Where We Stand: Formation of a new anarchist communist project in the UK

collective action pedant

May Day statement of "Collective Action". In it we outline our analysis of the problems facing the anarchist movement in the UK and offer a call out to all independent anarchist communists to participate in our project to re-visit our political tradition, re-group and re-kindle our political action.

Submitted by Collective Action on May 1, 2012

“I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure.” - Mikhail Bakunin

The contemporary anarchist movement throughout the UK, and indeed around the world, faces unique challenges.

This generation is faced with crippling austerity measures begun by the former Labour government and now accelerated by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. The economic crisis has provided political elites with a practical justification for ideologically motivated attacks on the working class. Efforts to “bring down the deficit” at all costs have provided the state with the necessary camouflage to manoeuvre into savage Thatcherite cuts to the public sector, education and social welfare, while also creating an incremental process of privatisation of the National Health Service, greater tax breaks for millionaires, tax cuts for businesses, as well as strengthening attacks on workplace organising rights. All of this in an effort to stimulate an economy that continues to stagnate, largely at the expense of increased poverty and mass unemployment, affecting most seriously women, the young and people of colour.

The stark realities of this situation are compounded by the fact that working life for British people is increasingly in economic sectors that are unorganised and casualised, or soon to be unorganised and casualised. This is while a traditional revolutionary ‘left’ movement has essentially embraced a position of defence and retreat, cuing the outdated appeal to its standard yet dwindling constituents. The anti-austerity movement seems content to seek only a defence of the concessions won by older generations, rather than using the economic crisis and a renewed interest in radical ideas as a means to agitate and fight for a fundamentally different society. In the various regional anti-austerity groups, the authoritarian Marxist left and trade unions have entrenched themselves in petty squabbles over either bureaucratic union organising - in unions that have become increasingly conciliatory towards the coalition government - or what level of support they should offer to the Labour Party, in some cases providing them with a platform at organisational meetings and rallies.

The reality is that the existing repertoires of the Left do not speak to the challenges the working class are facing or indeed with the experiences of the majority of working class people, focusing primarily on the minority of organised workers in privileged economic positions, namely employed, contracted or salaried, non-precarious unionised workers. These mediocre organising efforts have been complimented by reformist struggles such as the anti-tax avoidance campaigns, anti-workfare campaign, which lacks a focused analysis of the nature of work. Initiatives such as Occupy, although at least providing a base for opening the debate on austerity, equally lack direction and focus or a clear understanding of the nature and cause of the attacks. Admittedly the occupation movements in other countries have shown signs of radical transformation, but in the UK most organising efforts have been couched in a social democratic framework aimed at achieving nothing more than a defence of concessions and in some instances actually criticising offensive efforts to fight austerity in the context of anti-capitalism.

The models of activism that the Left rely upon are still tied to the mass struggles of the 1970s/80s - mass rallies, pamphleteering and paper sales, manoeuvring within political meetings. Yet years of Neo-Liberal reform since then have manufactured a working class that is de-politicised, de-mobilised and individualised. What is required in this instance is not intervention, but reconstruction. The Left are still seeking to lead and direct a mass of workers that, to put it simply, does not exist at this time. Some radicals may look longingly at the resistance in Greece, Spain and other parts of Europe and, falling back on classical Marxist economism, argue that it must get substantially worse to get better. Although the simultaneous rise in “political suicides” in these countries should at the very least lead us to question the wisdom of this analysis - do we want it to get that bad? Such a view ignores the sustained, politicised resistance that Greece, for example, has retained throughout the 1980s/90s, the combative nature of social struggles, a record of concessions won from the state (particularly amongst the students and youth) and a growing anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement that is active, visible and engaged with the communities in almost every urban centre throughout the country.

Our only glimmer of hope, in these years of austerity, has been in the brief but bright struggles of the youth and students. Only here was it possible to see the successful meeting of two cultures - of political militants and organisers (anti-militarists, anti-war campaigners and others politicised through Iraq) and the creativity and combativeness of a generation shut off from the comfortable futures of even their older siblings. By March 26th, when the TUC called its “Rally for the Alternative” in London, it had already become clear how isolated this demographic truly was, as direct action was taking place on Oxford Street thousands of trade unionists watched Ed Miliband in Hyde Park, a pro-austerity politician, play to the crowd.

Unfortunately, a lack of ambition is not just something endemic within the traditional Marxist left. The anarchist movement has also failed to make a significant mark on resistance to austerity, as well as building momentum towards a general acceptance of anarchist ideas and methods. Historically the anarchist movement has shown itself to be distinct from the left, but in recent years - throughout the UK - it has failed to promote the richness of anarchist tradition and history or separate itself from the inertia of the traditional left, becoming nothing more than an appendage to it, content with fulfilling a propagandist role, or at times acting as the more militant wing of the austerity movement when required.

The building blocks of an autonomous counter-power must consist first and foremost of an attack on the myths of austerity and class compromise and the building of confidence in self-organisation and direct action.

Where anarchists have been successful in the past they have been vibrant and integrated parts of working class communities. This means abandoning the terrain of both activism and the Left, and finding ways to speak to the experiences of, and more importantly finding ways of organising within those sections of our community who have, in many cases, already made the critical step of seeing through the illusions of representative democracy but still remain disconnected from politics.

Ultimately the objective of an autonomous and self-organising workers’ movement is to build unity. Such an aspiration, however, should not lead us to ignore both the conservative and privileged nature of certain sections of the workers’ movement as significant barriers to this goal. A minority of organised workers seek to defend concessions in secure employment, which in contrast to the majority of the working class is a particularly privileged position. Precarious workers, students, the unemployed and their communities have displayed in the last year a distinct sympathy towards anti-authoritarian methods and have sought to push a momentum towards offensive direct action. At the same time there has been an acute lack of political foresight, despite the breeding ground for widespread radicalisation. This has been a failure of the anarchist movement to capitalise on this moment and use these battle grounds as a framework to build on this distinct anarchist tradition and insert revolutionary anarchist ideas. This is an area in which we have fought before - the intransigent revolts of the underclass in Montmarte in the 1890s, the counter-cultures of Barcelona’s “Barrio Chino” of the 1930s and the rallying call of the Wobblies to abandon the conservative AFL and act as a pole for the excluded, abandoned and unorganised - it is an area in which we must fight again.

Collective Action: an association of anarchist communists

“If the revolutionary lacks the guiding idea of their action, they will not be anything other than a ship without a compass.” - Ricardo Flores Magón

“We also ask for discipline, because, without understanding, without co-ordinating the efforts of each one to a common and simultaneous action, victory is not physically possible. But discipline should not be a servile discipline, a blind devotion to leaders, an obedience to the one who always says not to interfere. Revolutionary discipline is consistent with the ideas accepted, fidelity to commitments assumed, it is to feel obliged to share the work and the risks with struggle comrades.” - Errico Malatesta

Collective Action has been formed by a group of anarchist communists seeking to understand and resolve the issues facing the anarchist movement and the working class. Having lost confidence in the current formation of the anarchist movement, we felt it necessary to regroup and rekindle our political ideas and activity in the context of forming a wider analysis of the current situation. At the present time we consider ourselves to be a movement orientated association with a focus on critically assessing our failings and the nature of future struggle. However, we aim to actively participate in current struggles with the long term objective of building towards the recreation of a relevant and viable anarchist movement that is able to insert itself into social struggles, winning the leadership of ideas and fostering the cultures of resistance. We believe that this process of regroupment is essential to that objective.

