Maybe AF should reply to this?

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akai
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Jul 14 2011 14:53

No, my remarks are about the politics of the issue. Any criticisms I have of any IFA member groups are also about political issues, not about points.

In Eastern Europe IFA has had a strange history. One federation was kicked out for its strange politics (combining anarcho-capitalist members, insurrectionalists and some strange avant-garde types), as far as I know they still threaten IWA members, and an equally hostile attitude exists amongst some others who tend towards certainly practices which I personally would hope the IWA stay clear of. This does not mean that people should not build friendly relationships where possible and where there are common political lines.

I do not know why you say I disbelieve anything. I did comment that it was not cool that this was not dealt with earlier. I also feel that you are trying to make a concrete political issue into something personal and when somebody starts talking about juvenile crap like points, etc., it just seems dismissive.

akai
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Jul 14 2011 15:23

I am asked if I discussed Pallfreeman with FAB. I have addressed this before in the thread but it is hard to read everything so I will repeat it.

The first thing to understand is that FAB is not an organization with formal membership. One can write to FAB and get an answer - it is unclear how the people writing in the name of FAB are delegated or held responsible. Yes, I have spoken to a few individual members of FAB, I have spoken to somebody writing on behalf of FAB. We have asked FAB to comment on an international mailing list. I have seen what FAB has written. I have heard relations from other comrades about their discussions with FAB - these included Greek, Russian, Bulgarian (non-FAB), Polish and German comrades... at least. (This is what I remember, there were probably more.) The position that some people in FAB were friends with this guy and that Jock was a murderer who should be behind bars was simply repeated each time.

There were more arguments, but these are more difficult to explain and were weird. For example, there was an argument like you know that people see this case as a foreigner coming and killing a Bulgarian, so if we would support Jock, we would discredit ourselves, or that antifa are liberal idiots.

I have my own personal reservations about this Jock character but certainly I don't think he should be in jail. And I don't really see any reason to cry about anybody who was involved in this band. I think there is a type of anti-liberal political trend in Eastern Europe that sometimes borders on populism and sometimes anarchists are somewhat involved in this creation of an alternative prol subculture which gets them into strange connections. I still do not know exactly how it was the some people in FAB were involved with this person, but certainly through personal friendships and subculture.

Sorry for the digression, but yes, I and many people I know did try to ask for the explanation for all this and never received a reasonable answer, despite quite good will to hear one. I can personally say that I was in Bulgaria quite a few times, I had positive interaction with many people, despite some differences, nothing really negative. I did not make this issue up, it resulted from very concrete things: statements issued in the name of FAB, things written in internet forums, the conflict with the Greek comrades who wanted to do solidarity for Jock and the lack of any attempts to retract this. For me, after more than three years, and lots of tension, especially with people who interacted with FAB, I think that FAB had sufficient time to either make their arguments clearer or retract them or whatever. Therefore I cannot doubt that they were truly reflective of a good part of what people in FAB felt, otherwise there would have been something of a disclaimer.

As I also said somewhere else, I will speak with some members of FAB about it in person. I can only hope they would publicly disclaim the earlier remarks and clarify their positions. My position, personally, is against the integration of anarchist and right-wing subcultures - and this happens in Eastern Europe, not only in Bulgaria. If somebody argues that, OK, they speak to right-wing people to try to influence them, I accept it to a certain degree, but not when they are seemingly dismissing the problems of the attack on the Roma or are saying that somebody should sit in jail for 20 years.

I really hope that is clear.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 14 2011 15:25

If you look at some posts back made by Akai, you will see that FAB had already been asked about the matter long time ago.
@Serge- I will repeat again and for the last time. NOBODY denounced AF, we asked you for a clear position, there was no slagging off and no insults being thrown. Message from AF stating that matter is being investigated and that the issue is being delicate and needs careful approach (whereas we agree with it or not) at least would have made as feel that something is being done. So far most of reactions we have is people behaving as if AF is above criticism and any criticism made is considered as an outright attack. Nobody seems to be willing to admit that certain people in AF made errors as well.
Besides Serge, even stuff you wrote here already helped to clarify the situation quite a lot, why it couldn't have been done earlier?
We are meeting today with a comrade from Brighton AF. Hopefully we can resolve this in friendly manner , we will see. As I said, its all in your hands now guys.
I think Akai put everything else in her post pretty well and it certainly reflects our feelings on the subject.

