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Anarcho-syndicalists in Britain - SF or IWW?

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nastyned
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May 14 2011 08:00

Malatesta's Life and Ideas is the best book but I don't think it's in print at the moment. A quick google found this pamphlet but I haven't read it yet.

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Felix Frost
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May 14 2011 08:43

For Malatestas views on unions, see http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/malatesta/syndicalism.html

I'm afraid I can't see how the KAPD/AAUD relationship is at all similar to Malatestas view.

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Joseph Kay
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May 14 2011 12:29

I was thinking of this It's not that similar to council communism, the point I'm making is seeing a separate role for political orgaisation with regard to the unions, which doesn't seek to control them as per typical Marxist practice. But Malatesta explicitly doesn't want the unions to be anarchist, whereas iirc the KAPD wanted to develop the politics of the AAUD.

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Nate
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May 14 2011 14:38

Thanks all. Any recommendation for something on the KAPD/AAUD?

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Steven.
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May 14 2011 15:23
Nate wrote:
Thanks all. Any recommendation for something on the KAPD/AAUD?

you could take a look here:
http://libcom.org/library/communist-left-germany-1918-1921

especially chapter 14

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Nate
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May 14 2011 15:39

Thanks.

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klas batalo
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May 15 2011 06:45

hmm i'll have to finish your piece now nate...still haven't had time to. i'm very caught between malatesta's dual org view and the political-economic thing...

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Nate
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May 15 2011 19:24

I'm not! smile You should write something that is the best version you can make of the Malatesta/dual-org thing and the best criticism you can make of the political-economic thing. Even if you're not totally sure, taking a good run at it would be clarifying for you and the rest of us who read it.

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klas batalo
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May 16 2011 22:12

Well actually wouldnt three levels of organization just take care if this?

That there are political only orgs. Political economic orgs. An economic orgs.

I think along with the MAS comrades I see the middle or intermediate orgs engaging in class struggle more important for the short term.

Also the iww in usa I see at its best when it acts as such a network of militants.

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888
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May 17 2011 01:03
Quote:
Well actually wouldnt three levels of organization just take care if this?

That there are political only orgs. Political economic orgs. An economic orgs.

I think there should be five levels of organisation: Political, Politico-Econo-Political, Politico-Economic, Econo-Politico-Economic, and Economic.

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JoeMaguire
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May 17 2011 01:11

Back on the OP.

I think CS covered the reasons for why I think IWW is flawed and I think BR is being disingenous by suggesting there are lots of self-identifying AS'ers in IWW. I don't believe that to be the case. But the issue around both groups should not strictly be a binary between the choices of one organisation or another. Anarcho-syndicalists will evolve and belong to more than one organisation (even more so if class struggle is in ascendency) therefore its important that good co-operative practice is established asap, and sectarian mishaps are dealt with properly.

If the IWW takes a turn for the good, then it does open many doors for what would happen between the two groups. IWW acting as an AS union/group would be favourable but would mean the two organisations would need to improve their relationship or merge. Would be interested what BR thinks the prospects are, given there are two organisations occupying a similar space (disagree with autos earlier point).

Blue Dog wrote:
I think maybe some anarchists want to be in a functioning anarcho-synd revoluntionary union NOW, but get annoyed that SF isnt there yet/dont why understand why it is not yet, and so join IWW thinking that it is already a syndicalist revolutionary union.

This is not the case. As CDCW suggested, both groups are not where they want to be and being honest is probably going to pay dividends.

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klas batalo
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May 17 2011 02:57
888 wrote:
Quote:
Well actually wouldnt three levels of organization just take care if this?

That there are political only orgs. Political economic orgs. An economic orgs.

I think there should be five levels of organisation: Political, Politico-Econo-Political, Politico-Economic, Econo-Politico-Economic, and Economic.

lol.

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May 17 2011 05:25
JoeMaguire wrote:
Back on the OP.

I think CS covered the reasons for why I think IWW is flawed and I think BR is being disingenous by suggesting there are lots of self-identifying AS'ers in IWW. I don't believe that to be the case. But the issue around both groups should not strictly be a binary between the choices of one organisation or another. Anarcho-syndicalists will evolve and belong to more than one organisation (even more so if class struggle is in ascendency) therefore its important that good co-operative practice is established asap, and sectarian mishaps are dealt with properly.

Sorry to spoil the party but there are. And some of them are SolFed members. There are a least 3 self identifying anarcho-syndicalists in London IWW GMB. I think the problem is that members of both organisations don't really mix, which is a general problem of being politically active in London. As for IWW BIRA being spoiled, after many years of being a SolFed member how has it helped with some of the interesting problems you've faced in your workplace?

JoeMaguire wrote:
If the IWW takes a turn for the good, then it does open many doors for what would happen between the two groups. IWW acting as an AS union/group would be favourable but would mean the two organisations would need to improve their relationship or merge. Would be interested what BR thinks the prospects are, given there are two organisations occupying a similar space (disagree with autos earlier point).

