Organise!'s positions

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georgestapleton
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Jul 12 2007 16:19
Organise!'s positions

This is an honest question.

Does Organise! have agreed positions that are not in the public domain? The only collectively agreed Organise! documents I am aware of is ''Crossing the Border'', the Aims and Principles and the constitution.

I am of course asking this because of revol saying what Organise!'s positions are on things that I thought Organise! didn't have a collectively agreed positions.

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Jul 12 2007 16:30

Oh I didn't think of those. Are they online somewhere? I know I have those copies of Wildcaat at home somewhere but it'd take 2 or 3 hours to find them.

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Jul 12 2007 17:00

Yeah I suppose who need written position when you have the objet petit a roll eyes

IrrationallyAngry
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Jul 12 2007 17:01

Hang on, Organise! have a blog now? Where is it? Is there any particular reason why you are keeping it a secret?

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Jul 12 2007 17:05

http://organiseireland.blogspot.com/

IrrationallyAngry
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Jul 12 2007 17:07

So where is it?

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Jul 12 2007 17:20
revol68 wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah I suppose who need written position when you have the objet petit a roll eyes

a) demand your money back from Trinity
b) Purchase a copy of Lacan for Beginners.

For fuck sake I know that was a mis-use of the term, kinda. (There is a bit of a 'the unsymbolised truth of revolutionary anarchism' buzz about not having collectively agreed positions written down.) Well done intellectually out shining me though. I feel so small.

Quote:
c) Organise! and I'm sure the WSM have not got written out formal positions on a whole host of things that are obvious or just kind of assumed. I'd imagine if they ever became challenged, say a member wanted to become a full timer in a union etc, we would be quick in dealing with it.

Yeah of course. But to be honest, I think dealing with things after the fact is really dodgy. The only agreed positions of the WSM are the agreed positions of the WSM.

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Jul 12 2007 17:21

Also I have a copy of Lacan for beginners and its shit.

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Jul 12 2007 17:33

Found one, you might want to put this on your blog.

Quote:
AF (Anarchist Federation) & ASF (Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation) Statement on the North

Statement on Sectarianism The Anarchist Federation and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation oppose the communal and sectarian politics of Northern Ireland. The communal politics of the north, which identifies the advance of one community as being at the expense of the other, continues to destroy working class communities.

Statement on Sectarianism

The Anarchist Federation and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation oppose the communal and sectarian politics of Northern Ireland. The communal politics of the north, which identifies the advance of one community as being at the expense of the other, continues to destroy working class communities.

Belfast Agreement

The agreement was supposed to remove the gun from Northern Irish politics. But has this happened? The murder this year of postal worker, Danny McColgan, and the increasing threat paramilitaries pose to the workforce in the north would seem to suggest otherwise. While the days of the sectarian one party Unionist state may well have ended with the imposition of the equally oppressive period of direct rule, a new form of sectarian 'agreement' has been worked out by our supposed 'representatives' in Stormont. With direct rule now re-established, nothing much will change here. It was always the case that this agreement was about copper fastening sectarianism -it could be about nothing else. Sectarianism, in fact, has not been eroded. It's enjoying a profile now that it hasn't enjoyed since the early 70's, and to which the Holy Cross dispute is only one of the more extreme examples. We are opposed to all forms of sectarianism, institutional and otherwise.

Working class communities

Those which are worst affected by sectarianism have more in common across the sectarian divide than they have division. The politicians and the Catholic and Protestant middle classes may have benefited from some sort of 'peace dividend' but working class communities, particularly those on interfaces, have not. We only need to look at the ongoing violence in North and East Belfast to understand how the working class is as polarised as ever, preyed upon by paramilitary gangsters on both sides.

