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The Anarchist Workers Group (deceased)

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 13:25

First my strike, it was anti-democratic in that if we had held a meeting of all the workers, the decision would have been against going on strike, in that we forced our decision to strike against the will of the majority of the workers on that shift.

On to the more important points. I think that it is important not make idols of past leaders or movements. I don’t need to draw a family tree of how we are related to the history of the movement. Everything has to be seen in its historical situation, and nobody is beyond criticism.

Bordiga is a product of his time too. You must remember that the defeat of the Russian revolution was a catastrophe for the international workers movement, and caused a massive amount of confusion, and disorientation. Many just refused to believe that it had all gone wrong. My grandfather for example, who was a Stalinist, wept when the coup against Stalin was defeated in 1993. He was just many who failed to recognize that there had been a counter revolution at all.

Bordiga was one of those who did. Lots of Bordiga’s ideas were very confused. For example, he was confused about the exact nature of the ‘Soviet state’ until the 1950’s, but his break with the Comintern came in 1926 when they adopted the theory of ‘Socialism in one Country’.

While he was not clear about lots of things, especially the role of the party, some of his work is very interesting, particularly his opposition to frontism. Also unlike Lenin, Bordiga had some understanding of what communism was.

The German left is much more interesting, and I feel closer to their positions. They made mistakes also.

Quote:
As it happens I think that the CNT's descision to join the government was disasterous, counter revolutionary, and whether or not carried out through "formally democratic" means within the CNT was a betrayal of actual workers democracy eg just as a democratic decision to allow slavery would be.

This is an interesting paragraph. Are you actually saying that you would defend the idea of ‘workers democracy’ against the democratic decisions of workers? What is the idea of ‘workers democracy’. Could it be something close to what Bordiga called the communist programme (not as he articulated it, but as an abstract idea)?

Quote:
The difference between the CNT and Bolsheviks was that the joining of the government was an actual break with it's past, was not imposed upon the working class by force of arms and did not pro actively seek out dissenters, nor did it hold state capitalism as a desireable goal.

Even after joining the government many leading CNT members were fighting against this counter revolution by proxy, and the Friends of Durruti group, Libertarian Youth and much of the Mujeure Libres held the potential to continue the revolution.

Many leading Bolsheviks also opposed the Bolshevik counter revolution. In fact one group split from the party, and joined the KAI (The KAPD led Communist Workers International). In both countries there was working class opposition to counter revolution, and in both countries it included both those who called themselves anarchists, and those who called themselves Marxists. Those who supported the counter revolution whether in Russia, or Spain put themselves on the side of capitalism against the working class. Whilst the CNT didn't actually shot down workers in the street. They supported a government that did, and called on workers to abandon their struggles. I don't need to call them ‘traitors to the revolution’. Revolutionary anarchists had already done it.

Quote:
Leninists of course actively embrace counter revolution, whilst 99% of people I know who identify with anarcho syndicalism are very critical of the CNT's leadership, which is more than can be said for the ICC and other Bordigist ballbags who can't bring themselves to side with the Kronstadt insurgency. Any anarchist syndicalist I know defends the May Days uprising and condemns the CNT ministers role in clearing the streets for counter revolution.

Maybe this is because those who come from a Marxist tradition, who stood against the counter revolution stopped calling themselves Leninists wink, and when they did this they broke with the Lennist social democratic conceptions, what G. Davue quite nicely referred to as Kautsky-Leninism. Have the anarchist syndicalists rethought their conceptions, or do a lot of them just put it down to a 'bad man theory of history'?

Dev

P.S. I do agree that the ICC are very, very confused about who was on which side of the class line at krondstadt.

knightrose
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Apr 13 2006 13:42

many left communists seem to denounce the CNT root and branch because they betrayed the revolution in 1936. Funnily enough they manage not to do the same about the Bolsheviks. Somehow they see them as revolutionary up until 19__ (insert your own date here). Strange, eh? (Not having a pop at Dev here!)

martinh
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Apr 13 2006 14:06

Hi Devrim

Devrim wrote:

My grandfather for example, who was a Stalinist, wept when the coup against Stalin was defeated in 1993.

confused Bit late perhaps?

