AYN, Enrager, Libcom...

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rich
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Jan 14 2007 21:08

Great article Steven.

I turned up to an AYN thing by accident (the second gathering thing), but I met some nice people there. Can't remember much about it though (to do with politics anyway).

martinh
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Jan 14 2007 21:25
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
(For AF, feel free to insert Solfed for that matter).

Actually I think SolFed had no one in the age range that AYN were at the time, certainly in London (and likely at the time in Manchester).

That's not to say that we would have been any better than the AF at working with them, just that we were unlikely to encounter them.

For differences as well, I think you have to remember that London is much bigger than Dublin. There are hundreds of people calling themselves anarchists here that I've never met. It is very easy for people to get a critical mass for small group actions here - this can actually work against longer term perspectives as it means that groups don't learn how to work with people whose perspectives they disagree with.

Regards,

Martin

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Steven.
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Jan 15 2007 09:48
Tacks wrote:
A cracking read, thank you. One query is about the ativistoid scene recquiring and more militancy to 'fit in' or ganing approval - maybe its not the same people, but i've never experienced that, even on attempted 'riots'.

Not on them, but come on the whole culture was based around posing militancy. Who'd been to Prague, who'd been to Genoa, who'd been to Palestine, etc.

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ha ha ha, glad someone snapped that grin

now its all in the past mate, i also lined that AYN sticker on the tube and wrote 'Revo' over it, then lied when you cried about it on urban75 tongue

Yeah I figured that was you, I kept meaning to ask but forgot.

Nigel:

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It sounds like a hideous waste of time and energy.

God yeah.

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I have four questions though:

1) Are there any accounts from the other (non class-struggle) wing of the AYN of what they think went wrong?

No.

I thought about emailing a tiny questionnaire of 4 questions to all the people who were involved, then I thought my time would be best spent on other stuff...

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For that matter has anything been written by people who had your "activistoid" class struggle politics?

Er well Ed started writing something a while ago but got stalled. As it is I got the rest of the ex-AYN libcom people to have a look at it and suggest changes, then altered/added a few things.

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2) What were your decision making structures like? Was it all "consensus" and the like? And did people who didn't do anything have as much of a say as those who actually ended up doing the work?

Hmmm I think we used consensus informally, with occasional showings of hands. That said I'm not sure we ever made many decisions really, ha ha. I think we asked if anyone particularly disagreed with anything first, and if not then it was passed. I can't think of anything ever being vetoed by one person.

People who didn't do anything did have a say yes, but because we never made any useful decisions I can't see that that was ever a problem! I think some of us might have proposed something about defined membership, points of unity, membership fees at a gathering or two but it wouldn't have got through.

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3) What were your relationships like with other political groupings? You make reference to a certain younger sibling style relationship to the Wombles, but what about the AF, Solfed and Class War? What about Workers Power and Revolution and the rest of the 57 varieties?

SF we never really met, they had no connection with the activistoid scene. AF we knew, since 2 of them started it, but one guy buggered off immediately. I think the general consensus was groups like the AF were a bit old and boring, like trot groups. Class War - one guy was in CW, attracted by the ultra-militant prop and crude "class" rhetoric. He left later. Another guy kinda liked CW for a bit and was thinking of joining I believe, he put up some of their stickers, but then realised it wasn't worth it. We saw some CW people a bit through their links to the wombles/the scene. One leading womble once said on an email list that we were the only other anarchist group they actually respected.

WP and revo we had rivalry with, because they were the biggest anti-cap youth group we encountered (we never saw more than 1 or 2 ISR (SP youth) people. I was in revo previously, and had got into internal arguments over their links to workers power and trotskyism. They even used unconstitutional methods against me at conference wink - using old WP members not in revo to argue and vote against me. We also poached a bunch of their members and got into a few arguments with them on our email list which a couple of WPers joined. One amusing incident which comes to mind was when one AYNer made a jokey attack on a his imagined "pimply sixth-form leader" of Revo. One revo guy then posted "Hey that's not fair to make fun of my skin condition."

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4) This is related to the above question and is as much a point as a question, but what the hell were the AF thinking? Their members set the AYN up, they have a coherent politics of their own, why weren't they making a sustained effort to get in an around the AYN and win as many of its members to their politics as they could?

