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New Anarchist discussion forum- Anarchist Black Cat

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gurrier
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Feb 14 2008 22:50
Mike Harman wrote:
To be honest I'm not sure exactly how anarkismo work out their stats - gurrier indicated it was based on ISP billing since they don't keep logs - whereas ours are done by awstats via apache logs (and specifically exclude bots and the rest).So it's not really comparing like with like at the moment (not that like with like might not be the same, but we don't know if it is or not).

Nah, anarkismo now uses a stats program (webalizer).

Quote:
Actually that doesn't surprise me at all. indymedia is an international (and well known) network with aggregation around the regional sites and indymedia.org itself, and as mentioned, it appeals to a far wider spectrum of people (or is supposed to anyway). Also if you look at page views, although they get 20 times as many visits, they get about 3 times our page views - works out about 1.1 pages per visit - so it's almost 100% 'look at one page and leave' traffic. If you look at January's traffic, they primarily get traffic from rss/atom feeds along with direct referrals to the front page - which would support the idea that a lot of it is coming from other indymedia sites.

The visits counter is broken (for a reason) - most people actually look at several pages per visit. Direct referals are people who have typed the url into the adress bar or who have it in their bookmarks (i.e people who are specifically looking for indymedia.ie). Virtually no traffic comes from other indymedia sites. About 93% of hits are from direct referrals or from internal links. about 85% of traffic is from browsers, meaning that it is actually people looking at the site. About 330,000 different people look at the site each month (12-20,000 per day, 100,000 per week). Which is almost 10% of the population here (by far most of the traffic comes from Ireland too).

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AndrewF
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Feb 14 2008 22:53
Mike Harman wrote:
rather than get involved in things simply to get involved.

On the other hand you seem to be arguing here to write things simply to have something written on them.

Which would be fine until you get to the point as here of taking others to task for not doing the same thing. To me the value in bothering to write an article is not so it exists but so that it says something. You also have the problem that writing stuff 'blind' from media reports may mean you reproduce errors and bias in those reports. And to people involved it can look like a crude attempt by politicos to associate themselves with a struggle that they have nothing in fact to do with. The IRSP used to be forever putting out press releases on struggles they'd no actual connection to and I know that wound up people who came across them. This is less of an issue for libcom as its not a political group but it would be an issue for the WSM.

So overall its really not a question (as you sort of imply) as to which issues you might think are important.

Mike Harman
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Feb 14 2008 23:02
gurrier wrote:
About 330,000 different people look at the site each month

Ok so unique visits - that's a touch under 3 times libcom's uniques - we got 134,000 last month, it's been 110-120,000 the past 3-4 months before that. Thanks for coming back with the clarification.

fwiw, non-browser traffic are excluded from everything I've mentioned - we get crawled plenty and awstats filters it out into separate counts.

By the way it looks like you left half my post at the end of your comment, might want to delete that in case people get the wrong idea...

Just took a look and 63% of our traffic is from direct referrals/bookmarks - that doesn't include internal links.

gurrier
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Feb 14 2008 23:20
Mike Harman wrote:
gurrier wrote:
About 330,000 different people look at the site each month

Ok so unique visits - that's a touch under 3 times libcom's uniques - we got 134,000 last month, it's been 110-120,000 the past 3-4 months before that. Thanks for coming back with the clarification.

It's not unique visits, it's unique IPs. Probably about a million visits.

Deezer
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Feb 14 2008 23:31

Um, all round, is this any more than a dick waving exercise. Yez should all really stop it y' know - cause that is all it looks like. No offence like.

Mike Harman
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Feb 14 2008 23:31
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
rather than get involved in things simply to get involved.

On the other hand you seem to be arguing here to write things simply to have something written on them.

I think working class struggles are worth circulating and publicising for their own sake, yes.

Quote:
Which would be fine until you get to the point as here of taking others to task for not doing the same thing.

Not quite. I took the WSM to task for having nothing about this on any sites they're involved with, while activists were doing poetry readings at the very same airport, and taking up prime space on a site which apparently gets viewed by 10% of the population to publicise their 'actions'. Space which could've been used to present the strikes from a sympathetic angle and in context with other, similar, events.

Quote:
To me the value in bothering to write an article is not so it exists but so that it says something.