We identify anarchist communism as a political current with its roots in the federalist, anti-authoritarian sections of the First International. This has been a global tradition present in the revolutions and social upheavals of the past century. In contemporary terms we believe this particular tradition to be best represented by the specifist conception of social anarchism. This is a conception of anarchism with which we actively identify. Specifism can be summarised as:

•The need for specifically anarchist organisation built around a unity of ideas and praxis.

•The use of the specifically anarchist organization to theorise and develop strategic political and organisational work.

•Active participation in and building of autonomous and popular social movements via involvement and influence ("social insertion")

We consider an important aspect of specifism to be the idea of “recapturing the social vector of anarchism,” i.e. re-inserting anarchism as a current of popular organisation within social struggles.

We do not believe that specifism provides complete answers to the problems raised above; we do believe that it is a method and tradition that helps us to address and understand them more clearly (as well as being true to the original vision of social anarchism).

This is a call out to all independent anarchist communists who feel the need to understand more concretely who we are, where we are and how we move forward. While the association encourages people to join it and participate in this process of regroupment, our project is not about quantity, it is about quality. We do not aim to build membership, we aim to build coherency. We do not want to compete with other organisations, but refocus our efforts. We are a space for anarchist communists to address their ideas collectively and to build those ideas into a coherent strategy that is grounded in common struggle and united by the robustness of theory.

At present we collate our ideas and discussions on our blog and through our website, which will be published periodically in our journal Ninth Symphony. Our aim, through this, is to publish materials that emerge as relevant and meaningful to the anarchist movement within the context of our existing activity as organisers and militants.

- Collective Action

Comments

bulmer

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bulmer on May 1, 2012

Who's involved in this? Is it a split from another group or have some local groups and individuals come together? It's hard to say much about the group as there's not much to go on but I'm interested into what this will offer and how it will fit in with AFed, SolFed, Commune etc. I understand the theoretical differences but that doesn't always translate into practical differences, if you get what I mean?

Diddy-D

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diddy-D on May 1, 2012

I say thanks to Collective Action, for this post.

Anarchism is about people doing it for themselves, and taking the initiative, not about fitting in with AFed, SolFed blah blah.

Steven.

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 1, 2012

bulmer

Who's involved in this? Is it a split from another group or have some local groups and individuals come together? It's hard to say much about the group as there's not much to go on but I'm interested into what this will offer and how it will fit in with AFed, SolFed, Commune etc. I understand the theoretical differences but that doesn't always translate into practical differences, if you get what I mean?

as far as I know it is a small number of people who left the Anarchist Federation (AF). Unless I'm wrong, there don't seem to be any political differences at all, only organisational differences, in that this lot are influenced by especisfismo and platformism. (The latter of which of course influenced the AF as well)

to be honest, I don't quite understand what the organisation differences would be with the AF. I guess they're hoping to be more coordinated in their activity, is that right?

I would like to know, do they have any examples of the type of social insertion they talk about in the UK, and how successful they were? Because it seems that Liberty and Solidarity try to organise in this way, and don't seem to have had any success (of course I'm not trying to compare the politics of collective action to L&S, as the latter's are clearly leftist).

I think it's always good for people to try things out, because we clearly don't have all the answers, so I'm not trying to be critical here.

radicalgraffiti

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on May 1, 2012

Diddy-D

I say thanks to Collective Action, for this post.

Anarchism is about people doing it for themselves, and taking the initiative, not about fitting in with AFed, SolFed blah blah.

theres no point haveing multiple organisations that have the same politics and do the same stuff, so i assume bulmer is asking how this is different to the existing organisations.

an anarchist is not just about doing things for youselve its about organising our lives without bosses, rulers, etc and creating a world where we can do this

Serge Forward

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 1, 2012

Diddy-D

I say thanks to Collective Action, for this post.

Anarchism is about people doing it for themselves, and taking the initiative, not about fitting in with AFed, SolFed blah blah.

Er... no, that's not what anarchism or libertarian communism is about (although that's not to exclude 'DIY' and 'taking the initiative'), but those things alone would be more akin to some kind of radical liberalism. Anarchist communism has to be about creating a movement and that means cooperating with others groups and organisations. Politically, I quite like the cut of Collective Action's jib and I know they have at least one or two very sound comrades involved. Best of luck with the project!

Diddy-D

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diddy-D on May 1, 2012

Serge Forward

Diddy-D

I say thanks to Collective Action, for this post.

Anarchism is about people doing it for themselves, and taking the initiative, not about fitting in with AFed, SolFed blah blah.

Er... no, that's not what anarchism or libertarian communism is about (although that's not to exclude 'DIY' and 'taking the initiative'), but those things alone would be more akin to some kind of radical liberalism. Anarchist communism has to be about creating a movement and that means cooperating with others groups and organisations. Politically, I quite like the cut of Collective Action's jib and I know they have at least one or two very sound comrades involved. Best of luck with the project!

I agree. I'm not arguing for individuals to act on a purely individual and insular level. By people doing it for themselves, I was kind of meaning working-class people doing for themselves, and realizing they can take control of things collectively. This is what I push for in the service-user movement, and encourage my peers to push for funding to run our own projects at grassroots level (such as mentoring).

If peeps want to set up a group such as Collective Action, and work together, there's nothing wrong in that.

vanilla.ice.baby

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by vanilla.ice.baby on May 1, 2012

Good luck to 'em, but I have a few questions.

Who are the leaflet and blog aimed at?

Why can't you do what you want to do within AFed/Solfed?

and;

How do you plan to grow your politics?

Fall Back

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fall Back on May 1, 2012

Could someone from Collective Action expand on:

Active participation in and building of autonomous and popular social movements via involvement and influence ("social insertion")

What are you meaning by social movements? In so far as I understand social movements as they exist in the UK, I'm not sure how this would be distinct from:

Historically the anarchist movement has shown itself to be distinct from the left, but in recent years - throughout the UK - it has failed to promote the richness of anarchist tradition and history or separate itself from the inertia of the traditional left, becoming nothing more than an appendage to it, content with fulfilling a propagandist role, or at times acting as the more militant wing of the austerity movement when required.

I am guessing you must mean something different from what this brings to mind for me (anti-cuts groups etc.), but I don't know what else they would be.

Asking because while I have sympathy towards the critique, but for us trying to go beyond the problems that this presented meant taking the exact opposite direction and trying to do our own thing, rather than socially inserting ourselves in pre-existing 'movements'.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 1, 2012

Diddy-D

I say thanks to Collective Action, for this post.

Anarchism is about people doing it for themselves, and taking the initiative, not about fitting in with AFed, SolFed blah blah.

No, anarchism is about being organised. This isn't to say that there's not a good reason to create a new anarchist organisation, but asking how it differs/fits into the existing national feds is a very legitimate question. And one not to be brushed aside with such individualist/"autonomous" disregard.

I second Bulmer's question.

Diddy-D

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diddy-D on May 1, 2012

Chilli Sauce

Diddy-D

I say thanks to Collective Action, for this post.

Anarchism is about people doing it for themselves, and taking the initiative, not about fitting in with AFed, SolFed blah blah.

No, anarchism is about being organised. This isn't to say that there's not a good reason to create a new anarchist organisation, but asking how it differs/fits into the existing national feds is a very legitimate question. And one not to be brushed aside with such individualist/"autonomous" disregard.

I second Bulmer's question.

