The direction of the AF

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syndicalist
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Mar 10 2009 17:53
knightrose wrote:
Syndicalist - it is quite old. Certainly it was written well before I joined and that was about 10 years ago. That's one of the reasons we're currently working on the workplace document.

Interesting.

has the AF position substanily changed much from this article?

THE UNION MAKES US STRONG?
Syndicalism: a Critical Analysis..... http://www.afed.org.uk/org/issue46/union.html

knightrose
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Mar 10 2009 18:03

Sorry syndicalist - you'll have to wait and see. We're in the process of discussing and writing a text on workplace organisation. It will be in the public domain after our next conference if it is accepted by the organisation.

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Django
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Mar 11 2009 09:29
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I am aware the situationists were council communists, I'm also aware of the vital contribution they made to an analysis of modern capitalism and to anarchism.

Well, I think this is debateable. I think there are very significant problems with their analysis of capitalism, but thats something for another thread.

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I am talking about the fragmentary lives that people need and the nessesity of solidarity both too fight and as a key part of the revolutionary proccess and consciousness. The proccess of revolution builds a unity around a common idea, but this unity is also real. it is not another artificial construct like the media or nation in fascism, that seeks, in the case of fascism, to unite people through the state in an identity in the unification of national interests, so to support the state is to supposedly have ones identity enforced.

Sure, but we're talking here about building 'community' in the future as part of getting rid of capitalism. Thats the only way I can see meaningful community coming about. but 'community', in capitalism in the here and now is something with real problems for reasons I put out in my last post.

I don't think the 'nation' has that much to do with fascism. Fascism is an extreme form of the kind of nationalism that developed at the end of the nineteenth century, and appeals to 'the nation' can take all kinds of different forms (including multicultural, liberal ones)

Quote:
Communiy is not fascistic anymore than the slogan 'unite and fight' or the idea of solidarity, community is possible as a counter force to capitalist fragmentarianism, and exists as a counter force to this, people do not have to have a lot in common, the only thing most of us have in common is solidarity around a common idea.

Community is nessassary as building ground for anarchist commmnuism, lack of community is something that has to be battled in order to achieve it and builds consciousness in order to bring it about.

I didn't say anything about it being fascistic. Nationalism and fascism aren't the same thing. Anti-fascism plays a big part in the British national identity, for instance. A community of interests around a specific issue is something I agree develops, and the 'community' of shared class interest is something we need to force change. but thats not the same thing as saying our 'communities', whatever they are, are a basis for struggle.

Quote:
Thats what I think. The work place is not the focal point of struggle for me, the community is one other option for politicisation. Can,t remember what you said about the work place, so I will just repeat, in the absense of a ground for industrial battle, with the selling out of the unions, and the destruction of productive areas in the advanced capitalist systems, so there is nothing to take over and run, the growing realisation that production is questionable in itself as force for world wide ecological destruction and as a buying in to the capitalist idea of consumption which is only a source of alienation and force of capitalism that is far from value neutral but would reproduce some of the worst relationships of capitalism, work should be destroyed and the workplace is an arena not the arema.

I don't think unions are the same as workplace struggle - unions can have their useful side, but they're part of the structure of managing the workforce. They have been for a very long time. I don't think the fact that much heavy industry and manufacture has left western countries is an argument against workplace struggle either - the interests of bosses and workers are opposed whether we're talking about a factory, a council building, a sorting office, a power station or a hospital. Theres always going to be class conflict, and that class conflict is the basic antagonism in capitalism. Its there whether we develop theories about it or not. Class conflict in the western countires hasn't disappeared along with the old caricature of the industrial worker. Incidentally, the service industry and finance industry are still industries

No one is saying that capitalist production doesn't affect the environment in significant ways. But that is because its capitalism, not because its 'production'. The interests of capitalism aren't the same as the interest of the human race in having a sustained and healthy environment.

There is nothing inherently bad about production, unless you are saying that we should return to a hunter-gatherer level of technology (and such societies also produced tools, etc). Capitalism is a social relationship, not the ability to make things.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 11 2009 10:54
oisleep wrote:
The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation wrote:
It follows from this that in the revolutionary period the anarchist organisation must call for and assist in arming all working people for defence and for the formation of workers militias

is there really any point in having fantasist stuff like this in it?

