It’s a lonely world these days for an anti-parliamentary socialist with all politics seeming to have taken a back seat to the current Labour Party shenanigans. While the deluge of establishment groupthink currently arrayed on Corbyn is as disgusting as it is cynical, we're still not pinning any hopes on him in the (now quite likely) event he comes out on top in the next leadership election.
Look, it could well happen that the left may, against all odds, take control of the Labour Party NEC and make the party more member-led. That’s something I would have given very long odds on a year or so ago (but then again, the same is true of Leicester City winning the Prem so maybe 2016 is the year for long odds!).
That said, if you think the Labour Right play dirty, wait til you see the CBI, the City of London and the IMF join in while the media dial up the smears to 11. As sneaky and disingenuous as individuals like Tristram Hunt, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith are, they’re all also largely inept and charmless, as their botched coup and embarrassing public appearances demonstrate. They’re like The Orphans in The Warriors, easily rolled over at the start but not nearly as fearsome as the other opponents on the journey back to Coney Island.
The same will not be true as we draw up to General Election time, and even less so if Corbyn were to win; the likelihood he'd be able to pass reforms that harmed the interests of big business, without massive pressure from a disruptive extra-parliamentary social movement, is very slim… all the slimmer for the fact it won’t be Tom Watson playing ‘Good Cop’ to Chuka Umunna’s ‘Bad Cop’; it will be the Murdochs and other ‘captains of industry’ hamstringing even mild social democratic reform through non-cooperation, sabotage and public smears.
Without such a movement, a Corbyn (or any other social democratic) government would not have a leg to stand on. Yet with such a social movement, the role of such a government becomes different: the role will be to mediate and to limit; to separate ‘responsible’ representatives from ‘unruly’ elements and give carrots to the first while doling out sticks to the latter.
Ultimately, extra-parliamentary forces largely determine parliamentary possibilities so even if you want parliamentary reform, it necessitates building grassroots power and a capacity to take disruptive action - strikes, occupations, demonstrations that block transport hubs etc - that such reform will become realisable. And, of course, when such extra-parliamentary forces are forcing reforms, parliamentarism ceases to appear as a ray of hope and becomes an obstacle.
It’s at this point that the usual response is “can’t we do both?”. “Can’t we build an autonomous grassroots working-class direct action movement AND fight to reform the Labour Party into a left-wing electable vote-winning machine?” And the answer to this is: theoretically, yes. But practically there are only 24 hours in a day, two-thirds of which are usually spent either sleeping or working. What has become clear with the recent coup (if it wasn’t already) is that reforming the Labour Party won’t be as easy as paying £3 to vote Corbyn as leader. It means getting involved in your Constituency Labour Party, pressuring your MP, possibly deselecting them, which, as Novara’s recent guide to deselection makes clear, could potentially involve “years of hard work in branches and constituencies across the country”. Which is fine; as the old cliché goes, ‘they wouldn’t call it a struggle if it was easy’. The point is whether the Labour Party is the best place to expend all that energy in struggle.
From our point of view, there can be no ‘UKIP of the left’; pro- and anti-systemic politics just don’t work in the same way like that. But it is worth thinking about how the extra-parliamentary left in Britain could use similar resources to what's currently being chucked into the Labour Party and, in that sense, it's oddly useful looking at the US extra-parliamentary right, with its vast media infrastructure of talk shows, blogs and ecology of organisations. Sure, they’re financed by millionaire/billionaire capitalists and we’re not (nor should we be). But working-class people collectively pay millions into unions, £4.6 million into the Labour Party in 48 hours and donate thousands of hours of voluntary labour into similar organisations. So the resources are there and it’s worth thinking about how an extra-parliamentary social movement could make use of them.
Money isn’t always a limiting factor but it often helps, certainly with media infrastructure, training, equipment and organising events.
In terms of action, it’s all about finding points of leverage:
- Sisters Uncut have been doing fantastic work around domestic violence and housing. Their recent occupation of an empty council house in Hackney has highlighted cuts to both and created a base for organisation far more quickly than involvement in the Labour Party ever could.
- Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth have been doing excellent work around housing and building their eviction phone tree. Similar could be said of the recent UCL rent strikers
- IWW, Solfed and IWGB have all had some decent industrial organising, particularly Solfed amongst hospitality workers in Brighton and the IWGB amongst cleaners and couriers in London (the IWGB have also organised a London Courier Emergency Fund to help ‘self-employed’ couriers when they have accidents and can’t work)
- There’s also a Black Lives Matter UK group in the works which promises to be very exciting
So what is to be done?
The fact is that outside of a lot of major cities, there isn’t a whole lot of extra-parliamentary direct action organising going on and often it’s the Labour Party/Momentum or nothing. And it’s also obviously a lot easier to get involved or support existing groups than start one from scratch. Given all that, a potential strategy to help isolated groups could look something like this:
1) Build alt-media and social networks; Novara are doing very well at this (despite becoming a bit too Labour-centric for our tastes) as are Media Diversified. The Occupied Times also produce a very high quality print publication. And, er, obviously us at Libcom.org..
2) Utilise contacts built through alt-media networks to organise a loose tour of direct action groups around the country aiming not merely to hold meetings but to seed new direct action groups. Would require organisations to put up a few people willing to travel and talk within a given area, pool resources etc.
3) Focus shouldn’t be on building particular organisations but supporting people to organise in a locally appropriate model: if they want to form an IWW branch/Solfed local/Sisters Uncut chapter, then fine. If they want to organise a non-affiliated Solidarity Network or housing action group, also fine
The same concerted effort over years that would go into the Labour Party could instead be used to grow direct action groups in localities across the country.
Obviously, there aren’t 180,000 people itching to get involved in extra-parliamentary direct action; what’s being sketched out here is how a few million quid and thousands of activist hours could help develop a movement separate from the Labour Party, and lamenting all that’s gone into that party (and scepticism over Corbyn more generally) does not mean passively accepting Tory rule. It just means we prefer barking up the right (tall and difficult to climb) tree than the wrong (accessible, appealing) one.
For more tips on how to get involved/start different kinds of organisation, check out:
- Building a solidarity network guide
- Workplace organising guide (also get in touch with either Solfed or the IWW to try and attend or host one of their workplace organiser trainings)
- Community organising guide
But more importantly, check out some of the great groups mentioned in this blog post!
This blog post is a padded out version of a thread on Joseph Kay's twitter.
this should be shared widely.
this should be shared widely. it would be great to have country-specific versions of this, as the same conversation is happening, for instance, in the u.s. (ie sanders supporters discussing how to take over democratic party). not sure i have the time to write it up myself, but would offer a hand to anyone willing to give it a go.
Ok, money for all those
Ok, money for all those things would be great, and there's nothing wrong with the plan, but....
In my experience of fundraising it's really difficult to raise even a few hundred quid. I have experience of raising money for the hardship pay when we go on strike and it's really difficult, to get small amounts of money takes loads of work. I don't know why people give money to some things more readily than others but there obviously is a reason.
The bigger problem with grassroots direct action is actually more then involvement than the money, and I think it's worth asking some questions about this.
Possibly a big factor is that people really want the 'buzz' they want to feel part of something big and exciting, which is getting media attention and which their friends are talking about and involved in, sometimes grassroots direct action is a really serious slog, with small numbers of people and lots of hard work and it doesn't necessarily give you that hit very easily (sometimes it does, which of course is brilliant.) Grassroots direct action also tends to involve a lot more personal risks, either materially (arrest, sacking, violence) or emotionally (having arguments and confrontations with workmates/neighbours/family, being disapproved of)
Nothing wrong with your analysis or your proposal and I think your tree analogy works but I do think we need to ask more about why the response to grassroots direct action and to the labour party thing is so massively different.
This was posted in the other
This was posted in the other thread; http://libcom.org/forums/general/labour-party-shambles-30062016 but is related to some points raised here;
This article, though from a Labour leftist viewpoint, does make some relevant points on the ‘Party-as-social-movement’ Corbynist claims;
Great ideas Joseph! I was
Great ideas Joseph!
I was thinking along the same lines since Brexit and the coup. I think Corbynism reflects an understandable mass reaction to decades of weakness and defeats in our workplaces, communities, in the value of our social wage etc. People are flocking into the political arena in huge numbers, because it seems to them like another avenue has been opened, let's give it a go! That's why I am active in Momentum. I just want to explore the potential in this situation, because it's a new situation, so we can't just mechanically apply some lessons from the past. As the materialist saying goes, you don't know the reality's limits before you ACT on the reality... So my only disagreement with you is that I think you've given up on that potential before you've tried to test it out first... I can assure you that there are a few more comrades in Momentum who feel like me and are here to test it out, to advocate for Momentum putting its resources to support autonomous community and workplace campaigns. To the Labour party members we're saying that building an independent strong social movement against austerity and divisions is also good for the Labour party: it will make Corbyn appear the reasonable voice of the Left and his support will grow. Of course, what we are not saying to them is that we actually wish that the class struggle movement overgrows its initial sponsor Momentum and will make Momentum obsolete.
This article is very powerful on that matter (the whole blog is very interesting):
I think Brexit and this Corbynist movement are accelerators. Both UKIP-right and Labour left feel they need to seize the time. The potential next UKIP leader Steven Woolfe seems dangerous to us: working class from Manc, mixed-race (to claim Ukip no racists), has got a good story to tell to the Daily Mail about the new class war of the rich against the poor, and that we need our British dream back: social mobility for the likes him, a mass people's party, welfare state etc... I am mentioning all this just to explain why I feel that time is running out. We are lucky that this country unlike other European countries has no pro-working class far Right party yet, but the project has already been copy pasted here and if UKIP fails, then Aron Banks has got enough money to start anew. (A possible disastrous effects of a possible looney attack(s) on British civilians is another matter, that would make our position yet more dificult again)..
fingers malone wrote: I do
As well as the reasons fingers identifies, I think another reason why the Labour Party has the edge in terms of appeal is that it actually exists. Not only that, it exists everywhere, even in Tory heartlands. It's stable, has structures and established ways of doing things -- something that's possible to get involved with.
Other than a few examples, that's not true of grassroots direct action groups, and even then, they're patchy. None has a nationwide presence. So when we invite people to get involved in grassroots direct action politics, we're mostly inviting them to set something up, rather than join something (even if we can offer support to help them do that). And as anyone who has ever set up a group knows, it's hard, and it can take years to get stability in terms of membership and activity. This being the case, it's not hard to see how popping along to your local CLP might be a more attractive proposition.
Also, anarchists have had it
Also, anarchists have had it easy for the last 25 years, because the THEY'RE ALL THE SAME argument has been an easy one to make, on the basis of massive programmatic agreement between political parties, and a shared managerialist model of what politics is. So as soon as they're not ALL THE SAME, even when the point of distinction is neoliberalism vs the corpse of social democracy, a lot of erstwhile anarchists have lost their shit.
True. That said, I know
True. That said, I know people who were anarchists back in the 70s (ex-ORA, I think) and who you'd think would know better but have also lost their shit and gone full Corbynista.
the button wrote: Also,
Really good point
Serge Forward wrote: True.
Was there a similar outbreak of enthusiasm over Bennism, I wonder? I kind of remember Bennism, but I was just a crazy mixed up kid in rural East Yorkshire with a subscription to Black Flag, so I don't really know what impact it had.
There was always the odd
There was always the odd anarchoid who found a home in the Labour Party or Young Liberals but I don't recall any proper anarcho-communist chucking in their lot with Benn or the LP under the Foot leadership.
Serge Forward wrote: There
Obviously people are allowed to change their minds about shit, but one of the odder features of this particular debacle has been people who self-define as anarchists joining the Labour Party and still self-defining as anarchists.
This is either the traditional problem of low barriers to entry (i.e. anyone can call themselves an anarchist) or something else. Possibly related to my earlier point about an apparent break in a neoliberal consensus and a definition of anarchism (never articulated but simply assumed) that the name of the game was opposition to a certain kind of capitalism and State power, rather than capitalism and the State *period*. Given that assumption, the opportunity is opened up for some bizarre model of popular front against neoliberalism where you can get involved in party politics and still call yourself an anarchist.
That's a series of great
That's a series of great posts, the button. Well put.
Khawaga wrote: That's a
Ta. I should clearly drink beer more often.
The only member of the AF
The only member of the AF I've ever known was recruited while in the Labour party, and yes the guy who helped him join knew about this. He eventually chucked both of them for the SPEW, and was eventually kicked out of that over some issue. The last I saw of him he had attempted to burgle his neighbour.