By doing what? By IWW BIRA becoming an anarchist organisation? I'm sorry thats not gona happen because we have some non anarchist members who would be unhappy being in an anarchist organisation. Theres more chance of the AF merging with SolFed because AFs work place resistance groups theoretically should function the same as SolFeds industrial networks (as some SolFed members on libcom describe them). Seeing as they are both propagandist anarchist communist organisations, I think the question should be asked why they havent merged yet (SolFed is not political-economic because that would involve having a significant organisational workplace presence in he form of functional industrial networks. The same applies for IWW BIRA)?

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Chilli Sauce
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May 17 2011 16:03
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Seeing as they are both propagandist anarchist communist organisations, I think the question should be asked why they havent merged yet (SolFed is not political-economic because that would involve having a significant organisational workplace presence in he form of functional industrial networks.

BR, why the hang-up on the networks? We have members active at work, we have industrial networks in formation (and we fully acknowledge their shortcomings), we have a workplace training program aimed at A/Sers and non-political pissed-off workers alike, and we take on workplace fights (a la Office Angels). We're an emerging political-economic organization (some folks even use the term "revolutionary workplace initiative") coming out of being a more propagandist/political organization. But we are political-economic. The extent of our networks, while important, doesn't determine that.

There's lots of reasons SF and AF haven't merged and probably won't any time in the future. Different strategies and focuses, to begin with. But this thread really isn't the place for that, tbh.

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May 17 2011 16:11
888 wrote:
Quote:
Well actually wouldnt three levels of organization just take care if this?

That there are political only orgs. Political economic orgs. An economic orgs.

I think there should be five levels of organisation: Political, Politico-Econo-Political, Politico-Economic, Econo-Politico-Economic, and Economic.

No, six. You forgot Econo-Political. Six levels, three classes, that's at least 18 different important strategic possibilities. Someone draw a matrix.

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May 17 2011 16:14

For the Brits, about the IWW and SF, I get that there are good reasons of ... well, economy, for the IWW and SF to merge, or SF and AF, or whatever, if the groups ended up doing the same thing. But even if they were doing the same thing those good reasons strike me as soft/weak reasons, not strongly compelling ones. That is, the economizing that would happen in terms of resources wouldn't be huge I would think. Two different revolutionary organizations doing similar work isn't necessarily a problem, as long as there are informal connections among people to help keep it cordial. And from watching these conversations over a while, raising even the possibility of formal changes like mergers seems to move directly away from cordial-ness.

nastyned
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May 17 2011 21:24
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
The closest we've got is it being suggested that AF members join SolFed

LOL. You're right though, not for this thread.

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May 18 2011 10:35
Bluedog wrote:
I think maybe some anarchists want to be in a functioning anarcho-synd revoluntionary union NOW, but get annoyed that SF isnt there yet/dont why understand why it is not yet, and so join IWW thinking that it is already a syndicalist revolutionary union. Now i dont think IWW is even syndicalist, but either way, I think both organisations have a long way to go before others start to view them as unions.

That may be true for some people, but wouldn't an anarcho-syndicalist who was strong in their convictions want to be part of building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union (however far off that goal might seem), rather than join a legally-registered 'syndicalist' union whose revolutionary principles seem to be nothing more than an historical footnote? According to the About the IWW section of the website, it is "a grassroots and democratic union" that wants to "see society re-organised to meet the interests of all people". Other than the premable, you'd never really know it was a revolutionary union.

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May 18 2011 11:26
thegonzokid wrote:
That may be true for some people, but wouldn't an anarcho-syndicalist who was strong in their convictions want to be part of building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union (however far off that goal might seem), rather than join a legally-registered 'syndicalist' union whose revolutionary principles seem to be nothing more than an historical footnote? According to the About the IWW section of the website, it is "a grassroots and democratic union" that wants to "see society re-organised to meet the interests of all people". Other than the premable, you'd never really know it was a revolutionary union.

Have the IWAs principals and conception of what a revolutionary union is changed much since its founding conference in 1922?

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May 18 2011 11:36
sabotage wrote:
Well actually wouldnt three levels of organization just take care if this?

That there are political only orgs. Political economic orgs. An economic orgs.

I think along with the MAS comrades I see the middle or intermediate orgs engaging in class struggle more important for the short term.

Not really. The difference between the dualists and the unitarians is that the former accept the Malatestan argument that mass organisations and specific political organisations are complementary but not compatible within a single, coherent organisation.

The intermediate perspective advanced by the MAS compas takes the dualist perspective (i.e. the impossibility of the unitary org) as it's foundation - i.e. that the intermediate org accepts the necessary separation of the mass and specific orgs. In this way, they would be the opposite of the unitarian approach, which aims to replace both mass and specific orgs with a single "political-economic" organisation.

nastyned
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May 18 2011 11:48

Who are MAS?