Fair enough. I thought Bulmer was implying somehow Collective Action were wrong to set up their own initiative. And I know anarchism is about being organized. And I also stated in a previous post above, that I am not calling for peeps to act purely as insular inviduals. By 'doing it for themselves', I mean the working class coming to class consciousness, and realizing our own ability to move collectively and shape our future.

andy61

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by andy61 on May 1, 2012

I think this is a good step forward.For anyone new to anarchism or even someone vaguely interested it seems at the moment that you are trying to join an exclusive club.Anarchism appeals to many, many people if only we can open our arms and welcome them in-all should be welcome.Whatever culture, whatever class background.We have a great history and tradition and philosophy but to have new history you have to create it- and to do that we need to be far more welcoming.Remember that most people have absolutely no idea what anarchism is (chaos to most) but it's appeal is huge once understood-if we welcome them and don't disappear into little factions.

Theft

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Theft on May 1, 2012

plasmatelly

Any news on who he is yet?

who? Collective Action?

Khawaga

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on May 1, 2012

Fuck off BOOZK you anti-Semite. You'll be banned in no time for spouting off crap like that.

Admin: anti-semitic comment to which this refers has been removed and user banned.

Diddy-D

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Diddy-D on May 1, 2012

andy61

I think this is a good step forward.For anyone new to anarchism or even someone vaguely interested it seems at the moment that you are trying to join an exclusive club.Anarchism appeals to many, many people if only we can open our arms and welcome them in-all should be welcome.Whatever culture, whatever class background.We have a great history and tradition and philosophy but to have new history you have to create it- and to do that we need to be far more welcoming.Remember that most people have absolutely no idea what anarchism is (chaos to most) but it's appeal is huge once understood-if we welcome them and don't disappear into little factions.

I quite agree, andy mate :)

bulmer

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bulmer on May 2, 2012

Just to clarify. I think this group is closer to my own political views than any others in the UK. But from my experience, people try to be too ideologically pure at the expense of actually going out and attracting support of working class people. I think this does have potential if those involved can back up, what i see as, their sound political base. But that's a hard thing to do, so it could be they end up like just another sect. Hopefully not though and good luck!

Ernestine

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ernestine on May 2, 2012

While I reckon there is room for a rethink of the nature of work and how to be effective in community organisation this document is a bit heavy on theory, and short on practical suggestions. It's easier to criticise than to actively improve things, and I'd really like to hear the ways this collective wants to build the anarchist movement. Terms like 'social insertion' and 'specificism' give me the freaks - could you spell them out in plain language? One thing I'm trying to do is write stuff that doesn't need a grounding in political theory to make sense.

Rob Ray

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on May 2, 2012

Ime the opening statement is the least important part of how a group forms and evolves. You should've seen North London SF's practice a few years back in comparison to today (let alone in comparison to the As & Ps). I'd echo the wellwishing!

cantdocartwheels

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by cantdocartwheels on May 2, 2012

Pretty much agree with rob ray, opening statements and other such waffle comea very heavy second to stuff on the ground. I would echo a few others in saying i'm not entirely sure what the differences are being ot too up on some of the theoretical terms used, but perhaps that will become apparent in time.

Would be interested in seeing what the practical relation is to the steel city wobs who are doing some really good stuff atm. I assume theres probably a fair bit of overlap.

sawa

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sawa on May 2, 2012

I wish your new organisation well, the more comrades sympathetic to platformist and especifist traditions the better! Good luck comrades. :]

There does however seem to be an over emphasis on the theoretical, I don't quite understand how in practice what you are proposing is any different from that of AFed and Solfed. I struggle to see the practical purpose of critiquing fights for reforms and defensive struggles when the power of our class is so week atm. How does one build "confidence in self-organisation and direct action." without such struggles?

Whilst obv organisationally there is a difference between specific political organisations and those that tend more towards synthesism like AFed, I dunno what practical differences there are. Though obviously this is only your first text. Indeed out of interest why did you guys stop being a faction in AFed and decide to work outside it?

nastyned

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by nastyned on May 2, 2012

sawa

Whilst obv organisationally there is a difference between specific political organisations and those that tend more towards synthesism like AFed, I dunno what practical differences there are.

The AF is, and always has been, an anarchist communist organisation.

sawa

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sawa on May 2, 2012

nastyned

sawa

Whilst obv organisationally there is a difference between specific political organisations and those that tend more towards synthesism like AFed, I dunno what practical differences there are.

The AF is, and always has been, an anarchist communist organisation.

I said towards, as in its nearer to such than platformist organisations.:P And yeah i know what AFed is thanks. :P

Serge Forward

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 2, 2012

Blimey, Sawa, that definitely has to be a first! I've never heard the A(C)F described as synthesist or even 'tending towards' synthesism... ever!!! Although pointing out that we belong to the nominally synthesist IFA would be a fair point (though the degree of real synthesism in IFA is debatable). Then again, it could be said that, as the majority of platformist groups have generally tended towards some lowest common denominator leftism, then who are the real synthesists?

For the record, I'm certainly not including Collective Action in this mad scramble for bargain basement politics trend. I respect their political ideas which are little different from the AF's, but from what I know of the formation of this group, I reckon I'll probably have one or two differences with their actual practice. Still, I look forward to future collaboration between them and other organisations.

Theft

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Theft on May 2, 2012

Afed is nearer to platformism than synthesism, as it's explicitly an anarchist communist orgnaisation. With regards CA they stated that they still agreed with the As & Ps of Afed, the disagreement is more over political organisation and structure.For example I find very little to disagree with them on here http://www.anarchistcommunist.org/index.html But I have major problems with this document http://www.anarchistcommunist.org/uploads/1/1/3/7/11373086/membership_criteria_and_structure.pdf

Ernestine

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ernestine on May 2, 2012

Oh bugger, I own quite a few drums, books and records, some of which I made myself. Perhaps I am becoming detached from the recent history of capitalist development.

sawa

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sawa on May 2, 2012

Serge Forward

Blimey, Sawa, that definitely has to be a first! I've never heard the A(C)F described as synthesist or even 'tending towards' synthesism... ever!!! Although pointing out that we belong to the nominally synthesist IFA would be a fair point (though the degree of real synthesism in IFA is debatable). Then again, it could be said that, as the majority of platformist groups have generally tended towards some lowest common denominator leftism, then who are the real synthesists?

For the record, I'm certainly not including Collective Action in this mad scramble for bargain basement politics trend. I respect their political ideas which are little different from the AF's, but from what I know of the formation of this group, I reckon I'll probably have one or two differences with their actual practice. Still, I look forward to future collaboration between them and other organisations.

Ha it wasn't a major point and tbh I am glad you are offended. haha :]
I just meant it is nearer to such on a spectrum evidenced by stuff such as you say membership of IFA, and in some ways AF does seem closer to a tendency organisation.

I don't think this idea of platformist groups as leftist is very helpful nor do such make them synthesists whatever your critiques of "leftism", it is wholly part of the anarchist communist tradition and such groups at least aim for tighter organisation even if they may lack such in practice.

I actually find http://www.anarchistcommunist.org/uploads/1/1/3/7/11373086/membership_criteria_and_structure.pdf more agreeable than the statement here. But I hope comrades take into account(which I think people in L&S have said they have tried to tackle too) that when there are levels of membership and criteria for such, that it is even more important to actively reach out to ethnic minorities, queer people, women etc. and tackle issues which effect such oppressed groups. Because whilst greater formalities do help greater participation I think probs can arise with such cadre structures as those who are privileged are often more able to commit and see themselves as more capable.

