For Steven. - How is the WSM soft on nationalism?

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Jan 4 2007 12:35
revol68 wrote:
yes well that hardly changes much I mean if you didn't argue for an anarchist rather than nationalist strategy then you'd not so much be soft on nationalism as out and out nationalists.

Look if your worried about being 'soft' get youself some viagra. I'm rather frustrated with the constant apolitical refrain that reduces these questions to a rather meaningless hard V soft. People might as well be using 'good' or 'evil' which would have about the same political content. They are terms designed and used to try and shut down debate.

revol68 wrote:
The real question is what does defend mean?

In terms of the WSM's previous writings on the North I would assume it's similar to the position taken on the IRA of offering solidarity to them against attacks from the state?

As I already said in terms of a collective position thats what you'll find in the position paper.

Personally I would think in relation to Ireland that 'defend' meant opposition to 'shoot to kill', diplock courts, internment, section 31, special branch harrassment, criminalisation, collusion, extradition and the various other mechanisms the state used to try to crush the republican movement.

But I'm resistant to the constant demands to reduce these questions to a sound bite when we have gone to the bother of producing two very detailed position papers on the topic - again if you want to know what the WSM means then it is only these papers that can answer that. From any of us as individuals your just getting opinions and interpretations of those positions
http://www.wsm.ie/story/825
http://www.wsm.ie/story/804

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Jan 4 2007 13:00
JoeBlack2 wrote:
revol68 wrote:
I thought the whole point was to lay out tactical unity but I haven't seen much in the way of theorectical or tactical unity in terms of the WSM position on unions.

You probably need to consider the fact that what you see as 'the all important question that needs to be shouted about from the roof tops every time someone mentions union' we see as a minor tactical question that we are not that bothered about. And from what MartinH has said on that subject (see http://libcom.org/node/6599 ) it appears SolFed have a similar view. In fact I reckon the only reason you see it as important is because it enables you to be different.

The Organise A+Ps do not in fact say anything about it either - when I pointed this out before I was told by the leadership that of course if it would arose they would instruct the membership on the correct way to interpret what does exist. I'm paraphrasing but that is what it would boil down to if you got beyond half a dozen active members who were sick of the sight of each other.

Plus I find your comparison with the online behaviour of Organise weird. From where I'm sitting it looks like WSM members are very good about not rising to your attempts to start rows between us (and yes I know about your PMs). Whereas the Organise members seem to fight with each other whenever Bobby posts, about the only solidarity I've seen are Bouls regular attempts to defend the indefensible when it comes to your bullying.

The fact that we don't all have to pretend to all think alike probably helps.

Way to troll JoeBlack! We do regard support of people to full time positions in the unions as an important issue, not a minor tactical issue, as you well know. And again, no, it's importance is not that its an issue that makes us 'different' to the WSM, but you are well aware of that too. And that difference is not based on us all having to 'pretend' to think alike. Whether we agree with martinh (or SolFed) on this isn't the issue either now is it?

WTF is this 'the leadership' shite??? And who are these less than half dozen active members who are 'sick of the sight of each other'??? Would that be the dozen or so people who are meeting this weekend (from the Belfast Local) to discuss Organise!'s ongoing involvement in opposition to the water tax? The majority of Organise! members don't post here, I haven't posted much lately at all, and the four people who are members of Organise! who do post do not make up half our membership.

Lets start a ban Joeblack thread will we? No, of course not, but fuckin catch yerself on.

In solidarity;

Boul

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Jan 4 2007 14:22
georgestapleton wrote:
In my first post I wrote:
I'm not really interested in another thread on the WSM position on nationalism as oppossed to the left-communist line, but only in how the WSM line on nationalism and national liberation etc. as against the NEFAC line.

Unfortunately this has turned into another thread on the WSM position on nationalism as oppossed to the left-communist line, which I'm not really interested in.

I think that one of the problems with the discussion that you want is that while ‘formal positions’, may be very similar, people’s interpretation of these positions can be very different.

I think that if we look at this is a very binary way there are two clear positions. The first is that of the left communists, and the second is that of the nationalists themselves. It is a question of two oppositions. All other positions are variations on these two themes. Actually they are variations on the latter. However they phrase it, Trotskyist positions of unconditional, critical, or any other kind of support, are all types of support. I would include all talk of defence in this category too.

I think that Revol stated it very clearly when he wrote:

Revol wrote:
The WSM position was clearly based on more than that, basically that republicanism represented a progressive, albeit misguided, force that deserved solidarity on the grounds of it's anti imperialism.

I think that the real question here is one of whether we see national liberation movements as a progressive, or anti-working class force.

The problem with NEFAC’s statement is that it does not have any position on this question:

NEFAC wrote:
National Liberation
We do not support the ideology of national liberation movements, which claims that there are common interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination. Although we support working class struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide and colonization, we are opposed to the creation of a new ruling class. We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through a social revolution waged against both the imperialists and the local ruling class. This social revolution will have to spread across national borders. We further reject all forms of nationalism as this only serves
to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country, and national boundaries will be eliminated. We must encourage and develop international solidarity which will one day lay the basis for a global social revolution.

