What did Love and Rage do?

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Jan 4 2007 11:01

All interesting stuff and best greetings to US comrades
A(C)F was in contact with then (and now).

Some of the people discussing the history of this will remember that ACF in Britain wrote a article that attempted to give a picture of the state of organised anarchism in US during the last days of L&R:
http://flag.blackened.net/af/org/issue50/quiet.html
(In another recent post on libcom: http://libcom.org/forums/anarchist-federation/af-and-nefac
SRB mentioned this).

Anyway, getting to the point ... amongst other things this article referred to was an attempt to forge a federation called 'Heatwave'. Was this ever more than a website (based in Dallas TX)? I would be interested to know.

PS I do recall a printed magazine called Slingshot and this is mentioned in the article also.

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Jan 4 2007 11:30

Slingshot is utter crap.

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little_brother
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Jan 4 2007 11:46

The question (earlier in the thread) was whether it was an anarchist mag associated with L&R. I don't remember it being overtly anarchist (at least in 1998-9) but obviously enough to be mentioned as another 'radical' mag along with Profane Existance in the A(C)F article.

Did Slingshot have anything to do with an anarchist group at all? I don't think it did but I am happy to be corrected smile

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Jan 4 2007 12:28
little_brother wrote:
Did Slingshot have anything to do with an anarchist group at all? I don't think it did but I am happy to be corrected smile

No - the first person only said some mag *like* slingshot.

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Jan 4 2007 13:08

Slingshot is affiliated with the Long Haul in Berkeley, an anarchist community space and infoshop.

On the Love & Rage tip, do people feel the following analysis is off?

Love & Rage fell apart for two reasons:

1. They lacked a coherent organizing project. They were successful in building a network around publishing an anarchist newspaper but unsuccessful in pushing themselves to build a larger federation unified around a single organizing project.
2. They strove for ideological unity and didn't encourage minority viewpoints. This meant that they couldn't be held together because they believed that everyone in the organization had to tow, more-or-less, the same ideological line. (Churches and Marxist-Leninist organizations split for these reasons all the time).

I come to this conclusion after reading Roy San Filippo's book and comparing Love & Rage with other anarchist and anarchist sympathetic projects in the United States. Three examples:

1. The IWW has a broad tent approach to ideology. Within the IWW you have anarchists, socialists, and even non-political people all of whom can agree, at least in theory, on the Preamble but many of whom agree on little else. The IWW has a single main organizing project: workplace organizing.

2. The Catholic Worker movement is also broad tent in terms of ideology, though founded by anarchists and anarchist in structure there are many people associated with the Catholic Worker movement who lack ideology whatsoever or who hold vastly more conservative political ideologies than most anarchists (pro-life, etc.). The Catholic Worker movement has a two main organizing project: building Catholic Worker houses and tending to the poor and peace work.

3. As an outsider I watched SCAF collapse for more-or-less the two reasons I think Love & Rage fell apart.

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Jan 4 2007 13:13
John. wrote:
No - the first person only said some mag *like* slingshot.

Doh - yes, sorry.

Wobbly Preacher wrote:
Slingshot is affiliated with the Long Haul in Berkeley, an anarchist community space and infoshop.

OK thanks, it's so long ago when I saw a copy I'd forgotten.

Anyway, if I haven't used up my quota of questions and confusion-spawning for today, does anyone know about 'Heatwave'?

syndicalist
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Jan 4 2007 14:10

Hi folks.

Nate: Not sure what you meant about criticising comrades the same as the class enemy. Please help me out. I think comradely critism that is meant to be constructive is ok. Ripping a new a-hole into someone isn't.

As to the age issue, yeah, most WSA members were probably 5-10 years older than youthful L&R folks. The former RSL folks are probably 5-10 years older than most WSA members.

Yeah, we were not part of "the scene". Though we had some good contacts with NY Anarchist Youth Federation folks. Some who later joined NY-NJ WSA.

Heatwave: Sorta remember seeing their publication. Didn't they also call themseleves the Heatwave anarchist(communist) federation or something like that. Yeah, here we go: http://flag.blackened.net/heatwave/index.html
http://flag.blackened.net/heatwave/collective.html
Didn't Heatwave also do ABC work and a couple of 'em go on to help from Anarchist People of Color (APOC)?

Slingshot: Very punk looking kinnda crumy paper. Stylistically, pretty much in tune with the times. Don't remember much of the content. Sorta "into the streets" thing.

