Neutralising the SWP

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Pilgrim
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Jan 17 2005 01:30
Neutralising the SWP

Just a brief question for an article I'm working on (sensible answers only please):

We all know the SWP is shit. You know it. I know it. Everyone here knows it.

Which begs the question, why isn't there some unified, practical, workable pact between the various anti-authoritarian groups to work together to neutralise the SWP. I've heard a great deal about how much of a problem they are, and have personal experience of their methods. I've also asked the above question on other BB's and had no response.

Ideas? Opinions?

Joe Hill
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Jan 17 2005 03:13

It's a numbers game - if they can't control the campaign, they don't take part in numbers (like Militant used to do) they send the odd party member to keep an eye on things..

Augusto_Sandino
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Jan 17 2005 07:40

I suppose that as anarchists, we could publicise different parties of the "far" left, or even join if numbers are the problem. But then that leads you into the "we shouldnt be participating in party politics" dead end. You could try getting a bad image (the truth, haha!) of the SWP spread around, potential members might look elsewhere instead.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 17 2005 17:52
Pilgrim wrote:
why isn't there some unified, practical, workable pact between the various anti-authoritarian groups to work together to neutralise the SWP?

Partly just because anti-authoritarians are bad at working together, full stop. Partly because some anarchists are sympathetic to the SWP -- or don't want to be seen to be rocking the boat or in-fighting.

I do think that when the occasion calls for it -- like during the brief height of the anti-capitalist and the anti-war protests -- anti-authoritarians working in those fields made common ground in order to make sure the SWP didn't dominate. The shenanigans in Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester STWC are examples of this.

nastyned
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Jan 17 2005 18:33
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Partly because some anarchists are sympathetic to the SWP

eek

Don't believe this

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jan 17 2005 18:42

talk about false enemies, the SWP are neutralisaing in themselves, any attack against the SWP only makes them look as if theyre worth something, if youve ever attended any of their meetings you'll understand my point, each one takes place as if 'the revolution' were a matter of organising a funeral

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 18:53

If you put on Dettol on it, it should neutralise. 8)

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 17 2005 18:58
nastyned wrote:
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Partly because some anarchists are sympathetic to the SWP

Don't believe this eek

Jack wrote:
I've got more in common with Trots than non-class struggle anarchists. And the sad thing is, when I say that, there's not even a moment of doubt that goes through my head.
Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 19:41

Way to twist his fucking words. Jack has more in common with the flowerpot men than primmos - does that make him Bill and/or Ben??

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 17 2005 19:45

'Non class struggle anarchists' were his words. And I think that includes a lot of the 'various anti-authoritarian groups' that Pilgrim was asking about.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 19:50

Yes I know what he said. And anti-authoritarianism is such a wishy washy vague concept that I don't really understand why it even exists. Surely it's reactionary??

I'm libertarian, but not at the expense of socialism. Hence why I don't understand why I'm supposedly morally obliged to cooperate with other tired activist organs like the WOMBLES.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 17 2005 19:53

So you agree with me now -- that some anarchists have more in common with the SWp than with other anarchists/anti-authoritarians?

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 20:18

Yes, but not that we "sympathise" with them. That's awful logic. If I don't like Hakim Bey's views on paedophilia does that make me Catholic (no jokes about priests kids)??

Sort your head out and quit searching for the soundbite.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 17 2005 20:22

How about

"some anarchists are more sympathetic to the SWP than to other anti-authoritarians"

Which retains my original sense and answers Pilgrim's original question.

Yes/no?

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 20:34

What the fuck is an anti-authoritarian?? What a wishy washy bullshit term...reminds me of kids hating their teacher.

redyred
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Jan 17 2005 20:39

Stop all the petty point scoring Woodbine. Jack's post was clearly a "who is less shit" statement, not an "I sympathise with...".

But on the original post - yes they're shit, yes they can be damaging to the movement as a whole, but an active and organised attack on them? - that would be more damaging. It would make them become more sectarian, it would be a diversion from more worthwile targets. They really aren't that bad that they warrant "neutralising".

WeTheYouth
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Jan 17 2005 21:03

I dont think the question is how to neutralise them, its more about how come people relate more with them than us?

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 21:10
WeTheYouth wrote:
I dont think the question is how to neutralise them, its more about how come people relate more with them than us?

Cos they're well organised (read: undemocratic) and have deliberately toned down their propaganda so that they more closely resemble a typical parliamentary party being bankrolled by a liberal NGO than a revolutionary vanguard.

I'm not a fan of the SWP at all. But I see more scope for cooperating with their members than I do with defeatist pseudo-nihilism that pollutes much of the anarchist (sic) subculture.

