5 2007 18:31
rebelworker wrote:
Yo what do you guys think of moose?

My collective eneded up working with him,Seth T, and a few others from NYC around the FTAA stuff in quebec. They seemed a bit flaky, but tactically where in a similar place with my crowd at the time.

Never worked directly with him on anything, but on a personal level I think he is a good guy, has decent politics, etc.

rebelworker
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Mar 5 2007 18:31

Ps Ontario update, there was a meeting in Ottawa yesterday witch included folks who are interested in re starting things there on a very limited scale for now.

moose
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Apr 21 2007 00:41

I am definately a good guy and I have decent potitics (I am an anarchist-communist after all!) wink

And yea, I have had my moments of flakeyness, havn't we all?

As far as answering a few of the questions pertaining to NYMAA, strickly speaking NYMAA is a membership based organization, with a structure of account and task orientation. I guess it could be characterized as a "network", although we do have "general assemblies" where our "members" make decisions about things like affiliation and working group formation, etc. There's also a consciousness of "belonging" to something you can be proud to be building, and that again impllies a consciousness that goes further than the identification we have with networks.

Politically it's "synthesis" although it can clearly be stated that that sythesis excludes anti-organizationalists. I think NYMAA is a good example of the general synthesis organization that tends to draw the unaffiliated "anarchy"-ist radical, as well as a few seasoned veterans and clear adjective holders (syndicalists, communists, etc) and offer them all the tools and connections to learn and activate, blah blah blah.

Structurally NYMAA is set up as both a "transmission belt" of projects, campains, and activities, and simultaneously, interrelatively its sortof a "collective producing" organ. Anarchists can come in and "use it" to "make" projects that are desired or needed. And thrice already the working groups that nymaa has thrown up have turned into their own beasts. All good.

NYMAA is a HUGE improvement over anything thats come around in years. The "nearly a hundred years" bit is partly tongue and cheek, partly a jab at the state of the US movement since the wane of the 1920s. Have a laugh, eh?

All these questions can be answered, BTW, with a half hour spent on our website. http://www.nymaa.org. Below is something that the Props Crew (propaganda working group) put together to preface our pamphlet at the first NYC anarchist bookfair (that was an outgrowth of nymaa, although it can be equally claimed that it was bound to happen anyway, Id make the claim that the very fact of NYMAA's existence propelled it forward).

Take care,
moose, nyc
personal capacity (dont quote me!)
______

Hello fellow revolutionaries.

We are pleased to introduce to you the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists. NYMAA is an organization - a "General Union", "General Alliance" or "Association" if you will - of anarchists in the New York City area. We came together officially in March of 2006, after several months of intense discussions about what sort of structure and indeed purpose NYMAA should envision and pursue. While our aggregate accomplishments have been modest thus far, our visions and goals are, like most anarchists, full of grandiose yearnings. We got big plans!

Our basic organizational structure is simple. We carry out our organizing through the standard "working group" (of which anyone can propose and initiate). These are essentially the small collectives of individuals dedicated to a particular cause or project. At one time we had a few "locals" in operation (one in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan, etc), but these subgroups have waned while the energy goes into the working groups. We also encourage caucuses (its in our structure document).

Every two or three months we hold the crown jewel of the NYMAA meeting, the General Assembly. Here we call together our members (see our membership criteria in the structure document below) as well as anyone else who's interested in attending these rather large meetings (by today's standards attracting the 60 or so attendees is a large anarchist gathering!). We occasionally format discussions into the beginning of the assembly, along with information tables featuring the subgroups efforts. Then we'll deal with the "important" decisions regarding proposals for action, for instance, or run of the mill structure issues, such that we must keep up with in order that an organization like this can keep running (the General Assemble is the highest decision making body of NYMAA).

In order to carry out the day to day business of an organization like this, we have a working group dedicated to the task. Its our Nuts and Bolts WG, and it meets frequently-once a week usually-and is a great place for neophytes to get acquainted with NYMAA. This working group, like all working groups, is open to everyone, but unlike the other groups, has a very specific mandate in that it must keep NYMAA afloat, organize the General Assemblies, and deal with the unseen events that occasionally transpire.

This working group is also "pointed" (point people set the meeting time and place, and keep people to task) by our own unique contribution to the annuls of anarchist structure: the Communications Group (see our structure document for the equally unique way in which we elect out Comms members). The comms is a sort of "General Secretariat" position. Only, we have three of them, to lessen the burden of the onerous nature of moderating the listserve, for instance!

