DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

The SPGB and the London Anarchist Bookfair

89 posts / 0 new
Last post
ajjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 20-04-08
Aug 20 2014 07:25
The SPGB and the London Anarchist Bookfair
Quote:
Thank you for your request for a stall at the Anarchist Bookfair on the 18th October. We looked at your website and considered your request during our last Bookfair Collective meeting. I am sorry to have to inform you that we considered the politics of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, in particular your belief in political parties, are not sufficiently compatible with Anarchism for us to able to offer you a stall. I realise that you will be disappointed by our decision but need to let you know that it is final. Jane, on behalf of the Anarchist Bookfair Collective

So in reply to Slothjabber who said

Quote:
And if you want to know why you didn't get a stall at the Anarchist Bookfair in London last October, it's probably because you didn't ask for one.

(his emphasis)
http://libcom.org/forums/theory/why-do-anarchists-prefer-leftcoms-spgb-2...

Well, we asked this year and the answer is the same as before - No. What made you think things had changed?

I have no idea who is on the bookfair collective but if they had to look at our website to know our politics and conclude that we are a political party (hint....it is in our name) i don't think they really know very much about us.

I personally don't think we should pursue the matter in future years,...you can only take getting the door slammed in your face so many times before you stop bothering to ask for entry and after all, the decision has been declared final...nothing about it being re-considered next year.

But have no doubt, it will be cast up by me on these forums when the occasions merits it and i possess a long memory and bear a grudge when slighted.

sweetiepie
Offline
Joined: 20-08-14
Aug 20 2014 08:28

It's amazing that this generation of anarchists doesn't know the SPGB - the most anarchist socialists ever. Not to give them a stall is truly unbefitting of the anarchist ethic. Please think again.

jondwhite's picture
jondwhite
Offline
Joined: 23-10-12
Aug 20 2014 08:28

I didn't get involved in politics to hold grudges. Its probably not best described as a 'ban', so I'd be happy to ask again next year.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Aug 20 2014 08:28

I can understand that you are disappointed, but it is an anarchist bookfair, and the SPGB is not an anarchist organisation so I think you can't really be that surprised that you weren't allowed a stall.

Especially given your stance on electoralism, which is of particularly key importance to anarchists it's understandable, no? Especially as you do try to get votes in local and national elections.

sweetiepie
Offline
Joined: 20-08-14
Aug 20 2014 08:34

Steven,

SPGB only asks for the votes of people who accept their case and anyway the main purpose of standing for elections is as a platform to make their case known as widely as possible.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 20 2014 08:47

O boo hoo. Steven is right.

If anarchist put a lot of time, energy and money into organizing a bookfair, it is because it is meant to be a venue for anarchist ideas. To turn that into a venue for political parties or statist organizations would not make any sense at all. It would be like the SPGB organizing a rally for a political candidate and inviting anarchists to speak on the topic of why not to vote.

Gepetto's picture
Gepetto
Offline
Joined: 28-10-12
Aug 20 2014 08:55
sweetiepie wrote:
Steven,

SPGB only asks for the votes of people who accept their case and anyway the main purpose of standing for elections is as a platform to make their case known as widely as possible.

If I'm not mistaken SPGB people literally believe that you need support of 50% + 1 person to make a revolution. So even though they are definitely not reformists, their silly democratism breeds its own problems.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Aug 20 2014 08:59
Steven. wrote:
I can understand that you are disappointed, but it is an anarchist bookfair, and the SPGB is not an anarchist organisation so I think you can't really be that surprised that you weren't allowed a stall.

Especially given your stance on electoralism, which is of particularly key importance to anarchists it's understandable, no? Especially as you do try to get votes in local and national elections.

That would be a fair point if it wasn't for the muck that is allowed space at the anarchist bookfair each year; groups or people with zero understanding of anarchism in any meaningful sense of the term. In fact, the SPGB's politics, while flawed, are much closer to the anarchism that many of us understand, unlike the ideas of some of the rag, tag and bobtail fuckwits we have to tolerate each year. As for using the SPGB's electoralism as a reason to exclude them, then surely the various Class War incarnations should be on a permanent bookfair banning, but in fact, they've always been welcome there. I'm sure Class War are not the only electoralists ever to have a stall at a bookfair.

sweetiepie
Offline
Joined: 20-08-14
Aug 20 2014 09:23

Gepetto,
Your're well wrong about the SPGB 'literally' believing that 'you need support of 50%+1 person to make a revolution'. If that were the case, it would indeed be 'silly democratism'.

alb
Offline
Joined: 28-03-10
Aug 20 2014 09:24

Be interesting to see who else gets banned. No doubt Ian Bone's Class War Party but what about the vanguard-partyists some of whom have been granted a stall there in the past? Or is it only electoralist but not vanguard parties that are banned?