Could somebody please explain
Could somebody please explain what the title of this thread means?
It's a play on a saying/meme:
It's a play on a saying/meme: "do you even lift bro?" or some version of it.
And there was me thinking it
And there was me thinking it was just a lost verb typo. You live and learn.
Quote: Could somebody please
What does "do you even lift bro?" mean?
Perhaps it's worth reading
Perhaps it's worth reading Bk's response above again for some clues as well, particularly their ''what's good for us is also good for the labour Party'' line and their justification for involvement in Momentum since they otherwise seem to wholeheartedly agree with the originating text of this discussion. That text in some of it's wording, if presumably not it's intent, seemed to potentially mix up a political pro-revolutionary from an openly politically reformist understanding of exactly what we understand about the nature, function and potential of 'reforms' today. Certainly some anarchists still perceive 'austerity' and the current social-economic crisis as purely a result of the wrong government policies and to that extent share leftist illusions in the possibility of a return to something akin to the social-democratic era given enough pressure from below.
Time perhaps to resurrect some of the older discussions on this site under the 'Are Reforms possible' heading as well.
Maybe I'm missing something
Maybe I'm missing something here? Since when have Labour been of the left? It's all relative I guess but FFS, look at these recent quotes from Jezza's right(or should I say left) hand man and chancellor in waiting;
'We are the party of business'
'We are an entrepreneurial party'
Come off it already, this will be the same as ever if they get in. I don't care how genuine Corbyn is, I mean one man against the global capitalist system. LMFAO! The pink faces of the Tory party had far greater potential for creating radicalism than the slimey Labour charlatans since there is no veneer of being for the poor, the workers or whatever. Now Labour come along and hoodwink those that may finally have had enough of all this bullshit and get them right back on side with capitalism and parliamentary people power. Dirty fucking bastards. Christ, I fucking hate Labour!
Edit: Sorry, I realise that my post doesn't much relate to this thread, it's just as soon as I see Labour mentioned in relation to radical politics I go into meltdown and start ranting.
I don't know Noah, while I
I don't know Noah, while I totally get your response on a gut emotional level, the Labour party does have an active left-wing contingent and, at times, the Labour party has taken left-wing positions and instituted social democratic reforms.
To boot, there are a lot of solid militants active within the Labour Party and some Constituency Labour Parties and Trades Councils (who are affiliated to the party through the Trade Unions) hold pretty radical positions. Even the Parliamentary Labour Party itself is adept at co-opting class struggles precisely because they're willing to use the language of conflict and social change
Given that, I don't mind chucking the Labour Party in with the left. Rather, I think we're better off having a critique of "the Left" that spans from its social democratic incarnations to its Leninist ones.
Steady on with your
Steady on with your protesting too much about Labour, Noah. You're showing your blue-rinse roots there fella. While it is a shit party we rightly oppose, Labour does have a radical element and a history of leninist/trotskyist entryism makes it somewhat different from the Tories. Also, thousands of people join the Labour Party because they mistakenly believe it's a way to make the world a better place. Compare this with the many people who join the Tories because they are utter cunts with no redeeming features.
Reddebrek, I'm a bit shocked by your earlier anecdote. PM me with the details please.
Chilli old chap, I realise
Chilli old chap, I realise that I don't have a very sophisticated view of this or even a very knowledgable one but after 34 years of studying parliamentary politics in the UK I know what I've seen. The only real change I've noticed is the erosion of workers ability to protect themselves from bosses. This has continued under both Labour and the Tories. I believe that Labour and their cozy back scratching arrangement with the Unions has helped drive this at times.
Ok, so there's good guys in the Labour Party, even radical good guys, well big fucking deal, they're wrong, plain and simple. If someone however well intentioned through stupidity or delusion decides it's a good idea to kick me in the nuts, it's still gonna hurt and I'm going to be hard pressed not to punch them out. And deluded is what these people are if they think they can effect change by jumping into bed with fucking capitalists. In my view that makes them at best a dick and at worst a capitalist collaborator.
Anyways, there are also good guys in the Tory party, some with way more progressive views on homophobia and misogyny that is often displayed on Libcom. Should we then line up with them? Nope, of course not, their overall political view is too far off to connect with them. The same should be true of the radical lefty(lol) members, yes MEMBERS of the CAPITALIST Labour Party. Fuck them all, ok? Except we have to fuck the Tories harder because, er, why? Pure fucking prejudice. We're anarchists right, aren't we aware that the 'left' of liberal democracy is every bit as important to the maintenance of capitalism, as is the right.
Fuck these people, just fuck them, left, right, Labour, Tory, fuck them all. As people, well whatever but the position they take is damaging and counter revolutionary and for that I hate them.
Edit: Lol, cross posted with Serge. You got in too late there comrade. Anyway I'm probably done, I ordered a large bag of bombast from Amazon earlier but until that arrives I'm all out.
One more thing
One more thing though;
What, and no Labour members joined for their own personal gain? And nobody joins the Tories with honourable intentions? Come on mate, it's way more nuanced than Tories bad, Labour mistaken. I don't have blue rinse roots, I just think that their is hypocracy in the way the two sides of the same coin are viewed.
Back to this fundraising
Back to this fundraising thing, the cleaners campaign raised thousands for strike pay, and I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that Sussex Uni were successful with online fundraising for their strike fund. So fundraising for direct action isn't impossible.
Ok I do know that part of the reason my branch have trouble fundraising is because we're not actually very good at it, but if us and loads of other workforces massively raised our game and did effective online fundraising with a paypal account and stuff, wouldn't people quickly get compassion fatigue and ignore us? Isn't there limits on the 'buzz factor' and also isn't there a practical limit on how much spare cash people actually have available that they are prepared to donate to a strike fund?
Just using strike fund for an easy example, the same could be said of HASL or Sisters Uncut or any other DA group that could use the cash.
I'm not going to go on about
I'm not going to go on about strike funds anymore.
So, people like:
joining groups that are already up and running, in their part of the country, rather than setting up new ones
being involved in something that their friends and workmates are talking about and interested in
seeing the thing they are involved with on the telly
being involved in something that is getting bigger, with new people turning up
(these conditions can apply to direct action grassroots politics, I have experience of it myself, in the anti roads movement, in the anti poll tax movement, and also in the miners strike. The crucial factor here is that all these movements were very big.)
more problematically, people also like:
being involved in a way that you feel involved but don't need to actually do much (pay a few quid and you are a LP member, you don't need to ever attend any meetings or do any work)
being involved in something where you don't get thrown down flights of stairs by the police, don't risk losing your job or your liberty, and where you can go to the football at the weekends instead of getting up really early and doing political things.
being involved in something where you don't have to spend years getting good at it and having constant pressure as other people are depending on you not to fuck it up (something that really bothers me as a trade union rep.)
Ok so people like all these things, which is understandable. But what do we do, because direct action grassroots politics can't necessarily be like that?
Noah Fence wrote: One more
Straw man there, pal. I never suggested that Labour wasn't full of self-serving twats. I just can't imagine anyone joining the Tories to make the world a better place. People do join Labour for that reason, however wrong I think they are.
Haha! Give em enough rope!!!
Haha! Give em enough rope!!! I think you've hung yourself there matey. Just coz you can't imagine it it don't mean it ain't so. That's as straw a man as anything I've said. Of course some people join the Tories to make the world a better place, just as they join the SWP, the Church of Scientology, the scatty arsed liberal vegan movement or a dozen other things. If you think that everyone that ever joined the Tories is an outright bastard then I really don't know what to say.
And how about my broader points about the effect of Labour?
Come on mate, lets duke this one out! Only this afternoon. On the phone to another Libcommer I said 'I'm really digging Serge at the moment'. Their response was 'yeah, he's straightforward and honest, he isn't a condescending pretentious dick like some people on there'.
High praise indeed, and every word of it true, therefore I'd consider it an honour to have a few rounds of keyboard fisticuffs with you. Be warned though - anything less than a knock out blow will be swept aside with a curt 'oh well, you can't win an argument against prejudice'.
leftists outside the party
leftists outside the party almost universally consider labour to be part of the left, although to their right. The idea that labour had fundamentally changed with blair/new labour was quite popular up until Corbyn became leader, which many people saw as an opportunity to "retake" the labour party and shift it back to the left. A lot of people still consider it the parliamentary vehicle of the left.
now this is not a vary good analysis on there part, but if we don't understand this i don't think we can understand the left in the uk
Although i don't like Novaras current focus on the labour party i think the idea that the idea that Bastani was going on about, that the parties in a two party system are coalitions of various different political interests, is basically correct.
So while i was initially inclined to say labour is a the far right of the left, its probably more accurate to say it consists of various centre to right wing leftists with liberals/neo-liberals.
This is kind of why i don't
This is kind of why i don't think morals/ethics are all that useful for understanding politics, especially not when it focuses on the morals of individual people. The private motivations of the members of the tory or labour party, are impossible to determine and tell us vary little about what they do
Quote: So while i was
Well, you don't really get much more neo liberal than the McDonnell quotes I posted earlier. That's the reality and that's what I'm interested in not the fact that Labour has amongst its members a bunch of deluded twats with a red star pin badge calling themselves communists. The very same people that call anarchism juvenile and idealistic. Well, there's a small chance anarchist communism will make the world a better place but there's absolutely no fucking chance that their caring capitalism or revolution through the ballot box will. Now who's idealistic. So once again, fuck em!
Noah Fence wrote: Quote: So
i cant find a source for your quotes. I the closest i found this which, although not vary communist, and it says "entrepreneurial" a lot is not exactly neo-liberal
this is something you can say about the entire left though.
Quote: so there's good guys
No doubt they're wrong. But I know some old Labour types I'd much rather organize alongside than a lot of anarchos. And, besides, the point wasn't whether they're wrong, but to what extent Labour could be considered part of the left.
Noah, come'on, there has been some shit on libcom, but "often" and "way more progressive"? Hyperbole doesn't do a legitimate argument favors.
Ok, I'll withdraw the often
Ok, I'll withdraw the often and replace it with a sometimes.
I'll stick with the 'way more progressive', though. Some of the manarchist shit on here has been disgraceful knuckle dragging horse manure.
Maybe we're at cross purposes here anyway. I couldn't give 2 shits if Labour are part of the left or not, though thinking about it, it was me that challenged the point, oops! All I'm concerned with is the seduction techniques Corbym is using and the effect that has on the possibility of more people taking a truly (not faux)radical approach to politics. I say the effect is significant.
Another thing, don't confiscate my hyperbole, leave me something in my toolbox, God knows I've got little else!!!
Some illogical idealitsic
Some illogical idealitsic thoughts based on community organising experiences.
"Before I care what you know, I need to know that you care"
There's some big time organising that needs to be done and I think this article touches on that but I think also we have to create some real examples of projects that are collectively made and that put real benefits or useful tools in peoples hands.
Time has taught me amongst the small anount of peoples that make up my world that there are people who ask: 'Why is life so shit' and people that ask: 'what do I have to do to get myself through or out of this shit'. The latter are more hands on and practical the former more theoretical, you need both, but I feel a lot of Western anarchists at least (in my experience) fall into the theoretical camp.I have been guilty of trying to get people to shift from the 'what've I got to do to survive' camp to 'why is this life so shit' camp, thinking that this would work. Teaching someone to know inside and out why their house is falling down around them, who's fault it was and what could be done if we all knocked our houses down and built something new out of the rubble collectively.
Whilst I still think personally it's the most logical decision to take, this is where people get nasty and aggressive or look at me as though I've fallen out of the nonsense tree and hit every ugly stick on the way down.
I feel like the loneliness of anarchism isn't that nobody agrees with us, it's that people are saying give me the tools and I'll do this. As much as we need to organise I think we need to produce or make as well. If wherever we are we can work with people around us non radical and radical and create something of use: Free childcare, people to talk to, growing food, an hour a day when people can get some peace, a community kitchen, toolshares, housing repairs, lifts to and from town, a gym without gym fees, a place to gather where there aren't community centre rules, caretakers and curfews, popular education, western and non western health clinics or drop ins, sexual health clinics, community patrols instead of the cops, conflict resolution, temporary accommodation, rape crisis centre's etc. then we have say. If these mini backhands to the man, can be produced via mutual aid, collectively made by the people without begging for money from the state or permission from the police, and offered for free or at a minimal cost, we're good out here. People will get it. We're communicating our method visually - look we created this useful shit together, without any government interference or corporate dollars and we're sharing it for free, cos that's the way life should be.
This is slow to begin with but if we start where we're at and think of something useful that gives people a visual of living outside of the marketplace, I think we have more say, we're not just reliant on theory.