Wobbly Preacher: There's some decent CW types out and about and they're always doing good anti-war work. The IWW is the IWW and will chart its own course as it sees fit.Surely a part of the libertarian workers movement. Good to support its efforts but,respectfully, I would say that the IWW by itself isn't satisfactory for me at least.

In addition, I would prefer a specifically libertarian workers organization that can blend the best traditions of class struggle anarchism together; along with the best and most constructive militants within our movement (folks both inside and out of the IWW, reformist unions, community and teanant groups, etc.)

The question of ideological and tactical unity, hmmmm... I agree with the need for a large degree of both. But I would think that a certain flexibility in how these are developed and implemented need to exist. How broad or how specific or how tight and "rigid" answers to these questions are open , I suppose. WSA has so far taken a flexible approach. That is, here are our principles and our genreal areas of activities, implement them on the local level as you see fit. Ok, a bit too generalized a description, but something like that (I suspect the IWW is the same in this regard).I'm sure good ole syndicalistcat will fill in or have, perhaps, a slightly different take.

The question of how to find a workable balance btween local realities and group focus, skills and abilities of comrades and overall program and plan always need to be taken into account. Sometimes we have a certain expectation that everything can be implemented easliy on all levels. It ain't so. Here's wheer I think some of the problems arise (they did in the ACF/NA).

Gotta run.

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Jan 4 2007 14:41
John. wrote:
Er, are you being serious? I thought maybe I was misunderstanding the last bit of your previous post... Are you saying people who don't do manual labour aren't proletarian?

Yes, I am being serious.

No, I don’t think you have to be involved in manual labor to be “working class”. Ok, I was being sloppy in my post, but I feel the thrust of it remains the same. The reprole and related concepts are valuable because they do raise the issue of shifts in the productive forces and peoples relationship to work. You are correct, no dispute, that work in the West is not the same as it was 30 years ago. Whole economies built around heavy manufacturing, agriculture, etc just don’t exist in the same way. This has menat a range of new realities – higher unemployment, temp work, greater emphasis on service economies, migration into urban areas, tech work, greater reliance on the welfare State, hustling, more emphasis on university and college. All of this has to be considered as the reality.

But my point is that the reprole concept postulated that since L&R was made up of “Generation X” then the focus of the organization should be to organize this block, which was generally a vague déclassé sector, it wasn’t even a strategy of integrating with poor and working class youth – either urban or rural. It wasn’t about building formations within working class communities, or workplaces, or to participate in and formulate approaches to housing struggles, or with parents (single or otherwise), or the unemployed.

I know class is not homogenous. The reprole concept was an attempt to think strategically about where and how to relate to the changing terrain of class. I just think it was, and remains flawed. If you know L&R you know where the reprole advocates ended up, in academia, prioritizing university organizing and the like. And in the end the trajectory is that while class is talked about, the upper levels of the class, its intellectuals, and more privledged, are seen as a leadership, while the poor, unemployed, street kids, single mothers, day laborers, temp workers, industrial workers (and yes, there are still some of these jobs here in the States), are ignored.

As for the Maoist swipes, perhaps since Maoist cadre in many parts of the world are integrated with the “masses” that is why authoritarian socialism still has a broad appeal, because many see it as organic and of the people, whereas libertarians are generally seen as outsiders and abstract intellectuals, not fighters for the interests of the people.

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Jan 4 2007 15:20

ANyone who uses the word "cadre" is a crypto-maoist (like BTR).

Cadres = bolshevik fucks who deserve to die.

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Jan 4 2007 15:50
blackstarbhoy wrote:
And in the end the trajectory is that while class is talked about, the upper levels of the class, its intellectuals, and more privledged, are seen as a leadership, while the poor, unemployed, street kids, single mothers, day laborers, temp workers, industrial workers (and yes, there are still some of these jobs here in the States), are ignored.

This doesn't excuse your point where you claimed that anarchists talk about class but don't experience it.

And to me it seems like you're the one talking about leadership if you want these more privileged workers to become manual workers and then I imagine lead them to salvation. I'm not going to patronise people by becoming a builder or some other profession with a largely different culture and trying to organise them, I look at my situation where I am (public sector office) and try to improve my lot collectively with those around me.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jan 4 2007 16:19
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Anyway, if I haven't used up my quota of questions and confusion-spawning for today, does anyone know about 'Heatwave'?