Last thing- AF national secretary could have asked us in email directly who are we and do we have common friends, instead of enquiring through a comrade and then after being voucher for by that person saying that it is actually not enough.
Anyway, lets see how it pans out. We are really interested and looking forward for a clear position on the matter.
And regarding Jock- your members from Bristol vouch for him personally and also please, just read the case, documents, witness statements and it should be clear that our support is not based on simple claims of his innocence, which you keep implying, persistently ignoring the information provided.

Battlescarred
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Jul 14 2011 15:26

Yes, you mean the ADA in Russia and once it was known that this was the situation, despite previous assurances that this was not the case, they were dissassociated by an IAF/IFA meeting.
They had never been given full membership of the IAF and once the international was aware of the facts it acted. this doesn't point to a situation which you infer where the IAF ignores what is going on in Eastern Europe, does it?

rata
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Jul 14 2011 17:48
akai wrote:
As you can expect, the old-timers in Bulgaria were active a short while after 1990, mostly in making the paper. There was a 45-year break in the movement, these people were in their 70s and 80s and it was a couple of them. Whoever you met and were proud to call comrade, sorry to say, is probably either dead or is not an active part of FAB, so simply this kind of nostalgia is a little out of place.

This, in fact, is not true. One of the most active comrades of FAB that I know, and who is editing and organizing distribution of their newspaper, is 94 years old comrade who left Bulgaria only once, to attend congress of the left-wing Esperanto international in Belgrade.

akai wrote:
My position, personally, is against the integration of anarchist and right-wing subcultures - and this happens in Eastern Europe, not only in Bulgaria. If somebody argues that, OK, they speak to right-wing people to try to influence them, I accept it to a certain degree, but not when they are seemingly dismissing the problems of the attack on the Roma or are saying that somebody should sit in jail for 20 years.

I guess everybody is agreeing with this, except for the fact that I am not aware of any anarchist group which is orientated towards "integration of anarchist and right-wing subcultures". The explanation could be that you are seeing prole culture, or football fans subculture as right wing by definition, which is strange to say at least. Could you please inform us who you had in mind?

akai
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Jul 14 2011 19:15

Comrade, sorry if I will have to be brief here, but I already spent more time on this thread than I wanted. smile Yes, sorry, I do not know if that particular person who was met is still alive, or still active and I know there are a couple of old timers still around. What my point was is that FAB's (informal) membership is not one person, it is not a bunch of old-timers, that there a majority of people who were not there in 1990 (probably some of them not even born then), that the people have changed over the years. I think you can understand the point that meeting one person years ago, who may or may not even be alive now, is not a good criteria to judge either the current organization nor the particular case. And BTW, I do not give any deeper analysis of the politics of FAB as a whole, we are talking here about one case.

In terms of the second question, I am going to have to avoid it a little, not because I don't want to answer the question, but it is another topic and I suspect it will require a lot of writing again about things I already wrote about many times. As you surely know, few normal groups state the merging of right and left as a goal, although both in Russia and Poland there were such attempts to so this, some referring to anarchism. There are also cases of cooperation with nationalists or the right-wing... this is another long story and let's not digress. This however, was not what I was referring to in the case with FAB.

What people wonder, and it is a legitimate question, is what on earth inspired people in FAB to publicly defend a guy hanging out with right-wing types chasing after Roma? It seems to be that some people were friendly with this guy through subculture - at least some comrades in Bulgaria seemed to confirm that it was this type of contact.

In terms of this type of connection, through some personal networks, etc., we do see this happening from time to time (contacts with right-wing or unclear individuals) and it is quite one thing if somebody knows somebody like this personally, it is another thing if an organization in some way announces solidarity, support or otherwise treats the person in a comradely way.

I also hope this is clear.

nastyned
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Jul 14 2011 19:58
akai wrote:
I think you can understand the point that meeting one person years ago, who may or may not even be alive now, is not a good criteria to judge either the current organization nor the particular case.

That isn't the point I was making. You said we'd shown poor judgement by entering a political alliance with the FAB. So I told you how it came about.

gypsy
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Jul 14 2011 20:11
akai wrote:

What people wonder, and it is a legitimate question, is what on earth inspired people in FAB to publicly defend a guy hanging out with right-wing types chasing after Roma? It seems to be that some people were friendly with this guy through subculture - at least some comrades in Bulgaria seemed to confirm that it was this type of contact.

In terms of this type of connection, through some personal networks, etc., we do see this happening from time to time (contacts with right-wing or unclear individuals) and it is quite one thing if somebody knows somebody like this personally, it is another thing if an organization in some way announces solidarity, support or otherwise treats the person in a comradely way.