WeTheYouth
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Jan 17 2005 21:20
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
WeTheYouth wrote:
I dont think the question is how to neutralise them, its more about how come people relate more with them than us?

Cos they're well organised (read: undemocratic) and have deliberately toned down their propaganda so that they more closely resemble a typical parliamentary party being bankrolled by a liberal NGO than a revolutionary vanguard.

I'm not a fan of the SWP at all. But I see more scope for cooperating with their members than I do with defeatist pseudo-nihilism that pollutes much of the anarchist (sic) subculture.

True. But there is only a limited of cooperation we could ever achieve with them. I think its lack of anarchist ideas reaching even limited dissemination anywhere.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 21:31

Why should every activity have to be an "anarchist"/"anti-authoritarian" (whatever the fuck that means) activity?? Surely there's far more scope in making whatever you do in that field to be more inclusive and far-reaching than just some well-rehearsed anarchist picnic??

WeTheYouth
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Jan 17 2005 21:50
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Why should every activity have to be an "anarchist"/"anti-authoritarian" (whatever the fuck that means) activity?? Surely there's far more scope in making whatever you do in that field to be more inclusive and far-reaching than just some well-rehearsed anarchist picnic??

Why water down our beleifs for convenience?

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cantdocartwheels
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Jan 17 2005 22:08
WeTheYouth wrote:
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Why should every activity have to be an "anarchist"/"anti-authoritarian" (whatever the fuck that means) activity?? Surely there's far more scope in making whatever you do in that field to be more inclusive and far-reaching than just some well-rehearsed anarchist picnic??

Why water down our beleifs for convenience?

Unlike the german autonomist movement, when i take a piss it isn't ''anti-authoritarian''. When i take out the rubbish it isn't ''anti-authoritarian'' and when i tell anarch to stop talking it isn't ''anti-authoritarian'' either.

Likewise in organising terms, you might go round cleaning up dogshit for a community campaign, but you wouldn't try and dress it up as being ''anti-authoritarian'' and go round handing out leaflets about ''the glories of revolutionary insurrection'' while you are cleaning up the dogshit. Unless of course you think providing a source of comedy for the rest of the proletariat is your main prority.

redyred
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Jan 17 2005 23:27
WeTheYouth wrote:
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Why should every activity have to be an "anarchist"/"anti-authoritarian" (whatever the fuck that means) activity?? Surely there's far more scope in making whatever you do in that field to be more inclusive and far-reaching than just some well-rehearsed anarchist picnic??

Why water down our beleifs for convenience?

Alan isn't talking about jumping into bed with liberals, he's talking about making our actions relevant and inclusive to other people, rather than just living in the anarchist ghetto.

But anyway, since this is turning into a debate over anti-authoritarianism, I thought I'd go and ruin Woodbine and WeTheYouth's day grin

The idea of having anti-authoritarianism as some umbrella term that we (left communists, individualists etc etc) can unite under, or in fact the idea of holding it up as a core ideal in itself is totally misguided. Authoritarianism isn't a system or a political creed you can fight against and hope to overturn, it's more of a trait, a way of doing things. You might as well base a campaign around the slogan "Let's be nice to each other". I don't know, maybe you would do that. Sure a lot of authoritarian measures are unnecessary and generally bad news, and the communist/anarchist/whatever society we work towards would be one without the authority of states and bosses. But taking anti-authoritarianism as if it was the summary of your politics is just naive - you have to have an understanding of where that authority comes from and why it is used, and to do that you need to be against not the authority itself but what it originates in and what perpetuates it - in other words class society. And class society isn't just about authority - a desire for power isn't what drives the ruling class, it's a desire for profit and expansion. And the negative effects of class society don't boil down to authority - it is essentially exploitation and alienation. Granted, they may be supported and propped up by the wielding of authority, but authority in itself isn't the be all and end all. Furthermore, authority isn't inherently bad. If, in a revolutionary situation, a majority of workers take action to get rid of a group of counter-revolutionaries - that is a form of authority, but a totally necessary and beneficial one. Even something like telling off a naughty kid is a necessary use of authority, but sometimes it needs doing. Call yourself an anti-authoritarian if you like, but don't expect it to be some great unifying banner for us all, cos it is simply a pile of cack.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 17 2005 23:42

Anti-authoritarianism is also an intensely reactionary concept. It's about as relevant and insightful as being anti-rape. No real organising can be done under the handle of "anti-authoritarianism". I don't understand what function it can possibly serve. It's not like it's more media-friendly euphemism for "anarchism" cos everyone knows you're anarchist if you use that phrase anyway. Just quit being pussies and admit it: you don't think it's class.