Not sure "they" ever existed. I remember trying to make contact with them a number of times back around then and never got any response. An anarchist friend from Texas told me it was one kid with a website. Not sure if that is true, but it would explain the lack of real world presense.

blackstarbhoy
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Jan 4 2007 16:38
888 wrote:

Cadres = bolshevik fucks who deserve to die.

nice one 888. this kind of language actually betrays your own authoritarianism and lack of political respect for differences. perhaps we can get a job for you in the anarchist cheka come the revolution.

anyway, cadre is a problematic term because of its use and development by Lenin. but some anarchists have used it when describing the type of organization that may be needed. it is about cohereing a group of militants who are capable of implementing the program of the organization. we can use other trems, but is essence, i think cadre as refering to committed revolutionaries is still viable.

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Jan 4 2007 16:55
revol68 wrote:
Another toy town revolutionary

Cut out the personal insults.

blackstarbhoy
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Jan 4 2007 16:57
John. wrote:
And to me it seems like you're the one talking about leadership if you want these more privileged workers to become manual workers and then I imagine lead them to salvation. I'm not going to patronise people by becoming a builder or some other profession with a largely different culture and trying to organise them, I look at my situation where I am (public sector office) and try to improve my lot collectively with those around me.

i think this comes to the what kind of organization we want. i'm not sure where John comes from politically so i wont make assumptions. but i think that it is neccessary for groups of likeminded revolutionaries to think strategicly about who they connect with and why. going back to the reprole theory, it was an attempt to devise an organizing approach based on where Day saw trends going and the class make up of many L&R members. but like i said i think it was flawed. culture, habits, interests, all this creates a culture. i'm not saying people need to pretend to be something they are not, but an organizing approach that orients towards a sub-sector of society or a counter culture or academia is gonna reproduce those cultures within the organization. a revolutionary organization is enriched through multiple experiences and backgrounds of its members. peoples assumptions are challenged. as the membership comes in contact with different folks, people learn and develop new undrestandings. perhaps we agree on this. perhaps not.

i think this is getting away from the "What dId L&R do" question, but i suppose it says that L&R did little in its contribution to anarchist ideas or anarchist organization. what it did do was act as a pole within the 1990's anarchist scenes in N. America. it was an attempt at some formal organization at a time when netwroks, post-Left anarchy, infoshops, and counter-culture were dominant trends.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jan 4 2007 17:40
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Didn't Heatwave also do ABC work and a couple of 'em go on to help from Anarchist People of Color (APOC)?

That was 'Black Fist' (also out of Houston), which Ernesto Aguilar was apart of. He was one of the people who founded the APOC network, but I think he may of since moved on (?).

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Jan 4 2007 17:51

well, i think i tend to agree with blackstarbhoy. The word
"cadre" was obviously not coined by Lenin. The word "cadre" does NOT have to mean "professional revolutionaries" (Lenin's conception). It can simply mean committed activists. It's best not to get hung up on words. And I think in fact it is very useful for a political organization to think strategically, and to try to focus its limited energies and people on joint projects, where feasible. This is part of being effective.

t.

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Jan 4 2007 18:01
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i think this is getting away from the "What dId L&R do" question, but i suppose it says that L&R did little in its contribution to anarchist ideas or anarchist organization. what it did do was act as a pole within the 1990's anarchist scenes in N. America. it was an attempt at some formal organization at a time when netwroks, post-Left anarchy, infoshops, and counter-culture were dominant trends.

Love & Rage had its problems, but I think it also contributed alot of good to the anarchist scene in North America, and it is unfortunate that its critics seemed to have had the final say on the project. It was an attempt to break away from the counter-culture/infoshop proto-post Left scene that was dominant at the time (and still is!) and I definitely appreciate it for that.