Devrim wrote:
Quote:
Leninists of course actively embrace counter revolution, whilst 99% of people I know who identify with anarcho syndicalism are very critical of the CNT's leadership, which is more than can be said for the ICC and other Bordigist ballbags who can't bring themselves to side with the Kronstadt insurgency. Any anarchist syndicalist I know defends the May Days uprising and condemns the CNT ministers role in clearing the streets for counter revolution.

Maybe this is because those who come from a Marxist tradition, who stood against the counter revolution stopped calling themselves Leninists wink, and when they did this they broke with the Lennist social democratic conceptions, what G. Davue quite nicely referred to as Kautsky-Leninism. Have the anarchist syndicalists rethought their conceptions, or do a lot of them just put it down to a 'bad man theory of history'?

While a few might put it down to Montseny (bad woman), Garcia Oliver or de Santillan, I think there's more going on and so do most other a-s. Perhaps the crucial thing as I said before is why the rank and file went along with the leaders. I think there's more than one answer, but the FAI is certainly part of it. Have you read Stuart Christie's "We the Anarchists!" which looks at the FAI in the 30s. It sheds a fair amount of light, IMO, and reminds those of us with a romantic worldview that there is no "final triumph", there's always another battle to fight. (Though perhaps that is a different thread wink )

Outside of Spain, Italy, Sweden and France, most a-s are in the IWA, which kicks people out for participating in any state-run bargaining apparatus. Tactically, the CGT-E, CNT-Vignoles, SAC and the varioous non-IWA unions in Italy don't, but it's not as if a-s in them aren't aware of the contradictions and don't have mechanisms for controlling them. The CNT have conducted a long vitriol against the CGT for having members who worked in prisons, and the SAC have been attacked for co-operating with the police at the Gothenburg summit. These examples show that people are aware of problems around the state and how we relate to it.

Regards,

Martin

Smash Rich Bastards
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Apr 13 2006 15:09
Catch wrote:
A member of NEFAC writing for Anarkism, then this being reposted on NEFAC's website doesn't in any way change Devrim's statement below.
Devrim wrote:
Just one point Oliver. If something is published on an organisation's website with no disclamers what does in a 'personal capacity' mean. Is it anarchist slang for "we are not 'authorıtarian' enough to have a political position. Everyone can believe what they like". He is, as you said, a mamber. Does he have to agree with the aims and principles even?

In solidarity,

Dev

So, every single peice of theory posted up to Libcom.org is fully endorsed by the entire collective? We have a website with specific sections for position papers and documents that have been endorsed by NEFAC. Everything else is theory, analysis and news reports that is within the general realm of our politics and areas of struggle where we are active. Kinda thought that one was obvious, but apparently not.

Ah well, honestly when it comes down to it I personally don't like or respect most "anarchists" (and I REALLY don't like or respect ultra-leftist windbags), so by all means feel free to paint us as pro-nationalists, Trotskyists, reformists, blah, blah, blah. Knock yourselves out.

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Apr 13 2006 15:11
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
So, every single peice of theory posted up to Libcom.org is fully endorsed by the entire collective?

No it's not, I'm not sure Devrim's or catch's are fair comments really. Talking to NEFAC people I've only heard them have similar anti-nationalist stances to the AF, not the more pro-nationalist ones of say WSM.

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 15:50

I don't think that they are unfair, John. Libcom doesn't claim to be a political organisation, and is therefore different. I read the article in KaraKızık Notlar in Turkey, and then checked the English original to quote from. I found it on a link from the main page under "Popular content: Today's:The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We "Support the Iraqi Resistance"?". It was actually first on the list. I would assume that with it being there on an organization website, it did actually defend the position of that organization. maybe that was a stupid assumption to make. I don't know anything about NEFAC, and people have said that they are not orientated towards national liberation struggles. In which case why do they publish such rubbish so prominently.