Anarchoanorak
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Jan 18 2005 00:00

As far as i know Anti-authoritarian, was orginally used by a US group and Larry Giddings a US prisoner published a pamplet explaining why he had chosen to use the term instead of anarchist. If my memory serves me correct it was partly to disassocitate himslef from lifestylism and didn't reject class. If i remember i will check my copy tomorrow when i get home. Anarchoanorak at your service. neutral

Anarchoanorak
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Jan 18 2005 12:59

Just checked the pamplet, the interverning 12 years have proved to have made my memory abit hazy. There is no mention of lifestylism per se. Larry comes from the communal tradition of the late 60's & 70's a la the Angery Brigade over here.

Larry Giddings and a loose group of people in the US and Canada started using the term in the mid-late 80s. They were working around the issues of prison, race and gender. In attempting to engage with the stuggles of Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, Blacks and Mexicano people, they came to feela need to differentiate themsleves from the "crystalized patterns of thought and practice" of "classical anarchism" which was "euro-centric" and out-dated leading to the self- marginalisation of anarchists.

Class remained a crucial part of their analysis, but it was felt that not everything was simly reduceable to class and that struggles against other specific forms of oppression were valid. this lead them to "supporting native struggles for self-determination and automony" and to seeing "gender as a special catergory of oppression" and to an engagement with New African Republicanism from a non-state perpective.

They felt an affinity with european automonists, but "automonous- was largely unknown in the US at the time" and Anti-authoritarian seem a more self-explainatory term.

All quotes Larry Giddings "Why anti-authoritarian" Arm the Spirit 1990.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 18 2005 14:29

Pilgrim asked

Pilgrim wrote:
why isn't there some unified, practical, workable pact between the various anti-authoritarian groups to work together to neutralise the SWP.?

And one answer is that there is no unity within the groups Pilgrim might call 'anti-authoritarian'. Indood, some of them would rather work wih the SWp than with each other.

Alan and Redy have both made this point -- that they don't want to work with many anti-authoritarians. You seem to have a problem with the way Pilgrim's original post was framed, but that doesn't change the fact that you both have more 'sympathy' for the SWP than for many anti-authoritarians.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 18 2005 14:52
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Alan and Redy have both made this point -- that they don't want to work with many anti-authoritarians. You seem to have a problem with the way Pilgrim's original post was framed, but that doesn't change the fact that you both have more 'sympathy' for the SWP than for many anti-authoritarians.

I don't understand what you think you've achieved by this revelation. It seems perfectly logical, and we've both explained at length our issues with the term "anti-authoritarianism" and the awkwardness and ineffectiveness of organising under it as a banner.

You're beginning to sound like Jeremy Paxman.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 18 2005 15:31

What does that make you? Michael Portillo? Stop wriggling.

I said that some anarchists have more sympathy for the SWP than for other anarchists. Alan disagreed with this -- then said, 'yes, but there are really good reasons for the SWP being better.'

It's not a 'revelation' that some anarchists like the SWp more than they like other anarchists. Indeed, on these boards it is a very obvious and well known point -- one that I was making to Pilgrim.

The strange thing is that my point should have been challenged by Alan in the first place.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 18 2005 15:54

So, Pilgrim and nastyned, does that answer your questions?

WeTheYouth
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Jan 18 2005 15:59
Quote:
Likewise in organising terms, you might go round cleaning up dogshit for a community campaign, but you wouldn't try and dress it up as being ''anti-authoritarian''

Obviously not. What i was saying was, why water ourselves down for the sake of gaining more support?

Quote:
Alan isn't talking about jumping into bed with liberals, he's talking about making our actions relevant and inclusive to other people, rather than just living in the anarchist ghetto.

Okay firstly no one said that he wanted to jump into bed with liberals. Making our actions more relevant and inclusive to other people, means losing the politics for the sake of numbers. Im all for cooperating to a reasonable extent with everyone more left than labour, but making our actions more relevant to them means making the politics and our ideas getting pushed out for the sake of convenience.

Quote:
Call yourself an anti-authoritarian if you like, but don't expect it to be some great unifying banner for us all, cos it is simply a pile of cack.

Its not its cack.

Quote:
Anti-authoritarianism is also an intensely reactionary concept.

What would you call a response to state authority? Anti-authoritarian? It is a reaction to an illegitimate force. So the whole concept of being against a state is a reaction against a state being in existence.

Quote:
i think it's fair to say some anarchists are more sympathetic to the SWP than to a bunch of incoherent muppets who haven't a fucking clue and whose politics are based on squates, dreadlocks and smelling like fucking shite!

They probably smell like shite, but atleast they dont talk shite like you.

If anti-authoritarianism is such a cack concept, which i think it is. What can be said of organising under the banner of anti-capitalism? personally i would rather shoot myslef in a foot than organise with a bunch stalinists.