Maybe AF should reply to this?

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raw
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Jul 19 2011 07:57
Leo wrote:
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I think that you have misremembered some (or even most) of the actual facts here. It was in Slovakia, he was a Trotskyist (member of the local 'Workers Power ' group), and the anarchists who didn't support him did not do so because he was a Trotskyist.

Ah, right. Well it has been some years since you told me about the event. I do remember you saying that virtually no one supported him though, except the KPK, is that right?

The group of anarchists that didn't support him were from Primia Akacia ( part of IWA ) because of his connections to the League for a 5th International/Workers Power. I think also the FSA-IWA ( federation of social anarchists ) didn't support him either. I had spoken to SolFed in London about this at the time after being phoned by a friend in Workers Power ( this was in 2000 ) but I didn't get any sort of convincing response.

nastyned
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Jul 19 2011 19:02

We aren't dodging any issues. We stated clearly:

"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."

According to their prejudices people can read into it what they like but the reason we're not saying anymore isn't to protect the FAB.

martinh
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Jul 19 2011 21:41
raw wrote:
The group of anarchists that didn't support him were from Primia Akacia ( part of IWA ) because of his connections to the League for a 5th International/Workers Power. I think also the FSA-IWA ( federation of social anarchists ) didn't support him either. I had spoken to SolFed in London about this at the time after being phoned by a friend in Workers Power ( this was in 2000 ) but I didn't get any sort of convincing response.

I remember the controversy, we had a number of leftists talk to us (or slag us off) for this. Certainly my recollection of this is that we all thought the approach taken by the Czechs and Slovaks was wrong, and communicated as much to them. We understood _why_ they thought that Leninists deserved all they got, particularly in their own recent context, but stressed that we should be showing solidarity with victims of racist attacks, and that solidarity should not be conditional.

The Czechs are no longer around, but I understand that the Slovak PA have changed their position. Some of them post on here so perhaps they can clarify.

Regards,

Martin

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888
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Jul 20 2011 00:05
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.

Exactly, and as long as there is some confidential information that can't be revealed this will continue to be a problem. The AF statement does not make the AF look good, sorry.

bastarx
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Jul 20 2011 00:54
888 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.

Exactly, and as long as there is some confidential information that can't be revealed this will continue to be a problem. The AF statement does not make the AF look good, sorry.

That statement and Serge and Ned's contributions to this thread have left me with an impression of the AF as just another micro-sect circling the wagons against a perceived threat.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 20 2011 01:53

there are genuine things that could cause risk to people lives, we have really said as much as we can safely say.

gypsy
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Jul 20 2011 08:33
radicalgraffiti wrote:
there are genuine things that could cause risk to people lives, we have really said as much as we can safely say.

Maybe you could pm the trusted ppl on here with this sensitive info.

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Jul 20 2011 08:49
Peter wrote:
That statement and Serge and Ned's contributions to this thread have left me with an impression of the AF as just another micro-sect circling the wagons against a perceived threat.

Peter, we're really not circling the wagons and there are genuine reasons for making no futher statement.

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Jul 20 2011 09:33

Post Office Ltd.
Your Reciept
107 West Street
Farnham
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GU9 7PJ
Date and Time: 18/07/2011
Wieght: 0.374 kg
Dest: Bulgaria (EU)
Airmail Printed Paper £3.16

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 20 2011 13:11

Perhaps you care to comment on the fact that not all your members agreed to issue that statement at all?

PS Racist attacks are also risk to peoples lives. And if you are scared of fascist retribution of acting against them, perhaps anarchism is not for you? (thats the comment for FAB).

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Jul 20 2011 13:13
Peter wrote:
888 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.

Exactly, and as long as there is some confidential information that can't be revealed this will continue to be a problem. The AF statement does not make the AF look good, sorry.

That statement and Serge and Ned's contributions to this thread have left me with an impression of the AF as just another micro-sect circling the wagons against a perceived threat.

Hmm, guys that's unfair. I might take issue with how the AF are handling this problem but ultimately I still see them as a quality group that do lots of excellent work. Obviously for those personally involved in this (anarchistsolidarity, for example), this is going to stick in their throats but I think it would be unfair to tar the whole group and their activity on the basis of a poorly handled issue with a section from another country. And from what I gather, some in the AF are supporting Jock anyway, no?