Battlescarred

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 2, 2012

"Ha", to quote you, you're being a little disenfgrnuous with your spurious desciption of the AF as a synthesist organisation which is so far from the truth. You might not find the characterisation of platformist groups as leftist - if the cap fits- but neither do i find your characterisation of AF as synthesist very helpful either.

Croy

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on May 2, 2012

What is synthesism in this context mean ? I know what the word synthesis means but yeah I dont quite get what this means as a name for a distinct sort of idea/strategy within anarchism.

Anyway, with regards to this statement, my opinion is basically that whilst I don't want anyone, especially comrades, to feel they are not allowed to form any new organizations at will for whatever reason, I do struggle to see the reason why we need another anarchist organization that will probably differ from others like Solfed and Afed only in a very small and perhaps insignificant way with regards to practice.

With the whole thing they say about social insertion etc, I dont really think you can do it in any other way than we do now, that is, getting involved with anti cuts movements that are leftist etc and other things of that nature. With class confidence, consciousness and power being pretty low at the moment (not to say this can change obviously), it is the best and perhaps only achievable realistic option. Im reminded of the time where I was telling some one about how absurd condemning anarchists for "hi jacking" demonstrations was, seeing as

1. Anarchism is about the working class and therefore we are obviously going to be engaging with them, particularly when they are in struggle.

2. If we had an explicitly anarchist march for instance, it would be extremely likely that the police would shut it down, arrest shitloads and try to gather information on all of us.

flaneur

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by flaneur on May 2, 2012

Syntheism in the anarchist context means organisations which include strands other than anarcho communism, most likely various individualism tendencies. Think only a couple of organisations are properly like this nowadays, such as the French AF.

Serge Forward

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 2, 2012

Flaneur's definition of synthesism is correct, but I see no evidence of such individualism in the French AF and this may possibly be in name only, given that the French AF is basically a class struggle organisation. Aside from the Russians who are no longer in IFA, I don't know of any IFA organisation that is 'properly like that' i.e. synthesist.

Croy

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on May 2, 2012

Seems like a recipe for disaster due to lack of unity to me

nastyned

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by nastyned on May 2, 2012

I must admit the thought of it fills me with horror too but the French FA have a weekly paper and a 24 hour radio station.

Croy

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on May 2, 2012

Anyway, back on topic. I just read the About Us section and I liked it a lot, and agreed with it substantially. But the same criticism as before, I dont really see anything unique. If some one had copied and pasted that text to me and said it was by AFed or SolFed I probably would of believed it (maybe that's a reflection on how little I know but either of these organizations though :P). So all was going well until I read the membership requirements. My points of disagreement are as follows

1. Their idea of associate membership seems a bit like prospective members are on probation period and are forced to do homework through being made to read theoretical texts etc.

2 "However,we do reserve the right to exclude from our membership anyone whose way of life and/or occupation
conflict with the fundamental nature of our politics" It begs the question, what ways of life are they opposed to and what jobs would not be allowed ? People are going to be working jobs that probably compromise with anarchist ethical sensibility/principle by necessity a lot of the time. Im not saying we should let managers or bosses join but this almost sounds a bit like there's an objective scale of how prole you are or something ridiculous. We joke about those sorts of things but it seems like they are seriously buying into that sort of notion.

3. Here a general point that applies to a number of things they say, including the distinction between supporter type membership and others and the compulsion to set up these cirlces as they call them. Im sure these have got the best of intentions, especially the circles thing, but forcing people to do these things is a bit wrong in my opinion. You should be allowed to decide your own level of involvement, if you don't you can begin forcing people to do something that they don't want to do and/or don't know how to do. It follows that those roles are going to be done shitly if this was the case. Maybe this would result in a situation where a role is not filled because no one wants to do it, but I cant see this as likely because people are actually paying monthly subscriptions to be a member. Furthermore, even if it did happen, surely its a pretty standard procedure to just share the burden some how.

4. Like I just mentioned in passing, there is a monthly subscription. I would not take issue with this if it was that you only have to pay that amount a month if you want, say, to get the journal if it was actually printed and not distributed online. But this is not the case, it says that the journal is free, so I would also assume its going to be an online only thing as your going to have to fund it somehow if it was actually printed anything like say Freedom. Where does the money go, how is it spent ? There is no mention of this in the document. Surely in an anarchist organization transparency when it comes to money and finance are very important seeing as we are skeptical of these things in the first place. If this organization is not practically different to SolFed or AFed, and SolFed or AFed don't charge a monthly subscription (I don't know this for sure, if they do please enlighten me), what motivation is there for me to join this organization ?

bastarx

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bastarx on May 2, 2012

nastyned

I must admit the thought of it fills me with horror too but the French FA have a weekly paper and a 24 hour radio station.

Which are subsidized by the French state IIRC.

sawa

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sawa on May 2, 2012

Afed and Solfed and any anarchist organisation really have subs too. Such is necessary for an organisation to do anything, purchase website, print any literature, hold stalls at events, hold meetings and conferences, cover travel costs and that isn't even including actual campaigns. :] All things cost money and its better if such comes from a steady income like subs. :[

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on May 2, 2012

everyone on this thread

Lots of critique, very few solutions

Yeah basically. Good luck with all though.

Awesome Dude

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Awesome Dude on May 2, 2012

Whoopee! Lets add one more name to the depressing list below:

admin: snip

klas batalo

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on May 3, 2012

Awesome Dude

Whoopee! Lets add one more name to the depressing list below:

admin: snip

except you didn't add it. fail. lulz.

i look forward to hearing more from Collective Action and this is a direction many organizations are moving towards in the USA.

bulmer

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bulmer on May 3, 2012

Am I right in thinking that the majority of those involved in this are from northern England?

Spikymike

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on May 3, 2012

It will be interesting to see if the members of this new group's intention to practice a degree of collective theoretical and tactical unity, beyond that which they presumably experienced in the AF, allows them to express the kind of individual free opinion that makes discussion here, at least occassionally, lively and informative?

Comming together to collectively discuss, analyse and act upon that analysis is obviously sensible practice, but unfortunately attempting that separately within each of todays tiny pro-revolutionary groups relies on a very narrow and restricted pool of social experience with such collective expressions as emmerge from that practice thereby resulting in limited benefits.

The benefits, such as they are, with the libcom site are with the wide mix of group's collective, and individual's free, expression.

We will see if another anarchist group with similar politics but a desire for a more disciplined organisational practice brings any additional benefits - I remain skeptical.

Battlescarred

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 3, 2012

Awesome Dude

Whoopee! Lets add one more name to the depressing list below:

admin: snip

Sorry, what is your point. What do anarchist organisations, included in this tedious list of yours, have to do with Leninist groups? Or this the old "if only we could all get together " chestnut. I await your reasoning on why we have anything to do with leftism.

Serge Forward

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 3, 2012

I'd forgotten half of the groups in that list. Please Chumrade Leader Battlescarred, can the AF make overtures to the RCPB(ML). I believe they'll liven up the organisation somewhat.

If Devrim's watching... was it you who once had a fling with an RCPB(ML) lass who kept a photo of Enva Hoxa and the Tirana tractor factory by her bedside?

Sorry in advance for the libcommunity stylee gossip folks :twisted:

Battlescarred

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 3, 2012

Anyway, I think some of those groups are stone dead like the WRP splinters Reclaim The Future and Movement for Socialism. So not only a crap list but inaccurate as well.

Awesome Dude

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Awesome Dude on May 3, 2012

Dp

Devrim

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on May 3, 2012

Serge Forward

If Devrim's watching... was it you who once had a fling with an RCPB(ML) lass who kept a photo of Enva Hoxa and the Tirana tractor factory by her bedside?