Nationalism

We need to engage in common struggle based on class interests and solidarity. Nationalism, be it the British nationalism of Loyalism and Unionism, Irish nationalism or the Ulster nationalist current evident within Loyalism, divides workers and is based on the myth that people in an arbitrarily drawn up nation (be it based on an island, region, language, 'culture', or religion, or any combination of these and other elements), have common interests which can be represented by the nation state. Nationalism is a regressive and divisive force which separates humanity on the basis of arbitrary national boundaries. These boundaries are nothing more than the 'barbed wire' which divides us, according to particular loyalties and commitments which obscure the domination of all oppressed classes by the ruling elites. The nation state is in effect the government over the majority -the working class, by the wealthy few. Let us not forget -the working class and those who hold power, the bosses and their lackeys, have no common interests. We are not, however, opposed to genuine cultural expression which when given expression can add to the rich tapestry of life. But we are opposed, to those manifestations of sectarianism which masquerade as culture.

Class

The facts speak for themselves. Government, no matter in whose name, no matter what jurisdiction it acts within, whether United Kingdom, the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland, offers no alternative for our class. Our class exists economically as a class. We have nothing in common with the wealthy and powerful of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom or for that matter the rest of the world. We must organise economically as a class to pursue our interests as only we can. The only unity we aspire towards is class unity in opposition to all bosses and states.

What we say

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation and the Anarchist Federation are united in our commitment to the struggle against sectarianism and for a better world. We believe that a united working class can build a world, in opposition to global capitalism, the state and our sectarian politicians, which is based on need not profit, on workers control of their workplaces and communities. A world where we have adequate housing, public transport, health care, public services and food because workers themselves will be responsible for the running of society.

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Jul 12 2007 17:35

Found the other:

Quote:
Anarchist Federation (Ireland) and Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation Statement on Trade Unionism and Industrial Organisation

The Role of Trade Unions
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation (ASF) and Anarchist
Federation (AF), as organisations of class-struggle anarchists,
agree that trade unions cannot be used, in the long term, as
vehicles of revolutionary activity in Ireland.
Here, as elsewhere, trade unions are top-down organisations of
bureaucrats and workers where those at the top (the bureaucrats
and trade union elite) stifle the hopes of those at the bottom (the
workers) and impede their natural desire for an improvement in
working conditions. This elite is nothing but a management board of
full-time, permanent officials motivated by self-interest alone, with
even less interest in rocking the industrial boat. Trade union
officialdom will not, for example, involve workers in long-term
strike action that would interrupt the flow of precious union dues.
In short, trade unions are not controlled by their members; it is they
who control. The fact that trade unions like SIPTU have scrapped
notions of one-man, one vote, and will not even countenance
changes in the ways they are organised, is testament to the
stranglehold union bureaucracies have over workers.

As capitalism is an exploitative system where workers produce the
wealth, but do not receive it, trade unions, by promoting collective
bargaining, are also promoting and legitimising exploitation. In
recent times, the ‘social partnership’ entered into by trade
union leaders and bosses has made this even more self-evident,
while Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and Private Finance
Initiatives (PFI) are paving the way for private investment in the
public sector. In the meantime, trade unions are overseeing the run
down of our public services which will be ultimately paid for by an
increase in our rates and by the introduction of water charges in
the north.

However, the AF and ASF do not believe that its members should
not join trade unions. While we realise that they will never be able
to step onto the revolutionary stage, we also acknowledge the
benefits to be gained by union membership in the short term. Trade
unions are places where workers can gather together, and where
progressive ideas can be discussed. Trade unions can also offer
better Health and Safety conditions, legal protection, and support
over minor quibbles with management.

Shop-Stewards and Union Reps

The ASF and AF accept that in some cases - for example in
militant workplaces - it may be worthwhile for its members to
become shop-stewards or union reps. (Having said this, in periods
of industrial calm, there is nothing to bar our members becoming
shop-stewards if they feel that by doing so they can make a
contribution to the struggle against the boss class.) An AF or ASF
member who becomes a shop-steward will do so as a delegate, and
not as a mouthpiece for management. The role of the
shop-steward/union rep will be seen not as a means to advance the
interests of our organisations specifically, but as an opportunity to
advance anarchist ideas generally. However, the ASF and AF
realise that becoming a shop-steward/union rep is a lesser tactic in
the ongoing struggle against capital, and would argue more for
autonomous working class organisation (see below).