Auld-bod's picture
Auld-bod
Offline
Joined: 9-07-11
Aug 20 2014 10:09

Akai #6, it is a peculiar aspect of the SPGB that they do invite ‘outsiders’ including anarchists to their meetings. Some have even been guest speakers. These folk are not your usual political party types.
What Steven #4 writes is fair enough – if it’s your hootenanny invite who you want; however I also think Serge #8 hits the nail on the head regarding double standards.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Aug 20 2014 10:32

Those of us who are, as it were, 'Communists' (as it is generally understood on libcom) FIRST and 'Anarchists' if at all SECOND, would probably be happy with the spgb having a stall at the London Anarchist bookfair, expecially as the bookfair seems to benefit more than most by it's history of inviting a pretty wide variety of radicals to attend and contribute to debate. Until others are prepared to organise conferences/seminars/bookfairs etc on the basis of the above priority then the rest of us will just have to continue using the London bookfair as our focus for activity inside and outside the event as best we can and just be grateful that the organisers keep the event going with all the hassle that involves.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Aug 20 2014 11:11

Actually, that point about Class War is totally fair enough. If it is the electoralism which is the problem (which for what I can see is the only problem with the SPGB) then by the same logic Class War shouldn't be allowed a stall either.

Edited to add: that said, I also respect the ability of the bookfair organisers to choose who they allow to have stalls/meetings and who they don't. Anyone else could get involved in organising it and have a say if they wanted. Same as us libcom admins having control over who we let post here.

ajjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 20-04-08
Aug 20 2014 11:19
Quote:
but it is an anarchist bookfair, and the SPGB is not an anarchist organisation so I think you can't really be that surprised that you weren't allowed a stall.

If that is the criteria then perhaps you should read the list of participating groups and decide for yourselves who meets that description. I will only highlight PPSUK, part of IOPS, Parecon cheerleaders that in its own words:

Quote:
assesses engaging in electoral politics case by case, including cultivating a very cautious electoral attitude.

http://www.iopsociety.org/structure-and-program

Ooops...how did they slip in?

full list here
anarchistbookfair.org.uk/websites.html

But as explained it is the prerogative of the organisers to pick and choose who they wish to host.

But some are aware on Libcom that i have tried to make bridges between the SPGB and parts of the anarchist movement...This decision merely hinders that prospect.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Aug 20 2014 14:38

The ICC also applied for a stall this year, citing the example of the CWO getting one last year, but after consulting our website the collective decided our politics were "incompatible with anarchism" and so the answer was, unsurprisingly, no. So it's the usual stall outside for us again. The basic problem is the conception of anarchism as a kind of family which can encompass all kinds of politics, from internationalism to nationalism and from broadly communist positions to frankly leftist ones. Anarchism or libertarianism is not a class definition.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Aug 20 2014 14:54
Alf wrote:
The basic problem is the conception of anarchism as a kind of family which can encompass all kinds of politics, from internationalism to nationalism and from broadly communist positions to frankly leftist ones. Anarchism or libertarianism is not a class definition.

you could also say the same about communism or left communism, or just about any political tradition TBH

cresspot's picture
cresspot
Offline
Joined: 8-09-13
Aug 20 2014 17:56

The free-range ice cream farm asked to paricitipate in the vegan ice cream fair and was rejected, when other questionable vegan ice creameries get to offer their sketchy looking ice cream. So maybe you should incorporate some veganism or merely start a free-range ice cream fair?

Auld-bod's picture
Auld-bod
Offline
Joined: 9-07-11
Aug 20 2014 18:00

cresspot #18 that was a stotter.

vinnieuk
Offline
Joined: 20-04-13
Aug 20 2014 18:34

Doesn't the SPGB seek the vote to abolish the state? (Among other things ). Seems strange that they are excluded from an anarchist book fair.

Well it's their loss. (The book fair that is)

It is also sending out the wrong message.

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
Offline
Joined: 4-01-12
Aug 20 2014 18:57
vinnieuk wrote:
Doesn't the SPGB seek the vote to abolish the state? (Among other things ).

Wouldn't you know having been a member for thirty years?

Quote:
Seems strange that they are excluded from an anarchist book fair.

Actually not really if your argument for entry is "Seeks state power to abolish the state" then they would have to let in all the groups from the SWP to the CPGB-ML.

