The direction of the AF

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jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 20:28

Didn't I just say many people in the AF have been involved in actions? Actions do change things and are there fore more successful than propaganda, sustained direct action works, propaganda is something I have never seen worthwhile results from. ACtivist credentials? Boasting? Alright, water canoned twice, pepersprayed,instigated an attack on armed german police, one riot, three years in prison, how bigs your dick? Tell me thats not hard, have you done it 888?

jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 20:43

Thats one thing that always anoyed me about AF culture, people expected to play down what they've done, say they were terrified, say it was nothing really, agree it's hardly worthwhile, so some one else who does'nt do anything can turn round and say "It's not that hard", it's very rarely I talk about these things. But now you mention it, hitting a seven foot german riot cop with a gun, I always found that a bit more stressful than blogging, although I might just be revising that view.

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888
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Mar 6 2009 21:01

Did I mention propaganda? No. Of course actions change things, but you have to look at which actions. We want actions that build strength or confidence in workers to do things for themselves. I was involved in the anti-globalisation and anti-war stuff so yes I have done most of the things you mentioned. Unfortunately, most of these actions had barely any lasting effect. I haven't spent any time in prison though, fortunately.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 20:57

And the thing you say is so hard, I've done that too, I've done squats day in day out for months, I've recruited numerous people to the cause, I've done the aparent hard bit.God I even sold a copy of Organise once, how many people in the AF have managed that?

I'm not talking about a lot of other people on libcom, I don't know what they've done. I know what everyone in the AF has done in the past two years don't I? And you think I have no right to judge people who are supposed to be revolutionary when they say they would do that but their job, their house, their cars, or its just not worthwhile. Who do you think runs the show,TO WHOS BENEFIT IS THE CULTURE OF MODESTY?

jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 21:05

You've done anti globalism and anti war stuff? Then I apologise unreservedly. However I didn't like what you said and the comments are a fair enough description of the way things are.

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888
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Mar 6 2009 21:36

Apology accepted. I said what I said because you said "most do not have a clue about the tension, even fear....."

jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 21:39

And since I've just cocked up any remaining solidarity in the AF, might I ask, who was responsible for expelling our disobey comrades, Jane and Kriss, the day after our meeting where Claire texted to object about a criticism of AF in 'disobey? A criticism I removed in solidarity. Why did you expell our blackpool comrade Steve in what he called "an act of efficiency that would of got the the Stalin seal of aproval for streamlined beurocracy?" All three were evicted with a note saying "You have been taken off Afed. This is because you asked us to do so or you are no longer a member."

Do you think this is right?

jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 21:51

888, I am tactless because I'm furious. I said careless things but just as much careless things have been said, since no one except madashell has had a good word to say. the relationship between me and AF is not good, and niether are they with the rest of Preston for that, I've brought it on myself but it hurts, I had a deep affinity with anarchists in the AF, I really liked them, but every time we try to discuss what is wrong this happens because what is wrong is the deepest insult imaginable, why we hate AF with a passion, no anarchist wants to be called a beurocrat, no anarchist wants to be called unrevolutionary, sorry it is what we think, so I don't see how we are ever going to patch things up, sorry its a shame.

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Django
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Mar 6 2009 22:35

Are you posting drunk?

Dumfries
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Mar 6 2009 23:29
jonathan cottam wrote:
TO WHOS BENEFIT IS THE CULTURE OF MODESTY?

Yes, we should be more like you.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 6 2009 23:48

See what i mean! I'm off to Greece in a few months anyway, first to check things out, eventually hopefully to stay. I've had enough of British anarchism. My favourite blogging moment ever, the discussion I started on the Angry Brigade on the AF blog when about ten people decided they were all right and the leadership broke their prams. On here you think they're all united but they're not, it's something they call collective responsibility. I wish I hadn't started this discussion I really do, did it need to be said? We agree about 99% of things and then flip about the 1%, I didn't come on here really to burn my bridges, rather the oposite, but if I'd thought it through I always would of known that was the result.