Rank-and-Filism

The AF and ASF are supportive of rank-and-file initiatives, while
remaining aware of how these initiatives are often used as Leninist
fronts whose sole object is to force through a particular party line.
Rank-and-filism can provide us with the experience and confidence
we need to become better militants and can help us in our fight
against bosses. Ultimately though, it will never be able, by itself, to
break the trade unions’ tie to so-called Labour parties, old or
new, to radicalise enough workers to affect any major change to
how trade unions function now or will function in the future. We
agree that trade unions cannot be reformed, or democratised from
within. Rank-and-filism is a strategy that can prove useful, but only
if used in conjunction with other strategies that will move workers
away from the confines of ‘trade union consciousness’
alone.

Workplace Organising

The ASF and AF believe that workers must begin the process of
thinking of themselves not as mute subscribers to decisions made
behind their backs, and over which they have no control, but as
individuals with the confidence and self-belief to organise beyond
the manacled grip of trade unions, which, until now, have served to
channel their energies down the road to nowhere.

To this end, the AF and ASF advocate the establishment of
workplace and community groups that will act as hotbeds of
militancy in times of increased struggle on the shop-floor (pushing
ideas of resistance and direct action in the form of go-slows,
sabotage, wildcat strikes…) while maintaining and strengthening
links with the community outside the workplace during quieter
periods. We believe these groups ultimately will federate both at
local/regional and eventually at national level, and, in the
workplace, across sectors of skilled and non-skilled labour. They
will form a network of resistance which will involve as many
people as possible: both unionised and non-unionised labour, the
unemployed, single parents etc… In short, an organisation which
will provide a method of autonomous working class activity where
our class will decide for itself the means at its own disposal to
overthrow capitalism.

An example of this type of workers’ self-activity can be seen
in the work of ‘McDonalds Workers Resistance’ (MWR)
who*:"emerged as a determined response to the idiocy of our
working lives… an angry rebellion against boredom, exploitation,
poverty and discipline, … a rebellion against the idiocy of
McDonalds and capitalism."Remove the word ‘McDonald’
with the name of the company you work for, and you have a fair
idea of what we mean.

Conclusion

The working class in Ireland today are as downtrodden as ever
before. Casualisation, a run down health service, a service sector
on its knees to capital, harassment of unemployed and employed
alike, pervasive privatisation, mass redundancies, inflation, squalid
housing, sectarianism, rampant racism… are the yoke we bear in
the system we need to change. The AF and ASF don’t have all
the answers, but we think our ideas give us a base from which to
start to do our bit to affect change, and work for the society we all
of us deserve.

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Jul 12 2007 17:36

Christ I'm good to you wink

Flint
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Jul 12 2007 22:03

What is a "union rep"? Is that like a local elected unpaid official? I don't see anything about staffers like researchers or organizers; which are functionally different than say Hoffa.

Also, why are "long-term strike action"s being advocated here? Aren't the strikes we should advocate are quick strikes that quickly win our immediate demands (without causing large finanical hardship to workers), and a revolutionary general strike that abolishes capitalism (which, would also be a short strike as we'd quickly occupy and reorganize production to meet our needs).

Long strikes can certainly be heroic, but I don't think that extending length of the strike does much to demonstrate working class power or is even that great of an educational tool for the social revolution.

What we want is to win as big demands as we can fight to win.

Mike Harman
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Jul 12 2007 22:29
Flint wrote:
What is a "union rep"? Is that like a local elected unpaid official?

It's almost exactly the same as shop steward - teachers' unions call them 'reps', except reps can also be at branch level I think so a bit more official sometimes.