I have to say I really don't see the point of threads like these. I can see why groups wanting stalls are pissed at being rejected but what exactly is to be gained here? They all seem like excuses to kick off a "My gangs better then your gang" fight.

I mean would it not be more productive for who evers in charge of the SPGB stalls/workshops reaching out to those groups that are attending to put in a word for them, or to ask that those attending the book fair to get in touch with its committee and request the SPGB's presence?

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Aug 20 2014 19:05

OK, I accept Serge's criticism completely. I haven't been to this bookfair and don't know what it is like, but know what I have seen iin other bookfairs.

About inviting people to debate, I think it is a different story than inviting them to a bookfair, but given what Serge said, OK.

I didn't know about this Class War stuff either. Thanks for the information.

vinnieuk
Offline
Joined: 20-04-13
Aug 20 2014 19:17
Reddebrek wrote:

Actually not really if your argument for entry is "Seeks state power to abolish the state" then they would have to let in all the groups from the SWP to the CPGB-ML.

Don't misrepresent the SPGB. The SWP is reformist, it seeks the power of the state to reform capitalism but calls it socialism.

Both parties you mention seek reforms. SPGB is opposed to reforms and the use of the state for anything other than dispossessing the owning class and abolishing the state.

vinnieuk
Offline
Joined: 20-04-13
Aug 20 2014 19:23
Reddebrek wrote:

Wouldn't you know having been a member for thirty years?

Another misrepresentation.

cresspot's picture
cresspot
Offline
Joined: 8-09-13
Aug 20 2014 19:29
vinnieuk wrote:
SPGB is opposed to reforms and the use of the state for anything other than dispossessing the owning class and abolishing the state.

You can't melt ice cream with ice cream.

alb
Offline
Joined: 28-03-10
Aug 20 2014 20:07

But can you use Beelzebub to cast out Beelzebub? smile

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
Offline
Joined: 4-01-12
Aug 20 2014 20:36
vinnieuk wrote:

Don't misrepresent the SPGB. The SWP is reformist, it seeks the power of the state to reform capitalism but calls it socialism.

I'm not I'm using your own argument, don't like my conclusions then get a better one.

Quote:
SPGB is opposed to reforms and the use of the state for anything other than dispossessing the owning class and abolishing the state.

The problem is they all say they wish to use the state to the abolish the state so what your argument boils down too is "They're lying but we aren't". Your talk reformism smacks of the no true Scotsman fallacy.

Quote:
vinnieuk wrote:
Reddebrek wrote:

Wouldn't you know having been a member for thirty years?

Another misrepresentation.

Bollocks.

Quote:
I have recently resigned my membership of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) after more than a 30 year association.

If anyone's misrepresenting anything here Vinni its you.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Aug 20 2014 22:02
Quote:
the SPGB - the most anarchist socialists ever.

Love it!

ajjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 20-04-08
Aug 21 2014 00:58

Ice cream that doesn't melt at all smile

http://www.geek.com/science/why-ice-cream-sandwiches-dont-melt-and-why-t...

The SPGB won't be disappearing because of this decision by the Bookfair collective (that will be a big disappointment for a few within the anarchist milieu, fortunately it is just a few).

It seems the reply of looking at website and deciding yeah or nay appears from what ICC say a standard mealy-mouthed formulation by the collective. I wonder what they would say to a non-website accessible group? ("Please submit your written literature in triplicate for processing so it may be vetted so as to receive our rubber-stamp of approval")

Also we should acknowledge that the Bookchin-inspired Social Ecology groups also call for participation in electoral process, albeit at a local level but the principle remains, simply a matter of scale, imho

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Aug 21 2014 06:53

I understand that these libertarian municipalists, if elected, would act as local councillors running the local state. If this is the case, it is far more 'un-anarchist' than the SPGB's barometer/abolish the state electoralism. The possibilty of SE groups succeeding in getting a councillor elected is also much higher... meanwhile, the SPGB aren't called the impossiblists for nothing.

ajjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 20-04-08
Aug 21 2014 08:29

The SPGB did come fairly close to gaining a parish council election one time in the NE...It sent shivers through some members of the ramifications if we had actually succeeded in winning it.

vinnieuk
Offline
Joined: 20-04-13
Aug 21 2014 09:28
Reddebrek wrote:
vinnieuk wrote:
Quote:
I have recently resigned my membership of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) after more than a 30 year [b]association.[/b]

If anyone's misrepresenting anything here Vinni its you.

association is not being a member. Besides my question about them was rhetorical.

You have talked unsupported bollocks about the the SPGB and unsupported bollocks about me. All you have to do is check your facts. Or continue to talk bollocks, That's up to you:)