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text of London AF leaflet for forthcoming People's assembly June 22nd

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Battlescarred
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Jun 15 2013 16:40
text of London AF leaflet for forthcoming People's assembly June 22nd

FOR THE GENUINE ARTICLE- REAL PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLIES!

Over the last five years workers in the UK have experienced massive cuts in their wages and living standards. Many workers are experiencing pay freezes, many have seen both their hours and overtime cut. Many more have lost their job altogether, whilst relatively better paid jobs in the public sector have been replaced by “outsourcing”, privatised jobs with lower pay. At the same time inflation has outpaced average earnings. Overall wages are now less than they were in 2007 by £52 billion.

At the same time the social wage- pensions, the health service, etc. - are under attack like never before. A recent report gave the figure of 500,000 people now using food banks in the UK. The situation is obviously desperate. Eighty per cent of planned cuts have yet to be implemented and the situation will get a lot worse over the next few years.

A scenario for the future would see the Labour Party being elected in 2015, perhaps by a large majority. But what would this new Labour government do? The Labour Party has already said that it will continue with austerity packages and that they will not reverse cuts. It has questioned the whole idea of universal benefits. As Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, recently said: “We will have to govern in a very different way and in circumstances very different to what we have known for many years. We will inherit a substantial deficit. We will have to govern with much less money around. We will need to show an iron discipline.” Miliband has made a pledge that he will install a three year benefit cap if re-elected. He has checked into the vicious anti- welfare claimant campaign, where those claiming benefits are seen as scroungers. As he said “Labour - the party of work - the clue is in the name. Our party was founded on the principles of work. We have always been against the denial of opportunity through the denial of work. And against the denial of responsibility by those who could work and aren’t doing so...This country needs to be a nation where people who can work, do work. Not a country where people who can work are on benefits.”

AN ALTERNATIVE

And if the Labour Party are ALREADY saying all of this, think what they will be like if re-elected! By then the debt crisis will have worsened, and Labour will use this as an excuse to push through more austerity measures, more cuts.

And yet here at Westminster Hall we have members of the Labour Party like Tony Benn and Owen Jones who will be pushing the illusion that somehow Labour can be pushed left, that workers should get involved in re-electing Labour, that it will somehow be better under a Labour government. This will undoubtedly be one of the key-notes at
today’s Assembly. But Labour Party leadership has the same ideas as the Blair and Brown governments, nothing will change.

Those people attending this Assembly today who are genuinely disgusted with the present state of affairs should have a long hard look at what is going on. Rather than be involved in a static event where a range of washed out Trotskyists, Left Labour celebrities, trade union bureaucrats and film makers yearning for a false “Golden Age” of Labour deliver a series of speeches at a set-piece event where there is little or no input from activists , they should consider another alternative.

They should take inspiration from the movements now sweeping the world, whether it be some of the events associated with the Arab Spring, whether it be Taksim Square, whether it be the series of actions by rank and file electricians here in Britain (despite attempts by trade union bureaucrats to sabotage their actions), the fight against Workfare by the recent occupation at Sussex University and the library occupation in Barnet.

This Assembly will be proposing another demonstration in October. But ask yourselves, did any of the previous A-B demos change anything? The million strong demo in 2003, did it stop the war? Did the huge demonstrations in March 2011 and October 2012 stop the cuts this Coalition government is continuing to push through? Did they hell! No, in all instances, government carried on as before.

What is needed is imaginative action at local and national level. This will mean blockades, occupations and other forms of direct action. It will mean campaigns and movements where decisions are not made by bureaucrats or celebrities but by the mass of people affected by this crisis of capitalism. It means an effective link up between workplace and neighbourhood, between, for example, workers in one industry or workplace on strike and other workers, students whether in school, further and higher education, pensioners, the unemployed. The same goes for people fighting cuts nationally or in a locality, maximum support needs to be striven for.  It means, as our friends at Thurrock Heckler say:

“ More people getting stuck into action, more experimenting and risk taking to see what does and doesn't work, more willingness for groups and individuals to be flexible to join together for actions as and when the need arises and above all more militancy and certainly more momentum. A continuous stream of a diverse range of people and taking action in a myriad of ways that will leave the authorities in a state of bewilderment is the key to building that momentum”.