Well a three sentence newswire snippet never says much - I don't consider that an 'article'. I do write substantial articles for this site every couple of months though, and have a bunch backlogged that I don't have time and concentration to finish. Not to mention that Ret Marut, Laure Akai, Jef, Khawaga and others post quite substantial articles to news. A fair amount of our postal coverage was direct from postal workers etc. etc.. In terms of percentages, a lot of it isn't in-depth, I agree this isn't great but in some cases there's no way to get any more information, at all, with international stories.

Quote:
You also have the problem that writing stuff 'blind' from media reports may mean you reproduce errors and bias in those reports.

Yep, and we've had corrective e-mails from people about articles before as well - of course this means that people involved read it and were concerned enough to send corrections. Again - the simple fact that we'll correct stuff, post addendums, is reason to have this coverage on somewhere other than RTE or wherever.

Quote:
And to people involved it can look like a crude attempt by politicos to associate themselves with a struggle that they have nothing in fact to do with.

If we were issuing communiques and 'statements of solidarity' or other tokenistic bollocks then perhaps, but we specifically avoid that kind of line. As you say, we're not a political group (but nor is indymedia nor anarkismo if I understand correctly).

Mike Harman
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Feb 14 2008 23:33
gurrier wrote:
It's not unique visits, it's unique IPs.

I mis-typed, forgot the 'or' in 'visitors'.

gurrier
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Feb 14 2008 23:50
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Um, all round, is this any more than a dick waving exercise. Yez should all really stop it y' know - cause that is all it looks like. No offence like.

Nah. For people who run websites, statistics are endlessly fascinating - it's more total, unabashed geekiness than willy-waving. smile

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cantdocartwheels
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Feb 14 2008 23:52
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Um, all round, is this any more than a dick waving exercise. Yez should all really stop it y' know - cause that is all it looks like. No offence like.

Oh no I disagree i've always wanted to know how many people read indymedia ireland and i would personally like to thank gurrier for giving us that information

Deezer
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Feb 14 2008 23:56
gurrier wrote:
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Um, all round, is this any more than a dick waving exercise. Yez should all really stop it y' know - cause that is all it looks like. No offence like.

Nah. For people who run websites, statistics are endlessly fascinating - it's more total, unabashed geekiness than willy-waving. :-)

confused smile So, um, that amounts to dick waving for people who run websites then really. Totally unabashed geeky dick waving granted but still dick waving.

Mike Harman
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Feb 15 2008 00:04
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
confused smile So, um, that amounts to dick waving for people who run websites then really. Totally unabashed geeky dick waving granted but still dick waving.

Unusual for me to agree with gurrier, but it's very, very rare that any website anywhere on any subject publishes how much traffic they get, apart from ones from 1997 with page counters. So while undoubtedly there's a subtext of competition and hostility, it's also incredibly useful to have even an inkling of traffic on any remotely political site. In the same way it's interesting to know how, where and how many various groups distribute newsletters etc.

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Red Marriott
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Feb 15 2008 00:05

Well, as this topic is relevant to what I do here... I write the Bangladesh reports because it seems to be where the highest level of class struggle is occurring at present - apart from prob. China, which seems to have less info available for - and that interests me, and others too. And I do appreciate that the reports are limited by being largely dependent on the mainstream media. One person with personal experience of struggles there did get in contact (but bear in mind generally only the well-off have internet access there) and the reports have been reproduced or quoted on about a dozen places online - inc. Indymedia, Bangladeshi blogs, an open source intelligence site(!) etc. And, iirc from stats last year, they are read (or at least looked at) by thousands of people (hope this doesn't qualify as dick-waving, Boul - illustrative purposes only) - simply because no one else is doing regular coverage, cos the struggles there are a small spark in the present darkness and, hopefully cos the analysis tries to draw out the radical implications/potential in a better/different way to whatever leftist coverage there is.

...Which is where, imo, the news coverage should be going - towards people covering particular areas and building knowledge of 'their patch', gradually getting the bigger picture and so adding depth to what should be analysis rather than just news reportage. Imo, quality rather than quantity is key; I don't see any need to report every run-of-the-mill strike for the sake of it. Maybe a formularised template for basic listing of them - but I think moving towards more in-depth analysis is in the long-term more useful/informative for grasping what's going on than simple listings. My view, anyway.

