Open meeting to set up a London anarchist youth network - meeting minutes

The minutes of a meeting of the organisationalist/class struggle tendency within the London Anarchist Youth group attempting to resuscitate the group, along a tighter class struggle perspective, during the decline of the Anarchist Youth Network.

Submitted by Ed on May 22, 2007

Though those present no longer agree with all of the meetings conclusions, they are reproduced here for reference.

London Anarchist Youth
Minutes of meeting: 26.02.04

Present: 10 people

Feedback on history and perceived failures of the previous incarnation of LAY

Aims of LAY decided:
they are..
1. to spread anarchist ideas amongst young people through outreach, action and grassroots campaigning in Schools, Uni campuses, workplaces and communities
2. to facilitate communication between young anarchists and young anarchist groups (such as university based anarchist groups) in London
3. to help co-ordinate young anarchist activity across London

LAY points of political agreement (Hallmarks) were decided as follows:
1. Anti-Authoritarian

We are against the authority of all governments, police forces, armies or hierarchy. No one can be free while a few have authority over many. Regardless of whether ‘Communist’, Capitalist, Fascist or Fundamentalist, we are against any state on the grounds of them being inherently authoritarian, hierarchical and oppressive institutions. We recognise that the role of the state is to protect the privileges of the few from the anger of the many.

2. Anti-Capitalist
The economic system which has triumphed worldwide is capitalism. As a result we oppose capitalism as the world’s main system of economic oppression and enemy of freedom. Capitalism is based on exploitation of the working class by the bosses. Capitalism not only exploits and oppresses the majority of the world but also threatens our existence as its chase for profit leads to war, environmental destruction and job insecurity.

3. Anti-Prejudice
Prejudice and discrimination must be got rid of in order to create a free society. The ruling class uses prejudice to divide the working class and play us off against each other. While we are fighting each other, we are not fighting them. Also, discrimination is inherently authoritarian and as such is incompatible with freedom. We want freedom for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality or anything else. We support direct action against attempts of the far-right to organise

4. Class Struggle
The working class are both the biggest and most oppressed group in society and are actively oppressed by the ruling class. The working class must realise their collective class strength and overthrow capitalism and the state. We reject the need for political or ‘vanguard’ parties as only the revolutionary self-activity of the working class can win freedom.

5. Direct Action
We cannot rely on the government, political parties or religious groups to do things for us – we must make the changes we want in the world ourselves. This is Direct Action*. Though lobbying and voting might do no harm, in such a biased system they don’t do any good either. Only an actively confrontational attitude to capitalism and the state can bring about real change. Only social revolution* can overthrow capitalism and the state and create a new society based on mutual aid, co-operation and freedom for all.

These terms to have to have definitions written by J*, to be ratified at the next meeting

LAY structure agreed on:

1. Positions:
Various positions are required to keep the group functioning, these are:

a) Group Secretary: Checking email account and post box, responding to individuals’ queries (any press requests *must* be checked by the group), keeping database of all those who’ve gotten in touch, maybe putting together an irregular mailing list? Keeping member list up-to-date (see below)
E* elected

b) Internal Communications Secretary: Writing and sending internal bulletin to members.
J* elected

c) Publicity Secretary: Type up minutes and post on boards and list. Send copy to Kate Sharpley Library. Publicise meetings and other events through Anarchist/Activist media contacts (and boujie media when necessary).
Z* elected

d) Treasurer: To look after and keep group informed about the state of the group's finances
Decided to elect someone when we have some money!

Delegated positions are elected for a period of six months at which point the job is passed on to someone else. However, if it is felt that someone is not doing their assigned job properly, then they can be instantly recalled and replaced at the next meeting. If it is felt that a quicker decision is needed then it can be done on the discussion on boards/email list.

2. Decision making:
All decisions can only be made at monthly meetings. Anything which needs a quick decision can be taken to the boards/list. Though all those present can take part in discussion, only those who have formally joined as members can take part in voting on decisions.

3. Working groups:
Proposal that the network should be broken down into working groups for people who want to work on certain projects - publicity etc. Everyone should try and be involved in one of these. Should the network have to approve working group decisions and / or publications, or should they be able to do what they want?

4. Notes for meeting organisation:
i) Meeting agenda is to be drawn up on the boards a minimum of 1 week in advance of the actual meeting.
ii) Meeting chair and minute takers volunteer at the meeting. If possible, no one should chair/take minutes two meetings in a row.

5. Meeting minutes:
i) Should be written up and posted on boards and list (any sensitive details omitted for obvious reasons!).
ii) A copy of the minutes should also be sent to the Kate Sharpley Library.

6. Internal Bulletin:
Members should receive an internal bulletin on the group’s activities every two months. If it is possible, this should be done by email by the internal communications secretary to keep costs down. However, if someone cannot receive emails, steps should be taken to send it by post.

Name of group is London Anarchist Youth, as before

1. Only LAY members can vote on decisions in meetings, although non-members are permitted to attend.
2. Membership of LAY is subject to agreement to LAY Hallmarks as listed above, and being approved by at least one other LAY member.
3. Group Secretary will keep membership list with nickname and preferred contact details (such as email, postal address, phone etc.)
4. Membership fees discussed, no decision taken as yet

LAY will continue to use open AYN list, but also set up members-only email list on which decisions can be made.

Possible campaigns/future activities:
1. Printing Schools leaflet from
2. Flyposting near colleges/Unis etc.
3. Producing radical mental health information
4. Opposition to military recruitment
5. Uni groups helping with Ewa J. speaking tour on Iraq

Next meeting 7pm on Wednesday 24th March at the Autonomy Club, Freedom Books

Notes on the meeting - May 2007

Some participants in the meeting attended who were involved in the previous incarnation of LAY and did not intend to be involved in the new one. They did so to observe and help discuss the failures of the group. Following the meeting the new group failed to take off, and it and the AYN dissolved soon after. Read a more detailed history of the AYN...