Sharing breeds sharing and I think once you've created a few examples of this wherever you find yourself based, no matter how small, you have more solid ground to work from. Here's the theory and here it is in action.
This brings me onto the last point, as well as setting up affinity groups, I think if resources could be put into these affinity groups networking better with each other, challenging each other and learning from eadh other, that would be dope too, I still feel like in the UK and North America social divisions have become so entrenched the more we can increase social mobility between social groupings the more we can challenge the capitalist battlelines that the system is reproducing and redeveloping consistently.
We've all been absorbed into capitalism's authoritarian supernova and in this theatre of fools, the voices of resistance and liberation can never be heard, people are looking not listening which is why instead of trying to shout we should look at sign language, I think small scale examples of a world beyond the supernova are worthy of some tlc too.
....Or maybe an Anarchist Go app where people wander around picking up characters, slogans and tales of struggle and resistance from liberatory history. Just caught Kropotkin found Emma Goldman but she was to quick for me, nearly got run over by a TESCO's lorry in the process too.
RG, the quotes are from an
RG, the quotes are from an interview I saw with him on BBC Breakfast a few Sunday's back
JK/EG wrote: It’s at this
So the limit is....the same theoretical limit to the appropriation of surplus value? So many hours in a day? Theoretically, yes? Practically? Only if you forego sleep? Well how about a bit of the old division of labor? Half the comrades enter the Labour Party "to reform it into a left-wing electable vote-winning machine." The other half work outside the party, as a pressure group.
To me, this piece reads like attempt to guide people away from the Labour Party based not on what the party has been, is now, and will fundamentally remain (until it disintegrates); on its function in, of, and for capitalism regardless of its leadership, but rather on the basis of expediency.
This will sound familiar to those of us on this side of the Atlantic. That's been the mantra and the approach of those urging "dual approaches" to the Democrats; and/or building "local solidarity networks." And on the other side of the Atlantic? Doesn't that sound a whole lot like those advocating working with the "left-wing" of Syriza and/or the less radical iterations of autonomie "politics" --- without the programmatic areas for either/or/both collaboration and opposition?
Wait, if there wasn't the attempt to unseat Corbyn in the Labour Party, that wouldn't be clear? And worse or better yet, is that, reforming the Labor Party, the goal? Coups or no coups?
The article as I read it fails to make the critical points-- that the Labor Party is an institution of capital; that the task is not to build "extra-parliamentary networks" to "pressure," or "reform" the Labor; nor to build such networks simply to build them. There has to be some kind of strategy, no? So method for building a critical mass that has shared goals; the fundamental shared goal being the overthrow of capital.
fingers malone wrote: Back to
So, since reading your post about fundraising issues yesterday, I've kind of been obsessively thinking about this. As it's been noted--there are several things more important than money, but having it certainly makes doing those more important things significantly easier. I think it's a really important question. I'm not sure I have any answers per se, but maybe a few suggestions and more questions for discussion.
Firstly, I assume you're mostly referring to fundraising outside of regular dues--paying. So most of my response is framed around that assumption ( though i imagine some of it might apply as well). In my experience in order to have a successful fundraising campaign, broad, general appeals for funds are much less successful than an individual request. In another thread I think it was Serge who explained that getting people to write materials for a publication requires a little bit of person to person arm-twisting, and I think it's absolutely the case for money as well.
More mainstream NGO's/social justice groups use a canvassing model for fundraising, whether over the phone or in the field. The personal contact serves a dual purpose of informing supporters on campaign details as well fundraising. Now, this typically involves paid staff, something most of us aren't interested in having in radical groups, but I'm not sure paid staff are a necessary component for doing this style of fundraising. I'm sure I'm not the only one on libcom with experience doing this sort of work, so I'd be interested in hearing whether others think this model would be useful for more radical organizing.
One thing that happens with paid staff in this situation is the organizing part of the job often ends up taking a back seat to fundraising because one's job requires making a quota. Obviously, this aspect would be eliminated inherently, but I wonder--do people think our folks would do this kind of task as a volunteer? Anyone who has done this kind of fundraising will tell you it's not easy, but it can be rewarding.
But another barrier to using our contacts to fundraise on this model is the radical community's obsession with security culture. I don't want to derail too far with this observation, and I absolutely understand the necessity for being careful, especially in anti-fash work, the type of organizing at work that could get us fired, or more 'assertive' tactics on demos, but I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that security culture is often more of a hindrance to growth than it is helpful. All that to say, I do think there would likely be some resistance from some to getting phone calls or visits.
Another possibility would be for on-going, sustaining auto-deductions for subs or other contributions. I remember reading some criticisms of this model, but I don't recall what they are. Specifically, I seem to remember it being brought up in the IWA thread with regards to CNT. I am fully open to the possibility that there is a valid reason for opposing this model of which I'm unaware...
I'm really interested in what others think. Does anyone know of any groups in the milieu currently operating in a similar way?
SA-- I don't want to speak
I don't want to speak for ed or jk, but I read this language as an attempt at meeting people where they are, and not as an argument of 'if only there were more people we could do that too.'
Like, while smash the state, kill the bosses and their politicians might be our goal, it doesn't make a great introductory slogan to people dipping their toes into radical politics, who might not share all of our critiques of the state and its politics as of yet. I read this section as an attempt to make a practical, here and now explanation as to why electoral politics are a waste of time, even if you're not with us theoretically yet.
Are you saying you don't think that approach is good practice?
Quote: this is something you
This is and always has been true. I'm probably being a bit of a jerk on this thread and am pulling any old shit out of the hat. I guess I'm doing it to make my frustration obvious but the basics of what I say are right at the heart of my beliefs. This cutting extra slack for liberals when it suits an agenda seems so disenengenuous to me. I really think that Tory bashing feeds into people's notions of there being some value in liberal democracy, that it's worth voting for the 'nicer' party. It plays right into the hands of capitalism. I've witnessed it all my life with friends and family. It sickens me. Rob Ray smashed it in his Dear Messers Webb and Lustig piece. Phil has written really well around this too.
jesui... may be right about
jesui... may be right about the intention of the text that started this discussion, before Noah and friends diverted the discussion along familiar and well worn lines, but ultimately as I suggested in my earlier post here it might only add to the political confusion of those it was aimed at as in the post from Bk, so SA has a point.
And just briefly on what '2W' says above - I'm sure many of those anarchists and others who post here do engage in various of the kind of everyday practical projects listed and certainly they are of value, but all our efforts together cannot build these up into any kind of alternative that could compete with and replace the current state protected capitalism that monopolises the earths resources.
"The fact is that outside of
"The fact is that outside of a lot of major cities, there isn’t a whole lot of extra-parliamentary direct action organising going on"
Ok this is true, why is it true? What are the problems in direct actions grassroots organising in smaller towns? There's a lot of poverty there.
The areas which do have solnets or IWGB branches and so on, what do they have in common? What are the demographic or structural factors that make these easier to set up?
jesuithitsquad wrote: SA-- I
I'm saying exactly what I said. The article is a bit fuzzy, don't you think, on exactly what the Labour Party is, why it is that way, and what the "goal" of a movement outside the Labour Party is: "pressure" the party? "capture" the party? get a good night's sleep?
The "practical here and now explanation as to why electoral politics are a waste of time" is not an explanation at all, and does not explain why electoral politics are a waste of time. That's the problem with the article, not that it doesn't demand "smash the state" etc etc etc. The article, in essence, advocates working outside electoral politics to make electoral politics, and the Labour Party, more effective.
I don't think they mean that,
I don't think they mean that, I think they are trying to say that we need to work outside electoral politics, whether or not you think electoral politics are worthwhile or not.
Fingers, I don't think they
I don't think they mean that either, but it's the lack of clarity, the ambiguity, that leaves the issue unresolved. I think the attempt is an attempt to use language that doesn't "alienate" "offend" or whatever, and in that process however, the authors lose sight of the need to challenge the institutional legitimacy of the Labour Party; the legitimacy of the organs of ruling class domination, and then wind up with a sort non-ngo service organization type appeal, as if somehow some sort of Geist suffices to build the movement that is able to(and required for) overthrow capital.
jesuithitsquad wrote: Another
Both SolFed and the Anarchist Federation encourage members to pay their subs by Standing Order (a form of auto-deduction).
The IWW in the UK uses an automated payment system. The difference between the IWW and the two groups named above is that you can *join* the IWW by setting up an online regular payment -- i.e. without ever going to a meeting or having a 1-2-1 meet-up with a member about what's involved. People are often wary of this kind of set-up because (and I'm summarising) it makes joining too easy. On the other hand, it's pretty certain that it's a big factor in the growth of the IWW in the UK in recent years -- but it places responsibility on active members to encourage participation and engage what could otherwise be a large, passive 'paper' membership.
Quote: Another possibility
So, just on this, at least in the US IWW, this is inherited from the old IWW's concerns about business unionism where worker paid dues without ever interacting with the larger union. The idea was that by seeing a delegate it keeps the union in check and more actively involves the workers in the union itself.
It was a totally reasonable response to workings of the craft unions and, later, the maintenance of membership clauses in the mass industrial unions coming out of the CIO.
That said, I'm with you, I'm not sure it's totally relevant to 2016....
There's also a proposal to implement this in North America, to be discussed at the upcoming Convention.
Hello, thanks for thoughtful response.
Yes, we do pay union dues but are not able to keep any of the subs money at branch level. We get strike pay from the union, but only for strikes that go on for more than three days continuously. We have had a lot of discontinuous strikes so I have calculated that I think not getting strike pay has cost me about 550 quid.
My first reaction to this was that I would feel really uncomfortable doing this, I have no experience of this kind of fundraising but it's interesting.
For sure, it really sucks to directly ask people for money. I was really uncomfortable with it for a long time until I realized that if it's a cause people believe in, they expect the ask and they are actually happy about the opportunity to get involved financially..
radicalgraffiti wrote: This
Among other things the current ethical climate is characterised by a strong resistance to all forms of moralising, which is often seen as, and often is, elitist. But do you really believe that we'd be discussing extra-parliamentary organising if people's minds weren't poisoned by the enveloping climate of ideas within capitalism, like the idea that coercive authority creates a rational society, which like so many other currently popular notions may not even be fully conscious?
Ethics is unsettling. It's not very soothing to contemplate the possibility that, as ethical creatures, humans might have a disposition to acquiesce in emotional and cognitive pathways that we may not recognize in ourselves, or even be able to articulate, but which might be governing our social and political actions. But for example, one of the problems of creating a mass movement might be that in the prevailing ethical atmosphere in the wake of so much defeat people are more interested in their 'rights' than their virtues or (dare I even mention it?) their social responsibilities, so getting them to put the time in to organising rather than merely purchasing a vote is going to be harder.
In this era, in which there is widespread contempt for all but the most superficial thinking about how to live well, where 'rights' are given precedence over the capacities of the people possessing these rights, many people like yourself think it possible to create a just and rational society without just and rational people. I think that's probably just out to lunch. How long would it last, millions of people protecting themselves and their private vices against any suggestion of any form of claims against the other? The idea that people constantly make comparisons and judgements and condemn and admire and relentlessly form allegiances based on all this but that none of it has anything to do with politics is just plain weird. It IS politics. Just think of the servility involved in the ambition for respect in even the loosest social settings, even in web based three and four times removed anonymous Chinese parliaments like libcom.
Admiring capitalism (the right) or tolerating it (the left) are moral stances, and insulating yourself from the contemporary ethical environment in which this is taking place is a bafflingly apolitical ethical choice to make if you want to change anything.
If you wanted to really entrench 'business' and war and wage slavery and 'parliamentary democracy' deeply into a culture you'd need a story to sustain the conviction that this is all perfectly rational or civilised or scientific or free or at least as good as possible and certainly better than all the alternatives in some (as yet unspecified) way. Ethics is essential to maintaining sweat shops and concentration camps. Ignoring it is suicidal.
S. Artesian wrote: Fingers, I
I think this might be a valid argument if the authors didn't also have a website with over 20,000 articles advocating the complete overthrow of capital and establishment of international libertarian communism…
I'd like to suggest that
I'd like to suggest that Factvalue puts his last post into the 'Anarchist Ethics' thread.
Steven, Too sensitive.
Too sensitive. Individual texts have to stand on their own terms in their content and clarity. I don't think criticism by SA (in his more combative style) or earlier by me involves any moral judgement on either the individual authors or the libcom collective presentation of it here aimed at encouraging discussion.