We've left out a great deal here, while hopefully giving you a taste of the nature of this group we call NYMAA. Take a moment and familiarize yourself with our structure document (below), contact one of the subgroups listed below, or feel free to ask any NYMAA member you happen to run into any unanswered questions you may still have, or send us an email and someone will most likely get back to you.

_____

BUT HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

Nothing could be simpler. You could come to one of our General Assemblies, which take place every three months. Or you could take part in one of our working groups (also known as "grouplets"), some of which which meet every week. There are lots of different projects and campaigns currently in the works, and we're always looking for people to bring new projects into the mix as well. See below for specific grouplet campaigns and projects.

So, if you want to get involved, get active, and get "revolutionary", then check out http://nymaa.org/grouplets

_______

ROCK DOVE COLLECTIVE

Rock Dove is a collective of anarchist individuals who seek to address the need for helpful, accessible, non-hierarchical health assistance in our communities. We support de-centralized and non-oppressive forms and sources of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. We see this as both a daily necessity and a revolutionary strategy

http://www.rockdovecollective.org/

_______

RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA

The Radical Homosexual Agenda provides grass-roots support for queer youth and adults entrenched along the frontlines of the homophobia crisis in America. Frequently recognizable by our regulation pink army helmets, we believe in education and advocacy via direct action, sensationalism, and participatory arts-n'-crafts for all.

http://www.radicalhomosexualagenda.org/

_______

1ST ANNUAL, 1ST EVER NYC ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR

The NYC Anarchist Book Fair Organizing Collective is planning and organizing New York's 1st Annual, 1st Ever Anarchist Book Fair, to be held Sat., April 14, 2007, 11am-7pm, Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Manhattan. Bookfair is a one-day exposition of books, zines, pamphlets, art, film/video, and other cultural and very political productions of the anarchist scene worldwide, along with panels, presentations, workshops, and skillshares.

http://www.anarchistbookfair.net/

_______

PROPAGANDA / ARTS

The prop / arts crew is tasked with the creation and distribution of material, in the form of pamphlets, posters, stickers, flyers, and brochures, that educates and agitates the general population about anarchism and anti-authoritarian concepts and ideas. We got some kick ass designs going on, and would love your input, some get involved!

http://www.nymaa.org/propaganda
_______

GLOBAL NETWORKS

Global Networks is a working group dedicated to making and sustaining connections with movements, groups, and collectivities outside of the NYC metro area. GNWG divides its time with projects ranging from Zapatista and Mexican solidarity, to US Social Forum participation, to supporting First Nations resistance to colonialism and oppression.

http://www.nymaa.org/global

_______

READING & STUDY GROUP

The NYMAA Reading Group is open to all those interested in studying anarchism-- while some participants have read widely in anarchist theory and history, no prior knowledge of anarchism is expected. We have been meeting monthly since November '06 and select readings collectively. Check the events listings on the front page of this website for upcoming discussions.

To join our e-mail list, send a message to nymaa-reading-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

_______

NUTS & BOLTS WORKING GROUPS

How do we keep a revolutionary organization functioning smoothly, week-in, week-out? How can we continually increase the level of participation and direct democracy in our organization? These are just some of the questions we try to answer every week at Nuts & Bolts meetings, which are an outgrowth of the function of NYMAA's Communications Group. In addition, Nuts & Bolts plans NYMAA's General Assemblies, hosts the occasional theoretical/topical discussion, and serves as a weekly port of call for NYMAA newcomers and old-timers alike.

http://www.nymaa.org/nutsbolts
Contact: nymaa-comms@riseup.net

_______

ANTI-WAR WORKING GROUP

The anti-war working group of NYMAA is currently engaged in a conversation about the efficacy of utilizing the "Ya Basta" tactic and strategy for the anti-war movement. We are closely affiliated with the M19 Peace Action Coalition and are dedicated to "politics as prelude", or the building of movements that can not only stop the war but move on toward the horizon of possibilities.

http://nymaa.org/anti-war

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Steven.
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Apr 24 2007 11:18

alright moose, we met at a NYMAA assembly in October. how's it going?

nefucker
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Aug 17 2007 02:27

NYMAA certainly has it's faults and it's process can be excruciating and unproductive, but it has it's uses. People who got together or were even plugged into the movement through NYMAA have gone on to do good things.

