Maybe AF should reply to this?

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anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 28 2011 19:23

888- how about sending all together 11 emails from which only 3 got replies (one sentence each) and waiting 6 months for a result of the "investigation"? We definitely tried "dimplomatic" before but it looks like its not equal with "effective". With support campaign for Jock still being sabotaged by FAB and AF failing to take any position on that we felt like we didn't have any other choice. Had we been not based in UK, we would have contacted other local member of IFA to clarify the situation.
As far as prisoner support goes- big fail here my boy, I have been involved in prisoner support groups for last 18 years (mostly ABC but not only), other people from the group had been involved fair bit as well and to be honest AFs record on prisoner support is not impressive to say the least so I am not sure your comparison works quite well. I suggest you learn your diplomacy yourself and stop assuming things about people you don't know.

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Why be in the same federation with an organization you can't communicate clearly with and which you can't vouch for?

my point exactly.

And I am not hiding behind a cover of any group, if you are based near South-East we will be more than happy to talk in person.

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Awesome Dude
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Jun 28 2011 19:30
anarchistsolidarity wrote:
Of course I think I know the real answer- people in AF don't give a flying fuck about that and about prisoner support in general , but at least just have enough decency to say "we don't have time to that, we don't care and please don'nt bother us anymore with that issue".

You sound like a 5 year old...did your pacifier fall out of your mouth? This is a very complicated situation with serious accusations being levelled. The political culture anarchism in eastern europe has to operate within is somewhat different to that in Britain. This is going to take time to investigate and don't forget those in the AF who have to are doing so on a voluntary bases with all the other responsibilities they usually do (I have some idea because I was part of the IFA secretariat just over 3 years ago and back then there were all sorts of 'interesting' groups from eastern europe wanting to get into contact). It doesn't help having 5 year olds screaming 'prisoner support' now.

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Devrim
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Jun 28 2011 19:34
anarchistsolidarity wrote:
Just a quick message- this time it will not go away and be swept under a carpet. There are many AF members on this forum, I am surprised nobody seems to be willing to comment..

I am not an AF member, but I would like to comment anyway.

It seems to me that the allegations that you are making are pretty serious, and as such you can't really expect the AF to come up with an answer immediately. Don't you think that it would be very foolish of them to have come out making a statement about something that they knew nothing about based on a few blog posts and a google translation*?

If the allegations that you make are true, then as 888 points out they have deep ramifications:

888 wrote:
Having said that, maybe something should be done about the FAB if the accusations above are true. Should AF/other IFA groups call for an investigation with the possible eventual consequence of their expulsion from the IFA if they are as bad as they sound? I would say so.

What do you think that they should do, start condemning the Bulgarian FAB, and calling for its expulsion on the basis of your edited 'google' translation? That would be completely crazy.

Devrim

*Google translations from Turkish, a language with many tens of millions of speakers than Bulgarian, and therefore likely to have had a lot more work done on it, often miss the negatives out of sentences, for example.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 28 2011 19:55

Devrim- nothing stops people from getting much better translation, it is a short text after all. We are trying to get one done as we speak actually. AF could have simply asked FAB to provide English translation of the text on the website.
It could have informed us (A.S.) that due to seriousness of allegiations investigation is going to take considerable time instead of replying with one sentence couple of times and then ignoring messages after that. As a matter of fact that issue had been brought up much earlier, since Jock wrote to them about two years ago after we sent him some AF literature to read (yeah, ironic isn't it?) and he realised AF is part of same organisation as FAB and wrote a letter to them- never got a reply.

@blackrainbow- I might sound like a 5 years old to you, but you sound like a patronising old git. I know political culture in which anarchism operates in Eastern Europe because I am from there, having moved to UK only few years ago.
All the stuff i hear/read so far is excuses and people persistently failing to address the issue in any way. And yes, prisoners support now because any movement that doesn't support its prisoners is a joke. But being active in ABC networks for many many years I know prisoner support is thankless task and ain't sexy enough for many UK anarchists.

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Serge Forward
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Jun 28 2011 21:13

anarchistsolidarity, if the emails you sent to the AF had anything like the tone of what you have been writing on this thread, then you were really lucky to get three replies. The AF email person must be far more tolerant than me. Now if you can stop behaving like a smacked arse, then you just might get a response.