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Jul 13 2007 15:05
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
Hang on, Organise! have a blog now? Where is it? Is there any particular reason why you are keeping it a secret?

Eh no secret, couple of threads down this very sub-forum there's a thread called "organise temporary website"
Georgestapleton's already posted the link to the actual blog though

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Jul 13 2007 15:12

Here didn't we (Organise!) agree to expand the part on unions in the "aims & principles" to include something about union full-timers/unelected positions at the last AGM?
I seen a draft of the new A&Ps and they looked dead-on. Should maybe go up on the temp site?

Deezer
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Jul 14 2007 12:28
Flint wrote:
What is a "union rep"? Is that like a local elected unpaid official? I don't see anything about staffers like researchers or organizers; which are functionally different than say Hoffa.

Also, why are "long-term strike action"s being advocated here? Aren't the strikes we should advocate are quick strikes that quickly win our immediate demands (without causing large finanical hardship to workers), and a revolutionary general strike that abolishes capitalism (which, would also be a short strike as we'd quickly occupy and reorganize production to meet our needs).

Long strikes can certainly be heroic, but I don't think that extending length of the strike does much to demonstrate working class power or is even that great of an educational tool for the social revolution.

What we want is to win as big demands as we can fight to win.

Actually flint I agree re the strike thing, I think thats a bad example of how the trades union bureaucracies act as a block on workplace militancy. Quick, short sharp strikes are the sort of strikes we should advocate but here, and I don't know what the position is in the US, its impossible to do this legally and therefore impossible to do it with trade union sanction. I believe this is related to the tendency to wildcat strikes and unofficial work-to-rules and other lower level action taken in workplaces.

Catch has explained what a union rep is - theres nothing in there about researchers or other staff members no and nothing about organisers because as I think became clear on an earlier thread, these posts are very much an american thing. At the time this was written we weren't aware of this type of role, although some unions here have since started to employ them, usually with other functions tagged on. There is a difference imo between workers and organisers though.

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Jul 14 2007 14:36
Boulcolonialboy wrote:

Catch has explained what a union rep is - theres nothing in there about researchers or other staff members no and nothing about organisers because as I think became clear on an earlier thread, these posts are very much an american thing. At the time this was written we weren't aware of this type of role, although some unions here have since started to employ them, usually with other functions tagged on. There is a difference imo between workers and organisers though.

This seems a lot more reasonable that revol's insistence that organizers should be expelled from anarchist organisations and libcom. He has been presenting this as the Organise! position. Is this the case because from what you write it seems not to be.

I ask because his shrillness and repetitive posting on this has partly derailed any serious discussion. I think some serious discussion of the role would be useful because it certainly contains contradictions that need to be explored. The shrillness of trying to turn it into a 'principle' actually stops such a discussion as it seeks to polarize it at the start.

Deezer
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Jul 17 2007 13:18

Joe, I was simply explaining why mention of this particular post isn't in that document. While revol may indeed be being a lot more 'shrill' than I'm likely to I do think he reflects the attitude of Organise! towards this. Our amended A&Ps will be ratified shortly and I'll post them here for youse all to have a look at.

Of course I am not opposed to discussion about these roles, and they certainly have serious contradications, not least in the manner in which they seek to build a union. There is a world of differece between workers getting together to organise and deciding, hopefully while aware of the limitations of the trades unions on offer, to go for recognition and what amounts to a sales man for the union being sent in to sort it. It seems to be the case also that over here these 'organizers' have other functions tagged on and it is certainly the case that they represent the union to the members (or potential members) which goes against the approach of Organise! to workplace organising where trade union recognition exists or where workers themselves decide to go for membership of a trade union. Its also removed from and 'imposed' on the workplace/shopfloor from the outside and as we are opposed to that I think revol is pretty spot on in saying we would be opposed to our members taking such positions.