I believe from what he said earlier that 'Smash Rich Bastards' is actually the author of the piece. If this is the case, when he says:

Quote:
Ah well, honestly when it comes down to it I personally don't like or respect most "anarchists" (and I REALLY don't like or respect ultra-leftist windbags), so by all means feel free to paint us as pro-nationalists, Trotskyists, reformists, blah, blah, blah. Knock yourselves out.

, it doesn't surprise me. I am not in the slightest bit interested whether he REALLY doesn't llike me or not. It seems to be on the same level of argument as that often used by these types of leftists. Don't address the argument, just insult. Do you really think SRB that this 'ultra-leftist windbag' bothered to write the post that started this off to convince you that you were a pro-nationalist leftist? No, I wouldn't wear myself out. Unfortunately some people who might listen to this sort of rubbish aren't. They are people, who are worth discussing with, not leftist hacks such as yourself.

Devrim

Smash Rich Bastards
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Apr 13 2006 17:16
Devrim wrote:
I don't know anything about NEFAC, and people have said that they are not orientated towards national liberation struggles. In which case why do they publish such rubbish so prominently.

I dunno, is it prominently displayed on our website? From what I can tell, it keeps coming up on the 'today's popular content' section... which means it is getting hits. Probably coming from Google or something. None of us really have control over what people viewed on our website or how many times they view it. Sorry.

I believe from what he said earlier that 'Smash Rich Bastards' is actually the author of the piece. If this is the case, when he says:

Yeah, well you're wrong. I ain't Wayne. Its hard to confuse us. He's much more pleasant than me.

Don't address the argument, just insult. Do you really think SRB that this 'ultra-leftist windbag' bothered to write the post that started this off to convince you that you were a pro-nationalist leftist?

Well, because you're argument is largely based on a strawman you have created and decided to attribute to us. What's to argue? Anyone who is interested on our position in regards to national liberation or whatever else is free to read our 'Aims & Principles' (which, last I checked is anti-nationalist, but what do I know?) and determine where we stand based on that.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Apr 13 2006 17:25
Devrim wrote:
They are people, who are worth discussing with, not leftist hacks such as yourself.

Stop, you're breaking my heart. Really...

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 17:33

O.k.

So you didn’t write it, sorry. Something that you said made me think that it was you. Do you agree with it? The post that started this argument originally incuded this:

Quote:
First, lets talk about national liberation. In NEFAC’s aims and principles it says that:Quote:

We do not support the ideology of national liberation movements, which

claims that there are common

interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in

the face of foreign domination. Although we support working class

struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide

and colonization, we are opposed to the creation of a new ruling class.

We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through a

social revolution waged against both the imperialists and the local

ruling class. This social revolution will have to spread across national

borders. We further reject all forms of nationalism as this only serves

to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working

class has no country, and national boundaries will be eliminated. We

must encourage and develop international

solidarity which will one day lay the basis for a global social

revolution.

This seems quite clear, but then in the article 'The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We "Support the Iraqi Resistance"?', which was reprinted in this latest issue of 'KaraKızıl Notlar' in Turkey, Wayne Price says that:Quote:

The term national liberation implies more than this, an end to economic and political domination by imperialism--something which is not fully possible without the overthrow of world imperialism. But if national self-determination means the right to make a choice, then nationalism as such is a particular choice, the choice of a national state. It is possible to support the right of a people to make a choice without agreeing with the immediate choice they make.

and:Quote:

