What's going on in AFed?

238 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 21 2018 16:39
crooked wrote:
Mike are you responding to Tom Henrys opposition to the

"We do support working class struggles against ... political and economic colonialism."

line and arguing for supporting struggles against colonialism?

Your examples and argumentation around them seems to imply that you don't support struggles against colonialism but class struggle in (post) colonial regions?

This is despite claiming the opposite position? Could you clarify why and when the colonial aspect would change your analysis and flip it from non-support to support. That is compared to a similar situation in the UK.

I'm not entirely sure I get the question but trying to answer anyway:

I would say "you don't support struggles against colonialism but class struggle in (post) colonial regions? " is my position, except that I think many of us are guilty of ignoring 'class struggle in (post) colonial regions' precisely because it occurred in the context of a wider movement against colonialism.

We have some writing on Algeria 1960-64 on libcom, but the vast majority is from the Situationist International published at the time (for example https://libcom.org/library/internationale-situationiste-10-article-1). There is almost zero anarchist or communist literature on Kenya that I've seen - it's a history that's been neglected. Some of us have been slowly trying to correct some of this, but it's also hard to find in general.

Let's take a non-national liberation example, the Russian Revolution.

There are a couple of approaches to the Russian Revolution, one is to see it as a 'Bolshevik coup d'etat' (for example here: https://libcom.org/library/role-soviets-russias-bourgeois-revolution-poi...) - where it was simply a bourgeois revolution with no class content.

The other is to look at the factory committees, mass strikes etc. as containing actual class content, but then getting sidelined by the Bolsheviks once they had control of the state apparatus: Brinton being the obvious example: https://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/

The second approach requires a lot more engagement with the history than the former, and we have to recognise that a lot of workers in the factory committees, out on strike in 1918/1919 etc. were also Bolshevik members/supporters (and of other non-anarchist/left communist factions) or had been in 1917 (in the same way CWU members who voted labour can go on wildcat against both in 2007).

Then if we talk about 'political and economic colonialism' is it just the formal status of people not having democratic rights and transfer of resources from one country to another? Or is it the concrete result of that situation - forced displacement, bonded labour, colonial police and military forces, plantations etc. If we don't define what we're talking about, how the fuck are people supposed to know what is and isn't supported?

crooked wrote:
all I'm reading from your arguments is that you shouldn't make poor analysis lacking nuance based on limited information and that movements tend to be complex.

Yes, pretty much, except I think we're talking about cumulative decades of this relative to say the critique of trade unions or electoralism whatever else that have been highly developed based on countless examples. So for me personally I've been refocusing the past couple years or so to try to fill in a lot of gaps. Critiqueing the crudest anti-imperialism is easy (and there's a lot of it about, not saying it's useless to do that), understanding why mass strikes and self-management in the '30s-'70s failed in colonial, colonised and post-colonial countries is a lot harder.

rat's picture
rat
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Jan 21 2018 21:36

Ireland?

dark_ether's picture
dark_ether
Offline
Joined: 12-09-12
Jan 22 2018 08:56

To my knowledge there is no real disagreement on nationalism or national liberation on either side of the AFed 'split'. The last discussion that we had at a federal meet up on the issues around nationalism had similar things being said by folks who have ended up in and out of the group.

It's one of those things that always requires constant discussion and debate, as our theory messily collides with reality.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Jan 22 2018 16:22
rat wrote:
Ireland?

Well yes, we've put rather a lot of effort into researching the intersection of colonialism, nationalism and the workers movement as far back as 1798. Quite often informed by direct experience and a huge amount of collective discussion.

I'd say the 125 articles at https://www.wsm.ie/republicanism would suggest this isn't as under researched by anarchists as imagined - at least in relation to Britains oldest colony. I'd love to see a lot more work on the intersections in Africa and Asia but I suspect we will see those come from emerging anarchist movements there rather than those in Britain. There is remarkable little written by anarchists in Britain on British colonialism as opposed to why various oppositions to that colonialism don't offer real liberation.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 22 2018 22:13
AndrewF wrote:
I'd love to see a lot more work on the intersections in Africa and Asia but I suspect we will see those come from emerging anarchist movements there rather than those in Britain.

There's already a fair bit of literature on class struggles in (post-) colonised countries, but it's mostly been written by academic historians who don't necessarily identify as anarchists. I mentioned Rachid Tlemcani's book on Algeria, Tabitha Kanogo's book on Kikuyu squatters earilier in the thread. Most of this work has been done since the early '80s (at least coinciding if not influenced directly by the emergence of subaltern studies in India). Then there are earlier examples like CLR James on Haiti (when he was a Trotskyist in the '30s).