Deezer
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Jul 24 2007 21:02

The updated Aims and Principles have been posted here:

[url=Enter URL here]http://libcom.org/forums/ireland/organise-updated-aims-principles[/url]

As for the relevant bit to this wee discussion this is it:

Quote:
The Trades Unions

Organise! believes that trade unions cannot be used as vehicles of revolutionary change. After year upon year of attacks on our class both the Irish and British based trade unions continue to offer no strategies for effective resistance. Based on ‘social partnership’ and top down hierarchical control of their membership trade unions have clearly become more and more divorced from the immense potential strength of workers at the point of production.
We reject social partnership between union leaders, bosses and government. In these ‘partnerships’ it is always the working classes that suffer. While rejecting the trade unions as beyond reform we will, where our workplaces have union recognition, continue to be active in them at a ‘shop–floor’ level to fight for working class interests at work. We will however be promoting workplace resistance not standing in union elections on so–called ‘radical’ platforms.
Where accountability to our fellow workers can be ensured our members will take positions as shop stewards and health and safety representatives. We will not seek posts that take our members away from the shop floor and out of direct contact with our fellow workers. We will not seek fulltime posts within the union bureaucracy, either elected or appointed, which are removed from the day-to-day realities and concerns of our working lives.
More importantly we seek to encourage militancy and solidarity across the divisions in the labour movement, between unionised and non-unionised workers and across the sectional divisions maintained by the trades and general unions.

Workplace and Community Resistance

Further we are not simply exploited in the ‘workplace’ but in a whole host of exploitative and oppressive social relations. We work to expand and build workplace struggles alongside, and into, broader based resistance to capitalism and the state (e.g. housing, cuts in the social wage, and state repression).
As such we hope to see the development of, and promote, working class activity that will build militancy, promote resistance and direct action, while building and strengthening links between the workplace and broader based struggles. We believe that such groups, and their struggles, as they develop, must link up and co ordinate across all levels, with no respect for either geography or borders.

Deezer
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Jul 27 2007 13:34

So we get asked time and again for something in writing, to prove that we really have the position we say we have & when we post it it all goes eerily quiet.

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Jul 27 2007 13:44

Well actually all of the points where this was asked are compatable with the equivalent WSM positions so that leaves the scope for a row pretty dead in the water except for trying to start trouble for its own sake in the one or two areas where the wording could have been tighter. I know that is traditional but I don't consider it very useful

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Jul 27 2007 14:14
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Well actually all of the points where this was asked are compatable with the equivalent WSM positions so that leaves the scope for a row pretty dead in the water except for trying to start trouble for its own sake in the one or two areas where the wording could have been tighter. I know that is traditional but I don't consider it very useful
Deezer
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Jul 27 2007 14:26

Um, Joe, and george (d'you acually think its funny just quoting Joeblack2 here??), trying to start a row or 'trouble' for its own sake certainly wasn't my intention.

Though a cheers for posting that (saying as how you had originally asked george) and sorry for implying it was in some sorta 'secret' document is sorta what i was getting at.

Cheers GDBID, though by comparisson to some I'm not sure if its much of a compliment wink

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Jul 27 2007 14:58

He can correct me if I'm wrong but I think GS original point was based on the various fundamental 'principles' revol was either implying or claiming to be Organise positions and the fact that a survey of available documents didn't turn these up. I suspect that his question was not intended to reveal secret positions papers but rather that revol was bullshitting in passing off his opinions as Organise positions. Which has now been pretty much confirmed although I'm not sure this was a point he should have bothered to make - he should probably have left it to someone in Organise to sort it out.

Anyway the actual positions as posted to me just raise the question of why Organise! don't abandon the search for differences with the WSM and instead follow the logic of the last line and seek to open negotiations about joining. That as you know has long been my opinion of what would be sensible - given that I'm now far away and don't even have a vote any more never mind any position of responsibility I feel more comfortable making it in public. I think its pretty silly having two organisations with such similar politics on such a small island.

Deezer
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Jul 27 2007 15:31

There is no search for differences going on Joe.