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jef costello
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Jun 28 2011 21:17

AS you seem to be upset that the AF didn't issue a press release and instead replied to an email. If you sent similar emails about the same subject and there had been no progress I'm not surprised there was no response. If your emails are like your posts, aggressive and confused, then I can see why responding to them repeatedly might not have been a priority. The points about AS being limited as a group (everything seems to be by the same person) seems as valid as criticism of the AF section.

I take Akai's views on board, I was shocked at the way seemingly normal people talked about the Roma in Hungary and I ihave heard that this is a majpor problem in Eastern Europe. It's quite possible that anti-racists can hold shocking views on Roma, much like some UK anarchists hold for the poor or the working class.

Striking a balance in relations between different sections is tough, but I think AF should be allowed to work on this, although 6 months is a fairly long time. I don't think this kind of action by someone who sounds like they have an axe to grind, I know English isn't your first language, but I think this is a fair view and I don't think that that is an issue.

I'm not AF myself and have virtually no contact with them (I think I chatted to battlescarred for 10 mins at a demo last year and he didn't remember that we'd met before).

I'd also like to agree with Devrim's points on automatic translations, they are extremely unreliable, even in languages where a huge amount of work has been done to improve them (for example English and French). A machine translation is a starting point, but you can't base any kind of argument on it.

Incidentally this has been raised before on libcom, I could only find the one thread though and there isn't much to it:
http://libcom.org/forums/oceania/jock-palfreeman-fab-23122009
http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=11053

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 28 2011 21:17

oh yes, I feel so lucky.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 28 2011 21:52

I don't see any comments on Andy's post that he raised back in 2009 as I can see in the link to thread that you provided. So the problem was already known back then. If 6 months is not enough, then surely 2.5 years would be??

Also we had exact translation in Bulgarian in our hands already, but it had been lost due to stupid technical mistake. We are not basing our point on a machine translation, simply using it right now as we lost exact Bulgarian transaction. Surely in 6 months FAB should have been able tp provide similar translation if asked for.

I am not a diplomat, I say things how I feel them. If I sound aggresive and confused then hell, I am! I just cannot grasp why an Anarchist group would not react to something like that written by their sisters organisation unless they sympathise with it or just plainly don't care (I am more and more convinved that option number 2 is the case).

Perhaps I am naive but I always thought that somebody jeopardizing their own freedom and safety to help victims of a racist attack deserves support, not being ignored and has his name blackened and smeared by some shitbags daring to call themselves "anarchists" (FAB). Anyway, that's enough from me here. Anything we wanted to say is in the statement, this "discussion" is looking increasingly like a complete waste of time. Most ironic thing is that I actually like a lot of things that AF says and writes, always put their stickers around, send Resistance to prisoners etc. But after our recent experiences I personally feel much less inclined to have anything to do with that group. Well, lets see- your move AF smile

princess mob
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Jun 29 2011 01:02
Tojiah wrote:
Why be in the same federation with an organization you can't communicate clearly with and which you can't vouch for?

I'm with this. Everyone seems far keener to take up all the arguments about "anarchist solidarity"'s tone and whatever than about the actual political positions put forward by FAB. Which actually, as the links above show, there have been question raised for a lot longer than the few days since this indymedia statement, or even the 6 months since anarchistsolidarity said they emailed the AF.

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@ndy
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Jun 29 2011 10:06

G'day,

A few points:

There's obviously a few issues at stake here, but the crucial one appears to be what position, if any, AF should take with regards the apparent position its fraternal org has taken inre Jock's case. In which context, I think it relevant to point out that, all things being equal, this is not a case that's going to go away, and will likely be the (eventual) subject of hearings by the European Court of Human Rights. As such, a European-based campaign in support of Jock would likely be of some assistance to him and in ensuring that his case receives the attention it deserves.

For those who're interested, Australian state media recently (June 2011) screened a two-part doco on Jock's case, focusing on his father Simon Palfreeman's battles with the Bulgarian legal system. I'm unsure if it can be viewed outside of Australia, but here is a link:

http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/conviction/default.htm (Part One)
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/convictiontwo/default.htm (Part Two)

Part Two is also currently avail for viewing on YT --

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2nPusUrrOY

-- and I understand that a working vers of Part One will be (re-)uploaded soon.

