AF Threads Function?

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Spikymike
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Sep 7 2008 08:17
AF Threads Function?

ginger in one of her postings on the Gay Pride discussion thread here said that she and other AF members generally avoided debates on Libcom, preferring to use the AF's own internal discussion site as the collective responsibillty expressed on that site made for more fruitful discussion (not her exact words).

I presume it can't be Revol's intemperate interventions alone that have put off ginger and others since my impression of the AF is that they are made of sterner stuff than this, (and you can just ignore him if you wish).

Whilst I fully understand the importance and function of an internal AF site, these comments (which I have heard from some other AF members) has made me ponder on the function of the AF section on this Libcom Website?

I had assumed that the AF generally felt at home on Libcom, specifically with it's communist definition? something which differentiates it from other anarchist web sites.

I had also presumed the function of the separate AF section (not a facility taken up by all the groups who's members post here) to be:

1. To introduce AF to new people viewing Libcom. and,

2. To engage non AF members in political debate of your organisation's ideas and activities.

It is true that the later of the two above functions has not been greatly evident in the recent past, hence my quip on the Gay Pride thread that the discussion there had almost reached the heady heights of that on 'new tee shirts' !

If my assumptions above are wrong please explain?

And if they are wrong would it not make sense to ask the Libcom administrators to remove the AF section alltogether - not that this would stop other people discussing AF politics from time to time on the general threads.

Even if there were no separate AF section here, I would hope that AF members would still assist others with the benefit of their insights on some of the discussions, particularly those involving the explanation and defense of our common libertarian communist politics from their detractors or those just asking for explanations.

I think 'little brother' and some other AF members make useful contributions on Libcom. Whilst understandably Libcom is not a priority for the AF you have the abillity to contribute to it's success by your continued active involvement. Surely libertarian communist groups do have responsibillities beyond their own organisations?

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madashell
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Sep 7 2008 09:38
Spikymike wrote:
I had also presumed the function of the separate AF section (not a facility taken up by all the groups who's members post here) to be:

1. To introduce AF to new people viewing Libcom. and,

2. To engage non AF members in political debate of your organisation's ideas and activities.

It is true that the later of the two above functions has not been greatly evident in the recent past, hence my quip on the Gay Pride thread that the discussion there had almost reached the heady heights of that on 'new tee shirts' !

In theory, that's exactly why we have a group forum here. The trouble is that a lot of AF members are put off libcom by what they see as an unecessarily confrontational and uncomradely culture here. I think this does get exagerated by some people who've been personally offended by the behaviour of certain individuals on this site, but it is often hard to have a constructive discussion on here, it all descends into point scoring and flaming the second anything even slightly contentious comes up.

It's a shame, because I wouldn't want to see the AF (or any other anarchist group) only ever discussing it's ideas internally.

Spikymike
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Sep 7 2008 14:33

I am all for more polite debate on Libcom and perhaps the administrators could do a bit more to cut down the amount of abusive language from some contributors, but it is a difficult judgement to make when discussion is in full flight and they are perhaps ubderstandably nervous at being accused of censorship.

Personally I swear all the time in general conversation and have been known to get pretty abusive from time to time in meetings after a few pints, but I think it best to avoid that kind of discourse in print since it seems to have a much worse impact and cannot always be easily dealt with through a swift apology.

Still for all it's faults I think Libcom does have an important function in providing debate, discussion and information accross the 'anarchist' and 'marxist' divide amongst genuine pro-revolutionaries and is worth persisting with.

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madashell
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Sep 7 2008 16:52
Spikymike wrote:
I am all for more polite debate on Libcom and perhaps the administrators could do a bit more to cut down the amount of abusive language from some contributors, but it is a difficult judgement to make when discussion is in full flight and they are perhaps ubderstandably nervous at being accused of censorship.

Personally I swear all the time in general conversation and have been known to get pretty abusive from time to time in meetings after a few pints, but I think it best to avoid that kind of discourse in print since it seems to have a much worse impact and cannot always be easily dealt with through a swift apology.

Still for all it's faults I think Libcom does have an important function in providing debate, discussion and information accross the 'anarchist' and 'marxist' divide amongst genuine pro-revolutionaries and is worth persisting with.

It's not so much about swearing as aggressiveness. Sure, we've all lost our rag a bit in a meeting and shouted at someone, but it's important to recognise that this is something to be avoided whereever possible, rather than reproduced online all the time.

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madashell
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Sep 7 2008 17:17

Oh, I'm sorry revol, was this supposed to be another thread about you? My mistake.

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little_brother
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Sep 7 2008 18:21

I personally feel this forum is a mixed blessing and completely understand why some AFers prefer not to participate. Those that do, do so in a personal capacity. Probably enough of us do to make it worthwhile having a seperate area. This said, discussion within AF is often no less challenging but vastly more comradely. Cheers.

knightrose
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Sep 7 2008 19:04

Of course spikey, if you could always join the AF. I've asked you often enough smile We have, for example, got far cooler emoticons on our internal forum

ticking_fool
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Sep 8 2008 09:23

I was a regular poster a few years ago, both before and after I joined the AF, but I stopped posting after it became very clear that it was not possible to have a conversation about anything remotely controversial. I still check in a couple of times a week to see if there's anything interesting, but I don't read most of the threads, and usually give up in disgust on the ones that I do read. If people still find it useful, fantastic, but frankly I've got better things to do than wade through the shite that ends up on here.