No, it was another guy from South West London DAM and Communication Worker, really. I might well have told you about it though.

Devrim

Awesome Dude

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Awesome Dude on May 3, 2012

Battlescarred

Sorry, what is your point. What do anarchist organisations, included in this tedious list of yours, have to do with Leninist groups? Or this the old "if only we could all get together " chestnut. I await your reasoning on why we have anything to do with leftism.

Relax battlescared. I've put it up to illustrate the "infinite spectrum" of groups propagandising for a new society. It not about "internationalist groups" BTW the list is not mine but from the urban 75 chatter about the recent workers power split.

Serge Forward

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 3, 2012

Devrim

Serge Forward

If Devrim's watching... was it you who once had a fling with an RCPB(ML) lass who kept a photo of Enva Hoxa and the Tirana tractor factory by her bedside?

No, it was another guy from South West London DAM and Communication Worker, really. I might well have told you about it though.

Devrim

You did, yonks ago. SW London DAM, does that mean he ended up in the AWG?

jonthom

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on May 3, 2012

I'd largely echo the sentiments so far; this seems like an interesting project, I'm curious why they decided to start a new organisation, would be interested to see how their theory applies in practice and how that differs from the approach taken by existing anarchist orgs. And of course wish them every success.

That said, I do have some questions about especifismo/specifism, listed here as an influence. The (English-language) texts I've been able to find on it have generally been quite broad in scope, addressing issues of organisation and theory. I'd be curious to see what this means in practice; how do they approach struggles, what relationship do they have with other groups, what sort of tactics do they advocate, what sort of success are they having, etc.? Unfortunately I don't speak Spanish or Portuguese which is a bit of an obstacle...

I'd also be curious as to how the people in Collective Action see especifismo working in a British context, whether the different political setting would mean employing the same ideas in a different way (and if so how), etc.

Crow

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Crow on May 3, 2012

I wish all three of you the best of luck in your endeavour.

jolasmo

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jolasmo on May 4, 2012

I'm curious why they decided to start a new organisation, would be interested to see how their theory applies in practice and how that differs from the approach taken by existing anarchist orgs. And of course wish them every success.

So, to provide a bit of background, this group began as an official faction within AFed some months ago. As here, there was some considerable confusion at the time as to what exactly their political disagreements were, which pretty much continued up until their (fairly recent) resignation from the organisation.

My impression, and it is just an impression, is that the core group of people behind CA were formerly very active AF members, who became frustrated with the organisation for a number of reasons that are not directly political, but more to do with things like organisational culture, the tone of discussions, recent organisational failures etc. In their final statement to the organisation, they mention what they see as "a culture of disorganisation and disconnect from original anarchist principles".

I certainly have some sympathy for their frustration. On the whole, though, I just didn't see their political project offering anything particularly new or different. Maybe that isn't the point though, and they simply wanted to break from an organisation whose internal culture they didn't like, which is of course perfectly reasonable.

Either way, best of luck to them with the new project. I think the multi-tiered membership thing is a bit cumbersome for a very small organisation, and I still don't see a whole lot of practical ideas for how to do things any better than we do in the AF (beyond all the stuff about 'discipline' etc. which I think is really a bit of a red herring). But as people have said it's early days, and maybe something more concrete will emerge after the whole thing has got off the ground a bit.

~J.

Devrim

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on May 4, 2012

Serge Forward

You did, yonks ago. SW London DAM, does that mean he ended up in the AWG?

Which sort of brings us back to the subject of this thread, platformism.

The answer is no. South West London DAM was a reasonably large group, as I remember about 16 people. Not all of them joined the AWG. I certainly did not. That guy joined Workers Power. I can pm you his name if you can not remember him.

Devrim

Battlescarred

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 4, 2012

Awesome Dude

Battlescarred

Sorry, what is your point. What do anarchist organisations, included in this tedious list of yours, have to do with Leninist groups? Or this the old "if only we could all get together " chestnut. I await your reasoning on why we have anything to do with leftism.

Relax battlescared. I've put it up to illustrate the "infinite spectrum" of groups propagandising for a new society. It not about "internationalist groups" BTW the list is not mine but from the urban 75 chatter about the recent workers power split.

Sorry, you're right, I need to take a stress pill. No need for rudeness from me, please accept my apologies.

rat

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on May 5, 2012

sawa

and those that tend more towards synthesism like AFed

Watch it, watch it! I'm a synthesist!

nastyned

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by nastyned on May 5, 2012

zero

sawa

and those that tend more towards synthesism like AFed

Watch it, watch it! I'm a synthesist!

LOL!

T La Palli

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by T La Palli on May 6, 2012

Shame the 3 of them didn't remain a faction in the AF. I thought that it was a healthy project (as a faction). I think a separate organisation is daft; but maybe they'll prove those sceptical about the project wrong. I also hope - and believe it will - give a boost to the anarchist federation in terms of our organisation. I wonder whether they will make a decent theoretical contribution on platform ism in British context (where l&s have not). I just can't see the CA developing into into a meaningful organisation.

radicalgraffiti

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on May 14, 2012

Neon_Black

Hi all, I've just published an article on the Collective Action statement and the issues it throws up for me.

i disagree with the perspective of this articular. I think that the basis of a group should the tactics (and the politics) which they intend to engage in, its easier to ignore the reason why someone wants to engage in an action that it is to ignore that people in the same group are trying to make it do completely different contradictory actions

Battlescarred

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 15, 2012

Soory, Neon, really can't go along with the why aren't we all in the same organisation/international re. Solfed/IWW/AF/ L&S/ etc This is what synthesism is about really!!

Battlescarred

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 15, 2012

We actually had a system of candidate membership in the old Anarchist Workers Association of which I was a member in the 1970s and this is the same system as Collective Action is positing.
It didn't work then , and ended up with a two-tier organisation so we eventually abolished it. It didn't help involvement in the organisation and was more off-putting than helpful. What we do, at least in London, is ask that people work with us for a spell before they make the move to full membership and I feel that this is a far better way of screening people, /see whether they are committed or dilettantes/revolutionary tourists.
I think to apply a two-tier structure to a group that counts a half-dozen at this point in time is in the realms of fantasy , and looks for structural solutions when direct political solutions- education programme, working with the group for a period at an informal level- are really the answer.

sawa

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sawa on May 17, 2012

Neon_Black

Hi all, I've just published an article on the Collective Action statement and the issues it throws up for me.

The first part of your article seems sensible but like Battlescarred I find the prospects and usefulness of one big anarkies organisation highly questionable at best.
"Though I'm sure it can't be true in real life, the whole tone of the first part suggests to me that Collective Action is only for the absolutely most marginalised, through all the intersecting systems of the kyriarchy." This I would also disagree with the absence of any anti racist, feminist, queer, arguments in CA's article was very notable to me sadly, so it hardly seems to be an organisation of the disprivileged. What is more accurate is that like other anarchist orgs they are attempting to target those sections of labour which are least organised currently.

syndicalist

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on May 17, 2012

Battlescarred: "We actually had a system of candidate membership in the old Anarchist Workers Association of which I was a member in the 1970s..."

W.S.A. has a 90 "collaborative period" (read trial period), which I think sux when most folks applying for membership are not part of a local group. It's sort of meaningless in that situation.