In summary.You expelled us, you run an organisation that only differs fundamentally from a democratic centralist one in its small size, there for sense of participation, most of your best members are also platformists, which kind of spoils things a bit, you can't see your own authoritarianism and think people with libertarian principals are all mad.Your mouthy for a bunch of middle class people and if you get a fatwah out on me I'll be hiding somewhere in Greece. I shouldn't post this should I? Damn my finger slipped.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 7 2009 01:32
jonathan cottam wrote:

See what i mean! I'm off to Greece in a few months anyway, first to check things out, eventually hopefully to stay. I've had enough of British anarchism. My favourite blogging moment ever, the discussion I started on the Angry Brigade on the AF blog when about ten people decided they were all right and the leadership broke their prams. On here you think they're all united but they're not, it's something they call collective responsibility. I wish I hadn't started this discussion I really do, did it need to be said? We agree about 99% of things and then flip about the 1%, I didn't come on here really to burn my bridges, rather the oposite, but if I'd thought it through I always would of known that was the result.

In summary.You expelled us, you run an organisation that only differs fundamentally from a democratic centralist one in its small size, there for sense of participation, most of your best members are also platformists, which kind of spoils things a bit, you can't see your own authoritarianism and think people with libertarian principals are all mad.Your mouthy for a bunch of middle class people and if you get a fatwah out on me I'll be hiding somewhere in Greece. I shouldn't post this should I? Damn my finger slipped.

Christ your posts actually make me want to join the AF Mr. T

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 7 2009 01:46
blackdwarf wrote:

As a result of my experiences I have decided concentrate on work with local organisations in which ordinary working class folk interact 'freely' with 'revolutionaries' without the need to bar them at the front door with aims and principals. There are two main reasons for this:

1) Communists will never overcome their sectarian currents and unite in one movement due to the need for various dogmatic 'leadership' tendencies to dominate all others finding its zenith within the Marxist-Leninist movements of the 20th century. This causes massive confusion amongst workers and leaves them unsure about who to trust in a fast changing situation. This has in the past forced them to make unholy alliances with counter-revolutionary forces.

2) But the working class as a whole must be unified to uproot capital with revolutionaries playing a vital role in assisting the class to avoid dead ends. How are the working class suppose to choose which of the 67 varieties of 'revolutionary' tendencies to 'trust' in the blast furnace of revolution?

Due to its nature, libertarian forms of organising can never out 'perform' efficient 'democractic' centralism in amassing critical resources and thus the extent to which libertarian communist propaganda and actions can effect the consciousness of workers.To avoid a relapse into capitalist productive and social relations the balance of forces have to remain in the favour of workers 'soviets' during revolution. How do we stop authoritarian counter-revolutionary tendencies from derailing workers self organisation? We are forced to look at a different organising strategy where we can out compete centralism: local organisation.

This form of organising has lots of problems such as unselective 'free' association with potentially disruptive politicised elements with a foreign agenda, poor internal organisation (due to a lack of established ground rules) potentially leading to structureless tyrannies, poor resource infrastructure leading to ineffective distribution of propaganda and the education of new revolutionaries and ,most importantly, an inability to overcome a tendency leading to localised isolation (which many stipulate federalism as a solution which partially I agree with). Despite these serious short comings, I feel it is local organising where we should critically focus our time and resources because we are strategically and by our prefigurative methodology ,means being consistent with ends, blocked off from effectively pursuing other more conventional methods which by their nature would lead us back to the social relations we presently suffer under: wage slavery.

From this local organising I would largely exclude many scene based collectives, Affinity groups and actions typically associated with them. Most have a 'vanguardist' quality and frequently alienate new participates and even worse exclude existing participants based on their social acceptability within influential cliques in the milieu. Its almost akin to a school playground with the cool kids running the show.

A mostly spot on post, not just about the AF but the "scene" in London in general... But it's only half the picture, while you may feel the need to get emersed in community work (something I can understand, believe me) - there is a need for an industrial strategy, and a need to build workplace organisation, and community organisation and federate between the two and eventually nationally and beyond. But we need people to concentrate on community, and people to concentrate on industry, as well as people to flit between the two.

I would also say it's correct to concentrate on building working class confidence and militancy and not some wannabe "revolutionary" communist organisation, but there is a need for libertarian communists engaged in practical struggle to organise together, even if it's just for mutual support, communication, and discussion to develop ideas and strategies, and if needs be to provide a coherent oppostion to opportunist orgs, as well as those orgs and individuals who are genuine, but mistaken and prevent them from steering any potential movments rooted in the class into dead ends, and away from self organisation.

And I reckon that neither AF or Solfed would disagree with my second paragraph, even if we disagree on tactics and strategy...

