AF and nefac

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knightrose
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Dec 6 2006 21:23

Oh well. I just got pissed off cos you were having a dig at the AF - for being either ultra-left or synthesist.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 6 2006 21:52
knightrose wrote:
Oh well. I just got pissed off cos you were having a dig at the AF - for being either ultra-left or synthesist.

That's funny. I don't remember making any digs at the AF's expense. I believe that was revolutionrugger. As far as I know he hasn't been a member of NEFAC for quite some time.

That's another really great aspect of being involved with anarchist organizations: not only do you have to answer for every little thing that every one of your members says or does at all times... you also get taken to task for the words or actions of every ex-member that has ever walked through your doors over the years.

I wonder why more sympathetic class struggle anarchists aren't willing to make membership committments?

[don't mind me... just tired and jaded]

revolutionrugger
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Dec 6 2006 22:02

Oi. No disrespect of AF was meant in any of my posts. Just a jibe at their position on unions. Which is clearly with in the bounds of polite class struggle to class struggle ribbing. And When ever NEFAC comes up, I always make clear in my posts that Im NOT a member and that my opinion might be counter-factual because of bad memory, or out of date info. trying to be a polite and supportive ex-member. I am still convinced NEFAC is the best game going in town, which is why I keep my controversial irresponsible fuck up self as far away from it as possible.

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Steven.
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Dec 6 2006 23:27
knightrose wrote:
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Yeah, his views on national liberation are pretty terrible, for example - but they do contradict NEFAC's aims and principles.

What does that say about NEFAC?

Hmmm well I'd think there are a fair few AF members who wouldn't really go along with all the As and Ps, but sure not ones who actively propagandise against them.

Smash - I wasn't trying to have a go, just see what the actual extent of it was, sort the truth from the rumour, so thanks. I met Wayne in new york recently, he seems like a good guy; he was the only person in my subgroup at a NYMAA meeting with me who argued against setting up co-ops as revolutionary strategy, which everyone else seemed to support :? But that recent article on Lebanon was pretty awful.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 00:22
John. wrote:
Smash - I wasn't trying to have a go, just see what the actual extent of it was, sort the truth from the rumour, so thanks. I met Wayne in new york recently, he seems like a good guy; he was the only person in my subgroup at a NYMAA meeting with me who argued against setting up co-ops as revolutionary strategy, which everyone else seemed to support :? But that recent article on Lebanon was pretty awful.

Thanks for the clear-up. Sorry for the sharp response. Years of movement sniping tends to keep you on the defensive, and this subject is something that comes up ALOT (like, say, every time anything NEFAC and workplace struggle related is mentioned!).

As far as I can tell, most of it stems from an interview that ran in one of our magazines a few years ago with a handful of anarchist union organizers. When the person responsible for the interviews first approached us with the idea we thought it would be interesting since there are a growing number of anarchists (or ex-anarchists) becoming paid union organizers in North America, including a few in or close to NEFAC at the time. Why not hear what they have to say? Big mistake apparently since for ever on after we've had to answer for politics and positions we've never claimed to have in regards to paid staff positions in unions, etc.

Even when we actually do try and publish commonly-agreed upon positions (like our workplace position paper), it is usually lost to whatever people want to read into it.

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 08:54

Hey, don't worry. We still tell US contacts to speak to NEFAC!

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 10:12

oh, him? I forgot that one.

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madashell
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Dec 7 2006 10:14
John. wrote:
Hmmm well I'd think there are a fair few AF members who wouldn't really go along with all the As and Ps, but sure not ones who actively propagandise against them.

Hmm, I've never encountered anybody within the AF who doesn't agree with the A+Ps, and if there is, somebody's fucked up somewhere along the line, because they shouldn't be a member at all if that's the case.

And for a platformist organisation like NEFAC, having a member who doesn't even fully agree with their A+Ps is really fucking odd

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 10:25

I have to agree with madashell. The last person who admitted he didn't agree with them left after some discussion.

nastyned
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Dec 7 2006 10:49

As our members are allowed to join TUC affiliated unions we're hardly going to expel people for joining the IWW are we?

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madashell
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Dec 7 2006 10:50
revol68 wrote:
so whens all the IWW members gonna leave?

Being a member of a union doesn't contradict our A+Ps=not a problem.

I'm not an IWW member myself, but I don't see any problem at all with being a member of both organisations.

nastyned
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Dec 7 2006 10:56
revol68 wrote:
but weren't youse outside and against the unions?