Otherwise, it's true that I raised the issue of FAB's position in December 2009 (on my blog, on libcom and on the 'Anarchist Black Cat' forum). Unfortunately, I don't remember raising the issue directly with AF at the time (or the IAF/IFA as a whole); I mistakenly (seemingly) assumed that an AF member reading the material might do so.

In any event, irrespective of the FAB's position (or that of the AF or the IAF/IFA), it would be good if those with an interest in the case looked at it more closely, and if they're so inclined -- and in a position to do so -- act in solidarity.

Cheers,

@ndy.

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JoeMaguire
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Jun 29 2011 20:08
Quote:
Which side are you on?
Quote:
We got in touch with AF (Anarchist Federation UK), FABs sister organisation. We wanted to know if they knew what was going on in regards to the statement on FABs website and also where they stood in regards to supporting Jock.

They emailed us back to say that they would investigate. Infact that was all they said.

The entire basis and tone of that article was to smear the AF AFAICS. Just look at the supportive comments. There is frankly better ways of 'discussing' the numerous errors and fuckups that happen, but hey when a mistake presents an opportunity, what the heck...

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 29 2011 21:06

As far as I know "smearing" is when you tell lies. We didn't tell any
We tried other way of discussin it, it was clear those people in AF that were aware of the situation (not sure how many really were) obviously didn't think it is important enough to bother with it. Andy brought that issue on that forum already back in 2009, in 2010 Jock send AF a letter that had been ignored as well, same story with our emails. Not sure how about you pal, but in my books that counts as "problem being ignored and swept under a carpet".

Now, can we please focus on the issue at hand? Everybody seems to be talking about wrong tone, smearing this, smearing that- how about those very real problems brought up in the statement?

nastyned
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Jun 29 2011 23:05

This has been discussed a lot on the AF's forum. There may be a statement after Bob's funeral.

But as other experienced comrades have said it's surprising how complicated prisoner support can be, and personally speaking I'm quite happy with the AF not having said anything on this particular case at this point.

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Jun 30 2011 08:57

I've got to say that I actually see both sides of the argument here.. I can imagine how frustrating it would be to do prisoner support for someone and have it sabotaged by another group (FAB) and to look for support from another group and not get much response..

At the same time though, like everyone's said before, I think if FAB are consorting with right-wing and nationalist elements, that's pretty serious and they'd probably need booting out of IAF.. as such, AF are in a bit of a bind as to what they can do beyond ask IAF to 'investigate'.. I don't know about IAF internal structures, but IWA ones can be very slow, especially on something so delicate where treading carefully is massively important..

Just how common is it for anarchist groups to hang out with right-wing subcultural types? Coz I remember akai mentioning a while back about the Workers' Initiative doing work with Polish nationalists.. I'd have thought they'd be even more militant in their anti-fascism in Eastern Europe as neo-nazis there seem much more aggressive..

nastyned
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Jun 30 2011 09:23

confused Sorry I must have missed this bit. Who's acused the FAB of consorting with right-wing and nationalist elements?

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Jun 30 2011 11:02
nastyned wrote:
confused Sorry I must have missed this bit. Who's acused the FAB of consorting with right-wing and nationalist elements?

Earlier...

akai wrote:
Some years ago other Bulgarian comrades pointed out that FAB had was some contacts with right-wing persons, and of course this can be explained by them by the fact that the society is right-wing.

Which seems to have been unquestioningly taken as "fact" by this anarchistsolidarity character and then used (alongside other stuff about the FAB's alleged support for the prison system) to gob off about the AF for not immediately rushing to accept this "fact" and not issuing any statements condemning the FAB and supporting this chap who's in prison.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 30 2011 12:03

Monov had been involved in attack on Roma boys, all independent witnesses say that--------- Monv had been friend of people from FAB (in their own words!)-------------------- conclusion is simple.

And what the fuck do you mean "alleged" support for the prison system? Calling for state to imprison somebody IS support for the prison system, isn't it? Or is it some elaborate way of saying something completely else and I am too thick to understand?

I have quit libcom years ago, where I used to wrote under different nick. Now I remember why I have done it in the first place.