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888
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Mar 7 2009 02:15

Have there really been all these expulsions in the AF recently? There were exactly zero expulsions for the 6 years I was a member! Actually there was one disassociation, but that was it.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 7 2009 02:32
888 wrote:
Have there really been all these expulsions in the AF recently? There were exactly zero expulsions for the 6 years I was a member! Actually there was one disassociation, but that was it.

I reckon Battlescared is doing a Raul Castro beardy wink

jonathan cottam
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Mar 7 2009 04:20

vanilla, you should join the AF,you would like it, although there has been a new edict that all members must wear pebble glasses, have a goaty and baa like a sheep. The goaty is proving hard for some but not all of the women members.

disassociation is a complexed and drawn out proceedure, too good for disobey members as I'm sure you will agree. better just to take them off books isn't it? Sometimes that can be justified, but considering all three were active and it was said they left, not inactive or not responding to queries but actually said they had left, and this happening exactly at the same time as there was a small outcry that we had dissed them in 'disobey', left? inactive?two of them were at the fucking meeting when Claire rang! Then a Blackpool comrade was taken off the list for saying AF was leftist and he would be diverting energies to 'disobey'. Saying AF is leftist and going incognito for a few days does not add up to having expressed a desire to leave does it? If every one who didn't answer a couple of emails was considered to have left there wouldn't be many people in the AF would there? The proper proceedure would be to contact some one close by and ask them to get in touch, there was a couple of people they could of so contacted. But all this is by the by isn't it, only of novel interest, since you all feel that the dissemination of what you consider coherrent propaganda, justifies the most despotic of organisations, well you've got that. Go making a straw dog out of me any way, you have no idea about me, just carry on with your platformism cos your nanny treated you bad and it gave you a penchant for discipline, don't join the AF vanila, get your daddy to buy it for you, sorry I forgot, he put his stocks and shares in woolworths, bad social judgement runs in the family then.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 7 2009 04:31

Hah, your in Libsol, my respect has just gone right up, your the organisation the AF wants to be! they really pushed for you to leave, the old guard, then they stole every single one of your ideas, that must of been maddening. How could you still be a patformist after you saw the way they out manouvered you, disobey people said we wish we had voted for you to take over after the leadership with no ideas of its own and no militancy, turned the AF into a wishy washy LibSol.

Dumfries
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Mar 7 2009 08:40
jonathan cottam wrote:
In summary.You expelled us

Jon.....You resigned....Doh.

Quote:
you run an organisation that only differs fundamentally from a democratic centralist one in its small size, there for sense of participation, most of your best members are also platformists, which kind of spoils things a bit, you can't see your own authoritarianism and think people with libertarian principals are all mad.Your mouthy for a bunch of middle class people and if you get a fatwah out on me I'll be hiding somewhere in Greece. I shouldn't post this should I? Damn my finger slipped.

Your attitude towards the AF changes day-to-day. One minute you're slagging us off, then you're apologising, then you're slagging us off and then you're apologising. Now you're slagging us off again with the same boring and petty jibes about our class and our internal structure. It's not original or very interesting. It's not even founded in fact, Jon.

Jon, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about and these frankly insane ramblings just make you look like a nutter. To be honest I think you should carry on. It's like watching a clown do circus tricks, but badly.

Dumfries
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Mar 7 2009 08:36
888 wrote:
Have there really been all these expulsions in the AF recently? There were exactly zero expulsions for the 6 years I was a member! Actually there was one disassociation, but that was it.

No there hasn't been any expulsions. It's Jon's typical nonsensical hyperbole.

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Django
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Mar 7 2009 10:15

Jon quit after everyone disagreed with him about the Angry Brigade, an internal discussion that he's brought up. Basically everyone but him thought that vanguardist, secretive bombing campaigns of these kinds were worse than useless, especially given the only person that they actually harmed was a cleaner. Quite a few people who were around at the gave their opinions, and I think the words of former AB members explaining why it was a stupid thing to do were quoted at him.

He quit formally shortly after this, in a very reasoned and reasonable way, saying that the AF's politics were no longer compatible with his insurrectionist/situ views. Which is perfectly fine. Calling a resignation like this an 'expulsion' is bizarre.

A number of people in the North-West were taken of the books recently for being uncontactable, not paying subs, and having no participation in internal democracy. Is this what you're talking about? These aren't 'expulsions' either. Its standard practice outside of Trot and Stalinist groups who deliberately inflate their membership.

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Django
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Mar 7 2009 10:12
jonathan cottam wrote:
just carry on with your platformism cos your nanny treated you bad and it gave you a penchant for discipline, don't join the AF vanila, get your daddy to buy it for you, sorry I forgot, he put his stocks and shares in woolworths, bad social judgement runs in the family then.