It's not ideal, but I don't think being mainly reliant on mainstream reports invalidates all coverage. Trawling such sources over a period helps one read between the lines, compare info, build a picture of ruling class strategy by what they do and don't say etc. (Without meaning to caricature his view) I don't really know how far JBlack2 wants to take 'only write about what you have a direct involvement in'; that would, eg, rule out all historical writing, as well as an internationalist outlook, at least for those countries without a working class internet presence. We all take info every day and reinterpret it for ourselves according to where we're coming from and where we think the source is coming from politically. That's how we negotiate capitalism and all its lies/misinformation, so if we do that with reading and writing news/analytical articles I don't see that as too problematic - though I agree mere factual listing of news seems of limited use. But then one can try to keep up with events by mixing that with periodic deeper analysis.

As for the forums, I think politically they're more often a waste of time (with some exceptions) - for others that may not be true. Mainly, (imo and I'm bored of repeating it), cos they haven't been moderated strongly enough - but also prob. cos in a time of low struggle the debates have a detached feel and appear to have little real consequence. Maybe with a rise in struggles that would change with an influx of non-regulars - or maybe the now-established posting culture would work against that happening. But the examples Catch mentions do show a certain possibility for libcom as a potential resource for co-ordination/info on real struggles.

gurrier
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Feb 15 2008 00:36
Mike Harman wrote:
Not quite. I took the WSM to task for having nothing about this on any sites they're involved with, while activists were doing poetry readings at the very same airport, and taking up prime space on a site which apparently gets viewed by 10% of the population to publicise their 'actions'. Space which could've been used to present the strikes from a sympathetic angle and in context with other, similar, events.

Hmm. You've got something of a point - our input into indymedia has drifted a bit since the WSM member who used to write most of the features had to resign due to ill health. Currently, our members are mostly kept busy doing all the mundane shit - servers, code, moderating, fighting with trots and so on. Actually, your observation prompted me to help preparing a few new front-page features and we'll have 3 new ones - and much better too - by the morning.

However, I think you are quite mistaken about the significance of the various stoppages that have taken place recently in the Irish airports. The wildcats do not represent a surge in working class militancy at all. To be honest, I think your ideological attachment to the notion of spontaneity and wild-cat action is sort of clouding your vision here. Personally, I reckon that spontaneous wildcat stoppages in the current climate are more frequently a sign of weakness than strength.

My understanding of the Irish aviation situation is that the strikes are being provoked by Aer Rianta management (the semi-state company which runs Irish airports) in cahoots with the various airline companies. It's part of a wider management offensive across the Irish transport. industry There have been several wildcat stoppages and they have pretty much all followed the same pattern. Management shows up, orders workers to do something that is outside the collective agreement, workers refuse and a stand-off ensues - normally involving union management coming in and agreeing some compromise with management after a few days.

I say that these actions are signs of weakness, rather than strength, because the strikes have all been completely isolated, unplanned, lacking any broader strategy and purely in reaction to management provocations. The unions are completely tied into partnership and have absolutely no strategy, intention or prospect of launching a general offensive. The affected workers themselves have mostly been from comparatively well-paid "professions" - pilots, air-traffic controllers, train-drivers and to a large extent see the problem as management being assholes, rather than having much of a class analysis. I'm not saying that the workers aren't pissed off - both with management and their shitty unions - they are, the SP almost got Clare Daly elected to parliament in the airport constituency. However, they are not a sign of any real upsurge in radicalism - there has been no propsect of any of these strikes spreading to other airports , never mind other sectors.

Basically, management, in cahoots with the government are pursuing a long term strategy of privatising and de-unionising the transport sector. One of the primary means of doing this has been a refusal to make capital investments, even where the system is bursting at the seams. For example, the government have essentially refused to build a new airport terminal in Dublin unless its private - despite the fact that the current airport is just ridiculous - lines coming out the doors at 5am every day! They have selectively provoked stoppage-disruptions in order to launch media blitzes against the workers for getting in the way of progress, which have been pretty successful.

