Anarchist federation Public Meeting in London

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Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
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Apr 15 2007 17:26
Alf wrote:
I noticed quite a few people there from the last No War But The Class War group, but with one or two exceptions (one of them also protested that any real discussion was being stamped on)

Alf refers here to me. Unaccustomed as I am to agreeing with the ICC smile , as I recall, his account of the meeting (vegan jokes aside) is quite accurate, and I have to say Tack's account is not accurate.

Like most meetings, the ICC's reputation was already present before they arrived in person. After some confused debate the ICC, via their frontman Alf, asked for a discussion about the war; it was clear that the meeting did not even agree who and what was worth targeting with any direct action, due to political differences. The ICC would have wanted a discussion whatever the circumstances, so as to perform their 'intervention', but when they argued briefly for a political discussion they were backed by a quarter, maybe a little more, of the meeting, who saw the lack of agreement and clarity as an obstacle to any means of choosing what to do. The fact that most of the meeting didn't see this as a problem is in itself revealing, and shows how the lowest common denominator rules here, making most actions so repetitive, symbolic and mechanical, just going thru the motions and patting themselves on the back for a supposed radicality.

The chairpersons (or whatever this scene calls them) reluctantly agreed that part of the meeting would be a 15 min. discussion. As the meeting progressed, and despite some reminders that were blanked by the chairs, it became clear that the 15 min. discussion was not going to be allowed to happen. A few people left in disgust, one or two protested, and that was it. I think the ICC was a convenient excuse to use to not have a discussion that may have revealed real divisions in the group - divisions that people fear confronting and that are deliberately suppressed, it seems (it's called consensus, maaan). The ICC were used as a convenient excuse to find a minimal common identity in opposition to them, so as to avoid facing the miserable limits of their own activist scene. Though obviously they bear some responsibility for all this, as their reputation comes before them, having been earned through years of their 'interventions' - but that's not a valid excuse in this case for such manipulation by the chairs.

I would say the division was more or less between those on that activist scene who were just for more activism without reflection, and 'outsiders' who wanted to discuss. Whatever, it was blatant shitty dishonest manipulation. Si (who posts here) can verify what happened (though he wouldn't share my interpretation, I think) as I argued with him about it after the meeting. One of the chairs/organisers came up to us and when I complained about his manipulation the arsehole just walked away looking sheepish. If the meeting, or the controllers of the meeting, didn't want a discussion they should have been straight about it; if they didn't want to debate with the ICC they should've had the guts to be honest about it, and not manipulated things to screw over others who wanted a discussion (and make us sit thru a really tedious meeting in expectation of the discussion). The AF are being straight and saying they're not interested and that's their choice to do so.

knightrose
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Apr 15 2007 17:52

I'll happily sit and discuss with the ICC - but over a pint and not in a meeting.

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georgestapleton
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Apr 15 2007 18:44
Demogorgon303 wrote:
Jack wrote:
Then organise some. The AF clearly don't want to. It's their meeting, their choice.

No, it's quite clear they don't. And yes, it is their choice, but I find this suggests that groups aren't responsible to anyone other than themselves. I think they're responsible to the working class.

Surely Jack is right. 'It's their meeting, their choice.'

I suppose that's the difference between the AF and the ICC. The AF don't see themselves as 'responsible to the working class' because the don't see themselves as representatives of the working class or 'the interests of the woring class', they see themselves as an organisation of anarchists within the working class. Whereas, the ICC do see themselves as 'responsible to the working class' because they see themselves as representatives of the working class or 'the interests of the woring class'.

I suppose its the difference between anarchist and leninists. We see ourselves as part of the working class, you see yourselves as representatives/defenders of the working class.

alibadani
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Apr 15 2007 19:22

The leninist charge resurfaces.

By "responsible to the working class" I understood Demo as meaning that the "public" meeting ought to have as part of its function the discussion of ideas. This in itself benefits the class. It might be annoying to the organisers to have another debate with folks they disagree with, but avoiding such annoyances shouldn't be a higher priority than the aforementioned debating. This is not about Vanguardism.

Anyway I see no reason why a group of anarchists who see themselves as part of the class shouldn't be responsible to the larger class they see themselves as part of.

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Tacks
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Apr 15 2007 20:59

Ret - that doesn't actually make my account mistaken, we place emphasis on different things.

What we definitely do disagree is: if anything i think the orgainisers shiould have said 'we are the organisers, this is the agenda, this is what we are proposing - what do you think?' - and stuck to that format. Nip the 'unelected leader' charge in the bud straight off by admitting it.

Having a fucking 'facilitator' only works if everyone is already in the same group/agrees.

As we have both said the meeting would have been toss anyway, but i think it can still be used as an example of ICC disruption.

i left quite early on, when the meeting was meant to split - but not cos i thought the facilitators weren't being democratic enough, cos i thought they were being too democratic.

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Tacks
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Apr 15 2007 21:29
alibadani wrote:
Anyway I see no reason why a group of anarchists who see themselves as part of the class shouldn't be responsible to the larger class they see themselves as part of.

If your going to disrupt the other children ali, you can't take my class.

And this coursework you've submitted - whats this? The title was 'can we class Howard's End as a modernist novel' and you've given me 'why i think decadence theory is really really brilliant, actually'.

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Red Marriott
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Apr 16 2007 00:15

Tacks - I don't think the ICC were disruptive just by asking for a discussion, which other people also wanted. They never got the chance to be disruptive... But I think it's inaccurate to talk about that meeting without mentioning the manipulations of the chairers. It's not necessarily about being democratic or not - it's about pretending to be as a way of manipulating people - which just mirrors the practice of the society they pretend to oppose.

Black Flag
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Apr 18 2007 15:03

Hi there Battlescarred.I have been told you or someone can come and see me at the weekend regarding people joining the AF.Hopefully there will be several people coming including myself.Sunday would be best me thinks.Am not sure where we could meet.Is a pub ok?or we could meet at my flat or round my mates flat,he is also interested in joining.Please get back to me soon.

Battlescarred
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Apr 18 2007 15:45

Got your message OK. Will see about train times down and tell you when I arrive. Pub would be ok

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Tacks
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Apr 24 2007 15:36

...a happy ending to our story smile