Spikymike

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on June 28, 2012

I did a brief summary of the Sheffield bookfair joint meeting between CA and Plan C on the Plan C thread. That short meeting did little in my opinion to clarify, in any detail, where either group stood on any of the key issues facing us today but I did pick up a couple of reproduced pamphlets by CA - one from the S.American FARJ and a longer one from the Italian FdCA which did help to clarify some points, though I'm none the wiser as to any differences that might exist between the 'Especifsta' and 'platformist' approaces to organisation and strategy. The seemingly specifist/platformist approach I got from the FdCa, did seem to add a couple more specific areas of 'collective discipline' to what otherwise I had assumed to be at least the formal approach to collective work and responcibility in the AF that CA have recently left. But as I suggested elswhere CA really do have to get round to a more detailed critique of both the formal and practical deficiencies they claim to have experienced with the AF that triggered this break.

There is one particular important point in the FdCa booklet I find confusing. The attempt to distinguish the relationship between 'the specific A-C organisation' and mass based class struggle seems to be reduced to the relationship between the specific 'A-C organisation'' and ''...the mass organisation'' with repeated emphasis on 'the' and numerous identifications between ''the mass organisation'' and ''the union''. I'm left wondering what this 'union' is - which one or several of the many that actually exist? Given that the supposed safeguard against the specific organisation falling prey to leninist type vanguardism or reformism lies in the fact ''...that as the members of the specific organisation are at the same time members of the mass organisation, non-separation is guaranteed.'' Also given the involvement of CA members in the IWW (along with at least some AF members) this needs some explanation. Where does CA stand in relation to existing unions in the UK and Europe for instance? Does their approach differ from for instance the platformist WSM in Ireland?

CA perhaps also need to explain more carefully how the intermediary organisations which it is suggested will operate inside mass organisations and social movements are really any different than the two way transmission belts of other left-wing 'front organisations'.

Lastly I was suprised to see some supposedly substantial political differences ascribed to the labels 'anarcho-communist' 'libertarian communist' and 'anarchist-communist' - are these accepted elswhere in the anarchist milieu?

I'm away from this site for a while but will come back to these and other questions later.

Harrison

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harrison on June 30, 2012

Spikymike

Lastly I was suprised to see some supposedly substantial political differences ascribed to the labels 'anarcho-communist' 'libertarian communist' and 'anarchist-communist' - are these accepted elswhere in the anarchist milieu?

i've always understood that libertarian communist (although it originated as a term as synonymous with anarchist-communist) is a catch all for some trends of marxism and some trends of anarchism, while anarchist communist is very ra ra bakunin etc.

i'm surprised to hear there is a difference between anarcho-communist and anarchist-communist

Croy

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on June 30, 2012

Harrison

Spikymike

Lastly I was suprised to see some supposedly substantial political differences ascribed to the labels 'anarcho-communist' 'libertarian communist' and 'anarchist-communist' - are these accepted elswhere in the anarchist milieu?

i've always understood that libertarian communist (although it originated as a term as synonymous with anarchist-communist) is a catch all for some trends of marxism and some trends of anarchism, while anarchist communist is very ra ra bakunin etc.

I'm surprised to hear there is a difference between anarcho-communist and anarchist-communist

Seeing as though historically the word libertarian has always been associated with anarchism and not much else, certainly not the right wing "libertarians", I think that whole 3 fold distinction is bollocks. Anarcho communism vs anarchist communism ? Come on, that's just plain stupid. Its an abbreviation for fuck sake.

P.S. I find it quite sad that the phrase "ra ra bakunin" made me chuckle like an old intellectual out loud to myself. Some one should make a song out of it in the same vein as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NKHJ64qRR8

syndicalist

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on June 30, 2012

Very fast....

"difference between anarcho-communist and anarchist-communist"

During the late 1970s/early 1980s here in the US,
those who were close to Murray Bookchin called themselves "anarcho-communists". Those of us who were members of the Anarchist-Communist Federation of North America (ACF), supporters of the communist-anarchist of Kropotkin, Berkman, etc. Our anarchist-comunism was heavily influenced by anarcho-syndicalism as well.

"Libertarian communism", was seen as a sort of anarcho-marxism.

That said, there was prolly a whole lot gray area in-between these quikly defined late 1970s US definations.

Croy

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on June 30, 2012

syndicalist

Very fast....

"difference between anarcho-communist and anarchist-communist"

During the late 1970s/early 1980s here in the US,
those who were close to Murray Bookchin called themselves "anarcho-communists". Those of us who were members of the Anarchist-Communist Federation of North America (ACF), supporters of the communist-anarchist of Kropotkin, Berkman, etc. Our anarchist-comunism was heavily influenced by anarcho-syndicalism as well.

"Libertarian communism", was seen as a sort of anarcho-marxism.

That said, there was prolly a whole lot gray area in-between these quikly defined late 1970s US definations.

So you seek to legitimaise the distinction and then use as an example a group with the label "anarchist communist" who supported thinkers you call "communist anarchists". Come on, this is just semantics and you know it. Then you go on to to mention anarcho syndicalism and "anarcho marxism", which is a term I have never seen use and sounds a bit made up to be honest.

syndicalist

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on June 30, 2012

the croydonian anarchist

syndicalist

Very fast....

"difference between anarcho-communist and anarchist-communist"

During the late 1970s/early 1980s here in the US,
those who were close to Murray Bookchin called themselves "anarcho-communists". Those of us who were members of the Anarchist-Communist Federation of North America (ACF), supporters of the communist-anarchist of Kropotkin, Berkman, etc. Our anarchist-comunism was heavily influenced by anarcho-syndicalism as well.

"Libertarian communism", was seen as a sort of anarcho-marxism.

That said, there was prolly a whole lot gray area in-between these quikly defined late 1970s US definations.

So you seek to legitimaise the distinction and then use as an example a group with the label "anarchist communist" who supported thinkers you call "communist anarchists". Come on, this is just semantics and you know it. Then you go on to to mention anarcho syndicalism and "anarcho marxism", which is a term I have never seen use and sounds a bit made up to be honest.

I don't know you and you me. So, let;'s just lay it out.

I'm telling you how we defined these things 35 years ago. This is how we parsed it out.

Now, if want to call me a liar, just piss off.

PS: The original title of Alex. Berkman's book was
"Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism".
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bright/berkman/comanarchism/whatis_toc.html

rat

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on June 30, 2012

the croydonian anarchist

"ra ra bakunin" Some one should make a song out of it

I thought you were on about 'Ra Ra Rasputin'.

(ra ra bakunin, prisoner of the Russian king...)

Nah. Forget it.

Croy

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on June 30, 2012

Yeah thats what I meant, a parody of Ra Ra Rasputin but with Ra Ra Bakunin

Croy

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on June 30, 2012

syndicalist

the croydonian anarchist

syndicalist

Very fast....

"difference between anarcho-communist and anarchist-communist"

During the late 1970s/early 1980s here in the US,
those who were close to Murray Bookchin called themselves "anarcho-communists". Those of us who were members of the Anarchist-Communist Federation of North America (ACF), supporters of the communist-anarchist of Kropotkin, Berkman, etc. Our anarchist-comunism was heavily influenced by anarcho-syndicalism as well.

"Libertarian communism", was seen as a sort of anarcho-marxism.

That said, there was prolly a whole lot gray area in-between these quikly defined late 1970s US definations.

So you seek to legitimaise the distinction and then use as an example a group with the label "anarchist communist" who supported thinkers you call "communist anarchists". Come on, this is just semantics and you know it. Then you go on to to mention anarcho syndicalism and "anarcho marxism", which is a term I have never seen use and sounds a bit made up to be honest.

