AF + Unions

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darren red star
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Aug 11 2005 09:36

That was me!

embarrassed

Now that I have rereadthe a+p I realise how mistaken | was.

sorry.

actually the afed position is very similar to my own, which is good. as I am right twisted

nastyned
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Aug 11 2005 10:08

LOL! Not just you though. I've seen a few people on libcom say similar things.

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pingtiao
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Aug 11 2005 14:28

Outside of propaganda, at the worst it can act as a network of militants in otherwise disconnected struggles, and as a nationwide mechanism for organsing things that need a response on that level. At the best it could be much more than that- either way it is a gain in terms of effectiveness.

nastyned
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Aug 11 2005 14:52
revol68 wrote:

Wasn't their some social event at which AF members sang (possibly pissed mind) "outside and against the unions"? This of course might be unfounded rumour but i heard it from someone i trust.

Well that's conclusive proof isn't it! roll eyes

revol68 wrote:
Also some in the AF seem to think anarcho communism is different from anarcho syndicalism, which made me laugh!

That would be on account of the fact they are.

nastyned
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Aug 11 2005 15:40

Who said all you need is propaganda? I like the sound of fighting organs! wink And anyway if, as an anarchist communist that was my position, then wouldn't that mean that anarchist communism and anarcho-syndicalism were different? HA!

But before this develops into a typical internet slag fest could you seriously explain why you think they are one and the same thing. I've seen a few people on lib com assert this but as I understand the terms they have specific, different meanings.

nastyned
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Aug 11 2005 15:53

Not for me it wouldn't! Now I'll have to bloody well type something.

OK, to me it's self explanatory that anarcho-syndicalism refers to anarchists working in unions. Anarcho-syndicalism has it's own history and tradition.

Not all anarchists have worked this way though have they? There are different ways in which anarchists organise. So whilst anarcho-syndicalists are anarchist communists not all anarchist communists are anarcho-syndicalists.

Still you can call me an anarcho-syndicalist if you want to. I won't be insulted. I'll just think you're wrong.

malatested
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Aug 11 2005 15:56

An anarcho-syndicalist is an anarcho-communist!

nastyned
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Aug 11 2005 17:02
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
So whilst anarcho-syndicalists are anarchist communists not all anarchist communists are anarcho-syndicalists.

thats exactly what I meant.

Well you could of fooled me.

revol68 wrote:
In order for an anarcho communist to be different from an anarcho syndicalist they would have to further classify themselves, in the same way anarcho syndicalists do.

This isn't necessary. Generally 'anarchist communist' is used to refer to non-sydicalist anarchist communists (after all, we were here first!) and 'anarcho-syndicalist' is used to refer to syndicalist anarchist communists. Ok, there could be confusion with this but surely less confusion that saying to two terms are interchangable.

revol68 wrote:
also anarcho syndicalism is not as narrow as just "unions", it has always looked to broaden struggles outwards in all directions.

I am well aware that anarcho-syndicalists have not limited themselves to wrokplace stuff.

revol68 wrote:
it has always looked to broaden struggles outwards in all directions. To me anarcho synidcalism is not an abstract blue print or methodology but a historical development and one which we could do alot to learn from, rather like council communism.

Fair enough.

nastyned
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Aug 12 2005 08:08

roll eyes

nastyned
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Aug 12 2005 12:38

I don't think you are serious - i think you're a wind up merchant.

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the button
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Aug 12 2005 12:40

I'm not a wind-up merchant, I'm super & lovely. And I'd like to know too. smile

nastyned
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Aug 12 2005 14:40
revol68 wrote:
im not winding up

Oh yes you are.

revol68 wrote:

what have "pure" anarcho communists actually done, other than produce propaganda?

What do you mean by "pure" anarcho communists?

nastyned
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Aug 12 2005 15:09

They're not the same thing though are they.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 12:44

interestingly, the T and G bureaucrat on TV last night was saying that they would be doing there best to get the solidarity strikers back to work ... some things never change and once again the real role of the unions shows itself alongside the workers involved showing how they can use unions as a way of starting a dispute. But the official union still aims to isolate and contain the struggle.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 15:44

I thought they'd got the BA workers back to work.

When can you remember an instance of union bureaucrats supporting solidarity action in living memory? I can't, not since the 70s.

knightrose
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Aug 13 2005 16:06

all the pits were faced with the same fate. In any event they were all employed by the same company - British Coal. Strikers picketed other strikers out. Railwaymen and others offered to come out in sympathy. The union bosses stopped them.