Steven. wrote: S. Artesian
Except this isn't about the authors, and their website. It''s about what they produced right here.
Do they even reference their website, or any of their 20,000 articles advocating blahblahblah?
Good to have you back Steven. Missed your usual irrelevant commentary.
Auld-bod wrote: I'd like to
Will do but it was in response to a comment about the irrelevance of ethics to politics by RG on here earlier and in the context of the article currently being discussed, in which the view had been advanced that motivations are not connected with actions. That view seems rather odd to me, to say the least, so I just thought I'd relate my own viewpoint on how the contemporary ethical environment in the UK is having a deleterious effect on direct action and organising.
I'm gonna have a go at
I'm gonna have a go at answering my own questions a bit about why the solnets and radical unions are where they are and are not where they are not.
Are people who are disaffected and have left wing ideas more likely to move to the big cities? It feels that way from the perspective of someone who lives in the big city, what does it look like from the small towns?
People in smaller towns may feel more vulnerable. I have family in small towns, when they have tried to organise stuff, against racism directed at a black person who moved on to the estate for example, they were upset that lots of people were responding 'oh no I don't want any trouble'. Same for a campaign against a land grab. People didn't want conflict. This can be a factor in a big city too, where you have tight knit communities, but it's worse in a small town.
Class composition varies a lot from one place to another, different industries have a different culture. Mining, fishing, these are industries which produce a tight knit working class community, towns where most people travel to a variety of other places to work will have a different culture. In prosperous southern towns people hope to make a lot of money from rising house prices, how does this affect local political culture?
I'm trying to discuss the
I'm trying to discuss the actual points raised in the actual OP, should I do this or just not bother and repeat some arguments about the Labour Party I've had on other threads with people I don't like?
fingers malone wrote: I'm
Actually, the Labour Party is bad.
That's a good post,
That's a good post, Fingers.
In my experience, the reason more radical groups get off the ground in cities is just that there's a much larger pool of people. Instead of trying to pull 10 radicals out of groups of 100,000, in a city you're pulling from a group of 1 million.
I also think - in terms of radical political groups which, at least from my impression, have a higher percentage of university graduates than the wider population - the concentration of universities in cities fuels the existence of radical groups in urban areas.
How can people in stronger
How can people in stronger areas, or stronger workplaces, support people in weaker areas, or weaker workplaces? Not in supporting people in strikes and action, supporting people in getting something off the ground at all. This is a major problem for organising in today's conditions.
Chilli's spot on from what I
Chilli's spot on from what I can gather.
In the twitter thread there's a discussion from someone in a small town, and the absence of students is discussed for both its positive and negative aspects.
ETA-- fingers, in that same conversation the small town group had an organiser from the city come out to help them with their first few meetings. So that's one way!
TBH I'm not really sure I
TBH I'm not really sure I agree with what people here seem to mostly be talking about as "organising".
It seems at least that people are talking about organising in terms of it being mostly done by radical groups. In my experience a lot of the actual organisation work of radical groups is entirely pointless, and often more to do with continuing the group's existence rather than building working class power. Most useful "organising work" I think is done informally by hundreds of thousands of workers (employed and unemployed) in their everyday lives, with their colleagues, in informal work groups, community groups, local campaigns etc.
This sort of activity does go on everyday. However it is right that as "radicals", or anarchists or whatever we don't really have a particularly good way of interacting with this in any way other than as individuals. And many people who do this sort of thing unfortunately separate out their view of "politics" from their everyday activity and instead choose to delegate it to some group of politicians rather (often the Labour Party).
Anyway not sure this is a helpful comment but just what comes to mind seeing the discussion so far
Spikymike wrote: I don't
Thanks, I had a look at the twitter thread. So looks like in a smaller town it is important to make sure what you are doing is relevant and accessible to a wide range of people, eg people with small children, older people, not rely too much on 'easier' groups to involve such as students and former students.
This would be a good move in big cities too fwiw.
Steven. wrote: TBH I'm not
So, I think this is a very fair point and I think that's probably why the conversation was raised specifically in relation to SolNets and radical union branches.
That said, the informal (or more formal trade union organizing) you reference does seem to have a higher concentration in urban areas as well. You don't hear much about workplace or community struggles outside of metropolitan areas, unfortunately.
I know that this thread has
I know that this thread has moved on to something very different now which is fair enough but I'd just like to congratulate those involved on some very artistic and graceful swerving of my position on Tory bashing. Good work comrades!
Sorry, I just wouldn't have
Sorry, I just wouldn't have had anything useful to say about it and don't want to argue.
In terms of seeding new
In terms of seeding new direct action groups, we aren't even necessarily talking about small towns, as far as I know the new cleaners unions don't have any branches anywhere outside London (I'll be happy to find out that I'm wrong about this) and most big cities in the UK don't have a solnet either. So we're not necessarily just talking about Cumbria or Devon, we could be talking about Birmingham.
Howdy fingers! I don't want
Howdy fingers! I don't want to argue either, I just want everyone to tell me I'm right!!!
No really, it's simple enough, I have a position that is out of whack with a view that is very generally held and, at least it seems to me never ever questioned. I never seem to be able to get a straight answer on Libcom or anywhere else. I believe that is because there is a very common prejudice, maybe picked up by people before they became politically radical. I understand that, it's fair enough but if I'm right it's still prejudice and a prejudice totally contrary to the anarchist desire to make people aware that there is no mileage to be had in participating in liberal democracy and expecting agents of the state to sort out our class conflicts for us.
So I'll ask again, does not being more critical of one side of the extremely narrow spectrum of electable political parties give weight to the lie that taking part in liberal democracy is a valid and effective form of political action? Does it not send out the message that there is a choice of a nicer form of capitalism to be had? Simple enough to answer surely? Once again then - I have no more dislike or distrust of the Tories than I do Labour. I do not believe that all Tories are bad guys anymore than I believe all Labour members are bad guys. There I said it. Shock horror, who is this guy?!!! How dare he expose our political inconsistencies? If people are prejudiced I don't give too much of a shit, I know I'm often guilty too but at least fucking own it and not let it undermine the very basics of the ideology that you subscribe to.
Hands up. Owning this one.
Hands up. Owning this one. I'm completely and totally prejudiced against posh twats and coincidentally enough a large proportion of posh twats are also tories.
Well fair enough Fleur. So do
Well fair enough Fleur. So do you think my broader point about getting stuck into one side more than another is valid? Or am I talking shit?
Given that I support neither
Given that I support neither the tory or labour party I don't really care however as far as I'm concerned having lived through the rigid shit show which is the English class system I can't fail to be hostile to the privileged, arrogant, entitled, yea unto the middle ages English ruling classes and I find the recently moneyed parvenus who want to join a class which will never actually accept them equally objectionable. Given that the tory party is the party which particularly attracts these cockwombles, it follows that I have a general disgust of them. I do very much judge people by the company they keep.
I also have a deep seated dislike for people who drop fast food wrappers and sundry other litter on the floor and and I don't really trust people who don't like dogs, so I'm a veritable cornucopia of petty prejudices.
And that is the extent to which I am willing to argue about it. Right now I have a dog to walk and most likely feel aggrieved about people not picking up their own mess in the park.
Omg, you mean people shit in
Omg, you mean people shit in the park in Canada? Well, at least Tories don't do that although I believe they have a penchant for glass topped coffee tables!
Noah Fence Jul 27 2016 I’ve
Noah Fence Jul 27 2016
I’ve avoided commenting on your points as my objectivity and subjectivity become a bit blurred.
‘So I'll ask again, does not being more critical of one side of the extremely narrow spectrum of electable political parties give weight to the lie that taking part in liberal democracy is a valid and effective form of political action? Does it not send out the message that there is a choice of a nicer form of capitalism to be had? Simple enough to answer surely? ’
To the first sentence the answer is yes. There is an implication that the Labour Party is generally speaking more progressive than the Conservative Party. In fact there is little or no difference. To the second sentence the answer is also yes. And I think this is true. I would prefer to live in the UK than Russia, China, and many other countries. If there was no difference in capitalisms, why are the refugees not camped outside of Russia?
Everyone has a different experience of capitalism and one of mine was to see my workplace decimated by Thatcherism. This resulted in the deaths of several of my friends. I stupidly joined the Labour Party under Michael Foot to try and get her off our backs. The result was of course that little shit Blair. So more fool me. The point is, it never crossed my mind to join the Conservative Party. While I worked in industry my workmates were ‘leftists’, the few anarchists/syndicalists I’ve met in this context worked as union militants. On the shop floor we were all on the same side. Strangely enough, in the Labour Party I knew a number of people who understood the nature of ‘class war’ better than some anarchists I’ve met. So Noah I think you are right and wrong.
Aha! Well, it's better than
Aha! Well, it's better than being just plain wrong.
You know my age so you know that Thatcher hit the scene not that long before I started taking an interest in politics. She was the hub of my growing awareness but from day one I always felt like bringing the different sides into an anarchist position was inappropriate. This was evidenced by the arguments I would have with the main lyric writer in my daft anarcho punk band who was constantly referencing Thatcher.
I've never gone with the posh = bad thing either. In my work I deal with both ends of the spectrum - clients we're working for who are multi millionaires or even billionaires, old aristocratic types in crumbling piles, celebrities, even a close relative of a high ranking Royal and Churchills granddaughter who in spite of her age insisted on helping us carry our tools into her house. All these people, despite my objection to their status, have to be treated with civility by myself or I lose my job. Mostly, this is easy as they are equally civil and respectful of me. Compare that to the constant racism and misogyny of many of the other tradesmen on site whom I also have to get on with and I know most of the time where the more convivial conversations are going to occur. Don't get me wrong, I know who I'm in solidarity with and I know who my class enemy is but the point is that the wealthy are born and raised in their particular cultural section of society, as are working class people. Both are products of there environment. To hate someone because of their plummy accent which they have no control over any more than you do your Scottish one or I do my London working class one is just silly and childish yet hear arguments that come pretty close to a posh voice is evidence of a cold heart and vicious mind all the time, sometimes implied and sometimes explicit. Or if someone went to Eton they are unquestionably scum. The fact that half of them would have been forced to do so by their parents is never considered. I simply refuse to slag off one bunch of capitalists more than another. In their position they are all my class enemy, as people they are mostly just dickheads like myself who are OK in some respects and shitpots in others. I know many people will scarcely believe their eyes at some of what I've written here but I don't give a fuck. I'll have my experience and they'll have theirs. Obviously there are Tories, toffs and other members of the ruling class that I find unacceptable as people and I which a hideous curse on them but then I feel that way about members of the working class, especially the racist, sexist homophobes that I have worked with day in, day out for decades. I would hope that in the event of a revolution most members of the ruling class soul see sense and join us eventually as they are essentially decent people just like everyone else. They are the same species as us after all. That said, I know that privilege and power do things to people and if they have to be eliminated to remove their threat then so be it.
My family of parents, aunts uncles and cousins has always been pretty much split down the middle - aspirational working class Tories and left of Labour demsocs. I know both sides of this directly and neither side are bad people, just political fucking idiots.
Edit: for clarity, in my second question I was being uk specific which I guess Auld Bod, if looked at with that in mind you would agree with me too?
I agree with you that human
I agree with you that human beings come in all shapes and sizes, and good the bad and the ugly.
Explaining to an English workmate why I wasn’t any form of nationalist, I gave the example of a working class Scot, who was held in absolute contempt by his Scots acquaintances because he’d been discovered late one night in a Glasgow cemetery, attempting to bury his young boy, because he was one mean bastard.
I lived a pretty sheltered life as a youth. Nobody in my council estate (a desert with windows) had much money. Indeed I honestly thought the Conservative Party car sticker, a union jack in the shape of an arrow, was a sign designating a doctor’s car.
The first person I remember meeting who was well heeled, stopped his car to give me and my friend Robin a lift. We were fifteen and hitching and camping round Scotland. Trying to get up to Nairn with its silver sand, we’d left it too late in the day to pitch our tent. Anyway, his fellow put us up for the night in his holiday house next to a small private loch. He was there to open the house, as his family was coming up the next day by train to Inverness. Next morning he gave us breakfast and then dropped us on the Nairn road. He was a generous fellow, even though his life style appeared to us to be other worldly.
To me the class war is not about good versus evil, it is due to capitalism creating and perpetuating a fracture between human beings based on property rights and the exploitation and degradation of our fellow humans. This fracture acts like tectonic plates and will rub together causing friction until capitalism is ended.
Noah, just spotted your edit.
Your second question if based specifically on the UK is less clear cut than if viewed internationally.