.

After watching that documentary that what mentioned earlier on in the thread. It seems that the man who died(Monov) was from a very influential family in Bulgaria and had connections with the ruling elite.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 14 2011 20:33

just after a meeting with Af comrade in Brighton, we all had a good chat and we are planning some solidarity events with Jock and we also managed to clarify few misunderstandings and from now on will be concentrating on solidarity efforts and leave investigation issue in hands of AF, with results hopefully coming soon (ish).

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rat
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Jul 14 2011 21:37

This 5 minute interview with forensics expert Professor Dave Barclay talking about the Palfreeman case is worth a look at.
But reading through the full transcript of the interview with him is essential.

http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/convictiontwo/default.htm

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 15 2011 13:24

Just to clarify- chat we had was between individuals, it by no means was any sort of "common position" by Anarchist Solidarity and AFED and solidarity actions we agreed were also between individuals. I was asked to clarify that in case somebody read it the wrong way and assumed AFED as a organisation decided to do actions together with us.

Also this posts I write here unless specifically referring to the statement AS published are my personal opinions.

action_now
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Jul 15 2011 14:20

this all reads very strange and formal.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 16 2011 09:46

AFed have written this in response to Anarchist Solidarity's statement

Statement regarding our dealings with “Anarchist Solidarity”

The Anarchist Federation has been contacted on a number of occasions by a group calling itself Anarchist Solidarity about Jock Palfreeman, currently a prisoner in Bulgaria. The AF has never made any statement on the issue nor had any 'spokesman' do so for us. We attempted to establish whether AS were a bone fide organisation before responding to their contact. In an attempt to comprehend the situation an individual member contacted a personal friend who they considered might know something. Anything that is said to have been quoted from the AF is from that private correspondence only.

As it stands, having communicated with the Federation of Anarchists in Bulgaria (FAB) and with other knowledgeable parties in Bulgaria and the Balkans more widely, we won't be issuing any statement. We know more about this situation than we are at liberty to put in writing. We do not wish what we write here to cause harm to any party which is, unfortunately, a real possibility if we do not choose our words carefully.

Prisoner support groups should approach anarchist organisations in the knowledge that if they are unknown to relevant parties or are abrasive in tone when making their approach, those organisations may respond with suspicion as to how they fit into such complex situations.

If comrades we know to be bone fide want to see the e-mails that Anarchist Solidarity sent to us, please contact the National Secretary of the AF at our national address. Anarchist Solidarity are of course at liberty to publish their approaches to us themselves, if they think that making public the manner in which they approached us would help build international solidarity actions and support for Jock Palfeeman.

Anarchist Federation, July 2011

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 16 2011 21:07

so basically it is a statement saying.. that AFED will not take any position. Nice!

Thanks for patronising tone of the statement as well and concentrating on a "manner" you were approached again instead of on issues presented to you. Right thing to do indeed.

I will ask if anybody else wants to write something in response to that, but personally I give up

@Sarge Forward

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Look, all I can personally say is, I don't know and I'm waiting for more info before making any comment. What I do know however, is that the AF will act honourably, whatever the findings.

very honourable indeed, I can't find enough words of appreciation.

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Serge Forward
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Jul 17 2011 00:10

Believe me fella, whether you like it or not, the AF is behaving honourably. That's my last comment on this matter.

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communal_pie
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Jul 17 2011 01:30

Where is that statement on the AFed site? I can't find it anywhere?

If that is AFed's official statement, then I will take their word that they believe, basically, that A-S are not a 'bona fide' organisation, which reflects on A-S and the poster of the same name here, very badly indeed.

bastarx
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Jul 17 2011 03:38

Who cares if AS is bona fide. AF still haven't explained why their international contains a group which sides with racist thugs.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jul 17 2011 08:25

That statement does seem to dodge the question of Jock, although, to be fair, it does only claim to address AF's contact with "Anarchist Solidarity". Of course, that's AF's prerogative, but I do hope AF are seriously investigating the matter and come out with a statement on the Jock/FAB situation in due course.

nastyned
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Jul 17 2011 08:38

"As it stands, having communicated with the Federation of Anarchists in Bulgaria (FAB) and with other knowledgeable parties in Bulgaria and the Balkans more widely, we won't be issuing any statement. We know more about this situation than we are at liberty to put in writing. We do not wish what we write here to cause harm to any party which is, unfortunately, a real possibility if we do not choose our words carefully."

raw
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Jul 17 2011 08:42
Chilli Sauce wrote:
That statement does seem to dodge the question of Jock, although, to be fair, it does only claim to address AF's contact with "Anarchist Solidarity". Of course, that's AF's prerogative, but I do hope AF are seriously investigating the matter and come out with a statement on the Jock/FAB situation in due course.