However most of this, because it's by academic historians, is either in full length book form, or behind academic paywalls, which makes it relatively inaccessible to a lot of people. As foundational work for surfacing some of the history that's otherwise buried in government and newspaper archives (and people's heads where they are/were still alive) it's useful though. I don't know what the non-anglophone/untranslated situation is like.

Waiting for 'anarchist' accounts of things is a bit self-perpetuating for me - you're not necessarily suggesting that, but certainly there is a tendency for people to look for 'anarchist' tendencies in struggles, and either write them off because they can't find one, or inject them where they don't exist.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 01:41

A nudge.

dark_ether wrote:

Quote:
To my knowledge there is no real disagreement on nationalism or national liberation on either side of the AFed 'split'.

Yes, this is the truth of it and probably part of the underlying reason why the actual grounds of the ‘split’ have so far been incommunicable beyond personal acrimony.

(See this very weakly written statement on 'the split' by the LAC/CommunistAnarchists:
https://communistanarchism.blogspot.com.au/2018/01/class-struggle-anarchist-statement-on_1.html?m=1)

The level of analysis is very low. Perhaps both sides of the split became ‘history’ long ago? One went unwittingly to the dustbin, after being drowned in its own confusion, and the other became joyously submerged in the wide sea of neo-liberalism.

Did it all go wrong (or go right) when the revolutionaries let themselves think that the working class was an identity, expressed in headscarves and cloth caps? Did no one bother to read Otto Ruhle? Or preference their own observations of their own complex lives and tastes - their evening reading, drinking, or television watching habits - over their ideological commitment to their identity as working class?

All those professors of literature etc in the universities, or celebrities, who fiercely held onto their identity as working class…

The working class as a sociological (identity) category, not an economic one…

The hastily gathered texts below may help clarify what constitutes Identity Politics, and why it has inevitably developed within leftist/anarchist praxis:

https://libcom.org/blog/identity-crisis-leftist-anti-wokeness-bullshit-22082017

https://libcom.org/library/identity-politics-class-struggle

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers

dark_ether's picture
dark_ether
Offline
Joined: 12-09-12
Jan 23 2018 06:13
Tom Henry wrote:
Did it all go wrong (or go right) when the revolutionaries let themselves think that the working class was an identity, expressed in headscarves and cloth caps?

I literally don't know anyone who thinks this. Especially since most of us who most feel the brunt of economic issues are a million miles away from the 70's stereotype... working in call centres, care work or hospitality, and rarely stepping inside a football ground, downing cheap lager or watching soap operas.

rat's picture
rat
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Jan 23 2018 07:55

This Novara Media podcast from 2016 may offer a snapshot of contemporary anarchism:

Novara Media: What even is anarchafeminism?

Genuine or parody? Either way Aaron Bastani and his mates must have listened with a wry smile.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 09:09
dark_ether wrote:
Tom Henry wrote:
Did it all go wrong (or go right) when the revolutionaries let themselves think that the working class was an identity, expressed in headscarves and cloth caps?

I literally don't know anyone who thinks this. Especially since most of us who most feel the brunt of economic issues are a million miles away from the 70's stereotype... working in call centres, care work or hospitality, and rarely stepping inside a football ground, downing cheap lager or watching soap operas.

So, though you indicate that the working class may have 'changed', do you consider 'the working class' to be an identity?

Your answer to this is crucial (in this discussion and in a far broader sense) because it will explain (to yourself and others) your approach to the economic system that subjugates us, and the role you see for the working class in revolutionary struggles/politics (in relation to the role of the revolutionaries).

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jan 23 2018 09:21
rat wrote:
This Novara Media podcast from 2016 may offer a snapshot of contemporary anarchism:

Novara Media: What even is anarchafeminism?

Genuine or parody? Either way Aaron Bastani and his mates must have listened with a wry smile.

Like, like, like, like, feminism, like, like, anarchism, like., like. Nothing truly said.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jan 23 2018 09:27
Tom Henry wrote:
dark_ether wrote:
Tom Henry wrote:
Did it all go wrong (or go right) when the revolutionaries let themselves think that the working class was an identity, expressed in headscarves and cloth caps?

I literally don't know anyone who thinks this. Especially since most of us who most feel the brunt of economic issues are a million miles away from the 70's stereotype... working in call centres, care work or hospitality, and rarely stepping inside a football ground, downing cheap lager or watching soap operas.