I was actually very excited about the idea of a 'synthesis' organization until I realized what shitty class politics some self-styled 'anarchists' can have. The idea of 'consensus process' seemed pretty cool too until I saw it in practice several times. Blech. A voting process generally involves four choices: yay, nay, abstain and veto. All this 'consensus process' does is nix the 'nay' option. What's so terrible about saying 'no' in a without derailing the decision-making process and making it actually count?

jonnylocks
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Aug 27 2007 11:56

nefuckers is a reference to what someone called the nyc supporter collective (in formation) at the last nymaa general assembly. we were so offended we called for a fishbowl and we asked for the vibeswatcher to be replaced immediately.

Flint
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Aug 27 2007 12:11
jonnylocks wrote:
nefuckers is a reference to what someone called the nyc supporter collective (in formation) at the last nymaa general assembly. we were so offended we called for a fishbowl and we asked for the vibeswatcher to be replaced immediately.

I can't tell, is my sarcasm meter broken?

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MJ
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Aug 27 2007 12:21

hey jonny locks!

jonnylocks
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Aug 30 2007 06:36

the first part is true.. but we just bounced eventually and got some $2 fallafels.

half of us were/are active in NYMAA, and a few since the beginning, in particular globalnets. i met skip and moose in that working group around the 6 nations crisis early last year when we organized a fundraising/supply drive and drove it all up there. there was a labor working group that i think consisted of w. price, skip and a wobbly.. no one showed up to meetings so it tanked unfortunately (though predictably). the study group, i hear, is poppin and well attended which is always a good thing. the first two collectives that moose mentions above are not coordinated with anyone else in NYMAA and are not a part of the larger group in any meaningful way IMO (other than an occasional reportback). also, to be fair, the nyc bookfair (an enormous success) was not organized by NYMAA but by a small autonomous group with unaffiliated people. even i thought it was a nymaa project despite being from nyc... however, a current member of my collective (ex-member of agitate) who spearheaded the project has said it was the exact opposite.

whats cool is a load of different people show up to each of the general assemblies and ya get to make some great contacts.

NYMAA is going through a crisis right now due to it running up against some obvious barriers and a steady lull in activity. there is alot of self-reflection going on and hopefully it will progress and become more cohesive.

wuddup MJ!

syndicalist
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Aug 31 2007 12:17

i'd be interested to klnow about the "crisis" (you can PM me if you wish). NYMAA has wanted to share our office and it would be important to know its status, etc.

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redboots
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Sep 11 2007 17:10

NYMAA is what it is. A loose collaberation of very diverse anarchists. I think it is good that it exists but it by it's very nature will never be a focused tool for class struggle anarchism. Certainly good things have and will come out of NYMAA, but I would not say it should be the focus of any groups work. But again, I think in general it is good to have umbrella groups that people can get in touch with. I also think that any time you work with the "other" anarchists (middle class, green, crimethinc or whatever) you will almost certainly end up with a politcal situation akin to banging your head against the wall. So you need to choose very carefully what projects umbrella organizations are capable of handling. To be clear I am not saying that all non-NEFAC NYMAA people are middle class or have bad politics, but I think those labels could be applied to more than a few people.

moose
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Sep 11 2007 20:00

A few points of clarity:

@ bookfair: was and IS indeed a working group of NYMAA (suggested at GA #1, intiated at GA #3, I believe, and agreed upon before the bookfair to remain and use membership of as criteria for membership in NYMAA), and took on an autonomous existence almost from the get go, gathering participants that maybe never attended a NYMAA meeting, but so what? That is a GOOD thing, and a tribute to the nature of NYMAA rather than a drawback. The fact that the bookfair work is still being reported back at GAs and such owes to the spirit, if not formal, of a federative type structure, no? Isnt that the POINT?

Synthesis: Its not only good that sythesis orgs exist, it's historically CRUCIAL. Why? Because we absolutely need synthesis organizations to channel into the movements neophytes and new converts, "soft anarchists" looking for solid organizational forms if not political determinations....those who know little of the details of the Macnochina nor the Spanish Revolution nor any perceived lessons, controversial or not coming out of those historical experiences. We live in a society that has fundamentally confused class distinctions and being aware of this through organizational philosophies is critical. NYMAA is not the IWW. And it should never try to be. Hell, its not even the FAI.