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 20 2011 13:26

yes, some individual members support Jock but not as AFED.
I USED to see AFED as a quality group and distribute a lot of their propaganda in town and to the prisoners up until now.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 20 2011 14:48

statements to be issued by afed are sent to all members and groups for approve/rejection/modification.
only after all members have had the opportunity to comment, make changes or reject publication can a statement to issued.

That is probably the last i will say on this thread, as i don't feel it would be productive to say any more here.

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Jul 20 2011 15:32
Quote:
there are genuine things that could cause risk to people lives, we have really said as much as we can safely say.

That's how I read the statement, not as circling the wagons at all. Still, like Ed, I think this whole thing has been a bit of a cock up (3 years? regardless of organizational inertia it shouldn't take that long regardless of the request being worded in asshole language) on the side of AF and doesn't reflect well on them.

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Jul 20 2011 16:05
Khawaga wrote:
(3 years? regardless of organizational inertia it shouldn't take that long regardless of the request being worded in asshole language)

The request from AS wasn't sent 3 years ago. It was a few months back. Jock was arrested 3 years ago.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 20 2011 16:48

Issue had been brought up on this forum by @ndy first time in 2009 and then again in Jocks letter to AF on the beginning of 2010. Just to clarify.

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Jul 20 2011 17:13
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Issue had been brought up on this forum by @ndy first time in 2009 and then again in Jocks letter to AF on the beginning of 2010. Just to clarify.

Thanks for the clarifications. I had a completely different understanding of the chronology from reading this thread.

nastyned
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Jul 20 2011 21:20
anarchistsolidarity wrote:
Issue had been brought up on this forum by @ndy first time in 2009 and then again in Jocks letter to AF on the beginning of 2010. Just to clarify.

Just to clarify further:

1. By using the search function I can see that @ndy made a post on the libcom Oceania forum which received no replies. This is not a recommended way of contacting the AF.

2. No letter from Jock has even been received at the main national and international AF postal address.

3. Before this thread was started we tried to find our who you are and asked you to meet up with your local AF group to discuss things. But you didn't.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 20 2011 21:46

you asked somebody else, we never received any request to our email.
The earliest you have been contacted about Jock himself by us directly was September 2010. Thats nearly a year ago.

Anyway, its all moot point anyway, whoever wants to join campaign for Jock can do it (or did it already), you stated which side are you on , its all clear now.

And yes, it really looks bad for you guys, but its not like you will ever admit it despite of what others here say.

This is last message from me on that matter, wasted enough time here.

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Jul 21 2011 00:31
anarchistsolidarity wrote:
This is last message from me on that matter, wasted enough time here.

Have you got tired of slagging off the AF on here then?

My impression, contrary to that of some other people, is that the AF have behaved pretty well over this. I think that there statement was pretty reasonable. What do people expect really?

The feeling that the thread has given me was that the poster 'anarchistsolidarity' just wanted to have a go at the AF because they hadn't jumped up immediately and run around after his cause.

As he stated earlier in the thread he sent them eleven letters in under six months, which is approximately one a fortnight. What on Earth were they supposed to do? Should they have jumped on the plane to Bulgaria and gone and talked to the FAB in person, or hired a private detective to investigate the case? Should they have immediately taken the word of an organisation that they had no knowledge of whatsoever, or should they have asked a few questions first as they seem to have done?

It could be true that the prisoner, Jock, was trying to defend two boys from a racist attack. However, it is a case involving a guy who had been drinking who pulled a knife, and stabbed somebody. Surely you would at least expect them to check it out, and ask their fraternal organisation in Bulgaria what had happened before jumping in on the word of an organisation they don't know and condemning their fraternal organisation as a bunch of racists?

Perhaps people are unduly cautious because of a recent prisoner who was supported by some anarchist who got in a fight, "as young men do", and killed somebody. Unfortunately the people supporting this prisoner forgot to mention that he had decapitated the guy he murdered, and kept his head in his fridge. Perhaps, it is understandable why people are cautious.

On the wider issue of prisoner support, of course a political organisation such as the AF, can't give support to every prisoner, even if their case is worthwhile.I am pretty sure that if I sat down and did a little research I could easily find a list of more political prisoners from this country alone, including children sentenced to up to 58 years for throwing stones at the police, than the AF has members. There are currently 196 of these kids in prison here, generally sentenced to between 13 and 28 years. Are they any less deserving of support than Jock?