No, we've never held that position. That was (post dissolving/split) Wildcat.

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madashell
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Dec 7 2006 11:05
revol68 wrote:
but weren't youse outside and against the unions?

No. How many fucking times is the AF going to have to say that 'Outside and Against' has never been our position? I'm getting really sick of this same myth being repeated ad nauseum.

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And furthermore the IWW is considerably different from something like UNISON.

Jack wrote:
The IWW isn't a union in any meaningful sense, tho.

This is pretty much my objection to joining the IWW in a nutshell. It's not a real union, it's sort of stuck in limbo between being a syndicalist union and an anarcho-syndicalist propaganda group. That said, there's no contradiction between the minimum requirements to join the IWW and the minimum requirements to join the AF (agreement with our A+Ps and a reasonable level of activity and involvement).

Battlescarred
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Dec 7 2006 11:18
Jack wrote:
madashell wrote:
Being a member of a union doesn't contradict our A+Ps=not a problem.

The IWW isn't a union in any meaningful sense, tho.

But the same criteria could be applied to Solfed, no? Member of an international of anarchosyndicalist unions, but , like other sections, more like a propaganda group for anarchosyndicalism/specific anarchist organisation than an anarchosyndicalist union

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madashell
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Dec 7 2006 11:28

Since when was Jack a Solfed member? :?

nastyned
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Dec 7 2006 11:34

Since the ICC turned down his membership application.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 15:27
madashell wrote:
John. wrote:
Hmmm well I'd think there are a fair few AF members who wouldn't really go along with all the As and Ps, but sure not ones who actively propagandise against them.

Hmm, I've never encountered anybody within the AF who doesn't agree with the A+Ps, and if there is, somebody's fucked up somewhere along the line, because they shouldn't be a member at all if that's the case.

And for a platformist organisation like NEFAC, having a member who doesn't even fully agree with their A+Ps is really fucking odd

Are we still talking about Wayne? I dunno, is his soft reading of our position on, say, national liberation really that much different than an AF member who goes off and joins a syndicalist outfit like the IWW? When it comes down to it Wayne is pretty clear that he does not support the ideology of national liberation movements. I would say it is his interpretation of the next line of that position point -- we support working class struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide and colonization -- where some of our other members might disagree with him. So, does that constitute a break with the organization? I wouldn't think any more so than AFers who are agree with a basic criticism of syndicalism becoming card-carrying wobblies.

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little_brother
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Dec 7 2006 16:39
OliverTwister wrote:
My understanding from some of the founding members is that AF was an original influence, but thw WSM et al became bigger influences early on.

Also the AF provided a lot of help between the two collectives in Boston and Quebec who provided the backbone of NEFAC's foundationary efforts.

Yes, this is the case. We were in good correspondance with Emile Henry and We Dare Be Free (Boston) collective leading up to the formation of NEFAC. We used to have all of the 'initiative' and other early documents up on our old website in English, but once NEFAC got their website going, we kept it in French only...
http://flag.blackened.net/af/french/french_neacf.html

If you're really interested...
(Fullest web archive entry, Feb 2003 - including a joint statement):
http://web.archive.org/web/20030312193112/burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/neacf.html
(Earliest web archive entry, October 1999):
http://web.archive.org/web/19991023063024/burn.ucsd.edu/~acf/neacf.html

Battlescarred
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Dec 7 2006 17:07
Quote:

Are we still talking about Wayne? I dunno, is his soft reading of our position on, say, national liberation really that much different than an AF member who goes off and joins a syndicalist outfit like the IWW? When it comes down to it Wayne is pretty clear that he does not support the ideology of national liberation movements. I would say it is his interpretation of the next line of that position point -- we support working class struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide and colonization -- where some of our other members might disagree with him. So, does that constitute a break with the organization? I wouldn't think any more so than AFers who are agree with a basic criticism of syndicalism becoming card-carrying wobblies.

I'd always understood the IWW to be industrial unionist rather than syndicalist, and they, as far as I am aware, have never defined themselves as syndicalist
As to AFers being in the IWW, then you obviously haven't read our A&Ps properly. Having a critique of the unions (and indeed of syndicalism in any of its forms) doesn't mean we can't be members. If, say I was in Spain, I'd , depending on the workplace situation, probably be in the CNT

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 17:34
Battlescarred wrote:
I'd always understood the IWW to be industrial unionist rather than syndicalist, and they, as far as I am aware, have never defined themselves as syndicalist
As to AFers being in the IWW, then you obviously haven't read our A&Ps properly. Having a critique of the unions (and indeed of syndicalism in any of its forms) doesn't mean we can't be members. If, say I was in Spain, I'd , depending on the workplace situation, probably be in the CNT

I'm familiar with your A&Ps. I was just making a point that there is always room for interpretation. A "hard" reading of your position on unions says to me that dual membership in a syndicalist (revolutionary unionist, whatever) outfit would be prohibited. A more liberal reading leaves it a bit vague and up in the air. That's all I was saying.

