The direction of the AF

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Django
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Mar 8 2009 11:55
Jonathan Cottam wrote:
Since the baiting has been uncovered, twenty middle class people on to one underclass, and the expulsions are being uncovered, the reasoning has gone from humiliate him to bin it fast.

What are you on about? Who are these people who are persecuting you? define 'middle class' and define 'underclass', and how the terms are of any use or meaning outside of your posturing on the internet.

Blackstarnorth wrote:
“The spirit of anarchy is the inspiring alternative to the failed forms of pseudo-opposition, i.e. Liberalism and Leftism. If we are serious about ending this society, then anarchy must move in a clear independent direction and break the stranglehold of capitalist politics over rebellion. Right and Left, both elements of capitalist control, must be abandoned along with the society they created.”

Wolfi Landstreicher

Landstreicher: http://325collective.com/library_from-politics.html

Malatesta: http://325collective.com/organ_em.pdf

In solidarity, BlackStarNorth

You see, this kind of stuff makes me wonder how good the understanding of the AFs politics was in the first place, given we usually criticise leftism for much better reasons than post-leftist primmos like Landstreicher: e.g. neither left nor right but social revolution.

JonathanCottam wrote:
would you call me a delusional nutter to my face? You have never met me but believe me you wouldn't. You think you can post anything you like on here but I'm a delusional nutter, I've been places you don't want to go mate and you don't want to call me that, try to be positive eh?

Would you tell Solfed members they should be shot to their face? I very much doubt it.

JonathanCottam wrote:
I think that insurrectionalist and post left anarchism are trying to move on from the roots in a progressive and good direction, SolFed just deny their problems and point out the CNT leaders were all FAI, as if being an anarchist-communist protects you in a high up union from betraying the workforce

This isn't true. This is the most recent publication to come out of Solfed, and says the opposite of what you are claiming.

Blackstarnorth wrote:
Joint action with Workers’ Liberty? It’d probably be safer meeting up with that nice Lucrezia Borgia for a glass of vintage wine. Still, if Sheffield comrades view some of the more recent (and thus not as yet zombified) AWL recruits as potential Anarchist Communists, then fine. Nevertheless it would be best to proceed with caution, lest in our zeal to corral more foals we rope a Trojan Horse instead.

If you are arguing here that there is some kind of concerted effort by the AF to suck up to Trotskyists then you missed that meeting at the bookfair on dealing with the Trots (which incidentally I thought wasn't a great use of time). We will end up encountering Trotskyists though, in workplace campaigns, campaigns around services and community campaigns, because they are everywhere. Working alongside them doesn't add up to the AF going Trotskyist.

Jon was not 'expelled', he resigned formally. D. from Preston informed a member of ours, S. that he was leaving the AF, Preston S. told the org through the Myspace page that he was leaving, and that C. and J. from Preston and S. from Blackpool were removed from membership lists and ACOD because they were uncontactable, weren't paying subs and weren't participating in the organisation. Thats how I understand it, though it looks like there could have been an administrative fuck up, as above.

Getting a good picture of what was going on in Preston was difficult, as the group didn't send delegates, didn't submit reports to IBs, and the channels of communication were monopolised by Jon here.

Obviously, a Stalinist conspiracy on our part.

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Django
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Mar 8 2009 12:55

Though I can't think of anything more Stalinist than calling for other anarchists to be shot.

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oisleep
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Mar 8 2009 12:11

what is with loonies that makes them so attracted to anarchism

or what is with anarchism that makes it so attractive to loonies

breakout
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Mar 8 2009 12:28

it's the comedians.

nastyned
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Mar 8 2009 12:31

It's not just anarchism:

"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer,
sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

George Orwell

Damn those fruit juice drinkers!

Thrashing_chomsky
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Mar 8 2009 12:53

Where is this tail-ending of UAF?

Are you mistaking ti for criticising?

Last time I encountered UAF I made one of them burst into tears.
Apparently she felt very threatened by the fact that we called for a discussion on anti-fascism and how we disliked UAF/SWP hijacking the event to plug their bollocks and how 90% of the Anarchos and Trots in that room were militant squaddists, united-frontists and all-round 'punching em in the head works' sorts.

