Can the Wombles go 'Beyond the ESF'?

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wld_rvn
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Joined: 22-04-04
Oct 9 2004 09:57
Can the Wombles go 'Beyond the ESF'?

Dear all,

We have replied to the Wombles' critique of the ESF in the October edition of WR here: Can the Wombles go 'Beyond the ESF'?

Any comments welcome either here or via our e-mail: uk@internationalism.org

For communism,

World Revolution,

Section in Britain of the ICC.

ClassWar
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Joined: 24-10-03
Oct 9 2004 11:29

Well the Wombles have made it now - if you have replaced Class War as the International Communist Currant's whipping boys, its the big time.

Still, as they used to sing on the terraces at Plymouth Argyle "There's only two PPs..... "

Mike Harman
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Joined: 7-02-06
Oct 9 2004 13:33

Well, since I saw this identical post on U75, I'm going to paste my response from there as well. Apologies to everyone who reads both, but not my fault.

Their criticism of Autonomous Spaces is lifted pretty much from Bookchin's criticism of Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones in Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism - from 1995, although WR seem to have watered it down a lot. The social centres seem to be trying to make at least semi-permanent spaces, and haven't seen too much reference to TAZ, so not sure it'd apply anyway. More of a knee jerk reaction to the word autonomous.

The fact that Bookchin was writing from an anarchist point of view (and one that at least equally embraced Marxism) must have escaped WR, shame.

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WR:

But there are no 'autonomous spaces' in capitalism, nor anything positive in the individualism they glorify. For example, they rejoice in the marginalisation of the unemployed, as if being out of work puts you outside capitalism. The working class is revolutionary precisely because it is at the heart of the capitalist mode of production.

The Wombles say that, "we want to demonstrate 'another possible world' which is already here today. The world of Self-Organization - Solidarity - Autonomy - Direct Action." So, there's no need for a revolution then! The 'other world' can be created despite the existence of capitalism.

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Bookchin:

What, finally, is a 'temporary autonomous zone'? 'The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerrilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself, to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it' (TAZ, p. 101). In a TAZ we can 'realize many of our true Desires, even if only for a season, a brief Pirate Utopia, a warped free-zone in the old Space/Time continuum)' (TAZ, p. 62). 'Potential TAZs' include 'the sixties-style 'tribal gathering,' the forest conclave of eco-saboteurs, the idyllic Beltane of the neopagans, anarchist conferences, and gay faery circles,' not to speak of 'nightclubs, banquets,' and 'old-time libertarian picnics' -- no less! (TAZ, p. 100).

The bourgeoisie has nothing whatever to fear from such lifestyle declamations. With its aversion for institutions, mass-based organizations, its largely subcultural orientation, its moral decadence, its celebration of transience, and its rejection of programs, this kind of narcissistic anarchism is socially innocuous, often merely a safety valve for discontent toward the prevailing social order. With the Bey, lifestyle anarchism takes flight from all meaningful social activism and a steadfast commitment to lasting and creative projects by dissolving itself into kicks, postmodernist nihilism, and a dizzying Nietzschean sense of elitist superiority.

The price that anarchism will pay if it permits this swill to displace the libertarian ideals of an earlier period could be enormous. The Bey's egocentric anarchism, with its post'modern'ist withdrawal into individualistic 'autonomy,' Foucauldian 'limit experiences,' and neo-Situationist 'ecstasy,' threatens to render the very word anarchism politically and socially harmless -- a mere fad for the titillation of the petty bourgeois of all ages.

Mike Harman
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Oct 9 2004 13:57

Oh dear, looks like this is exactly what he was talking about:

http://www.labofii.net/labwiki/home.php?pagename=Main.ProposedProgramme

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99p Profit – Chris Graham

Giving them back their own shit man!

Chris Graham expresses his negativity towards capitalist modes of production and consumption by demonstrating the art of eating and shitting money to spend in store.

http://www.cgraham.net

Feast of the Insurrectionary Imagination – CIRCA

THE CLANDESTINE INSURGENT REBEL CLOWN ARMY will be celebrating the end of the European Social Forum with a sumptuous Feast of Insurrectionary Imagination hosted by the eatery most coverted by clowns and with a clown at its helm. 2 Hour.