This is a no flaming forum. Plus stuff like this doesn't make what you are saying look very reasoned.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 7 2009 14:50
jonathan cottam wrote:
Hah, your in Libsol, my respect has just gone right up, your the organisation the AF wants to be! they really pushed for you to leave, the old guard, then they stole every single one of your ideas, that must of been maddening. How could you still be a patformist after you saw the way they out manouvered you, disobey people said we wish we had voted for you to take over after the leadership with no ideas of its own and no militancy, turned the AF into a wishy washy LibSol.

I was never a member of the AF. I don't really see any manourvering taking place, and I still consider them to be good comrades, if they did adopt some of the proposals of those who left, then that is excellent in my view. Good luck to them.

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ginger
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Mar 7 2009 15:34

I joined AF 14 months ago after 7 years of being involved in Anarchist politics including Euro summit hopping black block, direct action, squatted social centres, being assaulted and arrested by the police plenty, being shot at, tear gassed, and friends being locked up for months.

I don't regret those years as they contributed to my personal development and political understanding, oh and some of it was old fashioned fun and catharsis as well as the scarey horrible bits. However when I look back at the time and energy involved, in terms of what we achieved in changing the world, I think we were misguided.

I subsequently became involved with Praxis, which was quite platformist (specifically WSM) inspired, and 1 member of Praxis became a founding member of L&S although two of us joined AF. My experiences with neo platformism within Praxis helped me decide I'm def not a platformist.

Since joining AF I feel I've found a group with whom I share political understandings, and have developed my own politics loads. I feel the balance of individual/group autonomy with federating together on national projects and A&Ps is right for me.

I don't think its surprising that we haven't produced loads of extra prop as we've grown. For instance Glasgow AF group is mostly active locally. We have sent delegates to all national meetings, distro Res and other AF publications, contribute to them etc, but fundamentally being in the AF allows us to be a part of a larger organisation, benefit from the years of experience and accumulated knowledge, benefit too from all the groundwork already done such as A&Ps, constitution, bank account, being in an international etc.

The A&Ps mean that I can feel confident noone in the Fed will attack my feminism, or be an electoralist, nationalist or pacifist. More importantly there's a real "chumradely" culture and I love the diversity present of all the AF meetings I've been to.

However I definitely don't think AF is for everyone. Those who believe in a totally theoretically and tactically unified national organisation should join L&S, those who feel more aligned to the syndicalist tradition should join SolFed. I respect and work with members of both of them, as well as the majority of my class struggle Anarchist comrades who are not in any of the nationals.

Jon - nobody has been expelled from AF in 14 months I've been a member. I recall internal discussion about those exmembers from Preston with folks wanting to be very clear about who wanted to leave and that folks close by were trying very hard to contact everyone, leaving messages, sending emails etc.

I'm also not clear who this "AF leadership" you are talking of would be? I've never felt that there is a clique who run AF - motions have got accepted and rejected regardless of who proposes/supports them. In Glasgow group we meet and discuss the proposals in the IB and then mandate our delegate. We base those decisions purely on the basis of what is written in the IB. That seems to be how all the groups do it. At the last two NDMs 8 or so groups have sent delegates with mandated positions and from those its been obvious with each motion whether it'll be accepted/rejected or most likely needs some amendment and can either be passed with that friendly amendment (most proposals) or rejected with specific feedback on how it could be resubmitted for the next delegate meeting. I don't see a leadership clique in operation at all.

Anyway, I hope you find political activity which is right for you and wish you well in the future.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 7 2009 16:01

!.I didn't leave after the Angry Brigade discussion the Angry Brigade discussion was brilliant. I left after a discussion on a proposal thar made it obvious that the AF was not bothered about its coercive tendencies or thought they were a good thing, and because it was obvious that confrontations like the one now would continue."

2.. I did not claim to be expelled I said the AF expelled three others which they did.

3. You say you remember very clear internal discussions with Preston on the internal list with folks being very clear who wanted to leave. I've really seen it all now, your a fucking liar.