In this context, I really don't think it's that good an idea to get too excited about the strikes and claim them as an example of working class militancy - it would be a bit SWPesque. However, I could be wrong. I live a couple of miles down the road from Dublin airport and have researched and published articles in the mainstream media about the media campaign being waged by management, but I'm still not in a good enough position to really know what's going on. You'd have to be on the ground, working in the airport and attending the union meetings, to get a really reliable picture of what's going on among the workers. Hence, I'd question the value of publishing articles about the workers, without that sort of information.

gurrier
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Feb 15 2008 00:36
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
gurrier wrote:
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Um, all round, is this any more than a dick waving exercise. Yez should all really stop it y' know - cause that is all it looks like. No offence like.

Nah. For people who run websites, statistics are endlessly fascinating - it's more total, unabashed geekiness than willy-waving. :-)

confused smile So, um, that amounts to dick waving for people who run websites then really. Totally unabashed geeky dick waving granted but still dick waving.

Geeks have very small dicks. It's more wiggling than waving.

Jimmy
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Feb 15 2008 00:44

Well WSM members are involved in indymedia in purely a personal capacity. I don’t think indymedia has ever come up in a WSM meeting, apart from reminding people to stick a relevant article on it. Certainly there has never been any decision for us to try to have moderators or push any particular policy. It’s just something that has interested people.

That said, it might be something that interests people somewhat less. For whatever reasons WSMers seem to be putting in less effort (I quit!) than before. The severe drop off in features in the last 6 weeks is a direct reflection of that, in my opinion.

Mike Harman
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Feb 15 2008 01:10
gurrier wrote:
However, I think you are quite mistaken about the significance of the various stoppages that have taken place recently in the Irish airports. The wildcats do not represent a surge in working class militancy at all.

I wouldn't have said they are. Seem small and isolated to me. However, they're (literally) down your road, and more interesting than fucking poetry readings in the foyer. In terms of signs of weakness, there's not much worse than that.

Quote:
Personally, I reckon that spontaneous wildcat stoppages in the current climate are more frequently a sign of weakness than strength.

Generally yes, maybe not so much outside the 'core' countries though. However, weakness is significant, not only victories - not everything has to be some massive upsurge. Same as I think covering some lockouts and riots is important as well even if they turn out really shit.

[snip]

Quote:
Hence, I'd question the value of publishing articles about the workers, without that sort of information.

Well, now you've posted that, no matter how limited by lack of real proximity, and despite me disagreeing with your analysis on various things, we all know more than we did five minutes ago. As it is, it's lost in a forum topic about a new anarchist discussion forum, unless you c&ped from the new feature of course.

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Bob Savage
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Feb 15 2008 01:28

All this negativity. Just to do some arse-kissing, I'd like to add that Libcom is dope. really fucking dope. The library, the history, the news (especially the wildcat coverage, that's insane that so much gets covered). Sure, maybe a little less of the libcommunity spirit needs to find its way into discussions, but it's all good as far as i see it.

i've never been involved in any anarchist/communist/activist/whatever circles though, so maybe that helps somewhat. it's just good to find such a site with a big emphasis on CLASS struggle and not engaging in stupid typical activist shit. so yeah, good job. keep it up and maybe JUST MAYBE i'll venture out of libcommunity every now and then. or if you're lucky, i won't.

gurrier
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Feb 15 2008 01:32
Mike Harman wrote:
I wouldn't have said they are. Seem small and isolated to me. However, they're (literally) down your road, and more interesting than fucking poetry readings in the foyer. In terms of signs of weakness, there's not much worse than that.

[snip]

Well, now you've posted that, no matter how limited by lack of real proximity, and despite me disagreeing with your analysis on various things, we all know more than we did five minutes ago. As it is, it's lost in a forum topic about a new anarchist discussion forum, unless you c&ped from the new feature of course.

I think that counterposing the 2 articles in such a way is wrong. Firstly, I did not write or promote the poetry article - somebody who participated submitted it and somebody else featured it. Nobody has written an article analysing the wildcat strikes and I don't know enough about them to publish something publicly and am unfortunately not in a position where I can realistically spend a lot of time getting it. Unfortunately the people who are in a good position to provide analysis of the strikes - the SP - don't publish material on indymedia and their analysis tends towards the turgid and translates particularly poorly to a news website.