I think the newspaper was probably the most important aspect of the group. I thought it did well at combining serious revolutionary political thought with youth appeal, offered anarchist analysis on current events, reported on international news, was very militant, etc. At that time I was really into Class War and Profane Existence, and doing the 'fuck shit up' anarcho-punk thing, and I would say it was Love & Rage that helped me develop more of a serious social anarchist perspective.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jan 4 2007 18:16

For anyone interested we've printed a few articles on Love & Rage in The Northeastern Anarchist (from the perspective of ex- L&R members who are now members of NEFAC):

The Demise Of Love & Rage: What Happened? (by WEB)
http://nefac.net/node/337

Nine Years Of The Love And Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation (by Wayne Price)
http://nefac.net/node/52

Also, here is another good article that was printed in Arsenal (a short lived class struggle anarchist magazine out of Chicago):

From Love & Rage: A Look at the Legacy (by Paul Glavin)
http://www.bringtheruckus.org/study/glavin.htm

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Jan 4 2007 20:25

Mitch, I agree with you. What I meant was supposed to be me agreeing. I feel like I've had a number of experiences where harshness with a comrade is supposed to indicate militant commitment, which is supposed to mean being more radical. If I write an article attacking the boss at a place we're organizing, and I write an article criticizing some comrades in my or some other organization, the form or tone of criticism should be different - the second has to be constructive or its not useful. I have had a number of experiences where people are criticizing nonconstructively, by talking about a comrade the way we'd talk about a boss. I also agree w/ you that criticizing our work is really important.

I also agree with a lot of what Blackstarbhoy said. My sense of the "reprole" document was that it was a justification of L&R having a pretty homogeneous make up, and argument against getting involved in economic struggle outside the "reprole" sector. In other words, it struck me as a theoretical dressed up statement of something that was pretty typical of my experiences in anarchopunk circles - folks work with people they feel they have a lot in common with and don't branch outside of those circles much. That said, I don't have any interest in a game of find the real proletariat, which there was an element of in the Day document.

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Jan 4 2007 21:46

A couple notes (good discussion btw before some of the bickering set in):

Cadre as I understand it was a term amongst bourgeious military theorists in Lenin's time. It became in vogue for revolutionaries in the authoritarian circles around that time.

BTR ballooned and then deflated. I know in my town they had a group, had local activity, were growing, and then it died down. They did some work around Katrina but I think many have subsequently left the project. This is all second hand and speculative, but it seemed to me they lacked cohesion, lacked a clear theoretical perspective they all agreed on, and weren't actually working on the same stuff. That being said I think their perspective on race is developed and useful (though I disagree in a number of areas), and their emphasis on working on things as a group strategically was also useful. Something I witnessed parts of and have concern that it might be more widespread is that left-leninist types (former STO, soft-maoists, etc) have been coming to it, and some former anarchists have been swinging that direction. I'm not sure about the founders or whatever, and a friend told me that the majority of people aren't marxists. I wouldn't be suprised if there were splits or a more explicitly marxist orientation developed. Though I could be totally and 100% wrong.

Interesting parallel between BTR and that british cadre-anarchist group (Anarchist Worker's Organization?)...

syndicalist
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Jan 4 2007 21:57

Help! What's reprole---either someone can PM or direct me to a site or sites on this.

thanx,
mitch

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jan 4 2007 22:39
syndicalist wrote:
Help! What's reprole---either someone can PM or direct me to a site or sites on this.

thanx,
mitch

Rad chic slang for the process of "re-proletarianization" and increased precariousness for some elements of the middle class in the age of neo-liberalism (sort've an updated version of "The Poverty of Student Life" for Generation X).

blackstarbhoy
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Jan 4 2007 22:47

Mitch,

i think the main document that outlines the reprole concept is actually in an internal L&R disucssion bulletin. the document was presented at, a conference in '94. i'm not sure if it is the same document, but in the Fillipo book there is the document, Love and Rage in the New World Order: 94 Conference paper.

a paragraph,
"It is my position that Love and Rage can only escape it's current paralysis by looking at itself no longer as the expression of the whole of oppressed humanity, but rather as the revolutionary organization of a particular section of this society, the reproles, that acts in alliance with other sections of society and their organizations. It may be our purpose to identify the interests of the reproles with those of the rest of humanity, but we should not arrogantly attempt to speak on behalf of the whole of humanity."

Day then goes on to talk about how historically, youth have been recruited to various tendencies including far-right and fascist. He states further,

"If we concieve of Love and Rage as a reprole organization, then the main task that confronts us quickley becomes clear. we must seek to win over as large a section of the reproles as possible to a perspective of acting in a revolutionary alliance with other oppressed groups and away from from various forms of fascism."

which given the growing emphasis on anti-racism within L&R, the reference to fascism is refering to both autonomous fascist trends like nazi-skins, the Klan and to taking part in the privledges of institutionalized White Supremacist society. This later part fits into the Race Traitor trend in L&R.

anyway, lots to think over in Day's piece, still.