In my opinion this amounts to not having a position at all. It allows people who basically agree with the position of the communist left on this issue to exist in the same organisation as those who have a completely opposite position such as Wayne Price.

It allows people to say:

SRB wrote:
I have my own disagreements with some of Wayne's positions and nuanced interpretations, but I have yet to hear a convincing arguement from the ultra-left peanut gallery that places anything Wayne has said in regards to 'national liberation' outside our group's formal position.
As far as I have ever known Wayne...
- he does not support the ideology of national liberation movement.
- he has never claimed there are common interests between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination.
- he does not support the creation of a new ruling class.
- he agrees that it is only through trans-national social revolution that imperialism will be effectively defeated.
- he rejects nationalism.
- he supports eliminating national boundries.
- he considers himself an internationalist.

I could argue that he did support the ideology of national liberation movements, and that he has claimed that there are common interests between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination. The fact that members of NEFAC say that he hasn’t, in my opinion, shows that the vagueness of this statement makes it completely meaningless.

Our group considers the national question to be of the utmost importance. It considers that the nationalists are actively engaged in an anti-working class campaign. I think that our statement of basic positions is clear on this:

EKS wrote:
The rejection of all forms of nationalism, and the defence of internationalism
Nationalism is a basic slogan used by the bourgeoisie to organize the working class in capitalist interests. The claim that independent from their class position, every member of a nation is on the same boat only serves to destroy the revolutionary potential of the working class by joining two antagonistic classes on an ideological level. Starting form this premise, it comes to say that every person has to work for ‘his or her’ own nation, own capitalist class, and the struggle for their own class interests would result in the sinking of the boat. Unlike the whole lefts claim’s in the case of both Turkish and Kurdish nationalisms, they have no different characteristics.
The basic reality denied by people who talk about national liberation struggles against imperialism is that the characteristic of the struggle of the working class liberation is above nations. The liberation of the working class can only be achieved by raising the flag of class struggle against every kind of national liberation struggle, demagogy, and imperialist war. Today people who talk about a ‘national front’ against imperialists, and national independence are in a race with liberals, who they think that they oppose, to deny class contradictions. Kurdish nationalism, the so called opponent of Turkish nationalism, which it also feeds upon, realizes the complete separation of the working class by performing the same role as Turkish nationalism for the workers in its own region.

Now, one can agree, or disagree with this, but the position is clear unlike that of NEFAC.

In reply to Joe’s obsession with the word soft, I would characterise as soft the position held by those in organisations like the AF, or NEFAC which is in basic agreement with the position held by the communist left, but waters it down to maintain unity with people who hold positions similar to Wayne’s. The position held by Wayne Price in my opinion is not soft. It is anti-working class .

Finally, in reply to George’s statement that it is unimportant that he sees himself as being ‘a bit of a diddly-i-'n'-whack-fol-de-day-sure-she's-a-grand-aul-country-to-be-sure-to-be sure leprechaun twat’, I did take it as a joke, but if somebody English said that they were a bit of a God-save-the-queen-it’s-the-best-country-in-the-world-British-bulldog-twat, I am sure people would react differently.

Devrim

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pingtiao
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Jan 4 2007 14:35
devrim wrote:
In reply to Joe’s obsession with the word soft, I would characterise as soft the position held by those in organisations like the AF, or NEFAC which is in basic agreement with the position held by the communist left, but waters it down to maintain unity with people who hold positions similar to Wayne’s.

I have always thought the AF had a fairly "hard" position on NLMs actually, Devrim. What are you referring to?

Dust
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Jan 4 2007 15:07
Quote:
Revol said:
And on the question of extradition, why the fuck would youse feel need to throw the support of a tiny lil anarchist group behind a muderous republican movement that had backing from wealthy americans.

What you are arguing against is Joes interpretation of Anarkismo.net's position paper. Not the WSM position paper.

Revol Said:

Quote:
The WSM position was clearly based on more than that, basically that republicanism represented a progressive, albeit misguided, force that deserved solidarity on the grounds of it's anti imperialism.

I really didn't want this to turn into another debate on the north but seeing as it was probably inevitable this is what our position paper has to say about it.

Quote:
17. The British state is responsible for the long history of armed conflict in Irealnd. As long as the British state remains in Ireland there remains the possibility of armed struggle against it, especially when there is no mass movement to demonstrate an alternative to militarism. We have opposed the republican armed struggle because it was an impediment to working class unity. It was based on wrong politics, it was a wrong strategy and it used wrong tactics. However we refused to blame the republicans for the situation in the six counties. Their campaign was the result of a problem and must not be confused with its cause. In the final analysis, the cause lies with the continuing occupation by the British state.

Quote:
Devrim Said

I think that one of the problems with the discussion that you want is that while ‘formal positions’, may be very similar, people’s interpretation of these positions can be very different.

I think you have a point in relation to the interpreation question. But i am not convinced that it is a massively bad thing. Position Papers need to allow the flexibility to operate in reality. Many of the debates we have within the organisation are to deal with the best manner to approach a particular question within the framework provided by the position papers.