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oisleep
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Mar 8 2009 12:58
nastyned wrote:
It's not just anarchism:

"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer,
sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

George Orwell

Damn those fruit juice drinkers!

i think it's understandable how unhinged folk are attracted to anarchism/leftism, what's not so understandable (or acceptable) is how much those movements tolerate said people and ultimately end up being defined, in the eyes of the wider public, by them

BlackStarNorth
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Mar 8 2009 13:03

Some facts:

1. McQuinn, Landstreicher and Black, to name just three American 'post-leftists', are all opposed to Primitivism. Moreover the first two see communism as a component of any truly Anarchist future and Black has always described himself as an Anarchist Communist anyway.

2. The article on AF North makes good reading and I agree with it, but we must be absolutely clear that the 'Left' includes the Trotskyists as well as Labour's social-democrats and petty union officials. All forms of Bolshevism are as much the enemy of Anarchist Communism as is Fascism. And this is not just a historical point of view, i.e. Kronstadt and the crushing of the Revolution by Trotsky's Red Army; right now Russian anarchists are constantly threatened by an unspoken alliance of National Liberals (Fascists with neo-Nazis in tow)), National Bolsheviks (Fascists) and, of course, the Stalinists. The people in the UK who identify with Trotsky and, to a lesser extent these days, Stalin are our enemies. In order to achieve Communism we will have to vanquish them along with all other agents of Capital. Either that, or perish ourselves like the Chinese anarchists at the hands of the Maoists, or the Cuban anarchists at the hands of the Castroites. Looney is when you fail to heed the warning NOT when you sound the alarm.

nastyned
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Mar 8 2009 13:14

But who would disagree that leftism includes Trots and Social Democrats? confused

There is possibly a serious discussion to be had about 'insurrectionary' anarchism but it would probably need a new, calmer, thread.

BlackStarNorth
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Mar 8 2009 13:40

Django wrote:

Jon was not 'expelled', he resigned formally. D. from Preston informed a member of ours, S. that he was leaving the AF, Preston S. told the org through the Myspace page that he was leaving, and that C. and J. from Preston and S. from Blackpool were removed from membership lists and ACOD because they were uncontactable, weren't paying subs and weren't participating in the organisation. Thats how I understand it, though it looks like there could have been an administrative fuck up, as above.

S. from Blackpool was already working under the direction of Jon. If working for Preston is deemed to be non-participation in the organisation, then AF apparatchiks obviously view the Fed as being far more important than the individual branches - rather like a Trotskyist party. I wrote to Captain Swing, Nick H, M. and others and never got a reply from any of them except for the Captain who then completely failed to act as he promised. The only person who kept in touch with me and gave me any feedback at all was B. who is probably the best member you've got, as proven by last year's successful Book Fair and the aforementioned correct position on Leftism on his blog. My subs were collectable and I was contactable, as proved when I was abruptly sent the farewell message. Therefore my removal was purely for the words I expressed in what was a private mail.. And that's all I can tell you without ever repeating a word.

Au revoir

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Mar 8 2009 14:29
BlackStarNorth wrote:
For the record, I was removed from the Afed list and ACOD after being informed that I had made criticisms of the AF in a private post to an AF member in Scotland. My description of the AF as being Leftist is correct. Tail-ending UAF and No Sweat (an AWL front) is not the way forward for Anarchy. By the way, my criticism of Sean Matgamna's politics - Socialist Organiser, now AWL - from first hand experience was actually removed from ACOD.

Didn't you also say in that private message that you no longer considered yourself a member of the AF? I wouldn't know for sure, because I didn't read it, but that's what the person you messaged said. Perhaps there's been a misunderstanding or a misremembering by somebody here?

On the other two, ultimately, if we've had no contact from somebody for months on end (when was the last time Preston group sent a delegate to one of the national meetings?) and they don't reply to voicemails, texts, e-mails, etc. asking them if they still consider themselves members for weeks and they don't pay subs to the organisation, they are, to all intents and purposes, not a member.

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Mar 8 2009 14:41
jonathan cottam wrote:
Solfed should be shot along with police men and Trots, the people they idolise betrayed anarchism for unionism,
jonathan cottam wrote:
I have a friend in SolFed who used to live in Preston, but believe me his ideas were soon side tracked, he left Preston for London because SF here were only interested in talks not action, before me in AF took over they nearly side tracked the entire movement in Preston with whingings like "You're wasting your energy, it will never go any where." Thats why I got five people to joined AF straight off.