Come and hear what the anarchists have to say, in the open air meeting outside today.

Printed and published by Anarchist Federation (London)

slothjabber
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Jun 17 2013 09:07

OK, this I take it is for distribution outside the 'People's Assembly'?

Is it really going to be possible to disuade people who've already paid for their tickets (and many of whom will have travelled to London specifically to attend) from going to the meeting and instead joining the 'real' assembly outside? It seems to me, if they've made it all the way to the door, they're the most committed to the 'People's Assembly' and the least likely to join the 'real' assembly. Is there another leaflet, saying 'for those who think the ticket-only the 'People's Assembly' is a sick and farcical joke, come to a real assembly on the Green (or wherever you're hoping to meet)', to be distributed to everyone else?

Other than that, I'm in complete agreement about the role of Labour, the A-to-B marches, the necessity for workers to organise in their own assemblies and to take inspiration from Taksim square, the Arab Spring, the Indignados etc.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 17 2013 09:14

Also, not to be overly critical, but I think this is probably a bit long. The points are obviously all really good, but in my experience, any leaflet over 300 words will only be read by the already-converted. Be curious to see what it looks like in the finished form, however. Do you have a link to the .pdf?

Battlescarred
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Jun 17 2013 13:36

Sorry, but someone who is going to make it to this is going to read the leaflet. It's not overly long, it makes the right points. Less dumbing down, less carping please. Are you doing anything about this,,? No. The usually keyboard warrior fernickety criticisms to be found too often here.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 17 2013 21:11

Sorry Battlescarred, but that was really out of order. I think you've known me a long enough to know that the keyboard warrior criticism doesn't apply. (I mean, seriously, how many AF members have I given the workplace organiser training to?).

If you want my honest assessment (I don't think you do), you could easily lose 500 words of stats and quotes. That's not dumbing down, but the people who read this--you've already pointed out they're going to politicised--are going to know the score when it comes to the numbers. As for the quote at the end, sure it's elegant but it's like 10% of the total word count!

It seems to be the purpose of the leaflet should be to argue about form and content, while this feels like a piece that can't decide who its audience is. That's certainly more pointed than the first post that I wrote, but seeing as how the even very gentle criticism was received, I might as well be a bit more honest.

In all honestly though, good luck with this. As I said, I agree with all the points made in the text and despite being nothing but fernickety keyboard warrior, I would love to the UK anarchist scene build on the momentum of the exact sorts of things outlined in the leaflet.

P.S. I'll see if I can have a chat with the protesters here in Ankara about the UK People's Assembly for you--after all, I do want to be doing something--but I'm not sure how much impact it'll have, to be honest.

slothjabber
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Jun 18 2013 09:33

As I'm not in London (though I will be on the day, though neither for the 'People's Assembly', nor the 'real' assembly outside) my main activity around this has been attacking the notion of the 'People's Assembly'. So, sorry for being a 'fernickity (finicky? finickity? pernickity?) keyboard warrior' there. Incidently, that's almost the same criticism that the 'People's Assembly' supporters gave- 'well what are you doing about... whatever it is?' - and with much more justification, given that I was quite complemetary about the content of your leaflet. Perhaps you have more in common with them than you realise.

Battlescarred
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Jun 18 2013 10:36

Give me strenghth. The usual overreaction from Chilli Billi, and wild and completely unfair amalgam tactics from Slothjabber. Could you actually tell me what we have in common with the People's Assembly? How about persnickety, but really who gives a monkey's what your take on this word is.
Everyone we've shown this text to has thought it was good, by the way

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 18 2013 10:52

Well, generally when people post something on an internet forum, they're looking for feedback. I think my criticism was pretty comradely and measured and I don't particularly think sloth's first post was out of order either. In the future, if even a little tiny bit of criticism is going to send you over the edge, I'd avoid posting things like this on public forum.

slothjabber
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Jun 18 2013 13:52

Agreed. We both said positive things about the text. The fact that Chilli thinks it might be overlong, and I think that your target audience is the one least likely to take on board your message, is hardly an excuse to imply that no one else is doing anything about anything so should shut the fuck up.