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Jan 4 2007 15:10
Devrim wrote:
Finally, in reply to George’s statement that it is unimportant that he sees himself as being ‘a bit of a diddly-i-'n'-whack-fol-de-day-sure-she's-a-grand-aul-country-to-be-sure-to-be sure leprechaun twat’, I did take it as a joke, but if somebody English said that they were a bit of a God-save-the-queen-it’s-the-best-country-in-the-world-British-bulldog-twat, I am sure people would react differently.

To be fair, the bits about the queen and "it's the best country in the world" have clear political content. It's not quite the same thing.

You might as well say that supporting national football teams is nationalist by that logic.

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Jan 4 2007 17:17
revol68 wrote:
yeah Devrim the AF have always been solidly opposed to national liberation and should be proud of their principled stance against cheerleading the IRA that went on in other lefty/anarcho circles.

Yeah because obviously the way you tell where on the viagra scale an organisation scores is through reference to how much they oppose a 'small nation nationalism' struggling against the 'big nation nationalism' of their state!! Not so much a comment on the AF as on the stupidity of such a measure.

As for the rest there is very little political content at all, just 'moral' outrage by the bucketful - and a good bit of swearing to make it sound real. A lot of it is very, very dishonest. Revol is so obcessed by us he already knows we always opposed IRA attacks on workers including those doing work for the security forces.

Likewise in relation to defending loyalists he has raised this at least three times and has been answered at least three times, our position paper includes We generally support all calls for public enquiries and all attempts to limit police powers even where we disagree with the politics of those who are the victims of the repression. So he is simply trolling when he raises the same question again. He has read our position paper so he also knows we say .

Quote:
We condemn all sectarian actions (i.e. those carried out because of religion) including any that are carried out by republicans

I guess he reckons if he repeats a lie enough some people will be fooled by it.

Likewise when he asks about progressive nationalism he alrady knows we say

Quote:
11. Republicanism seeks to create a society where there will be a fairer division of power but where capitalism and a ruling class will continue to exist. Republicanism in Ireland and internationally contained radical democratic roots but with the development of autonomous working class politics these were relegated to the fringes in order to eliminate the threat of the working class seizing the reins during any upheavel.

12.1 Irish republicanism is now based on a practise which first seeks to unite Catholic workers with Catholic bosses in a common struggle for a united Ireland. Republicanism has considerable support among sections of the catholic working class in the north but it has no attraction for Protestant workers and has no strategy for approaching Protestant workers beyond rhetorical appeals.

12.2 However, republicanism unlike loyalism often developed significant left strands within it because, at least in theory, it was based on the 'equal rights of all' rather then the 'god given destiny of the chosen people' or the secular variations on this theme.

and

Quote:
13.1 Left republicans talk of combining the struggle to end partition and the struggle for socialism into a single struggle. But the sectarian reality of the conflict meant that whatever the rhetoric their only audience was amongst catholic workers. And they also lack any strategy for winning over protestant workers beyond hoping they will see beyond their 'false consiousness'. This would be a weak strategy in any case but coming from organisations which promote Leninist politics and are frequently seen as infested with sectarian, criminal and thuggish behaviour it is no strategy at all. Whatever variants of republicanism can be sketched in theory the history of the last decades means that the language of republicanism is not a way to initiating a meaningful dialogue with any large number of protestant workers.

13.2 In any case because of globalisation the period when republicanism represented a viable strategy is over. The integration of the world economy means there is no longer space for a small economy to go it alone without its economy collapsing.

I'd recommend people not fall for such dishonest methods and instead look to see what the position papers actually say, see
http://www.wsm.ie/story/804

Its also worth thinking about why he is incapable of going beyond such methods - in particular if your one of those people who thinks he has something to say.

ps Boul I was rather obviously winding up revol but if your interested in discussing the issues I raised seriously I'd suggest a new thread.

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Jan 4 2007 17:34
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
Personally I would think in relation to Ireland that 'defend' meant opposition to 'shoot to kill', diplock courts, internment, section 31, special branch harrassment, criminalisation, collusion, extradition and the various other mechanisms the state used to try to crush the republican movement.

Does this mean that i defend the british state when i condemn IRA bombs, murders, punishment beatings, and the various other mechanisms the IRA used to wage it's "war"

Damn that's the exact analogy I was going to use.

Well, what does "defend" mean? And what is a grassroots "anti-imperalist movement"?

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Jan 4 2007 17:35
Quote:
ps Boul I was rather obviously winding up revol but if your interested in discussing the issues I raised seriously I'd suggest a new thread.

Another new thread for what Joe? There is nothing in that post that merits serious discussion, a lot of misinformed slurs about Organise! in a post that by your own standards (which are granted quite high) is a pretty fuckin' bad example of trolling.

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Jan 4 2007 18:30
pingtiao wrote:
devrim wrote:
In reply to Joe’s obsession with the word soft, I would characterise as soft the position held by those in organisations like the AF, or NEFAC which is in basic agreement with the position held by the communist left, but waters it down to maintain unity with people who hold positions similar to Wayne’s.

I have always thought the AF had a fairly "hard" position on NLMs actually, Devrim. What are you referring to?