Lucien Van der Walt, of the Zabalaza Anarcho-Communist Federation of South Africa, points out that anarchists have participated in national anti-imperialist struggles in Cuba, Egypt, Ireland, Ukraine, Macedonia, Korea, Algeria, and Morocco. “The anarchist movement has paid in blood for its opposition to imperial domination.” He summarizes, “Anarchists...may fight alongside nationalists for limited reforms and victories against imperialism, but we fight against the statism and capitalism of the nationalists....This requires active participation in national liberation struggles but political independence from the nationalists. National liberation must be differentiated from nationalism, which is the class program of the bourgeoisie: we are against imperialism, but also, against nationalism.”

and:Quote:

Sam Mbah and I.E. Igariwey, of the Nigerian Awareness League, write in African Anarchism (1997), “Anarchists demand the liberation of all existing colonies and support struggles for national independence in Africa and around the world as long as they express the will of the people in the nations concerned. However, anarchists also insist that the usefulness of ‘self-determination’ will be very limited as long [as] the state system and capitalism--including Marxist state capitalism--are retained....A viable solution to the myriad of problems posed by the national question in Africa, such as internecine civil conflicts, is realizable only outside the context of the state system.”

andQuote:

Anarchists believe that nationalism and national independence (with a national state and a capitalist economy) will not solve the problems of oppressed nations. We are right to believe this. But the workers and peasants of Iraq, say, or Palestine, may believe otherwise. They are, we say, making an error, but they should have the RIGHT to make that error. We should--we must--support them in that right, against their oppressors. We must not say that since the Arab masses are making an error (by being nationalist), we will be neutral between the Iraqis and the U.S. or the Palestinians and the Zionist army. In fact, the only way the Iraqis, Palestinians, or others may be won to anarchist internationalism is if we support them fully, and if, if possible, anarchists struggle along with them, demonstrating in practice that libertarian socialism is the best program for ending imperialist domination.

I am sorry to quote at such great length, but I don’t want to be accused of quoting people out of context. It appears to me that they have kicked national liberation out of the front door, and then let it back in through the window. Nobody accused them of being Trotskists. What was said was: Quote:

NEFAC is hardly a million miles away from the Trotskyism of some of its older members youth.

I personally can see very little difference between this position, and the Trotskist position of critical support.

If somebody else can, could they please explain it to me.

The 'internationalists on the other hand say that today all national liberation movements are anti-working class. Our position is very clear. If you want to attack it, please do, but try to do it on a political level, not just throw insults. Please explain to me what we should do here in Turkey. Should we support the Kurdish nationalist in the PKK? As Wayne says:Quote:

The nationalism of the oppressed nations contains, however distorted, a positive aspect, namely opposition to imperialist oppression.

Or should we support the Turkish nationalists, who also claim that Turkey is oppressed by the imperialist powers?

Or should we support both, and wear different hats depending on whom we are talking to?

I for one will continue to take an internationalist position, and continue to say that the working class has no interest in supporting this squalid war, in which over 36,000 people mostly workers, peasants, and conscript soldiers have lost their lives on behalf of competing nationalisms.

I did look at your 'aims, and priciples', and they seemed very clear. That article seemed to be in complete contradiction to them. I could have pulled lots of other quotes from it. I don't think that these are unrepresentitive.

So where does NEFAC stand with this article, or with its aims, and principles? They are in contradiction.

Actually, I didn't call you a leftist hack. It was proceded by

Quote:
I believe from what he said earlier that 'Smash Rich Bastards' is actually the author of the piece. If this is the case,

.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Apr 13 2006 17:57

I honestly haven't even read it fully. I have had conversations with author in the past, and feel like I have a pretty good idea of his positions in regards to national liberation struggles (which are more nuanced and complex then you are painting them) and can guess where he's coming from.

From what you have quoted, I don't see any real contradiction between this:

We do not support the ideology of national liberation movements, which claims that there are common interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination. Although we support working class struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide and colonization, we are opposed to the creation of a new ruling class.

and this:

The term national liberation implies more than this, an end to economic and political domination by imperialism--something which is not fully possible without the overthrow of world imperialism. But if national self-determination means the right to make a choice, then nationalism as such is a particular choice, the choice of a national state. It is possible to support the right of a people to make a choice without agreeing with the immediate choice they make.