The role of the Labour Party in the post war years was to placate the working class by instituting reforms (making Soviet state capitalism less appealing by buying off the organised working class). In that sense in the short term it was ‘nicer’, though when the opportunity arises the ruling class can and will claw back any gains. So ‘nicer’ capitalism is largely mythical.
Noblesse oblige. Don't
Noblesse oblige. Don't fucking fall for it.
Fleur wrote: Noblesse oblige.
I don't understand what you mean there. Can you fill me in?
Quote: To me the class war is
Totally agree. This is why I hate the positions people find themselves in rather than the people themselves. There's some degree of crossover of course and I'm sure many of the ruling class cynically do all that they can to increase their privilege and power. And then there's cops...
I'm not a Tory apologist, most of the ones I'm aware off seem to be lacking any redeeming g features. It seems just as clear to me though that there are many Labour apologists around.
I think that the best we can really hope to do is try to be aware of our prejudices and try not to let them affect our rational thoughts and even more importantly, our actions.
The difference is-- the posh
The difference is-- the posh think they are entitled by birth, by "nature," by "upbringing;" They believe that all of their "birth" their "nature" their "upbringing" -- their property and bank accounts-- are entitled-- that their prejudice amounts to enlightenment; that their ignorance is erudition.
So yeah, it makes them, and their equivalents over here, targets, and justifiably so, of parody, mockery, and hatred. It's that combination of privilege, arrogance, and ignorance that makes them the object of scorn.
Fuck 'em. Hate 'em. Nothing wrong with that.
Say what you want about Corbyn, and I will, or Sanders, or even Bill Clinton, none of those think he is entitled to rule based on the circumstances of birth and property. That is not an endorsement of any of those three, BTW, but it's really hard to mock Corbyn or Sanders for being a coddled, irresponsible, self-important fuck who thinks other less fortunate people are so much detritus, and it's quite accurate, and entertaining to mock Johnson, Cameron, et al for being coddled, irrresponsible, spoiled brats.
Noblesse oblige - will
Noblesse oblige - will explain later. Rlly busy right now.
Thought this a pretty good
Thought this a pretty good explanation:
‘Noblesse oblige literally translates to “nobility obligates.” It implies that with wealth, power and prestige come social responsibilities; it is a moral obligation to act with honor, kindliness and generosity.
The term is often used sarcastically, implying that one is a hypocrite by doing a service because one has to, or by being condescending while doing it. My mother used to refer to that kind of attitude as being a “Lady Bountiful,” doing good deeds because you’re special, to make yourself feel better and make others feel bad at the same time.’
Meaning I was being silly thinking I was not being patronised by the rich chappie, who lodged me for the night. Perhaps she is right.
S. Artesian wrote: The
I don't deny what you have said about the posh can be true. Of course it is. It's equally true that many of my co-workers think that this is their country by entitlement and nature and look down upon my non British co-workers as less than them. Both attitudes make me fucking sick. The arguments I hear from anarchists and leftists are always one sided, including yours. How about if we had been born to wealth and privilege? Would we be debating this on a communist website? I doubt it but we'd still be the same essential person, just crafted into another shape by our circumstances. Or are they a different species from us like David Ickes shape shifting fucking lizards?
If we're gonna generalise, I mean why not, it seems a pretty popular sport around here, who do you think by far are the biggest asshole clients I ever get to meet? By a long fucking stretch its working class people that have somehow or another found a way to get rich. They ignore, ridicule, demand and generally throw their weight around and make it clear that they think they own you. Explain that if you will.
This pervasive view of things is so lopsided it embarrasses me to be associated with it.
In the Libcom introductory guides and elsewhere their ate explanation of capitalism and class that get it spot on. The guide to capitalism explicitly says that the way things are aren't really even the fault of bosses or politicians, it's just the mechanics of capitalism. I guess some people round here ought to be harrranging the admins to get that shit off the site, eh?
It drives me up the wall when
It drives me up the wall when they laud some rich person for throwing a few quid at a charity while cutting jobs, worsening conditions, putting people on zero-hour contracts etc.
And I have a visceral reaction when I hear one of those posh, entitled scumbags talking.
jef costello wrote: It drives
I have exactly the same reaction. Apart from your last sentence. I'd way rather have a posh accent than my own considering I sound like Janet Street Porter with the amp turned up to 11.
Auld Bod, 'a lady bountiful'.
Auld Bod, 'a lady bountiful'. That's a classic, I wish I could have known your mum.
I think that guy was just being himself. He had something that would cost him nothing to give so he gave it. No big deal and I wouldn't kiss his arse for it though. I'm sure you know what you think.
I have to ask - when you were in Nairn did you make a feast of the local oatcakes?!!!
With respect to the opening blog article and Noah's subplot, yesterday the town near me came to a standstill for the customary yearly celebration of 'Hot Pennies' day, which stems back to the time that local upper classes and gentry used to enjoy the view as the peasants burnt themselves trying to pick up red hot pennies which they'd throw out of windows in the centre town. This from the blurb for the event:
This is a better expression of all the hatred and frustration I feel trapped in this society than any comment I could make about it. A successful economic, ethical and cultural transformation will only be possible after many, many years of the preparation it will take to at least neutralise the mass of the population and turn them from the active enemies they would be, certainly round here, into passive sympathisers.
Having said that, I personally fucking hate the rich, old or new. Hating the rich is not like hating, for example intellectual workers (which is also a pastime in these parts), it wouldn't harm the revolution's re-organisation of society or something. But yeah Noah, if an aristocrat and a blairite were having a street brawl, I'd want them both to end up in intensive care with equal enthusiasm.
Holy shit, that's
Holy shit, that's unbelievable! I'm sure we would agree that if we saw some rich bag of shit tossing red hot pennies to the poor a concerted effort would be made to batter his cunt in.
Noah Fence wrote: Holy shit,
No doubt, but let's not forget the obvious, namely that the rich are very well aware that this is a war and that they're winning, even if most of our class is sleepwalking. So hating them isn't at all illogical or counter-revolutionary, only part of the indispensable ethical outrage required to eventually win.
But yeah, hating Tories more than those other fucking creeps who's role is to co-opt resistance by pretending that they can attenuate capitalism through their use of the very state machinery that capitalism itself created to extend its control over society, makes no fucking sense at all.
Didn’t know about hot
Didn’t know about hot pennies. When I was wee and there was a wedding coming up, dozens of children would gather near the house of the bride. When she left for the wedding, a brother or dad would throw out a great shower of coppers known as ‘the scramble’ and all the children would go mad shouting and trying to gather up as much dosh as they could find. We loved it.
Quote: No doubt, but let's
This I can't be sure of, it mostly doesn't seem that way to me in most cases. Maybe I'm naive but I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I have worked closely with many of these people. I think(?) I know their mindset and mostly I think they are just indoctrinated fools. I repeat though, I know what they are to my position in society and as their position must be destroyed and if they get in the way of that then they must be destroyed, nice guy or not.
As for your second paragraph I obviously agree. It's my whole point almost. I think it's understandable to have prejudices but we need to be aware of them and try not to act on them. For instance, I have within me prejudices of race, sex and orientation. Intellectually I know they are bullshit but for brief moments as I go about my day I make snap judgements based on this things. Rarely, if ever do I act on them. That would make me at best a fucking idiot. I think a similar thing can happen with toffs etc. Of course I'm not comparing the two in levels of importance, that would be pretty fucked up.
Noah wrote: I don't deny what
I’ll have a go. Having experienced similar attitudes working for wealthy employers my take is that those born into money are more relaxed and secure about it with their inbred sense of entitlement. While those self-made new money types, having come from nowhere - often by exceptionally ruthless competitive methods - are often unsurprisingly paranoid that those they left behind down there are as greedy as them and obviously out to rip them off (judging everyone by their own miserable standards). If they backstabbed, exploited and walked over us to get to the top then the rest of us must surely be envious and resentful. So the nouveau riche will never be quite as secure in their status and will need to throw their weight around and pull rank on you – sometimes you get the impression that’s the main reason they’re really employing people is to play the boss and get that status buzz.
They’re also paranoid that those born into money, with their education and breeding, will never really accept such upstarts. So they send their kids to elite private schools to cultivate that image and sense of entitlement. Almost a bourgeoisie-merging-with-aristocracy kind of process. As their brats ascend to management & expansion of daddy's capital they may well adopt the more easygoing, disarming well-bred attitudes of the old rich.
More generally; in understanding the continued appeal of Labourism and its ever-dashed hopes the emotional pull has to be taken into account. Growing up in a Labour voting household was to be a bit conditioned to see them as the ‘natural’ party of fairness, the defence of the exploited from the excesses of the exploiters etc. Or it was just a vague habitual loyalty, a bit like which church you'd get married, in C of E or Catholic etc, even though you weren't really religious. However illusory (and it hasn’t always been totally illusory, if only so the Party can use minor concessions to keep its natural constituency onside and also institute check & balances for better social stability) that emotional relation is still a real part of how it functions. So its no surprise if many people who genuinely want a ‘fairer society’ and who generally support some forms of class struggle are more likely to be found thereabouts. Far more so than in the Tory Party. (Even though arguably every govt of the past 40 years, Labour or Tory, has been further to the right than their predecessors.)
But that appeal is part of the value to capitalism of Labour and the left generally – that it is the repository of those hopes and ideals where they’re disappointed, realised in diluted ambiguous forms or endlessly deferred etc, but still giving the illusion of progressive possibilities in the most ‘realistic’ way. (While of course for the non-leninist radicals their hopes and desires are constantly being fulfilled...) It defines the ideological and practical limits of what the ruling class will tolerate in social reform or concession.
In today’s climate that is very little indeed. And that’s why, despite their good intentions, those who insist parliamentary democracy is the only realistic way, can be at their worst so annoying; despite the procession of false hopes soon exposed – Podemos, Syriza, and Labour govts generally (many of those lefties now condemning Blair as a ‘war criminal’ would’ve touted his 90s election victory as progressive) they never reach the logical conclusion. For some it's eventual activist burnout and/or resignation. For others it’s a comfortable cop-out; vote once every few years, click on a few online petitions, go on the occasional demo and pat each other on the back on social media about how radical you all are while your radical ‘activity’ rarely leaves the sofa/keyboard. And, as a loyal follower, delegate all agency and responsibility to the latest worthy lefty political figurehead with the right platitudes and buzzwords. And when that one fails, wait for the next hot ‘Cause’ to appear.
RM - terrific post.
RM - terrific post.
Good post RM. Quote: and it
Good post RM.
- often this is illusory though in being accompanied by a 'rise in the cost of living'.
Quote: But yeah, hating
You can hate both, equally, you know. And in different ways.
Basic agreement with Noah
Basic agreement with Noah Fence, Artesian, and Red. Artesian took things back to the starting point: the Labour Party as "an institution of capital". We can argue about how it got there, but we have to understand all the implications of accepting that its essential function today is to protect capital from anyone who begins to put it into question. Taking over the machinery of Labour and the Trade Unions can't work for us not because we just don't have the time to convert it to our needs, but because it is already part of that wider state machine which we can't "lay hold of", and which we are compelled to destroy.
Reading this thread makes me think that I have underestimated the influence of the new corbynismo in the anarchist movement; that it can't be limited to an obvious expression such as the Anarchist Momentum group.
I think that's the key issue for this thread. The question of reactions to "the posh" raises an intriguing question: the personalisation of capital, which we can meet in various guises. But perhaps it should be discussed elsewhere.
S. Artesian wrote: You can
Yeah I agree, that's what I was saying, although I think I hate the resistance-hoovering Statists a little more at the moment, partly for aesthetic reasons, there being something disgusting, drab, calculating and narrowly mechanical (just take one look at Corbyn ffs) about unimaginatively persuading people to cut themselves off from the intensity that comes from imagining any category of the seemingly unattainable, which tends to unleash our full energies in the attempt; I mean over and above the repugnant lies that this particular, unethical and vicious 'worldliness' entails.
Following on from Alf's
Following on from Alf's comment...
And this personalisation of capital and despising of the posh accents goes hand in hand with notions of class as an identity. Wankity wank, that is.
As for yer "Momentum anarchists" joining the Labour Party, I really fucking despair. It shows serious shortcomings in the movement of today. Add that to the ongoing anarchist support for Rojava and it makes you wonder just how often we're destined to repeat our historic errors over and over since that infamous manifesto of the sixteen.