It wasn't an official AF thing. 2 young members did it. One with good politics left, I think he would've been pissing in the wind tbh, and the other was a class struggle activistoid like us.

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The AYN was much bigger than AY and I can't see why the AF shouldn't have come out of the whole thing with say 20 consolidated new members. Other than obvious reasons of course - standard issue anarchist fear of recruitment and inability to intervene as a group.

A few ex-AYN people have joined the AF and SolFed (a bunch post here), not 20 though. I doubt they could've got 20 due to how apolitical so many were. I think the number would be comparable to the numbers workers power get out of revo, say, i.e. not many.

Battlescarred
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Jan 15 2007 11:17

Irrationally Angry: "standard issue anarchist fear of recruitment"
I don't think the AF have ever had this trait, so please don't generalise about something you have no direct knowledge of. Other contributors have usefully explained why things were as not as pat as that with the AYN

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Jacques Roux
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Jan 15 2007 11:23

As shoes said in general though, i dont think AYN was all bad. After all libcom wouldnt be here without the AYN and so therefore it might have been the best thing ever wink

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Steven.
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Jan 15 2007 11:34

I think the fact we did it all ourselves was good, a steep learning curve anyway. It certainly helped develop my organisational skills a lot. Hmm one thing i forgot to mention in there was the informal hierarchy thing, which necessitated some kind of transparent structure, recallability etc. Which I suppose we did have because we brought in rotating posts which worked, apart from some like web team, and posts did get rotated around the same 4-5 people. but then the hierarchy couldn't really be avoided because most of the people couldn't be bothered, although obviously that is a two-way street but it was pretty obvious what was up.

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Steven.
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Jan 15 2007 16:06
guydebordisdead wrote:
But if one of the British anarchist groups had actively supported them then it might have lasted longer and been shaped in a better direction or even better - folded early to allow people to join the serious anarchist groups which already existed.

I'm not really sure
they could've done much to "actively support" us really...

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Tacks
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Jan 15 2007 17:07
Steven. wrote:
Not on them, but come on the whole culture was based around posing militancy. Who'd been to Prague, who'd been to Genoa, who'd been to Palestine, etc.

Fuck anyone who hasn't been to palestine. Posers and cowards the lot.

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Tacks
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Jan 15 2007 17:14

whoever said:

Quote:
The AYN was much bigger than AY and I can't see why the AF shouldn't have come out of the whole thing with say 20 consolidated new members. Other than obvious reasons of course - standard issue anarchist fear of recruitment and inability to intervene as a group.

Or alternatively without the AYN (and a anticapitalist movement for Trots to leech off) kids will go straight to the AF. Not join neccessarily (though we could easily have a youth section - it would suck), but read the material on the site and contact us through that, myspace, or here to discuss stuff. It definitely doesn't have the same attraction as the AYN, but its got 'anarchist' in the name and upsets yer mum wink

nastyned
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Jan 15 2007 18:28
Steven. wrote:
It wasn't an official AF thing. 2 young members did it. One with good politics left, I think he would've been pissing in the wind tbh, and the other was a class struggle activistoid like us.

I'm pretty sure one of these people wasn't in the AF when the AYN was set up but was in fact involved with the wombles and SAG at the time.

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wheresmyshoes
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Jan 16 2007 02:54
rkn wrote:
As shoes said in general though, i dont think AYN was all bad. After all libcom wouldnt be here without the AYN and so therefore it might have been the best thing ever ;)

Amen, Libcom is clearly life and better than most things:)

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Steven.
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Jan 16 2007 10:47
nastyned wrote:
Steven. wrote:
It wasn't an official AF thing. 2 young members did it. One with good politics left, I think he would've been pissing in the wind tbh, and the other was a class struggle activistoid like us.

I'm pretty sure one of these people wasn't in the AF when the AYN was set up but was in fact involved with the wombles and SAG at the time.

Yeah he told me that yesterday, I didn't realise. I will edit my article accordingly.

petey
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Jan 16 2007 13:15
Steven. wrote:
the informal hierarchy thing

an issue worthy of its own thread?

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 16 2007 13:46
newyawka wrote:
an issue worthy of its own thread?

only when someone cool enough suggests it wink

petey
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Jan 16 2007 14:10

ok, i'll see if i can get someone...send a few pm's...i'll get back...