Jon it would appear Im the said friend and that your all over the place with your points. I know you have good things to say (and Id probably agree with a few of them) but your coming across as a bit mad frankly. Political activism is frustrating and alienating but lets stop cursing the dark shall we and keep things constructive, even if people agree to disagree.
I was looking forward to coming into the London political environment and instead Ive found it more sectarian and politically inept than I could possibly imagine, but when I feel I am inclinned to get bogged down in slagging matches I try to bite my tongue and walk away, cos frankly theres better battles to be fought.

The other point is that if your only ever willing to work within the confines of political purity (ie exclusively on your terms) then reality will become unhinged very fast. If SF is a reformist end, then work on a principled political basis and end the sectarianism. I have my criticisms of SF (I will write something shortly) but I think there is a sea change going on, but we have our politics and identity and you either understand it (which I dont think you do) or you dont.

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Mar 8 2009 16:06
blackstarnorth wrote:
1. McQuinn, Landstreicher and Black, to name just three American 'post-leftists', are all opposed to Primitivism. Moreover the first two see communism as a component of any truly Anarchist future and Black has always described himself as an Anarchist Communist anyway.

You are right, I forgot Landstreicher is 'anti-civilisation' in a way that is even less defined than the primitivists are.

Blackstarnorth wrote:
2. The article on AF North makes good reading and I agree with it, but we must be absolutely clear that the 'Left' includes the Trotskyists as well as Labour's social-democrats and petty union officials.

Everyone is clear on this. Every AF member I've talked to about the matter understands that leftism=the politics of the management of capitalism, whereas (anarchist) communism means the negation of capitalism, and a politics of asserting our needs against capital and the state. This isn't surprising given the number of ex-Subversion people we have as members or friends in Manchester, and the influence of council communism on our politics. There are plenty of Dauve fans in the AF. This criticism of leftism isn't something new discovered by insurrectionists, who in any case often bastardise the ideas by taking class out of the equation and attacking a hilariously two dimensional strawman that they present as 'leftist' anarchism, as is the case with Bob Black.

Blackstarnorth wrote:
The only person who kept in touch with me and gave me any feedback at all was B. who is probably the best member you've got, as proven by last year's successful Book Fair and the aforementioned correct position on Leftism on his blog.

Please don't post people's real names unless they do it themselves.

B didn't write that text, and AF North is not his 'blog'. There are texts on that site written by many members, either as collective efforts or by individuals, such as myself.

Blackstarnorth wrote:
S. from Blackpool was already working under the direction of Jon. If working for Preston is deemed to be non-participation in the organisation, then AF apparatchiks obviously view the Fed as being far more important than the individual branches

Members and groups have responsibilities towards the organisation, such as paying subs, sending delegates and submitting reports to the IB. This is made clear to new members and, as Madashell has said, if groups/members do not do this then they are to all intents and purposes not members. Theres nothing remotely authoritarian about this.

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Mar 8 2009 16:24

Compared to the requirements of say, Radical Routes, most of the demands of the AF, Solfed etc are pretty fucking light tbh - RR demand a specific amount of time be devoted by every full member collective to housekeeping and work for the organisation, be that financing, publicity, fundraising, whatever. They also used to have a clause expecting a certain amount of work for social change. That's alongside paying subs and a requirement to attend gatherings. If anything, I'd say the feds are too lenient in how much members are required to contribute.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 8 2009 16:52

The animals rights movement was dessimated, and from more of a cell than affiny group structure, but they were the focal point for an oppression based on what they had actually done, no ones going to try and close down the SWP. It has proved resilient, for instance the Italian anarchists in America coud not be repressed like the Wobblies because their groups were too hard to infiltrate, yet they stopped repression by the state because they were terrified what would result from trying to represss them. Repressions itself is double edged, repression can result in a bigger more sustained attack as well as bringing down a movement as happened in the junta time in Greece.

I hope blackstarnorths links are all right for you Thrashing.

I am now calm, I have had my rabies vaccination.

breakout
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Mar 8 2009 17:00
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who in any case often bastardise the ideas by taking class out of the equation and attacking a hilariously two dimensional strawman that they present as 'leftist' anarchism, as is the case with Bob Black.