Unfortunately with the week state of revolutionary organisations today they can't support all of these prisoners, and have to make political priorities. There are times in struggles when prisoner support becomes crucial. This isn't one of them, and I don't think that that sort of period, where large numbers of working class people embrace these causes, has existed in the UK for about 20 years.

To put it bluntly why should you expect the AF to chose, of all the prisoners in the world, to chose to support this one, especially when their own fraternal organisation views the case differently from a bunch of people they have never heard of?

Of course if the FAB is consorting with fascists, then it is a serious allegation the concerns the IAF. I would expect the AF to deal with it responsibly.

Devrim

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Jul 21 2011 04:32

@Devrim:

A few things.

I obv can't speak for or on behalf of AS, but: I think an appropriate response by AF to questions regarding FAB's position is, initially at least, a pretty straightfwd proposition. That is, first, to est what FAB has said or done w regards the #. In other words, did FAB make the statements it's alleged to have made, or not? Secondly, are these positions current and a reflection of the group's considered view? Leaving aside the points akai has made w regards FAB's organisational structure, I don't think these are especially hard tasks.

Secondly, examine Jock's case. This would be done partly w a view to confirming or denying FAB's position but also, one assumes, so that the AF could take its own, independent position on the case; or, at the very least, make it much more poss to do so having first armed itself w the appropriate facts and having arrived at its own, independent analysis.

In summary, I think that, initially at least, what is required of AF in these circumstances is nothing extraordinary -- no jumping on planes or hiring of private investigators -- but part of what I assume would be the routine operations of a pol.org: and therefore something w which AF could or should be entirely familiar.

With regards the qs you raise w regards the particularities of Jock's case, there's actually already been a good deal of reportage on it which directly addresses these sorts of qs, and does so in some detail. The 'Free Jock' site -- http://freejock.com/ -- is probably the best source of infos, but the two docos which have been produced by the ABC (Australian state TV) are def worth watching. I've been covering the case on my blog since the initial incident (that is, the last 3 1/2 years) and this has included compiling refs to every English-language media report I can find.

See: 'One Night in Sofia', Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV, June 2009 (Part One): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAFTFjpDrNs | 'Conviction', Australian Story, ABC TV, June 2011 (Part One): http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/conviction/default.htm.

In summary, yes of course AF should ask qs of the case: the point being that answering these qs does not require anyone to go to extraordinary lengths, but rather to put aside some time to study Jock's case and make use of the already abundant amount of material that's readily avail to them. (And even a cursory examination would make it clear that to compare this case to that of the person you nominate is inappropriate.)

"On the wider issue of prisoner support..." Yes, of course you are correct: AF is not in a position to provide consistent, ongoing support to every prisoner who might deserve it. However, it's the case that there's an ongoing campaign in support of Jock, that AF's fraternal org in Bulgaria has adopted a public and highly antagonistic position on this campaign, and therefore raising the kinds of qs AS has w regards AF's position seems entirely reasonable, regardless of AF's obv limitations. That is, even if AF decides not to dedicate even a fraction of its energies to supporting Jock, it is still able, w a modicum of effort, to answer some serious and I think quite reasonable qs regarding FAB's position.

Later.

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Jul 21 2011 06:09
@ndy wrote:

I obv can't speak for or on behalf of AS, but: I think an appropriate response by AF to questions regarding FAB's position is, initially at least, a pretty straightfwd proposition. That is, first, to est what FAB has said or done w regards the #. In other words, did FAB make the statements it's alleged to have made, or not? Secondly, are these positions current and a reflection of the group's considered view? Leaving aside the points akai has made w regards FAB's organisational structure, I don't think these are especially hard tasks.

I would imagine that considering what Akai has said about organisational structure that these would be particularly hard tasks. I know nothing about the FAB at all, but I would suspect that, given what Akai has said, it may well be quite difficult to pin down what was said on behalf of the organisation.

@ndy wrote:
Secondly, examine Jock's case. This would be done partly w a view to confirming or denying FAB's position but also, one assumes, so that the AF could take its own, independent position on the case; or, at the very least, make it much more poss to do so having first armed itself w the appropriate facts and having arrived at its own, independent analysis

Why? The only real reason that I can see for them doing this is because what has been said on here seems to suggest that there are serious problems with one of the members of their international organisation. Surely these allegations are very serious and should be looked into deeply.