Its the job of the anarchist-communist militant of the platformist traditions (among other tendencies) to advocate, initiate, and convince through intelligent, clear headed arguments of the need for program, determinancy, unity, and structure that takes into account all the anarchist historical defeats and mistakes answered by this tradition. I dont hear this conversation taking place from a position of respect and deference. I hear a lot of dismisals and sanctimonious posturing unbecoming comrades. I hear a great deal of criticsm but not much critique. It will be unfortunate indeed if those who are overt anarchist-communists were to dismiss and abandon NYMAA for "greener pastures". You all have a good chance to influence a good proportion of people by our "leadership of ideas". Why give that up? I aint. Youd be surprised to notice how easy it is to convince an anarchist without adjectives that they are actually an anarchist communist. Most would concede. But it requires patients. And arguments. And proposals.

Why not instead formulate and defend and gather support for proposals that move NYMAA as a whole into the direction of tactical and theoretical unity, along the way (whether successful or not) picking up momentum for projects and strategies that we find worthy of the anarchist-communist? Why not engage these neophytes in beer room discussions, as well as plenum assemblies, attempting to sway by shear dint of information and argument the intelligence of our ideas? Do we hesitate because while we would assume mountains of argument for "the workers" to be swayed, we dont think our own companeroes deserve the benefit of the same doubt?

[Side note: In recent weeks weve been hearing from those NEFAC friendly comrades of the need for more focused activites and such, activities of a working class nature by implication and overt statement. This is certainly needed (and obviously happenning). But one thing is absolutely certain as well and that is that without a program that engages rather than alienates non-proletarian elements on the left and near left (I speak of course of the standard peti-bourgie types) we are absolutley doomed to failure. Period. You either take the middle classes under your consideration (especially in a place like NYC) and develope modes of activity that engage and maybe embrace this strata and its children, or you lose. So dont write off the middle class just yet.]

I ramble.

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redboots
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Sep 11 2007 22:55

I think we need to be more concerned with building influence amongst the working class than trying to engage the middle class. I think that middle class people will always and should be a part of our movment, but it is their job not ours to learn to live and struggle in a manner that does not support their class postition. In additon I think very few people are willing to be honest about the real problems with middle class leadership of the anarchist movment. The working class is the only class that can lead a revolution in my opinion. The middle class will have to choose a side, but I do not see organizing them as of central importance.

And so I personally see much more value in community and labor work through NEFAC than anything more than a side role in NYMAA, which yes should include efforts at drawing people towards more communist politics, but it should not recieve more energy than it is due. No matter what the middle class leftists will remain in our movement. We can gain little by endless debates with those that after being exposed to our ideas can still not see why class must be a central issue.

moose
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Sep 12 2007 00:07

The question is what use the synthesis type anarchist organization has in "recruiting" conscious, intelligent and dedicated activists and organizers into a cross class, cross ideological movement that needs ALL the help it can get right now in spreading "the Idea" among the population at large (and I'd add working, laboring people, mostly in NYC composed of the people of color demografic) . NEFAC (regardless of its members "class purity" and its correct program) aint doing it (indeed NEFAC NYC has had one, as far as I know, panel or presentation during its ENTIRE EXISTENCE, thus far, in NYC).

I would be carefull in assuming NYMAA to be a primarily middle class (read petti bourgie) formation. I dont think it is. I think NYMAA is one of the most diverse groups Ive been in in terms of class, albeit still heavy on middle class (and white) "consciousness". Nonethelesss, class positions get all screwed up in this city. Most of the people in NYMAA are either wage earners, or artists, or students who will shortly feel what its like to be under the boot of student loan debt, or so called "freelancers" who make less than the median for their age. I think it is incumbent upon us to reintroduce into our own discussions the issue of class (which no, have not taken place through "endless debates"). There is certainly a lack of class discussion going on.

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redboots
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Sep 12 2007 02:25

I will admit 100 percent I do not know the class composition of NYMAA, and I am sure there are many working class people involved.

NEFAC (Open City) has held at least one speaking event that I am aware of and our collcetive, the Antithesis Collective is just getting startred but we already have several planned.

To be clear, I am not saying you are wrong in general. Do we need to reach out to the Anarchist movement at large? I would say that we do. It is important work.

But I place it as firmly below the task of community and workplace organizing. Which only really matters as far as prioritization of resources and people power.