There's an awful lot of value in different organisations and individuals talking to one another but you can't do it when the standard of debate is set by who's most bored at work and feels like winding someone up. Message boards are just a really shit place to talk politics.

As for the function of this forum - fuck knows. It's a point of contact that's been used a couple of times and that might be valuable, but as a forum for debate it's next to useless as far as I can see.

Spikymike
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Sep 14 2008 18:20

The point I made earlier but which is being missed in these responses is the need, in my opinion, for a forum or forums for open discussion and, where possible, cooperation between pro-revolutionaries from both the marxist and anarchist traditions.

For all their importance to the groups involved their internal forums can never achieve this. Discussion accross the historic divide between the two traditions is no more likely within the AF than in the ICC as far as I can see.

Of course this doesn't matter if you think that one tradition or the other has all the answers (or even worse that your particular group, of the several around, has all the answers).

For me it's the 'communist' in libertarian/anarchist communist which is key to my politics. At present genuine pro-revolutionary communists, even by the widest definition, are historicall a very weak minority within our class and I cannot see any group which doesn't suffer from a measure of isolation and deformity as a result.

Libcom suffers some of the above deformity also but it still has a usefull function. If it fails it will be a reflection of our whole movement and something else will need to take it's place.

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little_brother
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Sep 14 2008 19:35

With respect, I think that's really a matter for AF to decide. One of the roles of the revolutionary organisation is to develop theory collectively, and this happens in AF as part of its members bringing what they have read from places like this into the 'internal' arena and vice-versa. So noone is saying we have all the answers within the org, but there is obviously a lot of benefit to taking ideas into a setting where the aim is to be constructive first and foremost, whereas I think its been said that individuals on boards can aim to be destructive whether through dislike of a particular org or individual, boredom at work or whatever. I understand there is soon to be only one UK-wide forum area here anyway and I think that the members who still think there is benefit in contributing and listening to debates will continue to do so there. There are other forums like revleft and anarchistblackcat which have their own benefits (and limitations) too.

nastyned
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Sep 14 2008 20:51
Spikymike wrote:
The point I made earlier but which is being missed in these responses is the need, in my opinion, for a forum or forums for open discussion and, where possible, cooperation between pro-revolutionaries from both the marxist and anarchist traditions.

I think that the feeling of many people is that although libcom could have fulfilled that role it certainly doesn't at the moment.

knightrose
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Sep 15 2008 21:19

Movements come and movements go. Groups that were once revolutionary cease to be so. Discussion boards that were once useful and inspiring can end up as cesspits.

At the moment there isn't one I can see that is worth posting much on. I keep an eye on Libcom because we pick up contacts and members from it. Other than that, I see little it has to offer. The site itself is vastly important as an unparallelled library. But therein also lies the problem. Any google search will throw up Libcom near the top. I dread to think what happens to new people who find Libcom and then come to these forums. They've reached the point where they must be deterring people from finding out more about revolutionary politics.

You could try anarchistblackcat. It's heavily moderated, but lacks something or other that I can't lay my finger on. Or revleft, but there are only a few anarchists posting on it.

knightrose
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Sep 16 2008 11:33

I hate to agree with you revol, but .....

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jambo1
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Sep 16 2008 19:07

revol is totally correct. abc is like being back at school!! you get warnings for any little thing. i stopped going by there a good while ago.

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ginger
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Sep 16 2008 23:24
Spikymike wrote:
ginger in one of her postings on the Gay Pride discussion thread here said that she and other AF members generally avoided debates on Libcom, preferring to use the AF's own internal discussion site as the collective responsibillty expressed on that site made for more fruitful discussion (not her exact words).

I presume it can't be Revol's intemperate interventions alone that have put off ginger and others since my impression of the AF is that they are made of sterner stuff than this, (and you can just ignore him if you wish).

I stopped being active on libcom about a year before I joined the AF. The reason was that I didn't feel it was a productive use of my time. It wasn't the language, its the predominant style of debate which didn't/doesn't appeal to me.

I more recently found the AF boards to be constructive, but more importantly to me, it felt useful to be discussing issues on there as it is a membership organisation discussing our own theory. The fact that its a more respectful environment helps too.

We have had controversial debates on there, and I've argued on threads many pages long, twice when I've been holding a minority position within AF, but it still was constructive.

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thugarchist
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Sep 17 2008 00:22
jambo1 wrote:
revol is totally correct. abc is like being back at school!! you get warnings for any little thing. i stopped going by there a good while ago.

Huh. I thought ABC would never work but it did!

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jambo1
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Sep 17 2008 05:27

thug, i stopped posting on abc as it is too heavily moderated and to irish/american based. people were getting warnings for next to fuck all.

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thugarchist
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Sep 17 2008 16:19
jambo1 wrote:
thug, i stopped posting on abc as it is too heavily moderated and to irish/american based. people were getting warnings for next to fuck all.

Exactly my point.