@ndy wrote:
In summary, I think that, initially at least, what is required of AF in these circumstances is nothing extraordinary -- no jumping on planes or hiring of private investigators -- but part of what I assume would be the routine operations of a pol.org: and therefore something w which AF could or should be entirely familiar

But they are questions that might take more than a couple of weeks to answer.

@ndy wrote:
With regards the qs you raise w regards the particularities of Jock's case, there's actually already been a good deal of reportage on it which directly addresses these sorts of qs, and does so in some detail. The 'Free Jock' site -- http://freejock.com/ -- is probably the best source of infos, but the two docos which have been produced by the ABC (Australian state TV) are def worth watching. I've been covering the case on my blog since the initial incident (that is, the last 3 1/2 years) and this has included compiling refs to every English-language media report I can find.

Forgive me if I come across as overtly cynical, but I wouldn't take two documentaries produced by Australian state TV about an Australian national imprisoned abroad as impartial evidence. After all there were people in this country who demanded the release of Mehmet Ali Ağca even.

@ndy wrote:
In summary, yes of course AF should ask qs of the case: the point being that answering these qs does not require anyone to go to extraordinary lengths, but rather to put aside some time to study Jock's case and make use of the already abundant amount of material that's readily avail to them. (And even a cursory examination would make it clear that to compare this case to that of the person you nominate is inappropriate.)

Yet, I would imagine that the vast majority of this 'already abundant amount of material' is basically free Jock propaganda.

@ndy wrote:
"On the wider issue of prisoner support..." Yes, of course you are correct: AF is not in a position to provide consistent, ongoing support to every prisoner who might deserve it.

And really I think that you must agree that the case of one prisoner from one foreign country who is in prison in another foreign country is hardly likely to be high on their list of priorities.

@ndy wrote:
However, it's the case that there's an ongoing campaign in support of Jock, that AF's fraternal org in Bulgaria has adopted a public and highly antagonistic position on this campaign, and therefore raising the kinds of qs AS has w regards AF's position seems entirely reasonable, regardless of AF's obv limitations.

And the position adopted by the FAB and its implications is the one reason that I think that the AF should be interested. If what has been alleged on here is true then their are certainly serious questions to be asked.

However, the IAF is an international organisation with nine different language sections. I am sure that you can appreciate that a thorough investigation would move slowly.

@ndy wrote:
That is, even if AF decides not to dedicate even a fraction of its energies to supporting Jock, it is still able, w a modicum of effort, to answer some serious and I think quite reasonable qs regarding FAB's position.

Certainly, but perhaps sending them an e-mail every two weeks and slagging them off in public doesn't really do anything to help get any answers to these questions.

Devrim

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Jul 23 2011 12:08

Briefly.

As I see it, there's at least three separate but related issues being discussed in this thread. The first is the nature of the communication b/w AS and AF on the subject of AF, FAB and the Palfreeman case. The second is the r/ship b/w AF and FAB, the position FAB has taken, and why. The third is the Palfreeman case. I'm most interested in this last issue. That said...

On pinning down FAB's position.

As already indicated, a statement appears on their site here: http://anarchy.bg/novini/novini-ot-bulgaria/496-1-godina-ot-ubijstvoto-na-andrej-monov.html. It's dated December 28, 2008. Another statement appeared a year later here: http://a-bg.net/new/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=496. This also is an official FAB site. The statement has since been removed from the site but is referred to in a third statement which appears on the Athens Indymedia site, dated November 30, 2009: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=en&article_id=1109074.

As far as I'm aware, FAB's position has been consistent throughout. In summary, that position is: Jock Palfreeman is a murderer; his conviction for the crime of 'murder by hooliganism' was just and he received the appropriate sentence; consequently, there's no basis for any kind of solidarity campaign.

On examining Jock's case.

It's necessary to do this in order to understand FAB's position and expressed desire that there should not, in fact, be a campaign conducted in solidarity with him. Beyond this, I'm not sure I understand your question. It seems to me to be reasonable to ask AF questions about the position FAB has taken on the case.

Quote:
But they are questions that might take more than a couple of weeks to answer.

Yes... but I'm not sure I've indicated otherwise. And as far as I'm aware, if AF was not aware of Jock's case (or FAB's position) before the start of the year, surely the org was after AS contacted it. And that was many months ago. But again: I'm really not interested in pursuing this angle, and if it takes a few more weeks for AF to develop a more nuanced position and (despite a statement to the contrary) to make that public, so be it.