(i don't mean this as a dig in particular at the AF, just this kind of fantasist posturing from anarchist & revolutionary organisations in general)

No there isn't any point frankly. The role of an anarchist organisation (when we are tiny, IE for most of history) should be spread ideas of libertarian, working class self organisation, and to identitfy organisers, and potential organisers in the community and workplace, and help them develop their skills and self confidence, and to learn about the ideas of working class self organisation. Thats a realistic approach, and one which to be fair I'm sure most AFed people would agree with. I'm sure most of them, find the passage above to be an embarrassing anachronism.

nastyned
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Mar 11 2009 10:58

It doesn't bother me, though it's not something I give much thought to. I mean as anarchist you do have to talk revolution at some point don't you? And when talking about revolution we have to look to revolutions of the past and try and draw lessons from them.

knightrose
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Mar 11 2009 11:34

And it's just one little quote out of a much longer text. A text, which incidentally, is worthy of a serious read. (But then I would say that, wouldn't I?)

knightrose
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Mar 11 2009 12:01

I've been trying to make some sense out of the various employment statistics in an effort to seriously consider Jon's points. This is no easy task given the way figures are stored.

What I did find out was that at the end of last year, that just over 17.5% of the workforce were employed in manufacturing, agriculture, energy, water and construction. I guess they could all be called the old "industrial sector" - I can't find out how much of the GDP was produced by the total sector. However, manufacturing on its own comprised 10.44% of employed workers. However, at the end of 2007 it contributed 23.4% of GDP, agriculture contributed 0.9%.

There's another huge component which is distribution, hotels and restaurants and another transport, storage and communication. At least some of these are involved in the production of surplus value. Others are vital to the circulation of commodities, without which no surplus value can be realized. This sector comprises over 29% of the economy.

This does not include those employed in education and health. Both these are vital to ensuring the production and maintenance of a healthy workforce and hence the creation of surplus value. These must total several million.

All this adds up to an economy where many people are doing productive, real jobs. Many are included in the "services" sector in statistics, but this hides more than it reveals.

My conclusion is that workplace is still real.

In any event, Jon's assumptions ignore the fact that we live in a globalised world economy. It matters little that the offcies are in one place and the production in another.

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madashell
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Mar 11 2009 15:23
oisleep wrote:
The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation wrote:
It follows from this that in the revolutionary period the anarchist organisation must call for and assist in arming all working people for defence and for the formation of workers militias

is there really any point in having fantasist stuff like this in it?

i'm assuming no one in the anarchist federation has the necessary skills & experience to help in the arming of working people (assuming said workers want to have arms thrust upon them by eager beavers from the AF) at present and this is perfectly understandable given the situation talked about in the phrase is never going to happen so there is no point in preparing for it, but just say if this situation did come around, will everyone in the AF suddenly becomes firearm experts overnight? or will they be, like how they are in the here & now, sidelined and marginalised as events & people move on in ways in which no amount of pre prepared statements about what an organisation will do in a 'revolutionary period' could ever hope to even anticpate, let alone prepare for?

Go back and re-read the pamphlet (if you've actually read the whole thing in the first place), notice that it doesn't refer to the AF as "the revolutionary organisation" at any point. The revolutionary organisation described in the pamphlet is one which comes out of revolutionary struggle, formed from the various workers' councils, community associations, etc. that tend to form during a revolutionary situation.

If you need any further help with reading comprehension, PM me and I'll let you know what my rates are.

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oisleep
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Mar 11 2009 16:27

i noticed you chopped off the last sentence of my post that you quoted which said:-

(i don't mean this as a dig in particular at the AF, just this kind of fantasist posturing from anarchist & revolutionary organisations in general)

regardless of whether all that fantasist nonsense relates specifically to the AF or to what people in the AF would like the AF (itself, or those within it) to develop into in a 'revolutionary' situation is pretty much beside the point - if you re-read all my posts on the matter (assuming you read them in the first place - PM me if you need a help with reading comprehension, and unlike you, because i believe in mutual aid, i'll help you for free) , you will see that I am referring to the pure fantasist nonsense that gets' spouted by anarchist/revolutionary organisations in the here & now pontificating about their (and others) imaginary role in their fairy tale future - this is the point being made

this for example, from your manifesto - even knightrose admits that spouting this kind of line is daft/pointless

When the Revolution starts the state will waste no time in attempting to crush it with all the forces at its disposal; police, military (especially the use of the military of one state against the workers of another); the arming of fascists and other reactionary elements etc. The revolutionary organisation must be prepared to make this class war winnable. A strong anarchist communist organisation can help facilitate the working class itself producing coordinated armed self-defence forces, to counter the police and armies of states world-wide

and then the above read with this passage (also from the manifesto document)

the AF does not see itself as the perfect revolutionary organisation, but is involved in the process out of which one will emerge. It does believe that its theory and structure, if not its size and influence in the working class, will make a major contribution to this organisation.

certainly ties together the AF in the here & now and the organisation that you refer to in the fairy tale future which will be helping in producing coordinated armed self-defence forces, to counter the police and armies of states world-wide

knightrose
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Mar 11 2009 16:34

Sorry - but those two quotes seem quite reasonable actually. Especially given that we see ourselves as one (small) factor in the emergence of a revolutionary movement.