4. It really has become very obvious from this discussion what kind of group you are. You say your glad I'm playing the clown and it shows me up, you're disgusting, if people can't see what you are and think I'm an asshole thats fine, you have baited me through out this discussion, you can't even relate to working class people, you humiliate them for the tendencies that are cultural an part of their oppression, as you said , make a clown out of them, I'm not actually a workerist anarchist but as far as I'm concerned I think you're repugnant, you have your middle class ideas and you want to show them to the workers. The AF is not on the level, it is like a slightly more ethical kind of Trotskyism. People have been telling me these things, I didn't quite believe it but I do now, protect your precious blog then, no one reads it except platformists so obviously your'e going to look good, the people you expelled are away on holiday or I would get them on here to speak for themselves, I really feel, for the first time I understand what the AF is about beyond just theory.

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ginger
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Mar 7 2009 16:14
jonathan cottam wrote:
3. You say you remember very clear internal discussions with Preston on the internal list with folks being very clear who wanted to leave. I've really seen it all now, your a fucking liar.

I'm not sure who you are addressing with these posts. However as this appears after mine and I mention internal discussion, I will respond. The discussion occured after you had resigned from the AF. I am referring to discussion by active AF members regarding ensuring someone was taking responsibility for contacting all Preston AF members. This was done and over several weeks. It was reported back that phone calls were not being answered and text messages, voicemails and emails were not being responded to. As we had not had contact from AF Preston members for a while and you had indicated that everyone wished to leave and other Preston AF members had not been very communicative with the rest of the Fed it seemed that those members did not consider themselves in the AF anymore.

Dumfries
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Mar 7 2009 16:23
jonathan cottam wrote:
2.. I did not claim to be expelled I said the AF expelled three others which they did.

"You expelled us" - Quoted from your post above.

Quote:
3. You say you remember very clear internal discussions with Preston on the internal list with folks being very clear who wanted to leave. I've really seen it all now, your a fucking liar.

She's talking about the Preston members you are referring to. Three out of the 4 members you referred to resigned, so what are you actually talking about?

I think you should pay more attention to the facts before you start speaking on behalf of other people. Especially when you then go on to rant about autonomy.

Quote:
4. It really has become very obvious from this discussion what kind of group you are. You say your glad I'm playing the clown and it shows me up, you're disgusting, if people can't see what you are and think I'm an asshole thats fine, you have baited me through out this discussion, you can't even relate to working class people, you humiliate them for the tendencies that are cultural an part of their oppression, as you said , make a clown out of them, I'm not actually a workerist anarchist but as far as I'm concerned I think you're repugnant, you have your middle class ideas and you want to show them to the workers. The AF is not on the level, it is like a slightly more ethical kind of Trotskyism. People have been telling me these things, I didn't quite believe it but I do now, protect your precious blog then, no one reads it except platformists so obviously your'e going to look good, the people you expelled are away on holiday or I would get them on here to speak for themselves, I really feel, for the first time I understand what the AF is about beyond just theory.

You have no idea what you're talking about Jon. You're just ranting. No one's convinced by this self-righteous, more-anarchist-than-thou bullshit. Your politics is shit, you were called up on it and so you left the AF. That's what happened. You can spout this invective as much as you want, Jon, but it doesn't alter the plain, hard truth. And for whose benefit are you actually wasting your time with your one-man crusade against the AF?

Get a grip. (Or slag us off in your newsheet, which ever you think is more productive).

Dumfries
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Mar 7 2009 16:25
ginger wrote:
jonathan cottam wrote:
As we had not had contact from AF Preston members for a while and you had indicated that everyone wished to leave and other Preston AF members had not been very communicative with the rest of the Fed it seemed that those members did not consider themselves in the AF anymore.

That and the fact that three of them resigned...

*Shrugs*

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Mar 7 2009 16:33

delete.

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Django
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Mar 7 2009 16:33

This thread is close to being binnable now I think.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 7 2009 16:54
jonathan cottam wrote:
Didn't I just say many people in the AF have been involved in actions? Actions do change things and are there fore more successful than propaganda, sustained direct action works, propaganda is something I have never seen worthwhile results from. ACtivist credentials? Boasting? Alright, water canoned twice, pepersprayed,instigated an attack on armed german police, one riot, three years in prison, how bigs your dick? Tell me thats not hard, have you done it 888?

Quite apart from the macho posturing of this post, can I just point out that if you are using your real name, you might like to edit that shit for security purposes. Unless of course, you want the authorities to know to bolster your activist credentials.

As a general commentary on this character, how common are these kinds of activistoids in the AF and how much have they contributed to its recent growth? I think I'm the only in SF wink (pre-empting a quip there, I'd actually resent being depicted thus).