Quote:
Forgive me if I come across as overtly cynical...

Obviously, the two docos I referred to should be examined critically: I simply take this as read. My point, however, is that the basis of FAB's position appears to me to be quite flimsy, and while there may be excellent reasons for AF not elaborating on its current position, I'm unaware of much evidence to support their view. Further, I'm unsure if this is the best place to discuss the merits of his defence, but I'm happy to do so, including inre the specific issues you raise, and whether or not Jock's account and the evidence which has been produced to support it may simply be dismissed as 'propaganda', and indeed what status one should give, for example, court transcripts, eyewitness and expert testimony, and so on.

Finally:

Quote:
And really I think that you must agree that the case of one prisoner from one foreign country who is in prison in another foreign country is hardly likely to be high on their list of priorities.

No, I don't. Of course, another way of characterising the case is that it concerns a person wrongly convicted of murder by hooliganism and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Further, one whose conviction is explicitly supported by a fraternal org, on seemingly dubious grounds. Finally, that discrimination against Roma in various European territories (inc Bulgaria) is of both historical but also and moreover contemporary political significance (as the author of an article in AF's Summer 2008 issue of Organise! magazine notes).

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kakumei
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Jul 21 2011 13:33

EDIT: nvm

crwydryny
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Jul 24 2011 15:54

teh way I see it Afed wa only made aware of this a few months ago, and when this happened they began their investigation, what this entails I can't say but the way I see it they would first have to look at the available evidence in the case and sort out what is biased and what isn't (as one person will say one thing and omit some details and another person could say something compleatly diffrent and omit other details) without peicing together the whole story it'll be hard to make any kind of decision.
then they would have to work out the relationship of the "victim" with FAB and see if he was actually a member or if he just happen to be friends with a member, and if the people who knew him were aware of his relationship with "racists and fasists" and if FAB were knowingly operating with such people.

all these things take time and effort and even people such as interpol would spend months or even years following everythread in such an investigation so an orginisation such as Afed with limited manpower and resources at their disposal such an investigation is undoubtly going to take time, especially when you take into account of the structure of such orginisations. unlike a major political party where everything is run from a top down situation with one person ordering a few people around and each of them ordering a few more until you come to the bottom rung of the ladder. Afed and I imagine FAB are more a lose connection of people with simalar political beliefs trying to achieve a mutual goal, and some may have goals and beliefs that differ from others, so any investigation is going to take time. especially give some of teh allegations that have been thrown around.

anarchistsolidarity
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Jul 29 2011 19:43

Jock's 20 years sentence had been upheld during his appeal. No surprise here really and I guess FAB (or at least some of them) will be celebrating that the "guilty party got appropiate punishment" .
Now onloy chance for Jock is European Court of Human Rights, apparently its good few years wait for them to consider the case though and I am not sure how much power they actually have over Bulgarian authorities. That way or another struggle for his freedom continues.

MT
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Jul 30 2011 18:56

very funny reading after 2 or 3 weeks i haven't been on libcom (and i think it makes no sense in explaining again that i think libcom alienates more and more people outside US and UK cos the only answer would be demand for scientific proofs or "ok, that might be true, we might think about it" but nothing happens). but to the point - the debate is really ridiculous, avoiding facts (yes, FACTS - that is FAB statement) and the AF statement seems to me like newspeak. well, basically i have nothing to add as AS, Akai and me confirmed already known facts and if you are into repeating the things all the time to hide the fucking shame FAB caused to IFA and AF, then feel free. i would rather watch a good film then spend more time here. libcom has become a sad place to go lately.

oh, and regarding the remarks about Priama akcia not supporting the guy who killed the fascist guy. if that was brought up to show how sectarian we are, well, feel free to believe the fairytales. if that was supposed to mean something, then i miss the point. and i didn't get what is so shocking about not supporting someone. i mean, do we have any duty to do so? to support everyone, anytime? do you practice that? let's show yourselves and how active you are in supporting people with totalitarian ideas, don't be pussies, let's tell the world. and then force them to follow you or ostracize them...

nastyned
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Jul 31 2011 07:58

Yes indeed, gossip off message boards is without doubt the best place to get FACTS.