....and greetings to Serge
....and greetings to Serge for his concern over what looks like a spreading erosion of principles. But with regard to the "momentum anarchists", the most significant thing, it seems to me, is the fact that someone who actually claims to be part of this trend (Bambuľka kvantová, 23 July, page one) feels that Joseph and Ed's original article is on the same wavelength. What was it in the article that gave Bambul'ka this impression?
For me, the passage that seemed most permeable to the allures of corbynista activism was this one:
“It’s at this point that the usual response is “can’t we do both?”. “Can’t we build an autonomous grassroots working-class direct action movement AND fight to reform the Labour Party into a left-wing electable vote-winning machine?” And the answer to this is: theoretically, yes. But practically there are only 24 hours in a day, two-thirds of which are usually spent either sleeping or working. What has become clear with the recent coup (if it wasn’t already) is that reforming the Labour Party won’t be as easy as paying £3 to vote Corbyn as leader. It means getting involved in your Constituency Labour Party, pressuring your MP, possibly deselecting them, which, as Novara’s recent guide to deselection makes clear, could potentially involve “years of hard work in branches and constituencies across the country”. Which is fine; as the old cliché goes, ‘they wouldn’t call it a struggle if it was easy’. The point is whether the Labour Party is the best place to expend all that energy in struggle”.
I think this reduces the scope of the problem of the Labour party to the amount of ‘organising hours’ in the day, and does not really explain why this and related institutions are by their very nature hostile to the “autonomous” movement of the working class.
There is no anarchist movement in the UK, just a number of semi-detached subcultures. While that might sound depressing, better no movement at all than a shit one, imo. Not that there aren't isolated groups fighting the good fight (Brighton SolFed, Sisters Uncut, Deptford AntiRaids, London AFed, Bristol AFed, various bits of the IWW, more groups I don't know about) but we need a long hard look at ourselves before we can start attempting to spread our (pretty dysfunctional) models of organising to a wider audience.
Alf wrote: I think this
I couldn't disagree more.
I can't speak to things in the UK, but the anarchist/radical scene in the US is absolutely lousy with people who have always been nothing more than left-of-center liberals with some manner of non-mainstream lifestyle choices. This has been obvious for years to anyone with even a half-assed class analysis.
That they turn out to be Sanders supporters or want to work to change the Democratic Party into a 'progressive party' should be a surprise to exactly no one. That someone like this would feel an affinity towards the OP piece is no different to the fact they call themselves anarchists or marxists or whatever in the first place.
As I said earlier in the thread, I don't want to speak for jk/ed but the thing is--the above piece is outward looking and isn't written for the communist community. Would it be better if it included a sentence or two with a caveat about the role of capitalist parties and the state? Maybe but again I don't think the purpose is to create communist babies born with immaculately libcom politics. It's to give directionless people an idea of how they can go about collectively making a difference in their every day lives. And when this happens, hopefully we'll be there, working in solidarity, proving through practice that parliamentary politics are a dead-end, but that direct action gets the goods.
Auld-bod wrote: Didn’t know
Auld-bod, you needa write a book man.
The Memoirs of Auld-bod: From the Scramble to the Picket Line. Full of folksy expressions and class anger, I'd buy that. ;-)
I agree, every thread he's got an anecdote, a reference to w/c history or culture.
Auld-bod wrote: Didn’t know
It was the same in Belfast. I remember as a nine-year-old my mates mercilessly taking the piss out of me for enthusiastically scrambling having recently lectured them on the evils of money. I don't think it's a working class phenomenon though, after all Colonel Brandon does the same thing at the end of Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility'.
But the sheer slavishness expressed by the 'hot pennies' isn't in the same category. It's reminiscent of Plato's Thrasymachus defining justice as the interest of the strong, in that turning such a thing as the cruelty of the rich into a celebration is pure slave morality, in which the prudence of obeying the master blossoms into respect for brute power. There's a lot of this around these days. That's not to say that people don't distinguish between what they see around them and what ought to be, and successful 'organising' should also be about bringing the hidden injustices of the system out into the open, so that the bitterness and in turn the outcry can no longer be ignored.
Well FV, I never had you down
Well FV, I never had you down as a Jane Austen reader but come to think of it you do have the look of an anarcho Mr Darcy so maybe I shouldn't be surprised!
It was only that one time and
It was only that one time and I've never gone back, promise! But you don't think I'm arrogant, proud and conceited like..Darcy is said to be .. by those who've, you know, read that other book.. do you?
Nope, I meant dashing and
Nope, I meant dashing and somewhat misunderstood! Mr Darcy turns out to be a real good guy in the end and looks rather splended in a flouncy white shirt. You oughta buy one.
Thank you comrade, that
Thank you comrade, that completely solves my bookfair cozy dilemma.
I think factvalue July 28
I think factvalue July 28 2016 is correct that ‘the scramble’ is not peculiar to the working class, though I’ve no recollection of Colonel Brandon doing it in Jane Austin’s novel.
A few days ago in an entertaining program on Caligula, Mary Breard stated that he was known to shower the Roman crowd with coins (for propaganda reasons - 19:40).
See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEhOk102ksk
Babe Ruth used to do it as
Babe Ruth used to do it as well for the kids when they spotted him in the street.
Quote: Maybe but again I
Wait, J, nothing Alf, or I, said is desirous or designed to "create communist babies born with immaculately libcom politics." I'm not that presumptuous.
But there indeed is presumption, and its painfully, almost embarrassingly evident in the portion of your statement I've emphasized. That sounds like a pretty patronizing, demeaning, almost cynical, assessment you have, even though I'm sure you don't mean it to be. But saying: "directionless people" -- "how they can go about collectively making a difference in their every day lives"???? WTF? Are we hawking a religion here? I would expect Labour Party hacks to make that sort of assessment and appeal: "You have no direction, your life is meaningless. Get on board and work with us for realistic change."
It would be difficult to
It would be difficult to overstate the monumental impact on human feeling and thinking of the cultural revolution undertaken by protestant preachers in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries during the unprecedented program of brainwashing and indoctrination they engaged in to impose their work ethic and (Calvinist) justification of wealth accumulation by the chosen few on the population. You still hear echos of it when you express hatred of the rich. Of course it's the social relations which are at issue but quite a few of the comments I've come across defending these fucks sound like 'He's only doing his job.' I wouldn't accept that from a cop, so why should I accept it from this biped?
I definitely could've used a better word choice by saying 'misdirected' instead of 'directionless' but it's quite obvious that there is an implied 'politically' before 'directionless' that I'm absolutely certain you know I meant, but whatevs. "Hawking a religion" FFS.
The bottom-line of what I'm getting at is if there exists both a practical and a theoretical argument for or against something, and we are creating outward looking propaganda, 100% of the time the practical argument is going to be more effective.
Look, the OP isn't about the
Look, the OP isn't about the Labour Party, it's about what effective forms of direct action grassroots organising we already have going on, and how we could spread them into new areas, given access to the necessary resources.
fingers malone wrote: Look,
That's not how I read the OP. The OP is an appeal to those who are attracted to, sympathetic with, tempted by, the Corbyn wing of the Labour Party to not think, feel, act as if that holds the potential for... what? The OP is not exactly clear on that-- making substantial left reforms in the UK? making the Labour Party the vehicle for left reforms in the UK?
So the analysis, of the failure of analysis of Labour Party is relevant, and in truth, critical to the appeal. So the issue of "left reforms" is an issue critical to the discussion.
I know what you wrote. I'm pretty sure you didn't mean what you wrote, and I say that. Doesn't change that what you wrote, with or without the implied "politically" is patronizing to the bone.
As for the "bottom-line" -- since when is arguing that "there aren't enough hours in the day" to capture the Labour Party and make it an engine of reform-- a practical argument. It's no argument at all.
Where is there a practical argument for rolling back the attacks of capitalism in the OP? A practical argument for advancing the struggle, locally and internationally, in the OP, when the struggle itself is not even defined. Is it for reforms? Is it to build a network of dual power "stem cell" formations that can challenge a ruling class and its system, its mode of accumulation? Those aren't theoretical questions.
People are attracted to Corbyn because they think he can change the institutions of power, which are the relations of accumulation. It's not "theorizing" to articulate that you can't change those institutions separate and apart from confronting those relations, and building organizations that in fact can replace those relations in their totality. So how do we do that? I don't think the OP proposes anything that will have an practical success.
Ok, but I would really like
Ok, but I would really like it if people would talk a bit more about how we might spread effective forms of direct action grassroots organising as well as talking about the Labour Party then.
fingers malone wrote: Ok, but
No problem with that
Just a short response to
Just a short response to jesuithitsquad (for now). It seems to me that the logic of the OP was to pose a kind of direct action based reformism instead of a Labour Party (or Democratic Party) reformism - and this is even more explicit in your argument that direct action 'gets the goods'. Without going into the whole history of anarcho-syndicalism and industrial unionism, this also seems consistent with the idea that it's still possible to gradually build up 'revolutionary unions' inside capitalist society. But given that the working class internationally has entered a period of profound difficulties, even at the level of the defensive struggle to hold onto the 'goods' that it has already got, I think we are indeed faced with the need to reflect on past experience - both of the class as a whole and the 'communist community' within it. And this does mean putting more energy into the 'theoretical', even when the 'practical' results are not immediately obvious.
It seems in some of the
It seems in some of the comments about funding the cart is being put before the horse here. As the quote I posted earlier indicates, much of the Corbynist ‘activism’ and fund-raising can be done from a keyboard and via the mutually congratulatory back-slapping of sharing right-on posts on social media. Which, while not totally unrelated, in itself is a very different ‘movement’ from a social struggle capable of challenging anything much.
But if cash would make so much difference, there’s already a ‘genuine Socialist Party’ with plenty of disposable assets; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33478400?SThisFB&fb_ref=Default These Corbynists chose the wrong Party - mass entryism now!
The article seems to define ‘activism’ as an impartial thing that can be transferred from reformist settings to radical ones easily, as if the Corbynist portion can be captured for more radical ends. But they’re not the same beast; as pointed out well on this thread by fingers, button etc the content is different, also often the motive. I don’t think funding creates movements – but movements generate funding; there’s not many very recent relevant examples but relatively recent history of the Miners Strike & Poll Tax movement (which seem so long ago) showed impressive sustained mass active solidarity and financial support. So much has changed for the worse since then - but I don’t think money is the resource most lacking. It’s more that the culture of basic solidarity has become largely as privatised as many people’s social lives; and yes, for all their limits, local solidarity groups have at least a theoretical potential to challenge that. The one rare relevant recent organisational model/example that comes to mind is the many local refugee solidarity groups that have sprung up as often loose affiliations that seem quite effective in delivering their practical goals. But that is a ‘good cause’ that only those with hearts of stone would quibble about - so easy to unite over and little room for political friction and with clear recipients and basic goals to achieve.
On small towns; if you kick up a fuss it’s not so easy to disappear into the crowd again like in cities, eg, with less options of alternative employment locally if you cause problems for the boss. Having to travel further for another job costs more, lengthens working day, informal blacklisting is easier in smaller communities etc. Also smaller workforces tend to make struggle and confidence for it more difficult. Plus a generally more conservative, insular culture. Outside the workplace much of the ‘activism’ is self-interested nimbyism. Eg, often more people will protest against something affecting their house prices than cuts to health services.
But they’re hardly problems only of small towns. Strikes & other struggle have massively dropped everywhere in the West in the last 30 years. That radical groups, formal or informal, haven’t expanded in that climate is hardly surprising.
S. Artesian wrote: fingers
S., an assumption of good faith would make you a much nicer person to be around on these forums.
Chilli-- Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing.
i agree, it was a good point.
And thank you too, Petey.
And thank you too, Petey.
Although, I thought presupposing good will or good faith or good whatever meant actually engaging with what people say...
So is that what this is about-- helping people with political direction find some meaningful activity? Was the OP a bit short on explaining why reforming Labour, and/or "left reform" in general is a dead end... for reasons other than the length of the day?
And exactly what were the "practical" arguments made that, according to Jesuit.., trump theoretical arguments every time?
Do you, or Jesuit, or Chillli think that it's a viable tactic or strategy to advocate working as external parliamentary pressure groups to "catalyze" reforms enacted by parliament itself?
I am sure the authors have nothing but the best intentions. In fact I think everyone, (almost everyone really) has nothing but good intentions, good will, and is so shot through with goodness that I hear a heavenly choir hit it on the downbeat every time I log on, I read a post or a comment.
And I even try to be nicer, as subjective a category as that may be. So where does that get us with the matter at hand.