Even the glorious NUM did its best to keep the strike under control and did its best to sabotage inventive forms of struggle that were outside its control. For example in the early days of the strike miners took to driving very slowly down the motorways - a kiond of slow moving blockade. Very clever and very effetcive. Scargill made them stop it.

odessa steps
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Aug 16 2005 18:55

I think the points about maintaining our critique of the unions and their accomodation with capital while saying that members can make their own minds up about joining, being active within, shop stewards etc is right. I think defending workers is good so long as that's not all you do and this kind of activity is linked to revolutionary work and principles.

I think the idea of forming and federating 'WRGs' is right and also the point about struggle finding its own forms but I also think that the permanent rank-and-file group which absorbs militants or those who become militant through their experience of struggle until it reaches the point where it can challenge the union and displace it, so confronting the bosses directly has some merit as well.

I also think the O! point about communities is important but that's a point we and people like Solfed have embraced for some time. The power of the Labour Party organisationally was always that it linked community and industrial struggles and not always through the electoral process; rent strikes often spread to workers as well who came out in solidarity for instance. What we lack (and here we go back to anarchist groups and social centres) is an organisational form which does the same.

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McCormick
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Aug 18 2005 17:58

Interesting discussion and important too.

As regards the relationship of anarcho-syndicalism and specific anarcho-communist organisation, I don't think they are one and the same.

Anarcho-syndicalists believe that the creation, building or maintaining of a union organisation with a libertarian perspective is a priority, I believe? In situations where there is little or no anarcho-syndicalist or similar tradition, then they may militate for activity within existing reformist trade unions (as the IWA in Norway or Britain).

Anarcho-communists tend to see the building of a specific political organisation as a priority. How that organisation subsequently relates to unions, syndicalist or otherwise is important, but anarcho-communists are not united on this.

The AF operates in a society where anarcho-syndicalism is a small current within the labour movement and it doesn't orientate towards an organisation that is probably smaller (though not much!) than ourselves (SolFed, the IWA section in Britain) but rather attempts to support any and all expressions of working class self-organisation (as the SolFed does, actually) and supports the creation of groups, co-ordinations and networks of workers which develop a self-organising perspective.

Nevertheless, it's obvious that a discussion has been ongoing within the AF about how we practically operate in the workplace and that there is a sense that we need to re-evaluate our positions, in relation to the trade unions, the IWW and our anarcho-syndicalist comrades.

Crikey, that sounded a bit formal. red n black star

odessa steps
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Aug 18 2005 19:23

Its been proposed before but rejected but I've always found it difficult to understand why the power of the CNT-FAI - a anarcho-syndicalist base with a political organisation integral with it but also with wider perspectives - is not something we believe offers lessons for us. Of course SolFed have tried with their industrial networks/DAM/SolFed and history/tradition may be a killer but doesn't the one constantly support, refresh and defend the other and vice versa?

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McCormick
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Aug 18 2005 19:42
Quote:
Infact i think the existance of a specific political organisation as pretty superflous and think the priority is to argue for and help facilitate working class self organisation in actual struggles. therefore I see the role of Organise! as a just a propaganda group which does not for a second think it will be an anarcho syndicalist union or federated network of work place resistance groups to use the AF's terminology.

gorp

So, Organise! (the Irish group) is just a propaganda group? Are you a member of it? Is this how it generally sees itself? I'm a bit confused! Surely Organise! contains those who see themselves as anarchist communists first and others who are anarcho-syndicalists, am I right? Does it not operate as a propaganda/campaigning group but is looking for a way to practically express it's perspectives on workplace organisation and this may be in 'networks' based upon industries?

red n black star

knightrose
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Aug 19 2005 07:37

I know I keep banging on about it, but I think we should learn some lessons from what the Belfast crew did. If we really sat down and talked about it, how much actually distinguishes us from SolFed? Not very much. We certainly don't feel uncomfortable in each others company and find little to distinguish between us practically. The main issues seem to be nuances and the somewhat over formal way they structure themselves and their meetings.

odessa steps
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Aug 19 2005 18:18

"......argue for and help facilitate working class self organisation in actual struggles"

Surely that is what a 'political organisation' and anarcho-syndicalist unions of strength and purpose exist to do. They are involved in struggle but also provide propaganda, training camps, experienced organisers, visibility for struggles, solidarity etc but on a more permanent and sustainable basis.

Let's face it, most strikes are over before we can align ourselves with the workers in struggle or offer solidarity precisely because there are issues of 'entry' and trust. But a union, which is known, has intervened in other struggles, is permanent, is trusted and has a reputation of never selling out/speaking honestly, that's another thing.

We fetishize working-class self-organising by not recognising its inherent weaknesses and doing something about it......