Campaign for Jock carries on despite all the idiots doing their best to sabotage it. If you want to help, there is plenty of info around and you can check our website and get in touch with us. It looks like we will not get ANY sort of response from AF (apart from few people moaning about the wrong tone or few minor details of the statement) to that.
AF- well done, in those last months you really lost a supporter of yours.

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Serge Forward
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Jun 30 2011 12:45

Except it wasn't in their own words, was it? It was in the words of a dodgy google translation of an unverified quote attributed to the FAB by your good self (and I don't actually know who you are). So, for now, alleged is the appropriate word. But don't expect the AF to start making quick condemnations on the basis of what are, for the minute, still allegations. Meanwhile, if there is any truth in these allegations about the FAB, then I'm sure the AF and and IAF will comment after the matter has been properly investigated.

Meanwhile, try and be a little less quick to judge your fellow anarchists, because seriously, your idea of giving the AF a fair trial seems to be a lot less fair than anything they might get off the bourgeois courts.

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Jun 30 2011 12:54

In all fairness Serge, it wasn't what akai said that made AS say that FAB are hanging out with right-wing types, it was that someone got arrested for helping two Roma boys under attack and one of the attackers that died being supported by FAB. And, for what it's worth, I massively respect akai's opinion here on most issues, especially those to do with Eastern European anarchism..

I dunno if AS's tone here was all that constructive but at the same time I think using it as an excuse to ignore the issue is a bit weak as the main point sounds fair enough.. to respond with "that's just what you say" isn't really on in my opinion.. if an IWA section had done the same I would expect the international to set up a commission to investigate it seriously

That said, it's tough.. I'm not sure that I'd like to take a leading role on that kind of commission, nor would I really know how to go about investigating something like that..

BTW I also disagree with AS saying that FAB support the prison system coz they want Jock jailed but that's a side issue here imo..

Steve_j
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Jun 30 2011 13:07
Serge Forward wrote:
Meanwhile, try and be a little less quick to judge your fellow anarchists, because seriously, your idea of giving the AF a fair trial seems to be a lot less fair than anything they might get off the bourgeois courts.

Have you looked at jocks case? I would say AS is being pretty dam fair in comparison.

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Jun 30 2011 13:34

Ed, I'm out of the loop at the minute as I've only just rejoined the AF after a year's absence. That said, I'd hazard a guess that the average AFer wouldn't know much about any of this either. I'd also guess that the international secretaries concerned will be chasing it up and trying to find out what the situation is. However, investigating something like this isn't always a quick or straightforward process and anarchistsolidarity needs to have a bit of patience (yes, even if it does take months) and give the attitude a rest.

The AF is not in the business of supporting racist attackers, whoever they may be. I'd also be astonished to hear that the FAB supported such lowlife. However, if the allegations happen to be true (or untrue), then anarchistsolidarity can rest assured the AF will do the right thing.

Steve_j wrote:
Have you looked at jocks case? I would say AS is being pretty dam fair in comparison.

I had a quick look at a site that supports Jock's case, and on the surface, I'd agree, from the information there, it looks very dubious. But you cannot surely expect the AF or the IAF to unquestioningly accept everything on a "Free Jock" website without communicating with the FAB or other relevant parties first? That would be pretty damn unfair.

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Jun 30 2011 14:01

Serge, everything you say in your last post is fair enough, which is what makes the case so difficult.. I was just warning against writing off what AS said just coz you thought he was being rude or whatever. I think to ignore this would be more damaging to the IAF than outcome from an investigation (though I think you agree with this anyway..)..

akai
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Jun 30 2011 14:06

The question about having groups in your federation you cannot vouch for is exactly the point.
There is a problem and, quite frankly, it is not something that arose just yesterday - FAB's position on this has been known for years - this is 3.5 years on after they first expressed support of Monov. People asked for comments from IFA and especially AF about his 2-3 years ago. That position is widely known internationally - and what kind of "international" is it that doesn't know the positions of its members? And what kind of internationalism is it not to communicate with the other countries.
But quite frankly, the more current problem they have is that they are absolutely fucking clueless about the Belarussians. I will not comment here due to certain facts related to repression, but it's really problematic as well.

Quite frankly I was surprised that some of the positions of FAB were as bad as they were and I was sort of hoping that they can get their act together, maybe internally work things out so that the people with those views are not in the organization, but I suppose if after more than 3 years there hasn't been any change, it might be a lost cause.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 30 2011 16:03

I fear the same Akai, we are waiting and waiting and waiting and nothing happnens, then we lose patience and issue a statement and still nothing happens apart from being accused of "slagging off AF".