Django, this is just not true.

I think you have not even read the most basic texts from the insurrectionist current, like this one, I quote now from, a question of class:

"We think that the concept of class is not only valid, but necessary. It is an instrument to guide us through the flux of the various aspects of social reality. What we are not interested in are the mystical claims about the destiny of the industrial working class"

"While we reject the marxist claims to the historic role of the industrial working class above all the other exploited, it is obvious that society is still divided into opposing classes. The terms of this division are changing with the modification of capital. It is important to recognise this in order to address our attack towards the right objectives in the struggle."

Also, Bob Black does not identify as 'insurrectionist', afaik.

knightrose
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Mar 8 2009 17:06

Generally you'd expect people within an organisation not to publish a magazine which rubbishes that organisation. Issue 3 of Disobey included two articles which did just that - one on the Manchester StW demo which completely ignored the fact that the anarchist contingent was organised by Manchester AF in conjunction with No Borders, but managed a swipe at us and claimed Disobey were largely responsible for what happened on that day. The other article, which has subsequently been edited on the Disobey website, contained a straight condemnation of the AF.

Add to this the fact that Preston AF didn't attend meetings or correspond with the rest of the AF at all, except through Jon it was reasonable to ask whether those in the group responsible considered themselves still members.

I'd also like to reiterate what Django said about the AF North site. It has two main sets of content. One is an archive of materials produced by now defunct groups - Solidarity, Wildcat and Subversion. The other are collective statements of Manchester AF and other documents produced by group members. I am now accountable to the group for that content, although when it was set up it was a largely personal project (given that we only had two members in Manchester back then). As much as I'd like to have the energy to produce a personal blog, that site isn't one.

Even so, I hope we are still able to work together. We've done good stuff together in the past, even when we knew we had political differences. Things get said on forums like this because of the ease of writing in an electronic form. Often it's far to easy to bash of a few words and hit the send button. I know, I've been guilty of it in the past. We need to remember that we are not enemies.

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Mar 8 2009 17:14
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but they were the focal point for an oppression based on what they had actually done, no ones going to try and close down the SWP

You keep saying stuff like this, you seem to think that it's in inherently good thing that people draw the attention of the state regardless of what it is they're actually achieving, as though it's some sort of benchmark.

It isn't. I could get myself a fat old file in some basement of the Mi5 building by walking down a wealthy street in Ipswich beating up a few rich people, but it would contribute precisely fuck all to class struggle politics.

If the state gets involved it should be because there's a credible and growing threat from thousands of people acting collectively, not because a few people with zero accountability to anyone but themselves and no popular mandate for their actions are running around in balaclavas indulging in minor vandalism and intimidation.

Edit: And what the fuck are you talking about with the Italians? Was there or was there not a fascist coup which wiped out most of the anarchist movement and drove the rest of it underground?

jonathan cottam
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Mar 8 2009 17:11

Oh it appears I was on the wrong page and did not get your message october. I would like to make this a coherent and calm thread, really, the only difference between my flaming and half a dozen other peoples is the brevity of their replys, I was being baited and I lost it totally, it is my opinion that other people are as much or more responsible for the way the blog went than me. It may look like me from reading the thread, but I was surrounded and provoked all the way. I to do not intend to loose my calm again.

Sorry London is'nt working out politically, personally I couldn't live there for a second, the over crowding makes every one very unfiendly.

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Mar 8 2009 17:17
breakout wrote:
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who in any case often bastardise the ideas by taking class out of the equation and attacking a hilariously two dimensional strawman that they present as 'leftist' anarchism, as is the case with Bob Black.

Django, this is just not true.

I think you have not even read the most basic texts from the insurrectionist current, like this one, I quote now from, a question of class:

"We think that the concept of class is not only valid, but necessary. It is an instrument to guide us through the flux of the various aspects of social reality. What we are not interested in are the mystical claims about the destiny of the industrial working class"

"While we reject the marxist claims to the historic role of the industrial working class above all the other exploited, it is obvious that society is still divided into opposing classes. The terms of this division are changing with the modification of capital. It is important to recognise this in order to address our attack towards the right objectives in the struggle."

Also, Bob Black does not identify as 'insurrectionist', afaik.