Not nice enough? I agree. Excepting myself, everybody is nice enough. Except maybe Stephen, but that's a personal judgment. Everybody is nice enough. Now what? The OP is, IMO, weak, and doesn't accomplish what it obviously wants to do-- present an alternative to Corbyn-ism, and the Labour Party left.
To be perfectly honest, S., I
To be perfectly honest, S., I don't really think there's a huge value in engaging with you.
But, if you're serious, no one is not telling you not to make criticisms. But even if the analysis is bad or somehow plays into reformism (not that I think it does), you can say that without calling the article "weak" or maligning the intentions of the authors.
I mean, how long have you been on this site, do you really think the JK and Ed intended this article to somehow promote "left reforms"? If you think that's the article somehow projects that idea, fine, say it. But when people get frustrated with you, it's probably not because what you're saying, but how you're saying it.
Anyway, enough with the derail, that's the last thing I'll say on the matter.
Just to clarify: here's what
Just to clarify: here's what I wrote.
Now if you disagree with that, then please disagree with it and show me where it's inaccurate. The intentions of the authors, their work histories, their CVs etc. are irrelevant to me and to the people they are addressing.
Every comment I've made here, save my response to Stephen's habitual trolling, and the "play nice" admonitions, has been made without sarcasm and without rancor.
I responded to Jesuit's post after he accused Alf (and myself since we share the position) of trying to engender perfectly created communist babies with a libcom pedigree, when neither of us had indicated any such thing. Talk about good faith....
Yeah talk about good faith.... because that's all it is.. talk
Sorry, what is painfully clear based on your comments and Jesuit's is that is exactly what I'm saying that gets your knickers in a twist.
There's nothing wrong with calling an article, appeal, leaflet, proposal "weak." That's not an insult. That doesn't impugn anybody's motives or integrity. It's an assessment of the viability of the proposal.
The fact that you can't make that distinction says a bit more than you would like it to....about you.
Good post SA. EDIT: I can't
Good post SA.
EDIT: I can't think of anyone on here who has been consistently 'nice' throughout all of their exchanges, so there's definite moral fibre in your taking another of your lone stands, this time against the usual double standard of hypocrisy.
Sometimes, it's true,
Sometimes, it's true, Artesian says stuff that isn't very nice. But is calling the OP "weak" the best example Chilli can give of his bad behaviour on this thread? That argument, dare I say it, is a little weak. And indeed, calling the OP "weak" is perhaps the softest criticism you can make of it. As I said before, I think Artesian has pointed to the key problems posed by the OP (avoiding the implications of the capitalist nature of the Labour party, and dangling the lure of entering into competition with Corbynism), and so far there has not been much by way of a response to this.
I think this discussion,
I think this discussion, where it hasn't been diverted, is anyway starting to go round in circles but I will sign off by just saying I agree that the opening text is weak and confusing on both the function of the Labour Party and on reforms and reformism even if you consider that some of the activities of recommended groups are worthwhile in themselves.
Sure, the OP could be
Sure, the OP could be stronger in pointing out the structural function of parliamentary parties in capitalism, but it was clearly written for a specific audience that needs convincing. Let's face it; a lot of our analyses of society sounds like conspiracy nonsense to most people. The OP doesn't read like that, which is a good thing if you're trying to communicate beyond the boundaries of our sect.
Edit: wanted to add that the chosen title for the piece reflects the audience of the piece. They get the reference to the meme.
Alf wrote: Sometimes, it's
Alf, I guess you somehow missed the second part of this statement?
And now I'm annoyed because I'd intended to pull back from this discussion. I just think, basically, there are legitimate criticisms to make of lots of things, including articles on libcom. But, in the majority of articles written by regular posters - in this case, 2 admins ffs - we can assume that, whatever the shortcomings of the article, it's not a secret plot to somehow "advocate working as external parliamentary pressure groups to "catalyze" reforms enacted by parliament".
Quote: we can assume that,
Priceless. And this from a person who whimpers and moans about "good faith." Exactly where is the good faith in claiming that my criticism of the weakness, the lack of clarity of the article regarding "left wings" reformism, the Labour Party means I suspect the authors of a "secret plot"?
Where is there any evidence to back that sort of bullshit pseudo postulating?
I provided that as a question to Jesuit, and you, trying to determine what exactly he finds in the article that is "practical" and trumps the "theoretical" every time.
Just in case you missed it, the article states this:
I guess that's an example of practice trumping theory-- the old "only 24 hours in a day" routine.
There's nothing secret nor conspiratorial in the vague formulations, the implausible explanations, and the evident confusion in the article and I have never implied that there is. But they are vague formulations, implausible explanations, and evidence of confusion nonetheless.
I guess since your argument that etiquette requires not calling weak articles weak didn't fly, you feel it necessary to try something a little more flamboyant.
Clearly it's not how I say things that twists your knickers. It's what I'm saying. You're annoyed? For Fuck's Sake. Who gives a shit that you are annoyed? Hold your breath and count to ten.
Now now SA, don't forget
Now now SA, don't forget that
S, I'm not sure what to say.
S, I'm not sure what to say. Perhaps in real life you're friendly and comradely, but your online persona is deeply unpleasant and you seem far more concerned with point scoring than actually engaging in productive conversation. I'm not even gonna bother with you, mate.
Factvalue, to quote your buddy, thanks for sharing.
Chilli Sauce wrote: S, I'm
That's rich. As if friendly, unfriendly has anything to do with the fact that you distort what others say and write to score your own points.
I have zero interest in scoring points. You seem to be the one racking up the cue scores with appeals to "good faith" and being nice, leavened of course with suggesting that those you disagree with are imputing secreting conspiracies among others.
You're not going to deal with me? Your loss is my gain.
Sharing is caring, and tbh it isn't not nice to be not nice to be sure.
I really wish that on this
I really wish that on this website we had discussions that helped us win the class struggles that are so essential to our survival as human beings.
That would involve reason and
That would involve reason and ethics enough to not shut down genuine debate arising from authentic and relevant critique.
Did I do that?  Ok I
Did I do that?
 Ok I will try to say a bit more then. Personally I've had loads of people explain things to me all my life about the parliamentary system and parties and representative democracy and why this isn't how we will change our lives and I think I understand it. What I feel is massively, massively lacking is a better understanding of why our direct action grassroots actions are so difficult, why the groups (which do a lot of really good work) are concentrated in a few small areas of the country like Lambeth or Haringey or Brighton, why people are so attracted to some types of political action and not others, these are things I do not have answers to and desperately want answers to.
If I come across as trying to shut down discussion then I apologise. I suppose what I am perhaps doing is saying 'please can we talk about this please can we talk about this' over and over again when people obviously want to have a different discussion, perhaps that is annoying, if it is then I accept that.
[cross posted with fact value]
No, not at all, you have been
No, not at all, you have been an real example of comradely comportment, as always, but there aren't enough of you to prevent the fevered egoism, and it's intolerable, and I'm fully culpable myself so no finger pointing intended.
I think what you've described
I think what you've described is perfectly reasonable and gets at the crux of it, there should be room for all points of view, even if they're not being expressed in the way everyone might approve of/not get offended by. As you said, the point is to win class struggles which threaten our lives, and failing to listen while picking fights over the aesthetics of expression is focusing on appearances rather than reality, and that's intolerably stupid if we want to get anywhere at all.
factvalue wrote: As you said,
I disagree – the mode of expression is part of social relations, how we interact. And the egotism of some here they apparently see as justified cos in the argument THEY’RE RIGHT. But it’s easy to be right in the wrong way and so be very wrong. There are some who regularly ferment bad feeling and draw antagonism from others and it’s egotistical, competitive and boring and constantly derails discussions into the trading of personal insults – which turns discussion into competition. The people who are most regularly involved in that need to grow up and not think that being able to win an argument justifies being a boring egotistical arsehole.
khawaga wrote: Sure, the OP
this is exactly fucking it.
the point that i've tried to make throughout is that this piece isn't written as a contribution to theoretical communist thought. it's not even written for anarchists or communists or whatever. it's written for people who think they are working to protect migrants and defend the 'social contract' by joining the labour party in support of corbyn. presumably, the article is intended to turn a few people away from the dead-end of electoral politics and towards direct action, so it's speaking to people where they are politically today. so, in some ways it's inevitable that we would have some criticisms. it's not written for us.
this was the point i was trying to make when i made the 'communist babies' comment, which was clearly a tongue-in-cheek, intentionally hyperbolic comment and in no way an accusation directed at SA or Alf.
SA, the very fact that you see it as an accusation is part of what people are getting at here. When you then proceeded to intentionally misread my post about about "directionless people,' admit you are intentionally misreading it, and yet continue the polemic as if the misreading was my actual intention (ie "religious fervor," etc.) is the other part of what people like chilli mean when they talk about debating in good faith and point scoring. though, if you felt attacked, i apologize.
no, SA. it REALLY is how you're saying things. notice for example, the way people react to spikymike and alf for contrast.
the truth is you've made some legitimate points in this conversation and i've spent some time contemplating your points (despite my instinct to ignore you due to your approach), but when you couch your arguments in a way that impugns intentions and misrepresents others, it is very tempting to dismiss everything you say. in fact, as i recall, no one has even fundamentally disagreed with you or Alf here. people have only contextualized the article, which for some reason, both of you refuse to acknowledge.
the thing is, most regular posters here probably share 99-100% of your politics, so what's the point of being so aggressive? like fingers said above, we are such an insignificantly small group of people. maybe save the vitriol to those who've actually earned it?
hopefully, those people won't read the comments below the article because this storm in a teacup will do absolutely nothing to dissuade them from thinking we're a bunch of nutters.
ETA: as usual, spot on by RM. none of us are immune from being assholes, myself included.
Quote: i made the 'communist
more priceless bullshit from priceless bullshitters. When you, Jesuit, say it, it's clearly "tongue in cheek," but if I say "what is this bullshit about 'directionless people needing help to live a meaningful life, a religious appeal?' it's bad faith, it's going over the line.
Note, I didn't complain one bit about your commie baby/libcom pedigree remark then, and I'm not complaining about it now. Quite all right by me. Doesn't even count as an irritant where I come from. But you get all "FFS" about it, and then Chilli and the rest of the crybabies join in.....
You can take your hypocrisy, and your whining, and peddle it to somebody who gives a rat's ass. I do not.
awesome. well done SA.
awesome. well done SA.
jesuithitsquad wrote: in
You make the call
nope, no point scoring going
nope, no point scoring going on whatsoever.
i was actually responding to the part of alf's post where he says this:
as the rest of my post shows, but no worries! scoreboard for SA!!
My god, you're tedious. Look,
My god, you're tedious.
Look, the OP tries to appeal to those who are attracted by Corbyn but not sure what to do next. Fair enough. I think the reasoning provided by the OP for what those who are attracted to Corbyn should do next is weak; glosses over distinction between reformism and actions that develop, dare I say it, class consciousness.
I made one post on that. And then I responded to Fingers' post, pointing out that in fact the issue of the Labour Party was a real issue, introduced by the OP itself, not by those who take exception to the OP. And I concluded that exchange with a comradely "no problem" with the direction Fingers thought the discussion should go. And I had no intention of carrying this any further. Until you and Chilli stepped in with your whinging
Here's the issue I care about:
You can engage with that or not, that's up to you. The rest of this stuff -- being nice, good faith, - is in my opinion, just a waste.
This thread is fantastic. It
This thread is fantastic. It could have been over almost before it started but it's turned into a sort of grinding, slow motion game of intellectual ping pong. Long may it continue. Unfortunately though, there is something of the dark inevitability of Greek tragedy about it that tells me it will soon complete its journey up its own arse and then we'll all be left twiddling our thumbs - a great shame but into each life some rain must fall I suppose and I shall use my umbrella of smugness at having known from the start the simple and obvious answer to the question posed by the OP so beautifully condensed by Comrade Artesian
which is, of course, stop being so fucking silly, to protect me from the existential precipitation.
If I'm going to pick a side I suppose I would just about land on Artesian's but I must take exception to this;
You're over egging the pudding there comrade. You don't know what a tedious wanker is until you meet a guy I know IRL who's actual name is Mr Tede. No bullshit, this is true, he recites classical literature in a horrible nasal voice at business dinners etc to scrape his meagre living and when introduced to you will say 'I'm Tede. Tede but not tedious, I hope, haha!'.
Anyway, hopefully when it's all over you can all kiss, make up and dance around the mulberry bush together before moving on to the next giant Libcom word wank. Not for too long though, you guys got the cheese and I need my chunks!