I am sorry, maybe this is a bit unfair. I think that the AF's position is actually o.k. I did say that:

Devrim wrote:
the position held by those in organisations like the AF, or NEFAC which is in basic agreement with the position held by the communist left

The thing about NEFAC, and Wayne Price is obvious, but I include the AF there due to people saying things like:

knightrose wrote:
Like I say, I think there's more that unites us (the AF, and the WSM) than divides us.

I think that the national issue is central to communist politics. If one takes that line, there is actually quite a lot that divides them. What I was referring to when I used the word 'soft' was the fact that the formal position can actually be quite flexible.

I feel, however, that I may have misrepresented the AF, and offer my apologies.

Devrim

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Jan 5 2007 10:36

On a related note, I've just noticed this extract of a NEFAC collective's article I was reading about Love and Rage, which makes me think maybe I shouldn't defend NEFAC so much from accusations of national liberationism...

Quote:
Despite its ultimate dissolution, Love and Rage did have successes. The first is that it lasted as long as it did. Dozens of other anarchist organizations, some rather large, had much shorter lifespans. Second, L&R established a legitimate pole within the anarchist movement for supporting national liberation struggles. On this question L&R caused a lot of controversy in a movement which had been traditionally hostile or abstentionist.

That's not just soft on nationalism, that's nationalist.

Holy crap it gets worse:

Quote:
NATIONAL LIBERATION

National liberation is not only formal political independence from imperialism, but also economic independence. Carried out conscientiously, national liberation would raise the productive forces in the country, free the peasantry, and promote a flowering of democratic institutions. This is something which a traditional market capitalist class, tied as it is to international imperialism, is incapable of doing. Even in South Africa, which already had well-developed productive forces, the government, which was born out of a long struggle against imperialism and racism, has already junked even the reform program of its own Freedom Charter.
...
This is not to say that anarchists should not support national liberation. As stated, L&R's support for such struggles represented a real advance in the anarchist movement. Only if oppressed peoples can throw off their imperialist bindings can they see clearly that they need to go on and do away with their own home-grown rulers, too.

This was by WEB, Open City Collective (NEFAC-NYC). I wonder if WEB is an actual person distinct from Wayne Price? I'd assume so...

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Jan 5 2007 11:51

Revol:
Joe dealt with the substance of your post but to respond to your question.

Quote:
Let me ask you a simple question, on your interpretation of the WSM position paper should the WSM have offered solidarity to the republican movement?

Not exactly sure what you mean by solidarity here. If you mean support (verbal or pratical) for the IRA or similar orgs then i think that that would have been wrong.

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Jan 5 2007 11:53
Dust wrote:
Revol:
Joe dealt with the substance of your post but to respond to your question.

Quote:
Let me ask you a simple question, on your interpretation of the WSM position paper should the WSM have offered solidarity to the republican movement?

Not exactly sure what you mean by solidarity here. If you mean support (verbal or pratical) for the IRA or similar orgs then i think that that would have been wrong.

Is defending the IRA verbally or practically the same as supporting them? Or are they not a "grassroots" anti-imperialist movement? And if they're not, what are?

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Jan 5 2007 12:46
John. wrote:
Is defending the IRA verbally or practically the same as supporting them?

We are getting into semantics here but I think its reasonable to argue that support has the implications of providing concrete aid (guns, money, personel, safe houses etc) and/or of support for their political progam. We didn't do/argue for such things.

Defend is intended to represent a position of opposing state repression and opposing the political line that the troubles/sectarianism were caused by the republican movement.

There is a big gap between these two positions hence the use of the different terminology. If you want to discuss the political position as opposed to the semantics it would be useful to accept (at least for now) the distinction in terminology used.

John. wrote:
Or are they not a "grassroots" anti-imperialist movement? And if they're not, what are?

The IRA has always been a heirichical organisation and is an organisation (ie with definite membership) as opposed to a movement. I'm not sure any grassroots anti-imperialist movement ever emerged in Ireland except perhaps in a couple of brief periods, 1919-20 in the south, particular in Munster (http://www.struggle.ws/ws/ws51_munster.html) and 1969/70 in Derry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Derry). Both are arguably examples of where although there were hierichical nationalist organisations active they were not simply in control of popular anti-imperialist resistance but rather that movement had significant elements of workers self-managment within it. Importantly this meant these movements suggested the possibility of something beyond capitalism under a different set of rulers and were something anarchists should have been involved in.

I'm much less certain of Derry BTW and unfortunately we have't yet done any real research into it - a major oversight we should rectify. At this stage we have done a fair bit of work on the earlier period, articles will be found at http://www.wsm.ie/national/history

A similar argument could be made by the 1798 rebellion although this is rather too long ago to draw any simple parallels with today so I'll leave that to one side.

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Jan 5 2007 13:05
JoeBlack2 wrote:
John. wrote:
Is defending the IRA verbally or practically the same as supporting them?

We are getting into semantics here

I think as the statements are all so vague that's what this discussion has to be really.

Quote:
but I think its reasonable to argue that support has the implications of providing concrete aid (guns, money, personel, safe houses etc) and/or of support for their political progam. We didn't do/argue for such things.

Ok fair enough.

