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theoretical unity?

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Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Dec 5 2007 06:16
theoretical unity?
SRB wrote:
Yeah, that's understandable, I'd just say be weary of lumping everyone in a group based on published writers and who gets the public spotlight.

I know in our group the people who most get singled out as the brainy thinkers, most prolific writers and public loud mouths are not especially representative of the group as a whole... more often than not it is the college educated types, people who are most bi-lingually fluent, the most confident public speakers, etc. (which usually goes side by side with gender and/or class privilege). I assume its the same for alot of political groups.

Don't you think that you should control what gets published so that it represents the organisation?

Devrim

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georgestapleton
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Dec 5 2007 10:32

I imagine their agreed positions are what 'represent' the organisation. What they publish is, I imagine, what they think worth publishing, a contribution to debate etc.

Aside from the ICC and the sparts I'm not aware of any group that only publishes articles that are perfectly representative of the organisation line.

Mike Harman
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Dec 5 2007 10:58

It's common when publishing something you disagree with to either write an introduction, or in some cases a response within the same issue outlining some areas of difference. Aufheben has done this, an old copy of Wildcat I've been reading does it, we do it on here. However in all those cases the article being published isn't from within the group - it's something that's been submitted/picked up on from elsewhere, but as you say has some kind of merit to make it worth reading.

In terms of organisations, people are far more likely to read magazines, or pamphlets, than aims and principles or position papers - so really they should be quite clear about what they're publishing.

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Dec 5 2007 11:12

i agree with unity, but there's a problem with some things, like internet forums for example, which are public but aren't really "publishing." for example revol68 is the most prominent member of Organise! because of his posts here, which his organisation can't control

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Dec 5 2007 13:02
georgestapleton wrote:
I imagine their agreed positions are what 'represent' the organisation. What they publish is, I imagine, what they think worth publishing, a contribution to debate etc.

Aside from the ICC and the sparts I'm not aware of any group that only publishes articles that are perfectly representative of the organisation line.

We publish things that are not 'perfectly representative of the organisation'. In fact we are discussing one now. What we did do though was publish the position of the majority within the organisation, and will have a reply from the minority in next month.

What SRB was saying was that certain people 'get the public spotlight', and that they do not necessarily represent the organisation. I think that this is a problem.

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 13:04
John. wrote:
i agree with unity, but there's a problem with some things, like internet forums for example, which are public but aren't really "publishing." for example revol68 is the most prominent member of Organise! because of his posts here, which his organisation can't control

I think that when he talks about politics he represents his organisation. If somebody was representing our organisation like that we would discipline them. In fact we did with Leo. There is a problem if the organisation can't control it.

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 13:14

I don't think that necessarily follows, Revol has never styled himself as the voice of his organisation and it's not particularly healthy to stifle him simply because he's 'Revol, who's in Organise' rather than 'Organise's Revol'.

Subordinating individual voices outside the inter-organisational debates can give quite as false an impression as letting individuals have too much autonomy in their writing etc - I'm sure the members of the ICC for example don't all agree on everything, but the impression they give is that once you're in, you are brainwashed out of all individual thought until you can only parrot the party line.

Personally, I find that kind of emphasis on killing free expression in the public sphere disturbing.

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Dec 5 2007 13:25
Saii wrote:
I don't think that necessarily follows, Revol has never styled himself as the voice of his organisation and it's not particularly healthy to stifle him simply because he's 'Revol, who's in Organise' rather than 'Organise's Revol'.

Actually, I was talking about his swearing, and general abusiveness. I wouldn't want my organisation to be represented like that.

Quote:
Personally, I find that kind of emphasis on killing free expression in the public sphere disturbing.

So you think it is OK that those who are 'the brainy thinkers, most prolific writers and public loud mouths' basically project the image of the organisation, and I think finally set the policy?

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 13:35

Of course not, but that's simply a case for making sure if someone is posting their opinion that they are clear it's not representative of the organisation they're a part of. I've never read anything by Revol and assumed that's the position of Organise (unless he's specifically said that it is), and why would I? He's an individual not an audio book.

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Dec 5 2007 13:50
Saii wrote:
Of course not, but that's simply a case for making sure if someone is posting their opinion that they are clear it's not representative of the organisation they're a part of.

Do you think that people should be in organisations whose positions they oppose on important issues?

Devrim

Carousel
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Dec 5 2007 13:55
Quote:
Do you think that people should be in organisations whose positions they oppose on important issues?