So, though you indicate that the working class may have 'changed', do you consider 'the working class' to be an identity?

Your answer to this is crucial (in this discussion and in a far broader sense) because it will explain (to yourself and others) your approach to the economic system that subjugates us, and the role you see for the working class in revolutionary struggles/politics (in relation to the role of the revolutionaries).

So what is YOUR answer? What do YOU actually think the role of the working class in revolutionary struggles is, without resorting to the parodic shit you come out with about cloth caps and headscaves?

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 09:32
Battlescarred wrote:
rat wrote:
This Novara Media podcast from 2016 may offer a snapshot of contemporary anarchism:

Novara Media: What even is anarchafeminism?

Genuine or parody? Either way Aaron Bastani and his mates must have listened with a wry smile.

Like, like, like, like, feminism, like, like, anarchism, like., like. Nothing truly said.

rat vs Battlescarred?

Is the debate (previous to my intervention of course) no more than acrimony and recrimination because the game has been spoiled?

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 09:34
Battlescarred wrote:
Tom Henry wrote:
dark_ether wrote:
Tom Henry wrote:
Did it all go wrong (or go right) when the revolutionaries let themselves think that the working class was an identity, expressed in headscarves and cloth caps?

I literally don't know anyone who thinks this. Especially since most of us who most feel the brunt of economic issues are a million miles away from the 70's stereotype... working in call centres, care work or hospitality, and rarely stepping inside a football ground, downing cheap lager or watching soap operas.

So, though you indicate that the working class may have 'changed', do you consider 'the working class' to be an identity?

Your answer to this is crucial (in this discussion and in a far broader sense) because it will explain (to yourself and others) your approach to the economic system that subjugates us, and the role you see for the working class in revolutionary struggles/politics (in relation to the role of the revolutionaries).

So what is YOUR answer? What do YOU actually think the role of the working class in revolutionary struggles is, without resorting to the parodic shit you come out with about cloth caps and headscaves?

I have no answer. It is you who say you have an answer. What is it?

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 09:38

Spikymike should weigh in here to offer his usual 'reasonable' balance that allows everything to continue to slip away from him (see the 'Why are these places dying' thread).

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 09:52

Battlescarred, do you think the working class is an identity?

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jan 23 2018 09:58

Complete parodic tosh from Tom Henry. Oh, if we had only read Otto Ruhle ( we had). This from the guy who continued to push anti-organisational politics after he'd been let back into the AF after specifically avowing that he'd dropped those ideas, Only to cynically start afresh almost immediately.. When confronted he decamped PDQ. No respect for M. Dupont/Tom Henry, I'm afraid.
As Dark Ether says, "don't know anyone who thinks this", re cloth caps and headscarves.We never did, and Tom Henry knows this and as usual is being completely dishonest.just as he is being completely dishonest by saying he has no answer. Pretty tired of his tedious sophistries.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jan 23 2018 14:55

Less time talking about working class identity, less time listening to denizens from the groves of academe, and more time actually organising around our common conditions, basing our theory and praxis on actual concrete struggles. Useful theory springs from actual struggles and events, defining common conditions, both in terms of economic exploitation and of oppression, on which and around which we can work towards mutual liberation..

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jan 23 2018 10:23
Tom Henry wrote:
Battlescarred wrote:
rat wrote:
This Novara Media podcast from 2016 may offer a snapshot of contemporary anarchism:

Novara Media: What even is anarchafeminism?

Genuine or parody? Either way Aaron Bastani and his mates must have listened with a wry smile.

Like, like, like, like, feminism, like, like, anarchism, like., like. Nothing truly said.

rat vs Battlescarred?

Is the debate (previous to my intervention of course) no more than acrimony and recrimination because the game has been spoiled?

No, no versus here. Oh, and it's not a game (although it always was to you) but a serious matter.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Jan 23 2018 10:28
Mike Harman wrote:
Waiting for 'anarchist' accounts of things is a bit self-perpetuating for me - you're not necessarily suggesting that, but certainly there is a tendency for people to look for 'anarchist' tendencies in struggles, and either write them off because they can't find one, or inject them where they don't exist.