Quote:
Defend is intended to represent a position of opposing state repression and opposing the political line that the troubles/sectarianism were caused by the republican movement.

That sounds fair enough, but as revol pointed out, saying opposing repressive state actions is defending some national liberation movement means that opposing terrorist actions of that movement is "defending" the other repressive state. Hence "defending" nat lib movements is meaningless using those definitions.

As revol again points out, the only reason you would argue against such repression is because it may either be used against the working class, or because innocent workers might be punished instead (presumably you wouldn't actually be upset if some pub-bombing scumbag got interned).

Quote:
John. wrote:
Or are they not a "grassroots" anti-imperialist movement? And if they're not, what are?

The IRA has always been a heirichical organisation and is an organisation (ie with definite membership) as opposed to a movement. I'm not sure any grassroots anti-imperialist movement ever emerged in Ireland except perhaps in a couple of brief periods

Right so according to the terminology above, you wouldn't even "defend" the IRA, or pretty much any existing national liberation movement in the world today, other than perhaps the EZLN? Or almost any (or just any?) nat lib movement that has ever existed?

That being the case isn't the statement entirely meaningless? And so why don't you just say you disagree with national liberation and say you just support the working class fighting for its own independent interests?

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Jan 5 2007 13:42

Again its worth remining everyone that those two lines are not the WSM position on imperialism or the partition of Ireland. We have two very detailed position papers on those topics.

John. wrote:
That sounds fair enough, but as revol pointed out, saying opposing repressive state actions is defending some national liberation movement means that opposing terrorist actions of that movement is "defending" the other repressive state.

Well no, this is really just another example of his standard technique of stripping all the complexity out of a situation.

In reality we were very, very careful in opposing particular actions not to put ourselves in the same camp as the state. This isn't that difficult as highlighting state hypocrisy when it comes to targeting workers involved in a war effort is hardly challenging - its a tactic the state uses in every war.

The only mobilisations against such action worth taking part in were generally those called by the trade unions who were generally careful not to turn such mobilisations into state sponsored rallies.

John. wrote:
presumably you wouldn't actually be upset if some pub-bombing scumbag got interned

Time has passed so I guess its easy today to come out with this formulation now but when I became politically active there were quite a large number of innocent Irish people in jail in Britain because all the state had to do was accuse them of being a 'pub-bombing scumbag' to silence debate. The idea that state accusations against individuals should simply be accepted as fact would not have made sense at the time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildford_Four
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_Six
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maguire_Seven

And again when you put back the complexity in then you could have decided not to mobilise around particular individuals. In reality though the Republican Movement tended to make sure such choices did not even have to be made by not building campaigns in such cases. Most histories of the hunger strikes for example point out that who went on hunger strike was in part determined by diiscouraging those whose actions were or could be presented as sectarian.

'pub-bombers' would have been a tiny percentage (1 in 800?) of republican prisoners. The vast majority were convicted only of membership or storing arms. From memory I think at least 30,000 people were imprisoned for republican offences.

John. wrote:
Right so according to the terminology above, you wouldn't even "defend" the IRA, or pretty much any existing national liberation movement in the world today, other than perhaps the EZLN? Or almost any (or just any?) nat lib movement that has ever existed?

See my comments above about these two sentences not being the total of our position.

That aside a central point here is that such movements are far more common then you might expect if you were reliant on mainstream and leninist history alone. Many national liberation struggles included such moments, even in Iraq you'll find groups oppposed to the occupation that also have a grassroots character. The bankruptcy of ultra left politics is that it refuses to analysise beyond the silly 'hard' v 'soft' sloganeering.

The articles I link to above about the war of independence cover events that even most people on the Irish left were unaware of. I suspect that once you dig in any such struggle you start uncovering such moments. Of course if you don't see a need to look you won't find them.

A comrade of ours had done quite a bit in uncovering such history in relation to Haiti, unfortuantly he is one of the people who won't touch libcom because of the usual standard of discussion on here.

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Jan 5 2007 14:49
JoeBlack2 wrote:
John. wrote:
That sounds fair enough, but as revol pointed out, saying opposing repressive state actions is defending some national liberation movement means that opposing terrorist actions of that movement is "defending" the other repressive state.

Well no, this is really just another example of his standard technique of stripping all the complexity out of a situation.

Er, well I don't think so, and from the rest of your responses to this point I don't think you address it at all. Unless you're saying that if you wrote something critical of say a nationalist terrorist attack you'd also make sure you were critical of the state. But then again for their to be any difference you would have to refrain from criticising nationalist terrorists in an article attacking a repressive state policy. Which I certainly don't think anarchists should do.

Quote:
John. wrote:
presumably you wouldn't actually be upset if some pub-bombing scumbag got interned

Time has passed so I guess its easy today to come out with this formulation now but when I became politically active there were quite a large number of innocent Irish people in jail in Britain because all the state had to do was accuse them of being a 'pub-bombing scumbag' to silence debate.

From this and the rest of your argument here you don't seem to contradict my point:

Quote:
As revol again points out, the only reason you would argue against such repression is because it may either be used against the working class, or because innocent workers might be punished instead (presumably you wouldn't actually be upset if some pub-bombing scumbag got interned).