And no I do not see NYMAA as a primary tool for this task. It may be that the majority of NYMAA is working class, but even if that is the case I do not feel that the majority of NYMAA members either hold political views tthat hold class as the overarching area of struggle or are alreday involved in the IWW or NEFAC. And to be honest I do see these groups and the WSA as the best and most capable anarchist organizations in NYC and I am willing to be very open about that. I do not believe that all groups and opinions are equal and I prioritize platformist anarchist communist or syndicalist ones over any others.

The middle class is a seperate issue. I firmly argue that we as a movement are gunshy on the issue. And we act like everyone is equally opressed by capitalism. I do not believe this to be the case. The middle class as it stands serves a cetral role in the opression of the working class no matter how well intentioned they may be. This does not mean that middle class people can not defect from this position and be useful to the movment, but rather that we must maintain a position of primary solidarity with the working class. And I also have to wonder when we are going to honestly question the role of middle class leadership. The solution in my mind is as I have said to focus the majority of our efforts on reaching out the the city and it's workers at large and not the current activist movement. We will only be able procede with real struggle once the majority of people involed in our movment and working class people who identify with the necessity for working class led class warfare. NYMMA may or may not be primarily comprised of working class people,but I am fairly certain that the organization itself would not be able to commit to the idea that the working class must take the lead in the struggle and that anarchist communism is the only path to liberation.

This is to be expected but it still indicates to me that the primary tools we now have are open Anarchist Communist and Syndicalist groups. In additon I feel that concencus is a huge problem with NYMAA and a very classist idea. I will not invest a great deal more energy into NYMAA personally until some reasonabe system of direct democracy exists within it's structure.

In addition I would like to add that I have a great deal of respect for you Moose and the work that you and others do. I know that NYMAA has good components and potential, and I am sure good things will come of it. But this is the NEFAC board, and my opinion to NEFAC is for now to focus on it's own growth and that of labor and only to reach out to the non anarchist communist left as resources and time allow. And not to expect that everyone will be willing to transfer to truly red opinions.

I do not think that all of the greens and the crimethinc and middle class types will all go away or get better politics. And we can no longer afford to be associated with them and their appaling and dangerous political beliefs.

moose
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Sep 12 2007 20:55

All in good spirit boots. Although this thread is indeed about NYMAA and NEFAC, I respect the board and seriously dont know how exactly I got into the act of defending synthesis organizing.

I also have the upmost respect with NEFAC compas which I have know and been in contact with since its inception, and was at that Open City panel that was mentioned above, and further feel that NEFAC politics are certainly the closest to my own that I can find.

I too think that the real future of anarchist effectiveness lies in the IWW and other union organizations like it. And federations of anarchist associations, with concise programs and solid strategies, organized on a local, regional, and ultimatly international level. Thats what NYMAA is, in embrio.

There is absolutely no contradictions in having both a larger synthesis org like NYMAA, and smaller orgs that bandie about more concise political determinations, coexist in a city like NYC (8 million). They reinforce each other in more ways than one. People are not born anarchist-communists, they are made. Like you and me. Although I dont know you that well, Ill bet you were involved in a soft anarchist organization before finding the Platform. Just a guess. And look how you turned out wink

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redboots
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Sep 12 2007 23:58

I agree.

And in general NYMAA does have less of a totally insane element that other large groups, not a ton of primitivists as far as I can tell.

I am still not sure exactly what the role of synthesis groups is in the larger move towards revolution, but I do agree that there is one.

Now, I do still think that there is a seperation, at least in my mind, tactically between reaching out to the anarchist movement, and reaching out to the working class that may not consdier itself anarchist. I think NEFAC and the IWW are more equipped to do this, as are really any anarchists who consider themselves both working class and red, and I know that people from NYMAA have come to labor things but not joined these groups so there is overlap.

Hopefully as our movement continues to gain support amongst the masses, synthesis organizations will by default get better politics. When most people are involved with labor struggle, groups like NYMAA will I think by default get clearly communist politics and drop nonsense like concencus.

And you are right that there is room for both in the city. I would still argue that the priority must be to strengthen anarchist communist groups, but six of one half a dozen of the other. It seems like no matter what I do there will still be people invovled primarily in NYMAA so the work will get done.

As for me...well if I could go back in time and meet my 15 year old self, I would shoot myself in the head and bury my mohawked corpse in an open grave for the crows to pick at with a copy of evasion in my mouth, and a green and black flag up my ass.