No but, positions? issues? It begs the question of what an organisation is for in the first place.

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Dec 5 2007 13:58

Depends what you regard as important (I wouldn't expect a Tory to join SolFed but I won't lose sleep over an anarcho-syndicalist who dual-cards with the wobblies), but generally, as long as people abide by the A&Ps I don't see there being a problem. I do think it's unrealistic to expect everyone in an organsation to agree on everything - and if a group grows beyond a few dozen people, the chances of that happening fall to nil.

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Dec 5 2007 14:04
Carousel wrote:
Quote:
Do you think that people should be in organisations whose positions they oppose on important issues?

No but, positions? issues? It begs the question of what an organisation is for in the first place.

I am sorry, if it is not clear.
For example if a member of our organisation opposed our position on the PKK, we would expel them.
Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 14:06
Saii wrote:
Depends what you regard as important, but generally, as long as people abide by the A&Ps I don't see there being a problem. I do think it's unrealistic to expect everyone in an organsation to agree on everything - and if a group grows beyond a few dozen people, the chances of that happening fall to nil.

I don't think that everyone has to agree on everything, but there must be a common frame work. I don't think that that is impossible.

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 14:07
Quote:
if a member of our organisation opposed our position on the PKK, we would expel them.

But how precise is that? Does that extend to the methods used in dealing with them or just the preffered outcome?

Basically I think the question is what level of agreement should be expected, not whether theoretical/tactical unity (which gets progressively more difficult the more fine print is involved) should be required.

On that level, I'd give a fair bit of freedom for people to express themselves as I think it's as important to show there is a continuing debate/evolution going on as it is to show unity.

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Dec 5 2007 14:13
Saii wrote:
Quote:
if a member of our organisation opposed our position on the PKK, we would expel them.

But how precise is that? Does that extend to the methods used in dealing with them or just the preffered outcome?

Basically I think the question is what level of agreement should be expected, not whether theoretical/tactical unity (which gets progressively more difficult the more fine print is involved) should be required.

I don't think that is the point. We see people in the anarchist movement blatantly argue against the positions of their own organisations on major issues. We wouldn't tolerate it. It is not libertarianism. It is liberalism.

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 14:16

Sorry, I think that you edited in this, and I didn't notice it:
Basically I think the question is what level of agreement should be expected, not whether theoretical/tactical unity (which gets progressively more difficult the more fine print is involved) should be required.

If we agree that theoretical unity is essential how deep to you think it should go, 'Capitalism is bad'?

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 14:17

As I say, depends on what is regarded as a major issue. If someone's arguing for Bolshevism they're probably not the right sort for Solfed, but if they're just arguing over whether DA is worth keeping or whether we should continue to regard the SAC as an enemy of SolFed I don't think that's particularly a problem.

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Dec 5 2007 14:38
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If someone's arguing for Bolshevism they're probably not the right sort for Solfed,

Don't you think that somebody should be an anarchosyndicalist to be a member of Solfed?

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 14:52

Well yes that's what I thought I was implying...

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Dec 5 2007 14:53
revol68 wrote:
i'm sorry Devrim but i'd really question how many people would be willing to join an organisation that didn't simply expect members to agree on sme central political points but who also policed their behaviour online and chastised them for their means of expression, most people with some dignity and pride would pretty much tell youse to go fuck yourselves, I think it's sad that Leo accepted this shit from youse.

Actually, it was also about him growing up a little, and realising that he didn't have to swear like a twelve year old constantly. I think that members of an organisation represent that organisation, and should be responsible to it. That includes how you present yourself, and your ideas because it reflects on the organisation.

Devrim

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Dec 5 2007 15:04
revol68 wrote:
You represent the organisation in certain times?

I think that when writing on politics is one of those times.

revol68 wrote:
... but it's frankly none of their business if I tell you or anyone else to go fuck themselves.

Pretty impressive.

Devrim

Mike Harman
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Dec 5 2007 15:27

Yet many groups who Organise! has political disagreements with use your potty mouth to avoid dealing with the arguments themselves, and successfully portray you as a troll to a fairly large audience.

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Dec 5 2007 15:38

I'm polite you bellend. but yes we know we're not that hot on this either.

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Dec 5 2007 15:38

Hmm there is such a thing as ‘bringing the organisation into disrepute’, but generally I’m wary of applying this to any but really outrageous behaviour (eg. smacking people about, stealing and similar behaviour which is antisocial enough to actively harm the reputation of the group if the member remains unpunished), but I don’t think generally that cussing a blue streak online is up there, it does harm to revol but I don’t think Organise is like that in general...