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Jan 4 2007 22:54
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Rad chic slang for the process of "re-proletarianization" and increased precariousness for some elements of the middle class in the age of neo-liberalism (sort've an updated version of "The Poverty of Student Life" for Generation X).

A sort of upswing in the ranks of the bureaucratic reserve army...

In all seriousness, I sort of wonder whether the idea lost whatever grip it had in part because so much of that very specific layer got handed well-paying jobs during of the dot-com bubble of the late 90s.

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Jan 4 2007 23:13

Sounds somewhat similar, in terms of its probable use, to the "new working class" theory of the '60s/early '70s period. Such a huge part of the radicalized youth of that period were students, who were being trained for professional layer jobs, that a theory was needed to provide a plausible theory of their radicalization and of their potential.

It's true that capitalism is always working to reduce the autonomy of various sectors who have more autonomy/skill in their jobs, as in Taylorism in the early 1900s, and, today, e.g. the move to proletarianize school teachers, via pre-cooked curricula that capitalist consultancies sell to school districts, etc.

But it's dubious to suppose the lower-level professional layer (programmers, teachers, writers, artists, social workers) are a revolutionary agency apart from the proletarian class beneath them, and what is their relationship to that class? I mean, I'd agree there is the potential of an alliance there, since the lower-level professional layer is subject to management power, organizes unions, is exploited, etc. But it's not clear how much one can make out of this.

But I may completely misunderstand what "reprole" theory is.

t.

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Jan 5 2007 00:24
Quote:
But it's dubious to suppose the lower-level professional layer (programmers, teachers, writers, artists, social workers) are a revolutionary agency apart from the proletarian class beneath them, and what is their relationship to that class? I mean, I'd agree there is the potential of an alliance there, since the lower-level professional layer is subject to management power, organizes unions, is exploited, etc. But it's not clear how much one can make out of this.

But I may completely misunderstand what "reprole" theory is.

t.

I don't remember all the specifics but I think it was geared towards young middle class GenXers who had some class privilege (access to higher education, etc) but also a likely future of "re-joining" the proletariat... which was argued differently, I think, then an appeal to future white collar workers.

I dunno, at the time it struck me as middle class radicals trying to forge out some semblence of an oppressed identity to rep for themselves, but then again I am a kind've an overly dismissive jerk sometimes.

blackstarbhoy
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Jan 5 2007 02:44

a little more history on L&R. as Mitch said early on, L&R biggest contrribution politicaly may have been around race. Some L&R founders were heavily involved with Anti-Racist Action, kinda a US equal to AFA. L&R also had antifascist projects in various cities wher they tried to organize aganist nazi strongholds.
from NEFAC: http://nefac.net/node/523

and going on what syndicalistcat raised, ARA fit into the reprole concept of a GenX version of the 70's New Social Movements.

"Anarchists involved with Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation worked within ARA to keep the organizations structure and aims transparent and participatory. Love and Rage, as an organization, viewed ARA as a potential mass movement (e.g.: SDS), where politics could be raised and debated and where through practice and constant analysis win people to more and more radical positions. The relationship between the different political tendencies was often rocky, and there was constant debate around the setting up of different committees and how much influence they would have. Other issues of contention were the ability of organizations to join ARA en masse. ARA Net was set up on a chapter basis, and each chapter was made up of individuals. No organization could just join ARA Net. Chapters could have its members coming from any tendency, but a specific organization could hold no sway beyond the number of chapters their members were apart of. And even then each chapter was allowed only two votes. This made it difficult for Left sects to highjack ARA for opportunistic interests."

syndicalist
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Jan 5 2007 02:46

Thanks all. I think I got the picture.

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Jan 5 2007 06:04

I liked the "reprole" document in the book because it was an attempt to talk about the make up of the group and how that shaped the group's activities. I disagree with a lot of the rest of it, I just like that move toward reflecting. I've never heard of "new working class" stuff from the 60s/70s before, probly in part cuz I was born in 1978. Can someone point me something(s) on this? (Hi MJ.)

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Jan 5 2007 06:29

Hi Nate. Check out Dick Howard's article "French New Working Class Theories" from Radical America 3:2 (Mar-Apr 1969). A PDF of the issue is available here. I have this issue in front of me right now grin but sadly enough I have very little inclination to read beyond the first paragraph or two, so if you do give it a go let me know how it is!