So the statement is just a statement on AS and not AF's position on solidarity with Jock??

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Steven.
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Jul 17 2011 10:06
Peter wrote:
Who cares if AS is bona fide. AF still haven't explained why their international contains a group which sides with racist thugs.

Peter, that is not an accurate assessment of the situation. FAB state that Monov was a personal friend of one of theirs, and was not a fascist. The only people in Bulgaria who have claimed he was a fascist as well, were the fascists (who clearly have their own propaganda reasons for doing so).

Now, the situation with Jock is clearly horrible, and the circumstances around his conviction seem extremely dodgy, and so it seems highly probable he was fitted up.

However, this doesn't mean that the guy who died was a fascist or racist thug in any way, or that FAB have "sided" with racists at all.

So on a personal level I think there are issues with the FAB statement, but I know there were reasons for them making it, and the AF is continuing to look into it.

gypsy
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Jul 17 2011 10:45
nastyned wrote:
"We know more about this situation than we are at liberty to put in writing. We do not wish what we write here to cause harm to any party which is, unfortunately, a real possibility if we do not choose our words carefully."

Okay....

bastarx
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Jul 17 2011 10:57
Steven. wrote:
Peter wrote:
Who cares if AS is bona fide. AF still haven't explained why their international contains a group which sides with racist thugs.

Peter, that is not an accurate assessment of the situation. FAB state that Monov was a personal friend of one of theirs, and was not a fascist. The only people in Bulgaria who have claimed he was a fascist as well, were the fascists (who clearly have their own propaganda reasons for doing so).

Now, the situation with Jock is clearly horrible, and the circumstances around his conviction seem extremely dodgy, and so it seems highly probable he was fitted up.

However, this doesn't mean that the guy who died was a fascist or racist thug in any way, or that FAB have "sided" with racists at all.

So on a personal level I think there are issues with the FAB statement, but I know there were reasons for them making it, and the AF is continuing to look into it.

Note that I wrote "racist" not "fascist". If being part of a group of 15 young men who attack two Roma boys doesn't make you a racist thug what does?

FAB trying to stop non-Bulgarian anarchists from organising solidarity for Jock sounds a lot like siding with racists to me.

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Django
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Jul 17 2011 11:16

I believe that the issue is being sent to the IFA comission to be formally investigated, I'm not sure why that isn't said in the statement.

nastyned
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Jul 17 2011 11:19
Peter wrote:
FAB trying to stop non-Bulgarian anarchists from organising solidarity for Jock sounds a lot like siding with racists to me.

confused Are they doing that?

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 17 2011 11:25

Oh yeah, Monov wasn't racist he was just beating up those Roma boys because.. they probably looked bad on him or something..

Anyway, I stand by what I said earlier, this statement is a big, big dissapointment. Not only it refused to answer any of the issues brought up, it basically says that FAB had a good reason to sabotage solidarity with Jock, demand prison sentence for him etc.

I can't find words to describe how I feel about it...

bastarx
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Jul 17 2011 11:29
nastyned wrote:
Peter wrote:
FAB trying to stop non-Bulgarian anarchists from organising solidarity for Jock sounds a lot like siding with racists to me.

confused Are they doing that?

Akai said so in several posts in this thread.

no1
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Jul 17 2011 11:34

I'm confused .... The AFed statement raises the question of whether AS is a 'bone fide organisation', but doesn't say what AFed have concluded in that respect. By leaving that question hanging in the air, doesn't that imply Afed are still questioning the credibility and general nature of AS?

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 17 2011 11:50

Worst thing is that for last year I have been trying to convince Jock that AF is not full of wankers (as he seems to think after lack of response to FAB, his letter to AF and so on) and it can all be resolved etc etc. Now with that statement it will be very hard thing to do...

nastyned
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Jul 17 2011 12:05
Peter wrote:
nastyned wrote:
Peter wrote:
FAB trying to stop non-Bulgarian anarchists from organising solidarity for Jock sounds a lot like siding with racists to me.

confused Are they doing that?

Akai said so in several posts in this thread.

They haven't said that to us.