Mike Harman
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Dec 5 2007 15:47
revol68. wrote:
also considering the libcom collective inculdes Jack and John. who aren't exactly shrinking violets you should look closer to home if you want to apply this argument.

We discuss it though, and tell each other off if we think they're making themselves look like wankers (no not just Jack). As should be expected of all friends and comrades.

Agree with John that we're by no means great at this, but no-one in libcom has ever said "ooh you nanny you're not fucking the boss of me" when we do it either.

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Dec 5 2007 15:56

I agree with Devrim on most of this.

Mike Harman wrote:
It's common when publishing something you disagree with to either write an introduction, or in some cases a response within the same issue outlining some areas of difference. Aufheben has done this, an old copy of Wildcat I've been reading does it, we do it on here. However in all those cases the article being published isn't from within the group - it's something that's been submitted/picked up on from elsewhere, but as you say has some kind of merit to make it worth reading.

It's common when publishing something you disagree with to either write an introduction, or in some cases a response within the same issue outlining some areas of difference. Aufheben has done this, an old copy of Wildcat I've been reading does it, we do it on here. However in all those cases the article being published isn't from within the group - it's something that's been submitted/picked up on from elsewhere, but as you say has some kind of merit to make it worth reading.

In terms of organisations, people are far more likely to read magazines, or pamphlets, than aims and principles or position papers - so really they should be quite clear about what they're publishing.

Quote:
In terms of organisations, people are far more likely to read magazines, or pamphlets, than aims and principles or position papers - so really they should be quite clear about what they're publishing.

Yeah but it depends on why you are publishing something. And also on what degree on unity you need. If someone wants to know the WSM stance on something they have to read the position papers, it isn't staed anywhere else. That said our position papers aren't written to be read by the general public they are written to quide our action. i.e. to be read by members and debated by members and implemented by members.

Of couse one type of action is publishing things so we aren't supposed to publish anything that contradicts our stated policy. If we did we'd normally provide a disclaimer.

If however as with the case of someone writing something that they thought was a interpretation of our policy but not everyone agreed, we might or might not publish a disclaimer. (Really, probably not.)

Devrim wrote:
So you think it is OK that those who are 'the brainy thinkers, most prolific writers and public loud mouths' basically project the image of the organisation, and I think finally set the policy?

I don't think these 'mouths' set policy. From what I know of Organise!, WSM and NEFAC their most prolific members don't set the policy. i.e. revol doesn't set Organise! policy, JoeBlack didn't set WSM policy and Wayne Price doesn't set NEFAC policy. Often people who debate most internally debate least on the internet or through publications. So I wouldn't conflate the two things: being prolific and setting policy.

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Dec 5 2007 15:58
Quote:
We discuss it though, and tell each other off if we think they're making themselves look like wankers

Yeah generally I’d say that’s sensible, everyone acts a prat sometimes, I’d reckon best way to deal with it as long as the offending person isn’t being completely out of order is for friends to call them on it informally, there doesn’t need to be the rigmarole of official intervention unless it’s really seriously out of order and could damage the organisation as a whole.

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Dec 5 2007 16:05
Mike Harman wrote:
revol68 wrote:
also considering the libcom collective inculdes Jack and John. who aren't exactly shrinking violets you should look closer to home if you want to apply this argument.

We discuss it though, and tell each other off if we think they're making themselves look like wankers (no not just Jack). As should be expected of all friends and comrades.

Agree with John that we're by no means great at this, but no-one in libcom has ever said "ooh you nanny you're not fucking the boss of me" when we do it either.

Yeah. In the WSM I've been called out, as has gurrier, Joe and GDID (on a large number of occasions). And being a prick on the internet does have negative repercusions. Ask Jacks face. Or joking aside, outside of the WSM few anarchists in dublin have any knowledge of Organise! beyond the fact that its revol's group. Not surprisingly very few people down here, outside the WSM, take Organise! seriously.

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Dec 5 2007 16:16

Fair point, but that’s a trade-off which personally I think is better than throwing the baby out with the bathwater by banning free expression by members. The ICC have hamstrung themselves for years by going the opposite direction and building a reputation as boring mechanical repeaters of one line of politics.

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Dec 5 2007 16:32

Not something I’d disagree with, basically I’m arguing the moderate course, I think too tight a line is as counterproductive as no line at all.