You are also probably under-estimating the significance of the military use of Shannon in the popular psyche in Ireland. Almost everybody is against it and feels a bit powerless and ashamed about it. Highlighting it again and again, as indymedia has, is a decent way of hammering home the basic lack of democracy in the country and driving a wedge between the state and the working class.

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AndrewF
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Feb 15 2008 01:37
Ret Marut wrote:
I don't really know how far JBlack2 wants to take 'only write about what you have a direct involvement in';

Why have you put something in quotations that I haven't actually said? Its not even close to the spirit of what I said.

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jef costello
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Feb 15 2008 01:37

Interesting point of view gurrier and that's exactly the sort of thing you should post as a comment on a news story, or start a discussion in the news forum.
joeblack2 has a point about the source of the majority of libcom news, but, as catch said, we're not lucky enough to see strike action most of the time. When we do we write it up. See my posts on the recent students strikes etc and catch and steven have both posted recently on workplace issues. So have other members like Treeofjudas.
We do what we can with what we have. Personally I think it'[s worth having a news wire just to see what the fuck is happening in the world, we get a lot of hits for some of our stories and we have mad good links. I don't want to bore everyone with the CPE thing again but we had at least 20 french contacts sending us information and others responding to requests (sadly we lost contact with virtually all of them after the hack). We tried to get the same momentum with the strike wave last year but sadly the movement wasn't as strong, also instead of having several people working on it we basically just had me so we were much less visible.
When we can get out and talk to workers and prepare everything from our own experience we do (I didn't write up my strike but only because I thought I'd be sniped at to fuck to be honest) and if we had a direct involvement with more things we'd write from a direct point of view more often.
I remember catch telling me via pm to get out and enjoy myself during the strikes because I was lucky to be there for them. We want to be involved in action and we push for action in our daily lives but we can't force something to be what it's not and few workplaces have the culture of resistance that they did in the past.

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jef costello
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Feb 15 2008 01:38
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Ret Marut wrote:
I don't really know how far JBlack2 wants to take 'only write about what you have a direct involvement in';

Why have you put something in quotations that I haven't actually said? Its not even close to the spirit of what I said.

Those are inverted commas, not quotation marks.

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Feb 15 2008 01:39

Well - it's a paraphrase - prefaced by 'without meaning to caricature his meaning'. That was my understanding - don't jump to suspecting sinister motives of deliberate distortion. If it was a direct quote I would've used "...".

gurrier
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Feb 15 2008 01:59

Jef and catch: don't get me wrong, I think there is a real value in collating reports of working class strikes and struggles, even when they don't represent mass upsurges. I question the value of publshting articles in your own country that don't have a particular insight in a situation where the strike is all over the news and the phone-ins. In that situation, you have to be really cautious because you could easily fuck up big time.

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jef costello
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Feb 15 2008 02:33
gurrier wrote:
Jef and catch: don't get me wrong, I think there is a real value in collating reports of working class strikes and struggles, even when they don't represent mass upsurges. I question the value of publshting articles in your own country that don't have a particular insight in a situation where the strike is all over the news and the phone-ins. In that situation, you have to be really cautious because you could easily fuck up big time.

The aim is to produce a good news item, not just one that an uninformed reader will swallow. To be fair no one is likely to check if a french story I post is correct (few posters can and no one has the inclination) but it doesn't mean that I take less care than if I am using English sources or even interviews and observations of my own.

IrrationallyAngry
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Feb 15 2008 03:00
gurrier wrote:
Nobody has written an article analysing the wildcat strikes and I don't know enough about them to publish something publicly and am unfortunately not in a position where I can realistically spend a lot of time getting it. Unfortunately the people who are in a good position to provide analysis of the strikes - the SP - don't publish material on indymedia and their analysis tends towards the turgid and translates particularly poorly to a news website.

Leaving the turgid gibe aside for a moment, have you tried ringing the SP office, telling them that you are putting together an article on media attacks on transport workers and asked for the number of someone on the ground to talk to? As you know there are SP shopstewards in the airport, on Dublin bus etc. None of them are exactly prone to SWP style hysteria.