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oisleep
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Mar 11 2009 16:44

major contribution it says

jonathan cottam
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Mar 11 2009 18:12

Oisleep, your statics are fine, to me it just shows that the vast majority of people are not in useful employment.Taking over industry as it stands will continue environmental catastrophy as well, such as the energy sources and their location outside of decentralised community control in the localised conditions, is the area good for wind farming, solar energy etc, also that because it is centralised there is massive waste.

Django, too many points to take up in a short post, I will get back to you later.

Dev, what does it mean that the NUT affiliated to the Socialist Party, this is why I don't trust historical accounts, people and groups make of them what they will acccording to their own interests. I will state again, I was there, I canvassed Liverpool in poor and council areas and there was phenominal enthusiastic support for LCC from those area, that that support grew beyond only the working class is to be expected. liverpool Militant was also working class, Terry Fields the MP, gave up a job as a fireman. Stop trying to rewrite history!

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Devrim
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Mar 11 2009 19:02
jonathan cottam wrote:
Dev, what does it mean that the NUT affiliated to the Socialist Party, this is why I don't trust historical accounts, people and groups make of them what they will acccording to their own interests. I will state again, I was there, I canvassed Liverpool in poor and council areas and there was phenominal enthusiastic support for LCC from those area, that that support grew beyond only the working class is to be expected. liverpool Militant was also working class, Terry Fields the MP, gave up a job as a fireman. Stop trying to rewrite history!

You claimed there were no teachers in the Militant.

jonathan cottam wrote:
in fact the whole of the Militant, a group of eight thousand people and the majority of said movement would never of considered any one, teacher or doctor etc, as working class, it was a blue collar organisation, I was in it I know.
jonathan cottam wrote:
I don't know where your getting these teachers from I never met one.

I showed that not only were there teachers, but they had members in positions of power in the NUT:

CWI wrote:
At the time of the split, we retained comrades on the National Executives of UNISON and the NUT; within a few months of the split, we had another comrade elected as the Black workers’ representative on the UNISON National Executive. The branch secretaries of Liverpool and Knowsley NUT are both members;

Although, it doesn't state it here. I would image that to have comrades on the executive an organisation would have to have a fair few members in the union.

jonathan cottam wrote:
Dev, what does it mean that the NUT affiliated to the Socialist Party,

The bit I quoted doesn't at all say that. It says that there were members of the Militant who held official posts in the NUT.

Quote:
this is why I don't trust historical accounts,...I was there,

I also lived in the UK at the time. I remember meeting members of Militant at the PO where I worked, and meeting members of the Militant who were teachers on more than one demonstration.

I never heard teachers condemned as being 'middle class', but if they were it shouldn't be difficult for you to find a quote proving it.

Otherwise, I expect people will presume that it is as bogus an assertion as your claim that no members of the Militant were teachers, which has already been proven to be false.

Devrim

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888
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Mar 11 2009 20:23
oisleep wrote:
fantasist nonsense

It's not fantasist nonsense, it's reasonable speculation, unless you think revolutions don't happen. It's very far off though, and not relevant to what we should be doing now.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 11 2009 21:22

As I said it would be impossible for the Militant to have gained such wide support and not have had middle class members, You really don't know what you're talking about. The good thing about the militant is that they spent decades building a working class base rather than the easy option of recruiting students, Ofcourse this happened at the arse end of having a significant working class, however, they stuck to a marxist perspective at the end of a time it could be justified and followed through when an organisation like SWP never achieved nothing because it had took the easy option of building a student organisation. The industrial working class would lead the revolution that was their perspective, no one else had a base in the working class to achieve what they did. Now everything has evened up, because the working class is no longer significant, or the paradigm that put it at the head of the revolution, it really does'nt matter so much what background or present employment people have. I don't actually rule out workplace involvment by the way, it is just a matter of priority, understanding the situation and how things develope. I will say for the third time, I was a member of militant when LCC took on the government over rate capping, you may of been involved on the out side yourself, but you know hardly nothing about it except what you read in a book about it. I tell you time and time again of my experiences there and you keep coming back with stuff you know nothing about. There are dozens of people on libcom who will remember what kind of organisation the Militant was, and there will be plenty who endured the chant aimed at them of "middle class, middle class". One of which happened against a mohawked group on anarchists at a CND rally, Summer of 87 I believe, the year of sleavless T- shirts. They were also spat at, insulted, and asked how they could decide what song to sing, a southern anarchist builder with a beard started up a debate on the fact that he was working class just a southerner, my memory is fine as you can see, for actual experiences, if I don't remember dates and events so well from 23 years ago, I never thought I would have to talk to some one like you, or defend the Militant. LPYS summer camp was a similar affair with Socialist Organiser people threatened, chased and their meetings disrupted, this disruption would usually take place around the fact that they were student group, You really, really don't know what your talking about.