You're right of course about the amalgam tactics. The People's Assembly supporters got annoyed with me after I was very uncomplimentary about their Assembly. You got annoyed with me and Chilli after we were complemetary, but slightly less than gushing, about your leaflet. It isn't the same.

Battlescarred
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Jun 18 2013 15:20

Well, it's not put here for carping criticism but for info. And from someone who goes ballistically defensive at the slightest perceived criticism of Solfed, Chilli, i find your comments a bit rich.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 18 2013 21:52

Go ahead Battlescarred, find me one example. Just one, that's all I ask.

Also, long leaflets are one of my political pet peeves. Funnily enough, that means I've probably offended more people within SF than out when it comes to the length of proposed leaflets.

Harrison
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Jun 18 2013 23:54
slothjabber wrote:
paid for their tickets

the level of stupidity behind whoever made the decision to charge for tickets to a left coalition masquerading as a people's assembly is just immense.

Ablokeimet
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Jun 19 2013 12:04
Harrison wrote:
the level of stupidity behind whoever made the decision to charge for tickets to a left coalition masquerading as a people's assembly is just immense.

In my experience, charging for tickets has one or both of two purposes:

(a) Defraying the costs of a large and expensive event; and/or

(b) Keeping selected people out because you've refused to sell them tickets.

slothjabber
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Jun 19 2013 12:33

I think it also has the purpose of binding participants to the organisation/event - they have quite literally 'invested' not only time and effort, but also money, in the 'success' of the event. They have 'bought into' it.

My major criticism of the leaflet is that it doesn't address itself to the approximately 60million people in the UK (or even the 8million in London) who haven't 'bought into' it, and I'm surprised, because that looks to me like a more significant audience for the AF's ideas - which I feel I shoud stress again, I'm in agreement with.

Battlescarred
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Jun 19 2013 16:46

But the leaflet is, obviously, addressed to those, going to the Assembly. We distribute Resistance regularly in London for the purpose of getting out to these "8 million people", although you've left out the whole matter of class in those "8 million people"> Seems pretty churlish to criticise a leaflet aimed at a particular event for not reaching out to the population as a whole.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 20 2013 08:56

I don't want to speak for sloth, but it seems his larger point is being critical not of the leaflet itself, but the effectiveness of directing any leaflet at the participants of the spectacle of the People's Assembly at all.

I did want to comment on charging for events. When we hold the SF workplace organiser trainings we charge fee. One reason is the cover the cost of materials, venue, and food. The other is that lots of times you'll get interest from 20 people and it's only when you ask for the deposit that you actually find out who are the five people who will actually show up at 10 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday.

slothjabber
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Jun 20 2013 09:05

Yeah, pretty much, thanks Chilli.

I really don't have much of an issue with the general content of the leaflet, but as I said originally, I doubt the effectiveness of approaching the people who've already made a considerable effort to attend (1-decided to go; 2-bought a ticket; 3-travelled to London, which will have often involved more booking and paying). It's a bit like having a leaflet specifically directed at members of the SWP or something. These people are already committed.

Anyway, is it available in electronic form yet? Not wishing to be too much of a 'keyboard warrior', but I thought I'd hawk it around FB and what have you.

Battlescarred
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Jun 21 2013 09:12

go to our facebook Page "Anarchist Federation (London)" and use Share to put it around.

slothjabber
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Jun 21 2013 14:48

Thanks for posting the info.

However, it's a closed group. So, probably not. I'll stick to the unformatted text that I've been copying and pasting, thanks.

Battlescarred
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Jun 21 2013 19:31

deleted

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Theft
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Jun 23 2013 13:37

Any feedback on how your text went down?

Battlescarred
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Jun 26 2013 12:42

Got called a "counter-revolutionary piece of shit" by a Stalinist!

Ablokeimet
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Jun 26 2013 12:49
Battlescarred wrote:
Got called a "counter-revolutionary piece of shit" by a Stalinist!

It would be a much greater worry if a Stalinist was complimentary!

Battlescarred
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Jun 26 2013 13:40

Of course, to be worn as a badge of honour!

slothjabber
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Jun 27 2013 08:43

Any report of how it all went?