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ocelot
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May 18 2011 12:13

Miami Autonomy & Solidarity

On the intermediate level stuff, see

The Intermediate Level Analysis

And the organisational "trilogy"

Towards Theory of Political Organization for Our Time Part I: trajectories of struggle, the intermediate level, and political rapprochement

Towards Theory of Political Organization for Our Time Part II: we are not platformists, we strive to be

Toward Theory of Political Organization for Our Time Part III: nature of our period

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Chilli Sauce
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May 18 2011 16:06
blackrainbow wrote:
thegonzokid wrote:
That may be true for some people, but wouldn't an anarcho-syndicalist who was strong in their convictions want to be part of building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union (however far off that goal might seem), rather than join a legally-registered 'syndicalist' union whose revolutionary principles seem to be nothing more than an historical footnote? According to the About the IWW section of the website, it is "a grassroots and democratic union" that wants to "see society re-organised to meet the interests of all people". Other than the premable, you'd never really know it was a revolutionary union.

Have the IWAs principals and conception of what a revolutionary union is changed much since its founding conference in 1922?

Guiding revolutionaries principals shouldn't change (or be watered down), strategies and tactics certainly should. And, Jesus, those of the IWA have changed loads. In fact, that was one of the main arguments laid out in
Strategy and Struggle

Caiman del Barrio
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May 18 2011 18:48
JoeMaguire wrote:
I think BR is being disingenous by suggesting there are lots of self-identifying AS'ers in IWW. I don't believe that to be the case.

ffs there are/were dual members in your old SF local!

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May 18 2011 21:42
ocelot wrote:
The difference between the dualists and the unitarians is that the former accept the Malatestan argument that mass organisations and specific political organisations are complementary but not compatible within a single, coherent organisation.

The intermediate perspective advanced by the MAS compas takes the dualist perspective (i.e. the impossibility of the unitary org) as it's foundation - i.e. that the intermediate org accepts the necessary separation of the mass and specific orgs. In this way, they would be the opposite of the unitarian approach, which aims to replace both mass and specific orgs with a single "political-economic" organisation.

I'm not sure that's right. I'm pretty sure that some people in MAS do think that though I don't think all of them do. I'm going to write to Scott Nappalos to ask him to clarify. As I understand it, the point is more about a taxonomy of types of activities more than one of types of organizations. That is, there are mass, intermediate, and political practices. Organizations may do primarily one or the other sort of activity, though any long term mass organization has an intermediate level that operates to sustain (and do most of the work of) that organization. I don't think the analysis has to be an organizational dualist one, I think it's compatible with what you call a unitarian one.

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May 18 2011 21:52
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
JoeMaguire wrote:
I think BR is being disingenous by suggesting there are lots of self-identifying AS'ers in IWW. I don't believe that to be the case.

ffs there are/were dual members in your old SF local!

They were certainly lapsed by some good way. I still don't get BR. If there is an explicit AS current in the IWW then it should be frankly doing better to publicise itself and promoting wider co-operation.

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Felix Frost
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May 19 2011 00:28
thegonzokid wrote:
That may be true for some people, but wouldn't an anarcho-syndicalist who was strong in their convictions want to be part of building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union (however far off that goal might seem), rather than join a legally-registered 'syndicalist' union whose revolutionary principles seem to be nothing more than an historical footnote?

Actually, I would rather join a more open syndicalist group where you don't have to pass an ideological lithmus test in order to join, so I'll go with the IWW. I also don't think you will have much chance in building an actual anarcho-syndicalist union as long as you have as strict a membership criteria as you seem to have.

I remember people from SolFed talking about how the point was to build an anarcho-syndicalist organisation, not an organisation of anarcho-syndicalists. Now it seems that what you want is an an organisation of anarcho-syndicalists after all.

I also find it somewhat ironic that people argue that it is necessary to limit membership to politically concious libertarian communists in order to avoid a slide into reformism, while the "reformism" in the UK IWW apparently was spearheaded by an organised group of ideologically committed libertarian communists who entered the IWW in order to further their political agenda...

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Felix Frost
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May 19 2011 02:25
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
To join SolFed you need to meet the conditions of affiliation, there is absolutely no need to identify as an anarcho-syndicalist and a number of SolFed members don't.

OK, so you want to be an organisation of libertarian communists then. That doesn't really change the point.

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May 19 2011 07:05

BR, you're wrong about that my friend. They've been doing work on it for the past year and just this last month at conference we decided to write a strategy document that will, in part, be an amalgamation of S&S.

Quote:
Actually, I would rather join a more open syndicalist group where you don't have to pass an ideological lithmus test in order to join, so I'll go with the IWW.

I feel like this is a bit of a red herring here. Surely even in the IWW, there is supposed to be some level of "ideological" agreement? The bar might be lower, perhaps only anti-capitalism, but it's there.

Also, and I feel like this comes up again and again, but since SF is not concerned with membership numbers the way the IWW is (goals of representation, legal standing of reps and what not), SFers are more than glad to work with non A/Ser in the workplace. In fact, much of our strategy is based on the very idea!

So we're not talking about the tyranny of sectarian ideological agreement, just different levels of membership criteria and strategies.

MT
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May 19 2011 07:45
Felix Frost wrote:
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
To join SolFed you need to meet the conditions of affiliation, there is absolutely no need to identify as an anarcho-syndicalist and a number of SolFed members don't.

OK, so you want to be an organisation of libertarian communists then. That doesn't really change the point.

Have you read the principles of CNT? I see no key difference in what CNT and SF explain in their basic documents, so I would say CNT is also "an organisation of libertarian communists".