So you can still criticis repressive legislation on a class basis without "defending" criminal nationalist murdering arseholes.

Quote:
John. wrote:
Right so according to the terminology above, you wouldn't even "defend" the IRA, or pretty much any existing national liberation movement in the world today, other than perhaps the EZLN? Or almost any (or just any?) nat lib movement that has ever existed?

See my comments above about these two sentences not being the total of our position.

That aside a central point here is that such movements are far more common then you might expect if you were reliant on mainstream and leninist history alone. Many national liberation struggles included such moments, even in Iraq you'll find groups oppposed to the occupation that also have a grassroots character.

You got any examples for me to look at? Sounds a bit fluffy for my liking.

Quote:
The bankruptcy of ultra left politics is that it refuses to analysise beyond the silly 'hard' v 'soft' sloganeering.

:? This is truly bizarre. What "'hard' v 'soft' sloganeering"? How is it a slogan to say they think you're soft on nationalism? And it's not like it's a common ultra-left position or anything; it's just a way of saying someone's not out-and-out nationalists, but they are not very critical of it, or support national liberation or whathaveyou.

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Jan 5 2007 15:17

As I suggest finding the examples require detailed examination, in any case where this has been done (I gave the examples of Ireland and Haiti) such things are found. And even in the case of the imperialist created sectarian blood bath in Iraq when you look you do find groups opposed to the occupation with a working class agenda (WCPI for one although flawed by their odd leninism, Southern Oil Workers unions are another). You yourself suggested the Zapatistas. This is more than enough to suggest that exactly the same sort of thing could be found in many national liberation movements once someone has put the work into studying them. In any case it demonstrates it is not a meaningless formulation which was the original point.

On Ireland the reality is that anarchists took part in demonstrations with republicans against state repression and trade union demonstratons against sectarian attacks. They didn't take place in demonstrations with the RUC against republican attacks. This is true of the fore runners of Organise as well as the WSM. Once real world complexity is put back into the situation the attempts to draw parallels just sounds silly and I really don't see the point of hypothetical positions that have no application in the real world. I also think the sections of the position papers I have already posted address the politics of the differences in some depth.

Lastly I find your constant use of 'murdering bastard' type language to refer to one side of the nationalist equation only to be an example of big nation nationalism. An Irish nationalist would see British soldiers as murdering bastards. British troops in Iraq could be called murdering bastards by the same logic. I'm fairly sure you don't apply the same language to them and you should ask yourself why. They are all part of organisations that target workers as part of their war effort, why save the emotive language for just 'the other side'?

We've helped organise a public meeting with a US marine who admits to machine gunning a car full of Iraqi civilians. We even interviewed him for Workers Solidarity - see http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=73070 You need to get over blaming the individuals on the other side for such fucked up situations - in particular if you want to view things in class rather than nationalist terms.

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Jan 5 2007 15:32
John. wrote:
This was by WEB, Open City Collective (NEFAC-NYC). I wonder if WEB is an actual person distinct from Wayne Price? I'd assume so...

WEB and Wayne Price are different persons, but they have been working on common political projects for more than 20 years now, so it shouldn't come as a surprice that they tend to agree on a lot of things. They were both in the (Trotskyist) Revolutionary Socialist League, then Love and Rage, then started The Utopian magazine/Open City Collective, and finally joined NEFAC together.

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Jan 5 2007 15:43
JoeBlack2 wrote:
As I suggest finding the examples require detailed examination, in any case where this has been done (I gave the examples of Ireland and Haiti) such things are found. And even in the case of the imperialist created sectarian blood bath in Iraq when you look you do find groups opposed to the occupation with a working class agenda (WCPI for one although flawed by their odd leninism, Southern Oil Workers unions are another).

I'm not sure you can meaningfully call the Southern Oil Workers union a "grassroots national liberation movement" - it's a union, a working class organisation.

I don't think the anarkismo statement is quite as nice and fluffy as you're trying to say anyway because wasn't wayne on there telling people to support hezbollah recently?

Quote:
In any case it demonstrates it is not a meaningless formulation which was the original point.

Well it does because the word "defend" you've tried to show that's it not meaningless but you have failed. And if the zapatistas are the only grassroots nat lib movement in the world (I don't think a union or a Leninist grouplet count as this) then why don't you just say "we defend the zapatistas" or something?

Quote:
I also think the sections of the position papers I have already posted address the politics of the differences in some depth.

I'll try to have a proper look at these. They are very boring though...

Quote:
Lastly I find your constant use of 'murdering bastard' type language to refer to one side of the nationalist equation only to be an example of big nation nationalism. An Irish nationalist would see British soldiers as murdering bastards. British troops in Iraq could be called murdering bastards by the same logic. I'm fairly sure you don't apply the same language to them and you should ask yourself why. They are all part of organisations that target workers as part of their war effort, why save the emotive language for just 'the other side'?

For starters the soldiers are economically conscripted - not doing it of their free will. Secondly, the soldiers don't think they are blowing working people up to usher in the glorious age of socialism, thirdly we're both anarchists so we obviously won't support the British army, whereas sadly it's not so obvious to some people (not meaning you here btw) the other way round...