Ok, apologies, I was confusing insurrectionism and post-leftism, given Landstreicher, Black etc drifted under my radar at the same time years ago and insurrectionism and leftism are getting amalgamated here.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 8 2009 17:32

knightrose, the stop the war demo was an experiential piece, that was how the demo was seen from one persons perspective, no mention was made of af. It may sound to you that it looked like disobey were claiming responsibility for what happened on the march, I don't think it does, everything it says actually took place.

Not every one in disobey was AF, in fact the majority by far are not and never have been AF, I was not AF, no one is going to edit some one generally for making a criticism of the state of the anarchist movement even if it mentions a specific group, as a new female recruit to our activity, C, said to me "They should be asking why that is, not whinging about solidairity, as a woman I find being involved in a male domiated movement reppressive." or words to that effect. Iin solidarity we did remove the comment, only after a compromise at the meeting, because the majority of people did not want to for the reason stated above.

Personally I would never right such a comment about AF again unless it was really, really nessassary, and I share the sentiments of the rest of your post.

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Mar 8 2009 17:48
jonathan cottam wrote:
I would like to make this a coherent and calm thread, really, the only difference between my flaming and half a dozen other peoples is the brevity of their replys, I was being baited and I lost it totally, it is my opinion that other people are as much or more responsible for the way the blog went than me.

Get a grip. The difference is that you were calling for the shooting of anarchist comrades.

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madashell
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Mar 8 2009 18:01
breakout wrote:
Quote:
who in any case often bastardise the ideas by taking class out of the equation and attacking a hilariously two dimensional strawman that they present as 'leftist' anarchism, as is the case with Bob Black.

Django, this is just not true.

I think you have not even read the most basic texts from the insurrectionist current, like this one, I quote now from, a question of class:

"We think that the concept of class is not only valid, but necessary. It is an instrument to guide us through the flux of the various aspects of social reality. What we are not interested in are the mystical claims about the destiny of the industrial working class"

"While we reject the marxist claims to the historic role of the industrial working class above all the other exploited, it is obvious that society is still divided into opposing classes. The terms of this division are changing with the modification of capital. It is important to recognise this in order to address our attack towards the right objectives in the struggle."

While it refers to Marxism rather than "leftist anarchism", it's certainly a strawman, since neither Marx's writings or any but the crudest of Marxists specfically fetishise the industrial (as in factory) working class, it's simply a fact that the proletariat (whom Marx regarded as the revolutionary class whatever their industry) first emerged in an industrial setting, in factories.

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Mar 8 2009 18:05
jonathan cottam wrote:
Not every one in disobey was AF, in fact the majority by far are not and never have been AF, I was not AF, no one is going to edit some one generally for making a criticism of the state of the anarchist movement even if it mentions a specific group, as a new female recruit to our activity, C, said to me "They should be asking why that is, not whinging about solidairity, as a woman I find being involved in a male domiated movement reppressive." or words to that effect. Iin solidarity we did remove the comment, only after a compromise at the meeting, because the majority of people did not want to for the reason stated above.

It'd be different if those criticisms were actually coming from a woman and referred to problems that actually exist, rather than sideswipes about "middle class men", who are far from a majority, never mind a dominant force, within the AF. The article didn't particularly bother me, but it's not true at all that the AF is unwilling to consider why the anarchist movement is so overwhelmingly white and male, we've had extended internal discussions about this and are planning panels about it at our upcoming event, Anarchism 09.

breakout
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Mar 8 2009 18:56
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not because a few people with zero accountability to anyone but themselves and no popular mandate for their actions are running around in balaclavas indulging in minor vandalism and intimidation.

The TSG? wink I guess not.

So when thousands of people do it, it is fine for you. Who will these thousands of people be accountable to and how do they all know what the popular mandate is? Would you have said the same about some of the out of control flying pickets in the miners strike? I doubt it, but quite a few of them didn't give two shits about going back to work or politics either.

"Accountability", it sounds like the language of the clerk, activist or politician.

The popular social movement in Greece has pretty much got over the shock of 'Revolutionary Struggle' shooting up the anti-riot cops with an AK, and now more attacks have escalated and broadened. "Hell" most people think, "If they can get away with it, good luck to them."