It's called critical support.

Again, this is not to say I agree with Wayne's views 100%. But I don't think it is in contradiction with the basic politics or strategic orientation in NEFAC (as I understand them). We are not pie-in-the-sky purists, we're class war anarchists who accept that there is no such thing as a perfect scenario for struggle, so we critically support a number of imperfect struggles (and have even been known to work in coalitions with *gasp* leftists) while simultaneously advocating our own revolutionary politics.

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Steven.
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Apr 13 2006 17:59
Devrim wrote:
So where does NEFAC stand with this article, or with its aims, and principles? They are in contradiction.

To me it seems obvious that NEFAC stands with its As and Ps, but some of its members don't agree with it totally.

NEFAC has shitloads of articles on its site, I think it would be silly to think it agrees with them all.

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 18:12

Come on, I know there is struggle alongside leftists. From an earlier post on this thread abit of the point but:

Quote:
Of slightly less importance to the international class struggle was a little spat we had at work a couple of months ago. The point however remains the same. The director threw a fit, and sacked one of the workers (there were some issue, but I feel that the main reason was that her family’s origins were in one of those ‘Eastern’ countries, and she wasn’t quite ‘white’ enough. Our management are really racist bastards). Myself, and one of the lads at work (who happens to be a left nationalist) had foreseen this, and had said in the pub one night that if it happened we would go on strike. She was sacked, we refused to go back to work, we explained to the other workers what we were doing and why, and we were joined by some, but not all of them. If we had held a meeting, and put it to a vote, we would have definitely lost. By striking ourselves, we forced the management to back down after two hours, and saved her job.

Left communist organises a strke with anti working class nationalist shocker I do live in the real world, but there is a differnce between organising together with these people as workers for working class demands, and organising with them politically.

I think there is a difference between these two statements, and that critical support is support.

Can you answer these questions

Quote:
Please explain to me what we should do here in Turkey. Should we support the Kurdish nationalist in the PKK? As Wayne says:Quote:

The nationalism of the oppressed nations contains, however distorted, a positive aspect, namely opposition to imperialist oppression.

Or should we support the Turkish nationalists, who also claim that Turkey is oppressed by the imperialist powers?

Or should we support both, and wear different hats depending on whom we are talking to?

I for one will continue to take an internationalist position, and continue to say that the working class has no interest in supporting this squalid war, in which over 36,000 people mostly workers, peasants, and conscript soldiers have lost their lives on behalf of competing nationalisms.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Apr 13 2006 18:23

I agree with your position. I think most people in NEFAC would agree with your position (at least I would hope so). Hell, alot of our membership are anti-nationalist Quebecois (often from pro-seperatist family backgrounds), many of whom have fought it out in the streets with fists and boots against MLNQ seperatists. On the ground, when it counts, we are staunchly anti-nationalist, which is why it is insulting to be painted otherwise.

Mike Harman
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Apr 13 2006 18:24
Devrim wrote:
First my strike, it was anti-democratic in that if we had held a meeting of all the workers, the decision would have been against going on strike, in that we forced our decision to strike against the will of the majority of the workers on that shift.

I'm not sure about that.

You met with someone and decided to strike if something happened - there were two of you so you simply came to an agreement informally. Voting or anything else would've been stupid.