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Jul 27 2007 17:11
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Um, Joe, and george (d'you acually think its funny just quoting Joeblack2 here??), trying to start a row or 'trouble' for its own sake certainly wasn't my intention.

Nope I was just saying that I agree with what joe wrote. There's nothing in there I disagree with and there's nothing in there that I think anyone in the WSM would have a problem with. And there's nothing in there that contradicts my reading of our TU position paper.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
He can correct me if I'm wrong but I think GS original point was based on the various fundamental 'principles' revol was either implying or claiming to be Organise positions and the fact that a survey of available documents didn't turn these up. I suspect that his question was not intended to reveal secret positions papers but rather that revol was bullshitting in passing off his opinions as Organise positions. Which has now been pretty much confirmed although I'm not sure this was a point he should have bothered to make - he should probably have left it to someone in Organise to sort it out.

No actually I was honestly asking a question because I wanted to know the answer. I thought the only two agreed position of Organise! were their old aims and principles and crossing the border. I was wrong. There's a new aims and principles and the two wildcat statements that I didn't know about.

Quote:
Though a cheers for posting that (saying as how you had originally asked george) and sorry for implying it was in some sorta 'secret' document is sorta what i was getting at.

I'm not sure if you are asking me to say cheers. Cheers anyway. And I wasn't implying that there was some shadowy secret documents. It could have been possible that you had internal documents that are not in the pubic domain. There's nothing wrong with that. I was just curious, because I suspected revol was, as joe put it, 'bullshitting' but I didn't want to make any accusations when I simply didn't know if that was the case so I asked.

georgestapleton wrote:
This is an honest question.

Does Organise! have agreed positions that are not in the public domain? The only collectively agreed Organise! documents I am aware of is ''Crossing the Border'', the Aims and Principles and the constitution.

I am of course asking this because of revol saying what Organise!'s positions are on things that I thought Organise! didn't have a collectively agreed positions.

Also as you are aware since before I joined the WSM, I've been saying that organise! and the WSM should be the one organisation.

Deezer
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Jul 27 2007 18:29

Er, be fair revol - georgestapleton says he thinks we should be one organisation whereas its Joeblack2 who thinks we should just join the WSM.

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Jul 27 2007 18:44

I think you should merge, just because I think that the sight of revol and the WSM in one organisation would be hilarious. I'd almost join myself just for the entertainment value of your first AGM.

Seriously though - would someone who once wanted to support a candidate in a union election be kicked out of Organise! for arguing for that? Or someone who decided he agreed with the WSM's view of the national question? Or someone who thought that "nationalisation" might be a useful demand to make in some struggle?

If not, if those differences could co-exist in one organisation, then there seems to be no good reason to stay apart. If those differences are to great to allow people to co-exist in a single organisation then that might be a different issue.

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Jul 27 2007 18:54
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
I think you should merge, just because I think that the sight of revol and the WSM in one organisation would be hilarious. I'd almost join myself just for the entertainment value of your first AGM.

Yeah I can't imagine he'd last long. Nor would their Dublin member, I imagine. But all in all, the 'differences' between the WSM and organise! exist within the WSM as it is.

Taking revols problems with us:

Quote:
especially one that supports trade union genral secretary candidates,

this happened in 2002, of the then membership i think there are 8 or 9 people still in the organisation (we were then 12, I think).

Quote:
raises demands of nationalisation

quite a number of people in the organisation have problems with this.

Quote:
and argues in their aims and principels that the end of parition under bourgeois conditions would represent a gain for the working class.

No we don't. That position paper was amended at the last conference.

Deezer
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Jul 27 2007 18:55

Kicked out, dunno. Probably not for suggesting one of those things though I do reckon our current membership would be pretty non-plussed by any of them.

If however they consistently argued that we should adopt these policies as an organisation we might suggest they join the SP wink

Deezer
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Jul 27 2007 18:55

aaargh double post - sorry