Paleokostas, an Greek anarchist who just broke out of prison in a helicopter escape is a hero, the people love him, call him "Robin Hood". Him and a few other anarchists kidnapped one of the richest men in Greece and released him after the fee was paid. Powerful popular movements are still made by individuals, and the strength and energy of those many individuals. Anarchists should never be a slave to the mass or to numbers, but approach their lives for what it means to them as revolutionaries.

I think I have a different idea of class-struggle to you, you think we should wait until the class is ready for insurgency, that sabotage is somehow not related to the struggle as a class, but I am of the class, and do not need your permission or your judgement.

If you wish to set up a dualism between the spectre of workplace/community organising vs 'militancy', you're holding your perspectives back, in my opinion.

Most insurrectionist anarchists are also communists, and don't conform to your stereotype as black-clad 'extremist activists', 'primmos', 'nihilists' or whatever.

Worth bearing in mind is that European insurrectionist thought and practice is often quite different to insurrectionist perspectives from the USA, and it is not a closed discourse but evolving, multiple.

Quote:
While it refers to Marxism rather than "leftist anarchism", it's certainly a strawman, since neither Marx's writings or any but the crudest of Marxists specfically fetishise the industrial (as in factory) working class, it's simply a fact that the proletariat (whom Marx regarded as the revolutionary class whatever their industry) first emerged in an industrial setting, in factories.

The proletariat did not emerge only where Marx and Engels, wife-beater and factory owner, found them under their microscope.

Marx might have briefly acknowledged the struggle of indigenous people and the existence of primitive communism but he certainly didn't try to find comrades from any of them, despite ongoing resistance to capitalism and imperialism every step of the way.

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Mar 8 2009 19:02
Breakout wrote:
The proletariat did not emerge only where Marx and Engels, wife-beater and factory owner, found them under their microscope.

Marx might have briefly acknowledged the struggle of indigenous people and the existence of primitive communism but he certainly didn't try to find comrades from any of them, despite ongoing resistance to capitalism and imperialism every step of the way.

Peasants aren't proletarians.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 8 2009 19:24

Madashel, the comment was made by some one from another oppressed social group other than women, class based oppression that at its worst includes indiscriminate imprisonment, criminalisation and social contempt. The comment was kept in by women, I personally considered removing what I had said before publication and wish I had insisted now since it was my comment. we could of got around the comment by not listing the AF specifically, since it could of applied to any of the feds. Lets be honest M. I know that the mainstrem anarchist movement is dominated by young middleclass men, there was even a thread on acod that revealed that not only are a huge amount of people university educated, but come from priviledged back grounds in the first place, I think this will change with the credit crunch, you will there for recruit a lot of people who who Django considers to be "loonies" I was surprised that this started off a whole lot of loonie calling because that is really backward, and in fact, it is the post left or insurrectionalists like 325 who seem to recognise mental health issues more, dedicating part of their site to it, it is extemely offensive for people like django to designate people "Loonies" people with mental heath issues are a very oppressed group who do not have the same rights as other people these comments wil drive them into the woodwork where they can not express their oppression, in my view also Django's comments are still ill informed and not helpful, and he was responsible for most of the flaming, if he had called women "bitche's" he would most likely of been removed, yet he can call people who may or may not be mentally ill loonies.

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madashell
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Mar 8 2009 19:28
breakout wrote:
The proletariat did not emerge only where Marx and Engels, wife-beater and factory owner, found them under their microscope.

The personal flaws of Marx and Engels (whose ideas were not identical, incidentally) are irrelevant here. Bakunin was a luantic, Mahkno was antisemitic and Proudhon was a misogynist, but there are things to be learned from their contributions to both anarchist theory and practice.

Quote:
Marx might have briefly acknowledged the struggle of indigenous people and the existence of primitive communism but he certainly didn't try to find comrades from any of them, despite ongoing resistance to capitalism and imperialism every step of the way.

Those indigenous people were not proletarian though, being as they didn't live under capitalism. The point is that the proletariat, those must sell their labour power to live, is not limited to factory work, even though the class first appeared with the development of heavy industry and the factories. There are, IMO, problems with viewing the proletariat as the sole revolutionary subject, but insurrectionist strawmen about the "industrial working class" obscure more than they reveal.

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Mar 8 2009 19:37
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So when thousands of people do it, it is fine for you. Who will these thousands of people be accountable to and how do they all know what the popular mandate is?