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redboots
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Sep 12 2007 23:58

edit: Sorry double post.

And I was just joking...I only meant to agree with Moose that people do change

Sorry about my odd sense of humor, or lack thereof

Phebus
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Sep 13 2007 03:14
redboots wrote:
I am still not sure exactly what the role of synthesis groups is in the larger move towards revolution, but I do agree that there is one.

Not all projects need's as much theorical and tactical unity as a political organisation. Synthetism can work just fine for a bookshop collective for exemple. But then again, some people might argue that it's still better to have a "platformist" bookshop collective, just that thesaid platform can be way more concise... We could argue that you always need a minimal unity somewhere (for exemple, do we actually sell books or just give them away... no jokes, that was really a matter of debate at the Alternative Bookshop in the 1980's with some one giving away some of the books that where meant to be sold...!).

Question: Is ARA a synthesist or a platformist group? It's a broad church and accept political differences but at the same time, it does have a level theorical and tactical unity (the point of unity of the ARA net).

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Sep 13 2007 06:06

Hey Moose, glad to see you on libcom! I think that there is a role of some sort for synthesist groups like NYMAA, though like Boots I'm still trying to figure out what I think that role is. I think us in Antithesis Collective would like to see a thriving anarchist movement outside of ourselves, and we would like to see NYMAA be a big part of that.

I guess what worries me, and what worries others I've talked to is how NYMAA is almost non-existent in social struggles in NYC. Several times in the last few months I've strongly pushed for NYMAA people to either come out and support marches or pickets, or invited NYMAA people to get involved in organizing campaigns. Out of that I've gotten maybe three people out to two different events. That's alot of effort for not much in return, especially with an organization with supposedly 100+ members. If NYMAA is going to be relevant or useful to people with an orientation towards social movements(which in theory is supposed to be everyone in NYMAA anyway), it needs to start supporting that work. I feel like there are a lot of people in NYMAA who don't believe in basic concepts like class struggle, and who don't have even a vague conception about how to work towards a revolution, or even much of an interest in doing so. I know it sounds harsh, but I seriously get that sense from alot of people involved, and I'm not alone. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the anarchists in the city who are more active in campaigns like the IWW 460/640 campaign don't take NYMAA all that seriously, let alone participate.

I guess from there, the question is what do we do about it. I'd be curious to know your thoughts on this. I think arguing for our politics is a start, but with the way assemblies are currently structured, it doesn't really create a forum for real strategic or political debate to begin with. I also think NYMAA needs to decide what it is. It is hard to be both an anarchist organization at it's core, an alliance of issue based working groups, and a loose federation of member groups all at the same time. I think NYMAA might be better served if it picked one of these and ran with it.

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Sep 13 2007 06:14
phebus wrote:
Question: Is ARA a synthesist or a platformist group? It's a broad church and accept political differences but at the same time, it does have a level theorical and tactical unity (the point of unity of the ARA net).

I think within a strictly anti-fascist program, ARA is a loose platformist organization, though it could definitely push collective responsibility a bit more. There are the points of unity, which define our basic theoretical orientation in regards to anti-fascism, and there is a strong tactical unity, with a common set of agreed tactical approaches to different anti-fascist situations. In practice ARA also operates as a loose federation, despite being officially called the ARA network.

I think when you get into more abstract theoretical questions about the nature of fascism and racism in the US there is a lot less unity, and obviously in our broader politics we come at things from very different perspectives. But there is a tight enough unity that I think a certain approach and tactical orientation is expected of every ARA chapter, and this is generally enforced. I think the big presence of platformist influenced anarchists within ARA probably helped it develop in that direction.

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Sep 13 2007 12:35

In terms of terminology I think its politically useful not to use 'synthesist' as a term for an organization unless as an organization it has an ideological comittment to big tent anarchism being the only solution a al AJODA. If its just a network for any anarchists that doesn't have a problem with members of that network also being in much more coherent groups than its not useful to talk of it in the 'synthesist' V 'platformist' polarization.

The political reason for being careful with the terminology should be obvious but to spell it out it means your not using the same terms for a form or organization that is bitterly hostile to 'platformism' and one which is merely indifferent. Joint work with the first sort of organization would be pointless and probably impossible whereas if the resources are available joint work with the second sort would probably be very useful.