When we were talking about statement, we didn't ask immadietely for statement condemning FAB etc., we asked for a statement, even very short one stating that the issue is indeed being investigated and saying what is beind done in that case and also perhaps explaining, even with a short email why so far AF failed to show any sort of support for Jock.

As for google translation and the "unverified" quote- we did give a link to the FAB website with that quote, what more verification do you need?

OK Sarge, I hope the AF will do the right thing after you assured me smile

Steve_j
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Jun 30 2011 16:11
Serge Forward wrote:
But you cannot surely expect the AF or the IAF to unquestioningly accept everything on a "Free Jock" website without communicating with the FAB or other relevant parties first? That would be pretty damn unfair.

Of course not, no one is implying that, the issue is the time frame, the fact that this has been dragging on for years with some very serious allegations leveled at a federate of the AIF, i am not a member of AFed and have no experience of the inner workings of the organisation, although i would say i identify with their politics more than any other UK organisation so i was a little troubled by certain people in this thread who seemed it to be of more importance to question the actions of the AS poster as opposed to the actions (or apparent lack of it) of their own organisation.

I do appreciate that you and others have stated that it will be investigated thoroughly and i hope it will be, as the results so far paints a picture of AFed sticking their heads in the sand.

I had intended to stay out of this thread as i felt others had already stated what i felt needed to be said but i had taken your comments regarding bourgeois courts to be a little insensitive and antagonising given the topic, though from your last statement i can see it wasnt your intention.

All the best.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 30 2011 16:22
Steve_j wrote:
i am not a member of AFed and have no experience of the inner workings of the organisation, although i would say i identify with their politics more than any other UK organisation .

same here personally

akai
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Jun 30 2011 22:03

I really find some of the posts on this thread to be problematic, and I am NOT talking about anarchistsolidarity, but the ones who seem to be implying that after over 3 years that this has been an issue that it is "delicate" and "needs time" and that it cannot be expected that in this time some group can clarify this situation.

We discussed this situation with those involved on a closed email list some years ago and it was very easy to get explanations, although they were not any that other people on the list felt were satisfactory. The positions of FAB are printed in numerous places - on their web pages, on forums, etc. and they are well known to people who could read them, who often translated or communicated their content. Plenty of organizations corresponded with FAB members on this. I think this sort of excuse like "we can't understand the language" is pretty weak being that dozens of people could have translated any text in question if people were really interested, and this process did go on in many groups across Europe. If somebody is not so sure what is going on, besides asking those directly involved, they can talk to other groups active in the area.

I don't see anything "delicate" about this situation, they should just be asked straight if they reconsidered these positions, then it is up to the others to comment or not. Our group did not make any official statement about the case (we have no organizational ties with them), but some of our members just plainly criticized the FAB's actions, including their anger towards Greek, Russian and Polish comrades who somehow showed solidarity to the prisoner.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jun 30 2011 23:17

lets see how it will pan out..

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communal_pie
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Jul 1 2011 01:57

Some people I know say AF do not reply to their emails at all, which were re membership and meetings they had planned, some other people I know have had late or partial responses. I just think AF poorly manage their online communications to be honest, maybe that isn't everyone's experience. Also, AF are known to be disorganised in general, to say the least. Given all this, I am not surprised that they would find it hard to deal with the issues raised efficiently, never mind quickly.

Negative posts will receive negative replies, which has sent this thread into a downward spiral of thoroughly unpleasant reading. Hopefully now we'll get a decent response thanks to Steven's input in AF, I think we should leave it at that for now.

Battlescarred
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Jul 1 2011 05:39

Someone else jumping on the bandwagon to use this thread to bash the AF.
I am group secretary for the London group of the AF and I can assure you that I answer all emails promptly.
Similarly, I know that the national secretary is doing a very good job and promptly passes any new membership enquiries to me immediately. So cut out the "some people I know" . Who exactly are these people?
If we're so disorganised. how do we manage to bring out a regular newsheet and magazine as well as a wide range of pamphlets, as well as a whole range of propaganda-posters, leaflets that get widely distributed, answer me that.