I don't know you and you me. So, let;'s just lay it out.

I'm telling you how we defined these things 35 years ago. This is how we parsed it out.

Now, if want to call me a liar, just piss off.

PS: The original title of Alex. Berkman's book was
"Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism".
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bright/berkman/comanarchism/whatis_toc.html

Im not calling you a liar. If thats how you parsed it out, I think thats stupid, regardless of how long ago.

Rob Ray

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on July 1, 2012

Chilli Sauce

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on July 1, 2012

Croy, I don't think Syndicalist was trying to justify or legitimize such differences, just giving an example of a time when different groups adopted different terms to describe (very) small political and organisational differences.

In my experience, Syndicalist is nothing if not an non-sectarian who wants to engage in practical, useful discussion.

I hope that doesn't come across patronising to either of you.

Croy

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on July 1, 2012

Perhaps it was the fact he used the word "our".

Felix Frost

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Felix Frost on July 1, 2012

FdCA

...there is a total absence in Kropotkin of any trace of political strategy. In fact, for Kropotkin and his imitators, every form of organization, political or union, must be rejected as both are ways of channeling spontaneity which is intrinsically good and leads automatically to communism.

For anarchist communists, on the other hand, organization is at one and the same time necessary for our struggles and a guarantee of the revolutionary result of these struggles.

For the anarcho-communists, organization is "a bourgeois phenomenon" which, by compressing spontaneity, carries us further from the final result and impedes the development of the goodness of human nature and its tendency towards positive self-organization. As the most important thing is the purity of the doctrine in its harmonious vision of the world, in other words the goal which Man desires to reach, the class struggle is at most an instrument to be used in order to reach this goal. In this way anarcho-communism distances itself from the historical path of anarchist communism (understood as a theory for the emancipation of the oppressed classes and therefore inseparably linked to the class struggle) and becomes instead a theory which is valid for everyone. This leads to a rejection of the class struggle, seen as limiting a theory which is valid for ever, which relies only on the eternal aspiration of personal liberty of every human being; an accent is placed only on the relationship of "power" and not on the relationship of exploitation.

From http://www.fdca.it/fdcaen/historical/vault/comorig.htm

syndicalist

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on July 1, 2012

the croydonian anarchist

Perhaps it was the fact he used the word "our".

Comrade, it's near 100 farenhiet here and humid as hell, so I'm not so cheery (plus I'm working!).

I think the quote which Felix posted expresses a persepctive which others have shared over the years. I may not agree with the FdCA's Kropotkin's opinion, but the point on how some of us have differenated the differs are prolly on point.

That said "our" opinion was just that, "our" opinion. And I respect your right to have your opinion.

We'll leave it at this and move forward.

syndicalist

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on July 1, 2012

Chilli Sauce]...In my experience, Syndicalist is nothing if not an non-sectarian who wants to engage in practical, useful discussion.

Thanks Chili. I try, it just don't always work that way. But, thanks.

I just think this one cauh=ght me the wrong way. And the oppressive heat/humidy just didn't help.

ocelot

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 2, 2012

Spikymike

Lastly I was suprised to see some supposedly substantial political differences ascribed to the labels 'anarcho-communist' 'libertarian communist' and 'anarchist-communist' - are these accepted elswhere in the anarchist milieu?

I think it's specific to the Italian anarchist milieu. As the quote Felix picked out implied, in the historical development of Italian anarchism, from the period of decline of the classical movement (from the 1890s onwards) there evolved a species of anti-organisationalist anarchists, who had been originally insurrectionist, but settled into quietist sectarianism, based on an almost religious adherence to Kropotkin's later Inevitablism. Nunzio Pernicone's book "Italian Anarchism, 1864- 1892" touches on that tendency a little, towards the end.

Outside of the Italian context, I've never come across any specific association to a distinction between anarcho-communist and anarchist communist (other than the infos syndicalist just gave above in relation to the US movement in the 1970s). Of course, in la francophonie, there is often a historic distinction made between communiste libertaire and communiste anarchiste due to the association of the former with French platformism in the post-war period, but that's another story...

georgestapleton

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by georgestapleton on July 2, 2012

As usual ocelot got there first. But yeah its a distinction that only seems to exist in the Italian tradition. A decent, albeit very 'Italian anarchist', article on the subject is Adriana Dada's "Anarchist communist theory and strategy and the anti-organizational deviation". See, anarchists can write articles as poetic and terminologically counter-intuitive as anything Bordiga wrote.

Spikymike

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on July 14, 2012

Well i've returned to this as promised only to find that my parting shot has lead on to a discussion of the least important of the points I raised in my earlier post. Maybe CA will still respond to those at some point?

ACA The Underground

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ACA The Underground on January 18, 2013

The British Left is pathetic, small groups and highly fragmented, they'd rather squabble with each other over some historical even rather than put aside their differences to defeat the greater enemy.

Arbeiten

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on January 18, 2013

^^ vote labour with no illusions

redsdisease

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by redsdisease on January 23, 2013

ACA The Underground

The British Left is pathetic, small groups and highly fragmented, they'd rather squabble with each other over some historical even rather than put aside their differences to defeat the greater enemy.

If you're going to "put aside your differences" where do you draw the line at who get's included? In the US the largest "socialist" group is basically just a wing of the democratic party, do you consider them part of the left, or part of the "greater enemy?" In practice, attempts at left unity usually just end up being groups papering over real, significant strategic and theoretical differences for a unity that really exists in name only.

I think it's really excellent when groups who have common practice and theory regroup, such as might happen in the US with several of the class struggle based anarchist organization. However, I would rather see folks who have different strategic orientations form distinct groups that push in their own directions but still work together when it makes sense, than all be in one big group that doesn't really do anything cohesively.

Tim Finnegan

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tim Finnegan on January 23, 2013

(nevermind)

Phil0old

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Phil0old on May 25, 2015

I am saddened that there is yet another Anarchist Communist group. I would be very interested in a non communist anarchist group. I see no reason why a person who really wants to see an end to hierarchical government and the destruction of capitalism should be so wrapped up in a classist debate that is backward looking and pointless. Marxist communism was itself a reaction to capitalism and cannot exist without it and so any group which espouses the same ideals falls in to the same futureless existence.
I don't want to see the end of capitalism and big government and then have nowhere to go. I don't want to alienate religious people because they are religious nor do I want to alienate any other single person purely because they are members of a group I oppose. You do not shatter the paradigms of the misinformed and accidentally born in the wrong position people by calling for the end of all they are.
If anyone could kindly point me to an anarchist group which is aimed at liberation from indoctrination by communists and capitalists I would be obliged. I want to give all men liberty and then see what they do with it, I don't want to pretend to give them liberty but force them to believe what I believe.

regards

Phil Saunders

Phil0old

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Phil0old on May 25, 2015

Personally I reject the whole left/right argument as false and misleading. It looks at the world and says "this must be right/wrong because of who brought it to the table and why".

I believe in liberty, freedom and the right of self determination. There are people on all parts of the absurd left/right divide who also believe in those things. Not all socialists believe in them, indeed there are very many on the so called left wing who are as authoritarian as those on the right, some even more so. How can a true anarchist form an alliance with the Labour Party? They oppose almost everything I believe in. They want massive government, massive control and massive intervention. The tories want smaller government but massive control and massive intervention. That you see such a difference between the two means, in my humble opinion, that you have been badly misinformed.

regards

Phil Saunders

Battlescarred

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 25, 2015

I don't think libcom is the place for you. Notice the "com" in libcom.