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Jan 5 2007 15:58

John I think I was fairly clear a few posts back that I'm talking of movements rather than organisations. And it is quite possible for something to be a union, an organisation of workers and anti-imperialist. But don't take my word for it, here are the words of the president of the union "To this end, I convey to you the greetings of Iraq's workers, and in particular the oil workers who, by their struggle, have tormented the forces of evil represented by America and its allies. They have stood against occupation forces and confronted them, preventing them from getting to the oil installations, and have stood likewise against foreign companies. "
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/01/331399.html

Reality and your theory and not meeting up here which means that your theory is wrong. He goes on to say

Quote:
From this platform, I would like to make clear to all the positions of our Union, which are known to the Iraqi people:

1. Occupation forces must leave the country immediately and
unconditionally.

2. We will stand firmly and resolutely against all those who want to tamper with the security and power of the Iraqi people.

3. We condemn terrorist attacks against our people and stress the importance of respecting human rights.

4. We support the honorable resistance that targets and strikes at foreign military forces and seeks to drive the occupiers out.

5. We will not allow the intrusion of foreign companies [in the oil sector] and production sharing agreements, and we will stand with all our force against monopoly firms such as Halliburton, KBR, Shell, and others.

6. We ask the patriotic forces, the antiwar movement and peace-lovers to support our Union in its campaign against privatization and PSAs.

7. We demand the unconditional cancellation of Iraq's [foreign] debts, as these debts never benefited the Iraqi people but served the buried regime.

I can't help if you find our position papers boring and frankly the apolitical nature of this taunt makes me think this conversation has nowhere to go as if it does go somewhere you are liable to on more of the same.

And of course there are excuses for why soldiers join imperialist armies, my point is that the same is true for those who join armed nationalist outfits (and frequently they are stronger then needing the money) but you only seem to consider the other side 'murdering bastards' while you find excuses for your side. This is inconsistent, an anti-nationalist position would either accept or deny such excuses to combattants on both sides, excusing your own side only looks very dodgy.

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madashell
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Jan 5 2007 16:06

Joe, that you see this in terms of "sides" with the Irish on one side and the British on the other speaks volumes as to your real attitude towards nationalism.

Would you describe Loyalist gangsters as "murdering bastards"? If not, why wouldn't you describe Nationalist gangsters in the same terms?

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Jan 5 2007 16:11
madashell wrote:
Joe, that you see this in terms of "sides" with the Irish on one side and the British on the other speaks volumes as to your real attitude towards nationalism.

Err I thought it was obvious but I was using 'sides' ironically to hightlight the problem of calling one 'side' murdering bastards but not the other.

madashell wrote:
Would you describe Loyalist gangsters as "murdering bastards"?

No I wouldn't. In fact you can check all my posts on Ireland and you won't find any such one sided nationalist language in any of them.

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Jan 5 2007 16:28
JoeBlack2 wrote:
John I think I was fairly clear a few posts back that I'm talking of movements rather than organisations.

Yes but you didn't have any examples of actual movements, apart from the Zapatistas.

Quote:
And it is quite possible for something to be a union, an organisation of workers and anti-imperialist.

Of course, but it's still a union, not an "anti-imperialist movement." In fact most of its "anti-imperialism" which you quote is actually just bullshit nationalism which I wouldn't support or defend in the slightest.

Quote:
I can't help if you find our position papers boring and frankly the apolitical nature of this taunt makes me think this conversation has nowhere to go as if it does go somewhere you are liable to on more of the same.

Sorry it wasn't meant to be a taunt, just my reason (excuse?) for not having read them yet. It doesn't mean I think they're shit or anything; I liked Cleaver's Reading Capital... but I got too bored to read much of it.

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you only seem to consider the other side 'murdering bastards' while you find excuses for your side.

"My side"? Firstly I haven't made any "excuses" for the british army, secondly they're not fucking "mine" at all. This is ridiculous, trying to paint me as a British nationalist. I was calling murdering Irish nationalists murdering bastards, firstly because they are, and secondly to see if what you were getting at was that you would "defend" them. You say throughout that you will defend them (by opposing repressive state tactics, even though that's not actually defending them), but also that they are not a "grassroots anti-imperialist movement" that the statement says you will defend! You do seem to be "defending" them from me calling them "bastards" though, maybe that's what the statement means? wink

Quote:
This is inconsistent, an anti-nationalist position would either accept or deny such excuses to combattants on both sides, excusing your own side only looks very dodgy.

I think calling them "my side" looks very dodgy.

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Jan 5 2007 16:29
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Err I thought it was obvious but I was using 'sides' ironically to hightlight the problem of calling one 'side' murdering bastards but not the other.

Except that the British army and the IRA (and similar offshoots) are clearly completley different in nature. And you've yet to propose a mechanism as compelling as economic conscription to explain why people don't join the IRA, UVF, etc. of their own free will.

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Jan 5 2007 16:38

H'mm I rather like the way you firstly told me I couldn't describe the Basra oil workers union as anti-imperialist because they were a union yet now you've downgraded them to nationalist shite. Makes it a bit easy to 'prove' only the EZLN fit when you keep moving the goal posts like this.