For it to be anti-democratic, you'd have had to either

1. In some way force other people out on strike against their wishes

2. Have the meeting and the vote go against you, then go out on strike anyway.

Just doing something off your own bat on your own responsibility isn't anti-democratic IMO. If 2000 French school kids vote unanimously to block a motorway, and 5,000 motorists would rather they got the fuck off the road, is that 'anti-democratic'?

guadia
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Apr 13 2006 19:08
Devrim wrote:
First my strike, it was anti-democratic in that if we had held a meeting of all the workers, the decision would have been against going on strike, in that we forced our decision to strike against the will of the majority of the workers on that shift.

there is one more example made by dauve. it is from 1968 year in france where there was a voting in one rail station whether to continue the strike which stopped transport to paris or not. the verdict was to withdraw the strike but minority of workers didn´t follow the decision of majority and prevented the trains to go to paris. was it democratic? no. did it help the struggle? yes. and it implies that you can separate democracy from revolution. would we condemn this active minority which tried to contribute to the struggle?

to contribute to the revolutionary doesn´t mean to follow democracy nothing more than to be antidemocratic ensure to be on the revolutionary lines.

democratic principle (that everybody must have say in the issues which is concern his/her) is an ideal abstraction. actually it is even more that abstraction: it is a weapon of the present system. while the ideas of society are ideas of the rulling class the democracy principle would prevent any action against it - which is at least at the start minor one.

on the other side it is really a dangerous nonsense to enter the action in the condition (also concerning numbers of people) which have no perspective to get support and be spread. but it is totally different sotry which has nothing to do with the question of democracy.

gurrier
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Apr 13 2006 19:42
Peter wrote:
No I won't change the definitions. I'll just point out that they appear to presuppose the existence of abstract individuals alienated from each other just like every other bourgeois position.

grin grin Mr. T

the phrase "equal division of x" presupposes abstract individuals alienated from each other and is inherently bourgeois - well I never!

I suspect that it would be even more bonkers than it looks if I could figure out what it meant.

Peter wrote:
What I'd counterpose to those bourgeois positions is that old saw of 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'. I'm not opposed to taking votes on some things but to fetishise voting as THE decision making process is silly and yes, bourgeois and counter-revolutionary.

And I'd counterpose a bar of chocolate to your proletarian position - it has exactly as much relevance to my question. I should add that you introduced voting to the argument so you can hardly accuse me of fetishising it.

Peter wrote:
Alternatively Marx's son-in-law Paul Lafargue put it pretty well way back in the 19th century, "...the aim of the revolution is not the triumph of justice, morality, liberty and other bourgeois jokes, but as little work and as much intellectual and physical enjoyment as possible."

To your bourgeois position, I counterpose my own proletarian one

"nice things are nice"

cheers

Pete

gurrier
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Apr 13 2006 19:48
John. wrote:
No it's not, I'm not sure Devrim's or catch's are fair comments really. Talking to NEFAC people I've only heard them have similar anti-nationalist stances to the AF, not the more pro-nationalist ones of say WSM.

That's ridiculous. The WSM are pro-nationalist!!!

God, it seems that objecting to wealthy and powerful slaughtering people in poorer and weaker parts of the world is now pro-nationalist.

roll eyes

Smash Rich Bastards
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Apr 13 2006 19:55

Welcome to the club comrade.

Mike Harman
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Apr 13 2006 20:47

You've already gone out on strike by that point Jack. I'm talking about the initial decision to strike: in Devrim's case taken in the pub during a quiet chat, not what's done afterwards.

Similarly, I fail to see how a flying picket is 'anti-democratic" - a flying picket could be mandated by an assembly of workers, or it might be one person taking things into their own hands - since it can be either of those things, to me it's neither democratic nor anti-democratic but merely a strategy or tactic to be used.

The point at which the flying picket (or any picket) interacts with other workers is a different thing, but that's a different set of people to 'have a say in the issues which concern him/her', who'll be making their minds up in different circumstances. The decision's already been taken by that point and lines have been drawn.

Welcome to the forums guadia, by the way.

Mike Harman
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Apr 13 2006 20:48
gurrier wrote:

God, it seems that objecting to wealthy and powerful slaughtering people in poorer and weaker parts of the world is now pro-nationalist.

roll eyes

Are squaddies 'wealthy and powerful'?

gurrier
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Apr 13 2006 21:01
Catch wrote:
Are squaddies 'wealthy and powerful'?