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Feb 15 2008 09:39
Quote:
Well, as this topic is relevant to what I do here... I write the Bangladesh reports because it seems to be where the highest level of class struggle is occurring at present - apart from prob. China, which seems to have less info available for - and that interests me, and others too. And I do appreciate that the reports are limited by being largely dependent on the mainstream media. One person with personal experience of struggles there did get in contact (but bear in mind generally only the well-off have internet access there) and the reports have been reproduced or quoted on about a dozen places online - inc. Indymedia, Bangladeshi blogs, an open source intelligence site(!) etc. And, iirc from stats last year, they are read (or at least looked at) by thousands of people (hope this doesn't qualify as dick-waving, Boul - illustrative purposes only) - simply because no one else is doing regular coverage, cos the struggles there are a small spark in the present darkness and, hopefully cos the analysis tries to draw out the radical implications/potential in a better/different way to whatever leftist coverage there is.

My experience is very similar. I've been posting a bit about the strike wave in Egypt (though have been a bit lax lately) and I know for a fact that comrades and strikers here really appreciate that we circulate news about the strikes. They want as many people as possible to know what they are doing, and they want international solidarity. I know that several Egyptian activists read the forum posts and news articles on Egypt; either on Libcom or that comrades have copied, translated it and sent it to their network over e-mails, facebook etc. The added benefit of this in the context of Egypt is that Egyptians can get exposed to anarchist ideas coz there's basically nothing here that is even remotely close to anarchism.

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cantdocartwheels
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Feb 15 2008 09:57
Quote:
Personally, I reckon that spontaneous wildcat stoppages in the current climate are more frequently a sign of weakness than strength.

I think if any group of people think they can just win there and then without a broader staretgy by just downing tools thats a pretty big sign of strength.

Quote:
The affected workers themselves have mostly been from comparatively well-paid "professions" - pilots, air-traffic controllers, train-drivers and to a large extent see the problem as management being assholes, rather than having much of a class analysis.

Well firstly why does it matter if they have a class analysis as to whther we write about it or not, we don;t just write about things because people tout a banal anarchist line. Secondly your comments about proffessionals are just crass generalisations not in anyway linked to class analysis, why should a proffesional have less class analysis than a supermarket worker, what kind a nonsense arguement is that.

Anyways i think at the end of the day this is a good illustartion of why its silly for you lot to attack libcom from the point of view of anarkismo and co. , i mean you and geroge keep coming out with all this sincere stuff about x or y not doing anything to build the anarchist movement but what you seem to fail to realise is that no libcom admin has ever said they want to do that. I mean read http://libcom.org/notes/about and tell me where it is they say they want to build the anarchist movement?
I mean sure i actually even disagree with their approach, i'd like to see a good chunk of the libcom newswire published as a paper and for libcom to be used to build up groups and affiliates in the UK or to push into reality some of the admins slightly idealised notions of what a communist organisation should look like but the admins aren't doing that and haven't expressed any desre to do so, and it seems pretty pointless to get all sour grapes about things just because you happen to disagree with some of their politics.

Mike Harman
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Feb 15 2008 10:46

Unsurprisingly I agree with pretty much everything Jef, Ret and Khawaga said on this about news. And cantdo is right about class analysis/professionals etc. Was going to respond to individual points but yep, yep, yep seemed a bit redundant.

gurrier wrote:
Nobody has written an article analysing the wildcat strikes

Yes this was my point.

Quote:
You are also probably under-estimating the significance of the military use of Shannon in the popular psyche in Ireland. Almost everybody is against it and feels a bit powerless and ashamed about it. Highlighting it again and again, as indymedia has, is a decent way of hammering home the basic lack of democracy in the country and driving a wedge between the state and the working class.

I don't think lack of democracy is the problem to be honest.

jack white
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Feb 15 2008 10:47

I think its more a case of having different views on what is useful and of pointing out things people think are negative aspects of libcom rather than attacks or sour grapes.

Mike Harman
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Feb 15 2008 10:51
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Quote:
Personally, I reckon that spontaneous wildcat stoppages in the current climate are more frequently a sign of weakness than strength.

I think if any group of people think they can just win there and then without a broader staretgy by just downing tools thats a pretty big sign of strength.

On that note: http://libcom.org/news/victory-brighton-bin-wildcat-15022008 smile