John. wrote:
"My side"? Firstly I haven't made any "excuses" for the british army, secondly they're not fucking "mine" at all. This is ridiculous, trying to paint me as a British nationalist. I was calling murdering Irish nationalists murdering bastards, firstly because they are, and secondly to see if what you were getting at was that you would "defend" them.

I am being serious here as I reckon there is a lot of unconsious big nation nationalism going on in these discussion.

However perhaps I am being unfair to you in this assumption. If you can point out a post on this site or any other in which your refer to British army soldiers in either Iraq or Ireland as murdering bastards (or words to that effect) I'll withdraw my slur. If you can't then I suggest you put your indignation to one side and consider why this is the case.

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Jan 5 2007 16:45
madashell wrote:
And you've yet to propose a mechanism as compelling as economic conscription to explain why people don't join the IRA, UVF, etc. of their own free will.

If you talk to people involved or even just read the available biographies you'll find the trigger to joining is often
1. A family member getting killed or tortured
2. A massacre

It's quite hard to decide to go for a Burger king wage than an army one, its also quite hard to witness that sort of thing and not look for ways to 'strike back'. I'm not sure I've ever come across someone who simply gives ideological reasons for getting involved.

Incidentally I've delibretly made 1 and 2 general enough so it applies to loyalists as well as republicans. Billy Wright for instance claimed it was the Kingmill massacre that pushed him into armed loyalism. Lots of republicans say it was Bloody Sunday. 'Murdering bastard' might sound hard but its politically useless in understanding the process.

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Jan 5 2007 17:03
JoeBlack2 wrote:
And even in the case of the imperialist created sectarian blood bath in Iraq when you look you do find groups opposed to the occupation with a working class agenda (WCPI for one although flawed by their odd leninism, Southern Oil Workers unions are another). You yourself suggested the Zapatistas. This is more than enough to suggest that exactly the same sort of thing could be found in many national liberation movements once someone has put the work into studying them.

But why can't you just support these groups on the basis of their "working class agenda". Why do you need to set up a special category for "grassroots national liberation mevements"?

As for your accusation about ultra-leftist sloganeering, I think that totally misses the point. First of all, it is just as much empty sloganeering to declare oneself "in solidarity with" this or that national liberation movement as it is to denounce it, as long as one doesn't do anything about more about it. And if one does put one's words into action, the question becomes whether or not we are going to aid reactionary anti-working class organizations just because they happen to be fighting "the imperialists". Wayne Price has made it quite clear that would be willing in principle to give material aid to such groups (while of course "opposing them politically"). And the only criticism of this that you have made so far is that he uses "clunky Marxist terminology".

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Jan 5 2007 17:11
Felix Frost wrote:
But why can't you just support these groups on the basis of their "working class agenda". Why do you need to set up a special category for "grassroots national liberation mevements"?

Because if you debate things out in advance using honest terminology that expresses the complexity of the real world then when you have to deal with that complexety its easier to avoid opportunism and self-delusion.

eg The Basra oil workers union is clearly working class but they also clearly have a set of demands tainted by nationalism. If you have pretended this can't happpen then either you pretend not to see this reality or you cut yourself off. If you expect it then it isn't a problem.

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Jan 5 2007 17:13

Joe I must say I'm finding your dishonest arguing style hard to deal with... Your posts to me are filled with distortions, and you are point blank ignoring lots of my responses and questions to you.

The distortions mean I'm going to have to go back and copy bits of my posts again to show that I didn't say what you're accusing me of. This wastes my time and is annoying.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
H'mm I rather like the way you firstly told me I couldn't describe the Basra oil workers union as anti-imperialist

I never did this. I didn't say that you "couldn't describe the Basra oil workers union as anti-imperialist". What I said was:

Quote:
I'm not sure you can meaningfully call the Southern Oil Workers union a "grassroots national liberation movement" - it's a union

This statement is objectively true. Your sister might be anti-imperialist; it doesn't mean she is a "grassroots national liberation movement"

Quote:
because they were a union yet now you've downgraded them to nationalist shite.

Another lie - I said that they were a union. I said some of what they have said is "nationalist bullshit" (such as "We will not allow the intrusion of foreign companies" - who cares where they're based?). This is also true, albeit only subjectively.

Quote:
Makes it a bit easy to 'prove' only the EZLN fit when you keep moving the goal posts like this.

I'm not moving goalposts. I asked for examples of grassroots national liberation movements. You came back with one union and one tiny Leninist group. You yourself then stated to me that you were "talking of movements rather than organisations". I actually asked you for examples of movements, you're the one who gave me organisations.

Quote:
However perhaps I am being unfair to you in this assumption. If you can point out a post on this site or any other in which your refer to British army soldiers

This is pretty pathetic Joe. You know that I probably haven't done this, you're just being smarmy here. Why would I bother saying this on an anarchist discussion board? I haven't denounced evil capitalists or Tony Blair on here either because we obviously all agree that they're tossers.

I could go through and post up some of the things I've directed at you and you've ignored, but I'm pissed off with this discussion now and don't want to get further into a row. And I'm off home, I've made myself 13 minutes late already.