Good grief. We should denounce opposition to imperialism because the grunts who do the shit jobs in it aren't members of the ruling class?

If you were an Iraqi and your country was occupied by an imperialist army who killed maybe 250,000 people or so, mostly for no reason whatsoever, would you denounce those who fought back without having a theoretical world view that agrees entirely with your own?

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 22:36

Smash Rich Bastards,

O.K. you sat that you and basically agree with what I am saying, and you think that most of NEFAC does. In which case I withdraw my accusation that you are a nationalist. However, I am sure that you understand how things can appear to comrades in foreign countries especially comrades who don’t speak English, know little about NEFAC, and see a translation of this article. I have just checked in KKN, the source given was from anarchismo.net, It was after a lot of foot notes, and I didn’t notice it, but when I searched for it, I did find it on the NEFAC website.

We talked about a week ago about the special responsibility of English speaking comrades. I wrote:

Quote:
Do people in English speaking countries realize how important their work is? In lots of conversations I have with anarchists here English language magazines come up. For example the WSM are very influential in Turkish anarchism, and I have just received an e-mail from a comrade in Istanbul saying that he had been following my arguments on the unions on Libcom.

In a country like Turkey, and I suspect that this is true for many countries, there isn't much published in the local language, and with English being effectively the international language (please let's not start that one again). The English anarchist, and communist groups have an disproportional influence.

Given that the point about influence is undoubtedly true, and let’s add NEFAC up there with the WSM, don’t you think that NEFAC has a special responsibility to think extra carefully about what goes on its website. Also, as I read it Wayne Price is in direct contradiction with your aims, and principles. Is it acceptable in NEFAC for a leading member to publish as a member of the organization things that openly contradict those principles.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 22:58

When I got home tonight there was a discussion programme on TV, and the subject was ‘Are the claims of the Armenian Genocide part of the imperialist project?’ Lots of Turks really do believe this. They think that Turkey is an oppressed nation, and that the imperialist powers are conspiring to stop Turkey becoming powerful, and that the EU, and the US want to divided Turkey (into a separate states for the Armenians, and for the Kurds). As much as it may sound bizarre to those of you outside of this asylum, this is actually mainstream ideology in this country. It is linked into Kemalism, and is the basis of the ideology of the state. I often get completely blank looks when I try to explain that this country is a member of NATO, and actually one of the imperialists. The nationalist position here goes right across the political spectrum from the neo-fascist MHP (and they are a lot bigger, more mainstream, and dangerous than fascists in England, and America) to the Turkish Communist Party. The Kurdish nationalists are just an ugly mirror image of this (I can remember talking to a Kurdish nationalist, who said “the first thing to do when we have our own state is to kill all the Aleviler”. They don’t say this anymore). All nationalism, and national liberation struggles are anti-working class, and workers have no interest in being drawn into them. To a certain extent the comrades in North America are isolated from this (even if there have been fist fights in Quebec) as there isn’t or hasn’t been a national liberation war going on in their countries.

Mike Harman
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Apr 13 2006 23:01
gurrier wrote:

Good grief. We should denounce opposition to imperialism because the grunts who do the shit jobs in it aren't members of the ruling class?

If you were an Iraqi and your country was occupied by an imperialist army who killed maybe 250,000 people or so, mostly for no reason whatsoever, would you denounce those who fought back without having a theoretical world view that agrees entirely with your own?

I'm under the impression that many of the secular elements of Iraqi society who are opposed to the occupation are quite happy to denounce people like Zarqawi, are they wrong to do this?

Would they also denounce posturing 'victory to the resistance' twats in the UK? I should fucking hope so.

Not to say that you're anywhere near a "victory to the resistance" line, but I hope that answers your question.

gurrier
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Apr 13 2006 23:05
Catch wrote:
I'm under the impression that many of the secular elements of Iraqi society who are opposed to the occupation are quite happy to denounce people like Zarqawi, are they wrong to do this?