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 17:55

What we do argue for is for workers in industries to work together collectively. The IWW seems to offer an opportunity to do this. We'd also argue that the existing unions are intimately bound up with the whole process of exploitation and are unredeemable. However, we've never argued that workers should not join unions, they provide an opportunity to meet and discuss with other workers. We do argue against trying to capture or reform them. It's essentially a pragmatic position.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 18:18
knightrose wrote:
What we do argue for is for workers in industries to work together collectively. The IWW seems to offer an opportunity to do this. We'd also argue that the existing unions are intimately bound up with the whole process of exploitation and are unredeemable. However, we've never argued that workers should not join unions, they provide an opportunity to meet and discuss with other workers. We do argue against trying to capture or reform them. It's essentially a pragmatic position.

Here's a question: if the IWW were ever to mature to a point of being an effective union body, do you really believe they would somehow not be bound "by the whole process of exploitation". Beyond that, I don't know how it is in Britain, but the wobblies on this side of the pond have in the past utilized the National Labor Relations Board, a government body, for arbitration during labor disputes.

Look, I'm not casting stones here or insinuating that anyone is being hypocritical. I just think it is ironic to hear people from AF criticize us for the personal positions and opinions held by a few of our members that somehow deviate from our group's accepted political line when you all bend over backwards to interpret and re-interpret your own position on unions.

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 18:32

To be honest, I'm not sure. I think our membership would be dependent on that kind of thing not happening. We've not really talked it through properly yet. I guess our next conference will spend some time on it. In my opinion, the IWW at the moment isn't a union. It's an association of militants.

And as I said, I only mentioned the Dublin meeting cos others had a pop at us. If it had really bothered me that much, I'd have brought it up ages ago. The meeting was in August.

I'd guess that NEFAC contains quite a wide range of views and opinions. That in itself is no bad thing.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 18:37
knightrose wrote:
To be honest, I'm not sure. I think our membership would be dependent on that kind of thing not happening. We've not really talked it through properly yet. I guess our next conference will spend some time on it. In my opinion, the IWW at the moment isn't a union. It's an association of militants.

I dunno, my own personal opinion is that the IWW actually DOESN'T offer a better means for workers in industries to work together collectively. At least not in the current labor context where I am from (North America). My criticism of orthodox syndicalism is a criticism of ideological syndicalism, whereas a union like the IWW (or CNT, et al) tries to introduce syndicalism by ideological means. I think anarcho-communists need to find ways develop a grassroots syndicalism at all levels of the labor process, inside and outside existing unions, etc. Joining the IWW, in my opinion, only serves to limit ones ability to work towards this end.

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 18:41

How do you propose that? My experience of being a union militant - as a teacher in the NUT and a union rep - was not very satisfactory. All the existing rank and file bodies aim to reform or capture their unions. My experience is that where they have succeeded locally they have become the new bureaucrats.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 18:47
knightrose wrote:
How do you propose that? My experience of being a union militant - as a teacher in the NUT and a union rep - was not very satisfactory. All the existing rank and file bodies aim to reform or capture their unions. My experience is that where they have succeeded locally they have become the new bureaucrats.

I think we need to be open to different forms of workplace agitation and organizing, and find areas where anarchist poles of influence can develop. In my opinion building ideologically-driven micro unions as an alternative to mainstream unions is not the best means of doing this.

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 18:52

The trouble is that we need to organise where we actually are. I'm stuck in a high school near Manchester. I have to make do with what I've got.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 19:04
knightrose wrote:
The trouble is that we need to organise where we actually are. I'm stuck in a high school near Manchester. I have to make do with what I've got.

Fair enough.

knightrose
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Dec 7 2006 19:09

Coming back to your point, I don't see the IWW as an alternative to the existing unions. It's more a way to network.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Dec 7 2006 19:14
knightrose wrote:
Coming back to your point, I don't see the IWW as an alternative to the existing unions. It's more a way to network.

Really? The IWW in the UK apparently has a radically different vision for itself than its US counter-part.