Battlescarred
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Mar 12 2009 09:45

Sorry, but this is total nonsense. MIlitant had a heavy presence in both the NUT and the white collar unions. That is a fact. That's not at all denying the fact that Milly was able also to recruit heavily among blue collar workers too, especially on Merseyside.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 12 2009 12:23

Thats fair enough Batttlescarred, maybe they did but I never met them. Still Dev qouted from a book on the LCC afair that if official must of gone through chapters and chapters on the Militants support amongst the blue collar working class so he knows how things really stand and is just trollin.

Its all by the by anyway because all most of Militant ever did was sell papers and take out their aggression on what was legitimate to the leadership, the rest of the student left. Ofcourse the AF is a much better revolutionary organisation than Militant, which I more or less tried to say at the beginning of this thread, a large portion of the AF have been involved in a lot of hardcore activities, g8s, climate camp and even Palestine, but ofcourse they don't talk about it. I have even been informed that there is a member of AF in Prison at the moment. I hope you are all sending him/ her plenty of baccy and standing orders. If people like being told what to do they could do a lot worse than Afed.

syndicalist
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Mar 12 2009 12:56
knightrose wrote:
Sorry syndicalist - you'll have to wait and see. We're in the process of discussing and writing a text on workplace organisation. It will be in the public domain after our next conference if it is accepted by the organisation.

Sure thing.

Said respectfully, I hope the doucument is better then the two current documents
and article on syndicalism.

jonathan cottam
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Mar 12 2009 13:00

And when I say there were no teachers out of the 70 or 100 so in the west lancs area, I did come within the periphery of a few, there was one whose dad was a plumber who hasn't worked for 20 years and is now a Green Anarchist and my best friend, there was an ex-teacher who was a militant fultimer who had been a teacher and was low payed and from a working class background, and there was an ex-miner who came into teaching late who was my own Dad and died soon afterwards, so when you talk about teachers are you talking about middle class people? At the very least they were inner city teachers like B in manchester who I totally respect for the work he does.I maintain that Militant was a blue collar organisation, because apart from a few inevitable and persecuted students I never met anybody who in some way or another did not have working class credentials.

Spassmaschine
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Mar 12 2009 13:29

Given jonathan is defining class sociologically, and is the son of a teacher, wouldn't that make jonathan the class enemy?!!1

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ginger
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Mar 12 2009 19:35
jonathan cottam wrote:
If people like being told what to do they could do a lot worse than Afed.

And you accuse Dev of trolling! Ahh, the lulz.

Dumfries
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Mar 12 2009 22:21
syndicalist wrote:
knightrose wrote:
Sorry syndicalist - you'll have to wait and see. We're in the process of discussing and writing a text on workplace organisation. It will be in the public domain after our next conference if it is accepted by the organisation.

Sure thing.

Said respectfully, I hope the doucument is better then the two current documents
and article on syndicalism.

The AF isn't going to ever be a syndacalist organisation...

jonathan cottam
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Mar 12 2009 22:44

They were'nt in the Militant I said in the periphery of the Militant, there were no teachers in the Militant in north west, thats what I said, if your going to troll at least read properly whats been said. My background is entirely working class, I told you. Also leave my dad out of it thats totally out of order. Thats all I have to say on here, it takes up too much energy and it does not go well, at least when I blog I say things I would say to your face anyway, you lot use the secure environment of cyberspace to be totally rude and unreasonable. Most of what I just posted was actually an attempt at being positive and reasonable, if I was to react now you say I started it. When you see me, say it to my face, say it and see what happens. I'm not posting on here again I have no interest in being your cyber comrade

syndicalist
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Mar 13 2009 03:49
Joe Roe wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
knightrose wrote:
Sorry syndicalist - you'll have to wait and see. We're in the process of discussing and writing a text on workplace organisation. It will be in the public domain after our next conference if it is accepted by the organisation.

Sure thing.

Said respectfully, I hope the doucument is better then the two current documents
and article on syndicalism.

The AF isn't going to ever be a syndacalist organisation...

Yes, of course, I understand that. After all these years I'm just getting around to reading the basic AF stuff. The non-syndicalist aspects aside, I thought the pamphlets would be different, a bit better and a bit less (I hate this term) "ultra".

Anyway, I like some of the other stuff and like the Resistance bullein and the magazine.
While I may not agree wwith everything, I try and be open to what the AF has to say

Carry-on!

Battlescarred
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Mar 13 2009 09:46

"you lot use the secure environment of cyberspace to be totally rude and unreasonable."

Whhhaaaa... from you???????? Once again the perpetrator masquerading as the victim. Pretty rich!!