If they denounce him for fighting against the occupation, yes. If they denounce him for being a reactionary and brutal butcher, no.

Catch wrote:
Not to say that you're anywhere near a "victory to the resistance" line, but I hope that answers your question.

Nope.

Mike Harman
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Apr 13 2006 23:11
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:

So, every single peice of theory posted up to Libcom.org is fully endorsed by the entire collective?

As Jack pointed out, we're a website, not a group. Most of the stuff on here is here because it should be of interest to revolutionaries - not because it necessarily has the right line (although obviously we aim to have as much stuff we do agree with as possible as well). In many cases this means including things we don't agree with at all (hence the best of the worst section in the library, which includes some people I personally feel are beneath contempt) - since it's necessary to read that which you don't agree with or which attempts to recuperate your ideas in order to avoid many of the traps that people regularly fall into.

If, for instance, the AF had Kautsky or Bey on it's website I'd want to know why sharpish.

Mike Harman
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Apr 13 2006 23:15
Quote:

If you were an Iraqi and your country was occupied by an imperialist army who killed maybe 250,000 people or so, mostly for no reason whatsoever, would you denounce those who fought back without having a theoretical world view that agrees entirely with your own?

Well I thought I'd answered this, I'll try again.

If I thought the people fighting against occupation were going to be as bad or worse as those occupying, then I'd denounce them, yes. That might not entail going into armed struggle against both them and the UK army, especially if it was just me, 'cos I'd lose. But I wouldn't feel any moral obligation to support them, critically or otherwise, and certainly wouldn't give them active support unless the alternative was my own untimely death. I'm not really into 'lesser evils' either, although that might change in a crisis.

'As bad or worse' would include nearly all the factions in the Iraqi resistance at the moment as far as I understand them.

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Devrim
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Apr 13 2006 23:26

Catch,

Just a point on Hakim Bey. The Bey is not a surname its an honourific. It is somewhere between saying 'Mr', or 'Sir'. I suppose a direct translation would be something like 'Lord', but it doesn't really convey the feeling of it. Hakim means 'Judge', so the direct translation would be 'Judge Lord', but really it sounds to me like the English 'Your Honour' when said in court. Calling him 'Bey' sounds really strange to me as essentially you are saying 'Lord'. Actually, I don't suppose you give a toss what you call him. It is a really pretentious pen name though.

Dev

Mike Harman
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Apr 14 2006 00:10

Sorry Devrim, it's a holdover from Bookchin who insists on referring to him as "the Bey" - which he translates as "the prince".

I appreciate it sounds stupid to anyone who knows what it means, but I don't think Peter Lamborn Wilson's intention was to appeal to Turkish readers, but to the third-worldism and exoticism which infests the activist milieu in the US, and his own sympathy for Italian fascism and mystical cultism.

Still waiting for you to come back on that Unison/pensions thread btw.

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Devrim
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Apr 14 2006 08:53

Hi Catch,

It doesn’t bother me at all. I just wondered if you knew the meaning. The prince is a bit of a strange translation. The Turkish word for ‘prince’ is ‘prens’. According to the mini Langenscheidt dictionary that I keep at my desk: bey-gentleman; Mr.(used after the first name);husband.

I had actually never heard of him until I started using this site. I now realize that I did read one of his books years ago. It was called ‘Scandal: Essays in Islamic Heresy’ under the name Peter Wilson. There were a few things in it that were quite interesting alongside some crap. There was some stuff about Hasan Sabah II, who is quite an interesting historical figure. This is not getting into mysticism, but like with people like the ‘Diggers’ in the English civil war there was a time when political opposition could only be expressed through religion. Hasan Sabah II’s pronouncement of the ‘resurrection’, and that the ‘Rule of Law is Ended’ is quite interesting.

Of course I mean only in a historical sense. I really can’t stand mysticism. Not as much as my next door neighbour who spits the word like it is an insult though. Just to prove it I am going back to the UNISON thread now.

Dev