Serge Forward

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 25, 2015

Well, Phil0old, you'll be pleased to note that this 'new' anarcho-communist group didn't take off.

That aside, compare yourself with the supporter of 'anarcho-capitalism' on a couple of the other threads, who's open minded enough to ask us what we're all about. You, on the other hand, start by telling us we're all wrong, even though you clearly seem to have read or understood nothing on this site and its forums. Either find out a bit about us before opening your trap or do one.

Chilli Sauce

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 25, 2015

Phil, I don't think you understand anarchism or communism - and you certainly don't understand the politics of libcom or its posters.

If you're actually interested in understanding the terms as we use them, I'd start here:

http://libcom.org/library/libcom-introductory-guide

Phil0old

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Phil0old on May 25, 2015

I read what you are all about. But apart from playing semantic games what would be the point of asking you?

Elsewhere people are ripped apart for asking questions, not being as informed as some others would like, or using words in a way some folks don't like or know about.

If you think I don't know, or have misunderstood, you could

1) Enlighten me

or

2) be a dick

Sadly you went with option b and that having assumed ignorance on my part in the first place.

My my aren't you an admirable fellow.

Phil

Phil0old

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Phil0old on May 25, 2015

You mean only those who will agree are allowed to comment.

How very liberal of you

Phil

Khawaga

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on May 25, 2015

Ok, Phil0old, if you've read what we about, care to explain how you understand us? In your own words? Because so far, you've not explained much and clearly don't take your talking points from the libcom library.

Chilli Sauce

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 25, 2015

Phil, did you actually read my last post? The intro guides are short and concise. Read them and if you have any specific questions, folks will be glad to respond.

Phil0old

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Phil0old on May 25, 2015

“libcom.org is a resource for all people who wish to fight to improve their lives, their communities and their working conditions. We want to discuss, learn from successes and failures of the past and develop strategies to increase the power we, as ordinary people, have over our own lives.”

Yet it is not for me because I’m not a communist, according to one poster anyway. In fact condemning ideas has resulted in repeated personal attacks. So wanting to discuss seems amusing.

I have learned from the failures of the past, communism and socialism (yes I know they once were the same thing) are clearly failures. They are unable to withstand internal assault by authoritarians and such like and have failed to prevent the degradation of the rights of the working class that has occurred in the last 35 years for instance.

If anything is to overcome capitalism and all the evils of it then it will not be an anti religious group, nor will it be a group that hates the family unit. The family unit, and the extended family unit or tribe, oddly enough for Marxists, being the closest thing to working communism that history has witnessed.

Most of what I have read here appears to be dressing up old failures in new terminology. I realise that in general that will be the case but I had hoped that there might be rather more than that.

Khawaga

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on May 25, 2015

Dressing up of old failures, and you raise the family as solution? Clearly the irony is lost on you.

boozemonarchy

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by boozemonarchy on May 26, 2015

It is sort of dawning on me that Phil0old isn't a troll. Rather, a sincere, annoyingly misinformed 'independent thinker', who fucked up a google search and found themselves here. I thought the self-righteous lecturing about 'rights' and freedom on the other thread was the bait, a tired 'concern troll' trope that we occasionally see.. Honest mistake.

Chilli Sauce

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 26, 2015

If anything is to overcome capitalism and all the evils of it then it will not be an anti religious group, nor will it be a group that hates the family unit. The family unit, and the extended family unit or tribe, oddly enough for Marxists, being the closest thing to working communism that history has witnessed.

While you're right that most libcom posters are anti-religion, your hyperbole here is really raising your argument to the level of a strawman. Lots of libcom posters are happily married and have kids. Others are single, trans, gay and married, gay and single, single parents, or vasectomized.

Most posters are concerned first and foremost with organising - either in the workplace or in the community. As anyone of us would happily tell you - should you choose to ask- we organise on material lines. I don't really give a shit if someone goes to church, votes conservative, whatever. I'm far more concerned about creating a situation where me and my co-workers stick together against the boss. Religion, politics, the family fucking unit - that shit barely factors into it.

GerryK

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by GerryK on May 26, 2015

This is not so much a Where We Stand, more a "Why We Run".

If what we want and don’t want doesn’t make itself obvious in our analysis of what’s concretely going on and in our practical attitudes, then no amount of “Where We Stands” can hide this failure.

...except to yourself and your fellow collaborators in politics.

ocelot

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on May 27, 2015

For the record, the authors of the OP are now part of Plan C. So it's not like they disappeared up their fundament so much as decided to participate in a bigger project.

Spikymike

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on May 27, 2015

I didn't realise that any of the main CA authors had actually joined the Plan C group. Perhaps they responded to my earlier May 3rd comment on this thread and decided the questions they were asking themselves and others could be better answered in a (marginally) larger network of like-minded people? Though it's difficult to see where that leaves their former commitment to the discipline and organisational framework of 'Especifsta' that I queried to some extent in my earlier post of June 20th here and which is noteably lacking to my mind in the sometimes interesting but diverse politics and activity of the Plan C groups.

Battlescarred

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 27, 2015

At least when the majority of the Libertarian Communist Group went into Big Flame in the beginning of the 80s they actually committed to it and put effort into it. As far as I can see this is not the case with the ex-members of CA, bar one.

Serge Forward

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 27, 2015

Mind you, it was wasted effort cos Big Flame was a bit poo :D

rat

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on May 27, 2015

Didn't Collective Action set-up the Libertarian Communist Group not long ago?

Battlescarred

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on May 27, 2015

One ex-member did

Spikymike

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on September 27, 2015

The remains (in Wales) of the 'Libertarian Communist Group' mentioned above that arose out of 'Collective Action' who in turn were a small split from the Anarchist Federation (UK) have now sent out a fraternal appeal to the rest of the UK anarchists for a national conference in 2016 which they hope to be an advance on the last one back in 2009. See here: www.anarkismo.net/article/28556

There is more discussion on other threads here about 'Collective Action' and relations between that short lived group and the continueing organisations 'Plan C' and the IWW.

Spikymike

8 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on October 21, 2015

This appeal by the Welsh LCG seems to have fallen flat on it's face - perhaps not suprising?

klas batalo

8 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 21, 2015

tbf just because there are not public answers does not mean there haven't been private replies?

maybe you have more insight to the regional situation tho?

James MacBryde

8 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by James MacBryde on January 10, 2016

Seems like a reasonable statement, Collective Action.
I'd prepared to work with you.

Sorry, I just read the penultimate paragraph and stumbled across `independent'. Scrap that!

Battlescarred

8 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on January 10, 2016

Sorry chum, but Collective Action have not existed for quite some time now

James MacBryde

8 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by James MacBryde on January 11, 2016

Trawling through the comments above, I pick up a whiff of sectarian sentiment that puts me in mind of rabbi Marx's phrase, the Era of sectarianism par excellence. Strange, I consider that Era to be over; perhaps it is a throwback.

James MacBryde

8 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by James MacBryde on January 11, 2016

your problem with collective action is that they aimed themselves at anarchist communists who where not in an existing organisation?

I didn't get the impression that Collective Action solely had aspirations for those not in an existing organisation. To the contrary!

This is a call out to all independent anarchist communists who feel the need to understand more concretely who we are, where we are and how we move forward.

I thought that anarchist communists were interdependent on one another and on their class, not 'independent'.

Stick to plan A old chums!

ocelot

8 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on January 14, 2016

James MacBryde

rabbi Marx

For the record Marx was a Christian (Lutheran), albeit a non-believing atheist one from early adulthood (at least).