S. Artesian wrote: The
Ok I know both of the writers and I know they do have an understanding of the role of the Labour Party in capitalism. I think they didn't write about that in this article because they had another point that they wanted to make and that wasn't the thing that they wanted to say. They wanted to point to other more useful activities that we could do if we had the 25 pound stakes people were prepared to put up to vote for Corbyn.
Ok do you want to talk about this strategy? We're not building networks 'simply to build them' no, what do you think about the networks then? What do you think about the strategies of HASL, Sisters Uncut, the cleaners unions, Solfed and the IWW and the solnets?
Except that the mode of expression can be offensive in many other than the most obvious ways, often related to people reading from internal scripts perfected after years of getting nowhere and watching resistance deteriorate and get pushed as far back as the moribund state we see around us, and if people are ever going to begin the task of putting their heads against this huge cliff face and start pushing it back inch by inch, we need to hear what's going on in all of them, or, the inability to tolerate dissident voices due to the personal aesthetics of expression may well be part of social relations but to allow it to lead to the inability to listen to what's actually being said, or to begin labeling people based precisely on not being able to win arguments against their positions fairly and squarely so that everyone might learn from the experience or at least stop to think for a moment, is deeply unethical.
fingers malone wrote: I
If there are particular discussions you think would help with that, please feel free to start them, then admins can try to help keep them on topic. The problem is, even if that were possible I'm not sure any of us know what these discussions would be, or that any of us have any answers, at least beyond knowing what we should not be doing.
Reply to Steven-I've been
Reply to Steven-I've been trying to have that discussion all the way through this discussion on this blog post, building on the ideas laid out in the original blog post, but ok I'll restate.
why it's not easy to get ppl involved in grassroots direct action when you do have a group going
why our grassroots direct action things are very difficult to carry out and to win
how to make them more successful
why are grassroots direct action groups in just a few bits of the country? Not just talking about small towns, most boroughs in London don't have a solnet, the cleaners unions are not operating anywhere outside London.
Why do people rush to get involved in the Corbyn campaign, when it's really difficult to get anyone involved with direct action grassroots groups?
Fingers Malone Aug 1
Fingers Malone Aug 1 10:57
‘Why do people rush to get involved in the Corbyn campaign, when it's really difficult to get anyone involved with direct action grassroots groups?’
I suspect coughing up twenty-five pounds to back Corbyn is similar to any punter in a betting shop. Direct action is closer to being asked to mount the steeplechaser and actually ride the course. In other words, a matter of alienation and lack of confidence. I don’t see any quick fix.
fingers malone wrote: Reply
my point was that I think this sort of discussion is going to be difficult to have a lower post largely about the Labour Party, as the discussion is always going to be pulled in the direction of discussing the nature of the Labour Party as part of the capitalist state, so I thought that productive discussion around the other issues you wanted to talk about would be more likely in a fresh and more specific thread.
So I have split these questions into a new topic here and will have a go at contributing there in a second.
I think that people have made some helpful comments on this already. Basically I think there are few main reasons: firstly it's what we have been conditioned into our whole lives. Politics is not what we do ourselves, it is who we choose to represent us. Secondly it's easy. You don't have to organise, sacrifice, expend effort, you just have to pay a few pounds, maybe go to a meeting and St Jeremy will sort it all. Thirdly it seems pragmatic and realistic. Labour has been in government recently, so you think they could again.
Comments on the other questions in the new thread: http://libcom.org/forums/organise/direct-action-campaigns-how-run-them-better-win-01082016
Well drawn back to this I'm
Well drawn back to this I'm afraid. Frankly I was probably as frustrated with this discussion as SA given that I got NO response to what I tried (perhaps inadequately) to raise in my first post as a problem with the OP which related not just to the role of the Labour Party but more fundamentally to what I perceived as different understandings of the nature and function of 'reforms' in capitalist society amongst as many anarchists as others on the 'Left'. Steven has perhaps indirectly on the other related thread started to get at what I was on about in his use of phrases such as ''..is the goal achievable...'' and ''...a particular campaign may be unwinnable at a particular time...'' but in talking about direct action campaigns without distinguishing between the everyday class struggle for such as wage/benefit increases or improved working conditions and legislative reforms just confuses the issue. Pro-revolutionaries have a completely different take on the issue of reforms to LP reformists of the left or liberal persuasion. We may share support for some particular reforms but have a different assessment of what is possible within capitalism and more particularly within a capitalism going through a severe economic and social crisis as now, and this irrespective of the level of direct action taken in support of legislative reforms. I think it was this difference which the OP failed to make clear in a doubtless honest but still confused attempt to draw so called 'Corbynistas' towards a different more class struggle approach.
Yeah, I kind of get where
Yeah, I kind of get where you're coming from, and I kind of agree, but I suppose the alternative is that all blog posts and articles on the site are just composed of the single word "COMMUNISM." That way, no-one gets to accuse you of lack of political clarity.
I don't understand. What was
I don't understand. What was the point of that crude, unhelpful, unproductive and reductive point scoring at this moment, given what Red Marriott wrote above about 'some who regularly ferment bad feeling and draw antagonism from others' and the fact that 'it’s egotistical, competitive and boring and constantly derails discussions into the trading of personal insults – which turns discussion into competition'?
Factvalue, in this thread
Factvalue, in this thread basically everyone but for a few exceptions have been talking according to an internal script. Indeed, the OP is trying to stay off it, but gets attacked for straying too far. Artesian's critique/vitriol is comfortably within the mainstream thought of libcom. It's not the substance of SA's posts most folks take issue with, but the tone and unwillingness to accept that the OP is trying to serve a purpose.
Now, the much more interesting discussion is the one fingers raise.
factvalue wrote: to begin
One more time, Khawaga--
One more time, Khawaga-- Calling the OP "weak" is "vitriol"? Taking exception to jesuit's presumption that people are "directionless" and need guiding to find "meaning" -- is an unacceptable "tone"?
As I pointed out, and reiterate, I think the OP is trying to serve a purpose, but it defines that purpose vaguely, and serves that vague purpose poorly. I take exception to the vagueness and the confusion the OP introduces in the attempt to serve its purpose
Apparently that's outside the norms of etiquette here, as it produces responses declaring "lack of good faith;" failure to understand "obvious tongue in cheek;" lack of proper appreciation for thousands of articles written by administrators--- ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
I was perfectly happy after concluding the exchange with Fingers to sit back and read others' posts and try to figure out what they thought was important in the UK. I reentered the discussion because of jesuit's so-called tongue in cheek declaration about libcom pedigrees; and his argument that "practice" always trumped theory, when in fact it's not so clear in the OP why a particular practice is advocated, coupled with his "light in the darkness" theorizing-- which got us to good faith and the rest of that rot.
In response to Fingers-- I don't know how any of those networks function in the UK. Nor do I know what these networks intend to do when Labour begins its next campaign; nor what they intend to do when the next recession hits, and the ruling class, as a class, undertakes yet another attack on living standards of workers, students, young people as an opposing class, which is why I was more than content to listen to what others had to say.
And again, the key to me is: People are attracted to Corbyn because they think he can change the institutions of power, which are the relations of accumulation. It's not "theorizing" to articulate that you can't change those institutions separate and apart from confronting those relations, and building organizations that in fact can replace those relations in their totality. So how do we do that?
If the networks you enumerated aim towards that, then.... outstanding. However, the OP does not indicate that such an aim is inherent, or necessary to the so-called "strategy."
As I wrote Artesian, we all
As I wrote Artesian, we all clearly understand what you mean so no need to state it again. It is tedious and so are all the replies to you. You're all caught up in the ecstasy of communication; just adding more and more noise to the rest of it.
Really, there are many pointless discussions on libcom that are pointless. This one really takes the cake.
Sorry RM, I'd like to say you
Sorry RM, I'd like to say you got me there but honestly that was really just a tiny wee bit shit. Is this your way of winning an argument on libcom? I don't know what 'winning arguments' means to you, arguments over issues that people find important - at least enough to spend their time posting about - but for me it doesn't involve e.g. lobbing smears and then flouncing off (or even posting second rate cartoons) when logic or evidence hasn't quite been going your way. By 'Winning arguments' I mean putting across more cogent and coherent points of view than others when there are distinct or opposing positions on important issues (libcom is sometimes about actually debating issues and exchanging views). Sometimes people get a little upset when that happens, when others' positions are too far from their own, or even when they perceive that they are, enough to apply all manner of appalling epithets and labels which are difficult to get rid of, all which is deeply unethical. Now I'm going to back off from this, partially because it's boring the hole off me, and allow fingers' much more important issues to get an airing.
factvalue wrote: (or even
you have undermined your own point here: that cartoon is clearly amazing
Your're right, I retract the
Your're right, I retract the part about the second rate cartoon. That still leaves the smears, flouncers and hypocrisy though.
If you can't see the
If you can't see the relevance of that cartoon to some of the regular behaviour on here, and can't see that part of it is the egotistical need to 'win the argument' more than discuss and debate for mutual benefit, then; 1) your failure to see that is, imo, part of the problem & (2) behaving like that is likely to make people feel you don't merit the respect to be treated in as comradely a way as less competitive participants.
You're absolutely right,
You're absolutely right, don't hurt me I give up! I should have shown your cartoon more respect. I retract my previous post about it being second rate, it was just that it was a bit, you know, weak. Can we move on now?
Careful FV, that was actually
Careful FV, that was actually funny.
Quote: Can we move on now?
Only time will tell. The evidence so far seems against it.
Sorry comrade, as I read your
Sorry comrade, as I read your post I was just wondering 1. why I have a piece of cheese in my pocket 2. what it feels like to be a sugar molecule. But yes of course, time, great healer and all that.
Factvalue, I've yet to
Factvalue, I've yet to understand your stakes in this discussion. You're saying Artesian is putting forth a dissenting opinion and therefore he's attacked? If that's the case, you are wrong. What Artesian is arguing is orthodoxy on libcom. Really, the main thing ppl are taking issue with is his grumpy old man tone (which I personally find rather amusing more than annoying). And what ppl have been having a discussion about is that tone because on the substantive issues they basically agree. Perhaps there's a difference of opinion on how to approach and convince non-anarchos but that's about it.
K - I'll PM you later about
K - I'll PM you later about it if you don't mind, I'd really rather fingers' far more important agenda for discussion got some attention at this point.
Cool. And yes, this thread
Cool. And yes, this thread should get back on track.
That ain't no grumpy old man
That ain't no grumpy old man tone. It's straightforward, dry and honest. WTF is the problem with that. Equally true with our resident clever clogs and cheesy pocketed benefactor Factvalue. I mean, what are gonna do, take a vote on what style of posting is acceptable? Well I like both their styles of posting and I'm not the only one. We need to hang a bit looser round here sometimes.
I appreciate that some people
I appreciate that some people have responded to me in a friendly and sincere way on this thread but I wish everyone was a bit nicer to everyone else sometimes.
Fingers - I agree that it's
Fingers - I agree that it's nice to be nice but we don't know how strongly people feel about the topic at hand, how they are feeling in general, how well they are expressing their feelings towards others or how well we're enterpreting them. We also don't know what's going on in their lives. I'm an asshole more often than I'd like to be but often I'm just having fun to make a point which for whatever reason gets missed leaving me floating in a sea of disapproval or at least being ignored. At least I think that's what's happening? See what I mean?
I'm personally trying to cut people who's approach irritates me some slack. At the end of the day though it's just the Internet, right?
Khawaga wrote: Cool. And yes,
OK, so what's the track?
It's over here.
It's over here.
That's the one.
That's the one.
This thread is interesting
This thread is interesting and full of comedy. Thank goodness for libcom. :D
seahorse wrote: This thread
Howdy Seahorse, glad you noticed too. Great comedy from the OP right through to the split. You should have joined in the fun. All you have to do is practice a disapproving expression in the mirror for a while and then judge posters that rattle your cage for not falling in line with the standard view and blame their posting style for making you feel uncomfortable. The only other thing you have to do is get in on a big group backslap with your fellow Libcom conventionistas. It's very simple and feels great as it always does to have the protection of the pack.
Thank god, certain posters
Thank god, certain posters stopped derailing this thread so it could get back on track, right?
S. Artesian wrote: Thank god,
Did I derail with my anti Tory bashing witterings?
Of course not. I was "taking
Of course not. I was "taking the piss" as you say.
Artesian, the discussion has
Artesian, the discussion has continued on that other thread; it is far more interesting than this shitshow of.a.thread.
Which other thread is that?
Which other thread is that? This one:Corbyn and struggle for material resources of government ??
Nope, the one factvalue
Nope, the one factvalue linked to just a few posts ago.