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 16 2007 14:13
newyawka wrote:
ok, i'll see if i can get someone...send a few pm's...i'll get back...

a networker hey ... you'll climb far in this 'horizontal' organisation tongue

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Steven.
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Jan 17 2007 12:04
guydebordisdead wrote:
Probably a more important thread would be around how young anarchists can organise, what sort of stuff they should be involved in and how we can nurture (not in the bey sense) the youth who are drawn to anarchism.

Maybe I should've put something in there about it, but I'm not sure. Could do with a new discussion... but I think organisations having 2-tier memberships could be useful - one supporters, one full members, to give time for proper political education.

petey
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Jan 17 2007 15:26

i think the informal hierarchy thing is important (and can be included in the thread Steven. just described) because it isn't easy building up a latitudinarian organization. people can learn by doing it, and perhaps often do, but it takes away energy if you have to break people in constantly to this mode.

Mike Harman
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Jan 27 2007 13:02
Steven. wrote:
... we brought in rotating posts ... apart from some like web team...

hhahahahaaaahya

Jim
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Feb 2 2007 10:10

It meant the website was consistently the best thing about the organisation! smile

(after I stopped doing it)

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Steven.
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Feb 2 2007 10:27

Hmmm I dunno Tommy Ascaso, the site was pretty balls. Do you remember the 2 hippy girls in the banner? I think I still have that jpg somewhere...

the site never really had anything good on it, the only news it had up on it really were the accounts from palestine from E.

that said the forums were amazing, shat on this place. and did you ever go to the chat room? it was weird: rkn, jack, rosy and chloe talking all day using weird spellings and listening to royksopp.

Jim
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Feb 2 2007 10:34

Those hippy girls captured the mood of the time!

I wasn't saying the site was brilliant, but I think it was probably the best thing about the organisation, it got a lot of people involved and showed us the potential of websites for promoting political ideas and how forums could be used to discuss and organise. I can't honestly think of anything else the organisation did that I now think was worthwile, although had we not done it all we wouldn't be here now so I suppose it was worth it in the end.

I never used the chat room, 'cos I never left the forums, 1000 posts in a month, how fucking sad is that!

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Steven.
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Feb 2 2007 10:39
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Those hippy girls captured the mood of the time!

ha true.

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I wasn't saying the site was brilliant, but I think it was probably the best thing about the organisation

The first gathering was pretty cool, as was the minor anti-social behaviour. But yeah that's true actually

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, it got a lot of people involved and showed us the potential of websites for promoting political ideas and how forums could be used to discuss and organise.

yeah I suppose I didn't think about the forums beforehand, they were good. And shite though the site was it did get people involved - like catch for example, ha ha.

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I can't honestly think of anything else the organisation did that I now think was worthwile, although had we not done it all we wouldn't be here now so I suppose it was worth it in the end.

yeah true dat.

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I never used the chat room, 'cos I never left the forums, 1000 posts in a month, how fucking sad is that!

Shit I'd forgotten that, it was legendary! That was a month you were single wasn't it?...

Mike Harman
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Feb 2 2007 17:39
John. wrote:
And shite though the site was it did get people involved - like catch for example, ha ha.

This is true. I don't think I really looked at anything which wasn't the forums though.

magnifico
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Feb 5 2007 17:40

I put that 'real anarchist youth' web page on my 'favourites' and now it's gone! cry cry

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Steven.
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Feb 5 2007 23:31
magnifico wrote:
I put that 'real anarchist youth' web page on my 'favourites' and now it's gone! cry cry

ta-da!
http://libcom.org.uk/lib/official-anarchist-youth/

magnifico
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Feb 5 2007 23:45
John. wrote:
magnifico wrote:
I put that 'real anarchist youth' web page on my 'favourites' and now it's gone! cry cry

ta-da!
http://libcom.org.uk/lib/official-anarchist-youth/

I'm just getting a blank page from that. Now i'm sadder than ever cry

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Steven.
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Feb 7 2007 18:27

yeah something weird just happened with hosting ???

rasputin
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Feb 8 2007 12:11

http://www.geocities.com/choked_victim/ayn.html

magnifico
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Feb 8 2007 12:43

Yay! cool