That wouldn't be what I mean by an anarchist account though - in fact its that tendency to dismiss struggles where a relatively pure anarchist faction can't be found I'm highlighting above. I think there is a very strong need for British anarchists to produce material on British colonialism, the impact it has had on the formation of the British working class and then perhaps a look at some of the more interesting aspects of anti-colonial struggles. Instead we only get a negative 'this is not the answer' boilerplate argument about resistance movements.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 11:02
Battlescarred wrote:
Complete parodic tosh from Tom Henry. Oh, if we had only read Otto Ruhle ( we had). This from the guy who continued to push anti-organisational politics after he'd been let back into the AF after specifically avowing that he'd dropped those ideas, Only to cynically start afresh almost immediately.. When confronted he decamped PDQ. No respect for M. Dupont/Tom Henry, I'm afraid.
As Dark Ether says, "don't know anyone who thinks this", re cloth caps and headscarves.We never did, and Tom Henry knows this and as usual is being completely dishonest.just as he is being completely dishonest by saying he has no answer. Pretty tired of his tedious sophistries.

Show me where I said I had dropped those ideas. I always thought it was worthwhile belonging to a group. You are seriously missing the point and continue to waste your opportunities.

The postmodernist mess that the ACF/AF is in now is precisely what I was trying to avoid (or argue against) all those years ago. But none of you seem to understand where you are located in this mess, or what the history leading to it is.

Wheels in a rut. History has left the ACF/AF/LAC behind.

How are you going to deal with this, apart from closing your eyes?

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 11:05

It is not with me that this discussion should be happening (how ridiculous!), but between the different factions that appear evident within the AF and Libcom.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 11:11

And if this discussion isn't transparent and open, published etc, then it is a betrayal of the class.

Tom Henry
Offline
Joined: 26-09-16
Jan 23 2018 11:14

Battlescarred wrote:

Quote:
Less time talking about working class identity

Battlescarred, do you think the working class is an identity?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 23 2018 11:34
AndrewF wrote:
I think there is a very strong need for British anarchists to produce material on British colonialism, the impact it has had on the formation of the British working class and then perhaps a look at some of the more interesting aspects of anti-colonial struggles. Instead we only get a negative 'this is not the answer' boilerplate argument about resistance movements.

I thought Base's first editorial made a good start on linking colonialism to the current wave of anti-immigration policy (via Sivanandan and the 1968 immigration act). Sivanandan's writing on this is excellent but hasn't had nearly enough attention, partly why we included him here: https://libcom.org/blog/6-underrated-marxists-dont-get-enough-love-16102.... He died recently so maybe there'll be some more engagement.

Another area that hasn't had enough attention is the pre-Grunwick strikes by mostly Asian workers, we've been slowly building up our archive about these: https://libcom.org/history/imperial-typewriters-strike-1974-ron-ramdin for example.

With major TUC unions (especially but not just McCluskey) arguing for tighter immigration controls, that immigrants lower wages etc. all of this is still relevant.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 23 2018 11:41

Tom Henry. Please keep comments to one at a time, at one sentence each you're not running out of space.

Jim
Offline
Joined: 30-04-06
Jan 23 2018 12:34

I've just seen people discussing the Anarcho-Communism group on Facebook which has more than 23,000 members. These are the questions you need to answer before you can join:

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jan 23 2018 13:09
Tom Henry wrote:
Battlescarred wrote:

Quote:
Less time talking about working class identity

Battlescarred, do you think the working class is an identity?

I don't , no. Now can we move on.

darren p's picture
darren p
Offline
Joined: 5-07-06
Jan 23 2018 14:27
Jim wrote:
I've just seen people discussing the Anarcho-Communism group on Facebook which has more than 23,000 members. These are the questions you need to answer before you can join:

Jesus christ, that group is a car-crash don't even bother to go there! Nothing to do with anarchist-communism, just some weird kind of white guilt crypto-maoism. I think it's really just a US internet thing. I wouldn't have given it the oxygen by mentioning here...

EDIT: This comment is not to do with the enrolment questions but the standard of typical posts.

jondwhite's picture
jondwhite
Offline
Joined: 23-10-12
Jan 23 2018 15:26
jondwhite wrote:
Can anyone summarise which (splinter) group believes what?

At the risk of more downvotes, I don't suppose anyone can give a precis of this?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 23 2018 15:41
jondwhite wrote:
jondwhite wrote:
Can anyone summarise which (splinter) group believes what?

At the risk of more downvotes, I don't suppose anyone can give a precis of this?

Have you read the statements/posts? Roughly chronological order:

https://libcom.org/forums/announcements/london-anarchist-bookfair-saturd... (original link is down but it was copy/pasted into the thread).

http://afed.noflag.org.uk/afed-trans-action-faction-statement-in-respons...

https://londonacg.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/class-struggle-anarchist-statem...

https://londonacg.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/resignations-from-anarchist-fed...

https://www.facebook.com/Anarchistfederation/posts/2231949820163757