Would you have said the same about some of the out of control flying pickets in the miners strike? I doubt it, but quite a few of them didn't give two shits about going back to work or politics either.

Wow way to miss the point. I don't have a particular problem with small numbers of people doing actions, whatever floats the old boat. But I think it's a waste of time when you're talking about tiny cliques with no connection to a wider struggle. The flying pickets DID have links to a wider struggle, which was what made their activity worthwhile.

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"Accountability", it sounds like the language of the clerk, activist or politician.

Or... the language of people who actually give a shit about collective activity.

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The popular social movement in Greece has pretty much got over the shock of 'Revolutionary Struggle' shooting up the anti-riot cops with an AK, and now more attacks have escalated and broadened. "Hell" most people think, "If they can get away with it, good luck to them."

Again, you're talking about activity based in a wider context, not just actions for the sake of it. People have the tacit backing of a mass of the population - that's what gives them the impetus and reason for what they do.

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Paleokostas, an Greek anarchist who just broke out of prison in a helicopter escape is a hero, the people love him, call him "Robin Hood".

Yes I know all about him thanks I just wrote an article on the guy for Freedom, he gives most of the money to poor communities and more power to him. He also exists within a milieu which is large enough to hide his ass when he gets in trouble, which seems to be often, and which has the goodwill of enough people to (sometimes) hold up against concerted state interference.

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I think I have a different idea of class-struggle to you, you think we should wait until the class is ready for insurgency, that sabotage is somehow not related to the struggle as a class, but I am of the class, and do not need your permission or your judgement.

As I said, I don't really give a shit what you do on your own time. I just don't think it has any particular relevance without a wider class struggle movement around it and the backing of at least some of the class you're claiming to be working for. It's certainly not something which gives people like jonathan the right to puff his chest out and call everyone else who isn't an anarcho-action man a waste of space.

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Django
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Mar 8 2009 19:38
Breakout wrote:
So when thousands of people do it, it is fine for you. Who will these thousands of people be accountable to and how do they all know what the popular mandate is? Would you have said the same about some of the out of control flying pickets in the miners strike? I doubt it, but quite a few of them didn't give two shits about going back to work or politics either.

Well the flying pickets were part of a specific campaign with an objective, so its not like it was a outside the context of collective, mass struggle with specific aims. There was clearly a relationship between the act and the wider struggle, it wasn't a case of people doing an action irrespective of what was going on around them. In Greece in occupied union buildings and universities people called mass assemblies, in order to take the struggle forward by co-ordinating mass action. This was clearly an attempt to make decisions democratically on a mass basis, and was the right thing to do, IMO, if we're going to avoid rioting ourselves into a corner in such situations.

Breakout wrote:
The popular social movement in Greece has pretty much got over the shock of 'Revolutionary Struggle' shooting up the anti-riot cops with an AK, and now more attacks have escalated and broadened. "Hell" most people think, "If they can get away with it, good luck to them."

Thats different from advocating setting up small, closed armed groups as a revolutionary strategy. You can't blow up a social relationship, etc, etc.

Breakout wrote:
Powerful popular movements are still made by individuals, and the strength and energy of those many individuals. Anarchists should never be a slave to the mass or to numbers, but approach their lives for what it means to them as revolutionaries.

I think most people would agree that pro-revolutionaries are always going to be a minority of the class outside of near-revolutionary situations. If there were 2 million anarchists in Britain we'd still be a small minority of the wider class. But that isn't to say we shouldn't see ourselves as part of a broader working class movement, and look to exercise democratic means to advance the class struggle. We want to bring the wider working class over, not make ourselves feel good "as revolutionaries", surely? So that means looking at our activity in the context of "numbers", to put it crudely.

Most of what you've written seems abstracted from workplace struggle IMO. Struggle on the streets is important, but its not all that matters. The only Greek anarchist I've spoken to about events there, who was involved with stuff in Thessaloníki, was of the opinion that the most important thing to come out of it was a move towards industrial strategy, through the union occupations and the solidarity work with K. Kouneva. In his view events showed how limited street conflict with the state can become, and he claimed that this was leading to more "strategic" outlook amongst the Greek anarchist movement. He was giving a partial and subjective view, obviously, but what he was saying sounded pretty convincing to me.